Tuesday, September 15, 2020

From Ian:

The tender photo that just might signal start of true change in Arab-Israel ties
On Monday afternoon, a day before the Israel-UAE-Bahrain peacemaking ceremony at the White House, US President Donald Trump’s adviser Avi Berkowitz posted a quite beautiful photograph on Twitter. It shows Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, handing a Torah scroll to His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa bin Salman al-Khalifa of Bahrain, to be used in a synagogue in the kingdom.

The moment is tender and moving — with the gazes of both men focused on the velvet-covered scroll rather than each other, respectful of it. It is a picture of transition and of trust — an American Jewish official entrusting an Arab monarch with the Jewish people’s most sacred text, for his safekeeping, to convey to a Jewish community free to practice its religion in his country.

Kushner has called the process of peacemaking we are now witnessing between Israel and, so far, the UAE and Bahrain, “the beginning of the end of the Israel-Arab conflict.” If that proves to be the case, this photograph may come to symbolize it.

There is no end of realpolitik in the new alignments. Israel has gradually impressed upon the neighborhood that it has millennia of roots here, that it is not going anywhere, that it is no pushover, and that it is well capable of defending itself. Its emerging new partners share a common concern about the Iranian regime’s rapaciousness and aggression, and recognize that Israel can be a critical ally against Tehran. The deals also open opportunities for warmer ties with Israel’s dependable US ally, and likely arms sales as a direct consequence. Also, decades of the Palestinians’ intransigence have reduced sympathy for their cause in at least parts of the Arab world — or at least reduced the readiness of parts of the Arab world to subjugate their own perceived interests to those of the Palestinians.

Still, Israel’s new partners did not abandon the Palestinians. A central element of the UAE deal was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s agreement to indefinitely suspend his plan to unilaterally annex up to 30 percent of the West Bank — the Biblical Judea and Samaria — including all the settlements. Trump had indicated early in his presidency that he was no particular supporter of settlement expansion; Kushner made explicit last week the concern that Israel, via the settlement enterprise, “would have eaten up all the land in the West Bank” if the administration hadn’t put out its January peace vision. And Netanyahu, laudably and politically problematically, chose the historic opportunity of a wider circle of peace for Israel over a unilateral push for wider Israeli sovereignty.

Exclusive: We will not be prisoners of the past, says Israeli PM's aide
Jews in the Middle East were better off than their counterparts in the Christian Europe for many years, and by leaving behind the hostilities of the past, the UAE and Israel are showing the world how historical animosities can be overcome and partnerships built for future, Mark Regev, Senior Advisor to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, told Khaleej Times in an exclusive interview.

"For many years, Jews in the Muslim Middle East were treated much better than the Jews in the Christian Europe. There were traditions of religious tolerance in Islam at a time when it was not present in Christian Europe. We are all the children of Abraham. The conflict between us in the last decades were an aberration," said Regev over telephone on Monday from Washington D.C, where the UAE and Israel will sign the historical Abraham Accord on Tuesday, September 15.

The US-brokered peace deal, which Trump announced on August 13, will see both the countries establishing diplomatic relations, and Israel agreeing to halt its controversial annexation in the occupied West Bank.

The UAE is the first GCC nation to normalise relations with Israel, and the third Arab country to do so after Egypt and Jordan.

Speaking about the scars of the decades-long hostilities between Arabs and Jews in the region, Regev said people cannot forever remain imprisoned in the past.

"No one can forget the past. In my country, of course, there are many memories from the Arab-Israeli wars. But there is a difference between knowing the past and being aware of the past and being imprisoned by it."

The official said both Israel and the UAE are countries that "embrace the future".
Colin Rubenstein: Deals between Israel, UAE and Bahrain shatter old barriers
The Palestinian leadership’s very strong response to the UAE and Bahraini moves – and the anger this has generated in Persian Gulf states – only underscores how the traditional Palestinian approach of all or nothing has become a major obstacle to peace for the region. It is the reason the Palestinians turned down repeated Israeli offers of statehood that met almost all Palestinian aspirations, in 2000, 2001 and 2008.

