Thursday, July 14, 2022

07/14 Links Pt1: Biden needs to share intel, get out of the way and let Israel end Iran nuclear threat; Israel, India, US, UAE unveil joint food security, energy projects at virtual summit

From Ian:

Biden needs to share intel, get out of the way and let Israel end Iran nuclear threat
It is the credible threat of force that allows economic and diplomatic pressure to advance with success. And it is the lack of such a threat that gives way to deeply flawed agreements that provide Iran pathways to nuclear weapons.

Biden yesterday reaffirmed his commitment to returning to the 2015 nuclear deal — an agreement that offers more policy challenges than solutions.

Under the deal, Iran gets a financial package worth up to $275 billion in the first year and as much as $800 billion over the next five. With a trillion dollars available by 2030 for Iran’s missile program, sponsorship of terrorism and Revolutionary Guard, the agreement enables Tehran to set a dozen more fires around the Middle East that force a US response to defend American citizens, embassies and allies. And in the end, without demanding a full accounting of Iran’s nuclear activities or destroying a single centrifuge, the deal’s expiration dates all but guarantee Iran will still cross the nuclear threshold at a future time of its choosing.

To be sure, Russia and China would like nothing more than to see an America bogged down by never-ending Iranian nuclear extortion and escalation. That is why they are the strongest proponents of a nuclear deal with Iran. They know that the more money Iran has available for terrorism, missiles and nuclear expansion in the Middle East, the more American time and resources will consistently be diverted from Asia and Europe to mitigate the latest Iran-sponsored crisis. That, unfortunately, is a strategic reality supporters of an Iran nuclear deal fail to grasp.

Facing reporters in Israel, Biden reluctantly stated he would consider military action against Iran as a last resort. But given his commitment to the Iran deal and aversion to combat operations in the Middle East, it is more likely Iran acquires nuclear weapons than Biden orders a military strike.

Plan of action?
That leaves Israel as the world’s last line of defense. Over the past weeks, Jerusalem has widened its covert campaign against Iran — conducting clandestine strikes, cyber-attacks and assassinations deep inside the Islamic Republic. At a minimum, Biden should commit to his counterpart that the US will not get in Israel’s way. Better though would be an offer of US support through a combination of intelligence coordination, expedited defense transfers, and covert action — while simultaneously ratcheting up economic and diplomatic pressure to further weaken the regime, even as the president insists publicly his goal is a return to a nuclear deal.

Biden doesn’t want to make the difficult decisions necessary to stop Iran’s drive to nuclear weapons. Hopefully he’s willing to let Israel save America from years of Middle East quagmires.
JPost Editorial: Biden's 'Jerusalem Declaration' is a non-binding act of friendship
The declaration on Iran sends a message that while the US and Israel may disagree on how best to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, and about whether Iran needs to be stopped, they are in total agreement on the need to prevent the Islamic Republic from getting nuclear arms, and will ensure that it is unable to do so.

Coming at a time when the nuclear talks with Iran are on the verge of collapse, when Tehran is moving perilously close to the nuclear threshold, and as Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to meet in Iran next week with its leaders, this is not a message being sent in a vacuum.

In addition, the reaffirmation that will come in the proclamation regarding Israel’s QME – something already anchored in congressional legislation – is important now considering the multi-billion dollar arms deals the US has signed, and is in the process of signing, with the Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia.

Reaffirming Israel’s QME now means that the US pledges to uphold it even in the Abraham Accords era, when the major recipients of US arms – such as the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – are at peace with Israel. But what happens if there are seismic changes in those countries, or in Saudi Arabia, and the rulers are overthrown? Israel will still need to have a military edge on them, and this commitment reaffirms that.

This proclamation further anchors the close strategic ties between the countries. The tighter that knot is tied, the better. Problems with the “Jerusalem Declaration”

It is worth noting, however, that this is a proclamation and has no legal standing. There have been other such declarations made by US presidents toward Israel in one form or another – such as George W. Bush’s famous letter to Ariel Sharon – that had a shelf life of the duration of that president’s tenure, but which can – as Barack Obama did with the Bush letter – later be largely disregarded

Biden’s proclamation is a powerful declaration of friendship, for which Israel should be extremely grateful. It is not, however, a treaty or legally binding document. There is a difference, and both Israel’s policymakers and the public would do well to keep that in mind.

Mark Regev: US president visiting Israel: A dream now commonplace - opinion
George W. Bush visited Israel twice during his presidency. In January 2008, he came to bolster the dialogue between prime minister Ehud Olmert and PA President Mahmoud Abbas, returning that May to be part of the celebrations marking Israel’s 60th year of independence.

