Thursday, September 17, 2020

From Ian:

Jonathan Tobin: It wouldn’t have happened without Trump
Kushner persuaded Trump to work to hold the P.A. accountable for its support of terrorism. The Trump team also stood behind the president’s decisions to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to ignore the expert’s warnings that doing so would set the Middle East on fire.

When Kushner eventually unveiled the “Peace to Prosperity” plan earlier this year, it still offered the Palestinians an independent state and economic aid. But faced with the same kind of Palestinian rejectionism that had stumped previous negotiators, he focused on accomplishing the possible rather than the impossible.

Unlike Obama, who rejected the concerns of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states about his efforts to appease Iran, Trump and Kushner listened to them. Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and implemented sanctions aimed at forcing Tehran to negotiate an end to its nuclear program and support of terrorism.

The Arab states had already established under-the-table ties with Israel, which they now view as a strategic ally against Iran. But by establishing a rapport with America’s allies in the Gulf, including controversial Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who could have thwarted moves by his neighbors, Kushner helped persuade them to take the next step and work towards full diplomatic and economic ties.

Only American officials who didn’t play by the rules embraced by the foreign-policy establishment would have done any of that. And only a president like Trump, who distrusts “experts,” would have agreed to go along with such a strategy. And it was only their choice to reject the tactics of the past that brought representatives of the UAE and Bahrain to the White House with the possibility that other Arab nations will do the same.

If Biden defeats Trump, can his team build on this success?

Perhaps, though the problem is that anyone who would be picked by Biden is almost certainly a believer in establishment conventional wisdom. The next administration is likely to return to efforts to create a rapprochement with Iran and to resume futile efforts to pressure Israel to persuade the Palestinians to make a peace that they have no interest in establishing.

If next January marks the end of the era of foreign-policy amateurs running things in the White House, the experts and their fans in the media will breathe a sigh of relief. But it is precisely because Trump and his team were amateurs not educated to treat establishment myths as revealed truth that the celebration at the White House was made possible.

Agreements indicate UAE and Bahrain are now less pro-Palestinian than Europe
It’s official: The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are now less pro-Palestinian than the Europeans.

Officials and analysts familiar with Jerusalem’s clandestine relations with several Arab states have long argued that they don’t really care so much about the Palestinians anymore. In public statements, however, all Arab governments until Tuesday stuck to their dogma and reiterated the need for a Palestinian state based on the 1967-lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a just solution to the refugee problem.

Remarkably, however, the agreements the State of Israel signed with the United Arab Emirates and with Bahrain do not echo such calls.

They do not refer to the Arab Peace Initiative or previous UN Security Council resolutions. There are no 1967-lines, no capital in East Jerusalem, no refugees. Even the concept of a “two-state solution” — which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has endorsed in the past, and which the US administration still supports — is entirely absent from the agreements, as is Israel’s West Bank settlement enterprise.

In the preamble of the “Treaty of Peace, Diplomatic Relations, and Full Normalization Between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel,” the two countries pledge to continue “their efforts to achieve a just, comprehensive, realistic and enduring solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi also commit to work together “to realize a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that meets the legitimate needs and aspirations of both people, and to advance comprehensive Middle East peace, stability and prosperity.”

Will Kosovo and Serbia Establish Embassies in Jerusalem? Not If the EU Has Its Way
It’s easy to miss all of the announcements coming out right now by countries normalizing relations with Israel. But even more intriguing was the announcement last week that Serbia and Kosovo planned to establish their embassies in Israel’s capital — much to the consternation of the European Union.

Kosovo would be the first Muslim-majority nation to do so, but that’s not the part that intrigues Israelis. Since announcing its independence from Serbia in 2008, Kosovo has shown an interest in establishing ties with the Jewish state, but Israel has always politely declined the relationship out of fear the Palestinians would copy Kosovo and unilaterally declare independence. The line of thought was always that if Israel recognized unilaterally independent Kosovo, it would need to recognize a unilaterally independent Palestine.

Oded Eran, Israel’s former ambassador to the European Union and currently a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, told JNS that he believes Israel was right to stay away from the conflicts in the Balkans.

“There is a sad record as to the situation of the Jews generally speaking in World War II, and there is a mixed record of behavior in what are today the states in the region,” he said. “Given the ethnic, political, territorial, irredentist complexities of the situation there, it was wise to stay away and avoid making judgments over who is right and wrong.”

