Friday, December 22, 2017

VideoBite: Trump Postures Against UN

President Trump postures against UN vote
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley sent an invitation Thursday to the 65 countries that didn't vote against the U.S. in the UN General Assembly vote to denounce President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The invitation invites them to the Jan. 3 reception "to thank you for your friendship to the United States."  
(Fox News)

President Trump's foreign policy team is exploring possible responses to a UN vote Thursday condemning the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday, "The president's foreign policy team has been empowered to explore various options going forward."  
(The Hill)

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Trump Doctrine Focuses On Iran

Trump has kept the promises he made at AIPAC, dramatically breaking with Obama's policies. 

A blueprint for U.S. national security presented by President Trump notes: 

"For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region's problems. States have increasingly found common interests with Israel in confronting common threats."
As a "priority action," "we will work with partners to deny the Iranian regime all paths to a nuclear weapon and neutralize Iranian malign influence."  
(White House)

Monday, December 18, 2017

Saudi Think Tank: 'Israel's Historic Right'

Saudi Academic: Arabs Should Accept Israel's "Historic Right"

Abdulhameed Hakeem, head of the Middle East Center for Strategic and Legal Studies in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, told the U.S.-based
 al-Hurra TV channel that the U.S. decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital "will prompt a positive shock towards moving the stagnant water surrounding negotiations....We have to admit and realize that Jerusalem is a religious symbol for the Jews that is just as holy for them as Mecca and Medina are for Muslims."
"Arab mentality must free itself from the heritage of Gamal Abdel Nasser and political Islam of both the Sunni and Shia sects, which has instilled for purely political interests the culture of hating Jews and denying their historic right in the region."  
(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed-UK)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Arab Street is a Dud

In the wake of President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the "experts" predicted strategic calamity: vast, violent protests and a wave of terror would sweep the Muslim world. Rather than waves of protest, the waiting world got tepid statements of disapproval from otherwise-occupied Arab governments and demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza of a few thousand activists. An act of justice for Israel did not ignite Armageddon.

The regional ambitions of Iran, Israel's top enemy, have ironically made it Israel's unintentional benefactor. To the Arabs, yesteryear's Israeli boogeyman now looks more like Caspar the Friendly Ghost. And blame the Palestinians, not Israel, for their lack of statehood. Since the failed 1948 Arab assault on newly reborn Israel, the Palestinians have had literally dozens of opportunities for an advantageous peace.
Will there be more terrorism? Sure. As there would have been more terrorism, anyway. Terrorism isn't about us, it's about them. If Arab leaders refuse to let the "Palestinian question" shape their policies, why should we allow it to deform ours? 
(New York Post)

We have heard all the talk about violence when the U.S. acknowledges Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The coming days and months will prove those warnings to have been overblown. Yes, there will be protests, but Arab governments criminalize free speech and right to assemble. Any protests, the ensuing violence, and rioting are likely to be staged or permitted by Arab governments to blackmail the U.S. policy community into following their views, which unfortunately previous U.S. administrations have tolerated.
The more likely reality is that, in this Arab Spring world, Arab citizens are less likely to protest and die for the cause of Palestinians. They would rather focus on making a living. Those who do protest will be driven by a political agenda that denies Israel's right to exist outright and are fundamentally hostile to the U.S.  Moreover, many of the protests are likely to be led by Iranian proxies in Arab states. We cannot let the Iranian-led axis dictate U.S. foreign policy. 
The writer is a Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. 
(New York Daily News)

  • President Trump's move regarding Jerusalem, far from ending peace talks - which in any case have hardly been going anywhere for years - will more likely revive them.
  • The Arab governments in particular have had enough of Palestinian intransigence. They are much more concerned now about the Iranian threat and their own domestic problems, and many want to be rid of the Palestinian issue which is no longer as politically useful for them as it used to be. Speak to them in private as I do, and you will hear this time and again. The Sunni Arab states want and need cooperation with Israel and are tired of the Palestinians' refusal to even negotiate with Israel.
  • Nowhere in world history, to my knowledge, has the party that lost militarily (and in this case it would be the Palestinians) been allowed to dictate the terms of the peace. Israel should be generous to the Palestinians so the peace will hold, but I believe it is the international community that has done a disservice to the Palestinians by encouraging them to believe that they can dictate the terms of peace and therefore not compromise.
  • Can you imagine the Tibetans, or Kurds, or Chechens saying "no" if they were offered independence on 98% of the land that they said they wanted. And yet the Palestinians have said "no" and walked away from negotiations when they have been made similar offers by Israel.
  • President Obama, who was generally well disposed to the Palestinian cause, pleaded with them to negotiate, as did his secretaries of state Hillary Clinton and John Kerry. Yet in those entire eight years, President Abbas agreed to sit down for only about four hours with the Israelis.

