Eye on Extremism: March 19, 2024

Reuters: EU Agrees On Sanctions On Hamas, Violent West Bank Settlers

“European Union foreign ministers agreed in principle on Monday to impose sanctions on Israeli settlers for attacking Palestinians in the West Bank and to add further sanctions on members of Palestinian Islamist group Hamas. The decision marked the first time that the EU's 27 member countries had agreed to sanction violent Israeli settlers, following in the footsteps of the United States and Britain. "A solid compromise has been agreed at the working level and I hope that this will be continued until full adoption soon, but the political agreement is there," EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters after the ministers met in Brussels. While much international attention has focused on Hamas' cross-border assault from Gaza and Israel's subsequent war there, European officials have also expressed increasing concern about rising violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. The EU created a sanctions regime specifically to target Hamas following the attack on Israel by Hamas on Oct. 7.”

Associated Press: Google, Meta And Others Face Tough Questions In Australia Over Cyber Extremism Threats

“Australia’s online safety regulator has put social media giants on notice, requiring them to explain what they are doing to to protect people from violent extremists and terrorists. The country’s eSafety regulator announced Tuesday that it had issued legal notices to Google, Meta, X, WhatsApp, Telegram and Reddit requiring each company to report on steps they are taking to protect Australian users of their platforms from extremist material online. Accessing violent and extremist content on social media has been blamed for the radicalization of the perpetrator of the 2019 Christchurch mosques shootings, which killed 51 people, and also a gunman who murdered 10 black Americans at Buffalo in New York in 2022. Both shooters also livestreamed parts of their attack online. According to Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant the risk of terrorism and online radicalization remains high both in Australia and internationally.”

CEP Mentions

The Independent: Nearly One In Six Prisons Have No Officers Trained To Deal With Riots

“... Labelling the situation “scandalous”, former prison governor and Tornado section commander Ian Acheson noted that these include prisons where previous riots have caused “huge disruption and damage”, as well as those in remote locations and with complex populations. “When there is a large-scale disturbance the prison service doesn’t fight fair,” said Mr Acheson. “That means typically a 3:1 ratio of officers to prisoners to contain and manage a riot. There is no prison in the country that has the resources to contain that threat immediately.” Tornado officers – typically deployed in large groups armed with batons and shields to help nearby jails cope with outbreaks of serious disorder – were called out 13 times in 2023, more than any year since at least 2018. Two prisons which required Tornado support last year – Downview and Wetherby – had just one such officer among their own staff as of February. Similarly, Werrington had only six, Feltham 11, Lowdham Grange 12, Portland 13, Stocken 14, and Stoke Heath 15.”


Reuters: Taliban Says It Hit Back At Pakistan After Air Strikes In Afghanistan Kill 8

“Afghanistan's Taliban said on Monday that Pakistan carried out two air strikes on its territory, killing five women and three children, and it fired heavy weapons at Pakistani forces along the border in retaliation. The neighbouring countries have traded blame over who is responsible for a recent spate of Islamist militant attacks in Pakistan. Pakistan says the attacks were launched from Afghan soil; Afghanistan's ruling Taliban deny this. "The Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan does not allow anyone to compromise security by using Afghan territory," Zabiullah Mujahid, spokesman for the Taliban administration, said in a statement. The strikes killed five women and three children in the eastern border provinces of Khost and Paktika, he added. In a statement, the Pakistani foreign office said Pakistan had carried out "intelligence-based anti-terrorist operations in the border regions inside Afghanistan". It did not specify what kind of operations they were but said they targeted members the Hafiz Gulf Bahadur militant group after an attack on a military post in Pakistan on Saturday.”

Middle East

BBC: Israel Gaza: US Reports Death Of Senior Hamas Military Leader Marwan Issa

“Hamas leader Marwan Issa died in an Israeli air strike, White House official Jake Sullivan has said. As deputy military commander, Mr Issa would be Hamas's most senior leader to die since the war began on 7 October. The Palestinian group, which controls Gaza, has not officially commented on reports of his death. Israeli media sources have reported that Mr Issa was killed in a strike on a tunnel complex under the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza last week.”

