Monday, May 24, 2021
Sunday, May 23, 2021
|Hamas flags waved by Palestinian Arabs|
The Hamas offensive which began with the launching of seven missiles at Jerusalem on May 10 is an effort to test the hypothesis that by mobilizing the symbol of al-Aqsa Mosque, and then initiating military action in the name of its defense, Hamas could reduce or remove these divisions.
Iran's strategic vision is of a long war conducted through the use of proxies and political client forces, and intended to result in Israel's hollowing out, weakening, isolation and eventual collapse.
Jerusalem, with Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr passed, has experienced only sporadic unrest. The riots in Israeli Arab towns have for the moment receded. The West Bank has seen large demonstrations but does not currently appear close to conflagration.
Gaza, though it will undoubtedly continue to fire rockets until the last moments, has suffered far greater damage than it has been able to inflict. If these situations hold, the fragmentation has not been comprehensively overturned.
Nevertheless, from the Iranian point of view, there are also considerable reasons for encouragement from the events of the last 10 days. Most importantly, the widespread rioting and attacks on Jews by Arab Israelis in Lod, Ramle, Haifa, Jaffa and elsewhere demonstrate the efficacy of al-Aqsa as a unifying symbol.
Even if this has not for now resulted in a generalized uprising, it is a strategic lesson that the Iranians will note carefully. For the first time since the establishment of Israel, Arab Israelis in large numbers mobilized, and on occasions used weaponry, to assist the war effort of an organization attacking Israel. This is a matter of deep significance, and represents a profound, if still partial, success for Hamas and its backers. The possession of considerable arsenals in the hands of elements of the Arab Israeli population and the potential this has for disruption will similarly have been carefully noted.
The initially slow and weak response of Israeli state authorities in responding to this will also be recorded.
The large rallies in Europe and the Middle East demonstrate the continued resonance this issue has for broad sections of the Muslim public.
All these will be seen by Iran as encouraging signs of Israeli internal disarray and division, opening up new possibilities for future use.
As ever, Iran prefers to avoid direct involvement. But without its backing, support and expertise, the latest Hamas offensive against Israel would have been inconceivable. From this point of view, the events of the last 10 days may be seen as the latest episode in Tehran's long war against Israel.
[Middle East Forum/Jerusalem Post]
Monday, May 17, 2021
- The narrative of Israel's critics connects Hamas' current onslaught to eviction proceedings in Israeli courts concerning a few properties in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
- The truth about Sheikh Jarrah is that it involves an ordinary property dispute between private parties. The Jewish claimants' ownership of the few plots of land has been confirmed repeatedly in court, following laws that apply equally regardless of ethnicity. Israeli courts have gone out of their way to avoid evicting the Palestinian residents who haven't paid rent for half a century.
- In the case now before Israel's Supreme Court, the owner is an Israeli corporation with Jewish owners whose chain of title is documented back to an original purchase in 1875. Until 1948, the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood was home to both Jewish and Arab communities. Then Jordan invaded Israel and occupied half of Jerusalem, expelling every one of its Jewish inhabitants and seizing their property.
- This case has nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. The only discrimination in the legal treatment of Sheikh Jarrah property is historic, by Jordan, and against Jews to the benefit of Palestinians.
- The plaintiffs have spent four decades in court seeking to recover possession of the properties. In the latest lawsuits, the courts ruled that four of the eight defendants were squatters with no legal rights to the land, and the remaining four were descendants of tenants who had never paid rent. Nevertheless, Israeli courts have treated the Palestinians as "protected tenants," and would shield them from eviction indefinitely if they paid rent. They have refused to do so.
- Israeli courts adjudicate property disputes in Jerusalem between Arab parties, or by Arabs against Jews, with no protest. There is only one objection in this case: the owners are Jews. The manufactured controversy this time is an attempt to pressure Israel effectively to perpetuate Jordan's ethnic cleansing - in the name of human rights.
Avi Bell is a professor at the University of San Diego Law School. Eugene Kontorovich is director of the Center for the Middle East and International Law at George Mason University School of Law. Both are scholars at the Kohelet Policy Forum in Jerusalem.