President Barack Obama traveled to the Middle East in June 2009 where he addressed the Muslim world from Cairo University. Obama controversially chose to avoid an Israel stopover, deliberately seeking to signal “daylight” between Washington and Jerusalem.

Obama ended up visiting Israel at the beginning of his second term, hoping to open the door for incoming-secretary of state John Kerry’s (ultimately ill-fated) effort to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace.

In May 2017, Donald Trump chose to make his first international trip as president to the Middle East, combining visits to Saudi Arabia and Israel. In Riyadh, Trump met with Arab leaders from across the region. In Jerusalem, he broke the taboo on American presidents visiting the Western Wall.

Biden’s presence this week is designed to showcase the strength of the US-Israel partnership. In addition, the president’s visit conveniently serves as a public cushion for his Saudi rapprochement, following a period of strained Riyadh-Washington ties due to Biden’s overt criticism of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s role in the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. And perhaps, Biden, like Clinton in 1996, also wants to buttress the political standing of an Israeli prime minister who many see as a more comfortable fit for his Democratic administration.

Yet, as we have seen, Biden is not the first president, and won’t be the last, to utilize an Israel visit to advance disparate goals.

Biden’s Visit Bodes Ill for Israel
Sure enough, Israeli officials, including the caretaker prime minister and defense minister, amplified the administration’s messaging about the critical importance of “stabilizing” Lebanon by facilitating its imagined emergence as “an exporter of gas.” Hezbollah was supposedly acting against the Lebanese government and “undermining” the efforts to reach a deal on the maritime border, which would allow Lebanon to benefit from offshore gas production. The IDF reportedly advised the caretaker government to stop the talks in light of Hezbollah’s attack. The government refused. Why? Because, as Israel’s Channel 12 reported, “there ‘may’ be some additional progress during U.S. President Joe Biden’s trip to the region.”

There are serious ramifications to the U.S.-Lebanese gas initiative, and how the Israeli government has responded to it, that go beyond the maritime border issue. It’s not just that the Biden administration specifically leveraged Hezbollah threats and operations to pressure Israel to sign a deal designed to benefit the terror group, which controls the Lebanese pseudostate, militarily and politically. It’s also that the Israeli government adopted Washington’s fictitious distinction between Hezbollah and Lebanon, which American officials use as a fig leaf to promote investment in a country run by an Iranian terrorist army. As Hochstein put it, “I see Lebanon as a country. I don’t think of Lebanon as—Hizballah as Lebanon … This U.S. administration fully supports Lebanon.”

See, we’re not investing in Hezbollah—which dominates Lebanon and which, by virtue of its position in government and parliament, legally is a beneficiary of its official budget. We’re investing in Lebanon, which is this other thing, totally separate from and unrelated to Hezbollah. As a matter of fact, not only does our investment in Lebanon not benefit Hezbollah, it also helps weaken it!

Uh, right. That the hapless Israeli government agrees with this Mad Hatter gibberish is implicit in its contention that Hezbollah—which has been directing the maritime border negotiations since day one—is attempting to “undermine” the talks. Hence, by seeing these talks through to the finish line, we’re scoring a serious blow against Hezbollah, which will no doubt be devastated once investments pour into “southern Lebanon,” and once it gets its cut of future gas revenues.

Having Iran and Hezbollah become players in eastern Mediterranean energy is clearly not an Israeli interest. Nor is succumbing to Hezbollah blackmail, leveraged against Israel by the United States, a positive precedent. The same could be said about the possible repercussions this mess might have on Israel’s ability to conduct operations in Lebanon, which, lest we forget in the midst of all the excitement about investments, in no way resembles even a seminormal country. Lebanon is an Iranian forward missile base, where Hezbollah and the IRGC are upgrading the precision of their projectiles aimed at Israel. Meanwhile, the U.S. administration brokering these talks with Hezbollah-led Lebanon is the same one looking to enter a deal with Iran that licenses its nuclear program and enriches it with hundreds of billions of dollars.

It’s tricky to refuse the United States if you’re an ally or a client. And yes, Israel is caught between a rock and hard place. But Israel shouldn’t be tripping itself up. On key matters like Jerusalem, its independent alliance with the Gulf States, and its security environment in Lebanon, Israel’s inability to say no to America is a strategic disaster of the country’s own making. Look at the Saudis, for example. Team Biden has been pressuring them for almost two years to underwrite the “institutions” of Hezbollah-land and to pump cash into Lebanon. So far, the Saudis have admirably brushed them off.

