外交官的國際新聞導覽及中東中亞的歷史故事 Diplomat's daily news review and history research on Middle East and Central Asia
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2021 年 8 月 27 日，在喀布爾的意大利非政府組織緊急機構經營的一家醫院裡，發生了兩起自殺式炸彈襲擊，導致包括 13 名美軍在內的數十人在喀布爾機場外遇難。 / 法新社）
週四，喀布爾機場外的人群中發生了兩枚自殺式炸彈襲擊，造成數十名阿富汗人和 13 名美軍喪生，加劇了世衛組織在運送醫療設備和藥品方面面臨的後勤困難。
2021 年 8 月 26 日，喀布爾機場外發生兩次強烈爆炸後，志願者和醫務人員將一名受傷男子送去治療。（Wakil KOHSAR / AFP）
布倫南甚至在周四的大屠殺之前就強調了阿富汗的巨大需求，並表示世衛組織計劃向該國空運三批物資，但在 8 月 15 日塔利班接管後已被取消。
更積極的一點是，布倫南說，世衛組織在這個飽受戰爭蹂躪的國家監測的 2,200 家衛生設施幾乎都保持開放和運作。
女性尤其擔心，她們在很大程度上被禁止接受教育和就業，並且在該組織 1996-2001 年的統治期間只能與男性監護人一起離開家。
Afghan health facilities said running out of medical supplies, staff
With sending aid via Kabul airport no longer possible, World Health Organization official says UN looking at shipping it through Mazar-i-Sharif airport
By AFPToday, 7:53 am
People gather to check on missing relatives a day after a twin suicide bombs attack, which killed scores of people including 13 US troops outside Kabul airport, at a hospital run by Italian NGO Emergency in Kabul on August 27, 2021. (Photo by Aamir QURESHI / AFP)
GENEVA, Switzerland — Health facilities across violence-ravaged Afghanistan are rapidly running out of supplies, and could also soon face a shortage of medical personnel, the World Health Organization warned Friday.
Twin suicide bombs ripped through crowds outside Kabul airport on Thursday, killing scores of Afghans as well as 13 US troops and adding to logistical difficulties faced by WHO to deliver medical equipment and medicine.
“We have only a few days of supplies left and are exploring all options to bring more medicines into the country,” said Rick Brennan, the WHO emergencies director in the Eastern Mediterranean region.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva via videolink from Cairo, he acknowledged there were “multiple security and logistics constraints,” adding that bringing supplies in through Kabul airport was no longer an option after the blasts.
The bombings, claimed by the Islamic State terror group, left scenes of carnage outside the airport where thousands of Afghans desperate to flee their Taliban-controlled country had massed.
A WHO partner, the Italian NGO Emergency, operates a hospital in Kabul and is “overwhelmed” following the blasts, Brennan said, adding “they’ve got great pressure on their supplies.”
Volunteers and medical staff bring an injured man for treatment after two powerful explosions outside the airport in Kabul on August 26, 2021. (Wakil KOHSAR / AFP)
Brennan stressed the towering needs in Afghanistan even before Thursday’s carnage and said that WHO had planned three airlifts of supplies into the country that had been canceled following the Taliban takeover on August 15.
The UN, he said, was now looking at other options, including airlifting supplies through the Mazar-i-Sharif airport, with the first flights hopefully going in the next few days.
On a more positive note, Brennan said nearly all of the 2,200 health facilities the WHO was monitoring in the war-torn country remained open and functioning.
But he said there were also growing concerns about shortages of medical staff, many of whom are among those fleeing the country.
“We are hearing of healthcare workers leaving, health authorities leaving,” he said, adding that the “enormous brain-drain… is a big problem for all of us in every sector.”
In addition, a number of women health workers were staying away from work, maybe out of fear, Brennan said.
Many Afghans fear a repeat of the Taliban’s brutal interpretation of Islamic law, as well as violent retribution for working with foreign militaries, Western missions or the previous US-backed government.
There are particular concerns for women, who were largely banned from education and employment and could only leave the house with a male chaperone during the group’s 1996-2001 rule.
作者：澤娜·卡拉姆2021 年 8 月 28 日，上午 11:14
2021 年 8 月 20 日星期五，在伊德利卜市，遜尼派伊斯蘭激進組織 Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham 的成員在慶祝塔利班接管阿富汗時揮舞著塔利班旗幟（美聯社照片 / Ghaith Alsayed）
“塔利班的成功為激進組織在全球加強招募行動開闢了道路。現在對他們來說容易多了，接受度也更高，”約旦安曼伊斯蘭激進分子問題專家哈桑·阿布·哈尼耶 (Hassan Abu Haniyeh) 說。
儘管美國和北約在近 20 年中花費了數十億美元來建立阿富汗安全部隊，但在美國撤軍的情況下，塔利班僅在一周多的時間內就佔領了阿富汗的幾乎所有地區。8 月 15 日，在政府垮台和四面楚歌的總統阿什拉夫·加尼 (Ashraf Ghani) 逃離該國後，原教旨主義團體席捲了喀布爾。
2021 年 8 月 20 日星期五，在伊德利卜市，遜尼派伊斯蘭激進組織 Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham 的成員在慶祝塔利班接管阿富汗時揮舞著塔利班旗幟（美聯社照片 / Ghaith Alsayed）
有人擔心阿富汗將再次成為武裝分子針對西方的陰謀基地，就像 2001 年 9 月 11 日引髮美國的襲擊一樣。入侵。
“這是一個將在未來十年影響和影響全球聖戰戰士的故事，就像 80 年代在阿富汗戰勝蘇聯在整個 1990 年代乃至之後激發了世界各地的聖戰分子一樣，”法國國際關係研究所安全研究中心主任埃利·特南鮑姆說。
與此相反，塔利班的勝利也提振了他們在阿富汗的對手——伊斯蘭國網絡的一個地方分支——的命運。週四，該附屬機構聲稱對導致喀布爾機場外數十人死亡的自殺式襲擊負責，其中包括 13 名美國軍人。
2021 年 8 月 22 日，在喀布爾喀布爾市的 Karte Mamorin 地區，塔利班戰士乘坐掛有塔利班旗幟的車輛。（攝影：Hoshang Hashimi / 法新社）
說明：2020 年 6 月 28 日，在黎巴嫩貝魯特南郊舉行的抗議活動中，真主黨和阿邁勒的支持者揮舞真主黨和伊朗國旗，高喊反對以色列和美國的口號。（美聯社照片/Hassan Ammar）