Monday, May 03, 2021
Members of the Iranian opposition commissioned a billboard in Midtown Manhattan, opposite the offices of The New York Times last Friday, calling on Americans to ignore the media warning Americans not to trust their media which serve as apologists for the Iranian regime and endorse a return to the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Sunday, April 11, 2021
Thursday, March 11, 2021
Jews Are Indigenous to the Land of Israel - Noam Rotstain
Sunday, March 07, 2021
The historic narrative of the Israel-Arab conflict has been that the region and the wider Arab and Muslim world will not countenance the existence of the Jewish State, and have tried on many occasions in the past to extinguish it.
That has come to an end in recent years...
The defense alliance can and should ensure that Israel help them to defeat the Iranian menace in the Gulf, and the proxy war raging in Yemen. Israeli intelligence capabilities should compensate for America's recent capitulation to the Houthis. The Israeli navy should operate its submarines and new Sa'ar missile corvettes from Emirati and Bahraini ports.
In return, Israel should be seeking assurances that cooperation is not a one-way street, and that Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain should help Israel fight its enemies, many of which are closely allied to or receive funding and armaments from Iran.
[The emerging alliance] should be used to end the Israel-Palestinian conflict once and for all.
Helping Israel destroy Palestinian violent rejectionism and win the conflict is a win-win for the Sunni nations in the defense alliance. They would be providing a quid pro quo for Israel helping it rid its own borders of enemies, and it would be ending the conflict which many see as an obstacle to greater rapprochement with the Jewish State in the region.
This would also allow all of the nations in the defense alliance, which could then be enlarged, to focus all of their energies towards the greatest threat to the region, Iran, its proxies and its relentless attempt to attain nuclear weapons capability.
It would also break down the last barrier towards full relations between Israel and the wider Sunni world, thus allowing for the sole focus for both to be on breaking the back of the Iranian ever-growing stranglehold on the region.
[The Middle East Forum]
Monday, February 22, 2021
The government approved to officially recognize the suffering of Yemenite, Balkan and Mizrahi Jewish families who came to Israel in the 1950s and to offer them financial compensation.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called this case “among the most painful in the history of the State of Israel” and said that it is time that families “who had their babies taken from them” would get both recognition and compensation. He added that it would be included in history classes offered to the country’s children in the future.
Finance Minister Israel Katz expressed his hope that this move would “begin to heal, even in a small measure, the pain of history” and called to honor the rich cultural legacy of Yemenite Jews.
NIS 162 million would be ear-marked for compensation with NIS 150,000 given to families who were not told when or how their child died or buried and his grave was never found or found a long time after. NIS 200,000 compensation would be ear-marked for families who do not know to this day what happened to their child.
Families would be able to file requests starting from June.
In response, Union Sefaradi Mundial, a Jerusalem-based NGO devoted to the legacy of Sephardi Jews, said that "compensation by itself is not enough, the government must accept responsibility. The State of Israel has to these events of children who went missing."
USM head Prof. Shimon Shetreet lost his own sister Sara when she was 10 months old.
"My own parents and the parents of other children would be turning in their graves had they known that after all these years, the State of Israel is still refusing to take responsibility," he said.
The compensation, USM said, are being offered as an act of generosity rather than admittance of guilt.
The claim of the Yemenite Jewish community and others that their babies were taken and given to adoption to other families, usually European Jewish ones deemed able to offer the children more chances in life, was hotly debated and dismissed as a "myth" for decades.
Rabbi Uzi Meshulam was arrested when police raided his home in 1994 after he and his followers, armed with guns, demanded the state investigate this issue.
Meshulam was arrested, spent time in prison and dismissed for many years as a radical with outlandish claims. He died in 2013.
Many Israelis who took part in the absorption efforts of Yemenite and other Jewish communities deny to this day that such a plan was in place.
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Sunday, February 07, 2021
Everyone knows about the Jewish-Muslim tussle over claims to rule Jerusalem, with its Palestinian lie that Jerusalem has no role in Judaism, and also the pro-Israel rebuttal that the Koran does not mention Jerusalem.