One of the reasons for the success of the Abraham Accords was Israel’s refusal to kowtow to the United States on Iran—even as the nuclear deal was explicitly billed as the crown jewel of Obama’s personal legacy. If Netanyahu’s 2015 speech to Congress earned him enemies in the Democratic Party in Washington, it earned Israel friends in the Gulf. Israel is now sending the region the opposite message.
Caroline Glick: How Biden ensured his trip to the Middle East would fail
Ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden’s trip to Israel and Saudi Arabia, the president published an op-ed in The Washington Post, in which he placed his trip in the context of his overall Middle East policy. A few days later, Israel’s opposition leader, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, made a brief statement on Biden’s then upcoming visit that spoke directly to the claims Biden made in his article. Taken together, the two communications explain why Biden’s visit was a failure before it even began—and what a successful policy looks like.

Biden’s article, “Why I’m going to Saudi Arabia,” was a political communication to his party’s progressive base. It served a twofold purpose. First, it was an apology to progressives, who are hostile to both Saudi Arabia and Israel. Second, Biden assured progressives that he was not changing course. His Middle East policy to date will remain his policy going forward.

That policy has three major pillars:
-hostility towards Saudi Arabia and particularly Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS);
-financial, nuclear and strategic appeasement of Iran; and
-support for the Palestinian Arabs, at Israel’s expense.

Biden insisted in his op-ed that he remains true to these positions, but as president also has Russia and China to keep at bay.

As he put it, “As president, it is my job to keep our country strong and secure. We have to counter Russia’s aggression, put ourselves in the best possible position to outcompete China, and work for greater stability in a consequential region of the world.”

He promised his progressive readers that he would keep the heat on Saudi Arabia (and Israel). As he put it, “My views on human rights are clear and long-standing, and fundamental freedoms are always on the agenda when I travel abroad, as they will be during this trip [to Saudi Arabia], just as they will be in Israel and the West Bank.”

Biden’s policy of supporting the PLO at Israel’s expense failed 22 years ago, when the Palestinians rejected the so-called two state solution at the Camp David peace summit. And it has continued to fail ever since. All the same, Biden slavishly maintains it, to placate the Israel-bashing progressive base of the Democrat Party.

In contrast, Biden’s policies towards Saudi Arabia and Iran are failing now for the first time. The implications of their failures for the United States, for U.S. allies and for regional stability and security are catastrophic. And yet, Biden pledged in his article to stay the course.
Israel Warns ‘Words’ Not Enough to Stop Iran’s Nuclear Program, Biden Says US Won’t Wait ‘Forever’ for Deal
Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid and US President Joe Biden signed a joint pledge to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran on Thursday, with the Israeli premier insisting that presenting a “credible military threat” was the only way to do so.

“Words will not stop them, diplomacy will not stop them,” Lapid said at a joint press conference with US President Joe Biden. “The only thing that will stop Iran is knowing that if they continue to develop their nuclear program the free world will use force.”

In a “Jerusalem Declaration” signed by both countries to formalize a strategic partnership in a number of areas, the US committed to “use all elements of its national power to ensure” that Tehran will not acquire a nuclear weapon.

A day earlier, Biden affirmed in an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 that the US was prepared to use force to achieve that end, as a “last resort.”

At Thursday’s presser, Lapid reminded Biden of his own words that “big countries do not bluff.”

“I completely agree. It should not be a bluff, but the real thing,” Lapid emphasized. “The Iranian regime must know that if they continue to deceive the world, they will pay a heavy price.”

Biden acknowledged that denying Iran nuclear weapons is a vital security interest, reiterating that a return to the 2015 nuclear agreement, also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is the US’ preferred course.

Diplomatic efforts by the US and world powers to revive the deal have shown little progress in recent months. The agreement gave Iran economic sanctions relief in exchange for temporary restrictions on its nuclear program; Washington withdrew from the pact in 2018, while Tehran has since violated a number of its limits on nuclear activity.

After $150 Million Boost From Biden, UN Agency Cited for Inciting Violence Against Jews
Even after the Biden administration injected $150 million into the organization, the United Nations agency responsible for Palestinian refugees continues to incite violence against Jews, and armed militants use its facilities, according to a non-public State Department report obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The State Department cited the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)—which has a history of promoting violence against Jews and allowing its sites to be used by Hamas terrorists to store weapons and recruit children—with hundreds of infractions over the last year involving "armed incursions," "the use of weapons in or near facilities," and the construction of at least two tunnels under its schools that enabled terrorists to move weapons and personnel, according to an unclassified version of a congressional report.

Of the $150 million in taxpayer funding that went to UNRWA, which was meant to help the organization implement reforms and crack down on anti-Israel bias, $9.8 million was meant to bolster its security apparatus, yet the organization "identified 1,142 unique issues at 556 installations during the inspections" throughout 2021, according to the report. Although multiple safeguards are reportedly in place to stop UNRWA facilities from being used by militants, at least "298 security and conflict-related incidents with neutrality implications occurred in 2021 and resulted in multiple injuries and damage to UNRWA property."

