Wednesday, September 23, 2020

From Ian:

Michael Doran: The Emperor’s New Clothes
When President Donald Trump presided over the signing ceremony for the Abraham Accords between Israel, the UAE, and Bahrain last week on the South Lawn of the White House, his critics cast the event as a real-life enactment of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” in which Trump played a minimal role in a meaningless accord involving two tiny Arab nations that had never made war on the Jewish state. “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is indeed an apt analogy, but it was Trump’s critics—not the president—who were shown to be naked.

The Abraham Accords are the most significant development in the Arab-Israeli conflict in the last 25 years. Not only have the Palestinians lost their veto over normalization between Israel and other Arab states, but the entire “Resistance Alliance,” led by Iran, has revealed itself as incapable of placing obstacles in the way of Israel’s integration into the Arab state system. True, the UAE and Bahrain are small powers, but behind them looms Saudi Arabia, which is by far the most influential Arab state. Without Riyadh’s tacit support, the celebration on the White House lawn would never have materialized. If Trump wins the election in November, there is a good chance that Riyadh will normalize relations with Israel—to say nothing of Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Morocco, and Sudan, who are also waiting in the wings.

To be sure, the Palestinian seat at the next White House party will likely remain empty, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will simmer away for many years to come. But that is true of many dozens of sectarian and nationalistic conflicts around the world, including those in Spain, Belgium, Italy, and Ukraine—to confine the list only to Europe. No one in the world has a plausible solution to the Palestinian question, and the best diplomatic minds have devoted more time and effort on it than any other question on the planet for reasons that are now beginning to recede into history.

Trump’s diplomacy posited that the best way to manage this conflict was not to blow more hot air into a punctured balloon, but to reduce it to its true geostrategic proportions. Thanks to this strategy, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict seems likely in time to become the Eastern Mediterranean equivalent to the Western Sahara conflict: an insoluble but localized dilemma with a specific set of local human costs. The debilitating lock that it has placed on American strategic thinking for decades has been broken. In breaking that lock, Trump has created a process to end the Arab-Israeli conflict—which unlike the local Israeli conflict with the Palestinians, had real geostrategic significance.

It is equally notable that Trump’s masterstroke came by breaking the hold of the Washington foreign policy establishment on the Middle East peacemaking business. In denigrating his accomplishment, the leading lights of American foreign policy have also conveniently erased from memory their unblemished record of outrageously bad predictions. What will happen, former Secretary of State John Kerry was asked in a television interview in 2016, if President Trump would make good on his campaign promise to move the United States Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? “You’d have an explosion,” Kerry answered, “an absolute explosion in the region, not just in the West Bank, and perhaps even in Israel itself, but throughout the region.”
INSS: Seventy Years to UNRWA — Time for Structural and Functional Reforms
The year 2020 marks seventy years since UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East), which serves Palestinian refugees in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon, began operation. Since its establishment by virtue of the mandate given to it by the UN General Assembly, UNRWA has not succeeded in bringing about the true rehabilitation of the Palestinian refugees and in reducing their number, which has risen from approximately 700,000 on the eve of the State of Israel’s establishment to over 5.5 million refugees in 2020. The impact of the regional upheaval on the Palestinian refugees, the stagnation of the political process between Israel and the Palestinians, the split in the Palestinian arena, the humanitarian distress in the Gaza Strip, the centrality of the refugee issue in the Palestinian narrative, and the American administration’s 2018 decision to stop funding UNRWA pose even more complex challenges for the agency. In light of the understanding of the need for changing the agency’s modes of operation and adapting them to the challenges of the current reality, and given that all attempts and recommendations to significantly reform the agency’s modes of operation over the years having been thwarted, this memorandum discusses UNRWA’s operational concept and functioning and presents four alternative models of operation, along with a methodology for analyzing the different alternatives.

Click here to download the full Memorandum
New Palestinian curriculum shows no improvements, antisemitism remains
The Palestinian Authority's newly released educational curriculum shows no substantive changes for the better, despite assurances earlier this year that egregious examples of antisemitism and hate education would be eliminated.