Eran questioned the wisdom of the US administration to tie Serbia and Kosovo to Israel, and whether the two countries could even follow up on their promise to move their embassies to Jerusalem.

The European Union warned Serbia and Kosovo that they could undermine their EU membership hopes by moving their Israeli embassies to Jerusalem.

Khaled Abu Toameh: Arabs: Israel Is Not Our Enemy
"Times change, everything has changed, except for the Palestinian mood that rejects anything and everything." — Saudi writer Amal Abdel Aziz al-Hazany, Asharq al-Awsat, September 15, 2020.

"Palestinian leaders are the main cause for the suffering of their people. They have achieved nothing for the Palestinians. They only care about power and achieving personal and partisan gains at the expense of the Palestinian issue." — Emirati political analyst Issa bin Arabi Albuflasah, Al Bayan, September 12, 2020.

"We were told that Israel's slogan was [to expand] 'From the Euphrates to the Nile.' Iran, however, does not hide its expansionist ideological trend, which it is already practicing through its militias in Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen. Turkey, on the other hand, is seeking to seize new sources of energy in Libya and has sights on Africa along the Red Sea. These developments prompted the moderate Arabs to start reconsidering previous their political positions." — Saudi writer Fahd al Degaither, Okaz, September 14, 2020.

"The Palestinian issue concerns the Arab peoples who want a solution, but the leaders benefit from the status quo. These leaders benefit from the problems and suffering of their people. There is no solution under corrupt leaderships." — Saudi writer Osama Yamani, Okaz, September 11, 2020.

Al-Shkiran also advised the Palestinians to hold their leaders accountable on two levels: "The first is political accountability: The reasons and causes of the continued rejection of all realistic deals that were offered to them since the beginning of the problem until today. Second: Opening the files of corruption. The Palestinian has the right to ask about the billions of dollars paid by the Gulf states for the Palestinian cause. All that money has disappeared." — Saudi writer and researcher Fahd al-Shkiran, Asharq Al-Awsat, September 16, 2020.

Friedman on the Abraham Accords: ‘When the Dust Settles, the Israeli-Arab Conflict Will Be Over’
US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said on Wednesday that recent regional developments, and especially the peace treaties between Israel, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, mark the beginning of the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Speaking aboard the Israeli delegation’s return flight from Washington, DC, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the foreign ministers of the UAE and Bahrain signed the peace accords on Tuesday, Friedman said that many more countries would soon follow suit and normalize relations with the Jewish state.

“We broke the ice and made peace with two important countries in the region,” he said, adding that additional diplomatic breakthroughs are sure to follow. “When the dust settles, within months or a year,” he added, “the Israeli-Arab conflict will be over.”

As for the impact of the developments on the Palestinians, Friedman said the Palestinian people are not being served by their leadership.

“I believe the people in Judea and Samaria want a better life,” he said, adding that the Palestinian people need to understand it’s possible for them to attain such a goal. Their leadership, however, is still clutching to old and irrelevant complaints, he added. “They need to join the 21st century. They are on the wrong side of history at the moment.”

On the matter of Israel’s now-paused sovereignty initiative in Judea and Samaria, Friedman said, “I think it will happen.”

While the United States believes the initiative was the right move, he said, “Peace is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”
Trump’s Mideast Strategy of Bypassing Palestinians Praised by Ex-UN Envoy Nikki Haley
Former US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley said Wednesday that the Israel-UAE-Bahrain normalization agreements were made possible by a concerted strategy adopted by President Donald Trump that bypassed the Palestinians, concentrated on Iran, emphasized unapologetic support for the Jewish state and won the trust of Arab leaders.

Speaking to Fox News a day after the accords were signed at the White House, Haley said, “This is no fluke; this is pretty remarkable and historic.”

Asked what was different about the president’s strategy from his predecessors’ unsuccessful efforts, Haley replied, “The difference was, go back to the first foreign policy speech the president gave, it was to the Arab community, and he said: Let us all work together in the name of peace. And he did something no other president has done. Rather than focus on the Palestinians, which is what every president has thought they had to do to negotiate peace, he focused on Iran.”

“He brought all of the Arab countries together and said: Let’s all fight against terrorism,” Haley added. “And that’s what this was. This was about the fact that this peace deal came together simply out of the fact they trusted the president. They trusted him because he got out of the Iran deal; they trusted him because he was honest with them; they trusted him because he showed strength in a time when we needed it.”