    The writer, a British-born journalist and human rights campaigner, is a former Jerusalem correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph.
(Mideast Dispatch Archive)


Trump's Jerusalem Move Hasn't Sparked an Intifada - Rachel Elbaum 

Less than a week after President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, Palestinian protests have largely fizzled out.

On Monday, fewer than 20 demonstrators gathered outside the U.S. Consulate in Jerusalem and chanted pro-Palestinian slogans, but they were outnumbered by journalists.  
(NBC News)

Trump's Jerusalem Move Didn't Destabilize the Middle East 

- Sarah Wildman 

After President Trump's decision on Jerusalem, the predicted tidal wave of regional instability has so far failed to materialize. Analysts say part of the reason is that the primary feeling among Palestinians right now is not rage, but rather despair and fatigue.

"Many Palestinians who went through the Second Intifada don't want to repeat it," says Ghaith al-Omari, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Plus, Omari adds, Palestinians sense there is a lack of direction from their political leaders, and are thus reluctant to protest without a clear purpose. 


Muslims Ignored Jerusalem for Centuries - Jeff Jacoby

After 1948 when east Jerusalem and the Temple Mount were under Muslim rule, they were ignored by the Arab and Muslim powers. No foreign Arab leader ever paid a visit, not even to pray at the al-Aqsa mosque. Palestinians placed so low a priority on Jerusalem that the Palestinian National Covenant of 1964, the PLO's founding charter, makes no reference to it. 

Only when the Jews returned after the Six-Day War did the Arabs grow passionate about Jerusalem
(Boston Globe)
- Hillel Frisch

The strongest reactions to President Trump's declaration on Jerusalem emanated from Iran and Turkey rather than from Arab states or even segments of Palestinian society, reflecting the centrality of the Iranian-Arab conflict compared to the former Israeli-Arab divide.

Many Palestinian youth will only take the risk of confronting the IDF if they feel that those calling for such sacrifices are placing themselves at risk, which the PA and Hamas aren't. The PA and Hamas are preserving their troops for the showdown between them rather than wasting them against Israel. 
The writer, a professor of political and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University, is a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies. 
(Jerusalem Post)

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Trump Elevates Jerusalem in Historic Move

In a stunning move, President Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital and began the process of moving the US Embassy to the city. 
May G*d bless President Trump.  

President Donald Trump displays the signed "Presidential Proclamation Recognizing Jerusalem as the Capital of the State of Israel and Relocating the United States Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem," on December 6, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Image source: White House video screenshot)

Why Trump is Right - Alan Dershowitz 

Terrorists should not have a veto over American policy. If the United States were to give in to threats of violence, it would only incentivize others to threaten violence in response to any peace plan.

So let's praise President Trump for doing the right thing by undoing the wrong thing President Obama did at the end of his presidency.
[Gatestone Institute]

Jewish Groups Welcome Recognition of Jerusalem 

Mainstream Jewish groups welcomed President Trump's announcement that the U.S. will recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

Malcolm Hoenlein, executive vice chairman of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, said, "When you do the right thing, you do not have to ask questions, you just do it."

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee said, "Today's action by @POTUS is an important, historic step for which we are grateful."

The Anti-Defamation League called the step "important and long overdue."

The American Jewish Committee, Hadassah, and the Jewish Federations of North America also welcomed the president's announcement without reservations.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center said that with his announcement, Trump "will right a historic wrong." 

In Congress, Robust Backing for Trump's Jerusalem Move 

U.S. lawmakers across the political spectrum reacted positively to President Donald Trump's announcement Wednesday that he is recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

In the Arab World, the Rallying Cry of Jerusalem May Have Lost Its Force 
- Anne Barnard

For decades, the idea of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital served as a powerful rallying cry that united the Arab world. In officially recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on Wednesday, President Trump struck what many considered the death blow to those aspirations.

But as Arab and Muslim leaders raised their voices to condemn the move, many across the Middle East wondered if so much had changed in recent years that the real Arab response would amount to little more than a whimper

"'Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine' joins 'Palestinian refugees are going back home one day' in the let's-hope-it-will-happen-but-it-never-will department," wrote Mustapha Hamoui, a Lebanese blogger.