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

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

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

In another, math is still being taught to 4th graders through the example of the number of "martyrs" who died in the intifadas, although this figure has been modified downwards from 2,026 to 1,392.
David Singer: PLO and Hamas should let their citizens emigrate
The PLO’s continuing refusal to negotiate with Israel on President Trump’s Peace Plan - whilst also denouncing the peace treaties signed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain with Israel - sees 'West Bank' and Gazan Arabs remaining captive to accepting these disastrous PLO decisions without any rights to vote or emigrate.

These disenfranchised, beleaguered and long-suffering populations have seen the PLO reject proposals for peace flowing from:
1993 Oslo Accords,
2000 Camp David Summit,
2003 Bush Road Map,
Israel’s unilateral disengagement from Gaza 2005
2007 Annapolis Conference,
2014 Kerry negotiations and
Trump’s 2020 deal of the century – reportedly endorsed by Qatar.

Financial assistance to improve their miserable lives has been lost – including:
$750 million annually from direct American aid
$360 million per annum in American aid to UNRWA
America terminating its payment of 22% of UNESCO’s annual budget following UNESCO’s admission of the “State of Palestine” as a member contrary to American domestic law and in contravention of UNESCO’s own constitution
$28.5 billion that would have flown from international donors at the Manama Conference held on 25/26 June 2019 if the Trump Peace Plan was implemented.

The UAE voiced its support for the Manama Conference and what it hoped would be achieved:

“The UAE supports all international efforts aimed at supporting economic progress and increasing opportunities in the region, and alleviating the suffering of people in the region, particularly our brothers in Palestine... It (the Conference) aims to lift the Palestinian people out of misery and to enable them for a stable and prosperous future,"

Hamas and the PLO violently opposed and boycotted the Manama Conference.

Zoom cancels academic event with Leila Khaled
The video-conferencing platform Zoom has canceled a conversation on its platform hosted by San Francisco State University's Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas Studies (AMED) featuring a documented Palestinian terrorist following complaints from the Lawfare Project on Tuesday.

The Sept. 23 event, Whose Narratives? Gender, Justice, & Resistance: A conversation with Leila Khaled, was scheduled to take place via Zoom. It was to be hosted by SFSU professors Rabab Abdulhadi, who has a history of anti-Israel activism, and Tomomi Kinukawa.

Khaled played a critical role in two airplane hijackings as a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a US-designated terrorist organization. The Israeli Shin Bet considers Khaled as part of the Jordanian command of the PFLP.

The Lawfare Project initially sent a letter to Zoom last week warning that by knowingly permitting Khaled to use its platform to communicate directly to US college students, Zoom could violate federal law that makes it illegal to provide material support or resources to a foreign terrorist organization.

Following what the Lawfare Project called an "intensive dialogue" with Zoom officials over the past two days, Zoom's deputy general counsel and chief compliance and ethics officer, Lynn Haaland, issued the following statement: "Zoom is committed to supporting the open exchange of ideas and conversations, subject to certain limitations contained in our Terms of Service, including those related to user compliance with applicable US export control, sanctions, and anti-terrorism laws. In light of the speaker's reported affiliation or membership in a US-designated foreign terrorist organization, and SFSU's inability to confirm otherwise, we determined the meeting is in violation of Zoom's Terms of Service and told SFSU they may not use Zoom for this particular event."

Khaled was one of the hijackers on TWA Flight 840 from Rome to Tel Aviv in 1969 and on El Al Flight 219 in 1970 from Amsterdam to New York City. She was released in both cases.

In 2017, she was barred entry to Italy. Nearly 90 Jewish and pro-Israel groups expressed outrage and concern about the event to SFSU president Lynn Mahoney, who repeatedly defended the event by invoking freedom of expression.