在敘利亞北部，那裡的基地組織附屬組織 Hayat Tahrir al-Sham 發表聲明說，塔利班的勝利證明沒有任何占領可以永遠持續下去。統治加沙地帶的哈馬斯領導人祝賀塔利班領導人“美國占領的終結”。
在巴基斯坦，Jaish-e-Mohammad 的領導人 Mohammad Azhur 使用該組織的出版物為塔利班的勝利歡呼，稱這將激勵聖戰者或聖戰士，“全世界繼續為伊斯蘭教而鬥爭”。該組織的戰士因 2019 年在有爭議的克什米爾地區發動襲擊而受到讚揚，該襲擊造成 40 名印度士兵死亡，並使擁有核武器的鄰國瀕臨戰爭邊緣。
總部設在伊斯蘭堡的巴基斯坦和平研究所執行主任阿米爾·拉納說，阿富汗的事件可能會激勵那些與什葉派進行宗派鬥爭的強硬遜尼派團體。反什葉派團體 Lashkar-e-Janghvi 和 Sipah-e-Sahaba 巴基斯坦支持塔利班的勝利，引發了他們可能重新開始其致命活動的擔憂。
2021 年 8 月 16 日，美國士兵在喀布爾機場站崗。（Wakil Kohsar / AFP）
武裝衝突地點和事件數據項目的薩赫勒高級研究員 Heni Nsaibia 表示，塔利班的收購將激勵西非的極端分子，這表明耐心和毅力可以帶來回報。
有 2014 年的迴聲，當時伊斯蘭國家集團從伊拉克和敘利亞衝突的混亂中崛起，奪取了橫跨兩國的大片領土，並在美國訓練的伊拉克軍隊崩潰後宣布成立“哈里發國”。在伊斯蘭國於 2017 年被擊敗之前，歐洲及其他地區的恐怖襲擊接踵而至，但在過去兩年裡，人們看到了重新集結的企圖，伊拉克和敘利亞發生了新的襲擊事件。
2021 年 8 月 16 日，阿富汗喀布爾，一名塔利班戰士坐在一輛帶有機槍的車輛後部，正門前通往阿富汗總統府。（Rahmat Gul/AP）
該報告稱，IS 和其他恐怖組織利用了 COVID-19 大流行造成的“破壞、不滿和發展挫折”。
安曼分析師阿布·哈尼耶 (Abu Haniyeh) 表示，美軍在阿富汗被激進組織擊敗的看法正在世界各地沮喪的個人中引起反響，並將在未來幾年產生廣泛的影響。
Taliban takeover energizes, galvanizes radical Islam around world, analysts warn
Experts say group’s success in Afghanistan and US withdrawal gives a motivational boost to America’s adversaries and global jihadi groups
By ZEINA KARAM28 August 2021, 11:14 am
Members of the Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham, a Sunni Islamist militant group, wave the Taliban flags as they celebrate the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, in the city of Idlib, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021 (AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed)
BEIRUT (AP) — A few days after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, a convoy of militants drove through the city of Idlib in northwestern Syria in cars bearing the group’s white-and-black flags, honking horns and firing their guns in the air.
The celebrations by an al-Qaeda affiliate in a remote corner of war-torn Syria were an expression of the triumph felt by radical Islamic groups from the Gaza Strip to Pakistan and West Africa who see America’s violence-marred exit from Afghanistan an opportunity to reassert their presence.
For such groups, the chaotic US departure following the collapse of security forces it had trained for two decades is a gift, underlining their message that Washington eventually abandons its allies, and that defeating powerful armies is possible with enough patience.
“The success of the Taliban opens the way for radical groups to step up their recruitment operations globally. It is much easier for them now, and there is more receptivity,” said Hassan Abu Haniyeh, an expert on Islamic militants based in Amman, Jordan.
Despite the billions of dollars spent by the US and NATO over nearly 20 years to build up Afghan security forces, the Taliban seized nearly all of Afghanistan in just over a week amid the US troop pullout. The fundamentalist group swept into Kabul on August 15 after the government collapsed and embattled President Ashraf Ghani fled the country.
Since then, tens of thousands of people desperate to escape a country governed by the Taliban have been trying to flee or already have been evacuated in a mammoth Western airlift.
Members of the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, a Sunni Islamist militant group, wave the Taliban flags as they celebrate the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, in the city of Idlib, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021 (AP Photo/Ghaith Alsayed)
“The events unfolding in Afghanistan have given jihadi groups and US adversaries reason to celebrate, and America’s allies in the region reason to feel anxious,” said Abu Haniyeh. “They now feel that America might drop them one day, same as it did the government of Ashraf Ghani.”
There are concerns that Afghanistan will once again become a base for militants to plot against the West, much like the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks that triggered the US. invasion.
“This is the story that is going to impact and influence jihadi fighters around the globe for the next decade, the same way as the victory over the Soviets in Afghanistan in the ’80s inspired the jihadis around the world during the whole 1990s and even afterwards,” said Elie Tenenbaum, director of security studies center at the French Institute of International Relations.
In a twist, the Taliban victory also boosted the fortunes of their rivals in Afghanistan — a local branch of the Islamic State network. On Thursday, the affiliate claimed responsibility for the suicide attack that killed scores of people outside Kabul’s airport, including 13 US service members.
Taliban fighters travel on a vehicle mounted with the Taliban flag in the Karte Mamorin area of Kabul city, Kabul on 22 August 2021. (Photo by Hoshang Hashimi / AFP)
The Taliban now must contend with an emboldened IS, which is challenging their rule with militants that are far more radical. The group’s ranks have been bolstered after the Taliban freed prisoners during an advance through Afghanistan.
