(Newser) – Two warships from Iran have popped up in the Atlantic Ocean this week, though no one is saying where they’re going or what their objective is. Per the Hill, the arrival of the Sahand destroyer and its support vessel, the intel-gathering Makran, in Atlantic waters was announced by Iran on Thursday, with Rear Adm. Habibollah Sayyari telling reporters the development showed “the power and robustness of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” according to state media. Sayyari noted the ships wouldn’t be stopping at any ports of call, and that their sailing was “the Iranian navy’s longest and most challenging voyage yet,” per the AP, which adds the rare mission far from home comes the week before Iran is set to hold its next presidential election. One theory that’s popped up is that the vessels are headed for Venezuela, loaded with arms and fast-attack boats.
US officials told Politico this week that the Biden administration has issued warnings to both Venezuela and Cuba to turn the ships away if they show up in port, noting they’re a “threat” to US partners in the Western Hemisphere and that the US will take “appropriate measures” to deal with them. A senior Biden administration official tells the outlet the arms said to be on board the two vessels appear to be part of an arrangement between Iran and Venezuela made last year during the Trump administration. Meanwhile, a deal has also reportedly been struck between Iran and Russia, with officials saying the latter is getting ready to provide the former with a sophisticated satellite system that will help Iran keep tabs on military targets across the Middle East and elsewhere—an “unprecedented” perk for Iran, per the Washington Post.
On April 12, amid escalating tensions along the Ukrainian border, Ukrainian Defense Minister Andriy Taran expressed concern that “Crimea’s infrastructure is being prepared for potentially storing nuclear weapons” (Radio Svoboda, April 14). Even though Mr. Taran did not supply evidence for this claim, it is plausible to assert that such nuclear potential in occupied Crimea certainly exists.
According to experts, Russia possesses up to 2,000 nuclear warheads at present (The Bulletin, March 15), some of which may already be located in Crimea. Illustratively, in late 2016, “Object-100,” an underground stationary complex for the storage and combat use of two cruise missile divisions, was restored on the peninsula (Interfax, November 18, 2016). Created in the Soviet era, it has been utilized by Utes missile systems equipped with P-35B or 3M44 Progress cruise missiles capable of carrying a 350-kiloton nuclear warhead. The combat readiness of Object-100, which can hit targets at a range of up to 300 kilometers, was confirmed during military exercises in November 2016 (RIA Novosti, November 18, 2016). Crimea is also home to at least three Bastion-P mobile coastal-defense complexes armed with the P-800 Oniks missile (range of up to 800 km).
The P-800 missile is capable of carrying a 10-kiloton nuclear warhead (Lenta.ru, September 25, 2019).
During the Cold War, Soviet sea-zone naval vessels – small missile ships, guard ships and anti-submarine corvettes – could all be equipped with nuclear weapons. Taking into account the preservation of Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons (TNW) and the absence of changes in Russian policy regarding these weapons (see Eurasia Daily Monitor, September 29, 2020, and January 28), the practice may well have continued.
Looking at the current Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, the 11th brigade of anti-submarine ships in Sevastopol consists of five Project 1135/6 guard ships, which are armed with the dual-capable Kalibr cruise missile system. The brigade also includes the Moskva, the lead ship of the Project 1164 Atlant class of guided missile cruisers, carrying the P-1000 Vulkan anti-submarine missile system. The Vulkan can be equipped with a 350-kiloton nuclear warhead. Moreover, the Moskva is equipped with the nuclear-capable S-300F anti-aircraft missile system (OPK, December 28, 2017; Rusonline.org, April 5, 2019; TASS, Kchf.ru, accessed June 4).
Two small Project 1239 missile ships and four Project 1241 missile boats are stationed in Sevastopol. Each of these vessels is armed with Moskit or Termit anti-ship missiles that can deliver 15-kiloton and 120-kiloton nuclear warheads, respectively. Moreover, the 68th coastal defense ship brigade in Sevastopol has two small Project 1124M anti-submarine corvettes with a 533-millimeter mine-torpedo armament, capable of carrying the RPK-6M Vodopad anti-submarine missile system or the VA-111 Shkval complex. These can be equipped with a nuclear warhead of 200 and 150 kilotons, respectively (OPK, December 28, 2017; Rusonline.org, April 5, 2019; TASS, Kchf.ru, accessed June 4).