Shortly after taking office in 2021, the Biden administration resumed $150 million in U.S. funding to UNRWA, which serves as the primary educational and aid organization to Palestinian refugees in the Middle East. Millions of dollars in U.S. funding were pushed through over the objection of Republican lawmakers, who cited UNRWA’s promotion of anti-Israel materials in its schools and connections to terror groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. The State Department report illustrates that these concerns are well-founded.

While these infractions breach funding guidelines set by the United States, the State Department determined that UNRWA lives up to its commitments to implement organization-wide reforms. A State Department spokesman declined to explain to the Free Beacon how the administration reached this determination after uncovering hundreds of what they call "violations of UNRWA’s neutrality policies."

Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who has pushed to cut U.S. funding to UNRWA, told the Free Beacon the Biden administration is turning a blind eye to UNRWA’s bad behavior.

"UNRWA is a hopelessly anti-Semitic and terrorist-enabling organization," Cruz said. "The Biden administration rejoined the organization anyway and promised to reform it. Now the numbers are in, and it is absolutely undeniable that they failed."
WSJ ($): No More Palestinian Authority "Pay to Slay"
During his visit to Israel and the West Bank, President Biden must make clear that for the PLO mission in Washington to reopen, the Palestinians must stop paying terrorists, and families of terrorists, who have attacked Israelis. Congress in 2018 passed the bipartisan Taylor Force Act, prohibiting U.S. assistance to the West Bank that directly benefits the Palestinian Authority. Congress also linked the reopening of the PLO mission to the abandonment of the policy informally called "pay to slay." Having a system of payments pegged to the extent of the violence inflicted is a moral stain on the Palestinian Authority.

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reported that in 2018, the PA spent $344 million to pay 37,500 martyrs and prisoners and only $205 million to support 118,000 welfare recipients. The PA should repeal its pay-to-slay law and build a social safety net open to everyone based solely on need. A legitimate social-welfare system must not encourage violence.

With Biden in Israel, We Must Spread the Blanket of Peace Far and Wide
The United States should take much credit for the Abraham Accords. While they were initiated by the previous administration, they remain firmly in America’s core national interest, and it is important to maintain the momentum they created, irrespective of which party is in power.

There are many Arab and Muslim countries that have yet to normalize relations with Israel, and efforts should be made to capitalize on this moment and bring them under the warm blanket of peace. Not sometime in the future, but now.

Without doubt, the most significant country of all is Saudi Arabia, custodian to the Two Holy Mosques and protector of the Two Holy Cities. It is an open secret that the Saudis have many quiet contacts with Israel and extensive cooperation in many important areas. These contacts take place both behind the scenes and increasingly out in the open, with many Israeli businessmen reportedly traveling to Saudi Arabia on Israeli passports in recent months. Now, America must take advantage of historical circumstances and a convergence of interests to formalize these ties.

The new generation of leadership in the Middle East is positively engaged and holds the keys to peace. Whatever the outcome of the Israeli elections, there will be broad support for a deal with the Saudis, particularly given that the deals with the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco have proven so successful.

It remains true, of course, that the Saudis have unique sensitivities that have made them reluctant to formalize a relationship with Israel. The Palestinian issue may yet prove to be a difficult obstacle, but with active U.S. involvement, it can be overcome. And when the Saudi foreign minister announced this year at Davos, “We always envisioned that there will be full normalization with Israel,” a clear message was being sent.

Achieving normalization between Saudi Arabia and Israel is one of the greatest gifts the Biden administration could bring to the Middle East and indeed the world. The message of hope it would send to the youth of this region has the potential to trigger an unstoppable chain reaction that will have a deeply positive impact on our societies.

I, like so many other civil society and business leaders across the region, am waiting with open arms to endorse, embrace and empower this move. We are calling on President Biden to crown the Abraham Accords with the addition of Saudi Arabia, allowing our generation to build bridges to a better, peaceful future for our region and all its peoples.
Biden Says He Would Use Force as ‘Last Resort’ to Keep Iran From Nuclear Weapons
US President Joe Biden said he would use force as a last resort to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon as he began a trip to the Middle East.

Speaking in an interview with Israel’s Channel 12 TV that was recorded before he left Washington on Tuesday but aired on Wednesday, Biden said he would keep Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on the US Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list even if that killed off the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Asked if his past statements that he would prevent Tehran from obtaining a nuclear weapon meant he would use force against Iran, Biden replied: “If that was the last resort, yes.”

Iran denies it seeks nuclear weapons, saying that its nuclear program is for solely peaceful purposes.

Tehran struck a deal with six major powers in 2015 under which it limited its nuclear program to make it harder to obtain a weapon in return for relief from economic sanctions.

