Monday, May 24, 2021

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Everything You Need to Know About the Recent Gaza Flareup


Hamas flags waved by Palestinian Arabs

How Hamas' Assault Serves as Iran's Testing Ground

-Jonathan Spyer

In recent years, the Palestinian Arab population west of the Jordan has become politically fragmented. Four identifiable populations exist: the Arab citizens of Israel, the inhabitants of Gaza, the Arab inhabitants of Jerusalem, and the population living under the administration of the West Bank Palestinian Authority.

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

Palestinians Deceive on Jerusalem Evictions

Almost Nothing You've Heard about Evictions in Jerusalem Is True - Avi Bell and Eugene Kontorovich (Wall Street Journal)
  • 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

Iranians Protest Mullahs


Iranian Dissidents on Manhattan Billboard: Don’t Trust Ayatollahs’ Apologists in US Media
- David Israel

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.
[Jewish Press]

The Abraham Accords Dance


Sunday, April 11, 2021

VideoBite: No Nuclear Iran!


This short video makes a cogent case for opposing a resurrected Iran Deal and supporting The Abraham Accords.  Note the creative use of President Lyndon Johnson’s iconic Nuclear Daisy ad.  

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Jews Are From Judea; Arabs Are From Arabia


Jews Are Indigenous to the Land of Israel - Noam Rotstain

Archaeological, genetic, and historical evidence backs the indigeneity of Jews to Israel. Anthropologist Jose Martinez Cobo, who served the UN on indigenous matters, developed a checklist to clarify the meaning of indigeneity, which includes occupation of ancestral lands, common ancestry with the original occupants of the land, culture, language, and residence in parts of the country. 

A study found that over 90% of Jewish people can trace their genetics to the southern Levant region, which includes Israel.
Using the same UN checklist, we can determine that genetically, linguistically, culturally, and spiritually, Palestinians can trace themselves back to the Hejaz region in the Arabian peninsula, now known as Saudi Arabia. 

Arabs began arriving in the Levant region in the 7th century CE, hundreds of years after the Second Temple was destroyed by the Romans. 

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Abraham Accords Lead To Regional Alliance

A recent report suggesting that Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates are exploring the possibility of creating a four-nation defense alliance has potentially game-changing ramifications.

While the last few months since the Abraham Accords and normalization agreements signed between Israel and numerous Arab and Muslim countries have witnessed many unprecedented events, this could outshine them all.

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

Israel Settles Yemenite Jewish Claims


A family of Jewish immigrants from Yemen arrives at Lod Airport November 17, 1949
(photo credit: HANS PINN)

Government Recognizes Suffering of Yemenite Families, Compensation Given 

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. 
[Jerusalem Post] 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

A Vision of MidEast Peace


Single Temple to House 3 Abrahamic Faiths to Be Built In UAE

A single temple serving all three Abrahamic religions will be erected in the capital of the United Arab Emirates by 2022.

Although Islam is both the official and the dominant religion in the United Arab Emirates, freedom of religion is embraced by the law. There are many places of worship throughout much of the country for different faiths to worship.

“In 2022, it is planned to open a temple of three world religions in Abu Dhabi – Islam, Christianity, Judaism. It will be called ‘Abrahamic Family House,'” Mohamed Ahmed bin Sultan Al Jaber, UAE ambassador to Russia, said during an event at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow.

According to Al Jaber, The religious temple will be a place for worship, dialogue, and education, to bring unity between the faiths,

Islam is both the official and the dominant religion in the UAE, with about 76 percent of the country’s population practicing the Koran’s teachings. However, the country’s law promotes religious freedom and has representative places of worship throughout the country, including Christianity, Judaism, and other faiths.

[Jerusalem Online]

Sunday, February 07, 2021

Can The Temple Mount Bring Peace?


Israel and the Temple Mount's Five Muslim Rivals

- Daniel Pipes, PhD 

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 Erdo─čan 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.

[Israel Hayom] 


Monday, January 25, 2021

Will Biden Continue Abraham Accords?

Social Media Sees Drop in Arab Objection to Normalization 

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.
(Jerusalem Post)

U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke by phone with Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben Shabbat. They discussed opportunities to enhance their bilateral partnership, including by building on the success of Israel's normalization arrangements with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. 

Sullivan confirmed the U.S. will closely consult with Israel on all matters of regional security. He also extended an invitation to begin a strategic dialogue in the near term to continue substantive discussions
(White House)

After four intense years, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman sat down with Israel Hayom for an "exit interview." 

"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."  
(Israel Hayom)

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Dump The Palestinians


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.