The Wall Street Journal: Israel Sending Delegation To Washington To Discuss U.S. Concerns Over Rafah Invasion

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to send a team of officials to Washington to discuss U.S. concerns over its planned military operation in southern Gaza that would potentially put over a million civilians at risk, the White House said, as Israel and Hamas began a key round of talks over hostages and a cease-fire proposal. President Biden warned Netanyahu against an offensive in the city of Rafah in a frank phone call on Monday, escalating his pressure on Israel to rethink its war strategy and insisting it could still accomplish its goal of defeating Hamas, the U.S.-designated terror group whose attack last October sparked the war. “A major ground operation there would be a mistake, it would lead to more innocent civilian deaths, worsen the already dire humanitarian crisis, deepen the anarchy in Gaza, and further isolate Israel internationally,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan said, describing Biden’s message to Netanyahu. “More importantly, the key goals Israel wants to achieve in Rafah can be done by other means,” Sullivan added, not specifying further.”

Associated Press: Israel Urges UN Court To Reject South Africa’s Request For More Emergency Orders In Genocide Case

“Israel has urged the top U.N. court to reject the latest request by South Africa for interim orders to prevent starvation in Gaza as part of a case accusing Israel of breaching the Genocide Convention with its military offensive against Hamas. In a written response published Monday by the International Court of Justice, Israel said that claims by South Africa in its request filed earlier this month are “wholly unfounded in fact and law, morally repugnant, and represent an abuse both of the Genocide Convention and of the Court itself.” Israel’s response was published on the day that the U.N. food agency said that “famine is imminent” in northern Gaza, where 70% of the remaining population is experiencing catastrophic hunger, and that a further escalation of the war could push around half of Gaza’s total population to the brink of starvation. The food agency’s statement came less than two weeks after South Africa urged the world court “to do what is within its power to save Palestinians in Gaza from genocidal starvation.””

Associated Press: Incoming Palestinian Prime Minister Lays Out Plans For Reform But Faces Major Obstacles

“The incoming Palestinian prime minister said on Tuesday that he will appoint a technocratic government and establish an independent trust fund to oversee Gaza’s reconstruction. In a mission statement acquired by The Associated Press, Mohammad Mustafa laid out wide-ranging plans for the kind of revitalized Palestinian Authority called for by the United States as part of its postwar vision for resolving the conflict. But the PA has no power in Gaza, from which Hamas drove its forces in 2007, and only limited authority in parts of the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ruled out any return of the PA to Gaza and his government is staunchly opposed to Palestinian statehood. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas designated Mustafa as prime minister last week. The U.S.-educated economist and longtime adviser to Abbas is an independent with no political base.”

United Kingdom

Reuters: Britain's Deputy PM Defends Israel But Calls For 'Immediate Ceasefire' In Gaza

“Britain's deputy prime minister defended on Tuesday Israel's right to protect itself amid growing tension between the Middle Eastern country and its biggest backers, but called for an "immediate ceasefire" in Gaza on humanitarian grounds. Oliver Dowden said the British government was "continuously" urging Israel to abide by international humanitarian law and had also raised concerns about getting aid into Gaza, where a humanitarian crisis is raging after six months of fighting. "That's why we are calling for an immediate ceasefire to allow that aid in, and crucially, the hostages to come out," he told Reuters in an interview in Seoul, where he was attending a U.S.-backed Summit for Democracy. Dowden's comments came in response to a query about tension between Israel and its most steadfast allies in the United States over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the war, particularly an expected military push into Rafah, the last relatively safe place in the tiny, crowded enclave.”

Daily Dose

Extremists: Their Words. Their Actions.

In Their Own Words:

We reiterate once again that the brigades will directly target US bases across the region in case the US enemy commits a folly and decides to strike our resistance fighters and their camps [in Iraq].

Abu Ali al-Askari, Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) Security Official Mar. 2023
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