Wednesday, February 15, 2017

From Ian:

IsraellyCool: Senator Tom Cotton: “Jews Are Called Jews, Because They’re From Judea”
effrey Goldberg of The Atlantic recently interviewed Tom Cotton, the junior senator from Arkansas, who he describes as “the future Republican candidate for president.”
And at least when it comes to Israel, Cotton really seems to get it.
Goldberg: A semi-related question. How would you organize the West Bank in such a way as to give the Palestinians something of what they want without endangering Israel?
Cotton: Ultimately, that would be a question for Israelis and Palestinians, if the Palestinians can get non-terror supporting leaders. The United States over the last eight years has made that harder. For instance, in 2009, demanding a freeze on construction in Judea and Samaria, something that Mahmoud Abbas had never even demanded. As soon as Barack Obama demanded it, Abbas had to demand it because if you’re the Palestinian leader you can’t allow the American President to be more Palestinian than you are.
Goldberg: Do you always refer to them as a Judea and Samaria?
Cotton: I do.
Goldberg: Why?
Cotton: That’s why the Jews are called Jews, because they’re from Judea.
Agents of Their Own Destruction
Psychologically, it is easier to embrace a good cause (or, for that matter, even a bad one) in simplistic, "black and white" terms. For many people a "good" cause is made up of people who suffer from "imperialism" and "colonialism", plucky minorities, third-world victims of first-world oppression, revolutionary vanguards, and anyone put upon by the United States, Great Britain, France or any former "imperialist" power. Other "imperialist" powers, such as Russia, China or Iran, are conveniently overlooked or forgotten -- not to mention the centuries of Islamist imperialism that covered Iran, Turkey, Greece, all of North Africa, Hungary, Serbia, the Balkans, virtually all of Eastern Europe and which we see still continuing.
The Palestinians, in this narrative of "good" and "bad" have purportedly been permanently "dispossessed" by, of all people, the Jews -- whom they had the misfortune to attack in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973 -- and lose to.
If members of the new U.S. administration seek to advance the moribund "peace process", they could find no better place to start than direct confrontation with Palestinian rejectionism. This means that those leaders must be pressed as hard as possible to end their persecution of their own populations.
There must be carrots, but there must also be sticks. The UN, the EU, and the OIC will offer only carrots. Will the U.S. now add the threat of real consequences to that mix?



Commentary: Is Israel Top Military Aid Recipient?
The point Frisch highlights—and one that many in Congress inherently understand—is that Israel does not request nor require such assistance. “…No U.S. plane has ever flown to protect Israel’s airspace. No U.S. Navy ship patrols to protect Israel’s coast. And most importantly, no U.S. military personnel are put at risk to ensure Israel’s safety,” he wrote.
It is a useful point, and one often lost in the increasingly polemical debate about the U.S.-Israel relationship. Why it is lost to the debate is another question. Israeli diplomacy—including in the United States—is at best clumsy and often ham-fisted. Too many Israeli intellectuals let alone politicians prefer to argue with each other about the trees rather than recognize that the entire forest is in danger. And, generations of American students have no real understanding of how the U.S. military or defense actually works.
U.S. assistance should never be considered an entitlement. For those unfamiliar with security issues in the Middle East, it is easy to look at Israel’s receipt of U.S. aid and consider it money down the drain, but it is anything but: Rather, as politicians consider the cost of overseas deployments and basing and ask fundamental questions about whether allies in NATO or East Asia are pulling their own weight, the U.S. defense relationship with Israel should be seen as a model to emulate rather than one to eliminate.
Report: US Taxpayer Dollars Ending Up in Hands of Gaza Terror Groups Via American Aid NGO
US government money earmarked for Gaza rehabilitation projects has ended up in recent years in the hands of Palestinian terrorist groups, according to a watchdog report cited by the Hebrew news site nrg on Tuesday.
According to the report — authored by Shurat HaDin-The Israel Law Center, an Israel-based “lawfare” organization — the American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) NGO has transferred funds to welfare and education institutions run by Hamas — which has ruled Gaza since 2007 — and Islamic Jihad. Both groups are on the US terror blacklist.