An editorial in the Islamic State group’s newsletter last week derided the Taliban, accusing them of collaborating with the US.
“America actually did it. They finally raised a ‘Mullah Bradley,’” the editorial said, using a name it has coined for the Taliban in an apparent reference to the US fighting vehicle. The group also promised a new phase in its “blessed jihad” against the West.
Analysts say the Taliban’s success and the US withdrawal galvanizes and gives a motivational boost to America’s adversaries and jihadi groups around the world.
Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, said in a speech Friday that what is unfolding in Afghanistan “is a portrayal of America’s full defeat and the US demise and failure in the region.”
Illustrative: Hezbollah and Amal supporters wave Hezbollah and Iranian flags as they shout slogans against Israel and U.S. during a protest in the southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon, June 28, 2020. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
In northern Syria, a statement by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, the al-Qaeda affiliate there, said the Taliban victory proved no occupation can last forever. The leader of Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, congratulated the Taliban’s leader on the “demise of the US occupation.”
In Pakistan, the leader of Jaish-e-Mohammad, Mohammad Azhur, used the group’s publication to cheer the Taliban victory, saying it will inspire mujahedeen, or holy warriors, “the world over to continue their struggle for Islam.” The group’s fighters took credit for a 2019 attack in the disputed Kashmir region that killed 40 Indian soldiers and brought the nuclear-armed neighbors to the brink of war.
Amir Rana, executive director of the Islamabad-based Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, said the events in Afghanistan could inspire hard-line Sunni groups who are waging sectarian battles against Shiites. The anti-Shiite groups Lashkar-e-Janghvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan have championed the Taliban victory, raising fears they could restart their deadly activities.
US soldiers stand guard at the Kabul airport on August 16, 2021. (Wakil Kohsar / AFP)
Heni Nsaibia, a senior Sahel researcher at the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project, said the Taliban takeover would be a motivational boost for extremists in West Africa, showing that patience and perseverance can pay off.
The biggest danger, according to the analysts, is in unstable countries with a weak central government and a history of insurgencies, such as Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya.
There are echoes of 2014, when the Islamic State group sprang from the chaos of conflicts in Iraq and Syria, seized a giant stretch of territory straddling both countries, and declared a “caliphate” after US-trained Iraqi forces collapsed. Terrorist attacks in Europe and beyond followed before IS was defeated in 2017, but attempts to regroup have been seen in the past two years, with new attacks in Iraq and Syria.
A report to the UN Security Council last week said the threat to international security from the Islamic State group is rising, pointing to an “alarming” expansion of its affiliates in Africa and its focus on a comeback in Syria and Iraq.
A Taliban fighter sits on the back of a vehicle with a machine gun in front of the main gate leading to the Afghan presidential palace, in Kabul, Afghanistan, August 16, 2021. (Rahmat Gul/AP)
The report said IS and other terrorist groups have taken advantage of “the disruption, grievances and development setbacks” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Abu Haniyeh, the analyst in Amman, said the perceived defeat of U.S. forces in Afghanistan by a radical group is reverberating among frustrated individuals around the world and will have widespread ramifications in the coming years.
“It gives hope for extremist groups the world over,” he said.
在美國海軍陸戰隊提供的這張圖片中，2021 年 8 月 19 日，分配到第 24 海軍陸戰隊遠征部隊的海軍陸戰隊員和德國軍人在阿富汗喀布爾的哈米德卡爾扎伊國際機場調查一個入口大門。（戴維斯哈里斯上尉/美國海軍陸戰隊通過 AP)
兩名高級官員表示，美國認為這是一次成功的打擊，預定的目標已被擊中。這是美國對該組織進行的第二次空襲，該組織聲稱對周四在喀布爾機場門口發生的自殺式爆炸事件負責，該事件導致 13 名美國軍人和數十名努力離開該國並逃離塔利班新統治的阿富汗人喪生。
在第二起事件中，一枚火箭擊中了機場西北部的一個社區，導致一名兒童死亡。喀布爾警察局長拉希德說，火箭襲擊襲擊了喀布爾的 Khuwja Bughra 社區，他的名字是一個名字。美聯社在襲擊發生後獲得的視頻顯示，距離機場約一公里（半英里）處的一座建築物冒出濃煙。
2021 年 8 月 29 日，塔利班戰士在喀布爾的一條街道上巡邏，因為自殺炸彈威脅籠罩著美軍從喀布爾空運的最後階段，總統喬拜登警告說，在撤離結束之前，很有可能再次發生襲擊事件。（阿米爾·庫雷希/法新社）
在伊斯蘭國附屬機構星期四發動自殺式襲擊造成 180 多人死亡之後，隨著英國周六結束撤離航班，塔利班加強了機場周圍的安全。
2021 年 8 月 29 日 21:25
2021 年 8 月 26 日 23:02
當天下午晚些時候，以色列國防軍參謀長中將在一天前發表了評論。Aviv Kohavi已解除禁運。以色列軍方負責人表示，以色列正在加快針對伊朗的行動計劃，新國防預算中有 35 億新謝克爾專門用於此目的。
另一個允許新計劃的開端是美國尚未回到 2015 年的核協議，即 JCPOA。在 6 月上任後，貝內特最初認為美國人距離恢復交易只有幾週的時間。但是當那沒有發生時，它為他提供了一個機會之窗，他現在正試圖利用這個機會之窗。
雖然這項政策的有效性可能受到質疑，但至少似乎有一項由貝內特及其政府領導的協調戰略。正如周三所展示的那樣，每個人都知道自己的角色。Gantz 和 Kohavi 正在製造威脅，Lapid 正在為外交官工作，而 Bennett 正試圖讓拜登加入。
上週六，St.-Sgt。Barel Shmueli 在邊境被槍殺，並繼續為他的生命而戰。從那以後的日子裡，媒體充斥著各種故事，但主要問題是：以色列想對加沙地帶做什麼？
我們聽到了 Bennett 與 Shmueli 的父親的談話錄音，期間他把邊防警察的名字搞砸了；我們聽到了對他母親的電台採訪，並看到數百人聚集在貝爾謝巴的索羅卡醫院外，為他的康復祈禱；在家人批評沒有人探望他們之後，我們得知了 Kohavi 去醫院的消息；我們讀到了以色列國防軍對事件的調查，其中包括有關如何防止此類邊境槍擊事件再次發生的建議。
如果我不知道得更好，我會認為導致 Shmueli 被槍殺的邊境抗議是對以色列國的戰略影響事件，而不是一場拙劣的戰術邊界衝突（它是）。
在這種情況下，Kohavi 和 Shin Bet（以色列安全局）負責人 Nadav Argaman 對今天的加沙並沒有特別不安也就不足為奇了。它被一堵牆擋住了，有鐵穹攔截大多數火箭，還有探測隧道的技術。他們當然總是在為新的衝突做準備，但他們的重點是其他戰線，從約旦河西岸到黎巴嫩，從敘利亞到伊朗。
我們需要問自己的問題是這是否足夠好。我們不應該向政府提出更多要求嗎？要么引入一項從未嘗試過的計劃，該計劃將使用經濟工具和激勵措施（例如允許加沙人進入以色列工作，或為他們建造發電廠和工業區），或者坦率地解釋衝突將如何繼續，以及更多像 Shmueli 這樣的士兵將不幸且悲慘地繼續受傷。