Sevastopol is also home to the 31st Air-Defense Division with its two S-300PM detachments and four S-400 detachments. The 48N6 missile fired by both systems can theoretically carry a nuclear warhead. It is expected that the S-500 complexes, capable of launching a 77N6-N1 missile with a small nuclear warhead, will also eventually be deployed to Crimea (Avia.pro, March 18).
In March 2014, the authorities announced the imminent deployment of the Tu-22M3 Missile Carrier Regiment to the airbase in the Crimean village of Gvardeyskoe (Regnum, March 31, 2014). Reports of those plans were repeated in July 2015 (Interfax, July 22, 2015) and January 2016 (Modernarmy.ru, January 17, 2016). In March 2019, the first Tu-22M3 supersonic bomber landed in Crimea, seen as a potential sign of the looming permanent deployment of these strategic aircraft there (RIA Novosti, March 18, 2019). However, given that the airfield in Gvardeyskoe has been undergoing reconstruction since 2015 (Gvardeyskoe.ru, March 19, 2015), it is probably not yet ready to permanently accept these long-range strategic aircraft. The Tu-22M3 can carry from one to three X-22 cruise missiles or up to 10 X-15 cruise missiles, both of which are nuclear capable. Tu-22M3s are also capable of using nuclear free-falling bombs. Relatedly, as part of the 37th Mixed Aviation Regiment, six Su-24M tactical bombers are located at the Gvardeyskoe airfield. These jets are capable of carrying two unguided, free-falling RN-28 nuclear bombs (Topwar.ru, June 26, 2018).
The long-term appearance of Iskander-M tactical ballistic missile systems in Crimea is possible as well (Riafan, August 15, 2020). Iskanders from various Russian regions were already present on the peninsula during the Kavkaz (Caucasus) 2016 exercise, and they regularly participate in other drills, deploying close to the Ukrainian border (Topwar.ru, December 15, 2018; Janes.com, April 8). In response to the United States’ withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty in 2019, Russia promised to, by the end of the following year, create a ground-based version of the Kalibr cruise missile and a Zircon ground-based hypersonic missile system, which would have ranges of up to 2,600 and 2,000 kilometers, respectively (TVZvezda, February 5, 2019). In October 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin promised, purportedly as a sign of good faith willingness to lower tensions, that Moscow would unilaterally pause any deployments of ground-based intermediate-range missiles in Europe; he encouraged Western counterparts to follow suit (Izvestia, October 26, 2020). Yet such mobile, ground-based nuclear-tipped missiles can easily be sent to Crimea, and no one would know about it, simply because no verification mechanisms exist. For example, Moscow already plans to deploy the first Bastion-S stationary mine-based anti-ship missile systems, which can be armed with these dual-capable missiles (Interfax, July 2, 2015).
After the forcible annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in early 2014, this region de facto became Russia’s south-westernmost territory. Given that all of the Soviet Union’s western republics hosted tactical nuclear weapons on their territory during the Cold War, Russia today likely also plans to deploy TNW to Crimea, and presumably has already done so. According to this author’s most conservative estimates, there may be up to 30 nuclear warheads deployed on the peninsula now. That said, non-strategic nuclear weapons are a gray area of European security. And in the absence of any monitoring or limitations on TNW, Russian activities in this sphere by definition destabilize the security situation in Europe and more generally.
The article above is reprinted from Eurasia Daily Monitor with permission from its publisher, the Jamestown Foundation, www.jamestown.org.
Kim Jong Un’s regime in North Korea has been expanding its nuclear arsenal, and China’s military strength has been growing. The U.S., without provoking others by moving in its own weapons, can see a close ally develop technology that strengthens its own regional military deterrence. Seoul gets back its full nonnuclear weapons sovereignty after long advocating for such a move.
Having better-armed allies will help Washington, especially in light of worsening disputes with Beijing over Taiwan and the South China Sea, and ups the ante for China to participate in North Korean diplomacy, security experts say.
“South Korea can already directly counter the North Korean missile threat,” said Oh Miyeon, a director at the Atlantic Council, a think tank in Washington. “The lifting of the missile guidelines, therefore, has regional security implications, which goes beyond the Korean Peninsula.”