The report, nrg said, found that ANERA received $28 million from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2015 and $24.55 million in 2016.
ANERA money has reportedly been used for, among other things, the construction of a mosque that has become a source of terrorist incitement and a kindergarten where children simulate conducting kidnappings and rocket attacks against Israel.
Shurat HaDin, nrg reported, has appealed to new US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to prevent this indirect transfer of American taxpayer dollars to terrorist groups.
“From observing the new administration in the US and the new spirit emanating from the White House and State Department, I hope and believe federal funding of ANERA will be halted as long as it continues to finance terrorism,” Shurat HaDin founder Nitsana Darshan-Leitner was quoted by nrg as saying. “This is how we will harm the terrorist infrastructure that is being rebuilt in Gaza.”
Israeli Lawfare NGO Calls on Tillerson to Terminate Funding to US Relief Agency Abetting Terrorism
The Israeli legal nongovernmental organization Shurat HaDin is calling on US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to terminate government funding to the US relief agency, American Near-East Refugee Aid (ANERA), after an investigation by Shurat HaDin found ANERA was “actively assisting” terrorist organizations.
According to the probe, funds transferred to ANERA, including from American charities, the United Nations Development Program and the Christian charity World Vision, are “used to support Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) kindergartens that actively indoctrinate children in hatred and killing of Israeli civilians, as well as other PIJ and Hamas organizations, thus enabling them to finance terrorist activity, which is forbidden by US law.” The former head of World Vision recently pled not guilty to charges it funded the terror group Hamas which operates out of the Gaza Strip.
Shurat HaDin founder Nitsana Darshan-Leitner has called on the State Department to enforce US law, which prohibits the transfer of funds or resources to terrorist organizations through their affiliated charities.
“Under the guise of an organization that works on behalf of refugees and the needy, an American relief agency has become a partner to terror organizations,” Darshan-Leitner said. “In recognition of the US administration and the new wind blowing from the White House and the State Department, I hope and believe that federal funding for ANERA will be suspended, as long as it continues to finance terrorism. This is how we have come to see the terror infrastructure.”
Jewish business leaders to lobby for cut to UN funding
As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, a delegation of Jewish business and communal leaders will lobby Congress to defund US allocations for the United Nations, as stated in a bill proposed recently by Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).
The bill, called the Safeguard Israel Act, aims to cut off funding to the United Nations until the president certifies to Congress that the controversial United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which condemned Israeli settlement activity when it was passed in December, has been repealed.
In addition, Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced a bipartisan resolution objecting to Resolution 2334.
Members of Wednesday’s delegation, who are part of the “US-Israel Security Alliance,” will meet with members of the Senate who have been supportive of these legislative efforts, including Joni Ernst (R-IA), Al Franken (D-MN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Senator Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Lee (R-UT), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Bill Nelson (D-NY), Margaret Hassan (D-NH) and Ted Cruz (R-TX).
“We are grateful for the opportunity to discuss more tangible ways in which the UN could be encouraged to pursue a direction that would not undermine Israel and her ability to negotiate peace,” said Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group and founder of the US-Israel Security Alliance, said before leaving for Washington.
Trump officials: Two-state solution not the only path to peace
Rebooting direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians is a top priority of US President Donald Trump, senior officials in his administration said on Tuesday, previewing his first official meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tomorrow.
The president and First Lady Melania Trump will greet Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, at the White House in the morning, and the two leaders will hold a brief press conference before holding two hours of meetings.
Speaking to White House reporters, Trump officials declined to specify the administration's objectives for direct talks beyond the broad goal of peace. "A two-state solution that doesn't bring peace is not a goal that anybody wants to achieve," the official said. "Peace is the goal, whether it comes in the form of a two-state solution if that's what the parties want or something else, if that's what the parties want, we're going to help them."
"We're not going to dictate what the terms of peace will be," the official added.