Meanwhile, the UAE and Bahraini decisions to normalise relations with Israel almost certainly occurred with the blessing of Riyadh. Saudi Arabia may not quickly follow suit, but it is nonetheless very much a part of the new Middle East alignment.

The UAE and Bahrain normalisation deals with Israel are therefore the tip of a much wider regional iceberg of changing strategic thinking that signals a far-reaching re-alignment.

At a time when the US is committed to drawing down its troops from the region, Western-aligned Arab states are recognising the value of partnering more openly with Israel in their common goal of thwarting Iran’s expansionism and deterring aggression.

There is every reason to hope these deals will empower the Western-leaning Sunni Arab grouping through more open ties with Israel, boosting stability, expanding co-operation on defence and intelligence affairs, trade, investment and joint technological development, and the potential for increased cross-cultural dialogue. Meanwhile, it should weaken the rejectionist forces determined to destabilise the region, especially Tehran and its Hezbollah proxy in Lebanon; the Assad regime; Turkey’s Islamist ruler Recep Tayyip Erdogan; Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.

These normalisation agreements are a hugely positive watershed development. Australia, where Foreign Minister Marise Payne and opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Penny Wong have welcomed both deals, should now lend its diplomatic weight to helping encourage other Western-leaning Arab and Muslim allies to follow suit.
Arsen Ostrovsky: Palestinians Never Miss an Opportunity to Miss an Opportunity
The United States was not prepared to sit idly by while the Palestinian leadership held ransom Israel's normalization with Arab and Gulf countries, thereby also holding back real progress and hope of a better future for everyone else in the region.

As Jared Kushner noted, President Trump has sought to "align the different countries in the region around their common interests, as opposed to focusing on historic grievances."

One of those common interests was Iran. Contrary to the conventional wisdom of the United Nations and the European Union, the United States also understood that it was not Israel, but rather the Islamic Republic of Iran, that was the main destabilizing force in the Middle East—and the one that could also unite Israel with the Arab and Gulf countries which Iran also threatens.

Therefore, the U.S. turned the entire conventional wisdom upside-down and proved all the naysayers and so-called "experts," who said peace in the Middle East must first go through Ramallah, wrong.

What we are witnessing today is nothing short of a full paradigm shift in the geopolitics of the region—not only normalization between Israel and Arab countries, but recognition of the importance of laying the foundations for a warm, durable peace, from the bottom up and not from the top down.

The only question remains: Will the Palestinian leadership follow the courageous lead of the UAE and Bahrain, look to the future and make peace with Israel—or continue to miss the opportunities before them, thereby consigning their own people to further misery?
Commentary Magazine Podcast: A New World Order
The realignment of geopolitics in the Middle East has many fathers, and Donald Trump was only one of them. What the thaw in Sunni states’ relations with Israel means for America moving forward. Also, for all the talk of the president’s “white grievance” politics, he’s performing better among minority voters in polls than he did in 2016 while white voters are fleeing his coalition.

A Post-Palestine Middle East
WHEN I talk about a post-Palestine reality or post-Palestine-era politics, I refer to the Palestine that was a constant psychological phenomenon dominating the Arab political imagination. It was a consistent presence through consecutive and varying political projects. It has been at the core of Arab nationalism, secular Arab revolutionary ideology, the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist jihadism, Iranian Islamism, and Turkish regional aspirations, to name a few.

In the Arab political vision, Palestine was the embodiment of moral truth. In the always-shifting Middle East, where every day can bring a new coup and yesterday’s heroes are suddenly today’s traitors, Palestine was an anchor. It was the object of longing for the anxious Arab and Muslim intellectual and a means of belonging for the Arab and Muslim everyman. The status of Palestine was akin to that of the Messiah in Jewish mysticism. “When Palestine is lib-erated” was a modern colloquial Arabic phrase for “when the Messiah comes.”

It was in Palestine that the architects of Baathist Arabism, the engineers of Nasserism, the visionaries of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the pioneers of jihadism all chose to vest their competing claims. For each, Palestine was the sole and final representation of the essence of the Arabs and of Islam. It was also, more practically, what legitimized their own claims of eternal rule over Arab peoples.