While Arab leaders have continued to pay lip service to the Palestinian cause, it has slipped in importance, displaced by the Arab Spring uprisings, the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, the threat of the Islamic State, and the contest between Saudi Arabia and Iran for regional dominance. 
(New York Times)

Palestinian Rage Won't Turn Into a Third Intifada - Muhammad Shehada

President Trump's speech giving America's blessing to Jerusalem as Israel's capital is widely touted as the spark that will provoke a mass popular uprising among Palestinians. 

The truth is that likelihood is at an all-time low. With a growing sense of abandonment by the international community and Arab regimes, Palestinians are seeing their cause fade away and a grassroots explosion is not in the cards

Any desire for an uprising is currently muffled by official and popular pressure to continue the Palestinian reconciliation process undisturbed. Palestinian rage over this move by Trump will dissipate, and it won't take that long. 


Trumps Great and Ingenious Gifts - Caroline Glick 

Trump’s move wasn’t merely strategically brilliant. It was a political masterstroke.

Consider the liberal Union for Reform Judaism’s contradictory responses to his recognition of Jerusalem. In the lead-up to Trump’s declaration, URJ President Rick Jacobs condemned Trump’s anticipated move which he claimed would harm chances for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Jacobs’s statement – which was supported by key groups within the Reform movement – effectively divorced Reform Judaism from Zionism. By giving the PLO a veto over Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem, Jacobs said that the Reform movement thinks PLO claims to Jerusalem are stronger than Jewish claims. This self-evidently anti-Zionist position apparently didn’t go down well with the Reform rank and file. Because less than 24 hours after Trump gave his speech, the URJ issued a new statement praising Trump’s move.

And the URJ leaders aren’t the only ones with egg on their face.

Trump risked political support in the opinion polls by deepening US support for Israel in the face of strident opposition from the Democrats, the State Department, the media, the Europeans and the Arabs because he believed it was the right thing to do.  And as it works out, it was also an astute, if incredibly gutsy political move.

By standing up to the Democrats who just months ago called for him to take the very actions he took, but now opposed them because it was Trump adopting them, Trump exposed the likes of Booker and Feinstein as hypocritical opportunists. At the same time, he took ownership of a policy of supporting Israel that enjoys broad and deep public support.

[B]y recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Trump made clear that US support for Israel is not conditioned on anything. Israel, the Jewish state, is supported by the US because it deserves US support as an allied democracy.

Trump strengthened himself against his political opponents by taking ownership of a deeply popular foreign policy position. He took control of US foreign policy from a State Department that opposes his policies. He made reality, rather than the defiance of reality, the foundation of US Middle East policy.

He put US allies and enemies on notice that he is calling the shots in US foreign policy. And he took a large step toward restoring US credibility as a superpower.

Oh, and he accomplished all of these things without spending a dime.

For his gift to Israel, Trump now enters the pantheon of Israel’s friends in the annals of Jewish history.

For his gifts to America he has taken his place among the most astute American statesmen.

And for his political and economic mastery, he enters the ranks of the geniuses of American political history. 

[Jerusalem Post via JWR]

Trump's Truth-Telling on Jerusalem - John Podhoretz

Trump could have just signed the waiver of the law passed in 1995 compelling the executive branch to move America's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He did it six months ago, just like his three immediate predecessors did every six months since 1996. Instead, he called the international community's seven-decade bluff and ended a delusion about the future that has prevented Palestinians from seeing the world and their own geopolitical situation clearly.  

The Palestinians continue to act as though they will get what they want through rejection and resistance and rage. The Palestinian refusal to accept Israel has been the greatest bar to peace. 
(New York Post)

  • Appeasing those who threaten violence doesn't reduce it. It encourages it. The more concessions are offered, the more the Palestinians believe even greater violence will deliver them final victory. Britain, France and Germany have obligingly once again genuflected to the men of violence by disapproving of Trump's speech. If they had said they, too, would now recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the threat of violence would lose much of its point.
  • The Arab war against Israel is not a conflict about the division of land. It is a war of extermination based on a refusal to accept that the Jews have any right to that land. And Jerusalem is central to that refusal. They deny the Jews any rights to Jerusalem at all. That's because they need to suppress what they can never admit: that Jerusalem was the capital of the Jews' ancient kingdom which preceded Islam and the Arab and Muslim conquest by many centuries.
  • Far from the Israeli presence there being illegal, the Jews are the only people who are entitled to the city as a matter of international law, historical truth and natural justice. Which is why the refusal by Western countries to recognize the unique Jewish right to Jerusalem has been so malevolent.
  • Those who say Trump's move makes peace less likely couldn't be more wrong. Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital is the essential step without which peace can never be achieved.