Victory! Activists Stop San Francisco State University Event with Known Terrorist by Protesting Zoom

Congressman Calls for Federal Investigation of University for Hosting Convicted Terrorist Leila Khaled
Convicted Palestinian terrorist Leila Khaled, the first female hijacker, will speak September 23 via Zoom to the “open classrooms” of San Francisco State University professors Rabab Abdulhadi and Tomomi Kinukawa. It is an outrage that a public, taxpayer-supported American university would glorify a hardened terrorist by providing a platform from which she can radicalize college students.

In response, Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) today sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos noting that Khaled “is an unrepentant terrorist who continues to boast about her terrorist acts.” He calls on the Department of Education (DoE) to cut off all federal funds to SFSU, and for the Treasury Department to investigate it for violating laws prohibiting material support for terrorism.

Despite ongoing objections to Khaled’s appearance, SFSU president Lynn Mahoney’s only reaction has been a bromide-laden letter to the campus community that mentions neither Khaled nor terrorism. Readers are assured she “strongly” condemns anti-Semitism, but are gently reminded that the exchange of ideas “is not always conflict-free,” as if academic debates normally include murdering innocents, the act that defines terrorism. Because her school is a “welcoming, inclusive campus” where “rejecting binaries and embracing hard-to-reconcile complexities are the hallmarks of the educational experience,” the unmentioned lecture by the unnamed speaker must go on.

Mahoney may have more trouble dismissing Lamborn’s demand for ending federal assistance and launching a Treasury probe — measures that would be well deserved given Khaled’s well known criminal past. Among her most notorious acts was helping a fellow terrorist hijack El Al Flight 219 from Amsterdam to New York on September 6, 1970, almost 50 years to the date of her appearance at SFSU. She and her accomplice, Patrick Arguello, shot and seriously wounded a flight attendant and put a gun to the head of another before the pilot put the Boeing 707 into a nosedive that tossed the terrorists to the floor. Arguello was then killed by an air marshal while Khaled’s grenade failed to detonate after she pulled the pin in a suicidal attempt to kill all aboard. From her home in Amman, Jordan, she remains a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a U.S.-designated terror organization.

Trump: Achieving Real Peace

You could probably write a very short summary, something along these lines: “we’re going to actively search for ways to cooperate, bring more countries into this deal, and turn the Middle East into a new zone of peace.”

It could be a turning point. Or not.

If the bulk of the predictions are correct, most of the Arab countries in the region will join the party, and the Arab-Israeli entente will become the organizing document for them all. If that is the case, there will be a fundamental transposition in the relations among most of the nations in the Middle East, an explosion in trade and travel, reciprocal access to each other’s schools, and as yet unforeseen advantages to all concerned.

As the Arabs join, the Middle East will take on a distinctly different coloration, changing from a near-universal disdain for Israel to a virtually unanimous embrace. The big turning point will come when Saudi Arabia sends an Ambassador to Jerusalem, a double reversal of the traditional disdain.

In truth, the Saudis are already members of the new Middle East, opening their air space to commercial planes using Saudi routes to travel to and from Israel, discussing joint ventures with the Israelis in amazingly advanced technology, and drafting plans for new high-tech joint ventures. Together, they will constitute the anti-Iranian armed force that will bring down the mullahs’ regime.

If we were insects on the walls of the negotiating rooms, we’d hear some fascinating exchanges. And we would be able to listen to our elected officials apologize for their abandonment of our basic principles.
Trump to UNGA: 'We intend to deliver more peace agreements shortly'
US President, Donald Trump voiced optimism that more peace agreements to normalize ties between Israel and Arab countries are possible when he addressed the opening session of the 75th UN General Assembly. As the General Debate is taking place mostly virtually this year due to COVID-19, Trump delivered his speech from the White House.

Trump’s speech was mostly focused on the pandemic, and he sharply criticized China for its response to the virus. “We must hold accountable the nation which unleashed this plague onto the world – China,” he said. “In the earliest days of the virus, China locked down travel domestically while allowing flights to leave China.”

“We are mass producing them in advance so they can be delivered immediately upon arrival, we will distribute a vaccine,” Trump said. “We will defeat the virus.”