The mythical power of Palestine was further enhanced by the grotesque volume of blood that many Arabs and Muslims poured into it. For the cause of a liberated Palestine, countless men chose their own doom, as was demanded in the fatwas of even “moderate” Islamic clerics in Egypt, Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. They all spoke of the permissibility of suicide bombers during the first and second intifadas. Islamist terrorist organizations in Israel, such as the al-Aqsa Martyr’s Brigade, are revered by Arabs and Muslims in Jerusalem, Cairo, Damascus, Beirut, Amman, Mecca, Baghdad, Tehran, and Ankara—and also in Birmingham, London, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York, and Southern California.

The liberation of Palestine played a role in every Arab coup and counter-coup of the past 70 years. It was the same cause that devastated coffee shops, buses, and restaurants in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. It manifested in a threat to the life of King Hussein in Amman in 1970 and took the life of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in Cairo in 1981. It was for Palestine that Iraqi soldiers, many of them illiterate peasants, marched into Kuwait in 1990. For decades, nearly every four-year-old Arab has known that the road to Jerusalem went through Kuwait—or Beirut, or Damascus, or Baghdad. It was this vision of Palestine that inspired the Islamic Army for the Liberation of the Holy Places, which tore through Nairobi and Dar es-Salaam in 1998. It was this sacred Palestine that helped send al-Qaida terrorists (once known as the World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders) into the skies over New York City and Washington on the morning of September 11, 2001. And it is the very same Palestine that today inspires the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran.
The Road to Arab-Israeli Peace No Longer Runs Through Ramallah
Across the Middle East, Arab governments are gradually pursuing foreign policies that, while mindful of Palestinian concerns, refuse to subordinate their national interests to Palestinian demands. Driven by common threats—most notably, a belligerent and fundamentalist Iran—and shared economic opportunities, Arab officials are showing an openness to Israel that has seldom, if ever, been seen before. Fed up with a recalcitrant Palestinian leadership, Arab leaders are moving on, declaring support for the Palestinians while fostering ever closer ties with Israel. As Dubai's vocal deputy police chief, Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, recently tweeted to his 2.8 million followers, "Rid yourselves of this notion that you don't build relations with Israel except at the command of [Palestinian Authority President] Mahmoud Abbas."

Private jets carrying Israeli officials are landing in ever more Arab capitals, and Arab governments are increasingly opening their countries' doors to Israeli tourists and businesspeople. Last week, Abu Dhabi instructed hotels to start offering kosher food in preparation for an anticipated influx of Jewish visitors. Saudi Arabia announced that it will permit commercial flights to and from Israel to pass through its airspace, easing tourism and trade. Speculation about which Arab country will be the next to normalize its relations with Israel is fierce.

To be sure, the dissipation of antiquated thinking does not obviate the need to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. For reasons of security, morality and demography, among others, Israel must continue to pursue a peaceful settlement of its most intimate geopolitical conflict, which threatens to undermine Israel's future as a Jewish and democratic state. It is also likely that Arab countries will ask Israel to make gestures to the Palestinians as part of the normalization process, as the UAE did in securing Israel's commitment to suspend the application of Israeli sovereignty to parts of the West Bank.

But Israel can only pursue true peace with a Palestinian partner willing and able to make the painful compromises that will be necessary to bring about a lasting solution. Such a partner has proven elusive, as successive Palestinian leaders have dragged their feet, secure in the knowledge that the Arab world wouldn't dare make peace with Israel without them.

Tuesday's White House ceremony should serve as a wake-up call to Palestinians who have long been led to believe that Arab leaders will sacrifice their own national interests on the altar of Palestinian rejectionism. That is clearly no longer the case. As Palestinian diplomat Husam Zomlot complained to The New York Times, the UAE-Israel peace deal "takes away one of the key incentives for Israel to end its occupation—normalization with the Arab world."

Put differently, the road to Arab-Israeli peace no longer runs through Ramallah.
UAE now has Qatar in its rear-view mirror
The UAE, over the past two decades, has blossomed into a leading economic hub in the Gulf. That's not enough, however, because in the Arab world, and the Persian Gulf in particular, money alone can't buy durability. If money doesn't come with military and diplomatic clout, a country will be at the mercy of its neighbors. And with "friendly" neighbors such as Saddam Hussein's Iraq at the time, and Iran of today, one doesn't need enemies.