In recent decades, subsequent administrations have explicitly outlined their hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, resulting in two states for two peoples living side by side in peace and security. Past negotiations have operated on the assumption that such an outcome would roughly fall along the lines that resulted from the Six Day War in 1967, with mutually agreed land swaps reflecting a change in demographics.
But Trump administration officials suggested that peace between the parties might be possible in another framework.
"If I ask five people what a two-state solution is, I get eight different answers," one said.
Palestinians puzzled by diluted US view on two-state solution
US President Donald Trump’s apparent break with decades of US support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is irresponsible and does not advance peace, a senior Palestinian said on Wednesday.
“This does not make sense,” Palestine Liberation Organization executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi told AFP. “This is not a responsible policy and it does not serve the cause of peace.”
“They cannot just say that without an alternative,” she added.
Husam Zomlot, an adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said the goal of establishing a state of Palestine alongside Israel enjoys broad international support. “Two-state solution is not something we just came up with,” he said. Zomlot added that it was not clear if the comments signal a shift from the longstanding US policy of supporting a two-state deal.
White House: Trump will not insist on two-state solution to Mideast conflict
Hours before President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were set to meet for the first time since the president took office, the White House announced Tuesday that Washington will seek to broker a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, but that a two-state solution may not necessarily be the framework to bring that peace to fruition and that the president will not insist on it.
A senior White House official said Tuesday that the United States would no longer seek to dictate the terms of any eventual peace settlement, but would support what the two sides agree to together.
“A two-state solution that doesn’t bring peace is not our goal that anybody wants to achieve,” the official said in a briefing with reporters Tuesday night. “Peace is the goal. Whether it comes in the form of a two-state solution, if that’s what the parties want, or something else, if that’s what the parties want, we’re going to help them.”
“We’re not going to dictate what the terms of peace will be,” that official added. “President Trump has very much indicated that he wants to achieve peace,” he went on, noting also that an accord was a “very high priority for the administration.”
For his part, Netanyahu will reportedly tell Trump during their meeting that the establishment of a Palestinian state is a waste of time, Israel’s Channel 2 reported earlier Tuesday.
Netanyahu is said to have told his advisers behind closed doors that he would tell Trump that there’s no point in establishing Palestinian state in the current climate, Channel 2’s Udi Segal reported.
A Step Toward Mideast Peace: Tell the Truth
The U.S. has long favored Israel, even during the relative chill of the Obama administration. Washington has nevertheless parroted or passively accepted the conventional falsehoods about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If Mr. Trump wants to advance the possibility of peace, he should begin by challenging the five big untruths that sustain the anti-Israel consensus:
• Israel occupies “Palestinian territory.” This is nonsensical: There never has been a Palestinian government that could hold any territory, meaning Israel could not have taken “Palestinian land.” Quite possibly large parts of the West Bank should become Palestinian territory, but that is a different claim.
The Trump administration should always describe the West Bank as “disputed” land and speak against the phrase “Palestinian territory”—except when used in the future tense. It should also recognize that Israel came to the territory it holds not only during a defensive war but also through historical and legal claims, including the 1922 League of Nations mandate to establish a Jewish homeland.
• There was no ancient Jewish presence in Israel. Palestinian leaders insist that this is true, and that the historical Jewish temples were not actually located on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This feeds their claim that the Jews came to Israel as foreign colonialists imposed by the Europeans after the Holocaust.
This falsehood can be sustained only because it is politely tolerated by the U.S. and Europe—and sometimes supported by U.N. agencies like Unesco. It works against the possibility of peace by denying the Palestinians a moral basis for negotiating with Israel. The Trump administration should contradict these absurd denials of history so often that Palestinian leaders begin to look foolish to their own people.
• The Palestinians are ready to accept a “two-state solution” to end the conflict. The U.S. has a tendency to assume that Palestinian leaders are ready to accept Israel if suitable concessions are offered. The Trump administration ought to ask: What is the evidence for this? When did the Palestinians give up their long-term commitment to destroy Israel, and which leaders backed such a dramatic change? Undoubtedly, many Palestinians are willing and even eager for peace. Yet it is still taboo in Palestinian debate to publicly suggest accepting Israel’s legitimacy or renouncing the claims of the “refugees.”