The US president addressed the recent agreements that the White House brokered, such as the economic agreement between Serbia and Kosovo, and the historic Abraham Accords between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Trump said that there are “many other Middle Eastern countries to come.”

“They are coming fast, and they know it’s great for them, and it’s great for the world,” Trump said. “These groundbreaking peace deals are the dawn of the new Middle East... We intend to deliver more peace agreements shortly, and I have never been more optimistic for the future of the region. There is no blood in the sand. Those days are hopefully over.”
Dore Gold: Why the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Is Uniquely Stable among the Arab States
Among the Arab Gulf states, the UAE shows signs of greater stability than any of its neighbors. It does not have a problem of religious extremism. It has a clear succession for the presidency. It has resolved most of its border problems with its neighbors.

Abu Dhabi is the largest of the emirates, accounting for 88 percent of the entire area. It dominates the federal government and its relative size and wealth make it extremely difficult for the lesser emirates to break off. Some 25 percent of the UAE population are Shiites. But concern there has focused on families of Iranian origin who are represented in large numbers in Dubai (as many as 400,000).

The U.S. and UAE signed a Defense Cooperation Agreement in 1994, after which the U.S. military presence in the UAE greatly expanded. Roughly 5,000 U.S. servicemen are deployed there. The Al Dhafra air base near Abu Dhabi has proven critical for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as combat operations against ISIS. The U.S. also uses naval facilities at the Jebel Ali port and Fujairah.

The large American military contingent acts as a tripwire: an armed attack by Iran on Abu Dhabi that led to U.S. fatalities would likely bring about a massive American retaliation. Above all, American power in the Gulf region is the single most important factor in guaranteeing the stability of the UAE in the future.

The UAE has taken measures to reduce its vulnerability to internal Islamist challenges. Moreover, public opinion is strongly against the emergence of any form of a theocratic state, which helped put the brakes on support for radical Islamic organizations. UAE courts closed down all branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2014.
JPost Editorial: The European Union should follow the UAE's example on Israel relations
The normalization of ties between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain has placed the idea back on the European agenda of resuscitating the long dormant EU-Israel Association Council.

The 1995 EU-Israel Association agreements that govern relations between Israel and the union call for an annual meeting of Israel and EU foreign ministers, called the Association Council, to promote dialogue and boost ties.

But this forum has not met since 2012, first because of Israeli anger at EU guidelines stipulating that its agreements with Israel would not apply to the West Bank and east Jerusalem, and second because of EU opposition to Israeli settlement policies.

The failure of the Association Council to meet for nearly a decade is reflective of a wider problem: the EU’s insistence on linking an upgrading of bilateral relations with Israel on Jerusalem’s compliance with the EU’s view of how a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians should look.

In other words, if Israel does what the EU says – if it creates a Palestinian state on the basis of the 1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital – then there will be an upgrade of ties. If not, there will always be something holding those ties back.

It’s a good thing the UAE and Bahrain did not adopt this model. Had they done so, there would have been no peace signing ceremony on the White House lawn last week.

There is a new momentum amid those pragmatic countries in the Middle East interested in stability in the region. The EU has paid some lip service to this; now it should back up its words with actions and realize that since the old paradigms did not work, it’s now worth trying new ones – including not tethering its own ties with Israel to the Palestinian issue.
US ambassador: Delivery of F-35s to UAE to take '6 or 7 years'
A day after Reuters reported on an emerging deal between the US and the United Arab Emirates over the sale of the advanced F-35 aircraft despite Israeli concerns, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman reassured Israelis that the country's qualitative edge was no imperiled by the reported transaction.

In a pre-recorded interview with as part of The Jerusalem Post's Annual Conference on Wednesday, the US envoy said that the advanced plane, which gives Israel air supremacy in the region, would not be phased into service in the Gulf country anytime soon.

"The Emirates have been trying to get F-35s for six or seven years," Friedman said. "And the delivery time is probably another six or seven years from now."

