Thursday, February 28, 2019

Egyptian TV Anchor Nails Palestinians

The Palestinians' Automatic "No" to Peace - Shimrit Meir

It's hard to understand how the Palestinians, who are essentially living off hand-outs, summarily dismiss the opportunity to hear a proposal that might significantly improve their condition. One would at least expect some form of serious discussion about President Trump's peace plan, given their situation.
The Palestinian issue has been pushed to the margins. Mahmoud Abbas might still be able to extract a promise out of the elderly Saudi king not to go "behind the Palestinians' backs," but the entire world knows about the business his son conducts with Israel.
One Egyptian TV anchor wondered, "If you [Palestinians] want a state alongside Israel, why do you keep saying 'no' again and again when offered one?" An Iraqi journalist tweeted this week, "If the Palestinian leadership used the money donated by the Arabs since 1948 for Palestine, it would've already built 50 cities like Tel Aviv, 40 cities like Dubai and 30 cities like Riyadh."  
(Ynet News)

Friday, February 15, 2019

"New Era" Begins in MidEast: Warsaw Conference

In an unprecedented miracle, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Yemen and Kuwait participated in the Warsaw summit with Israel.  
In the above photo, Benjamin Netanyahu greets Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah.  Pinch me.

Warsaw Sees Growing Israeli-Arab Alignment - Laura Rozen

Veteran U.S. peace negotiator Dennis Ross moderated a panel of three Arab foreign ministers at a closed-door dinner in Warsaw on Wednesday. Ross wrote on Twitter, "The PA may not like it, but Arab states will pursue their interests even when the Palestinian leadership opposes. Case in point: the Warsaw Conference. Arab states had more of an interest in arguing for unity of effort against Iran than boycotting a conference the PA opposed."
"At the Warsaw Conference, I conducted back-to-back discussions first with three Arab ministers and then with Israeli PM Netanyahu. Same room, same views of Iran's aggressive, threatening posture in the Middle East, and unmistakable convergence of what should be done to counter it."
U.S. Middle East peace hand Aaron David Miller said: "Look, the prime minister of Israel had dinner in a private session with...a number of Arab foreign ministers....What is so stunning, so preternaturally amazing, is that at a time when there is no peace process and no prospect of one...Israel's stock in the region and in the international community is higher now than at any point since the state was created."  

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday that statements by Arab leaders at the Warsaw conference on the Middle East have laid the groundwork for the Arab public to accept normalization of ties with Israel. Arab foreign ministers speaking together with Israel about a common enemy is a "process of legitimization" for Arab public opinion. Netanyahu said that Arab foreign ministers "spoke blatantly against Iran and about Israel's right to defend itself," which he called a "momentous event."
Netanyahu said he had never talked about reaching peace with Arab countries "before solving the Palestinian issue....But I did say we would continue with normalization and flights [over Arab countries], diplomatic steps or changes in public opinion, slowly and gradually."  

- Tovah Lazaroff

Iran's funding of violence in the region has prevented the resolution of conflicts in the Middle East, Bahraini Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa said at a closed-door session of the Warsaw summit on Wednesday. "When we come to Palestine-Israel, there was a Camp David agreement. There was Madrid. There were many other ways of solving it, and had we stayed on the same path, and if it wasn't for the toxic money, guns and foot soldiers of the Islamic Republic, I think we would have been much closer today in solving this issue with Israel. But this is a serious challenge that is preventing us from moving forward anywhere, be it Syria, be it Yemen, be it Iraq, be it anywhere. My country is under threat."  
(Jerusalem Post)

- Jessica Donati and Sune Engel Rasmussen

President Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner, in a closed-door presentation in Warsaw on Thursday, focused his appeal for support of his peace efforts on Israel and the Gulf Arab countries. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the "normalization" of relations with the Arab world would help, adding, "I am happy to say there is progress on that." 

Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, said, "We strongly believe it's time to find a solution to this long-running conflict."  
(Wall Street Journal)


Regional Realignment - Editorial

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's participation in the American-hosted Middle East summit in Poland was nothing short of historic. Israeli and Arab leaders have previously participated in similar international forums, but when the Israeli leader would enter the room or take to the podium to speak, traditionally the Arabs would walk out. Not this time.

Netanyahu sat next to Yemen Foreign Minister Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi. When it was Netanyahu's turn to speak and his microphone didn't work, Mekhlafi offered his. It might not be peace, but considering that Israel and Yemen do not have formal diplomatic relations, it was a moment to remember. 
(Jerusalem Post)

Friday, February 01, 2019

Arab Reflects on Israel

A video, unrelated to the article, but obviously relevant

  • We Arabs have so far fought Israel for over 70 years with two openly stated objectives: Either destroy Israel by force, or destroy Israel by transforming it into an Arab state through a "solution" that would see Palestinian so-called refugees join the Jewish state.
  • If we had destroyed Israel, we would have entered history as responsible for another genocide of the Jewish people, not long after the Holocaust. By resisting and defeating the coalitions of Arab armies that attempted to destroy it, Israel prevented us from becoming the second Nazis of history.
  • And if we had succeeded in changing Israel into an Arab state, we would have found ourselves with one more failed Arab state, where democracy is fictional and where torture, muzzling of the press, and political assassinations are not.
  • Instead of this, Israeli Arabs live in a world-class country, with extensive economic opportunities and democratic freedoms. Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria and Gaza could have achieved those benefits too, if they had chosen peace over war.
  • Israel gives its Arab citizens equal rights even though the Arab world violently expelled practically all its Jews. Israel welcomes Arab visitors even though Israelis are banned from most of the Arab world.

    The writer is a Canadian of Arab origin.
(Times of Israel)