這是多種因素共同作用的結果。首先，所有以色列人都應該在軍隊中服役。這意味著幾乎每個人——除了 haredim 和阿拉伯人——都曾在軍隊服役，並且有一個已經服役或正在服役的孩子。當有戰爭或傷亡消息時，恐懼席捲整個國家。
例如，在 5 月的加沙行動中，沒有士兵需要進入哈馬斯控制的領土。在以色列方面，總共有 12 名平民和一名士兵被殺。這種戰爭風格給人的印像是，可以以極低的代價進行戰爭和執行任務。
然後是以色列人願意為拯救一名士兵而付出的努力。一方面，這是模範，並顯示了我們作為一個人對每一個生活的重視。但這也導致了像吉拉德·沙利特 (Gilad Schalit) 的囚犯交換這樣的情況，即一名士兵釋放了 1,500 名巴勒斯坦囚犯。
What does Israel really want to do with Iran and Gaza?
What can be done is something far easier: have the government explain to the public what it is doing and what it wants to achieve; and not just when it comes to Iran, but also Gaza
By YAAKOV KATZ
AUGUST 26, 2021 23:02
Israel is working in a coordinated way to counter Iran
(photo credit: REUTERS)
It was a coordinated assault.
The first was by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who on Wednesday morning warned a group of 60 diplomats serving in Israel that Iran is a mere two months away from becoming a nuclear power. Israel, he warned, would not let that happen.
“The State of Israel has the means to act and will not hesitate to do so,” Gantz said. “I do not rule out the possibility that Israel will have to take action in the future to prevent a nuclear Iran.”
Later that afternoon, comments made a day earlier by IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi were released from embargo. Israel, the head of the army said, was accelerating operational plans against Iran, with NIS 3.5 billion of the new defense budget being earmarked specifically for that purpose.
On Thursday it was Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s turn. On his first visit to Washington as prime minister, Bennett planned to use his hour-long meeting with Joe Biden to try to convince the US president to keep up the pressure on Tehran.
While Bennett spoke earlier this week about a new plan he had crafted to stop Iran, he did not really have that much new to offer the US that was substantively different from what previous Israeli governments had asked of their American partners. Israel wants to stop Iran without needing to attack. It has long believed that the way to do that is to combine a number of measures: sanctions, covert operations, economic pressure, and steps against Iranian proxies throughout the Middle East.
What is new is Bennett himself.
One, he is not Benjamin Netanyahu; and two, he is not going to stand before Congress, as his predecessor did, and speak out publicly against a sitting president. That is why he has spoken in recent weeks about the “new spirit” that his “new government in Jerusalem” is bringing to the relationship with the United States.
Another opening that allows for a new plan is that the US has not yet returned to the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. Upon taking office in June, Bennett initially believed that the Americans were just weeks away from returning to the deal. But when that didn’t happen, it presented him with a window of opportunity of which he is now trying to take advantage.
That is what is new, and that is why the government is working in a coordinated way. From Gantz to Kohavi and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to Bennett, everyone understands that as long as the Americans are not yet back inside the deal, Israel needs to use this moment to influence what happens next. It is also why Bennett speaks of the “new spirit”: he wants to buy good faith with Biden, and knows that not being Netanyahu is just not going to be enough.
Nevertheless, after all is said and done, we need to remember that Israel’s options are limited. It can continue to strike covertly at Iran, and share its vital intelligence with allies to get them to curb economic ties, but that will not be enough. What Israel would ideally like to see happen is for the US to issue a credible military threat against Iran, similar to what Gantz and Kohavi did on Wednesday.
While there is very little expectation that the US under Biden would attack Iran – especially in light of what’s happening in Afghanistan – a credible US military threat is believed to have been one of the most effective tools until now in getting the Iranians to recalibrate. In 2003, when the US invaded Iraq, the ayatollahs in Iran thought they were next in line and suspended most aspects of their nuclear weapons program.
It is a strategy that Netanyahu pushed during the Obama administration as well. He urged the president to not only up sanctions against Iran, but to also prepare the US military in a way that would make it clear to the Iranians that he was not bluffing, and that military action was not just on the table as a figure of speech.
Until today, there are disagreements among former officials on whether Netanyahu was actually planning to attack Iran, or was just bluffing and trying to get the Americans to take tougher action themselves.
Based on the threats from Israel in recent days, it could be that this is the direction Israel is once again headed. It wants to get Iranians to think it is preparing an attack, but no less important is getting the world and specifically Biden to think that scenes of Israeli fighter jets flying to Iran is a realistic option.
While the effectiveness of this policy can be questioned, there at least seems to be a coordinated strategy being led by Bennett and his government. As demonstrated on Wednesday, everyone knows their part. Gantz and Kohavi are making the threats, Lapid is working the diplomats, and Bennett is trying to get Biden on board.