In previous decades it was Qatar that sought the crown. It invited American forces to its territory, launched the Arab world's first global satellite network, Al Jazeera, and finally, also cultivated relations with Israel. Qatar, however, lost its momentum and fell behind due to a series of wrong decisions – namely exchanging innovation and modernity and it ties with Israel for radical Islam.

Qatar's rulers mistakenly believed that extremism and enmity toward Israel would preserve its influence in the region, but the exact opposite occurred. Qatar squandered its status in the Gulf and wider Arab world. Only Israel unwisely grants it's a sliver of legitimacy by allowing it to play the role of mediator with Hamas. It appears that the UAE and Bahrain peace deals are an excellent opportunity to return Qatar to its natural place and keep it locked down and isolated as a kingdom of terror and radicalism.

Either way, the UAE has overtaken Qatar and Kuwait, which with typical ingratitude refuse to help the US bring stability to the region and peace between Israel and the Arabs. Qatar is "out" – the UAE is "in." And this is just the beginning. With this peace treaty, Israel not only gains an ally, but also a powerful strategic partner with an increasingly prominent role in the Arab world.
A Biblical Middle East On The Horizon?
Saeb Erekat, Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organization, recently responded to me on Twitter, tweeting that he seeks a two-state solution at the ‘67 borders with “[p]eace based on fairness and justice.” He also, however, threatened that the PLO would sever relations with any country that opens an embassy in Jerusalem.

He wouldn’t answer why the PLO – which was founded in 1964 – didn’t demand Jerusalem from the Jordanians from 1964-1967 and why there’s still a death penalty for an Arab who sells land to a Jew.

Time and time again, the PLO has rejected offers of peace, time and time again the PLO has refused to abandon its anti-Israel agenda, and time and time again the PLO has prevented progress in the region based on its so-called “Palestinian veto” over normalization between Israel and its neighbors.

At this crossroads, President Trump has shown great leadership and courage. He has offered the region an opportunity to take advantage of all the goodness Israel has to offer without the lingering guilt of the PLO over their heads.

Meanwhile, the Arabs of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza have not been abandoned. Far from it. The realignment of the Middle East presents an opportunity for them to free themselves from the tyranny of the PLO and its radical vision. The question is: Are they willing to live in coexistence with Israel as part of a greater Middle East or would they rather remain in oblivion?

In the coming years, Trump can shatter yet another glass ceiling by truly abandoning the two-state solution once and for all. At first it will be painful, but as his first term has taught us, Trump has the capacity to make a difference when people least expect it.

By steering from the conventional wisdom of the last 25 years, Trump has proven that sometimes a little twist can create the impossible, and, with the impossible, great things can happen.
Israel inking historic accords with UAE, Bahrain at White House ceremony
Israel is inking historic diplomatic deals with two Arab nations at the White House Tuesday, its first in over a quarter century, which could herald a dramatic shift in Middle East power dynamics.

At 7 p.m. Israel time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is slated to sign normalization accords with the foreign ministers of the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain before hundreds on the White House South Lawn, only the third and fourth peace accords with Arab nations in Israel’s 72-year history.

The normalization of relations with the UAE and Bahrain follow Israel’s treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

In a ceremony aimed at showcasing presidential statesmanship, US President Donald Trump will host more than 700 guests Tuesday on the South Lawn to witness the sealing of the agreements. Trump and his allies hope the occasion will burnish Trump’s credentials as a peacemaker at the height of his reelection campaign.

The crowd will include representatives of supporting nations from the Washington-based diplomatic corps but few other dignitaries from overseas.

Omani Ambassador to the US Hunaina al-Mughairy will be among those attending, a spokesman for the embassy confirmed to The Times of Israel. Oman has been touted as another Gulf nation that could be on the verge of normalizing relations with the Jewish state.

Some congressional Democrats who have offered muted praise have also been invited to attend.
Trump: Five or six Arab countries to follow UAE, Bahrain - Watch Live
US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met ahead of the signing of historic normalization agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

“There will be about five different countries” that Israel will have peace with “very far down the road,” the president said, adding that the Jewish state made peace with two Arab countries in 72 years and an additional two in two months.

