Wednesday, August 19, 2020

From Ian:

David Singer: Saying no one time too many : The PLO sidelined
Trump’s Vision offered the PLO Gaza and possibly 70% of Judea and Samaria for a second Arab State in former Palestine - in addition to Jordan.

Abbas – who has been demanding 100% for the last 25 years – made his displeasure known in terms that must not have endeared him to Trump:

“I say to Trump and Netanyahu: Jerusalem is not for sale; all our rights are not for sale and are not for bargain. And your deal, the conspiracy, will not pass … We say a thousand no’s to the deal of the century,”

Trump’s offer – spurned so dismissively by Abbas - now seems destined for the dustbin of history.

The UN and European Union’s insistence that the “two-state solution” was the only solution that could end the Jewish-Arab conflict has been debunked as Israel and the UAE begin the path to peaceful co-existence.

Jordan and Egypt’s involvement after a 53 years absence becomes increasingly possible.

Israel’s planned application of sovereignty in the 30% of Judea and Samaria designated in Trump’s plan has been placed on hold – as Trump pointed out in his carefully worded White House statement:

“As a result of this diplomatic breakthrough, and at the request of President Trump with the support of the United Arab Emirates, Israel will suspend declaring sovereignty over areas outlined in the President’s Vision for Peace and focus its efforts now on expanding ties with other countries in the Arab and Muslim world. The United States, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates are confident that additional diplomatic breakthroughs with other nations are possible, and will work together to achieve this goal”..

The operative word is “suspend” not “abandon”

Once again Israel has made a major concession in pursuing peace by suspending its extension of sovereignty into the Jewish People’s biblical heartland – specifically designated for reconstitution of the Jewish National Home by the Mandate and preserved until today by article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

A bigger picture beckons as other Arab states could shortly follow the UAE’s decision and establish diplomatic relations with Israel.

Trump’s incredible efforts over the past three years to achieve peace between Jews and Arabs should see his most trenchant critics eating humble pie.

Jonathan Tobin: UAE Agreement Demonstrates That Netanyahu Is the Master Peacemaker
As far as most Democrats are concerned, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is one of their least favorite world leaders. Though not all of them go so far as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who scorns him as a "reactionary racist." But even those who consider themselves pro-Israel stalwarts draw the line at expressing support for Netanyahu.

Their allies in the media and the foreign policy establishment agree. Most pundits and so-called Middle East "experts" believe the Likud Party leader and his policies to be the principal obstacle to peace with the Palestinians. Many American Jews also deprecate him as a foe of liberal values whose refusal to compromise and alleged corruption is a threat to Israeli democracy.

But in the wake of the historic agreement reached last week between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to begin negotiations to normalize relations between the two countries, it's time for Netanyahu's detractors to acknowledge a truth they'd rather deny or ignore. Far from being a hard-liner or an obstacle to peace, Netanyahu is the most skillful and successful diplomat in Israel's history.

Few would dispute that as the longest-serving prime minister in Israeli history, Netanyahu is a master politician whose ability to stay on top is nothing short of remarkable.

It's also true that despite his truculent reputation, Netanyahu has been the most cautious of Israeli prime ministers when it comes to the use of military force. Unlike virtually all of his predecessors, he has been reluctant to use the Israel Defense Forces in all-out campaigns to silence attacks in the south, from Hamas-run Gaza, or in the north, from Hezbollah. Indeed, domestic critics from the left and the right have often criticized him for being too soft on terror, rather than being the warmonger depicted in the international press.

But the greatest misnomer about Netanyahu is the claim that his bluster is isolating his country.

Ruthie Blum: Netanyahu’s bold move
In answer to critics on both sides of the spectrum, Netanyahu penned an op-ed on Monday to “remind [readers] that in the current agreement, not only has Israel not withdrawn from so much as one square meter, rather the Trump plan includes, at my request, the application of Israeli sovereignty over extensive territories in Judea and Samaria. It was I who insisted on including sovereignty in the plan, and this plan has not changed. President Trump is committed to it and I am committed to conducting negotiations on this basis.”

He went on to say, “At the U.N. in 2013, I said that for years, many believed that Israeli-Palestinian peace would advance a broader reconciliation between Israel and the Arab world. I said that I was of the view that peace would be achieved in the opposite fashion: It was expanding reconciliation between Israel and the Arab world that would likely advance an Israeli-Palestinian peace.”

There is no question that Netanyahu was right all along that the root of Middle East strife was not a lack of Palestinian statehood. Only liberal Jews continued to believe that fallacy, to which even most Arabs have stopped paying lip service. Proof that they only used the Palestinian “cause” to bash Israel lays in the appalling treatment of Palestinians in their own countries.

This is something that members of the Israeli right never doubted. Many, however, have cast serious aspersions on Netanyahu’s convictions where preserving Jewish rights in the land of Israel is concerned. They see the UAE deal as a form of capitulation to foreign pressure.