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and reimposed harsh sanctions on Iran, and Tehran began violating the agreement’s nuclear limits about a year later.

Efforts to resurrect the deal so far failed, with a senior US official telling Reuters that chances of its revival were lower after indirect talks between the United States and Iran in Doha two weeks ago.
Iran fumes over Jerusalem Declaration
The declaration asserts the United States' "steadfast commitment to preserve and strengthen Israel's capability to deter its enemies and to defend itself by itself against any threat or combination of threats. The United States further reiterates that these commitments are bipartisan and sacrosanct and that they are not only moral commitments, but also strategic commitments that are vitally important to the national security of the United States itself.

"The United States stresses that integral to this pledge is the commitment never to allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, and that it is prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure that outcome.

"The United States further affirms the commitment to work together with other partners to confront Iran's aggression and destabilizing activities, whether advanced directly or through proxies and terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad."

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani accused Biden of "supporting the most murderous regime in the world."

Taking aim at US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan, who is in Israel with Biden, Kanaani tweeted, "The national security adviser accompanied the President of the United States to express unreserved support for the murderous regime and the worst child-killer in the world in Israel.

"He [Sullivan] began his visit by accusing Iran of aiding and abetting the killing of civilians in Ukraine. It seems that lies and distorting reality are contagious for senior American officials."

Iran has been highly critical of the American president's visit to the Jewish state.

President Ebrahim Raisi said Wednesday that Biden's Middle East tour will not bring security to Israel: "The visits of American officials to the countries of the region are aimed at strengthening the position of the Zionist regime and normalizing its relations with certain states, these efforts will not bring security to Israel," Raisi declared.

"If the Americans want to know what impact their actions and movements have in the region, they must look at the positions of the nations in the re
Biden lands in Israel, an excuse to then travel on to make nice with MbS in Saudi (& boost Lapid)
US President Joe Biden arrives in Israel today, where he will find a changed Middle East compared to his last trip six years ago, when he was vice-president.

The Israeli-Palestinian dispute is no longer the center of attention. Instead Israel’s fast-growing ties with Arab countries and an emerging Arab-Israeli military partnership to combat threats from Iran, is now the focus.

And a visit to Israel also gives Biden an excuse to then travel on to Saudi Arabia, which he will do on Friday. Biden wants to bring the oil-rich kingdom “in from the cold” having previously said he will shun it over its human rights record.

As a result of the growing global energy crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine and the sanctions on Russia, Biden will ask the Saudis to increase oil production in the hope of reducing high gas prices and stemming runaway inflation in America, which today reached a 40-year high.

Congressman Ritchie Torres on Biden's trip to the Middle East
Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-NY) speaks with our senior US correspondent Mike Wagenheim about President Biden's opportunity to expand the Abraham Accords, the general U.S.-Israeli relationship, the safety of American Jews, building on U.S.-Israel cyber and tech cooperation, balancing human rights vs. strategic partnerships and the Palestinians.

The congressman is a member of the Abraham Accords Caucus and Homeland Security Committee.

Honest Reporting: The Washington Post Publishes Op-Ed by J Street Founder That Manipulates Facts as Biden Visits Israel
Regarding Washington Post’s Decision to Publish J-Street Propaganda
Jeremy Ben-Ami is entitled to his opinions. However, the Washington Post, by not checking Ben-Ami’s facts, is allowing its vast readership to be misled by J Street – a group with an evident anti-Israel agenda.

For example, this ‘pro-Israel, pro-peace advocacy group’ came out in favor of Ben & Jerry’s decision last year to boycott Jewish communities in the West Bank. J Street even started a petition to ‘Protect Ben & Jerry’s Right to Oppose the Occupation.’

In June, J Street was one of a handful of pro-boycott organizations, including Jewish Voice for Peace and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), to speak out against a federal appeals court decision to uphold an Arkansas state law that requires all public contractors to promise they won’t target Israel via boycotts, divestment and sanctions.

And as recently as July 12, J Street expressed its favor for the decision of nine member states of the European Union to continue working with the six Palestinian groups that Israel designated as terrorist organizations in October of last year.

Is the Washington Post Allowing Biden’s Trip to Be Manipulated?
If Jeremy Ben-Ami is serious about addressing the conflict between Israel and ‘Palestine,’ he may want to consider that there is already a clear path to Palestinian self-rule.

The Oslo Accords forged in 1993 between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization led to the creation of the Palestinian Authority the following year. The agreement was based on a promise by the Palestinian leadership to renounce terrorism and resolve all outstanding issues with Israel via bilateral negotiations.

To date, the Palestinian leadership has failed to live up to its obligations.

