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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The new terror base

As some of you have probably noticed, I am not posting as much as usual today. This is because I have this funny thing called work....

Here's a 20-page report from Arab affairs expert Ehud Yaari on how turning Gaza over to the 'Palestinians' (effectively to Hamas) has led to the radicalization of the northern Sinai and its turning into a terror base. Evelyn Gordon argues that the results of the Gaza handover should dictate caution in making any moves to change the current control of Judea and Samaria, because the likely results of handing over Judea and Samaria to the 'Palestinians' would include destabilizing Jordan.

This is from Yaari:
Today, a significant number of Hamas military operatives are permanently stationed in the Sinai, serving as recruiters, couriers, and propagators of the Hamas platform. A solid network of the group’s contact men, safe houses, and armories covers much of the peninsula … In addition, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad​, and other factions have been moving some of their explosives workshops—which produce homemade missiles, rockets, mortars, improvised explosive devices, and so forth—from Gaza to the Sinai in recent months. In many ways, the Sinai has already become a sort of hinterland for Hamas military forces in Gaza. Dual-purpose materials used for the production of explosives are regularly transferred to the peninsula, allowing the group to place a significant part of its military industry beyond Israel’s reach.
And this is from Gordon:
As in Gaza, an Israeli pullout from the West Bank could easily end in a Hamas takeover. True, the Palestinian Authority is protected by American-trained troops, but the same U.S. general, Keith Dayton, trained the PA forces in Gaza, and Hamas routed them in a week during its 2007 coup.

Moreover, like Sinai, Jordan already has both a homegrown Islamist movement and some serious stability issues. Additionally, Jordan is roughly two-thirds Palestinian, and its Palestinian citizens have close ties of kinship and friendship with West Bank Palestinians. Thus, radicalization on the West Bank would likely spread to Jordan quickly if Israeli troops were no longer serving as a buffer between the two.

So if Western leaders think a radicalized, destabilized Jordan is a good idea, they should by all means keep pushing an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank. But if not, they should be praying that Israel stays put.
That certainly seems like a fair assessment. And for those who think that it doesn't matter to the West, you may want to go here.

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