Tuesday, September 22, 2020

From Ian:

MK Orit Farkash-Hacohen: UAE-Israel partnership will advance peace in Middle East
This moment also allows us to face common threats with a united front. Not surprisingly, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and members of the anti-Israel delegitimization campaign came out against peace and normalisation.

The UAE’s decision to abolish its Boycott Law, as well as the Arab League’s decision not to condemn the peace deal, serve as strong messages: the days of boycotts are behind us; now we stand ready to join hands against terror, extremism and aggression.

History teaches us that mutual acceptance is indispensable to advancing reconciliation in our region. When recognised and given assurances for their security, Israelis feel more ready to take risks and make concessions for peace.

Those who genuinely wish to promote peace should invest in legitimisation, understanding, and dialogue. In contrast, those trying to divide us by building walls of hate, alienation and lies should be denounced for what they are: extremists or detractors of peace.

Last week’s ceremony was history in the making; now it is our shared goal to rise to the occasion. We must strive to build partnerships to advance our region, bring additional countries to join the circle of peace, including the Palestinians, and confront extremists and aggressors. Together we can do it.

MK Orit Farkash-Hacohen is Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs and a member of Israel’s National Security Cabinet


Yisrael Medad: Reversing a century of Pan-Islamic anti-Zionism
There are several convincing factors as to why Israel, its supporters – both Jews and non-Jews, as well as all men and women of reason – should be satisfied with the signing of two arrangements for peaceful relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and Israeli and Bahrain.

One of them is the historical handicap the conflict between Arabs and the State of Israel and its Zionist character has been cast for a century. Indeed, the frame of reference of the "Palestine conflict" has always been one that includes the entire Muslim world. That world's identification with and sympathy for the "plight of Palestine" is now, in a sense, dissolving.

What was the historical backdrop to that phenomenon?

As Suleiman Mousa, writing in the International Journal of Middle East Studies, notes that already in July 1922, at the time of the Haj: "A Palestine delegation arrived in Mecca to explain to the king [Hussein ibn Ali] the dangers inherent in the policy of the Jewish National Home. The British government of Palestine, perturbed at the activities of the delegation, sent a letter to the Hijaz government refuting its complaints and claiming that the Arabs in Palestine were faring well and prospering. The Hijaz government refused to accept this statement and insisted that the Balfour Declaration should be canceled."

The head of that 1922 delegation was Abdelqader Al-Muzaffar, who had led previous Haj pilgrimages to Mecca. Its members sailed to Sudan and from there to Jeddah, arriving on July 11. It established pro-Arab Palestine committees at all the stops and sought meetings with leading political and religious personalities. Their theme was "Defend Al-Aqsa."
Alexander Downer: Trump has changed conversation on Israel at last
This change in the Middle East is, to say the least, dramatic. It is a geo-political realignment. The Arab states which recognise Israel and trade with Israel have the great advantage of being able to tap into the things that Israel does really well, not least innovative technology and medicine.

But there’s more to it than that. Those Arab states now working with Israel have changed the balance of power in the region away from Iran. This is a far more significant change in the architecture of the region than President Obama’s JCPOA agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. That agreement was temporary and, of course, could easily be breached by the Iranians. Whether it would be is another question. I doubt Iran would be so foolhardy under any circumstance to develop a nuclear weapons capability.

On the other hand, Israel, with a small population but a mighty defence force, will be an invaluable ally for those Arab states which fear the power of Tehran.

So where does this leave the Palestinians? This is not good news for them. It does demonstrate that for much of the Arab world there is a good deal more to worry about than the plight of the Palestinians. The Gulf States are deeply concerned about the power of Iran, they have to wrestle with COVID-19 and the global economic meltdown, and they have internal political challenges to deal with. A relationship with Israel, their ties with America and their broader links with the rest of the world are going to matter a great deal more to them than a Palestinian population not willing to engage constructively in negotiations with Israel.

So the conversation in the Middle East has changed. The Palestinian leadership would be wise to recognise that. Its strategy for the past few decades has run out of puff. Continual condemnation of Israel, resolutions through United Nations bodies, demonstrations outside Israeli embassies and so on have yielded nothing. It is time the Palestinians came up with their own peace plan, decided to engage in negotiations with the Israelis and take advantage of the new relationship between several Arab states and Israel.