Palestinians hold anti-Israel protest at Israel-Gaza border fence (credit: MOHAMMED SALEM/REUTERS)
Where Israel does not seem to have anything remotely close to a strategy is the Gaza Strip, which this week seemed like it was again on the verge of exploding into another widespread conflict.
Last Saturday, St.-Sgt. Barel Shmueli was shot along the border and continues to fight for his life. In the days since, the media has been full of stories of everything but the main issue: what does Israel want to do with the Gaza Strip?
We heard the recording of the conversation Bennett had with Shmueli’s father during which he bungled the border policeman’s name; we heard the radio interviews with his mother and watched as hundreds of people gathered outside Soroka Hospital in Beersheba to pray for his recovery; we learned of Kohavi’s visit to the hospital, which came after criticism from the family that no one was visiting them; and we read about the IDF’s investigation into the incident that includes recommendations on how to prevent such border shootings from happening again.
If I didn’t know better, I would think that the border protest that led to Shmueli’s shooting was an incident of strategic ramifications for the State of Israel, and not a tactical border clash (which it was) that was bungled.
The reason this happens is because Israelis don’t know what to make of the situation in Gaza. They don’t know how to process it, since their government never explains what it wants. And the reason the government never explains what it wants is because it doesn’t really know.
So instead of explaining that unfortunately Israel borders a territory controlled by a murderous terrorist organization and that conflict will not just go away, the government doesn’t say much of anything. It threatens Hamas every once in a while, saying Israel will attack on its own time clock; responds with meaningless airstrikes to incendiary balloon and rocket attacks; and allows in Qatari cash payments that it previously said it would not do.
Under these circumstances, it is no surprise that both Kohavi and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Nadav Argaman are not particularly perturbed by Gaza today. It is blocked off by a wall, there is Iron Dome to intercept most rockets, and there is technology to detect tunnels. They of course are always preparing for a new conflict, but their focus is on other fronts, from the West Bank to Lebanon to Syria to Iran.
The question we need to ask ourselves is whether this is good enough. Should we not demand more from our government? Either introduce a plan that has never been tried that would use economic tools and incentives (for example allowing Gazans into Israel for work, or building a power plant and industrial zones for them), or, a frank explanation of how the conflict will continue and more soldiers like Shmueli will unfortunately and tragically continue to get hurt.
We know that neither will happen, since it is highly unpopular to admit that you don’t have a solution to something. It is much easier to pretend that there is one even if there isn’t.
What adds to this imbalance is the way this country digests news of an injured soldier. This is one of the “sacred cows” in Israel, an issue that is meant to be above and immune to criticism. It is an issue that cannot be analyzed in a single column and possibly not even in a lengthy series, leading to a feeling that Israelis sometimes have a harder time learning of a dead soldier than of a dead civilian.
This is the result of a number of factors. Firstly, all Israelis are meant to serve in the army. This means that almost every one – excluding the haredim and the Arabs – has served in the army and has a child who has served or is serving. When there is war or news of a casualty, the fear sweeps across the entire nation.
There is also the changing nature of warfare, which has become standoff and almost casualty-less in recent years.
In the operation in Gaza in May, for example, no soldiers needed to cross into the Hamas-controlled territory. In total, on the Israeli side, 12 civilians were killed and one soldier. This style of warfare gives the impression that wars can be fought and missions carried out with very little price.
Then there is the length to which Israelis are willing to go to save a single soldier. On the one hand, this is exemplary, and shows the value that we as a people put on every single life. But this also leads to situations like the prisoner swap for Gilad Schalit, which saw the release of 1,500 Palestinian prisoners for one single soldier.
And so we have to ask ourselves: if the person shot on Saturday had been a farmer working his field near the border, would it have received as much attention? Would the TV stations have dispatched camera crews to the hospitals for several days in a row? Would the prime minister have called the family? Would the chief of staff had needed to visit?
We all know the answer. But this is something to ponder since it touches on the role of the military and what our soldiers are meant to do. Tactical incidents will continue to happen, especially when soldiers need to be deployed along a volatile border to protect civilians, which, after all, is their primary job.
Can this be corrected? I don’t know. But what can be done is something far easier: have the government explain to the public what it is doing and what it wants to achieve; and not just when it comes to Iran, but also when it is closer to home, along the border with Gaza.