    The writer is a columnist for The Times (UK).
(Jerusalem Post)


Trump's Recognition: What Does It Mean?  - Daniel Pipes, PhD 

As a specialist on the Middle East, I hate to admit it, but this step results from fresh faces breaking with a stale past.

The move sends exactly the right message to the Palestinians: your continued attempt to eliminate the Jewish state of Israel will cost you.

Trump's December 2017 moving the embassy neatly checks and refutes Obama's December 2016 abstaining from U.N. Security Council resolution 2334.

Denunciations of the move came in fast and hard from the pope, the UN Secretary-General, European leaders, Ankara and Tehran, Islamists, the Left, and Palestinians. Strikingly, however, Arab states were largely mum, for they have much higher priorities to contend with.

Good for Trump ignoring threats of the Arab street rising up; the riot veto must not be allowed to determine policy.
[BESA Center]

Why the Fuss about Jerusalem as Israel's Capital? - Marc D. Angel

The Muslim Ottoman Empire, which controlled the Land of Israel for hundreds of years, could very easily have established a Muslim country there with Jerusalem as its capital city. The thought never occurred to them. Jerusalem was an old, decrepit city that no one (except Jews) cared very much about

There was no call for a Palestinian state, and no claim that Jerusalem should be the capital of a Muslim country. Between 1948 and 1967, when Jordan controlled the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem, it did not cede one inch of territory to Palestinian Arab rule and did not declare Jerusalem the capital city of the Palestinians.
The writer is founder and director of the Institute for Jewish Ideas and Ideals and rabbi emeritus of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue of New York City. 
(Jerusalem Post)
President Trump's choice to recognize the Israeli capital in Jerusalem exposed a political dynamic in the region that holds new possibilities for an eventual settlement. Arab countries, historically a guarantor of strategic depth for Palestinian rejectionist forces, are increasingly a bastion of support for compromise.
The true political departure lay within the Arab region, in the relatively modest and short-lived protests from Sunni-majority Arab countries. This weak showing matters greatly to prospects for peace. Now Arab societies have given their leaders and the world a preview of how minimally the region would convulse in the event of a future renunciation of Palestinian maximalist demands.
Arab supporters of a regional peace, myself included, will continue to act on the belief that Arab conciliation begets Israeli conciliation. With this principle in mind, we see the outcome of the Jerusalem controversy as a sign that more is possible.
The writer, a Moroccan publisher, is on the board of directors of the Atlantic Council and an international counselor of the Center for Strategic and International Studies. 
(National Interest)

Riots Threatened As Trump Prepares Jerusalem Speech

By: Israellycool

- David Israel 

A 100-year-old joke (give or take) describes Polish leader Martial Józef Piłsudski appearing before the victorious allies after World War I to appeal for his country’s independence. As an incentive, the future Polish president warns the committee: “If you don’t grant us independence, then all the Poles will get drunk and go out and kill many Jews.” So the committee chair asks: “And what will happen should we grant you independence?”
“Oh, that’s simple,” answers Piłsudski, “In that case all the Poles will get drunk and go out and kill many Jews.”
I couldn’t help recalling this old joke –  when going over the threats (disguised as warnings) from across the Arab world and Europe (and Ha’aretz) about how, should President Trump recognize that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel – a full 70 years after it had been declared as such – the streets of the Middle East will burn.
[Jewish Press] 

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Saudi's Threaten Palestinians

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (L) pictured with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman on a previous trip to Riyadh in 2016 (AFP)

A Credible Peace Plan At Last - Caroline Glick 

The New York Times published the Palestinian response to an alleged Saudi peace plan. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman reportedly presented it to PLO chief and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas last month.
According to the Times’ report, Mohammed told Abbas he has two months to either accept the Saudi proposal or leave office to make way for a new Palestinian leader who will accept it.

It reportedly proposes the establishment of limited Palestinian sovereignty over small portions of Judea and Samaria. The Gaza Strip, over which the Palestinians have had full sovereignty since Israel pulled its military forces and civilians out in 2005, would be expanded into the northern Sinai, thus providing economic and territorial viability to the envisioned Palestinian state. While the Palestinians would not receive sovereignty over Jerusalem, they would be able to establish their capital in the Jerusalem suburb of Abu Dis.

