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International attention has been focused on Ukraine since Russia’s invasion of that country. Meanwhile, events in the Middle East have been depressingly true to form.
In Israel, at least 19 Israelis have been killed in attacks by Palestinians since the middle of March. The attacks appear to be mostly uncoordinated, but are being inspired and cheered on by Hamas. As a result, the London Times reports that Israel is contemplating revenge against Hamas leaders:
Israel has informed its allies that it is preparing to send assassination teams to kill Hamas leaders abroad in retaliation for deadly attacks on Israeli civilians in the past two months, sources have told The Times.
Hamas is believed to have been warned of the impending hits by intelligence agencies in the Middle East and Europe.
It sounds like the threat may be intended to deter future attacks, and may or may not be carried out.
Intelligence sources said Israel was seeking to send a “clear message” after a year in which it has observed a ceasefire, brokered by Egypt, which ended the latest round of warfare in Gaza in May 2021. After the new surge of attacks on civilians, the government is preparing to “up the ante”.
Naftali Bennett, the prime minister, said yesterday that Israel was entering a “new stage in the war on terror”, adding that it was establishing a civilian national guard that would be deployed in emergency situations.
In addition, the Israeli government is encouraging citizens to carry firearms. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said, “Whoever has a license to carry a weapon, this is the time to carry it.”
And in Afghanistan, the Taliban’s charm offensive appears to be over: Taliban bring back burqa as world focuses on Ukraine.
Yesterday any doubts about the [Taliban’s] true intentions were wiped away when its supreme leader recommended the blue burqa as the ideal outfit for women as he decreed that they must cover themselves head to toe, leaving only their eyes visible.
The feared Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice announced the order from Hibatullah Akhundzada, the de facto ruler of the country, at a press conference in Kabul. It warned that a woman’s father or closest male relative would be jailed or fired from their jobs if she did not obey.
I doubt that anyone took seriously the Taliban’s claim to have changed its stripes.
Initially the Taliban insisted they had changed. They were hoping for international recognition and the return of desperately needed foreign aid which was frozen after they took power. A spokesman for the movement told The Sunday Times this year that the only reason girls’ high schools had not reopened was “a lack of stationery”.
In recent months, however, hardliners appear to have gained dominance and more, particularly since the Russian invasion of Ukraine which has distracted international attention.
A promise to reopen schools in March was reversed within hours of girls arriving in their classrooms, leaving many in tears. It remains the only place on Earth where girls cannot attend high school.
Maybe American feminists can send the Afghans a shipment of p***y hats. I am sure that would help.