But there's another heated, if less public, battle over Jerusalem (Arabic: Al-Quds): not about the right to rule the city, but authority over the Temple Mount (Arabic: Al-Haram ash-Sharif), the holy esplanade containing two antique and holy edifices, the Dome of the Rock (built in 691) and Al-Aqsa Mosque (705). Five Muslim parties are mainly engaged in this intricate, consequential struggle: the Palestinian Authority, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Republic of Turkey, and the Kingdom of Morocco. Each has distinctive strengths and goals.
Palestinian Authority: Controlling the Temple Mount is absolutely central to the PA's mission. It may lack the economic and military resources of a state, but it wields two unique powers: day-to-day management (thanks to Israeli deference) and wide international support for its claim to rule eastern Jerusalem. The PA zealously sustains these powers by intimidating Israel with its calls for Muslim outrage and leftist anti-Zionism. As the effective ruler atop the Temple Mount, it is the status quo power resisting any change.
Jordan: Amman enjoys many formal privileges but has minuscule sway on the ground. The 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty states that "Israel respects the present special role" of Jordan in "Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem" and it grants "high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines." One scholar mistakenly translates this into a supposed custodianship, "with its attendant duties of maintaining, protecting, and regulating access to the shrines." Indeed, Israel colludes with relatively friendly Jordanian kings to hide their impotence because that pretend "special role" is, in the words of Nadav Shragai, "the central anchor that bolsters their monarchical rule, granting it legitimacy in the face of Islamic extremist elements in Jordan. A weakened presence on the mount, Jordan fears, will necessarily also undermine stability in the kingdom to the point of presenting an existential threat."
Saudi Arabia: Saudis lack influence but acutely aspire to some power to enhance their international standing. John Jenkins, a former UK ambassador to Riyadh, explains why: "Iran has always challenged them on the legitimacy of their custodianship of Mecca and Medina. If they were to add a third shrine to their list, it could enhance their claims to be the absolute [religious] leaders of the Islamic world." The Israelis could hand Riyadh such power, simultaneously sweetening a peace treaty and lessening Palestinian control.
Turkey: The Ottoman Empire ruled Jerusalem for four centuries, 1516-1917, after which Turkish authorities abruptly lost interest in it. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently renewed claims to its holy places, culminating in an October 2020 statement that "this city that we had to leave in tears during the First World War ... is our city, a city from us." Ankara has backed those words with tens of millions of dollars to promote Jerusalem's Turkish heritage, win support for Turkey's claims over the Temple Mount, and challenge Israeli rule. Allied with Hamas, the Turks do not cooperate with the Jewish state, which in turn wants to limit its role.
Morocco: Chairing the Organization of Islamic Cooperation's Al-Quds Committeeand hosting its headquarters since the committee's founding in 1975 gives Moroccan kings a certain influence over the Temple Mount – despite a distance of 4,000 kilometers. The committee also has a subsidiary, Bayt Mal Al Quds Agency, which funds Islamic interests in Jerusalem by donating prayer rugs, building houses, helping with renovations, etc. Symbolically, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita prayed at Al-Aqsa in March 2018 to send "a strong message of support for the Palestinian cause." Generally, Moroccan kings ally on Temple Mount issues with Saudi kings to diminish Jordanian kings. Winning Israeli goodwill presumably had a role in Rabat's December 2020 decision to normalize relations with the Jewish state.
Israel: Israel faces two hostile actors on the Temple Mount (the PA, Turkey/Hamas) and three actors quasi-willing to work with it (Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco). Until now, Israeli leaders have lacked the imagination to exploit this rivalry, with its great potential psychological impact to help achieve Israel Victory. One idea: encourage Emirati rulers to join the other three kings to undermine PA legitimacy. Another: revive Ehud Olmert's initiative to sponsor a committee overseeing Jerusalem's Islamic sanctities.
The ball is in Israel's court.
Monday, January 25, 2021
Arab social media witnessed a 20% decline in negative attitudes towards normalization with Israel during the past four months, Israel's Strategic Affairs Ministry reported.