They are wrong to perceive his actions in this light. He is not caving to Washington. Rather, he is buying time and creating optimal conditions for Israel’s road ahead. As Movement for Governability and Democracy managing director Daniel Seaman so aptly put it in these pages on Sunday: “While most politicians are busy playing checkers, Netanyahu has always been playing three-dimensional chess.”

Jason D. Greenblatt: Progress Versus Stagnation, Reality Versus Fantasy
Then we have the leaders of the Palestinian Authority, who refuse to acknowledge that they are not actually the leaders of all Palestinians. They are unwilling to admit that the bloodthirsty Hamas subjugates over two million Palestinians in Gaza, causing so much suffering. The Palestinian Authority condemned the accord and cannot get past its politics enough to see that this is a big, positive steppingstone toward a hoped-for, prayed-for, possible peace accord between Israel and the Palestinians. Instead, they choose symbolism, such as boycotting the Dubai World Expo, to make their point. (Note: Their boycott will have no bearing on its success.) It was only a short while ago that the United Arab Emirates generously sent a planeload of 16 tons of medical supplies to help the Palestinian Authority with its COVID-19 challenges. The Palestinian Authority rejected the much-needed supplies, claiming the rejection was because the UAE did not properly coordinate the delivery. But everyone knows the Palestinian Authority rejected it because the UAE flew the supplies to Israel's Ben Gurion Airport.

Husam Zomlot, the head of the Palestinian mission to the United Kingdom, described the accord as "very damaging to the cause of peace." Husam's view is that the accord "takes away one of the key incentives for Israel to end its occupation—normalization with the Arab world." Husam does not realize that the key to solving the conflict is a realistic deal that is negotiated directly by, and works for, both Israelis and Palestinians. He clings to the notion that normalization is essential for Israel and should, therefore, be withheld from them. He is wrong. It is security that is essential for Israel. Normalization is great, helpful and historic—but it is not essential. Normalization is proceeding between the UAE and Israel because both sides want it and will benefit from it. The Palestinian leadership no longer has a veto card over an entire region. Each country in the region has the right to make its own decisions for the benefit of its own country. Though the Arab-Israeli conflict is entwined with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, it can be separated and solved, piecemeal, even while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains unresolved.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed understands this. His goal was not to abandon the Palestinians, but to take care of his own country's objectives. He knows that with peace comes benefits for all. The UAE, an incredibly successful, welcoming and tolerant country, will now develop a relationship with another incredibly successful, welcoming and tolerant country—Israel. It is a match made in heaven. Other countries in the region will gain the same benefits as Israel and the UAE if they follow Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed's courageous lead. And then there are those countries and groups who will continue to languish and fail because instead of putting their people first, they continue to put political games, unrealistic expectations, fear, hatred and manipulation ahead of anything else.

It is time to recognize the difference between progress and stagnation. Progress is what the region deserves, and what Prime Minister Netanyahu and Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed have accomplished with President Trump. Real leaders know that difficult decisions are their responsibility, and that bold steps can change the future. Stagnation happens when other countries continue to blindly give aid just to keep the status quo, and ignore the real change that people need. Ruin is what happens when we let murderers, like the Islamic Republic of Iran and its front-men Hamas, Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, foment terrorism and abdicate their responsibility to their own people.

It is time for progress. It is time to speak the truth. It is time for peace and a prosperous future for the next generation not only of Israelis and Emiratis, but for all the good people who live and wish to thrive throughout the Middle East.
Why the Israel-UAE agreement is actually a very big deal: It offers a chance for the Middle East to embrace a new peace paradigm
Having said all this, the Palestinian assumption is too dour. They now believe their cause is now buried in light of the UAE-Israel announcement is wrong. When Egypt and Jordan made peace with Israel, their tendency was to be more engaged in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking than before.

Why? They were each politically exposed for making the move with Israel, leading them to want to widen the circle of peace. For example, Yasser Arafat never visited an Arab country without consulting with Cairo first. Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak hosted many peace summits between Israel and the Palestinians. Jordan’s King Hussein went to the Wye River peace conference straight from the Mayo Clinic in October 1998 shortly before he died, in an effort to coax Israelis and Palestinians to make concessions, which they did.

Once the shock subsides, the peace deal between the UAE and Israel should be used to revive ties between the Emiratis and Palestinians. The frostiness between Abu Dhabi and Ramallah is not because of the peace announcement, but predates it. There is personal enmity between Emirati Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, since the former invited the latter’s bitter rival Mohammad Dahlan to live in the UAE.

The Palestinians should also realize that, thanks to the Emiratis, this peace deal takes Israeli annexation off the table for now, and thereby preserves the option of a two-state solution. Senior Arab officials say the UAE did not move forward on peace with Israel without securing a commitment from the Trump White House not to recognize annexation in a second term and Joe Biden is on record as being against annexation. Neither Israel nor the U.S. is going to want to jeopardize this peace with annexation.

