PHILADELPHIA – June 8, 2023 – The Summer 2023 issue of Middle East Quarterly features a selection of articles by leading specialists on issues of contemporary concern.
In "How Israel Can Solve Its Gaza Problem," Israeli Brig. Gen. (Res) Yossi Kuperwasser proposes a dynamic new strategy for forcing the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas to refrain from armed activity against Israel. Israeli security policy in Gaza is geared toward "achieving the longest possible intervals of relative calm between major eruptions of violence." Toward this end, it has abided by a set of "rules" – Israel does not, for example, challenge Hamas' control of Gaza, target the "upper echelon" of its political leadership in military strikes, directly counteract its rearmament between wars, or impose hefty economic sanctions.
Kuperwasser calls for Israel to discard most of these rules and fully leverage its military, economic, and diplomatic power to "force Hamas to disarm and to deny it the capacity to rearm itself." This strategy will "make Israel's strength and resoluteness clear to the Palestinians, weaken Hamas's political standing, and send a clear signal of deterrence to Iran, Hezbollah, and their allies." Furthermore, by "demonstrating that armed attacks and jihad against Israel harm Palestinians and that their conditions will improve only after they accept Israel as a Jewish state," he writes, this new strategy will aid efforts to negotiate a comprehensive settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Many waves of migrants from around the world have made their way to Israel. In "Muslim Africans' Harrowing Journey to Israel," Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes examines one of the most unusual – the influx of some 55,000 predominantly Muslim Africans from Sudan and Eritrea between 2016 and 2012. Facing enormous hardships and risks making their way through Egypt to an uncertain future crossing illegally into the Jewish state, the migrants' influx suggests there is "wide but covert appreciation of Israel" in parts of the Islamic world unbeknownst to outside observers. "Far from the angry oratory of the United Nations or the insipid bigotry of the Middle East studies professoriate," writes Pipes, "large numbers of Muslims long to live among Zionists."
In "Hezbollah, a Worldwide Criminal Organization," Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security (JISS) research associate Omer Dostri discusses the transnational organized crime syndicate built by the Iran-backed Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah movement. Beginning in the 1980s, the movement set up a range of criminal enterprises wherever Lebanese immigrants have settled, from narcotics trafficking and money laundering in Latin America to cigarette smuggling in North America and blood diamonds in Africa. Though "strategically managed and led" by senior Hezbollah officials, the latter avoid direct links to criminal activity through an "intricate system of buffers." This immensely profitable global syndicate insulates Hezbollah from fluctuations in its financial support from Iran.
The mass execution of thousands of imprisoned Iranian political dissidents 25 years ago came too late in Ayatollah Khomeini's reign of terror to garner many Western headlines at the time, but the macabre purge and the fates of three men who helped carry it out or cover it up have gained renewed attention, writes political analyst Hamid Enayat in "The 1988 Iranian Prison Massacre." Ebrahim Raisi, who served as deputy prosecutor general on a 4-member "death commission" charged with selecting who was to die, was elected president of Iran in 2021. Hamid Abbasi, a notorious official at Gohardasht prison, was sentenced by a Swedish court to life imprisonment last year. Iran's then-ambassador to the United Nations, Mohammed Jafar Mahallati, has faced mounting pressure to depart his tenured faculty position at Oberlin College from victims of murders he helped cover up.
Finally, book reviews by Dvir Dimant, Mark Durie, Nikolas Gardner, Jamie Hyams, Soeren Kern, Micah Levinson, Michael Peck, Ashley Perry, and Tom Segev critically examine new works covering a broad spectrum of important topics.
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