Who knows whether the US administration will be able to pull that off after the elections in November? But if we’ve learnt anything over the past four years, it is a mistake to underestimate the Trump administration when it comes to creative diplomacy in the Middle East.
How everyday people can help Israel and support peace in the Middle East
This year can no longer be written off as a complete annus horribilis. Against all odds, peace appears to be breaking out in the Middle East.

Last week, Israel doubled the number of formal peace agreements with its regional Arab neighbors, leapfrogging from two to four. To borrow a phrase from the Democratic presidential nominee, the warm peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are “a BFD.”

But what can individuals or organizations now do to support these burgeoning alliances and further cement peace in the region? That’s the question everyone who embraces peace and a strong U.S.-Israel relationship should now be asking. Some ideas are best suited for those active on social media, some are aimed at those in the business world, and others work best for students and others active in campus life.

Dov Hikind, the founder of Americans Against Antisemitism, acknowledged he hasn’t tracked public comments from Jewish organizations but advises, “If they haven’t, everyone should support this.” Hikind continued, “People need to make their voices heard. Everything counts, everything is important. Something like this happens, it’s something to celebrate.”

That is undoubtedly true. As for how people might make their voices heard, blogger Elder of Ziyon recommends amplifying pro-Israel Gulf Arab content on social media, that entrepreneurs form joint U.S.-Israel-UAE partnerships, and that people engage in the usual writing of op-eds, letters to the editor, and comments on news articles.
Trump at UN: Other countries ‘coming fast’ to make peace with Israel
US President Donald Trump reiterated his administration’s intention to broker additional normalization agreements between Israel and other countries in the Middle East, during a virtual address Tuesday at the United Nations General Assembly.

Highlighting the Israel-UAE and Israel-Bahrain agreements signed last week at the White House, Trump called them “landmark breakthrough with two peace deals in the Middle East after decades of no progress.”

He then asserted that other nations will sign peace deals with Israel.

“They are coming fast, and they know it’s great for them and great for the world,” he said in a recorded message played to the annual meeting of the UN.

“We intend to deliver more peace agreements shortly, and I have never been more optimistic for the future of the region. There is no blood in the sand. Those days are hopefully over,” said Trump.

“These groundbreaking peace deals are the dawn of a new Middle East,” he continued. “By taking a different approach, we have achieved different outcomes — far superior outcomes.”

Echoing a slogan used by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tout the recent agreements, Trump said the US-brokered deals represent “peace through strength.”
Netanyahu and Bahrain’s crown prince discuss fresh normalization deal
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday spoke to Bahrain’s crown prince, Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, in their first public conversation since Jerusalem and Manama signed a historic “Declaration of Peace” in Washington last week.

During the call, the crown prince “underscored the importance of securing regional and international stability and enhancing efforts to support peace in the region,” according to the state-run Bahrain News Agency. Salman further noted that “the agreement signed at the White House on September 15 will strengthen regional security, stability and prosperity.”

Netanyahu and the future king of the tiny island nation also “reviewed potential areas of bilateral cooperation and relevant regional and international developments,” according to the agency.

Netanyahu later released a statement saying that he left important discussions about Israel’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic to take the crown prince’s call, which he called an “important national need.”

The prime minister said he and Salman had an “outstanding conversation, very friendly.”
The One and Only Enduring Palestinian Vision
James Zogby of the Zogby Research Service (ZRS) is not known to be a friend of Israel. In fact, he serves as an effective spokesperson for the Palestinians. An Arab-Palestinian himself, Zogby has been a harsh critic of Israel. Yet, in an opinion piece in Cairo’s Ahramonline (the online version of Egypt’s major outlet Al-Ahram, September 7, 2020) Zogby expressed disappointment with the Palestinian leadership lack of vision. He expressed it in his piece titled Absent But Needed: A Palestinian Vision.

Zogby pointed out that, “what had gone wrong with the Palestinian cause then (and now) is “visionless leadership.” He elaborated, that they (the leadership) “Lost their spark and their way after repeated costly setbacks: Black September in Jordan, their use of horrific acts of terror against innocents, their expulsion from Beirut in 1982, and their foolish embrace of Saddam in 1990.” The latter actions were decisions Yasser Arafat took in provoking an Israeli response to repeated terror attacks by Palestinians commanded by Arafat, including the attempted assassination of Shlomo Argov, Israel’s ambassador to London, which led to the First Lebanon War.