It is time for the Palestinians to get over their shock and begin to see the Israeli-Emirati breakthrough as a potential bridge to restart talks with Israel; after all, Netanyahu and Abbas have not publicly met since 2010. The Emirates’ close ties with Israel can be helpful. The old paradigm is dead. It needs to be replaced with an approach by the Palestinians that turns a crisis into an opportunity.
The Palestinians weren’t betrayed by the UAE. They were simply left behind
sraelis did not resist Netanyahu’s push for annexation, but neither did they back it. It was a proposal born on the ideological right, but which managed to gain traction mainly because Israelis do not perceive any real hope on the Palestinian front.

Palestinians lost a great deal last week. They weren’t “betrayed,” as some PA leaders have complained, but simply left behind. They didn’t lose vital allies who cared deeply for their cause, but one-time supporters who still vaguely support them but are tired of the intractability of their cause.

Palestinian leaders and activists may gall at the prospect, but the Emirati initiative demonstrates one thing above all: if they wish to change Israeli policy and behavior, they must convincingly explain to Israelis that a withdrawal is not the catastrophe-in-waiting that so many expect. The Palestinians must give the Israelis something to lose, or rather something to gain that might justify the risk of abandoning some significant portion of the West Bank highlands to — not to belabor the point — a people that declares itself their bitter foes.

The Palestinians don’t have much to offer Israel, except the one thing they’ve always had and that Israelis have consistently wanted from them: an end to Hamas’s self-destructive Algerian war.

If that happened, Israel’s newfound friends would likely be delighted to throw an airport, seaport and $15 billion into the bargain — out of sheer relief.
The Israel-UAE Peace Agreement Spells Trouble for Ankara and Tehran
Iran’s mishandling of the pandemic and internal unrest, along with it and Hezbollah’s battlefield losses in Syria, have weakened its imperialist drive throughout the region. Israel has reached interim agreements with Gaza while engaging in limited military activity against the Strip that keeps the ruling groups weak. Iran’s loss of its chief military strategists in Iraq this past January further undermined its designs on the region, as has the growing global recognition of Hezbollah as a terror group and the sanctions that accompany that recognition. Iraqi protests against the Iranian regime and its proxies have also become more commonplace.

For now, Yemen remains the Islamic Republic’s strongest hope to continue its imperialist crusade. But the UAE-Israel peace deal means that Israeli military experience, technology, and intelligence will likely make their way to Abu Dhabi to help quell and ultimately crush the Houthi rebellion. This would lead to the isolation and humiliation of the regime in Tehran while bolstering the new nationalist and secular system emerging in Riyadh, Abu Dhabi, and Manama.

Turkey is also worried about the rapprochement between the Israelis and the Arabs — particularly the UAE. Israel has been accused of sending intelligence and some military aid to Khalifa Haftar. With a more open relationship with Abu Dhabi, Jerusalem is likely to increase such aid to the anti-Muslim Brotherhood coalition in Libya, which can scupper Ankara’s designs there.

Turkey has been giving shelter to Hamas terrorists on its soil while trying to increase Islamist sentiment about Jerusalem. Its regular incitement against Israel and territorial encroachment on Cyprus and Greece has turned Jerusalem away from its traditional Turkish partner and closer to southeastern Europe and Arab countries. Israel will take any action necessary to preserve its economic interests in the Mediterranean, which Turkey’s maritime deal with the Government of National Accord in Libya seeks to destroy. France and Egypt have also entered the Mediterranean fray on the side of Israel, Cyprus, and Greece.

These developments had already isolated Turkey in the region. If more direct military assistance reaches Haftar from Jerusalem, Ankara will find it extremely difficult to impose its will on Libya. Qatar too will probably remain relatively isolated due to its close ties to Hezbollah, Iran, and Turkey. The UAE’s own investment in the Israel-Egypt-Cyprus-Greece pipeline further illustrates the strategic reorientation of the region and Ankara’s isolation.

Regardless of what the far-left, the Palestinians, and the “peace industry” may say, the Israeli-Emirati peace deal has fundamentally reshaped the Middle East and increased the chances of long-term regional peace, as well as the acceptance and recognition of the Jewish state. Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi will work together to fight the pandemic while further sidelining Iran, Qatar, and Turkey.

The Israel-UAE rapprochement will likely spur other regional states to recognize Israel as well. Hopefully the Palestinians will grasp that their century-long rejectionism has failed and adopt a real desire for peace with their Jewish neighbors.
Israeli Peace Deal Coaxes UAE Investors Out of the Shadows
When Tel Aviv-based financier Edouard Cukierman started his first fund in the late 1990s, some of the investors he signed up from the United Arab Emirates hid their identity behind a trust to keep their involvement discreet.