The two Gulf States become the third and fourth countries in the Middle East to recognize Israel and establish formal diplomatic relations with the Jewish State since Egypt did so in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, drastically re-drawing the political map in the region.

Palestinian leaders have reacted furiously to the deals, which were done before a resolution could be found in their dispute with Israel. But Trump, who will be hosting the signing ceremony, and whose administration brokered the agreements between the parties, predicted that the Palestinians would eventually join in normalizing relations with Israel, or else will be "left out in the cold."

“The Palestinians will absolutely be a member at the right time,” Trump said on Tuesday.
Top UAE official: Peace treaty will only refer to two-state solution indirectly
The peace treaty between Israel and the United Arab Emirates will make indirect reference to the two-state solution, a senior UAE official said Tuesday, a few hours before the historic agreement was to be signed in Washington.

“It’s a preamble that emphasizes a basic stance and then it is really a bilateral agreement about two states — the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates,” Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of state for foreign affairs, told reporters during an online briefing.

“It does reference the two-state [solution] through references to previous agreements that were signed. And you will see that, I think, clearly. And then it goes into areas of cooperation and so forth, and sort of frames the type of relations the two states strive for.”

At the same time, the senior diplomat stressed that his country has not diminished its support for the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“The UAE today has not changed our political position, it remains the same. That position is in support of Palestinian rights to a viable, independent state and East Jerusalem that is their capital,” he said.

“And our argument has always been that not communicating — the policy of the empty chair — has led to unfortunate realities on the ground. And by engaging… the Palestinians have more of a chance to realize what has been their national aspiration. We will be there to help them,” he said.
Have Israeli-Arab ties revived the 2002 Peace Initiative? - analysis
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced the death of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative already on Monday, just one day before the historic signing of normalization deals between Israel and two Gulf states; the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Shtayyeh’s Twitter eulogy for the plan that guided regional peacemaking for 18 years was so obvious that he could have spared himself the dramatic pronouncement that it had been “killed.”

Two Gulf states, members of the Arab League, are now clearly willing to publicly celebrate formal ties with the Jewish state, while the Israeli-Palestinian conflict rages on. Clearly, therefore, the 2002 deal that offered normalization with Arab states only after resolution of the Palestinian conflict has effectively been rendered meaningless.

But has the 2002 deal, which had sought to offer Israel incentives for an agreement for a two-state resolution based on the pre-1967 lines, truly died or have the Arab states simply changed tactics as they continue to pursue that goal?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had long argued that Israel must first make peace with the Arab world and only then could the conflict with the Palestinians be resolved.

US President Donald Trump concurred and set in motion a regional Israeli-Arab peace process that has appeared to leave the Palestinian peace for the last phase.

The breakthrough in an 18-year stalemate, at the end of the day, likely has little to do with Netanyahu’s doctrine of peace-making. It is probably more reflective of the shifting regional power alliances to combat an increasingly aggressive Iran, bolstered by the economic incentives of such alliances.

Still, does the new regional US-brokered ties automatically mean the abandonment of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative’s territorial resolution of the conflict?
UAE begins teaching about normalization with Israel to grades 1-12
The United Arab Emirates has already begun including mention of the recent agreement between the UAE and Israel in the 2020 Islamic Studies curriculum and textbooks, according to an IMPACT-se report.
The textbook, which covers the Moral Education curriculum for grades 1-12 introduced into the UAE in 2016, commends the Abraham Accords and teaches the importance of peace initiatives in real world settings.

It also adds that the UAE is fully supportive of future efforts of reconciliation between the Israeli and the Palestinians.

"It is remarkable that a textbook that teaches about the UAE-Israel treaty was on the desks of schoolchildren in the Emirates just two weeks after the announcement of the agreement," said IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff.

The chapter regarding the UAE-Israel agreement states that the "historic" agreement "stems from the values of our true Islamic religion" which pushes towards creating and "building bridges of cooperation."
Bahrain minister says Israel deal strengthens kingdom in face of Iran threat
Bahrain's decision to normalize its ties with Israel is set to bolster its ability to protect its interests and advance its relations with the United States, the country's interior minister said Monday.

