Tag Archives: Hamas

As an #Iran vs #Israel arena, #Gaza is losing its importance

1 Sep

Numerous things were learned from the recent Israel – Hamas war in Gaza.

One of them was that when it comes to being an arena where Iran and Israel faced each other off, Gaza is losing its importance.

Hamas has got a new Qatari patron and its not clear whether Iran will be able to woo it back.

My latest article explains.

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/08/iran-qatar-israel-hamas-gaza.html

Saying HAMAS is not = ISIS does not mean I support Hamas

26 Aug

Two days ago I wrote a blog in which I said there are some similarities between Hamas and ISIS, but there are greater number of differences between them. I

Not my idea of Hamas!

then listed the major differences to back my argument which concluded by saying that saying Hamas = ISIS is inaccurate.

And then it started. I was accused of all sorts of things, such as suffering from “Stockholm Syndrome”, “looking at the nice part of the enemy (I.e Hamas), or that I want “Hamas to be treated differently”.

Seriously?

Have you guys read anything I have written in the past? To me Hamas has always been a terrorist organization. Saying it is not the same as ISIS does not mean that I have decided to think of Hamas as a bunch of tree hugging hippies.

Would you be happier if I just switched my brain off and agreed with everything that the government of Israel tells me?

Then whats the point of studying? Whats the point of thinking for yourself? Isn’t democracy meant to create a market place of ideas?

​I said it before and I will say it again: Netanyahu’s comparison is wrong.

Such inaccurate comparisons also hurt Israel.

When the leader of a country makes inaccurate comparisons, it hurts the credibility of the country and its legitimate concerns, in this case the fight against Hamas. Its important that our leaders don’t play fast and loose with the facts. Netanyahu has done this on other occasions as well, like when he said that in Iran they say “Death to Jews” and that Iran is the new Nazi regime.If we lose our credibility, our enemies win. And this is just one more reason why we have to be honest and exact in our comparisons.

So calm down, and please don’t accuse me of things I did not mean or say.

Hezbollah accuses Hamas of terrorism

23 Aug

Never a dull moment in this region.

Hezbollah is accusing Hamas for taking part in the recent bombing in southern Beirut where many Hezbollah members live.

My latest piece discusses this.

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2013/08/hezbollah-hamas-setback-bombings.html

The Iron Dome Is Great, But Not Enough

18 Nov

If the current war between Israel and the Gaza based militants were to finish today, there would be one winner: Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system.

Today my city of Tel Aviv was attacked twice and on both occasions the Gaza launched missiles were intercepted by the Iron Dome system.

Iron Dome has also done much to protect other parts of Israel such as the city of Ashkelon and Beer Sheva.

Despite its brilliance, the Iron Dome is only a temporary, short-term solution.

To defeat Hamas in the long-term we need smarter Israeli policies such as closer cooperation with Egypt and with the PLO. We can start doing so by ending the current settlement expansion drive. One can understand why the current Israeli government would want to undermine and weaken Hamas, but why is it weakening the PLO? Why is Netanyahu making the PLO officials who are cooperating with Israel look like incompetent sell outs by constantly undermining them with more settlements?

To defeat Hamas we also need to end the Gaza siege in its current format. Restrictions against imports and exports except weapons must be lifted. Until then we can not say that we have left Gaza. After Israel left the Sinai in the early 80s as part of the Camp David peace agreement, did it still control what Egypt could import or export through the Sinai? No it didn’t  This is why Israel could say that it withdrew from there and no one could dispute it. The same can not currently be said about Gaza.

Implementation of such policies would give more legitimacy and backing to Israel’s right to fight Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists who threaten its security and that of its citizens. They would also weaken the extremist’s support base.

Meanwhile I hope the Iranian regime is watching the Iron Dome, because for its Shahab missiles we have an even better anti-missile system, called The Arrow.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? No thanks

13 Sep

Today I took part in the  2012 World Summit on Counter Terrorism  simulation at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) in Herzliya, where I teach the contemporary Iranian politics course.

I played Iran.

I thought I was going to play Khamenei, however upon coming on stage I was told that I am playing the part of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. I was then asked about Ahmadinejad’s reaction to Israel’s response to a terrorist attack from the Sinai, which included aerial attacks against Hamas and Salafist Jihadi targets in Gaza.

I had to refuse this role allocation. The reason is simple: here in Israel the press seems to think that Ahmadinejad sets defense and foreign policy in Iran.  The only place where Ahmadinejad commands such authority is in his dreams.

I emphasized that in reality these are Khamenei’s domains, and for the sake of accuracy I had to play him. The moderator kindly agreed.

What would Khamenei say and do in response to an Israeli retaliatory attack against Hamas and Jihadi targets in Gaza?

He would say much while doing nothing.

Currently Iran has bigger fish to fry. It has its relations with Egypt to consider, something which it badly wants to improve. It also has to think about its more immediate problems in Syria.

More important than all, Khamenei has the economy of the Islamic Republic to be concerned about. He needs his money at home more than ever before. Sanctions are biting and the infighting within the regime is continuing. Both problems could ultimately turn into existential threats, if unattended. Khamenei needs his money there. Hamas and Palestinians can wait, for a very long time. Perhaps for eternity. They stand no chance in competing with resources needed for regime stability.

The Israeli PM played his cards well.  All the time he had Iran on his mind. To him Hamas and the Jihadi movements were secondary, despite calls by at least one minister in his cabinet to invade not just Gaza but also the West Bank.

Instead he tried to contain the situation by working with the Egyptians and the Americans, while making sure the situation does not escalate by keeping the aerial attacks limited and the military on a tight leash. He used Israel’s military and diplomatic muscles simultaneously. Israeli smart power was on full display.

Israel’s imaginary PM at today’s simulation in fact did all the things that Khamenei would not have wanted him to do. I hope Israel’s real PM learns from him.

 

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