It was Arafat’s decision in 1990 to support Saddam Hussein, Iraq’s dictator, brutal invasion of Kuwait. As a result of Arafat’s action, the Kuwaiti government expelled half a million Palestinians who lived in the oil rich sheikdom. What Zogby failed to mention was the fact that Arafat once again provoked the Second intifada which killed over 1,000 Israeli civilians and brought destruction and economic ruin to the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. Arafat, who gave Hamas a ‘green light,’ to execute suicide bombing against Israeli civilian targets was in total violation of the Oslo Accords. He hoped that it would weaken and demoralize Israel, then Israel would fall apart once the Palestinians launched a full-scale armed struggle.

Zogby suggested that more recently, the vehement reaction in Ramallah by the Palestinian Authority leadership to the Israel-United Arab Emirates peace deal, “By focusing their wrath on the recent UAE-Israel accord, the Palestinian leaders missed the mark. The UAE’s move to normalize in order to stop annexation is not the cause of Palestinian woes; it is a symptom of the state of affairs that has for too long plagued the noble cause of justice for the long-oppressed Palestinian people.” Clearly, the Palestinians have once again missed an opportunity to be part of a positive development brought about by the Trump administration’s “Peace of the Century” deal. It might not have satisfied all of the Palestinian aspirations, including the disappearance of the Jewish state, but it would have given the Palestinian people an economic stake that would have improved their lives, and that of their children.
MEMRI: Editor Of Saudi Daily: Normalization With Israel Is The Arabs' Only Option
In an article published September 13, 2020, two days before the signing of the Israel-UAE-Bahrain peace agreements in Washington, Khalid bin Hamad Al-Malik, editor of the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, wrote that the Arabs, having failed to defeat Israel militarily and having realized its strength, have no option but to normalize relations with Israel. After 70 years of bitter experience, he wrote, some Arab countries now understand that they must adopt different strategies and reach understandings with Israel in order to achieve what cannot be achieved without establishing peace. Castigating the Palestinian leadership and Turkey, who had condemned these agreements even though they themselves had been among the first to recognize Israel, Al-Malik also stressed that any country's decision to do this is sovereign and independent, and that neither the Palestinians nor others who exploit their cause have any right to interfere in it.

The following are translated excerpts from Al-Malik's article: "The Arabs have no option but to normalize [relations] and establish full diplomatic ties with Israel. They tried war and were defeated; they tried hostility towards Israel and gained nothing; they tried to reconcile [with Israel] on their own terms and failed. Finally they tried peace as a way to achieve what they have failed to achieve through war... I agree with certain Palestinian leaders who said that the Palestinian cause is their affair and not the affair of the Arabs, and that they, the Palestinians, are responsible for establishing their state in all the Palestinian territories through armed struggle. This is [precisely] why the Arabs are entitled to normalize relations with Israel and establish full ties with it, for the Palestinians have already shouldered the responsibility of regaining their legitimate rights and establishing a state with Jerusalem as its capital, and have no need of the Arabs who have normalized their relations with Israel. However, I do not support their objection to any Arab country agreeing to recognize Israel, since such recognition does not negate the demand to attain the [Palestinian] rights, and does not hinder their ability to compel Israel to surrender land that belongs to them according to international resolutions.

"In fact, this [Arab] recognition of Israel may have helped persuade it to meet some of the Palestinians' demands. In addition, the experience of 70 years of hostility towards Israel does not suggest that the future would have been any better. The internal disputes among the Palestinians and among the Arabs, coupled with Israel's growing offensive military capabilities and the growing support of the superpowers for Israel, are factors that must be taken into account in any intelligent Arab and Palestinian decision. There is also a need to formulate new strategies, methods of operation, and understandings with Israel that are different from those of the past, in order to attain achievements that the Palestinians cannot attain unless the Arabs make peace with Israel.


MEMRI: UAE Writer: The Arab Countries' Expulsion Of The Jews Was A Disastrous Mistake
Emirati writer Salam Hamid, founder and head of the Al-Mezmaah Studies and Research Center in Dubai, published an article titled "The Cost of the Expulsion of the Arab Jews" in the UAE daily Al-Ittihad, in which he lamented the expulsion of the Jews from the Arab countries following the establishment of Israel in 1948. This expulsion, he said, was a grave mistake, since the Arab countries thereby "lost an elite population with significant wealth, property, influence, knowledge, and culture," which could have helped them, including against Israel, and lost the potential contribution of the Jews in many spheres, especially in the financial sphere. The Arabs, he added, should have learned a lesson from the expulsion of the Jews of Spain in 1492, and from Hitler's expulsion of the Jews of Europe, which eventually harmed the countries that lost their Jews. He stated further that antisemitism, which is deeply entrenched in Arab societies, stems from the books that teach Islamic heritage, studied in schools throughout the Arab world, and therefore called for an overhaul of the curricula in order to strengthen tolerance and banish extremism.