Washington is practiced at superficial evenhandedness, always issuing parallel-seeming statements about both sides. What the Trump administration can bring is genuine evenhandedness: respecting each side’s truths and rejecting each side’s falsehoods, even when this leads to a position that seems “unbalanced.”
David Singer: Trump and Congress Can Make America Great Again
President Trump and Republican and Democratic Congressional leaders this week have the last opportunity to resuscitate the two-state solution laid out in President Bush’s 2003 Roadmap adopted by the Quartet – America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations (“Bush-Quartet Roadmap”).
This can only happen if President Trump and the Congress re-affirm the commitments made to Israel by President Bush in his letter to Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel Sharon dated 14 April 2004 – as overwhelmingly endorsed by the House 407:9 and the Senate 95:3 (“Bush-Congress Commitments”). Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu reportedly sees this outcome flowing from his White House visit on 15 February:
“Trump believes in a deal and in running peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians,” the prime minister was quoted as saying. “We should be careful and not do things that will cause everything to break down. We mustn’t get into a confrontation with him.”
The last six years have seen those negotiations teeter on the brink of total collapse because the framework for such negotiations - the Bush-Quartet Roadmap and the Bush-Congress commitments – has been successively trashed by President Obama, the European Union and the United Nations.
President Obama’s failure to honour the Bush-Congress commitments first emerged on 19 May 2011
Dennis Ross: Trump likely to restore Bush-Sharon agreement on settlements
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump are likely to agree on a return to the understandings their respective predecessors Ariel Sharon and George W. Bush reached on Israeli settlements, veteran peace negotiator Dennis Ross said.
In 2004, Bush sent a letter to the Israeli premier acknowledging the existence of large Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank and said it would be “unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final-status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.”
But he also insisted that “any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.”
On a call with reporters Monday hosted by The Israel Project, Ross said that messages coming out of the White House suggested that a return to the framework would be a likely outcome of Wednesday’s meeting between Trump and Netanyahu.
“I think what you’re going to see is some understanding… including perhaps a resurrection of the Bush-Sharon letter,” he said.
Evangelicals are ready to speak for Israel in Trump’s Washington
Evangelicals, who have been advocating for Israel for years, have historically let the Jews take the lead.
Laurie Cardoza-Moore, for one, is excited that they are poised to take on a prominent role. An evangelical TV host and activist, Cardoza-Moore backs US President Donald Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, a supporter of the settlement movement who is deeply skeptical of the two-state solution.
And she is confident Trump will make good on his promise to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.
“I am excited to see this development. It further illustrates the commitment of this [incoming] administration,” she recently told a Christian news service. “And God willing, Friedman will be the one who helps orchestrate that transition.”
Cardoza-Moore was in Israel last week filming a new episode of “Focus on Israel,” which is widely syndicated on Christian television. In an interview at a Tel Aviv café last week, she said in over 15 years of pro-Israel work as the president of Proclaiming Justice to the Nations, she has seen evangelicals rally to the cause.
“After the 9/11 attacks, a lot of Christians were ready to hear our message,” she said. “Having read the Bible, they felt we were under a curse and the way to change that curse was to make sure we supported Israel. I always knew if we could get the information to the Christians, they would respond and they would stand up.”
A Palestinian state -- good for the US?