This diplomatic breakthrough and peace agreement, at first between a few Arab powerhouses, led by the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco is simply unprecedented. Add the countries that continue to follow along with whispers that Saudi Arabia will eventually join, and the map of the Middle East isn’t only re-edited: It is completely rewritten.

Our communal objectives must be reflected in this. This redrawn map will outlive the Trump Presidency and the Jewish community’s distaste for it. The writing is on the wall: the Abraham Accords will continue to shift, guide and influence Middle Eastern geopolitics of the twenty-first century.

Shouldn’t we jump on board? If Sunni Arab Muslim countries, their leadership and increasingly their populations don’t care about the Palestinian cause, why should we?

Why must American Jews cling to a cause that acts against the interest of the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors? Do we want to live in a world where the Israeli government is more aligned with the Sunni-Arab states than with the United States and its Jewish powerhouse of a Diaspora?

What moral imperative calls upon us as a Jewish People to tie our identities, and the love of our nation state, to a neighboring people who name streets after people who kill us, who pay terrorists to kill us and who refuse to accept that we, the Jews, have a right to a state?

This shouldn’t be so complicated. The Arab World is beginning to turn the page and recognize the Palestinian cause for what it is: a problem, a problem that would only grow exponentially if granted statehood. It is time the American Jewish community does the same.

Clutching onto the Palestinian cause as the Arab World continues to publicly, and rightfully, reject it is simply shooting ourselves strategically in the foot, right as the marathon is about to begin. And don’t we want to win the marathon?

It is time the organizations bent on establishing a Palestinian state in the name of their Judaism update their policy objectives, smell the Aroma coffee...

The region – along with the overwhelming majority of Israelis – has moved on from the malpractice of Palestinian rejectionism: It’s time we as a community do so, too.

The times have changed and so must we. We must craft and enact communal objectives based on the reality of the moment and not the nostalgia of Olso’s archaic past. Jewish organizations whose sole mission is the establishment of a Palestinian state are stuck in the 1990s and cannot wish 2021 away. 

The Palestinian cause hates Jews. The Palestinian cause hates Zionists. The Palestinian cause hates America and Americans. Shouldn’t we dedicate our time, communal objectives, organizations and its funds to causes that actually authentically embrace us?

In other words: Let's build the Jewish state. Let's invest in projects and partners who put our values into action – not those who name streets after terrorists who killed Israelis.

Let's build a new Jewish world in 2021 with a renewed and honest vision, with our new partners in the Arab world who have rejected Palestinian rejectionism. Let’s embrace our new and growing list of Arab partners – and leave our old ones in the past.
Justin Hayet is the COO of Bnai Zion and is the youngest executive of a major Jewish organization in the United States.
[Jerusalem Post] 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Collapse of the Palestinian Movement


The Collapse of Palestinian Grand Strategy - Dr. Eran Lerman

The Palestinian quest to isolate Israel and boycott it in the international community, and thus force it into surrender, has failed. Foundational aspects of the regional order have changed, with a breakthrough towards peace and normalization with Arab countries. Moreover, the Arab League (under Egypt's guidance) refused to consider the Palestinian complaint against "normalizers."
The Palestinians hope that a Biden administration will usher in an era where they can pursue again a strategy of isolating Israel. Latching on to such hopes is an indication of the Palestinians' lack of realism. American political dynamics do not sustain such Palestinian expectations. While pressures from academia and the progressive left are matters of some concern, the firm foundations of support for Israel are still strong on both sides of the aisle. It is also still possible to rely on the deeply ingrained support for Israel among at least 2/3 of all Americans.
The writer, vice president of JISS, held senior posts in IDF Military Intelligence for over 20 years. 
(Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security)

VideoBites: Musical Celebration of Abraham Accords


The news report about the song celebrating The Abraham Accords

The song!

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Chanukah Miracle: Morocco & Israel Make Peace


Morocco, Israel normalize ties 

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.

Israel and Morocco plan to reopen economic liaison offices, which were closed in 2002, and work quickly to exchange ambassadors and begin direct flights, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner said normalization “comes on the heels of four years of very, very hard work and very intense diplomacy.”

"The team, led by Jared Kushner, has worked on this deal for over a year," Avi Berkowitz, Special Representative for International Negotiations, who took part in negotiating the normalization agreement, told The Jerusalem Post. He added that he hopes that the deal will lead to a warm peace between the two countries.

The move is the culmination of a successful year of upgrading Israel’s relations with Arab and Muslim countries, beginning with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visiting Chad and meeting Sudan’s leader in Uganda, the Abraham Accords, as well as the warming relations and cooperation with Saudi Arabia, in addition to a number of other Arab states.