The following are translated excerpts from his article: [1] "During the years that followed the declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, most Arab countries expelled their Jewish citizens, who numbered approximately 900,000, to Israel. With this apparently strange behavior, [the Arab countries] gave a gift to the growing Hebrew nation. This makes me wonder: Why were these people deported, and what was their crime?

"Over time, [this expulsion] had disastrous repercussions, when [it turned out that] the Arabs had lost an elite population with significant wealth, property, influence, knowledge, and culture. Soon enough, the Arabs waged pointless wars against Israel, until they were defeated [in June 1967] with heavy losses. Nevertheless, the mentality of the Arab leadership persisted, as they spun conspiracy theories to their defeated peoples and sought scapegoats in order to justify their repeated defeats at the hand of Israel. "If you ever visit Israel, you will see citizens of diverse colors, just like in the U.S. They arrived as immigrants from across the globe, of various races, and almost half of them are from Arab countries. Any intelligent person is aware that Jews had lived in Arab countries for 2,000 years before being arbitrarily expelled – yet here they are now, making up half of Israel's citizens.




6 weeks after UAE’s normalization bombshell, Palestinians still have no strategy
It has been nearly a month and a half since the surprise announcement that the United Arab Emirates was establishing open ties with Israel. But analysts say the Palestinian Authority is still at a loss as to how to combat the wave of normalization sweeping the region.

“There is no strategy right now — at least not in foreign policy,” Jihad Harb, a Palestinian political analyst based in Nablus, told The Times of Israel.

Palestinians have scrambled to respond, switching rhetoric fast enough to give close observers whiplash. Bitter denunciation of the UAE, including public burnings of pictures of UAE Crown Prince Mohammad bin Zayed, was suddenly put on hold after harsh criticism from powerful Gulf sponsors forced Abbas’s office to announce that it respected “the sovereign symbols” of its fellow countries.

After the Arab League smacked down a Palestinian-sponsored resolution to condemn the UAE for normalizing its relations with Israel, the PA said it was reviewing its membership in the pan-Arab body — before folding and saying it would remain inside after all. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) and Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary-General Saeb Erekat (L) at the opening session of the 30th Arab League summit in the Tunisian capital Tunis on March 31, 2019. (Fethi Belaid/Pool/AFP)

The leadership has dusted off a well-worn “crisis playbook” familiar to fans of the genre: unity talks with old rivals Hamas and Islamic Jihad, protests against the normalization deal, and an attempt to extract condemnations from the Arab League.

“The PA essentially fell back on its traditional strategy and tools. It’s a strategy that worked in the past in certain respects — especially in forging an Arab, Islamic and almost international consensus against the Trump peace plan,” said Ghaith al-Omari, a former adviser to Abbas who is currently a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
Palestinians relinquish Arab League chairmanship in protest of normalization
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad al-Maliki said Tuesday that the PA will relinquish its role as temporary chairman of the current round of Arab League meetings in protest of the League’s refusal to condemn normalization with Israel.

“I inform you today that the State of Palestine is relinquishing its chairmanship in this accursed round of meetings,” al-Maliki said on Tuesday. “Palestine refuses to record in its history that it presided over the moral degeneracy that was revealed in the last meeting…and the normalization steps that followed it, which were in essence a rejection of the work we did between the walls of the Arab League.”

Under Arab League rules, the PA would have continued to chair meetings for another six months.

Ramallah previously indicated it could leave the pan-Arab body after the League rejected a Palestinian resolution to condemn the United Arab Emirates for establishing open ties with Israel.