Representing the Arab view that does not consider the Palestinian issue a ‎prime positive concern, the January 25, 2017 edition of the prestigious Saudi ‎weekly Asharq al-Awsat stated: "Due to the destruction and displacement ‎that has affected the Middle East in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, the Palestinian ‎cause is no longer central. We do not forget how extremists succeeded in ‎exploiting the Palestinian tragedy to serve unscrupulous regimes."‎
Contrary to conventional wisdom, none of the traumatic developments that ‎ignited the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Iraq, Syria, ‎etc., is related -- directly or indirectly -- to the Palestinian issue, which is not the ‎crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict. (Demonstrating this, Egypt occupied Gaza and Jordan occupied Judea ‎and Samaria from 1949 to 1967, but neither transferred control of these territories to the Palestinians.) ‎
Moreover, the adverse impact of the proposed Palestinian state on U.S. interests ‎in the Arab-tsunami-plagued Middle East is clearly chronicled by the ‎Palestinian track record since the waves of anti-Jewish and anti-Arab ‎Palestinian terrorism during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s; their World War II alliance ‎with Nazi Germany; their postwar alliance with the Soviet bloc; ‎their 1970s-1980s training camps for Asian, African, European and Latin ‎American terrorists; their warm ties with the ayatollahs and North Korea; their ‎close ties with Russia and China, which would upgrade the latter anti-American ‎power projection in the region (e.g., port facilities in Gaza and land base rights ‎in a newly established state). Most importantly, Palestinian hate-education and ‎incitement in schools, mosques, the media and public events reflect their anti-American ‎worldview most authentically, and will be reflected geo-strategically in the ‎Middle East and diplomatically in the UN. ‎
A Palestinian state in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria would reduce ‎Israel to a 9-to-15-mile sliver below these mountains, transforming it from a ‎unique national security asset for Americans -- extending the ‎strategic hand of the U.S. -- into a national security burden on the U.S. ‎taxpayer, denying the U.S. an effective beachhead in an economically and militarily critical area.‎
Trump’s Israel envoy to apologize for calling liberal Jews ‘kapos’
US President Donald Trump’s pick for ambassador to Israel is set to apologize for derogatory comments he made about liberal Jews year during the presidential campaign. Friedman is expected to issue the apology during his confirmation hearing on Thursday before a Senate committee.
The New York Times reported Tuesday that Friedman’s representatives told Democratic Senator Benjamin Cardin, of Maryland, the senior Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, that he will express his regret for calling supporters of the liberal Jewish group J Street “worse than kapos,” in reference to Jews who aided Nazis during the Holocaust. Friedman made that argument in an op-ed last year for the far-right Israeli news network Israel National News.
Friedman, a 57-year-old Long Island native, has also drawn the ire of many on the American Jewish left for his opposition to a two-state solution and vocal and financial support for West Bank settlements, as well as his labeling of former president Barack Obama as “blatantly anti-Semitic.”
In addition to being a bankruptcy lawyer in New York, Friedman serves as president of American Friends of Bet El Institutions, an organization that supports a large West Bank settlement just outside Ramallah.
The Muslim Brotherhood: Wellspring of Terrorism
The Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Egypt released an official statement calling on its supporters to "prepare" for "jihad", in January 2015.
"The Muslim Brotherhood at all levels have repeatedly defended Hamas attacks... including the use of suicide bombers and the killing of civilians." — UK government expert review of the Muslim Brotherhood, December 2015.
The Muslim Brotherhood not only funds one of the most virulent terrorist groups, Hamas, but there is barely any daylight between the various leaderships of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Jordan and Hamas.
Most of the terrorists who later founded al Qaeda were rooted in the MB. Osama bin Laden was apparently recruited as a young man to the MB, whereas Ayman al Zawahiri joined the MB at the age of 14 and went on to found the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ),"an organization that.... holds many of the same beliefs as the MB but simply refuses to renounce violence inside Egypt" — Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
The Muslim Brotherhood believes today what it has always believed: that a caliphate, where sharia law will rule, must be established through jihad. Refusing to designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization would be a grave mistake, playing straight into the strategy of the Brotherhood and, once more, revealing to the world the extreme gullibility of the West.
The careful way to go after Muslim Brotherhood radicals
Meanwhile, there will be opportunities to take further action at home. According to an official Treasury report submitted in December, “The US has not designated a domestic US-based charity since . . . 2009.” In other words, it appears that the Obama administration placed an unknown number of terrorist financing cases on hold at the Department of Justice over the last eight years.
Trump should instruct the DOJ to reopen them. When these cases meet criteria, they should be prosecuted. And if they involve Muslim Brotherhood activists, that nexus should be made clear.