主要圖片提供：2021 年 6 月 14 日，巴勒斯坦人和他們的配偶在拉馬拉的巴勒斯坦權力機構民政委員會前尋求西岸居留證抗議
Sana Qasim 和 Ruba Salaymeh 在六月下旬的一個晴天從拉馬拉前往約旦河，希望多年來第一次見到他們的家人。
由於他們在西岸的存在是非法的，Salaymeh 和 Qasim 生活在明確界定的範圍內。他們不能在巴勒斯坦銀行開戶或在巴勒斯坦城市合法工作。如果他們前往約旦探親，他們可能不會被允許返回西岸，即使他們的配偶和子女住在那裡。
Ruba Salaymeh（左）和她的姐姐於 2021 年 8 月 8 日在拉馬拉（Aaron Boxerman/Times of Israel）
在 1987 年的一項一致裁決中，以色列高等法院認定國際法不保證與巴勒斯坦人結婚的外國國民有權在西岸獲得居留權。從那時起，政府偶爾會批准一批無證配偶，但自 2009 年以來，這一過程一直處於深度凍結狀態。
自 2011 年以來，約旦-巴勒斯坦人 Alaa Mutair 一直住在拉馬拉附近的 Qalandiya 難民營。但她說，她從未到過納布盧斯北部，距離她家大約一個小時的車程，擔心被驅逐出境。在此期間的十年裡，她一次也沒有回家看望她在約旦的家人。
“每當他們慶祝快樂的時刻、生日或婚禮時，我都無法打開 Facebook 觀看。感覺我的心在燃燒，”穆泰爾說。
2021 年 8 月 8 日，突尼斯人諾拉·哈賈吉 (Nora al-Hajaji) 嫁給了一名巴勒斯坦人，他在約旦河西岸多年沒有證件（Aaron Boxerman/以色列時報）
在 1990 年代，以色列政府設定了家庭團聚批准的年度配額，峰值約為 4,000。但在 2000 年第二次起義爆發後，以色列切斷了與巴勒斯坦權力機構的聯繫，關閉了家庭團結。
2007 年，在 HaMoked 權利組織提出請願後，以色列政府宣布將審查來自巴勒斯坦人的大約 50,000 項未決請求，作為善意的姿態。根據法庭文件，大約有 32,000 人獲得批准。但政府顯然再也沒有回到配額制度。
根據巴勒斯坦權力機構民政辦公室的一名退休官員的說法，截至 2020 年，巴勒斯坦權力機構機構積累了超過 35,000 個未解決的巴勒斯坦家庭團聚請求。
國防部在收到信息自由請求後告訴 HaMoked 法律援助組織，在 2010 年至 2018 年期間，只有五項請求獲得批准。
“這些人甚至都不是尋求住在以色列的人。這些人試圖與他們在希伯倫、納布盧斯和拉馬拉的伴侶住在一起，”代表在西岸尋求居留權的巴勒斯坦人的配偶的以色列律師 Yotam Ben-Hillel 說。
“我們總是問以色列這項[政策]的安全理由是什麼。我相信這是一個政治決定，而不是安全問題，”民政部長侯賽因·謝赫（Hussein al-Sheikh）是巴勒斯坦權力機構主席馬哈茂德·阿巴斯（Mahmoud Abbas）最親密的顧問之一，他在 2 月份就這一問題在其辦公室外的一系列抗議活動中對沮喪的巴勒斯坦人說.
然而，一些人指責巴勒斯坦權力機構沒有將其民政委員會收到的請求轉交給以色列當局，從而加劇了瓶頸。在同一份聲明中，國防部告訴 HaMoked，它在同一時期只收到了來自巴勒斯坦權力機構的 18 項請求。
在 COGAT 擔任高級職位的退休上校格里沙·亞庫博維奇 (Grisha Yakubovich) 同意“在個人層面上，[問題] 具有人道主義因素和安全因素。”
但雅庫博維奇表示，“集體”無法與以巴衝突中尚未解決的重大問題脫節，例如巴勒斯坦人要求逃離或被驅逐者的後代“返回以色列領土的權利”。 1948 年獨立戰爭期間。
Shin Bet 前高級指揮官 Arik Barbing 說，這樣的許可證不容易獲得，並且受到以色列嚴格的安全監督。
但這些限制也適用於那些與衝突沒有多少國家聯繫的人。最近向以色列高等法院提出的一項上訴涉及一名德國婦女提出的與丈夫住在希伯倫的請求。其他居住申請者——例如來自突尼斯的 Nora al-Hajaji——是阿拉伯人，但不是巴勒斯坦人。
“在這一點上，即使移民也無濟於事。我們在這裡建立了完整的生活，”al-Hajaji 說，她在 2008 年抵達約旦河西岸之前通過互聯網認識了她的丈夫。
在沒有與巴勒斯坦人談判達成和平協議的情況下，以色列自 1967 年以來一直統治著約旦河西岸。在 1990 年代，以色列與巴勒斯坦解放組織簽署了一系列名為《奧斯陸協議》的雙邊協議。
要為其配偶獲得綠色居留卡，巴勒斯坦人必須求助於巴勒斯坦權力機構民政辦公室。原則上，巴勒斯坦官員在將符合條件的請求轉交給 COGAT 之前會審查申請，COGAT 在做出決定之前與其他以色列政府機構進行協商。
巴勒斯坦人於 2021 年 8 月 8 日星期日在拉馬拉民政委員會外抗議（Aaron Boxerman/以色列時報）
COGAT 表示，就其所能確定的而言，自 2010 年以來，只有一小部分巴勒斯坦人的要求到達了它的門口。
Raji 的妻子是西岸巴勒斯坦人，自 2008 年以來一直在申請居留權。“每個人都說這是別人的問題，”他說。
8 月初的一個星期天，大約 150 名受該問題影響的巴勒斯坦人聚集在委員會門前，該委員會距離以色列軍政府的 Beit El 辦公室僅幾百米。他們高呼口號，呼籲民政事務負責人謝赫為他們頒發許可證。
Stuck in limbo, undocumented Palestinian spouses live shadow lives
Those seeking permits to reside in the West Bank face a strict Israeli system and a PA that may be burying their applications, making them prisoners in their own adopted homes
By AARON BOXERMANToday, 1:05 pm
Main image by courtesy: Palestinians and their spouses seeking West Bank residency papers protest in front of the PA's Civil Affairs Commission in Ramallah on June 14, 2021
Sana Qasim and Ruba Salaymeh headed from Ramallah to the Jordan River on a sunny day in late June, hoping to catch a glimpse of their families for the first time in years.
Their parents and siblings stood waiting on the other side, in Jordanian territory. The two groups, separated by an invisible border splitting the Jordan River, waved and called out to one another. Salaymeh, overwhelmed, burst into tears.
Both women, Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin, are in the West Bank illegally. Both married West Bank Palestinian men many years ago. Their husbands and children carry Palestinian residency cards, but current Israeli policy prevents them and almost all other applicants from legally immigrating to the West Bank.
As their presence in the West Bank is illegal, Salaymeh and Qasim live within sharply defined limits. They cannot open an account at a Palestinian bank or legally work in Palestinian cities. If they leave for a family visit to Jordan, they might not be allowed to return to the West Bank, even though their spouses and children reside there.
Qasim said the Jordan River reunion was the first time she had seen the relatives she had left behind in Jordan in more than 20 years. When she saw them, her stomach flipped, she said.
“How did I feel? I wanted to jump straight into the river and swim to them,” Qasim said.