The condemnation was deemed unlikely to pass from the start, as several Arab countries had publicly praised the normalization accords. But the predictability of its demise did little to lessen what many saw as a serious blow to Palestinian diplomacy — a betrayal of the Palestinians’ cause by an organization that had long championed their right to a state. Only a few days after the resolution failed, Bahrain announced that it would normalize ties with Israel as well.
PMW: PMW Special Report: PA: UAE and Bahrain sign deal with death
Fatah: “If Trump would have asked some of the Arab rulers to strip and walk naked in the streets of Tel Aviv – they would agree”

PA furious that Arab states stopped following its dictates and made peace with Israel

Fatah: Normalizing with Israel - a partnership of blood and death

PA: “A traitor” and a “tumor” - UAE Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayedis destined for “the trash can of history”

Fatah posts Bahraini children’s poem: “Jews are [our dogs]”

“The PA leadership rejects and condemns the tripartite agreement between the US, Bahrain, and Israel to normalize the relations between the Israeli occupation state and the Kingdom of Bahrain, and views it as a betrayal of Jerusalem, the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the Palestinian cause”

Fatah threat: “To all the bats lying in ambush in the dark… Fatah’s traps are hidden, so woe to anyone who is tempted and thinks that the Palestinian people will agree to bend the knee.”

PA warning: “Israel will eat the flesh of the UAE and cast aside its bones”

Fatah symbolically buries the Arab League


The political decision-makers who know better than we
In 1999, a book titled What If? included a collection of essays by thirty-four military historians, journalists, and novelists, all who were asked to indulge in an intellectual exercise of “counterfactual” conjecture of famous historical events. At issue: what if, through a fallen domino and a series that follow, some of our history had happened a little differently? The argument: sometimes events control man more than man controls the events.

It was Albert Einstein who opined: “When the number of factors coming into play in a phenomenological complex is too large, scientific method in most cases fails. One need only think of the weather, in which case the prediction even for a few days ahead is impossible.”

While we cannot be trusted to accurately predict the weather, political analysts might have thoughtfully reasoned with an even greater accuracy the union of two camps – Israel and the Gulf states. The scientist would call it “causality” – the relationship between cause and effect. John Kerry – meet Donald Trump.

Secretary of State Kerry, representing perfectly the world-view of the White House that dispatched him to obtain an agreement with Iran no matter the cost, did exactly that. Kerry brokered the deal, but it was the Iranians in fact who authored its fundamental components. The Iranians told the US what they wanted, and the US readily agreed. Damn the consequences. Damn Israel and damn the Sunni states.

No one – not in Washington, in Teheran, in Jerusalem, or Dubai – realized that the most significant consequence was the unintended consolidation of two otherwise unaffiliated opponents of Iran’s ayatollahs: Israel and the Sunni Gulf states. The enemy of my enemy is my friend – a phrase that seemingly carries the same meaning if spoken in Arabic or in Hebrew.

Friedrich Von Schlegel, in Philosophical Fragments, wrote “the historian is a prophet looking backwards.” Looking backwards, John Kerry ought to be given the Nobel Peace Prize in October 2020 that his boss didn’t deserve in 2009. He could share it with President Trump who has been nominated twice this past week.

In the end, the geniuses of Obama’s foreign policy team – those who knew better than we – were silent. Because it wasn’t supposed to end this way.
Erdan walks out on ‘antisemitic’ Erdogan UN speech
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan walked out of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday, accusing him of antisemitism.

“Erdogan continues his lies and antisemitic statements against Israel, and it is important that the world know the double standards by which he has been living for many years,” Erdan stated.

Erdogan slammed Israel’s policies in Jerusalem and towards the Palestinians.

“The occupation and oppression of Palestine is a bleeding wound of humanity,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish President said “the filthy hand” - presumably of Israelis - is “constantly increasing its audacity” in Jerusalem’s holy sites.

Erdogan commended the Palestinians, who he said “stood up to Israeli policies of violence and intimidation for more than half a century.”

The Turkish president accused Trump of being a “collaborator” with Israel and called his peace plan “a document of surrender.”

“Turkey will not support any plan the Palestinian people do not give consent to,” Erdogan said. “[The plan] does not mean anything beyond serving Israel's efforts to erode basic international parameters.”
Merkel's malevolent advice to Netanyahu
The German press office published a release about a telephone call German Chancellor Angela Merkel made to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The report said that along with the mastering of the Covid19 pandemic regional themes were discussed.

-The Chancellor welcomed the ongoing conversations on the normalization of bilateral relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

-In this context she underlined the need for the reestablishment of relations with the Palestinian Arabs with the aim of a two state solution.