According to unconfirmed reports in the US and Israeli media, the recent peace agreement between the UAE and Israel was made possible after the Trump administration said it would sell F-35 aircraft to the country, potentially offsetting Israel's decades-old military edge over all Arab air forces.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that an initial deal between Washington and Abu Dhabi was to be signed in early December, although the implementation would likely take at least 4 years and that the aircraft could be given a different radar system that would ensure Israeli superiority. It is unclear if a deal is indeed being drafted, as there has been no official confirmation.
Israelis want two-state negotiations, prefer next deal with Arab state
Israelis want negotiations with the Palestinians based on two-states, but prefer that the next agreement reached should be with a Gulf state, preferably Qatar, according to a poll commissioned by the left-wing Geneva Initiative in conjunction with the Adva Center.

Of the 503 Israelis surveyed on September 14 and 15, 49% said they supported “the renewal of negotiations with Palestinians on the basis of the two-state solution,” and 35% said they opposed such a move.

The survey included 280 self-identified right-wing respondents, out of whom 31.5% supported talks for two states. There were also 130 self-identified Likud supporters in the survey, out of whom 29% expressed a preference for negotiations for two states. The survey question was vague and did not include a definition of what the borders of such a two-state resolution would look like.
Arabs & Israelis Forge Peace in Media Webinar
"Journalists have a very important mission," Bahrain Journalists Association President Ahdeya Ahmed al-Sayed says. She and other journalists and academics from around the Arab world attended a webinar along with Israeli colleagues following the Abraham Accords.

First direct commercial flight from Israel lands in Bahrain
The first known direct commercial flight between Israel and Bahrain landed Wednesday in the island kingdom, just a week after it signed a deal alongside the United Arab Emirates to normalize relations.

Flight data showed an Israir Airlines Airbus A320 landed at Bahrain International Airport after a nearly three-hour flight from Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion International Airport. Hours later, Bahrain acknowledged the flight carried a delegation of Israeli officials.

"A working team from the state of Israel visited Manama today to discuss areas of cooperation between the two countries," Bahrain said in a brief statement. "These talks come after the signing of the Declaration of Peace."

Bahrain did not identify the officials taking part, nor say whom they spoke to while in Manama.

The US Embassy in Manama did not respond to a request for comment. The Israir Airbus took off back for Tel Aviv later on Wednesday.

Wednesday's flight was made without ceremony, in sharp contrast to the first El Al flight from Israel to the United Arab Emirates at the end of August. That plane carried US and Israeli officials, including President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as the media.

Emirates Airline to serve, create kosher meals in house
Emirates Airline will now be providing kosher meals on its flights, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).

The airline released its plans to add kosher meals to its menu on Thursday, making its own kosher meals available to keep in line with Jewish dietary restrictions after the countries signed an agreement normalizing ties on Tuesday.

Emirates' catering service had been offering kosher meals to its passengers prior to this announcement. They were outsourced, however, whereas now the meals will be made in house and the airline will "set up a dedicated production facility" that will be operational by January 2021.

"With recent developments, we expect that demand for kosher food in the UAE and region will grow quickly," Emirates Flight Catering (EKFC) CEO Saeed Mohammed said in a statement. "We will also explore opening restaurants across Dubai and the [Gulf Cooperation Council]."

The new facility will welcome a partnership with CCL Holdings, to which it has named "Kosher Arabia," EKFC said in a statement.
Israel’s Mobileye, Dubai’s Habtoor Partner on Self-Driving Cars
Israel‘s Mobileye and United Arab Emirate’s Al Habtoor Group launched a partnership on Wednesday to create a fleet of self-driving “robotaxis” that could take to the streets of Dubai by the end of 2022.

The deal is the latest collaboration to emerge after last week’s historic accord between Israel and the UAE to normalize relations, though the companies began talking several months ago before news of a diplomatic breakthrough was made public.

Jerusalem-based Mobileye, Intel Corp’s autonomous car division, already has agreements to deploy its technology in cities in Japan, South Korea, France and Israel, and says Dubai was a natural choice.

“Dubai is one of the most advanced cities in world,” Mobileye CEO Amnon Shashua told Reuters. “It is classic territory to launch technologies for smart cities and very natural to have Dubai for deploying autonomous cars.”