Addressing Trump’s decision to move the US Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Haley said it was part of the president’s policy of “honesty” with the Arab states.

“The president’s idea to peace was being honest and acknowledging truths, which was moving the embassy to the capital of Israel, which was Jerusalem,” she noted. “It was getting out of the Iran deal. … And it was bringing them together in the name of: Let’s do away with terrorism. The number one sponsor of terrorism is Iran, and if we’re going to all get together and do this, we have to start acknowledging the truth. And that’s what the president did.”

Rich Lowry: How Trump Defied the Experts and Forged a Breakthrough in the Middle East
The senior administration official recalls overhearing the Israelis talking, during the historic El Al flight to UAE carrying a delegation of U.S. and Israeli officials at the end of August. Although they were excited, they tried to dampen the expectations of what they’d initially be able to accomplish. “But when they got in the first meeting,” he says of the Israelis and Emiratis, “the two of them were discussing and they were, like, ‘Look, first thing we need to do is set up a banking system. We need to have a bank.’ The next day, they did it.” He adds, “They were like long-lost friends.”

The Israel-UAE relationship should continue to deepen. A U.S. diplomat points out:

This is a country that has no border with Israel, that has no real arguments with Israel and that has never been at war with Israel. And you can see already that it’s different. Israelis who have been there have already started talking about the warm greeting that they got.

The Way Ahead

Looking ahead, one can see that the leverage of the Palestinian leadership has demonstrably been reduced, since normalization was to be one of the prizes of Israeli-Palestinian peace, and there’s a sense that the region is moving on without it.

It’s possible that the new state of play could create an opening for political change among the Palestinians. Says the U.S. negotiator:

I think the Palestinian people look around and they say to themselves, “Wait a second. Why is it that those countries can sit at the table, but our leadership has chosen the path of just completely, obstinately sticking out, saying, ‘We’re not going to negotiate with you’?”

“Who loses in this?” asks Adam Boehler, who, as head of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, has been heavily involved in the economic diplomacy. “Iran and the Palestinian Authority leadership because their strategy isn’t working. Ultimately, it will be better for the Palestinians. The administration has been clear that we want to invest in the economic security of the Palestinian people, and I hope that this empowers them to demand needed change from their leadership.”

Regardless, one thing is clear: The conventional wisdom in the Middle East needs an upgrade.

Why Trump’s Mideast Peace Deals Matter
The BDS movement and other economic boycotts of Israel are now little more than an anti-Semitic outlet for Western radicals.

With economic ties come cultural ones, as the nations promise to “promote tourism cooperation” as well as ”people-to-people” exchanges. For years, Arab nations have depicted Jews in the most nefarious ways. Yet, only two weeks after the announcement of Israel–United Arab Emirates, the latter is teaching and praising the peace initiative with the Jews. Its Islamic Studies textbook is teaching and praising the peace initiative with the Jews.

Perhaps most important, the Abraham Accords may just be the beginning of the thawing. Trump says he expected Saudi Arabia — the steward of Islam’s holiest sites — to recognize Israel. “At least five or six” other countries may as well, Trump says. We’ll have to see about that. But Saudi Arabia has announced that it will permit commercial flights from Israel to pass through its airspace. Bahrain would never have agreed to a deal with Israel without the Saudis’ blessing. These deals only make more normalization possible.

Though there are no guarantees in the Middle East, these peace deals also probably make an Israeli–Palestinian deal possible. Kushner approached Palestinian leadership to engage in these talks, and he was rebuffed. Mahmoud Abbas is waiting out Trump for a more friendly administration. It’s probably too late.

Since the early 1990s, every attempt to create a lasting agreement in the region has been bogged down by intractable Palestinian demands to make Jerusalem their capital and force Israel to accept the suicidal “Right of Return.” These are non-starters. This isn’t merely a Likud position; it is the position of every major party in Israel and, increasingly, a reality accepted in wider Arab world.  The Abraham Accords, for example, pledge to deal with Palestinian issues in a manner that “meets the legitimate needs and aspirations of both peoples, and to advance comprehensive Middle East peace, stability and prosperity.” Nowhere does it mention anything about handing over Jerusalem, a Right of Return, returning to 1967 lines, or even a Palestinian state.