Long before that, Morocco had a relationship with Israeli intelligence agencies. Moroccan King Hassan II gave Israel recordings of an Arab League meeting that helped Israel prepare for the Six Day War in 1967, according to former IDF intelligence chief Shlomo Gazit and the former intelligence officer and cabinet minister Rafi Eitan. That same year, the Mossad helped Morocco abduct a dissident from France.
[Jerusalem Post] 


Israelis of Moroccan descent celebrated Thursday's decision by Morocco to normalize relations with Israel. "We who were born in Morocco, we and the people of Morocco all over the world, have been waiting so long for this day," said Moroccan-born Aryeh Deri, Israel's interior minister.

Transportation Minister Miri Regev said: "Generations of Moroccan Jews have dreamed of peace with the country where they were born and where our culture is so deeply rooted. May the blessing of Allah come upon us and upon them."  
(Times of Israel)

Behind the announcement Thursday that Israel and Morocco will establish formal diplomatic ties lies almost six decades of close, secret cooperation on intelligence and military matters. Israel has helped Morocco obtain weapons and intelligence-gathering gear and learn how to use them. One million Israelis are from Morocco or descended from those who were.
In 1965, when Arab leaders and military commanders met in Casablanca, Morocco allowed Israel's Mossad to bug their meeting rooms and private suites. The eavesdropping gave Israel unprecedented insight into Arab thinking, capabilities and plans, which was vital to Israel in preparing for the 1967 war. A decade later, Morocco became the site of secret meetings between Israel and Egypt ahead of the 1978 Camp David accords. 
(New York Times)

Monday, October 26, 2020

Peace Breaks Out: Peaceniks Fail to Notice


Abdalla Hamdok, Sudan's Prime Minister [L]

The Arab-Israeli Peace Cascade
 - Editorial

Alumni of the previous U.S. administration were certain that a pro-Israel foreign policy would inflame the Arab world, and that Mideast progress depended on accommodating the regime in Iran. In fact, Israel is the region's chief source of stability and Iran its main source of terror and mayhem. The agreement by Sudan, a country of more than 40 million, to normalize Israel ties shows that the peace cascade goes beyond the Persian Gulf and could extend across the Arab world.
(Wall Street Journal)

Sudan and Israel have agreed to begin normalizing relations, President Trump and leaders of both nations said Friday, marking the third such accord brokered by the White House since August. The deal does not immediately entail full diplomatic relations, but it is an agreement to start discussions over normalization with an initial focus on economic matters. Trump said "at least five" more countries are in line to normalize relations with Israel under U.S. auspices. 
(Washington Post)

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.
The peace deal with Sudan goes beyond having declarative importance. Diplomatically, one less country will vote against Israel in international organizations and forums, and will no longer join efforts impose boycotts or sanctions on the Jewish state.
From an Arab-Muslim standpoint, the accord means another dent in the wall of opposition Israel faces in the Arab world. Sudan has now become the fifth Arab nation to recognize Israel.
Behind the scenes, a diplomatic battle is now being waged for Qatar's allegiances: The U.S. and Israel are trying to mediate rapprochement between Qatar and Saudi Arabia in an effort to pull Doha away from the radical Islamist axis, headed by Turkey. 
(Israel Hayom)


  • 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.
(Times of Israel)

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Why Arabs Abandoned The Palestinian Cause


Arabs abandon the Palestinian cause

Why Other Arabs Resent Palestinians - Dr. Mordechai Kedar

While many Arabs and Muslims hate Israel, a good many hate the Palestinians just as much. Many of the Palestinian Arabs are not originally Palestinians at all. They are immigrants who came to the Land of Israel from all over the Arab world during the British Mandate in order to find employment in the cities and on the farms the Jews had built. Why, ask the other Arabs, should they get preferential treatment over those who remained in their original countries?
At the end of the 1948 Israeli War of Independence, the politics in the Arab world began to center on Israel and the "Palestinian problem," the solution to which was to be achieved by eliminating Israel. In order to succeed in that mission, the Arab "refugees" were kept in camps and not absorbed into other Arab countries. They were provided with food, education, and medical care without charge, even as other Arabs had to work to provide food, education, and medical care for their own families. "Refugees" would often sell some of their free foodstuffs to their non-refugee neighbors and make a tidy profit.
Over the years, the Palestinian Arabs were given many billions of dollars by the nations of the world, so that the yearly per capita income in the PA is several times greater than that of the Arabs in Egypt, Sudan, Algeria, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and Yemen.
Much of the Arab and Muslim world is convinced that the Palestinians do not in fact want a state of their own. After all, if that state were established, the world would cease its steady donations and Palestinian Arabs would have to work just like everyone else.
The writer, a senior research associate at the BESA Center, served for 25 years in IDF military intelligence. 
(BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Peace Has Come: The Abraham Accords

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!