The amount of online objection to the Abraham Accords dropped from 94% in summer 2020 to 75% in November 2020.
"We left the Middle East in a pretty good place. Normally, you come into office and the Middle East is always on fire. This time, it's not. I would say, this is not where you ought to be focusing your attention. This is not where I would be trying to bring change. This is one of the few places in the world where change is going to be counter-productive."
Sunday, January 10, 2021
Why Jews Should Drop the Palestinian Cause in 2021 - Justin B. Hayet
In 2021, and in the years and decades beyond, the organized Jewish community should abandon its paralyzing, archaic, immoral and dangerous objective of establishing a Palestinian state.
Our world has changed. The Middle East has changed. Israel has changed. The American Jewish community, and its objectives, must too. Suppress your anger, lay down your talking points and hear me out.
The tectonic plates of the Middle East shifted with the signing of The Abraham Accords – and they have not stopped shifting. The accords will continue to shape, if not completely guide, US Foreign Policy in the Middle East for the foreseeable future and throughout future Democratic and Republican administrations.
Thursday, December 24, 2020
The Collapse of Palestinian Grand Strategy - Dr. Eran Lerman
The news report about the song celebrating The Abraham Accords
Sunday, December 13, 2020
Israel and Morocco have agreed to establish diplomatic relations, US President Donald Trump announced on Thursday.
Morocco became the fourth Arab country to normalize ties with Israel in four months, following the Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.
Monday, October 26, 2020
|Abdalla Hamdok, Sudan's Prime Minister [L]|
The Arab-Israeli Peace Cascade - Editorial
Unlike the peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain, the treaty with Sudan has little to offer from an economic standpoint. Sudan has nothing to export to Israel, and given the state of Khartoum's coffers, it is doubtful whether it can import much from Israel. Some business deals are on the horizon, mostly involving Israeli technologies in water, agriculture and food, to help bring Sudan into the 21st century.
- While Israel seeks "normalization" with the UAE, Bahrain and Sudan, all of which are 1,000 miles from Israel, a "normalization" process is already well underway closer to home.
- MK Mansour Abbas of the Ra'am faction of the Arab Joint List party wrote Saturday on Facebook that Israel's Arabs were ill-served by the belief that their political role was limited to being the "reserve force" propping up the Israeli left. "I'm not afraid to say I'm introducing a pragmatic new political style." The post received over 4,300 "likes" and 700 comments, nearly all positive.
- Ra'am, founded in 1996, emerged as the political home of the conservative Muslim impulse within Israel's Arab population. It is the political vehicle for the southern branch of the Islamic movement.
- Islamism in Israel is divided into two branches: the anti-Israel northern branch headquartered in the Galilee town of Umm al-Fahm, and the pro-integration southern branch which draws much of its support from the Bedouin of the Negev. Both branches support Palestinian independence, but only the northern branch, declared illegal in 2015, openly supported violence and extolled terrorism.
- Sheikh Abdullah Nimr Darwish, who led the southern branch for three decades until his death in 2017, urged Israel's Arab community to reject terrorism and integrate into Israeli society. Mansour Abbas, a student of Darwish, is deputy chairman of the southern branch.
- As the Palestinian cause fades throughout the Arab world, it fades among Israeli Arabs as well. And the demand to integrate, to gain acceptance, to have a say in the affairs of a country they have come to accept as their own, has overwhelmed the old ideologies.
Thursday, September 24, 2020
|Arabs abandon the Palestinian cause|
Why Other Arabs Resent Palestinians - Dr. Mordechai Kedar
The writer, a senior research associate at the BESA Center, served for 25 years in IDF military intelligence.
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
|President Donald Trump, United Arab Emirates (UAE) Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed, Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.|
|The signing seals it!|
"Peace. Shalom. Salaam" was written in 2-foot-high letters in three languages on the side of the El Al aircraft that landed in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago. This message elevates opportunity and optimism over conflict and defeatism.
2016, John Kerry, Obama's Secretary of State