In a statement cited by Reuters, Interior Minister Rashid bin Abdullah Al Khalifa said the normalization "is to strengthen Bahrainis’ security and their economic stability."

He refuted the charges that the historic accord, set to be signed later on Tuesday, amounted to Manama turning its back on the Palestinians.

The move was rather dictated by the country's own strategic needs and security considerations, he explained, pointing to Iran as a key threat on the country's radar.

“Iran has chosen to behave in a dominating way in several forms and has become a constant danger that harms our internal security,” he said, as cited by Reuters.

Bahrain has long had under-the-radar contacts with Israel, and the talks to forge formal ties between the two countries over the past weeks were built on a legacy of covert cooperation.

On Monday, the defense ministers from the two countries spoke in their first phone conversation to be acknowledged publically.
'Pakistan could be next to normalize ties with Israel'
The historic peace deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain have send shockwave across the Arab world, meeting both commendations and condemnations.

Jerusalem has expressed hope that the momentum caused by the two accords will continue to sweep through the region, despite the Palestinians' disapproval and Iran's implied and explicit threats against its neighbors over any attempted rapprochement with the Jewish state.

British-Pakistani analyst Noor Dahri, founder and executive director of Islamic Theology of Counter Terrorism, a UK-based think tank, told Israel Hayom Monday that many other Arab countries have taken notice of the regional winds of change, and may follow in Abu Dhabi and Manama's footsteps sooner that one may believe.

"The peace agreements of the UAE and Bahrain with Israel are just a door [for them] for opening further diplomatic, trade and strategic relations with the Israel. There are many countries that are awaiting their term to join the agreement, such as Oman, Sudan, Morocco and Saudi Arabia," he said.

"We must not forget that despite the tough political tension between Qatar and other members of the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council], Israel has already maintained good mutual relations with Qatar and there is no doubt that Qatar may join the peace agreement with Israel sooner or later.

"Pakistan has also not closed the door completely but its national interests do not permit it to announce open relations with the Jewish state. … Both states have had intelligence and military relations for decades. Pakistan has never considered the Jewish state as its enemy but may establish conditional relations with it in the future, after the Arab agreements."

Abraham Accords: A Historic Day for The Middle East

Eugene Kontorovich: I24 Interview on Peace Deal with Gulf States

Bahrain-Based Political Writer Yusuf Mubarak Speaks to i24NEWS

Dr. Emmanuel Navon on New Era Emerging Between Israel and Arab World

Ex-Trump Envoy, Jason Greenblatt, on Forging Peace in the Middle East

Miss Iraq 2017 Sarah Idan Praising Israel-UAE-Bahrain Peace Deals

Head of Jewish Community in Bahrain Discusses Israel, Bahrain Normalization

Israeli Business Leaders Visit UAE to Promote Ties, Trade
A delegation of dozens of senior Israeli businesspeople led by Bank Leumi Chairman Samer Haj-Yehia and CEO Hanan Friedman is currently in Dubai to promote business ties and meet with United Arab Emirates business people, Israeli business daily Globes reported on Monday.

The delegation included leaders from companies such as Harel, Fox, Israir Airlines and Shikun & Binui.

Apparently, there was high demand to join the delegation and not enough room for all those that wanted to visit, noted the report.

Meetings will also be held with senior economic and government figures in the Gulf Arab state.
Israel’s Bank Leumi, UAE banks sign accords to promote business ties
Bank Leumi Le-Israel, one of Israel’s two largest banks, said on Tuesday it has signed two cooperation memorandums of understanding with banks in the United Arab Emirates, as Israel and the UAE were scheduled to sign later in the day the official establishment of diplomatic ties.

The chairman of Bank Leumi, Samer Haj Yehia, and Leumi’s CEO Hanan Friedman, who are visiting the UAE with a delegation of Israeli business leaders, signed the accords with First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) and the Emirates NBD of Dubai.

The accords will enable economic relations between Israel and the UAE, following the historic deal that was to be signed later on Tuesday, Bank Leumi said in a statement. The banking accords will allow the parties to work together to promote relationships with corporations and financial institutions in Israel and the UAE and jointly provide the banking platforms required for such relationships, such as interbank clearing services, interbank credit lines, trade and investment promotion, forex trading, and operations.