As global attention wanes after the Gaza-Israel ceasefire, families of two children killed in an Israeli air strike recount painful memories from lives cut short In the living room of their tin-roof house in the south of Gaza City, Hamed Tulba sits holding his deceased child’s new clothes.
Mahmoud, 15, was killed by an Israeli air strike one day before wearing them for the Eid celebrations. He was on his way back home after he got a haircut for Eid at his cousin’s nearby barbershop, on 13 May, when an Israeli bomb struck the road near his home.
The attack took place at around 9pm, shortly after the Iftar (fast-breaking) meal on the last day of Ramadan, the eve of the Eid al-Fitr celebration.
‘There were hundreds of people in the street, and the attack took place without any prior notice’
“He went shopping with his mother and younger brother early this Ramadan to buy new clothes for Eid,” Mahmoud’s father, 46, told Middle East Eye. “He insisted on choosing them himself and got jeans, pants and a red t-shirt with sports shoes. He only wore them once in the fitting room.”
“He asked his mother to make him kahk [Eid cookies] two days before he was killed. He helped her kneading the dough. When they baked the kahk, he ate so much that he was too full to have his suhour [pre-fast meal],” he said.
“I told my wife that they had made way too much kahk. Little did I know that we would serve it to the people who visited to console us after his killing.”
Tulba’s elder brother who lives in the same neighbourhood was visiting him on Eid’s eve. They were sitting in the living room when they heard “a massive explosion that shook the entire house”.
“After the explosion rocked the place, I heard hundreds of shrapnel falling on our roof. I knew the bombing was in the neighbourhood because it was unbelievably loud, and I was sure that if it was not my son who was killed, it would certainly be a relative of mine,” Tulba continued.
Hamed Tulba Hamed Tulba, standing in front of a poster of his deceased son Mahmoud in his home in Gaza City (MEE/Mohammed Hajjar) “I rushed outside and saw my nephew, the barbershop owner, running with his hand injured and covered in blood. He asked about Mahmoud who had just left his shop but we could not see him.”
Tulba’s eldest son, Wadee, 22, found Mahmoud lying on the ground. Both his head and neck were bleeding.
“Once Wadee saw his brother bleeding and unconscious, he was in a hysterical state. He was so badly injured that I thought he was already dead.
“The neighbours stopped a car passing by and put Mahmoud along with a number of wounded people in it. They rushed to the hospital and we followed them in another car.”
The Israeli air strike directly hit the road opposite Mahmoud’s home. Three people were killed and at least fifty others were injured in the same attack, according to eyewitnesses.
“There are five barbershops in our neighbourhood, and you can imagine the number of people in and around these shops on Eid’s eve,” Tulba said. “There were hundreds of people in the street, and the attack took place without any prior notice.”
While Tulba’s wife, Umm Wadee, was waiting to know that their son was not hurt, she received the news that he was killed.
Gaza child rescued from rubble recalls her ordeal
“My wife was standing by the house door asking people in the street to look for our son. I had to tell her before going to the hospital that we lost him. I tried to be very calm and not show any emotions because I did not want to collapse in front of people.” Tulba r. “But she could not handle it.”
Mahmoud’s mother was sleeping when the attack took place. She woke up to the explosion and rushed to the street to look for her son.
“I found Fadi, our relative and the barbershop owner, bleeding near our door. I asked him where Mahmoud was and he told me that he did not find him,” she told MEE.
“I could not believe it. I asked him, how could you not find him? I wanted to run and look for him, but I could not see anything, it was very dark, and dust and blood were everywhere. My stepbrother asked me to get in the house and promised to look for him.”
A few minutes later, Wadee, her eldest son, came back home after he found Mahmoud. But he wished he had not seen him in that state.
“Wadee came in a miserable state, he told me that he found Mahmoud but could not recognise him at first,” she recalled.
“He saw a child lying on the ground with his skull broken open. He tried to figure out who he was, and only when he recognised the mobile in his hand did he realise that it was his brother.”
‘A mother’s heart cannot handle this’
Mahmoud’s family thought that he was already dead. But he was transferred to the hospital with severe injuries and stayed in intensive care for another 24 hours.
“They told me that he was killed. I tried to stay calm, but you know a mother’s heart cannot handle this,” Umm Wadee continued.
“My husband and his brothers went to the al-Shifa hospital. They looked for Mahmoud in the morgue but did not find him. About an hour later, the Indonesian Hospital announced that they had received a severely injured unidentified child. It was him.”