Now, the LinkedIn account of the head of Cukierman & Co. Investment House Ltd. is buzzing with 20 to 30 messages a day from Emiratis eager to do deals -- without having to conceal themselves. The shift comes after a U.S.-brokered peace process aimed at ending decades of official hostility between the two Middle East nations.

“The timing is great to start building cross-border transactions in a much more open manner,” said Cukierman, who is already planning a trip to the UAE in September to scout local partners.

The investor is among many businesses hoping the Israel-UAE pact will usher in an economic boom. While Israel’s peace deals during the 1970s and 1990s with Egypt and Jordan resolved military conflicts, the relationships never blossomed into strong corridors for trade or investment.

Israeli entrepreneurs are also preparing for a flood of investments into the local technology industry, which along with a shared enmity of Iran, has been a key motivator for the talks. Israel is a tech hub with more than 6,000 startups and both sides share expertise and common needs around areas of health-care, cyber-security and agricultural innovation.

For the UAE, betting on technology is another key element of diversifying its economy away from oil. It also opens up the possibility of exporting goods and services to Israel from the UAE’s free zones, where foreign companies are allowed to take full ownership of companies and regulation is lighter.
Aviation Analyst: Saudi Arabia Will Permit Dubai-Ben Gurion Flights Over Its Airspace
Alex Macheras, an aviation analyst who provides aviation analysis on BBC News, Sky News, Good Morning Britain & LBC London, on Tuesday night tweeted that Saudi Arabia is planning to allow UAE-Israel flights (such as Dubai-Tel Aviv) to fly over Saudi airspace.

“With Saudi airspace access, flights between Dubai/Abu Dhabi – Tel Aviv could begin as soon as this year, in what is considered an unprecedented development for the region,” Macheras noted.

“While Saudi does not publicly recognize Israel, Saudi Arabia quietly gave Air India permission to begin flying using Saudi airspace on its New Delhi-Tel Aviv route in 2018,” the analyst continued.

In march 2018, the first Air India flight that flew from India to Israel over Saudi Arabia landed at Ben Gurion Airport, eliciting excited congratulations from Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, who said, “We are celebrating tonight the tightening of relations with India and the first civil contact with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.” Less than one week later, El Al Airlines filed a petition with Israel’s High Court of Justice, against the government’s approval given to Air India to fly over Saudi Arabia on its flights from India to Israel. “The abbreviated route is an exceptional competitive advantage to an extent exceeding normal initial conditions,” El Al claimed.

In late July, El Al withdrew the petition, deciding to heed the urgings of the justices.
Exclusive Look at Dubai's Jewish Community Center

Exclusive Interview with Former Dubai Police Chief

US imposes sanctions on 2 UAE firms who dealt with blacklisted Iranian airline
The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on two United Arab Emirates-based companies, the US Treasury Department said, accusing them of providing support to Iranian airline Mahan Air.

The Treasury in a statement said that United Arab Emirates-based Parthia Cargo and Delta Parts Supply FZC provided key parts and logistics services for Mahan Air, which is on a US blacklist.

The Treasury also blacklisted Amin Mahdavi, an Iranian national based in the United Arab Emirates, for owning or controlling Parthia Cargo.

Wednesday's action freezes any US assets of those blacklisted and generally bars Americans from dealing with them.

"The Iranian regime uses Mahan Air as a tool to spread its destabilizing agenda around the world, including to the corrupt regimes in Syria and Venezuela, as well as terrorist groups throughout the Middle East," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

"The United States will continue to take action against those supporting this airline," he added.
Sudan fires spokesman who confirmed peace talks with Israel
Sudan’s Foreign Ministry spokesman was fired on Wednesday, a day after he sparked a diplomatic flurry by publicly disclosing normalization talks with Israel, apparently without authorization.

The official Sudanese News Agency reported that the acting foreign minister “issued a decision relieving Haidar Badawi Sadiq of his position.”

Haidar Badawi Sadiq told Sky News Arabia on Tuesday that Sudan was interested in establishing ties with Israel and predicted that a treaty between Jerusalem and Khartoum could be signed by the end of the year or in early 2021. The comments came hours after he posted a public blog in which he urged the country’s military-civilian leadership to speak openly about ongoing talks.

His comments, which came amid feverish speculation that other countries may soon join the United Arab Emirates in agreeing to ties with Israel, were swiftly walked back by the country’s acting foreign minister, Omar Qamar al-Din Ismail, who said he was “surprised” by the announcement.

“The matter of relations with Israel has not been discussed in the Foreign Ministry at all. No one tasked Haidar Badawi Sadiq with making statements on this matter,” Ismail said.

Sadiq later said that he had confirmed talks with Israel because no senior government officials had bothered to deny a prediction by Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen that ties with Sudan may be agreed to in the coming months.