The investment and tech arms of Bank Leumi will also help create connections between Israeli companies and wealth funds and investors from the UAE, the statement said.
Honest Reporting: Despite Media Claims, Israel-UAE Deal Not Par for the Course
The deal signed between Israel and United Arab Emirates is perhaps the most significant news coming out of the Middle East for years. Efforts by various media outlets to downplay the significance of the peace deal being signed Tuesday between Israel and the UAE ignore the facts on the ground, and their momentous ramifications for the entire region.

Since the announcement of the peace agreement last month, significant developments have already transpired.

While it is true that there has been secretive trade between the two countries for years, normalization of relations between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi will take commerce to new levels.

Related Reading – Bahrain-Israel Normalization: The Beginning of the End of a Lengthy Process

Israel’s Economy Ministry projects that annual trade between two countries will rise from the estimated $300,000 that it is now, to between $300 million and $500 million. Jon Medved, the CEO of OurCrowd, a Jerusalem-based VC fund, reports that his email is being inundated with businessmen from the UAE asking to meet with him. Similarly, the Gulf Israeli Business Council has been established to assist with the new commercial ties between Israel and the UAE.

Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank, has already signed an agreement with the National Bank of Dubai, allowing Israeli clients to conduct direct transactions in the UAE and vice versa. As Shayne Nelson, CEO of National Bank of Dubai explained, the agreement “will open new business and trade opportunities or our clients.”
Palestinian Authority calls for Arab state boycott of signing ceremony
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Monday called on the Arab states to boycott the signing ceremony of the normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, scheduled to take place at the White House on Tuesday.

Shtayyeh described the signing ceremony as “a black day in the history of the Arab nation.” This day “will be added to the Palestinian calendar of pain,” he said.

Shtayyeh’s appeal for boycotting Tuesday’s ceremony came as several Palestinian factions, including Fatah and Hamas, urged Palestinians to protest against the peace deals.

Shtayyeh urged the Arabs states to reject the agreements.

“We call on the Arab states to reject the Emirati-Bahraini step and not to participate in tomorrow’s ceremony,” he said. “This Arab normalization with Israel is harmful to Arab dignity. Tomorrow, the Arab Peace Initiative will be killed. Arab solidarity will die.”
Vexed by Mideast peace deals, PA to 'reconsider' ties with Arab League
The Palestinian Authority's government on Monday called on President Mahmoud Abbas to "reconsider" Ramallah's ties with Arab League in that wake of what it called the pan-Arab forum's "impotence" vis-à-vis the growing momentum for regional peace that is independent of the Palestinian cause.

The Palestinian factions have lambasted the Persian Gulf states of Bahrain and United Arab Emirates for seeking rapprochement with Israel before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved, decrying Abu Dhabi and Manama's move as a "stab in the back."

The Arab League has remained mum over the peace deals, sparking both fury and concern among the Palestinian leadership, which fears the winds of change blowing through the region will marginalize the Palestinian issue.

"The Arab League has become a symbol of Arab weakness," PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh stated on Monday.

Ramallah has already recalled its envoys in Abu Dhabi and Manama in protest of the sheikdoms' peace deals with the Jewish state.

A potential exit from the Arab League could undermine the Palestinian Authority in more ways than one. It will further distance them from the 20 nations comprising the powerful forum, and it may also backfire – driving more Arab states to normalize their relations with Israel.

"These peace deals will kill the Arab peace initiative," Shtayyeh said, referring to the 2002 Saudi outline for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

PMW: “Jews are our dogs”- Fatah posts poem recited by Bahraini children
Fatah chose to post on its official Facebook page a poem recited by Bahraini children expressing opposition to the Bahrain - Israel peace and normalization accord.

Fatah chose to post on its official Facebook page a poem recited by Bahraini children expressing opposition to the Bahrain - Israel peace and normalization accord. The well-known poem includes the words: “‘Palestine is our land, and the Jews are our dogs.”

In this rendition, before the girl calls the Jews “our dogs,” she covers her mouth so those words can’t be heard. Aside from the overt antisemitic message, an additional more subtle message may be that Arabs are being silenced by their leaders and are unable to express “the truth” about Jews/Israel.