But Umm Wadee could not believe that her son was still alive.
“They told me that he was only injured, not dead, but I did not believe them. I told them that I would not believe them until I saw him. But the bombing was intensive and there were no taxis in the street,” she added.
funeral on phone Father of Mahmoud Tulba showing an image of his son’s funeral in Gaza City (MEE/Mohammed Hajjar) “My husband was in the hospital. He asked his brother to fetch me because he knew that if I had to run to the hospital barefoot, I would do it. I went there but he was undergoing a serious surgery and they did not allow us to see him until the next day.”
Having been informed by the doctors that their son may not be able to make it, Tulba started to prepare his wife for the news.
“My husband started telling me that if Mahmoud lived, he would suffer a lot and live with a disability that we would need to carry him everywhere,” she said.
“But that did not make it any easier for me to accept his death. I did not mind carrying him on my head for the rest of my life.”
‘Little body torn to pieces’
On the next day, doctors allowed Mahmoud’s family to see him for the last time before he passed away.
“It was a tough moment because Mahmoud was the kindest one of my children. I am not saying this because we lost him, but everyone knows what a helpful, polite and well-disciplined child he was,” his father said.
“He loved to stay with his mother in the kitchen to help her. He enjoyed cutting potatoes and vegetables and always made jokes, imitating chefs on social media.”
Mahmoud’s uncle, Adel, said that he depended on Mahmoud to do the grocery shopping although he has children.
“Because we live just next to their house, Mahmoud heard my wife every time she shouted at my children who refused to obey her and buy her stuff from the supermarket,” he said.
“He always took the initiative and told her: ‘I heard you asking my cousins to buy something, tell me what you want, and I will buy it for you.’
“He was an exceptional child.”
gaza stats A few metres away from the Tulba family’s house lives the Khalifa family. They lost a child who was a friend of Mahmoud’s in the same attack.
Yahya, 13, was on his way to the market to buy yoghurt for his two-year-old nephew when the air strike hit the road.
“My grandson, Mazen, was crying, so Yahya went to buy him yoghurt to eat before it got too late. Only one minute after he left the house, we heard the massive explosion shaking the neighbourhood,” Yahya’s father, Mazen, 48, told MEE.
Yehia Mazen brother A photo of Yahya Mazen held by his brother Moatassem in Gaza City (MEE/Mohammed Hajjar) “My other son rushed to the street looking for him. We were hoping that he would be far from the attack, but he found him lying on the ground with his little body torn into pieces,” he added.
Yahya’s brother, Mustafa, recalled the moment when he found him lying dead on the ground, among dozens of killed and injured neighbours.
“I was running in the street and people killed and injured were everywhere. The blood covered my feet, and it was too dark that I hardly found Yahya,” Mustafa, 18, said.
‘I was running in the street and people killed and injured were everywhere’
“I held him with my hands. His back was open, and part of his shoulder was dislocated,” he said, bursting into tears.
“I lived 18 years, and this was the most horrific scene I have seen and will ever see in my entire life. Since that moment, I try not to leave the house so that I won’t have to remember the scene when I see that place.”
Mustafa quit his work as a salesman in a women’s clothes shop a few days after the attack.
“I could not speak to people and act normal. I could not see anyone, or deal with people who keep asking me what happened and how my brother was killed. I cannot forget him but I want at least to forget that scene.”
Child survivors in trauma
When the attack took place, Yahya’s mother was near the window. She fell to the ground and lost sight due to the heavy smoke and dust.
“I could not open my eyes because the dust and smoke were everywhere in the house. It was very dark, and I could not see anything, I started crawling until I reached the door and found my husband,” Asmaa Khalifa, Yahya’s mother, told MEE.
‘Yahya could not wait for Eid, what did he do to be killed in this horrible way and prevented from celebrating it?’
“My youngest son, Moatassem, who is three years younger than Yahya and who was very close to him saw him on the ground, covered in blood. He came back home horrified and shocked. Once he reached the door and saw me, he passed out.”
As a result of the shock, Moatassem started to suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), losing appetite, and shouting his deceased brother’s name during his sleep.
“I took him to a psychiatrist after he started to show an abnormal behaviour. Sometimes in the midst of laughing he starts screaming angrily without a reason. He cries all the time and is still experiencing the deep shock.”