[T]he alleged Saudi peace plan represents a radical break with the all the peace plans presented by the Arabs, the Europeans and the US for the past 40 years.
Unlike all of the previous plans, the contours of the plan reported by the Times guarantee that Israel will remain a strong, viable state in an era of peace with the Palestinians. All the previous plans required Israel to accept indefensible borders that would have invited aggression both from the Palestinians and from its Arab neighbors east of the Jordan River.

While the Times report cites Western sources claiming that Egypt has rejected the prospect of merging Gaza with the northern Sinai under Palestinian sovereignty, there is no reason to assume that the option is dead.

If the Europeans, Americans and Arab League member states chose to develop the northern Sinai for a Palestinian state with half the enthusiasm they have devoted to building a non-viable Palestinian state in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, the Palestinians would have a viable, developed state in short order.

Abbas has reportedly been calling every international leader he can think of to oppose the deal. The Europeans reportedly also oppose it. French President Emmanuel Macron’s adviser reportedly contacted the Americans to make clear that the French are not on board with the proposal.

And whereas the opposition to Mohammed’s purported proposal has been largely behind the scenes, since Mohammed did not make it public, the Palestinians and their international supporters have been grabbing every available microphone to condemn US President Donald Trump’s reported plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and perhaps begin taking concrete steps to move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

As Lee Smith revealed in a recent article in Tablet magazine, the voices leading the charge against Mohammed are the same ones that developed the media echo chamber in pursuit of then president Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.

And so the backlash against Mohammed by the likes of former US ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and Robert Malley, Obama’s former adviser for the Middle East on his national security council makes sense. If they can discredit him, and pretend that an Iranian-controlled Lebanon and Syria are better than the alternatives, then they can force Trump to maintain faith with Obama’s policies.

Mohammed’s peace plan is the first peace plan that has ever offered the Palestinians a chance at a real state. It’s the first plan that ever envisioned a situation where the Palestinians have a state that doesn’t imperil Israel. People who actually care about the Palestinians and Israel should welcome and support his position.

People who oppose it have to explain why they insist on remaining faithful to a peace paradigm that has brought only war and instability. Why do they prefer to retain Abbas’s authoritarian regime over a non-sovereign kleptocracy in Judea and Samaria with a Hamas terrorist state in Gaza to an alternative without either? Why doesn’t Abbas support it if his chief aspiration is the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and actually wants peace with Israel?

Because it is the first peace plan anyone has ever put forward that makes sense. Not only does it secure the future of both Israel and the Palestinians, it enables Arab states like Saudi Arabia to work openly with Israel to defeat their joint Iranian enemy, while ensuring that Israel can survive and remain a credible ally to its Arab neighbors for decades to come.
[Jerusalem Post] 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Pinch Me: Am I Really Seeing This?

Tel Aviv City Hall Lit in Colors of Egyptian Flag in Solidarity with Mosque Victims 

The Egyptian flag lit up the facade of the Tel Aviv municipality building Friday evening, hours after terrorists attacked a crowded mosque in the Sinai Peninsula, killing at least 235 people.

The building has been illuminated in the colors of various flags following other international terror attacks, but the gesture has only been made towards an Arab country (also Egypt) once before: in May, when 29 Christian Copts were killed in a deadly shooting attack near Cairo.

Friday’s attack targeted a mosque frequented by Sufis, members of Islam’s mystical movement, in the north Sinai town of Bir al-Abd. Islamic militants, including the local affiliate of the Islamic State group, consider Sufis heretics because of their less literal interpretations of the faith.
(Times of Israel)

Friday, November 24, 2017

Pinch Me: Am I Really Hearing This?

 Kuwaiti writer Abdullah Al-Hadlaq said that Israel was an independent and legitimate sovereign state and that there was no occupation, but instead, "a people returning to its promised land." 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Arab Miracle

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir arrives at the Arab League Foreign Ministers meeting in Cairo, Egypt, November 19, 2017. (photo credit:REUTERS/AMR ABDALLAH DALSH)

Arab League Condemns Iran, Calls Hizbullah a Terrorist Group 
- Zaid Sabah and Lin Noueihed

The Arab League accused Iran of destabilizing the region and condemned Iranian-backed Hizbullah as a terrorist organization at a foreign ministers' meeting in Cairo. "Iran is aiming to control many of the Arab capitals," said Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Aboul Gheit. 