The latter was a malevolent advice. The word is chosen over more euphemistic terms such as misguided, counter-productive, antagonistic, confrontational, aggressive, disingenuous, disruptive, misplaced, erroneous and so on. In the Israeli agreement with the United Arab Emirates there is no mention of a Palestinian state. So what business is it of a Chancellor of Germany where remnants of its horrible past keep emerging?

There can in the future occur a situation where there will be two states on the West side of the Jordan river. Yet that is not a two-state solution. Turning the current Palestinian entities into a state, where the largest party, Hamas, is in favor of genocide of Jews -- more or less like the generation of Merkel's grandparents in Germany – is unlikely to solve anything. Also, the second largest Palestinian party, Fatah, is in favor of terrorism and the Palestinian Authority, which it controls, rewards potential or effective murderers. The glorification of death is a cult which permeates large parts of Palestinian society.
Egypt and UAE push to be 'pillars of stability' in Middle East
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has called for the international community to confront terrorism that “seeks to dismantle national states,” Al Ain News online reported. His comments at the UN were addressed to the global community, urging security and peace.

The remarks about the need to stop terrorism are what one would expect from any statesman. Egypt’s position is unique, however, in that it is battling ISIS in Sinai and also attempting to prevent Turkish-backed militants and arms from flooding into Libya.

Cairo has supported Khalifa Haftar and the Benghazi-based government of Libya against the Tripoli-based government. In the past year, increased Turkish support for Tripoli has escalated the conflict and led to setbacks for Haftar. Egypt in turn set redlines at Sirte on the Libyan coast, and a tenuous ceasefire has set in.

Egypt has sought to return strong national states to the region in the wake of the Arab Spring. This has meant a return to more authoritarian policies. But it also has come in reaction to the erosion of states that took place in Yemen, Syria and Libya and to some extent in Iraq. Cairo, along with its allies in Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, see Ankara and Tehran as sources of instability in the region.

None of these precise accusations were made in Shoukry’s statement, but he spoke of the “values of equality and interdependence between people, and sovereignty of states over their lands.” He also spoke in favor of cooperation on COVID-19 and cyber issues and the need to respect cultural differences of countries.
US, UAE reportedly finalizing deal for downgraded F-35 aircraft
The United States and the United Arab Emirates hope to have an initial agreement on the sale of F-35 stealth fighter jets to the Gulf state in place by December, as the Trump administration studies how to structure a deal without running afoul of Israel.

Sources close to the negotiations said the goal is to have a letter of agreement in place in time for UAE National Day celebrated on Dec. 2.

Any deal must satisfy decades of agreement with Israel that states any US weapons sold to the region must not impair Israel's "qualitative military edge," guaranteeing US weapons furnished to Israel are "superior in capability" to those sold to its neighbors.

With that in mind Washington is studying ways to make the Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 more visible to Israeli radar systems, two sources said. Reuters could not determine if this would be done by changing the jet or providing Israel with better radar, among other possibilities.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz was due to meet his US counterpart Mark Esper in Washington on Tuesday.

The UAE embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The White House declined to comment.

A Pentagon spokeswoman told Reuters, "as a matter of policy, the United States does not confirm or comment on proposed defense sales or transfers until they are formally notified to Congress."
Gantz heads to US to discuss Israel's military edge
Defense Minister Benny Gantz headed to Washington on Monday for talks with his US counterpart on maintaining Israel's qualitative military edge in the Middle East following its historic normalization agreement with the United Arab Emirates.

Since the agreement was announced last month, the UAE has made no secret about its desire to acquire F-35 warplanes and other advanced US-made weaponry. Israel is the only US ally in the Middle East to possess the stealth fighter jet.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu initially said he opposed the sale of the planes to any other nation in the region, even an Arab country at peace with Israel. But since then, he has softened his line, signaling he will trust the US to honor its commitment to ensure Israel's military edge in the region, even if the UAE obtains F-35s.

Gantz's office said he would meet with US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and other top Pentagon officials. It said the trip would include "meetings to discuss maintaining Israel's qualitative edge, international policy vis-a-vis Iran and strategy for stopping its expansion and entrenchment in the Middle East, as well as discussion on defense cooperation and procurement."
New Palestinian curriculum shows no improvements, antisemitism remains
The Palestinian Authority's newly released educational curriculum shows no substantive changes for the better, despite assurances earlier this year that egregious examples of antisemitism and hate education would be eliminated.