Saudi Arabia Remains Committed to Arab Peace Initiative, FM Says After Israel-UAE Normalization Deal
Saudi Arabia remains committed to peace with Israel on the basis of the longstanding Arab Peace Initiative, its foreign minister said on Wednesday, in the country’s first official comment since the United Arab Emirates agreed to normalize relations with Israel last week.

Israel and the UAE said on Thursday they would normalize diplomatic relations under a US-sponsored deal whose implementation could reshape Middle East politics from the Palestinian issue to the fight against Iran.

The Arab Peace Initiative was drawn up by Saudi Arabia in 2002, in which Arab nations offered Israel normalized ties in return for a statehood deal with the Palestinians and full Israeli withdrawal from territory captured in 1967.

“The kingdom considers any Israeli unilateral measures to annex Palestinian land as undermining the two-state solution,” Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud said in an event in Berlin on Wednesday, in comments reported on Saudi’s Foreign Affairs Ministry Twitter page.

Saudi Arabia, birthplace of Islam and site of its holiest shrines, does not recognize Israel and its air space is closed to Israeli airliners.

The kingdom, a close US ally, has been ruled by 84-year-old King Salman since 2015, who has over the years repeatedly reassured Arab allies it will not endorse any Middle East peace plan that fails to address Jerusalem’s status or refugees’ right of return.
Abbas Says Palestinians Not Worried About ‘Nonsense’ Israel-UAE Deal
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said on Tuesday that Palestinians were not concerned about the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, referring to the accord as “nonsense.”

In his first public remarks since the US-sponsored deal was announced last week, Abbas accused the Gulf Arab state of turning its back on Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

However, Abbas said: “We aren’t worried about the nonsense that happens here and there and especially in recent days, when a trilateral agreement between the Emirates, Israel and America was announced.”

Israel, long shunned by most Arab and Muslim countries in the region, on Thursday agreed with the UAE to forge full relations, angering Palestinians who have long looked to oil-rich Gulf states for support in their quest for statehood.

“They (the UAE) have turned their backs on everything: the rights of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian state, the two-state solution, and the holy city of Jerusalem,” Abbas said during a meeting of factions in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Abbas, 84, accused the UAE of trying to justify the deal by arguing it helped stop Israeli annexations in the West Bank, a move which the United States says it will not consent to for “some time” in order to focus on implementing the agreement.
PMW: Israel is “the enemy of Prophet Muhammad” - PA seeks religious war over UAE-Israel peace agreement
Whereas PA officials like to accuse Israel of igniting “a religious war,” it is PA officials who are pushing for a religious war in the wake of the peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel.

Speaking against the agreement, the PA’s Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice Mahmoud Al-Habbash stated that the UAE’s normalization with Israel is “treason.” He then explained that normalization with Israel/Jews means “that you agree to natural relations with the enemies of Prophet Muhammad.”

Al-Habbash further stated that any non-Palestinian Muslim coming to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque via the terms of the UAE-Israeli peace agreement are “unwanted” in the PA and will be met with contempt:

Supreme Shari’ah Judge and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Shari'ah Justice Mahmoud Al-Habbash: “We absolutely won’t accept the [UAE’s] treason. One grain of sand from the soil of pure Palestine and from the soil of the Al-Aqsa Mosque is more precious than our blood and our lives... What happened is treason... This is treachery. Not just against the Palestinian people. This is a denial of the heritage of Prophet Muhammad... Are Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque goods that are sold in the market of political prostitution? ... [The UAE] have sold Jerusalem, have relinquished Jerusalem, and are trying to market their treason as them opening the door for the worshippers to come and pray in Jerusalem...

Whoever wants to come visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque through the gate of Palestine: Welcome, and we will rejoice over him... But whoever wants to come through the Israeli gate is unwanted, and he will find nothing but the shoes of the people of Jerusalem and the spit of the people of Jerusalem in his face...

Normalization is treason. Normalization means that you agree to natural relations with your brother’s murderers and your father’s murderers. That you agree to natural relations with the enemies of Prophet Muhammad. That you agree to natural relations with those who want the site of Muhammad’s Night Journey to turn into a Temple... We’ll continue to resist even if we’ll all be killed and slaughtered. Palestine will only be ours, Jerusalem will only be ours, and this occupation will pass and leave like every occupation that preceded it.”
[Official PA TV, Aug. 15, 2020]

PA Grand Mufti forbids Muslims who come via the UAE to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque
PA Grand Mufti forbids Muslims who come via the UAE following peace deal with Israel to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque

Official PA TV, Palestine This Morning, Aug. 15, 2020
PA Grand Mufti and Palestinian Supreme Fatwa Council Chairman Muhammad Hussein: It is forbidden for a Muslim to arrive in a plane of the United Arab Emirates or not of the United Arab Emirates to the Lod Airport [in Israel], which today they call Ben Gurion Airport, in order to come and pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque. This is false marketing in terms of religious law, legally false, religiously offensive.

