Key Points

“We often knew where he was and where he was going, we could track his movements at times,” a military officer said. “But we were never given the go ahead to take him out. Until now.”

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And let there be no doubt: They want one.

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In other words, Israel is America’s new pillar in the Middle East. Truth be told, it’s the only pillar. To jeopardize such a strategic asset on the altar of a Palestinian conflict that has dragged on chronically for decades, with no resolution in sight and the issue’s relative geopolitical significance in steep decline, would be a huge unforced error. Many of Washington’s most important Arab partners are now moving systematically to deepen their security cooperation with Israel, refusing to allow their national interests to be subjugated to one of the world’s most intractable disputes any longer. It would be an odd time for the United States to start moving in the opposite direction, as several of the Democratic candidates suggest, and throw into question its own tremendously beneficial defense relationship with Israel. That’s precisely the kind of strategic indulgence that a superpower bent on retrenchment can ill afford.

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With this in mind, the United States and Israel should craft a policy of debilitating PIJ economically and politically, including by sanctioning PIJ commanders. One potential target is Akram al-Ajouri, a senior PIJ leader and a key emissary to Tehran. In doing so, Washington can send a message that it stands firmly behind Israel’s efforts to stamp out Iran-backed terrorism.

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What largely has been absent from the debate about the EU decision — which penalizes Israel alone among over 100 countries involved in territorial conflicts across the world — is the apparent Nazi and neo-Nazi origins of the measure.

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Projects