At the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the accords "open the door for Muslims around the world to visit the historic sites in Israel and to peacefully pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem....For generations, the people of the Middle East have been held back by old conflicts, hostilities...lies that the Jews and Arabs were enemies and that Al-Aqsa Mosque was under attack. Constantly, they would say it was under attack....These agreements prove that the nations of the region are breaking free from the failed approaches of the past."  
(White House)

Since the agreement with the UAE was announced, Israeli Arabs mostly talked about the possible economic, academic and tourism benefits it might bring.
Thanks to their language, education and religion, Israeli Arabs stand to be the main beneficiaries of the agreements. They can not only do business in the Gulf, but also travel and study there.
(Ynet News)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at the White House: "For thousands of years, the Jewish people have prayed for peace. For decades, the Jewish state has prayed for peace. And this is why today we're filled with such profound gratitude."
"I am grateful to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates and to you, Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed. I thank you both for your wise leadership and for working with the United States and Israel to expand the circle of peace. I am grateful to King Hamad of Bahrain and to you, Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani, for joining us in bringing hope to all the children of Abraham....This is not only a peace between leaders, it's a peace between peoples - Israelis, Emiratis and Bahrainis are already embracing one another."  
(Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Palestinians in Gaza fired 13 rockets at Israel beginning during the White House ceremony where Israel, the UAE and Bahrain signed agreements to establish diplomatic relations. As the rocket fire continued on Wednesday, 8 of the rockets were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system. In response, the IDF launched 10 air strikes on military targets in Gaza.
(Ynet News)

Peace. Shalom. Salaam - Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan

"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.
Non-Arab countries and a mob of non-state actors exist in a warped axis of perpetual resistance. They advocate one brand or another of extremism. They are nostalgic over lost empires or obsess over a new caliphate. The signing of the peace accord this week is a reminder that all the people of the Middle East are tired of conflict. The priority now is to continue to modernize our societies and to stabilize the broader region.
In the Emirates, we are committed to the true tenets of Islam - moderation, inclusion and peace. The Palestinian leadership should use this moment to reorganize its approach and prepare to re-engage in productive discussions. 
The writer is the United Arab Emirates minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation. 
(Wall Street Journal)

A tipping point seems to have been reached in the Middle East. Resentment of Zionism and sympathy for the Palestinians will no longer be allowed to interfere with what embattled Arab rulers see as a vital relationship. Geopolitically, conservative Arab states have long understood that their interests and Israel's are connected.
The more the U.S. withdraws from the region, the greater the value of Israel to the Sunni Arab world. Growing numbers of Arab leaders believe that Israel is the only country with both the will and the means to help the Arab world defend itself from regional threats. Beyond that, Israel is by any measure the most successful state in the Middle East with the most technologically advanced economy in the region.
The Arab rapprochement with Israel reflects a sober and serious response to realities that no Arab state can ignore. As a military and intelligence partner, as a diplomatic force multiplier, as a trading partner, as a source of investment and of development expertise, Israel is too valuable to the Arab world to be relegated to the status of a regional pariah. It has earned its place in the Middle East. 
The writer is professor of foreign affairs and the humanities at Bard College. 
(Wall Street Journal)

As consequential as the peace deals between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain is the Arab League's refusal to condemn them. This is bad news for those Palestinian leaders and activists who think that they can somehow restore the status quo ante 1948, when Israel didn't exist.
Peace between Israelis and Arabs will not come from the inside out - from a deal between Jerusalem and Ramallah that wins over the rest of the Arab world. Decades of diplomatic failure should put an end to that fantasy. Peace might come from the outside in: from an Arab world that encircles Israel with recognition and partnership rather than enmity, and which thereby shores up Israel's security while moderating Palestinian behavior. 
(New York Times)

The Middle East is changing, and the Arabs are accepting that Israel is a legitimate strategic player. The Palestinians, the supposed epicenter of the region's worries, have become a disposable cause. The Palestinians must recognize that they have brought this situation on themselves by their serial rejection of peace offers in the past. How could they assume that the Arab states would forever mortgage their national interests to fulfill the Palestinians' implausible expectations? 
The writer, a former Israeli foreign minister, is vice president of the Toledo International Center for Peace. 
(Project Syndicate )
And this blast from the past:
2016, John Kerry, Obama's Secretary of State

John Kerry 2016