The companies will start by equipping 1,000 cars with Mobileye’s system to map Dubai and collect data.

Testing of the autonomous vehicles will begin in 2021 and a pilot program is expected by the end of 2022. A commercial service is planned for 2023 with a target of a few hundred vehicles within five years.

“It’s a multi-million dollar deal in the next year or two, and once mobility as a service is employed, the sky is the limit,” said Shashua, declining to share specific financial details.
Israel’s next peace deal will be with Sudan
Somehow, the country remains on America’s terrorism list. It shouldn’t be. The Trump administration now has a remarkable opportunity. Lifting sanctions would convey that Washington has scored a rare diplomatic win in the war on terrorism. We can also make it clear to other suffering Middle Eastern populations, notably in Iran, that America will reward people who reclaim their countries from theocratic dictatorships.

Sudanese leaders Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Chairman of the Sovereignty Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan met this week in the UAE with American diplomats. They seek some $3 billion in financial assistance and removal from the terrorism list in exchange for normalization with Israel.

Reports out of Abu Dhabi suggest that progress has been slow. The Trump administration is reluctant to dole out that much cash. Some American lawmakers want Sudan to account for its past by compensating victims of al Qaeda’s 1998 terrorist attacks in Kenya and Tanzania (there is a legal judgment to back this up), as well as victims of the 9/11 attacks (there is no judgment for this).

Victims of terrorist attacks undeniably deserve justice. But a major Sudanese payout is unlikely right now. Sudan’s economy is running on fumes. The government can barely afford to feed its people, particularly during the COVID-19 economic downturn.

Washington should move quickly and creatively to find a compromise. Sudan is no longer supporting terrorists. And Khartoum is ready to reach an agreement (Burhan met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February). A diplomatic victory awaits.

If that’s not enough incentive, it’s worth noting that China is one of Sudan’s largest trading partners. There is an opportunity now to woo Sudan out of Beijing’s sphere of influence. This would be no small feat, as great-power competition escalates in Africa and beyond.

The benefits of a deal with Sudan are clear. Opportunities like this don’t arise often. Your move, Mr. President.
Saudi King snubs UAE, Bahrain peacemakers in UN speech
Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud left the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain making peace with Israel out of his speech to the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, despite directly addressing Israel-related issues and peace in the region.

“Peace in the Middle East is our strategic option, and we will spare no option toward achieving a bright future where peace, stability, coexistence among all the region’s people prevail,” the Saudi leader said in the closest reference to the dramatic changes in the region.

King Salman’s snub comes amid multiple reports of a generational divide between him and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, known as MBS, who is enthusiastic about ties with Israel to enhance the Saudi economy and tech sector. His father, however, is more loyal to the traditional Arab stance of no normalization until Israel makes peace with the Palestinians.

The Saudi leader referred to this position by reaffirming his support for the 2002 Arab Peace Plan, a key element of which is promising Israel normalization with the Arab world if it makes peace with the Palestinians by withdrawing to pre-1967 lines, dividing Jerusalem and allowing some Palestinian refugees and their descendants into Israel.

The Arab Peace Plan “ensures the fraternal Palestinian people would regain their legitimate rights establishing independent statehood with east Jerusalem as its capital,” he said.
History proves John Kerry wrong … again
Conventional wisdom took one on the chin last week when the Trump administration did what the establishment said couldn’t be done. No chin took a harder hit than former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s, when one clever social media user unearthed and isolated 44 seconds of him assuring the world that no Middle East peace deal will be possible without the Palestinians. “There will be no separate peace between Israel and the Arab world. I want to make that very clear to all of you,” he stated.

The clip was from December 4, 2016, when Kerry made some of his final remarks as secretary of state to the Brookings Institution’s annual Saban Forum. The diplomat, haughty from his success in the Pyrrhic victory of the Iran nuclear deal, said things he probably now wishes he could take back.