After Yahya’s family found his body, the neighbours directly took it to the hospital’s morgue to be buried next.
Israel-Palestine: The girl who showed the world the suffering of Gaza’s children
Read More » “They buried him on the next day. When my husband came back from the funeral, neighbours in the street called him and told him ‘Your son’s flesh is on the electricity pillar,” she continued.
“He went there and saw a piece of flesh hung on the pillar, he took it with a piece of cloth and went back to Yahya’s tomb and buried it.”
A few days before he was killed, Yahya had bought a second-hand bicycle for Eid, after having saved his daily pocket money for two months.
“He bought the bike for 60 shekels ($19). For weeks he kept himself from buying chocolate or chips like his friends, only to save his pocket money to buy it,” Asmaa said.
“He waited to ride his bike and bought tiny LED lights to hang them on it to celebrate the Eid. But he left before he could do any of this.
“Yahya could not wait for Eid. What did he do to be killed in this horrible way and prevented from celebrating it?”
So the latest report of uranium being sold and smuggled out of India is not new. Why the international community has chosen to turn a blind eye and why the IAEA has deliberately ignored these continuing episodes of Uranium theft and smuggling incidents are serious questions that need to be raised on all relevant forums. With this terrible track record, the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) should not even begin to consider India for membership till its nuclear safety record can be visibly improved.
Nor is this all – in terms of problems related to India’s nuclear development. The Indian state’s proliferation record is equally poor. While Pakistan has been and continues to be pilloried ad nauseum over the Dr A Q Khan episode, the silence over the Indian state’s massive proliferation record reveals the hypocrisy and duality of approach of the international community on the entire nuclear issue.
It does not surprise one because Israel’s nuclear capability and any discussion on Israel’s nuclear programme has been kept strictly out of all international agendas on nuclear proliferation and nuclear weapons including in the IAEA. Why states like Pakistan do not raise this is what is inexplicable.
Even before these revelations, India’s proliferation record was highly suspect. It had a strategic relationship with Iraq, which included nuclear cooperation going back to the first Indian nuclear test in 1974, as highlighted in a document of the Washington, DC-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS). It was in 1974 that Saddam flew into India specifically to sign a nuclear cooperation agreement with the Indira Gandhi government. This agreement included exchange of scientists, training and technology transfers. Iraqi scientists were working in India’s fuel reprocessing laboratories when India separated the plutonium for its first nuclear explosive device.
Later, those same Iraqi scientists were in charge of the nuclear fuel reprocessing unit supplied to Iraq by the Italian company, CNEN. This was followed by an Indian scientist spending a year at the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission’s computer centre training Iraqis in the use of nuclear computer codes. So it was hardly surprising to find Iraq supporting India’s nuclear tests. The Ba’ath Party’s newspaper, ‘Al-Thawra’, declared, “We cannot see how anyone can ask India not to develop nuclear weapons and its long-range missiles at a time it is like any other big state with its human and scientific potential.” (ISIS Brief, May 28, 1998).
Also, in May 1998, a Baghdad weekly, owned by Saddam Hussein’s eldest son Uday, announced that India had agreed to enroll several groups of Iraqi engineers “in advanced technological courses” scheduled for mid-July. The field of training was left unspecified.
An Indian company, NEC Engineers Private Ltd, is believed to have helped Iraq to acquire equipment and materials “capable of being used for the production of chemicals for mass destruction,” according to a CNN report of January 26, 2003. The company also sent technical personnel to Iraq, including to the Fallujah II chemical plant. Between 1998 and 2001, NEC Engineers Private Ltd shipped 10 consignments of highly sensitive equipment, including titanium vessels and centrifugal pumps to Iraq.
India also had a nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran, signed in February 1975. It began helping in the completion of the Bushehr plant between 1980 and 1983, including the sending of nuclear scientists and engineers to Iran in November 1982. In 1991, despite US opposition, India negotiated the sale of a 10 MW nuclear reactor to Iran and Dr Prasad worked in Bushehr after he retired in July 2000 as head of the Nuclear Corporation of India. Another Indian, Narander Singh, also worked on Iran’s nuclear programme. That is why, in February 2004, Iran’s top nuclear negotiator, Hasan Rowhani, visited New Delhi for talks with the Indian prime minister.