Finally, the Trump administration has one last crucial point of leverage to undermine the financing of the Muslim Brotherhood. Qatar and Turkey, two countries typically viewed as US allies, are the top financial and logistical supporters of the Brotherhood worldwide. They also serve as financiers and headquarters to the Brotherhood’s most violent branch: Hamas.
The administration should call upon Qatar and Turkey to end support for Hamas. They should also be warned about their support for Brotherhood branches that appear to be engaged in violent activity or even simply spreading extremist rhetoric.
The administration has a number of options at its disposal shy of a blanket terrorist designation. Because going after the “mother ship” may not ultimately hold up under legal scrutiny, an incremental approach may have a higher likelihood of success. That may also ultimately lead to a broader campaign against the Muslim Brotherhood that enjoys the backing of foreign partners and American skeptics alike.
20 arrested, vehicles seized in IDF West Bank sweep
Israeli security forces arrested 20 Palestinians and seized 15 Palestinian vehicles overnight Tuesday in sweeps across the West Bank, the army said.
Twelve of the vehicles, impounded in the southern West Bank village of Husan, were “illegal,” according to an army statement, a designation that can mean either unregistered or stolen.
Three additional cars were confiscated in the northern West Bank village of Bil’in, with the IDF saying they were used in violent riots in the village.
In various other raids throughout the West Bank, forces from the IDF, Shin Bet security service and Israel Police detained 20 Palestinians for alleged participation in violent demonstrations.
One of those detained is reportedly an activist with the Hamas terror group, while two others were arrested for suspected “terrorist activity,” according to the statement.
EXCLUSIVE - Source: Hamas Offers Sinai Jihadists Prisoner Release Deal for Weapons
Hamas has offered Waliyat Sinai, the Islamic State’s Egyptian affiliate, to release some senior jihadi militants it has detained in exchange for facilitating the passage of Gaza-bound weapons shipments it has held up, according to a top Hamas source.
Hamas is looking into the possibility of releasing two Waliyat Sinai commanders who infiltrated into Gaza in a bid to recruit Palestinian jihadists for their struggle against the Egyptian army, the source told Breitbart Jerusalem.
The pair were arrested during a Hamas raid on a Khan Younis apartment in December, alongside other jihadists. The Hamas source said that the two jihadists are Egyptian nationals who served as Waliyat Sinai’s liaison officers for the so-called Palestinian issue.
The source said that Ayman Nufal, a senior operative with Hamas’ military wing who maintains good relations with IS in Sinai, was tasked with delivering the message that Hamas would release the two militants in exchange for a weapons shipment that has been held by Waliyat Sinai for more than two months.
Waliyat Sinai has yet to formally respond to Hamas’ offer, which represents Hamas’s effort to walk the fine line between its dependency on Waliyat Sinai and its wish to sidle up to Cairo in order to alleviate the blockade on the Gaza Strip.
JCPA: Iran Grabs the Reins in Gaza
Hamas made a semi-official announcement on February 14, 2017, via Al Jazeera, that it had chosen Yahya Sinwar, one of the security prisoners released in the “Shalit deal” in 2011, as its senior leader in Gaza. Apparently he will serve as the “security minister” in the non-official government of Ismail Haniyeh.
The implication of the selection means that Iran has retaken the reins in Gaza after a long hiatus during which Egypt, on one hand, and Turkey and Qatar, on the other, tried to fill the vacuum.
Iran chose to take back the reins in Gaza because of the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States. Iran fears that in the upcoming talks in Washington, President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu will discuss an aggressive option vis-à-vis Iran.
It is doubtful if any “elections” were held in Gaza to choose Sinwar. The result is due to pressure by Hamas’ military wing on the political wing, and the announcement’s timing is Iran’s way of conveying a message before the Trump-Netanyahu talks.
If that’s the case, don’t expect that Sinwar’s “election” foretells a new escalation from Gaza against Israel. Just the opposite, Iran will restrain Hamas in order to keep the Gaza front available for Iran’s own needs, and Iran’s alone.



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