Muhammad Hussein also serves as Deputy Secretary-General and acting Secretary-General of the PLO Popular National Conference of Jerusalem.

Israel-UAE peace agreement (Abraham Accords) – an agreement normalizing diplomatic ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which was announced on Aug. 13, 2020, under the mediation of US President Donald Trump. Pursuant to the agreement, the countries will discuss bilateral cooperation on a number of topics. In exchange for the agreement, Israel agreed to suspend its previously announced plans to apply Israel's civilian law to parts of Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley as per the Trump peace plan. The US announced that “Muslims throughout the world who wish to come in peace to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque, will now be able to fly to Tel Aviv through Abu Dhabi to do so and will be welcomed.”

MEMRI: In Pro-Government 'Daily Sabah,' Turkish Journalist Echoes Defense Minister's Warning To UAE: Ankara Will 'Not Confine Itself To Diplomatic Statements Toward Abu Dhabi,' Awaits Suitable Conditions To Give Its Response
In an August 6 column titled "Ankara No Longer Accepts UAE's Hostility As 'Courage Of Ignorance'"[1] in the pro-AKP Daily Sabah, Turkish journalist Nur Özkan Erbay expanded on Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar's warning to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in an interview on Al-Jazeera, in which Akar said: "Abu Dhabi has done things in Libya, in Syria, records are being kept of all of this. When the time and place comes, the account will be settled for all of this."[2] Erbay is the Ankara bureau chief for Daily Sabah, which is the English-language edition of the large pro-AKP Turkish-language daily Sabah.

Erbay expanded Akar's warning to include allies of the UAE: "The price of relying on a country such as the UAE – which is flexible in terms of its financial capacities yet highly fragile in its military, defense, diplomatic and state governance – can be high..." She commented on Turkey's military power in comparison with that of the UAE: "It is highly senseless in terms of power politics debates in the discipline of international relations to compare the two countries' conventional military capacity."

Reiterating the seriousness of Akar's warning, Erbay wrote: "The latest statements of Akar have to be read with caution since Ankara would not give these messages lightly... Ankara seems decisive in answering the UAE's destructive and unstabilizing policies... not only through words but also deeds. Ankara has openly declared that it will, from now on, not confine itself to diplomatic statements toward Abu Dhabi if it continues its hostile policies toward Turkey and all Arab people. Now, it merely awaits the suitable conditions, time and priorities to give its response."

Following is the text of Erbay's column:
"In The Right Time And Place, We Will Pay Them Back,' [Defense Minister Akar] Said In Unmistakably Clear Language"

"Turkey has continually proven the genuineness of its policy that prioritizes diplomacy and sees military action as the last resort on the field, most recently in Syria and Libya. While Turkey chose the military option in Syria when the nearly decadelong civil war came to the point of threatening its national security in the past three to four years, it waited to use military force in Libya until the last moment. It declared the reason for its presence to be the invitation of the country's legitimate government and its borders through the Mediterranean Sea, not only on the grounds of historical and cultural ties but as a guarantee of peace and security. However, this does not change the fact that there are plenty of examples showing that Turkey has not ignored military options when the time and place is suitable.

CNN Op-Ed Manipulates Israel-UAE Deal to Spread Vicious Lies
While the shock announcement last week that Israel and the United Arab Emirates has been warmly received by many, the blowback has been all-too-predictable. Chief among the accusations has been that any progress on normalization with Israel is problematic since it empowers Israel to continue managing the situation without resolving it together with the Palestinians.

Though many may disagree vehemently, that’s a legitimate opinion, one which people are allowed to express in an opinion editorial in the media. But a piece by Yousef Munayyer published on the CNN website this week went far beyond expressing an opinion and opportunistically used recent developments to smear Israel.

Entitled “Opinion: UAE helps normalize Israeli oppression,” Munayyer’s piece features a litany of lies and half-truths – and CNN must be held accountable for allowing such demonstrable nonsense to be given a platform.
Disregarding reality to blame Israel, Netanyahu and Trump

Already in the second paragraph, Munayyer makes a spectacularly disingenuous claim:
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump — neither of whom seem to be particularly interested in peace, justice or equality.”

It takes a special kind of politically-motivated ideologue to witness an historic move towards a peace deal, only to claim that the leaders responsible do not “seem to be particularly interested in peace.” Let’s not forget that – love him or loathe him – Netanyahu signed the Wye River Memorandum in the White House together with Yasser Arafat in October 1998, to resume resume the implementation of the Oslo Accords. And in 1997, Netanyahu was as signatory to the Hebron Agreement that saw the IDF withdraw from 80% of the ancient city of Hebron, with the majority of the city transferred to Palestinian administration. This, despite Hebron being a site of huge significance for the Jewish people.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Arabs Are Fed Up With the 'Ungrateful' Palestinians
"It is stupid to burn my country's flag and want me to salute you." — Dr. Waseem Yousef, Emirati academic, on Twitter.