The following is the full text in the video posted by Fatah:

Woman: “When we were little, our parents taught us when it rains to say:”

Girl 1: “Rain hit the mud. Allah will liberate Palestine”

Girl 2: “Palestine is our land, and the Jews are [our dogs]…”

Note: Girl covers her face when she gets to the words “our dogs” of the well-known Arabic poem

Youth: “The entire Bahraini people tells you today:”

Different men, women, and children each recite:

Top Muslim-American Group Protests Against Signing of Peace Agreement Between Israel, UAE, and Bahrain
A top American Muslim group expressed its opposition to peace with Israel on Tuesday, calling on its followers to protest outside the White House during the signing of the historic peace agreements between the Jewish state, the UAE and Bahrain.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in email on Monday that it would be joined by over 50 other organizations in demonstrating “opposition to the US-brokered normalization treaty.”

“Rally organizers are calling for no normalization between the two nations until Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory ends, its planned annexation of Palestinian territories is canceled, and the system of apartheid and segregation that oppresses Palestinians is abolished,” the group asserted.

The protest, advertised on Facebook with the slogan “NO to Normalization with Israel! Free Palestine!” includes a who’s who of Islamist, Palestinian, and far-left groups, including the radical anti-war women’s group CODEPINK, the terror-supporting International Solidarity Movement, several branches of Students for Justice in Palestine, the Israel Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church USA, and the staunchly anti-Zionist Jewish Voice for Peace.

CAIR, which is widely considered the leading Muslim advocacy group in the US and maintains close ties to the Democratic party, has long been noted for its officials’ anti-Israel, anti-Zionist, and antisemitic rhetoric.

MEMRI: In New Video, Al-Qaeda Leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri Describes U.S. Peace Plan In Middle East As 'Crusade Of The Century', Condemns Normalization With Israel, Slams Al-Jazeera For 2019 Documentary On 9/11 Attacks
On September 11, 2020 the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Sahab Media Foundation released a video message from the group's top leader, Ayman Al-Zawhiri. The 45-minute video is the first installment in a series titled "The Deal of the Century Or the Crusade of the Century." It was released on the anniversary of Al-Qaeda's terror attacks on the U.S in 2001, although it does not deal with the attacks directly. Al-Zawahiri addressed U.S. President Donald Trump's peace plan for the Middle East in the first part of the video, and then went on to refute allegations made in a documnetary aired in September 2019 on Al-Jazeera regarding cooperation between his organization and official elements in Arab countries. It should be noted that Al-Zawahiri's message does not appear to have been recorded recently, seeing that he does not address any of the momentous events of 2020. The events mentioned by Al-Zawahiri himself that can be dated are the Al-Jazeera documentary from September 2019, and the Peace to Prosperity conference which took place in Manama, Bahrain, in June 2019. [1]

Al-Zawahiri began by addressing Muslims around the world, saying that the "flames of war between the Crusaders and the Muslims have not been extinguished." He highlighted that "America, leader of the West," is taking more "dangerous steps to empower Israel," saying that relocating the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, declaring the Golan Heights to be part of Israel, and launching the Manama Summit, are all among these steps.

The video then showed footage from President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's speeches in the January 28, 2020, summit held in the White House, in which Trump's plan was announced. The two leaders highlighted the U.S.'s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel.

Al-Zawhiri then addressed Muslims around the world, highlighting some "historical facts about the "struggle between the Muslims and the Crusaders," saying that the nature of this conflict is a religious one, based on the Zionist-Westerners alliance against Islam. He added that the feelings of Westerners toward Muslims are obvious, but that the latter often tend to ignore them. He further suggested that the conflict between the two sides is an international conflict, not local, and cannot be disconnected from the larger picture.

Al-Zawhiri provided what he called "fundamental principles" to "counter the aggression of the Crusaders," which include emphasizing the principal of jihad and raising awareness to its significance. He stressed that Under this principal, he discussed several "facets," such as the value of unity, political jihad, Dawah [preaching], the jihad of a moral upbringing, and the "battle of raising awareness." Al-Zawahiri also emphasized that the "jihad of da'wah and raising awareness... is more importnat than the military jihad itself."

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