Ruba Salaymeh (left) with her sister in Ramallah on August 8, 2021 (Aaron Boxerman/Times of Israel)
Salaymeh, Qasim, and thousands like them live in the Palestinian Authority, which has limited self-rule in isolated enclaves across the West Bank. To live legally in those areas, as in the rest of the West Bank and Gaza, Palestinians must possess green identity cards emblazoned with the PA’s winged eagle.
But despite the packaging, the PA cannot issue its own identity cards without Israeli approval. Nor does it determine who can legally enter or reside in its areas on its own. In order to get a Palestinian ID card, Palestinians file requests with Ramallah, which then sends them over to Israel for authorization.
In most cases, such as registering births and deaths, the process goes smoothly. But foreign nationals married to Palestinians have long been a particularly sensitive issue. Israel argues that providing them with residency — a process known as family unification — is not a right but a privilege to be granted only in exceptional circumstances.
Without papers, the spouses of Palestinians worry about every trip they take through parts of the West Bank outside Palestinian-controlled enclaves, where they run the risk of arrest or deportation at Israeli military roadblocks
In a unanimous 1987 ruling, the Israeli High Court determined that international law did not guarantee a right for foreign nationals married to Palestinians to obtain residency in the West Bank. Since then, the government has sporadically approved batches of undocumented spouses, but the process has been in deep freeze since 2009.
The result is that potentially tens of thousands of people are living in the West Bank illegally, cut off from their families elsewhere and with the threat of deportation constantly hanging over their heads.
Without papers, the spouses of Palestinians worry about every trip they take through parts of the West Bank outside Palestinian-controlled enclaves, where they run the risk of arrest or deportation at Israeli military roadblocks.
Jordanian-Palestinian Alaa Mutair has lived in Qalandiya Refugee Camp, near Ramallah, since 2011. But she said she has never traveled as far north as Nablus, about an hour’s drive from her home, fearing deportation. And she has not once returned home to see her family in Jordan in the intervening decade.
“Whenever they’re celebrating a happy occasion, a birthday or a wedding, I can’t bring myself to open Facebook to watch. It feels like my heart is burning,” Mutair said.
Nora al-Hajaji, a Tunisian married to a Palestinian, who has lived without documentation for years in the West Bank, on August 8, 2021 (Aaron Boxerman/Times of Israel)
The lack of documentation renders some of the migrants vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Qasim alleged that she had put up with years of violence from her ex-husband. “He would beat me, insult me, hurt me. He would exploit the situation,” she said.
Qasim considered returning to Jordan, but could not bear the thought that she might not be able to ever live near her children again. She stayed with her husband for decades.
“If I’d been able to get a bank account on my own, for example, I wouldn’t have had to stay for so long,” said Qasim, who finally left her husband earlier this year.
A lapsed quota system
During the 1990s, the Israeli government set a yearly quota for family unification approvals, peaking at around 4,000. But following the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000, Israel cut ties with the Palestinian Authority, shutting down family unification.
In 2007, the Israeli government announced that it would examine around 50,000 outstanding requests from Palestinians as a goodwill gesture, following petitions by the HaMoked rights group. Around 32,000 were approved, according to court filings. But the government apparently never returned to the quota system.
In the meantime, another generation of Palestinians has traveled abroad, met spouses, married and returned to the West Bank.
No organization professes to know the actual number of foreign nationals who are living illegally in the West Bank after marrying Palestinians. But human rights groups and one Palestinian official have estimated that it could be in the tens of thousands.
According to a retired official in the PA’s Civil Affairs office, over 35,000 unresolved Palestinian family unification requests had accumulated with the PA body as of 2020.
Between 2010 and 2018, only five requests were approved, the Defense Ministry told the HaMoked legal aid group following a Freedom of Information request.
“These are not even people seeking to live in Israel. These are people trying to live with their partners in Hebron, in Nablus, in Ramallah,” said Yotam Ben-Hillel, an Israeli lawyer who has represented the spouses of Palestinians seeking residency in the West Bank.
Israeli policy stipulates that only exceptional humanitarian cases are to be approved, although the criteria for what constitutes such cases are not public. Appeals to Israel’s High Court to reveal the standards were struck down on national security grounds.
Some have accused the PA of contributing to the bottleneck by not transferring requests received by its Civil Affairs Commission over to Israeli authorities
“We always ask Israel what the security justification for this [policy] is. I believe this is a political decision, not a matter of security,” Civil Affairs Minister Hussein al-Sheikh, one of PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s closest advisers, told frustrated Palestinians in February at one of a series of protests outside his office over the issue.
Al-Sheikh assured the demonstrators that Ramallah consistently raised the matter in conversation with Israeli counterparts.
Some, however, have accused the PA of contributing to the bottleneck by not transferring requests received by its Civil Affairs Commission over to Israeli authorities. In the same statement, the Defense Ministry told HaMoked it had only received 18 requests from the PA over the same period.
Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Commissioner Hussein al-Sheikh (WAFA)
A spokesperson for Ramallah’s Civil Affairs Commission did not respond to numerous phone calls over the course of several months.
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the Israeli military body that handles Palestinian civilian affairs in the West Bank, declined to answer numerous detailed queries on the subject.
“Every application that is sent to us by the Palestinian Authority — is checked and assessed according to procedures,” COGAT said in a statement.
Grisha Yakubovich, a retired colonel who held senior positions in COGAT, agreed that “on the individual level, [the issue] has humanitarian elements, security elements.”
But Yakubovich said that “en masse,” it could not be disentangled from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict’s big, unresolved questions, such as the Palestinian claim of a “right of return” to Israeli territory for the descendants of those who fled or were expelled during the 1948 War of Independence.
The vast majority of those who marry West Bank Palestinians are themselves of Palestinian descent, born and raised in the diaspora, mostly in Arab states, Yakubovich said. Most arrive via visitors’ permits that are intended to allow Palestinians to visit for a few months, and simply never leave.
Such permits are not easy to get, and are subject to strict Israeli security oversight, said former senior Shin Bet commander Arik Barbing.
“We’re quick to pull the trigger [on rejections]. Even a little thing suffices to reject a request, unless there’s some kind of appeal to the High Court,” Barbing said, adding: “We aren’t obligated to allow them into the area.”