An analysis by the new curriculum by IMPACT-se, a research and policy institute that analyzes schoolbooks and curricula through UNESCO-derived standards on peace and tolerance, has found that educational textbooks for use in Palestinian schools throughout the West Bank remain openly antisemitic, encourage violence, and promote jihad and martyrdom.

Some 82% of the books remain unchanged from last year, while 152 modifications were found within the remaining 40 books, according to IMPACT-se's analysis. However, 88% of those adjustments either keep the problematic material intact or amplify it.

In one such modification, a reading comprehension exercise on Dalal Mughrabi, a terrorist who led the Coastal Road Massacre killing 38 Israelis, was replaced by text on Khalil al Sakakini, a notorious antisemite and Nazi sympathizer. Mughrabi meanwhile remains within the book, having been moved to a different section where she is lauded as the "crown of the nation."

In another, math is still being taught to 4th graders through the example of the number of "martyrs" who died in the intifadas, although this figure has been modified downwards from 2,026 to 1,392.
Palestinians arrest supporters of Abbas political rival based in UAE
Palestinian security forces arrested over half a dozen supporters of an exiled Palestinian politician who some have accused of involvement in the United Arab Emirates deal to forge ties with Israel, a spokesman for his faction said.

Mohammed Dahlan has lived in the UAE since being driven out of the West Bank in 2011 after a bitter row with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his political party Fatah, of which Dahlan is a member.

The Gulf Arab country's deal to establish diplomatic relations with Israel has angered Palestinians and stirred widespread speculation that Dahlan played a role.

Dahlan's faction has criticised Arab countries forming relations with Israel before its conflict with the Palestinians is resolved, though he has not outright denied involvement.

On Monday, seven members of Dahlan's faction were arrested by security forces from Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA), which has limited self-rule in the West Bank, according to Dahlan faction spokesman Imad Mohsen, who called the arrests "politically motivated".
EU said to be pressuring Palestinians to hold new elections
The Palestinian Authority is again facing pressure from some European Union states to hold long-overdue presidential and parliamentary elections.

Leaders of the ruling Fatah faction and Hamas were scheduled to meet in Turkey on Tuesday to discuss holding new elections and ending their dispute, which reached its peak in 2007. At the time, Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip after overthrowing the PA regime.

On the eve of the meeting, PA President Mahmoud Abbas phoned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and briefed him on efforts to end the Fatah-Hamas rift and hold new elections.

Abbas announced on September 26, 2019, during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly that he intends to set a date for elections upon his return to the West Bank.

Abbas, who is scheduled to address the UN General Assembly later this week by videoconference, abandoned the plan to hold elections on the pretext that Israel would not allow residents of east Jerusalem to participate in the vote.


FDD: Bulgarian court convicts two Hezbollah-linked men with 2012 Burgas bus bombing
Meliad Farah, a Lebanese-Australian, and Hassan el-Hajj, a Lebanese-Canadian, were convicted and sentenced today in absentia by a Bulgarian Special Criminal Court to life in prison for their roles in aiding a suicide bomber who blew up a bus at the Burgas Airport in 2012. The attack killed five Israeli tourists and their bus driver.

Prosecutors in the case charged that Farah and el-Hajj entered the country months before the assault using fake documents and provided explosives including logistical support to the bomber. Both were able to flee the country to an unknown destination.

The New York Times, quoting an unnamed American official after the bombing, said the strike was in retaliation for the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, for which Iran has blamed Israeli agents — an accusation that Israel has neither confirmed nor denied. “This was tit for tat,” said the American official.

The bomber, Mohamad Hassan el-Husseini, was captured on an airport security camera walking near one of the airport’s entrances carrying a large bag which investigators determined to have contained the bomb used in the offensive.

The prosecutor in the case, Evgenia Shtarkelova, said the men used forged identification cards printed in Lebanon and the attackers had family links to Hezbollah. Also, the bomb used in the assault contained ammonium nitrate which has previously been used by Hezbollah.

Although Hezbollah has denied being involved, the strike fits it modus operandi and that of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corp (IRGC) as both have carried out multiple acts of terrorism abroad for decades.
Iran-backed Hezbollah arms depot explodes in southern Lebanon
An arms depot of the Iran-backed Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah exploded in southern Lebanon on Tuesday, a security source said, injuring several people and sending a new shockwave across a nation grappling with its deepest crisis in three decades.