Either way, the Washington Post has a responsibility to get the facts right on a topic as complex and nuanced as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As things stand, WaPo is effectively normalizing sometimes violent unilateral Palestinian efforts to achieve statehood.

For there to be any chance of restarting peace talks during Joe Biden’s visit to the Middle East, prominent media outlets such as the Washington Post should refrain from uncritically pushing the agendas of known anti-Israel groups and activists.
Ed Husain: How Joe Biden can woo the Saudis
his lack of trust and feelings of unreliability will linger as a dark cloud above this week's meetings as Biden joins the Saudi convention of leaders of Gulf Arab nations and Egypt, Iraq and Jordan. But Biden can place America on a new footing and bring our allies ever closer, fill the security void in the region, and help keep China and Russia at bay. Here are eight ways the president can woo his Arab hosts.

1. In public, Biden’s request to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will be to increase global energy supplies. Arab leaders will not refuse him in front of the world's media. He will be met with smiles and reassurances. Their culture is, after all, not to insult a guest: but they will want to see a real, tangible shift on their issues of concern.

2. Arab leaders will want Biden to address the meddling by Iran’s clerical government in several countries, including in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, Gaza and parts of Saudi Arabia. This expansionism, combined with its nuclear weapons programme, now threatens stability across the entire Middle East. The Biden administration’s overtures for a nuclear deal are failing. The world cannot afford a nuclear race in the Middle East. For our Arab and Israeli allies, Biden will need to issue a cast-iron guarantee that America will ensure our allies are stronger and safer, especially as China and Russia aid and abet Iran.

3. Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Iraq have led reforms for greater equality for women, religious minorities, and isolated the extreme voices of religious fanaticism. Biden should welcome and acknowledge the changes sweeping the region, especially Saudi Arabia. Synagogues, temples, and churches in neighbouring United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are a harbinger of what is to come in Saudi Arabia if Biden supports our allies and their reforms.

4. Biden should repeat his support for the Abraham Accords, for it is an architecture of co-existence with Israel that offers a new reality for the Middle East. His flight to Jeddah from Israel was possible only because there is a new imagination of what is now achievable. Israeli and American tourists will visit Dubai and Jeddah in their millions (and vice versa) if this regional peace is expanded.

Israel, India, US, UAE unveil joint food security, energy projects at virtual summit
The leaders of Israel, India, the United States and the United Arab Emirates announced on Thursday a pair of massive collaborative projects in the fields of food security and clean energy after they met at a virtual summit during US President Joe Biden’s visit to Jerusalem.

Biden, Prime Minister Yair Lapid, UAE President Mohamed bin Zayed and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement in a joint statement their offices issued during their virtual meeting — the highest-level gathering to date of the new, US-formulated I2U2 forum.

In public remarks before the closed-door meeting, the four leaders stressed the importance of working together to address global challenges.

“We need to think in new terms when it comes to energy, food security, water tech, defense and trade,” Lapid said. “In the 21st century, challenges are local but solutions are global.”

The Israeli premier highlighted the food security crisis in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, calling the emerging food corridor between India and the UAE “a clear example of a solution to a problem we are all facing.”

Speaking after Lapid, Biden said the meeting is “about demonstrating the importance of showing the practical impacts” of Israel’s growing integration.

Seth Frantzman: The Israel-India-UAE-US relationship is now a strategic fact
Each of these capitals, in turn, have their partners, whether it is the Quad of the US, India, Australia and Japan, or the Gulf ties that bring together Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt and others.

What matters here is deeper. According to India’s Ministry of External Affairs, “The I2U2 grouping was conceptualized during the meeting of the foreign ministers of the four countries held on 18 October 2021. Each country also has sherpa-level interactions regularly to discuss the possible areas of cooperation.”

The countries seek joint investment in “six mutually identified areas, such as water, energy, transportation, space, health and food security,” it said in a statement. “It intends to mobilize private-sector capital and expertise to help modernize the infrastructure, [initiate] low-carbon development pathways for our industries, improve public health, and promote the development of critical emerging and green technologies.”

They also include discussions about other issues of mutual interest, the statement said, adding: “These projects can serve as a model for economic cooperation and offer opportunities for our businesspersons and workers.”

The White House said: “We reaffirm our support for the Abraham Accords and other peace and normalization arrangements with Israel. We welcome the economic opportunities that flow from these historic developments, including for the advancement of economic cooperation in the Middle East and South Asia and, in particular, for the promotion of sustainable investment amongst the I2U2 partners.”