"When I see the flag of my country being burned by some Palestinians because of the peace treaty with Israel – I apologize to every Israeli man if I offended him in the past." — Dr. Waseem Yousef.

"Imagine that in just 17 years, Saudi Arabia paid [the Palestinians] $6 billion and the UAE $2.5 billion. This means that in 40 years, we are talking about no less than $20 billion. I expect that had we spent this money on Israel, its people would have converted to Islam." — From a UAE-affiliated account on Twitter.

The Palestinian leaders' strong condemnation of the UAE and other Arab states that support normalization with Israel has also driven many Arabs to raise the issue of financial corruption of the Palestinian leadership. Some Gulf citizens pointed out that the personal fortunes of Hamas leaders Ismail Haniyeh and Khaled Mashaal are worth at least $9 billion, while others claimed that Mahmoud Abbas's personal wealth is estimated at $200 million.
'Support for Palestinians in Arab world is waning'
Taha, who believes Iran will try torpedoing the historic diplomatic initiative via its proxy agents across the Middle East, mainly in the Gaza Strip, issued strong advice to Israel: "I assume the Palestinian [terrorist] organizations will try attacking civilian targets in Israel with missiles. But, the support for them and for the PLO in the Arab world is waning. Many Palestinians in the Emirates and other Gulf states are calling for the downfall of the Palestinian Authority because of the corruption in it and its inability to achieving anything at all for the Palestinians."

Taha continued: "We hope to see a revolution among the Palestinians against the PA. The Palestinian leadership has no other choice than to go back to war to try to garner any support whatsoever or to return to any form of negotiations with Israel. We hope Israel will not negotiate again with terrorists. We need to return to the principle of no negotiating with terrorists."

Taha also went on to describe the significant change in attitudes in the Middle East toward the Palestinians.

"There have been several Israeli attacks in Gaza in recent days. People started rallying support on social media sites under the slogan 'Gaza is under attack.' In the past, such a campaign would have quickly gained steam. Now people are saying: 'Hamas, the militias, and the terrorists are under attack.'

"We see Hamas using children, schools, hospitals, to shoot missiles [at Israel]. When the Palestinians lamented the assassination of [former Iranian general] Qassem Soleimani, a commander in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – and the most loathed individual in Iraq, Syria, and the Gulf States – it was the final straw from our perspective. They called this man a 'martyr of Jerusalem.' This was the breaking point in Arab support for them," Taha said.
Ben-Dror Yemini: The Arab world is fed up with the Palestinians
We are facing two camps – the camp of peace and the camp of destruction. The camp of zealotry and the camp of moderateness.

The biggest surprise following Israel's peace accord with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is that there was no division within the Arab world about it.

In fact, almost all Arab countries have expressed their support for the agreement and hopped on the peace train.

We are left only with Yemen and Qatar who oppose the agreement and they have joined Iran and Turkey's axis of evil. The axis of Islamic radicalism, both Sunni and Shi'ite.

So what actually happened? Well, the Arab world is fed up. It looks to the left and the right and realizes, albeit belatedly, that wherever Islamic radicalism is involved - whether Shi'ite or Sunni - the result is always destruction and ruin.

Iran, Turkey and their jihadist affiliates are involved in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Gaza, northern Sinai, and northern Nigeria. Wherever they go, chaos follows.

The UAE or Saudi Arabia definitely did not become democracies all of a sudden, but in the Middle East, the choice is not between liberal democracy or a dictatorship. The choice is between stability or destruction.

And how are the Palestinians doing? The violence that former PLO leader Yasser Arafat instigated has been defeated. It only made the Palestinians' problems worse. Arafat's heir, Mahmoud Abbas, opposes violence and he still failed.

The Arab world refuses to continue entertaining every Palestinian whim. Following the near-unanimous Arab support for normalization, the Palestinian failure becomes all the more painful.
Islamic extremist crashes into cars on Berlin highway, Germany says
A man has caused a series of motorway crashes in Berlin, injuring six people including three seriously in what German prosecutors described Wednesday as a deliberate act motivated by Islamic extremism.

The man appears to have had an “Islamist motivation according to our current knowledge,” prosecutors told AFP.

Local media reported that the man was a 30-year-old Iraqi who had shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) when getting out of his car after hitting several vehicles around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Berlin police said the man caused three accidents on the Autobahn 100 in the city’s Tempelhof-Schoeneberg district before claiming that a box in his car contained a “dangerous object.”

However, when police opened the box using high-pressure water jets it was found to contain nothing but tools.

The driver was arrested and the motorway closed for several hours, causing significant travel disruption.
Coronavirus Chief: ‘Israel Has Lowest Mortality Rate in the World’
According to Israel’s Coronavirus Project coordinator Ronni Gamzu, his main goal right now is to combat and contain the virus “without implementing a full lockdown on the country.” “I am not sure we will succeed, but I am trying,” he said.