In March 2007, two Indian nationals, Sudarshan and Mythili Gopal, were arrested in the US for illegally transferring latest computer technology meant for missile guidance system to Indian government R&D institutes: Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre; Bharat Dynamics Ltd; and Aeronautical Development Establishment.
And this is not all, in terms of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) proliferation. In 1992, India supplied thiodiglycol and other chemicals also to Iran and, in 1993, 30 tonnes of trimethyl-phosphite was supplied to Iran by United Phosphorus of India. It is also known that an Indian company exported chemicals to Iraq for Saddam’s missile programme and a director of that company, Hans Raj Shiv was under arrest in New Delhi.
Despite these public nuclear and other WMD proliferation revelations about the state of India, the US has continued to press for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The discovery of India’s chemical weapons stash was another mark of rogue behaviour by the Indian state on the issue of WMD, revealed when India had to finally confess and destroy its chemical weapons after the Convention on Chemical Weapons came into force.
The special treatment meted out to India and Israel on WMD reflects the discriminatory approach towards the entire issue of nuclear weapons proliferation. Clearly for many Western states it is not the issue of preventing proliferation but of denying certain states nuclear status – and these states happen to be primarily Muslim states. Therein lies the entire crux of the proliferation issue.
The writer is the federal minister for human rights.
Did the champions of the 2005 Gaza disengagement, the ones who declared it would immeasurably improve Israel’s strategic situation, believe we would see the establishment of a new state? Did they believe this new country, Hamastan, would have Jerusalem as its capital?
Let’s lay our cards on the table. The way things look now, Hamas has achieved a dramatic strategic objective: control of Jerusalem. How else can we explain that in the capital of the Jewish state—the city Diaspora Jews dreamed of returning to for 2,000 years, the one we paid for in blood and the place where Israel’s historic kings once walked—we cannot march with our national flag due to purported security sensitivities? Or in other words, out of fear of Hamas’s response?
I, for one, never imagined we would put control of the city in Hamas’s hands, within the framework of security establishment dictates to the diplomatic echelon.
Let’s focus a bit on the democracy aspect. In a country where individual liberties, in particular freedom of movement, are respected, we should be able to travel freely in our capital, with or without Israeli flags. Yet the Jerusalem Day flag march was postponed, and now Israeli lawmakers—elected officials—have been banned from moving freely in the city. Some call the proposed march a provocation that could “raise tensions.
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To this, we must ask: Is Jerusalem really in our hands? And what kind of democracy is this in the first place?
Given the thousands that protested outside the Prime Minister’s Residence weekly at the height of the coronavirus outbreak, claims that the flag march and the entry of Israeli lawmakers into Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter constitute a “public threat” is ridiculous. In our country, the protection of individual liberties, it turns out, is dependent on their political context.
The decisions to cancel the march and to prevent lawmakers from entering the Old City are therefore anti-democratic. Furthermore, they were dictated by Hamas threats.
These decisions, adopted by the Israeli government in adherence to defense officials’ recommendations, are outrageous and constitute a serious blow to Israel’s national security. They are also an expression of the unfortunate fact that “Operation Guardian of the Walls” did not deter Hamas. This is the reality, and we should agree on it.
This fact must bring us back to the basic question: Why haven’t we acted decisively to destroy Hamas’s military force? After all, we’ve been here before. We prepared for it, but we never did it. This was the case even when half of Israel’s population was under fire, our capital was on fire and the port of entry to Israel, Ben-Gurion International Airport, was under attack.
The Israeli government has lost its sovereignty.
It’s not too late. The government must make the necessary decisions based on our national security needs—not for today, this week or this year, but for hundreds of years to come. I was taught that today’s acquiescence is tomorrow’s norm. This repeated cowering to Hamas has led us to a troubling norm in which there is no democracy and no sovereignty.
The fact that Hamas is the first organization to pose a threat to our capital and severely limit our citizens’ freedom of movement bolsters the conclusion this organization must be toppled, and its military capabilities eradicated. Complicated and difficult as this may be, it must be clear to every citizen here that this reality is intolerable. We must act quickly to change it fundamentally.
IDF Col. Ronen Itsik (res.) is a researcher and lecturer in political science and the author of “Behind The Armor: The story of an Israeli soldier,” describing military service and combat situations against terrorist organizations.