At the forum, titled “The Challenges for the Trump Administration in the Middle East,” Kerry was looking to impart his expertise gained from 30 years as a U.S. senator and three as secretary of state by warning the incoming diplomats that they really didn’t understand the complexity of the Middle East peace process.

After interviewer Jeffrey Goldberg joked with him “that President-elect Trump himself is going to instigate an international crisis,” Kerry started by assuring his audience that his concerns were “not because we don’t care about Israel. It’s because we do care. It’s because we want to be able to see this thing develop into the full-blossomed beacon that Israel has the potential of being.”

The Times falsely claims Israelis are 'skeptical' of Abraham Accords
“Some of the rhetoric thrown out [at] today’s “peace deal” ceremony at the White House between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain has been hard to take seriously”, opined The Times Mid-East correspondent Richard Spencer in the opening sentence of his analysis of the Abraham Accords.

Though the piece (“Saudi backing of Israeli ‘peace deal’ is key to success”, Sept. 16) was referring to what he believes is overblown claims of the deal’s signatories, Spencer himself, clearly a skeptic of the normalisation agreement, advances a narrative that isn’t supported by the facts.

After a few paragraphs devoted to Arab criticism of the deal, Spencer turns to Israel: Within Israel there is also scepticism. In opposition circles the deals are seen as a piece of orchestrated theatre intended to help out populist leaders facing trouble at home.

Mr Trump, they say, needed a foreign policy “win” to take to a presidential election. Mr Netanyahu is facing corruption charges and has lost control of the coronavirus epidemic, which, by some measures, has struck harder in Israel than anywhere else.

Whilst Spencer of course is entitled to highlight Israelis who criticised the plan, it’s inaccuate to suggest that there’s general “skepticism”, and its indeed quite telling that he doesn’t cite any specific Israeli “critics” or opposition leaders.

Evidence of widespread Israeli support is quite clear: A poll by Israel’s Channel 12 found that 77% of Israelis believe that the government did the right thing by singing the normalisation deal, even though Jerusalem purportedly agreed to drop the West Bank annexation plan. Further, according to the Israeli Voice Index for August 2020, the overwhelming majority of Israelis believe that the deal with benefit the country economically, politically and diplomatically.
The Washington Post Peace Agreements Are Bad And Sponsors of Terrorism Are Good
“The more you know about the past,” Theodore Roosevelt once observed, “the better prepared you are for the future.” Regrettably, the Washington Post is leaving readers ill prepared for the future. The newspaper’s coverage of recent peace agreements between Israel and Gulf Arab states offers a case in point.

Take, for example, the Post’s Sept. 18, 2020 editorial, which sought to minimize the accords signed between Israel and both the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Bahrain. The newspaper’s editorial was quick to claim that they are “not even peace agreements, since Israel and the two states have never been at war.” But this obscures the significance of the achievement.

It is true that Israel has never fought the U.A.E. and Bahrain militarily. Yet it is also true that neither Arab nation previously recognized or maintained relations with the Jewish state. Indeed, no Gulf Arab country has recognized Israel in the seventy-two years since it was recreated—until now. In fact, prior to the Sept. 15, 2020 signing ceremony, only two Arab countries had formal, recognized relations with Israel: Egypt and Jordan. And the recent agreements with the U.A.E and Bahrain include social, educational and cultural measures that weren’t included in the peace deals with Egypt and Jordan, both of which have resulted in what some analysts have called a “cold peace.”

In the years since the 1994 agreement with Jordan and the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, despite official recognition of Israel, both Arab nations have nursed ongoing problems of anti-Jewish incitement. Jordan has provided shelter to terrorists who have murdered Israelis, including Ahlam Tamimi who perpetrated the Aug. 9, 2001 Sbarro pizza bombing attack in which 15 people, including an American child, were killed. Tamimi has lived in Jordan since 2011, even briefly hosting a T.V. show there. Jordan has refused to cooperate with U.S. requests to extradite Tamimi, who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list.