“We also welcome other new groupings of countries, such as the Negev Forum for regional cooperation, that recognize the unique contributions of each partner country, including Israel’s ability to serve as an innovation hub connecting new partners and hemispheres to strategically address challenges that are too great for any one country to manage alone,” it said in a statement that came out of the important virtual summit.
MEMRI: Editor Of Saudi Daily: Biden’s Saudi Visit Is A Return To The Norm Of Cooperation Between The Countries; It Is The U.S. That Deviated From This Norm
In an article he published in advance of U.S. President Joe Biden’s visit to Saudi Arabia in July 2022, Faisal ‘Abbas, editor of the English-language Saudi daily Arab News, writes that Biden’s visit does not represent a “reorientation” of U.S.-Saudi relations, but rather a return to the norm.

‘Abbas notes that Biden himself stated, in an article he published recently in the Washington Post, that his past criticism of Saudi Arabia was never meant to "rupture" the relations between the two countries. This, says 'Abbas, is obvious – since "who in their right mind would want to rupture a strategic relationship with a country of the size and importance of Saudi Arabia?" 'Abbas adds, however, that the relations between the countries do not require "reorientation," either, since Saudi Arabia has for decades been an invaluable partner for the U.S., helping to combat terrorism, maintain stability in the region, and generate prosperity in global markets. The one who recently deviated from this norm is the U.S., he says, by taking measures such as delisting the Iran-backed Yemeni Houthis as terrorists and withdrawing American military systems from the kingdom at a time when Saudi civilians and oil infrastructures were under attack.

'Abbas also takes issue with Biden’s claim that Saudi Arabia enjoyed a "blank-check policy" from the previous U.S. administration. He states that human-rights issues have always come up in discussions with U.S. administrations, and that the criticism was welcomed when it was justified and rejected when it was not. Moreover, even officials from Biden’s own administration have praised some of Saudi Arabia’s recent reforms, he notes.

'Abbas concludes by stating that, “at a time of great opportunity… as well as daunting global political, security, health and nutrition challenges, the Riyadh-Washington relationship is as important as ever for the peace, stability and prosperity of the whole planet."

The following are excerpts from his article.[1]
Who In Their Right Mind Would Want To Rupture A Strategic Relationship With A Country Of The Size And Importance Of Saudi Arabia

While it is obvious here in the Kingdom why [U.S. President Joe Biden’s] visit is of great mutual importance [for the U.S. and Saudi Arabia], some of the president’s critics may not be as clear eyed as he or his team. Perhaps that is why Biden wrote a carefully worded column published in The Washington Post last week, entitled 'Why I’m going to Saudi Arabia,' in which he made clear that as US president his aim was never to 'rupture' but to 'reorient' the relationship between our two countries.

"The column’s tone was far more balanced, eloquent and reflective of Biden’s long career as a seasoned politician than some of his previous rhetoric — for example, his election campaign vow to turn Saudi Arabia into 'a pariah.' Such a statement is why the legendary former Saudi Ambassador to Washington, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, used to describe US election periods as the "silly season," and there is no need to dwell on it. After all, who in their right mind would want to rupture a strategic relationship with a country of the size and importance of Saudi Arabia — the cradle of Islam, home to the holy sites of 2 billion people and the world’s most significant oil producing state?

"However, it is the ‘reorient’ part of Biden’s column with which I must respectfully disagree. He argues that he is coming to Jeddah because the Kingdom has helped restore Gulf unity, supported the truce in Yemen, is working to stabilize oil markets, and has had an impact in keeping America strong and secure. But none of that is a 'reorientation' — it is the norm: indeed, it is the very basis of our bilateral relationship. You could add to it cooperation to end the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, fighting side by side to liberate Kuwait, continued cooperation to combat terrorism, collaboration in space exploration, and the formation of joint businesses to create hundreds of thousands of jobs for both Saudis and Americans."
Former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia: Israel-Saudi Normalization "Inevitable"
Mr Westphal — who worked directly with Mr Biden from 2009 to 2016 when he was vice president — expressed optimism over the president's ability to establish a working relationship with Prince Mohammed despite past remarks and criticism of Saudi Arabia's human rights record.

“I know President Biden. I've known him forever … One of his strongest characteristics is [that] he is a negotiator,” Mr Westphal said.

“He is a bridge builder. He did it for years and years in the Senate, with Republican opponents and sometimes with his own Democrats who opposed him … He will come around and find a way to work with Prince Mohammed and to restore this relationship in a positive [manner].”

The former ambassador added that Prince Mohammed has enacted sweeping social and economic reforms.

“We have to recognise that this is a leader that has made significant progress … along the way, he's made mistakes and he's realised those mistakes and now it's time to you to put everything on the table,” Mr Westphal said.

“It's time to recommit to our relationship and go forward.”

Security and regional defence issues will be at the top of the agenda during Mr Biden's visit, Mr Westphal said, especially during the meetings with the Gulf Corporation Council and Jordan, Iraq and Egypt (GCC+3), which will take place on Saturday.