The decades of Middle East policy being conducted through the grievances of the PLO are likely over. Without obligatory backing from the Arab world, Palestinians may be forced to embrace reality, too. If not, they’ll continue to be left behind.

Some critics have pointed out that Israel has now struck deals with a number of authoritarian nations. Well, guess what, Hamas and Fatah are also authoritarians, and yet the Washington foreign-policy establishment want to give them their own state.

Alas, there are the realities of the region. One hopes that Arab theocracies accelerate their liberalization, but right now it is Iran, and its proxies in Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, that threaten peace. New alliances between Jews and Arabs, on the other hand, can only strengthen it.

Ben-Dror Yemini: Israel-UAE-Bahrain peace deal is the new Middle East
The Israeli-Arab conflict has been dying for years, and on Tuesday, its death was officially declared.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, however, is still alive and kicking and should not be underestimated – the Palestinians insist on immortalizing it and Arab countries continue paying it lip service.

But they won't do anything more. They have realized Israel was not their enemy or their problem, but a powerful strategic ally.

Welcome to the new Middle East, it is finally starting to take shape.

While the White House ceremony was taking place, I was taking part in a panel on one of the foreign news channels, alongside Bahraini journalist Yusuf Mubarak. His words though nothing new, were clear and candid: no more pan-Islamism, no more Pan-Arabism. We want peace and mean peace.

Mubarak did not spare any criticism of the Palestinians and did not try to pay them any lip service.

Their leadership had led them from one mistake to another, from recalcitrance to terror, from hijacking airplanes to suicide bombings.

"We want peace, a new era," he said in perfect English.

Israeli and Dubai diamond exchanges sign trade agreement
The Israeli and Dubai diamond exchanges announced Thursday they had struck a deal to boost trade, just days after Israel signed breakthrough agreements with United Arab Emirates and Bahrain at the White House to normalize their relations.

With the US-brokered agreements, the UAE and Israel are taking their quiet economic ties public for the first time. The UAE announced the end of its boycott of Israel last month, allowing commerce to flow between the oil-rich Emirates and Israel. Already, Emirati and Israeli banks and research firms have rushed to sign agreements.

Israel, once the world’s largest diamond sales center, remains a major leader in the polishing of large diamonds and is home to a booming high-tech sector. Dubai, a regional financial hub, also hosts an emerging diamond trade. The industry there has grown from an export trade of $3.6 billion in 2003 to $23 billion in 2019.

The Israeli Diamond Exchange will open an office in Dubai, while the Dubai Multi Commodities Center, an economic free zone, will set up shop in Ramat Gan, Israel, the base of the Israeli exchange.

Ahmed Bin Sulayem, head of the DMCC and chairman of the Dubai Diamond Exchange, expressed excitement about the economic benefits for both sides, saying the agreement “will attract businesses to the emirate as well as boost the regional and international trade of this precious stone.”

Yoram Dvash, head of Israel’s Diamond Exchange, praised Dubai’s economic free zones and “convenient” business conditions.

Also on Thursday, Emirates Flight Catering, which supplies meals to Emirates Airlines and over 100 others, said it would establish a facility dedicated to making certified kosher food at its UAE headquarters, with production due to start in January.

Jon Gabriel (podcast): Erielle Davidson on the Abraham Accords
The King of Stuff welcomes Erielle Davidson, a senior policy analyst at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA) following the historic peace deals between Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates. She is an alumna of both the Hoover Institution and Claremont Institute, and has written for The Federalist, Washington Examiner, and The National Interest.

Jon and Erielle discuss the success of the Abraham Accords, the failures of the Iran Deal, and the absence of press coverage on both.

NGO Monitor: NGOs Against Peace in the Middle East
On September 15, 2020, Israel signed separate historic agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain, establishing formal diplomatic relations and recognition between the countries. With the agreements, these Arab countries join Egypt and Jordan in establishing formal ties and normalizing relations with the Jewish State.

Following the announcement of the UAE agreement in August, a number of NGOs, which purport to promote universal human rights, have decried and condemned the contribution to peace. Parroting Palestinian rejectionist ideology, the NGOs argue that no normalization should take place with Israel until the Palestinian issue is resolved.

In this extremist view of Middle East peace, there is no inherent value in dialogue or mutual respect between Israel and other states in the region.