While those entering the West Bank are not seeking Israeli citizenship or residency, Yakubovich says they still contribute to the overall demographic balance that will play an important role in determining the contours of a final-status agreement.
“This issue is directly related to the right of return. Imagine for a moment that a million Palestinians marry a million foreign citizens. In such a way, you would bring a million Palestinians through the back door,” said Yakubovich, who now works as an independent expert on Israeli-Palestinian relations.
“At that point, there would be no further point in discussing the right of return, because everyone who wanted to get here could get status,” he added.
But the restrictions also apply to those with little national connection to the conflict. One recent appeal to Israel’s High Court dealt with a plea by a German woman to live with her husband in Hebron. Other applicants for residency — such as Nora al-Hajaji, originally from Tunisia — are Arab but not Palestinian.
“Even emigrating wouldn’t help at this point. We’ve built a whole life here,” said al-Hajaji, who met her husband over the internet before arriving in the West Bank in 2008.
Blue card, green card
In recent years, with the quota system suspended, Palestinians seeking West Bank residency for their spouses have found themselves caught between Israeli and Palestinian bureaucracies, uncertain where to turn.
When a Palestinian needs to obtain new residency documents — whether for a new child or a new spouse — to live in the PA-administered areas of the West Bank, the first stop is the Palestinian Authority.
In the absence of a negotiated peace deal with the Palestinians, Israel has ruled the West Bank since 1967. During the 1990s, Israel signed a series of bilateral agreements known as the Oslo Accords with the Palestine Liberation Organization.
The accords led to the creation of the PA, which was given limited self-rule in the major Palestinian cites and other scattered enclaves across the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. As part of the heady Oslo days, the nascent PA and Israel created a new system for providing Palestinians with identity cards.
But the bilateral agreements, which were originally intended as merely an interim deal, left control over who can legally enter and reside in the West Bank in Israeli hands.
Barbing, the former senior Shin Bet commander, said that Ramallah has an interest in allowing Israel to closely examine those who enter the PA, whether to visit or to reside, and bar potential terrorists or political opponents. “There are shared interests here between Israel and the PA,” he said in a phone interview.
To get a green residency card for their spouse, Palestinians must turn to the PA Civil Affairs offices. In principle, Palestinian officials examine the applications before passing eligible requests over to COGAT, which consults with other Israeli government bodies before rendering its decision.
Palestinians protest outside the Civil Affairs Commission in Ramallah on Sunday, August 8, 2021 (Aaron Boxerman/The Times of Israel)
But the extra layer of bureaucracy created by the Oslo Accords has introduced an added wrinkle: the Palestinian Authority appears to no longer even transfer requests for family unification over to the Israeli side in protest of the policy.
COGAT has said that as far as it can determine, only a trickle of Palestinian requests have reached its doorstep since 2010.
The Palestinian Authority has said that Israel refuses to acknowledge the requests it sends over. But rights groups say that Ramallah has also not provided them with proof that requests were sent to the Israeli side.
Some Palestinians who spoke to The Times of Israel reported that the PA’s Civil Affairs Commission was no longer even allowing them to file new applications for family unification.
“We go to the Palestinian Authority, they tell us to go talk to Israel. We go to Israel, they tell us to talk to the PA,” said Mohammad Raji, a Jordanian-Palestinian from Beit Sira outside Ramallah.
Everyone’s saying that it’s somebody else’s problem
Raji, whose wife is a West Bank Palestinian, has been applying for residency since 2008. “Everyone’s saying that it’s somebody else’s problem,” he said.
Lawyers and rights activists expressed bafflement at the situation. One human rights worker argued that Israel is “100 percent responsible” for the deadlock. But the PA’s puzzling refusal to transfer the cases was hampering legal efforts to fight the policy, the worker said.
“The only way to challenge this freeze in Israeli courts is to bring individual cases, and here the Palestinian Civil Affairs Office is a big obstacle: Israel will only accept requests from the PA; you can’t submit a request directly,” this worker said, requesting anonymity to speak candidly on the sensitive subject.
“For some reason, Civil Affairs won’t transfer requests to Israel, or give official confirmation that a request was transferred. And then the Israeli military can just say they never received the request. So we’re at an impasse,” the rights worker added.
Numerous officials in the PA Civil Affairs Commission declined or did not respond to requests for comment over the course of several months. Yakubovich, the former colonel, chalked it up to the PA’s “all-or-nothing” approach on the issue.
“The PA is at a loss here, because they helped these people get here, and they signed off on their permits. But they can’t fix their problems for them. On the other hand, there’s a backdoor here that Palestinians have used as a loophole for many years,” said Yakubovich, referring to the visitors’ permits.
‘An unknown fate’
Frustration with the status quo among some families has led to months of protests in front of the Civil Affairs Commission’s headquarters in Ramallah.
Sustained rallies — even small ones — in front of PA offices are rare in the West Bank, where dissent is often met with arrest or even violence.
In the past, those who spoke out were mostly spouses who hold Western passports, which are believed to offer a modicum of protection against abuse. These latest, ongoing protests are different — they have mostly been led by women from the Arab world, particularly from Jordan.
On a Sunday in early August, around 150 Palestinians affected by the issue gathered in front of the Commission, which lies just a few hundred meters from the Israeli military government’s Beit El office. They chanted slogans calling for Civil Affairs chief al-Sheikh to grant them permits.
A few demonstrators were summoned into the building for meetings with Civil Affairs officials. They emerged a few minutes later, saying they’d been informed that there might be news soon.
The frustration, barely hidden, was palpable. A protester muttered that the answers “never change, there’s no progress.”
Demonstrators, including Mutair, the Jordan-born Qalandiya resident, then marched a few hundred yards away towards the local Israeli military liaison office, a maze of concrete that lies at Ramallah’s northern entrance.
The distance is just a few minutes’ walk. But as far as their applications are concerned, it might as well be on the other side of the planet.
“It’s worse than being a prisoner. At least prisoners know when they’ll get out of jail. But we’ve been cast to an unknown fate,” said Mutair.