He made his remarks in a briefing to the foreign press this week. Gamzu, who in the past served as the Health Ministry director general, was appointed to the role in July by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Health Minister Yuli Edelstein.

He told reporters at the briefing that despite the country’s high morbidity rate, Israel has “the lowest [per capita COVID-19] mortality rate in the world.”

As of Aug. 19, there were 23,548 active COVID-19 cases in the country, with 410 Israelis in serious condition, 118 of whom were on respirators, according to Health Ministry data. A total of 711 Israelis have died as a result of the virus. Since the start of the pandemic, Israel has reported 96,753 cases.

Gamzu took over the reins in the midst of the country’s (still ongoing) “second wave” of the coronavirus pandemic, which began after Israel decided to reopen its schools and businesses in May.

He acknowledged that when Israel reopened its economy, “maybe it was too fast and maybe it wasn’t done in the most orderly fashion.”

Gamzu was adamant that the country’s battle against the pandemic was not solely a medical one.

“Containing [coronavirus] isn’t only a medical challenge, but also a challenge to the economy and a social challenge. We are balancing all of these aspects while taking action to keep people healthy,” he said.

Three-pronged attack to ‘cut the chain of transmission’

Gamzu laid out what he called his three-pronged “Shield of Israel” infrastructure plan to combat the virus.
Gantz to Gaza: We know how to target those against us
Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned Palestinian groups in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday against continuing to launch rockets and incendiary and explosive aerial devices into Israel, hinting that the IDF could expand its targets.

“We know how to target not only buildings and infrastructure, but also those who act from them,” he said during a meeting with local regional authority leaders from the Gaza border communities.

The meeting was attended by Agriculture Minister and Gaza border communities resident Alon Schuster, Gaza Division commander Brig.-Gen. Nimrod Aloni (by videoconference), Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi, Eshkol Regional Council chairman Gadi Yarkoni, Sha’ar Hanegev Regional Council chairman Ofir Libstein, Ashkelon Mayor Tomer Glam, and Hof Ashkelon Regional Council chairman Itamar Revivo.

Gantz said that since he took office as defense minister, every attack from Gaza has seen a response by the Israeli military.

“We have changed the equation in Gaza. Since I entered office, there has been a response to every breach in our security,” he said, adding that “Israel has no strategic interests in Gaza” other than the return of the missing IDF soldiers and civilians held by Hamas and complete cessation of hostilities.

“If these two goals are achieved, we will then be able to develop Gaza,” he said.
IDF Strikes Gaza Strip After Rocket Launched at Israel

Incendiary balloons continue to land in Israel as talks falter
Incendiary balloons landed throughout southern Israel on Wednesday, as tensions continue to rise between Israel and terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

Police sappers handled a number of balloons that landed within and near towns and residential areas in southern Israel. Israel Fire and Rescue Services announced on Wednesday evening that there were 28 fires throughout the day.

Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned that Israel "knows how to strike not just buildings and targets but also those operating within them."

"We changed the equation in Gaza. Since I entered the position, there are no security disruptions that do not receive a response," added Gantz.
"The State of Israel has no interests in Gaza except for bringing our boys back and complete quiet. If these two goals are met, we can develop Gaza."

According to Army Radio, an Egyptian envoy that is working to prevent an escalation stated on Wednesday that there are difficulties in talks to calm the situation as both Israel and Hamas are refusing to budge.

Merhavim Regional Council head Shai Hagag told KAN Reshet Bet on Wednesday that he was "satisfied" with a conversation he had with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday and that according to Netanyahu, all options are open, including targeted assassinations. "Our requests aren't extreme – we want to live in peace," he said.
IDF launches retaliatory airstrikes against Hamas targets in Gaza
IDF aircraft carried out airstrikes late Tuesday night against numerous Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, the IDF Spokesperson's Unit said in a statement.

According to the military, one of the targets was a military compound for one of Hamas's special units.

The attack was carried out in response to a rocket launched from the Hamas-controlled coastal enclave into Israel earlier Tuesday evening, as well as the launching of explosive and incendiary balloons during the day.

The rocket, which was aimed at the city of Ashkelon, was fired after Egypt-mediated talks to halt violence in the South fell through.

Sirens were activated in Ashkelon and the community of Zikim around 9 p.m., sending thousands of Israelis to bomb shelters.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit confirmed at least one rocket had been fired. There were no injuries or damage caused by the rocket, which reportedly fell in an open field.

"The IDF takes all terrorist activity against Israeli territory very seriously and is prepared and willing to act as much as necessary against attempts to harm Israeli citizens," the IDF said.

"The terrorist organization Hamas bears responsibility for what is happening in and out of the Gaza Strip, and will bear the consequences of terrorist acts against Israeli citizens."

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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