This NGO rejectionism is directly linked to the BDS agenda advanced by these organizations. Unsurprisingly, groups that demonize the Jewish state and campaign against business relationships and cultural and academic ties also demand that Arab countries maintain a diplomatic siege.

NGO Opposition to the Peace Agreements

Human Rights Watch (HRW) On August 31, HRW Executive Director Ken Roth tweeted, “All the kvelling about the Israeli-UAE flight does nothing to change the oppressive, discriminatory ‘one-state reality’ for occupied Palestinians. Only equal rights will do that.”

On August 19, Roth tweeted, “Netanyahu claims that the United Arab Emirates is a democracy, even though it crushes dissent and doesn’t hold elections. But then again, Israel trumpets its democracy but holds millions of Palestinians in a discriminatory, oppressive ‘one-state reality.’”

Italian Member of Parliament on Why Nominated Netanyahu for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize

Ambassador Dennis Ross on Netanyahu's Nomination for 2021 Nobel Peace Prize

State Department Spox Morgan Ortagus Discusses Framework Behind Trump's Mideast Peace Plan

Israeli Politicians React to Abraham Accords

UAE Jewish Council Head, Ross Kriel: "No Peace Deal Like This Before"

Evangelist Leader Dr. Mike Evans on Trump-Brokered Abraham Accords

Why John Kerry and others were wrong about peace and Israel - analysis
As Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain waltzed toward an agreement this week, many were surprised by the lack of Israeli “concessions” and a Palestinian state coming alongside the agreement. For two-and-a-half decades the paradigm that was pushed by experts on the peace process was that Israel would have to withdraw and give “concessions” in order to achieve normalization.

The belief in this manifesto became so strong that some of those involved in the peace process quietly urged Arab states not to make peace unless Israel made concessions, having become invested in the need to be right about the conflict.

The embodiment of these theories is former US presidential candidate and former Secretary of State John Kerry. A series of videos of the former diplomat constantly warning of violence if the US embassy was moved to Jerusalem and arguing that Israel could never have peace with its neighbors without a Palestinian state have emerged.

It should be remembered that Kerry gave a long speech at the end of the Obama administration’s 2016 term essentially indicating that this must be US policy. Kerry said in 2016 that “there will be no advanced and separate peace with the Arab world without the Palestinian process and Palestinian peace. Everybody needs to understand that. That is the hard reality.”

In a sense this created a framework in which western governments, including the US, might even oppose normalization of relations with Arab states unless a Palestinian state emerged with Jerusalem as its capital. This put the ball entirely in the Palestinians’ court to say no to Israel. With the Palestinians divided between the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and Gaza-based Hamas, the “no peace without concessions” paradigm ensured that Israel could never have relations with any new countries in the Middle East.

The UAE and the Democratic-Muslim Extremist Partnership
In January, CAIR announced it was launching a voter drive to register a million Muslim Americans to vote. As a sign of the group’s political power, 120 lawmakers, (117 Democrats and three Republicans), wrote letters of support for CAIR ahead of its annual gala that month.

In July, CAIR participated in the Million Muslim Voter Summit which endorsed and hosted Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Speaking at the conference, Awad noted that as a 501(C)3 organization, CAIR is barred from endorsing political candidates. He immediately added, “However … we have the pandemic of racism that has been elevated, promoted and endorsed by this administration…. The White House is championing anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, anti-black policies … I would like to hear on behalf of our constituents … from Vice President Biden, how soon is he planning to repeal the Muslim ban?”

Attesting to CAIR’s influence in the Democratic Party, in his remarks at the summit Biden pledged to end the so-called “Muslim ban” on “day one” of his administration.

At the Democratic Convention last month, CAIR ally and outspoken anti-Semite Linda Sarsour spoke at an event at the convention’s Muslim Caucus. Awad also spoke at the event. Sarsour’s prominence and notoriety for her repeated, well-publicized slurs of Jews has made her a lightning rod and her participation in the convention raised the hackles of Jewish activists and ignited Republican condemnation. Biden’s campaign spokesman Andrew Bates quickly distanced the campaign from Sarsour, condemning her bigotry and disavowing the BDS campaign she supports.

CAIR was infuriated. Awad condemned the campaign for distancing itself from Sarsour. “The Biden campaign has a long way to go to gain support from American Muslim voters,” he said.

Other Muslim and progressive groups including CodePink and piled on.