Similarly, a 2019 study by IMPACT-se found that while Jordanian textbooks have “greatly liberalized in promoting moderate Islam and tolerance,” they “still reject Israel and its right to exist.” Citing the study, the Algemeiner’s Benjamin Kerstein noted Israel “is typically described in the textbooks as a Zionist entity with no rights nor history.”
Ahead of decision on war crimes probe, Knesset taps point-woman for The Hague
The Knesset on Wednesday tapped a special parliamentary coordinator for issues pertaining to the International Criminal Court, ahead of The Hague’s expected decision to open a probe into alleged war crimes committed by Israeli soldiers and Palestinian terrorists.

Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin appointed MK Michal Cotler-Wunsh (Blue and White), the daughter of former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler, to the newly created position. Her responsibilities include “working with peers in parliaments around the world and traveling to The Hague to meet with relevant actors,” her office said in a statement.

“The decision by Knesset Speaker Levin recognizes the imperative of having parliamentary representation to the ICC in order to participate in international dialogue and to address the court’s double standards against the State of Israel,” Cotler-Wunsh said. “In my capacity as the official Knesset representative to the ICC, I will ensure that the language of rights and international law are used so that Israel can rise from the docket of the accused.”
#UN2020: Israel's Former Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon Discusses #UN75

At UN, Erdogan assails Israel’s ‘dirty hand’ in Jerusalem; Erdan walks out
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan aggressively censured Israel during his Tuesday address to the United Nations General Assembly, accusing the Jewish state of extending its “dirty hand” over Jerusalem and prompting a walkout from Israel’s UN envoy.

“The order of occupation and oppression in Palestine, which is the bleeding wound of humanity, continues to hurt consciences,” Erdogan said in his prerecorded video address.

“The dirty hand that reaches the privacy of Jerusalem, where the sacred places of the three great religions coexist, is constantly increasing its audacity,” the autocratic leader said.

As he made the remarks, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan rose out of his seat and slowly left of the General Assembly hall. Footage of the walkout was subsequently distributed by Israel’s mission, along with a statement from Erdan in which the envoy said, “Erdogan continues to spout anti-Semitic and false statements against Israel. It is important that the world recognizes the double moral standard he has lived by for many years.”

Poll Shows PA, Gaza Arabs Feel Betrayed by Gulf States, Prefer Hamas’ Haniyeh over Abbas
If new presidential elections were held today and only two were nominated, Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyeh, the former would receive 39% and the latter 52% of the vote (compared to 42% for Abbas and 49% for Haniyeh threw months ago), according to a poll published last week by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR).

In the Gaza Strip, Abbas receives 32% of the vote and Haniyeh receives 62%. In the PA, Abbas receives 46% and Haniyeh 42% (compared to 38% three months ago).

If the competition was between Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh, Barghouti receives 55% and Haniyeh 39%. Ismael Haniyeh and Mahmoud Abbas. (Archive: 2017) / Palestinian Press Office

The September 2020 poll shows great anger in the Arab public in Gaza and the PA over the UAE’s decision to normalize relations with Israel, which respondents view as serving only the interests of Israel and as a betrayal or an abandonment of the “Palestinian cause.” But they also assign blame to their leaders, seeing the treaty as a big failure of PA diplomacy.

Indeed, the overwhelming majority of respondents believe their leadership has lost Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia, who will soon follow the UAE in normalizing relations, and that Egypt, by endorsing the deal, has in effect abandoned PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Still, most respondents believe that the majority of the Arab public is opposed to the normalization deal.

Hamas leader: “Hamas won’t recognize Israel… armed struggle is a strategic choice”

Hamas leader: Joint committee to develop the popular resistance, which may develop into intifada

Abbas has “no reservations about any action” – taken by joint Fatah–Hamas committee

Top PA/Fatah official threatens Israel: “All possibilities are open”

PLO official: Joint committee to propel popular resistance towards a comprehensive popular intifada

Violence is our right according to international resolutions, says Fatah official

PLO official admits the PA is paying full terrorist salaries

All Jews hate all Arabs and want to kill them - Hamas demonizes Jews in TV series

PA Grand Mufti: Jesus was a Palestinian

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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