The security source said the arms depot blast, which sent a huge column of black smoke into the sky, was caused by a "technical error."

The al-Manar television station run by Lebanon's Hezbollah said the cause of an explosion in southern Lebanon on Tuesday was not yet clear.

The explosion rocked the village of Ain Qana in south Lebanon, a political stronghold of the heavily armed and politically powerful group which has fought wars with neighboring Israel.

The blast has further rattled a nation grappling with its worst crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war and still reeling from a devastating explosion at Beirut port that ripped through the capital, killing at least 190 people.

Since the Beirut blast on Aug. 4, subsequent fires at the port and elsewhere in the capital have caused panic in Beirut and the country, whose economy is in meltdown.
US slaps Iran, Venezuelan president with new sanctions
The United States on Monday slapped new sanctions on Iran's defense ministry and others involved in its nuclear and weapons program to support the US assertion that all UN sanctions against Tehran are now restored, which key European allies as well as Russia and China reject.

Iran said the new US sanctions, which targeted 27 Iranian entities and people in the nuclear, missile and conventional arms sectors, would have no effect and accused the United States of seeking publicity.

The latest sanctions on the oil-exporting nation include a new executive order signed by President Donald Trump targeting those who buy or sell Iran conventional arms.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters Washington had put new sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro under the order, accusing Iran and Venezuela of having worked "to flout the UN arms embargo" for nearly two years.

Under the same order, the United States also imposed penalties on Iran's Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics, as well as its Defense Industries Organization and its director, Mehrdad Akhlaghi-Ketabchi.

Others targeted under different programs include senior Atomic Energy Organization of Iran officials as well as people associated with its liquid propellant ballistic missile organization, Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group.
MEMRI: Lebanese Businessman: It’s A Pity The Arabs Never Managed To Leverage Their Capital Like The Jewish Rothschild Family, Which Uses Its Wealth To Control The World
In a May 2, 2020 article in the Bahraini daily Al-Ayyam, Lebanese businessman Akram Miknas, founder and board chairman of Promoseven, a large advertising and communications company based in Dubai, writes that the Jews were unable to take over the world using military power or even culture and innovation, and therefore chose to do so by amassing capital. This plan, he explains, was carried out by the Rothschild family, which worked cunningly from behind the scenes to take over the world’s financial institutions and advance the interests of the Jews.

Miknas complains that the Arabs, who throughout their history were also successful and wealthy traders, never used their financial resources like the Jews did, to gain advantage in the domains of politics, science, and innovation. He concludes that in order to secure a better future for themselves and their children the Arabs must “rethink [their] attitude toward capital.”

The following are translated excerpts from his article:[1] “I believe that the greatest event in Jewish history after the descent of Judaism as an Abrahamic religion is the advent of the Rothschild family. This family is the mover and shaker of world politics and the global economy. It ignites and extinguishes wars all over the world, imposes its rule on the world’s most arrogant regimes and controls [people’s] minds, demography and future. It controls everything in this world, great and small, in some manner or other, and does all this behind the scenes, far from the spotlight, without anyone knowing many details about it.

“This family’s keyword is ‘capital,’ so much so that it is said, ‘If money were god, the Rothschilds would have been its prophets and messengers.’ Since its establishment by Izaak Elchanan,[2] it has imposed restrictions on itself, to which it still adheres, [namely] acting in the service of capital and of the Jews, and doing so far from the spotlight.
US accuses Merkel of failing to combat Iran’s terrorism and antisemitism
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Germany’s largest circulating paper in a jaw-dropping on interview on Monday that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is not doing enough fight Islamic Republic of Iran's terrorism.

“Berlin does too little against mullah terror,” reads the sub-headline of the interview conducted by paper’s editor-in-chief Julian Reichelt via video.

When asked about the difference between Europe and the US with respect to the controversial Iran nuclear deal, Pompeo said: "There's been disagreement for years now about the value of this nuclear deal. The United States views it not only as unfortunate, but dangerous. The Europeans have suggested that somehow staying inside of this is important, the United States have taken a different approach. We are not going to allow them to have the money and wealth to allow them to continue to ferment terror.”

We are not going to send pallets of cash over to the Iranian regime," he added. "We are going to develop a system that makes sure Iran never has a nuclear weapon. The United States has the capacity to lead the world to push back against this terror threat."



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