In the hopes of controlling the damage, Biden’s top campaign advisers held a conference call with Muslim activists to apologize. Tony Blinken, Biden’s top foreign policy adviser apologized profusely and pledged that a Biden administration will be “genuinely inclusive” and ensure Arab and Muslim representation at the decision-making level.

Given CAIR’s power in the Democratic base, it is hard to imagine Biden long maintaining his anti-BDS position in any meaningful way. It is also hard to imagine a Biden administration building on the Israel-UAE alliance to strengthen America’s allies in the Middle East.

PMW: PA: Beware “alliance with the Jews… obedience to the Jews”
The Palestinian Authority exposed its true essence as a Jew-hating antisemitic body by condemning the peace agreements signed this week between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain, because it is an “alliance with the Jews.” Not only is this what the PA believes but this hate message was disseminated by the PA Ministry of Religious Affairs to all mosques in the PA, as part of the instructions to preachers on what to say in their sermons to be given in the PA on Friday.

The weekly instruction sheet disseminated by the PA Ministry of Religion delineates the content to be preached in all sermons in PA mosques, and is signed by Husam Abu Al-Rub, the Deputy Minister of Religious Affairs. For tomorrows sermons, the PA Imams have been instructed to condemn the peace agreement signed this past week and to condemn the Arab countries for signing. There are nine short messages that are to be included in the sermon and this is the first one:

“There is nothing that harms Palestine and its holy sites more than making an alliance with the Jews, being connected to them, and relying on them.”

The fourth message continues the antisemitic theme warning Muslims about the terrible consequences including humiliation and shame for being “obedient” to Jews:

“Obedience to the Jews and being dragged after them will lead the nation to weakness, lawlessness, humiliation, and shame.”

The instruction sheet cites five proof texts from the Quran and five from the Hadith to back up its anti-Jewish messages and condemnation of the peace agreements. One of the sources warns Muslims to be wary of Jews and Christians, because their goal is to bring Muslims to give up their faith in Islam:

“And never will the Jews or the Christians approve of you until you follow their religion.” [Sura 2:120]

'A Stab in the Back': Ex-Palestinian Minister on Gulf Arab Support for 'Occupation'

PA official names five countries set to establish ties with Israel
Israel is in talks with several Arab and Muslim countries to normalize ties, Palestinian Authority Social Affairs Minister Ahmed Majdalani told KAN Bet on Thursday.

Majdalani listed Oman, Sudan, Comoros, Djibouti and Mauritania as states holding normalization discussions with Israel.

This list came a day after US President Donald Trump said there are five countries that plan to establish diplomatic relations with Israel soon, ahead of Israel signing peace agreements with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.

Oman and Sudan have been mentioned as serious possibilities for ties with Israel in recent weeks.

Despite recent events, Majdalani maintained the Palestinian position on normalization with Israel, saying “the attitude that there can be peace with the Arabs without peace with the Palestinians is an illusion.”

Mosques instruct Palestinians to reject peace deals as world celebrates
Palestinians throughout the West Bank attending mosque this Friday will be told in the sermon that the peace deals signed between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain this week amount to high treason against the Palestinian cause, and are condemned by Allah himself.

Each week the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Religion disseminates an instruction sheet outlining the content to be preached in all PA mosques during Friday prayers for that week. This Friday, September 18, Imams have been instructed to condemn the peace deals, and to warn that they pose a danger to those who signed them. The instruction sheet includes a list of surahs - chapters from the Quran - which underscore the PA's belief in the religious imperative to oppose the peace treaty.

The sheet, which has been seen and translated by NGO Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) includes sermon talking points such as: “There is nothing that harms Palestine and its holy sites more than making an alliance with the Jews, being connected to them, and relying on them,” and “Obedience to the Jews and being dragged after them will lead the nation to weakness, lawlessness, humiliation, and shame.”

"What is so important to understand about this specific PA hate dissemination is that the Palestinian Authority is rejecting the peace agreement not because it is with Israel but because it is with the Jews," Director of PMW Itamar Marcus told The Jerusalem Post.

Imams will call on "the Arab and Islamic peoples and the free people of the world to stand with Palestine in order to bring down the agreement of humiliation and treason by the UAE and Bahrain," according to the instruction sheet, and worshippers will be urged to concentrate all their energy "to reject normalization and relations with the Zionist entity."
MEMRI: Islamic Jihad Official: Resistance Will Start with Songs, Followed by Rocks, Knives, Guns, Rockets
Khaled Al-Batsh, a member of the political bureau of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, said in a September 14, 2020 interview on Mayadeen TV (Lebanon) that the meaning of the “comprehensive resistance” agreed upon by the leaders of the Palestinian factions is that the resistance against Israel would start with the pen, songs, and poems, and would be followed by rocks, knives, guns, and rockets.