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Saudi Miracles

Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh shocked listeners with a pro-Jewish statement

Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, responding to a question on television, said that fighting against Israel was inappropriate and that Hamas was a "terror organization."
Israeli Communications Minister Ayoub Kara wrote on his official Twitter account: "We congratulate Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia as well as the head of Ulema (Islamic scholars), for his fatwa forbidding the fight against the Jews and forbidding to kill them. I invite the mufti to visit Israel; he will be welcomed with a high level of respect."  

Israel for the first time co-sponsored a Saudi resolution at the UN Human Rights Council against the Assad regime in Syria, alongside the U.S., France and Germany. 

The measure passed 108 to 17 with 58 abstentions. The Syrian ambassador congratulated his Saudi counterpart for the fact Israel had joined the list of co-sponsors, saying it was a demonstration of the secret alliance between the two countries.
(Ynet News)


On Recent Saudi Reforms: Interview with Dr. Daniel Pipes 

All signs point to Mohammad bin Salman, the effective ruler of Saudi Arabia, being very serious about basic changes. So, I see this as a real reform

I expect [Mohammad bin Salman] wants to abandon Islamism altogether. I can imagine Saudi Arabia becoming a center of moderate Islam; stranger things have occurred.

The country's future is open, for the first time since the 1920s. I simply do not know enough to predict its course with confidence.
[International Policy Digest]

Former Saudi Minister: Violence Against Israel is "Un-Islamic"

Former Saudi Justice Minister Muhammad Bin abdel-Kareem Aleissa said, "Any act of violence or terrorism that tries to hide behind religion has no justification whatsoever, not even in Israel," the Israeli newspaper Maariv reported. 

Aleissa was appointed last year as the secretary-general of the Muslim World League, and is reportedly close to Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman. 
(Al-Araby Al-Jadeed-UK)

Saudi TV Host Calls to Allow Israeli Teams to Compete in World Tournaments 
- Anthony Harwood

Saudi Arabian TV host Waleed Al-Faraj, speaking on MBC, the Arab world's most popular channel, called for Israeli teams to be allowed to compete in sports tournaments after seven Israeli chess players submitted visa requests to play in a tournament in Riyadh next month. 

Al-Faraj said it was time for Saudi Arabia to throw open its sports competitions to everyone, whatever their country of origin. 
The writer is a former foreign editor of the Daily Mail (UK). 
(Jerusalem Post)

Monday, November 13, 2017

Palestinian Delusional Syndrome

Lt. Hiroo Onoda, sword in hand, walks out of the jungle on Lubang Island on March 11, 1974, almost 29 years after the Japanese surrender.

Why Palestinian Delusions Persist - Daniel Pipes, PhD 

In 1974, Second Lt. Hiroo Onoda of the Imperial Japanese Army was still fighting for his emperor, hiding in a Philippine jungle. He had rejected many attempts to inform him of Japan's surrender 29 years earlier. During those long years, he senselessly murdered about one Filipino and injured three others per year. Only a concerted effort by his former commander finally convinced Onoda that the emperor had accepted defeat in 1945 and therefore he too must lay down arms.
The Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza are Onoda writ large. They formally acknowledged defeat by Israel 24 years ago, when Yasir Arafat stood on the White House lawn and recognized "the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security." Trouble was, Arafat himself did not sincerely offer this act of surrender and most Palestinians rejected it.

Accordingly, the war continues, with Palestinians emulating that grizzled, vicious Japanese soldier: they too battle on for a failed cause, murder senselessly, and ignore repeated calls to surrender. Just as Onoda insisted on believing in a divine emperor, Palestinians inhabit a fantasy world in which, for example, Jesus was a Palestinian, Jerusalem was always exclusively Islamic, and Israel is the new Crusader state on the verge of collapse.

How do Palestinians ignore reality and persist in these illusions? Due to three main factors: Islamic doctrine, international succor, and the wariness of the Israeli security services. (The Israeli Left was once a major factor but it barely counts anymore.)
Israel's security services, which usually have the last word on policy, resist any steps that could possibly provoke Palestinian violence. "Things now are about as good as possible," they imply, "so please stay away with any hare-brained ideas about our getting tougher."
This reluctance explains why Jerusalem tolerates massive illegal housing, releases murderers from prison, provides water and electricity to Palestinians at advantageous terms, and urges international donors not just to subsidize the Palestinian Authority but to fund mega-projects of Israeli devising (such as an artificial island off Gaza). Contrarily, Israel's wizened security types nix any initiative that deprives the Palestinians of funds, punishes them more severely, or infringes on their existing prerogatives (such as control of the Temple Mount).

Palestinian delusion results, then, from a toxic mix of Islamic doctrine, international succor, and Israeli timidity.
[Israel Hayom]