Juan Williams: Israel peace deals are ‘accelerating’ the ‘chance of war’ in the Middle East
Fox News contributor Juan Williams made the case Tuesday that recent peace deals between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain brokered by President Donald Trump are actually "accelerating" the "chance of war" in the Middle East.

President Trump has been lauded by many for his role in brokering the deals, which officially normalized relations between Israel and the two Middle Eastern countries. The president was even nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for securing the deal between Israel and the UAE.

But Williams, a Trump critic, interpreted the news of peace much differently.

Williams presented his argument on Fox News' "The Five" while the panelists were discussing recent remarks made by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in which she called the deals a "distraction."

"It is [a distraction]," Williams said. "The real trouble here is between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and that situation has not been helped. What we're doing here in this situation is we have the Bahrainians and the United Arab Emirates, they already had diplomatic, security and trade ties with Israel ... and it opens the door to some possibilities."

"The real action here is the United States giving arms, giving serious arms to UAE potentially to go after the Iranians," he argued. "And so what we're doing is stirring up a proxy war, and that doesn't diminish the chance of war or disruption in the Middle East — it accelerates it."

Jeremy Bowen’s recommended reading on the Abraham Accords
On September 15th the BBC News website published an article on its ‘Middle East’ page in which Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen gave his take on the agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain due to be signed later in the day: “Five reasons why Israel’s peace deals with the UAE and Bahrain matter”.

Reason number four was headed “The Palestinians feel betrayed”. “Once again, they are left holding the wooden spoon.

They have condemned the Abraham Accords as a betrayal. The new agreement breaks a long-standing Arab consensus that the price of normal relations with Israel was independence for the Palestinians.

But now Israel is cementing new public relationships with Arab states while the Palestinians still languish under occupation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and in what amounts to an open prison in Gaza.”

The Gaza Strip has of course not been “under occupation” for fifteen years and neither is it “an open prison”. Bowen however chose to promote that politically motivated dogma without making any mention of the factors that made necessary the counter-terrorism measures imposed by Israel and Egypt which affect travel into their respective territories.

Not only did the person tasked with providing BBC audiences with “a deeper understanding” of the region for the past fifteen years whitewash the crucially relevant issue of Palestinian terrorism, he made no effort to clarify that until the Covid 19 pandemic, thousands of Gaza Strip residents exited the territory into Israel via the Erez crossing every month: e.g. 26,900 in January 2020 and 22,100 in February 2020.

There is of course nothing novel about Bowen’s use of that smear so often used by anti-Israel campaigners: it has been repeatedly promoted on a variety of BBC platforms in the past, including by Bowen himself.

Ben Rhodes Demands Bailout Funds for Discredited Middle East Experts (satire)
With Congress debating the next round of stimulus funding in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a group of international affairs analysts led by former Obama advisor Ben Rhodes is demanding a federal bailout.

The proposal would create a universal basic income, or UBI, for experts in the Middle East who are no longer employable in their field due to years of incorrect predictions and debunked beliefs.

“With unemployment still above 8 percent, this crisis has been especially devastating for analysts who have gone on the record saying that moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem would lead to Israel’s increasing isolation in the Arab world, or that the killing of Qasem Soleimani would trigger World War III,” reads a statement from the group, which calls itself Experts on Responsive Relations in the Orient Region, or E.R.R.O.R. “Without immediate financial assistance of at least $10,000 per month, these analysts will be forced to continue to publish counterfactual books and articles and spout opinions completely disconnected from reality.”

The crisis has only worsened since the signing of the Abraham Accords by the US, Israel, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates.

“Every time I try to author an essay on the path towards peace in the Middle East, I get a million tweets about how I ridiculed the possibility of a separate peace between Israel and the Arab world,” former Secretary of State John Kerry told The Mideast Beast. “This stimulus funding would allow me to give up on geopolitical prognosticating and focus on my true passion, windsurfing.”

We have lots of ideas, but we need more resources to be even more effective. Please donate today to help get the message out and to help defend Israel.


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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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