The US plays unique role in the security of the region, he said.

“We have to step up. We can't say we're going to protect the sovereignty of a country and then when they get attacked, we don't do anything, which is what happened when the Iranians bombed Aramco [in 2019].”

Mr Trump decided not to respond to the attack despite his bombastic rhetoric on Tehran.

Mr Westphal supported the idea of a regional defence coalition within the GCC+3 framework.

“It focuses on things like security, cyber security, intelligence, as well as economic trade and development. In other words, to create a better union of these countries to protect the trade routes.”

This would require the US providing those countries “with the right defence mechanisms and equipment that they need, whether it's Patriot batteries or missile systems to equipment to counter ballistic missiles”.

Asked what would constitute a successful visit, the former ambassador said the proof would be in the follow-up meetings.

“This would be just the beginning, the first step, then we will send the secretary of defence, the secretary of state, the secretary of commerce, engage the private sector and others within the region to talk about how we work on all these issues,” Mr Westphal said.
Morocco: New bodies to recognize Judaism as ‘a component of rich Moroccan culture’
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has authorized a reorganization of the country’s Jewish community, a “component” of national culture in the North African country, according to the royal palace.

The measures were presented to a council of ministers meeting attended on Wednesday by the country’s monarch and crown prince, at Rabat’s royal palace.

Acting on “royal instruction,” Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit proposed the establishment of new representative bodies, acknowledging the Jewish tradition as “a component of the rich Moroccan culture,” according to the official news agency MAP.

The measures came the same day US President Joe Biden touched down in Israel on his first presidential visit to the Middle East.

In a speech at Ben Gurion Airport, near Tel Aviv, Biden promised to “advance Israel’s integration into the region.”

Morocco established diplomatic ties with the Jewish state in 2020.

The kingdom’s Jewish community is estimated to number 3,000 people, the largest in North Africa. Following consultations with Jewish leaders, King Mohammed’s initiative will establish a National Council of the Moroccan Jewish Community, a Foundation of Moroccan Judaism tasked with protecting the community’s heritage, and a Commission of Moroccan Jews Abroad.
Is Recognizing Israel a Viable Option for Pakistan?
Pakistan’s Motivations for Recognizing Israel
As countries in the Gulf have started normalizing their relationships with Israel, Pakistan has the chance to revisit its own policy. Recognition from countries like Bahrain, the UAE, and Morocco, and Saudi Arabia’s expansion of secretive talks with Israel could provide more impetus for Islamabad to present its case of Israeli recognition to a skeptical domestic audience.

In the long-term, if Pakistan becomes more isolated in its position on Israel, it could also alter its historically warm ties with Gulf states moving towards recognition, like Saudi Arabia and the UAE. As important economic partners and home for many in Pakistan’s diaspora and migrant worker population, these countries have more leverage to push Pakistan towards recognition or make the regional environment less welcoming to Pakistani workers.

Through extending recognition, Pakistan can also benefit from Israel’s state-of-the-art military hardware, such as attack helicopters, which Pakistan needs for its counterterrorism operations in Balochistan and its northwestern regions bordering Afghanistan. Since the U.S.’s reluctance to sell military hardware to Pakistan and the inferior quality of Chinese defense equipment, Islamabad has been looking for new defense partners to maintain rough conventional parity with India. Israel, as a growing defense exporter, could fulfill some of Pakistan’s defense requirements.

By engaging with Israel, Pakistan can also learn and adopt Tel Aviv’s innovative water technology to overcome its water deficiency and meet the soaring requirements of its ever-growing population. Israel is the world leader in water recycling; it recycles nearly 90 percent of its water, about four times more than any other country globally. Pakistan is among the top 10 countries facing water scarcity, and the South Asian nation will require innovative water technologies in the next 10 to 15 years. Similarly, Israel has among the world’s best start-up sectors and will have a lot to offer to Pakistan’s budding and promising start-up industry.

Some have argued that there is no harm in recognizing Israel if it resolves the Palestine issue, which could assist Islamabad in getting diplomatic support at international forums. India and, at times, the India-Israel nexus, are often held responsible for terrorist attacks, security breaches, and intelligence failures in Pakistan, averting this blame could allow Pakistan to further its ties – and receive benefits – from Israel. However, this argument is overly simplistic and divorced from the ground reality, as Israel will not take a zero-sum view of its ties with Pakistan vis-à-vis India. It is somewhat similar to the idea that Pakistan will diversify its defense partners by befriending Russia. Over the years, as Islamabad developed friendly ties with Moscow, the latter did not change its longstanding security and diplomatic relations with Delhi in favor of the former. For Tel Aviv, Delhi is a far bigger market; both have much in common in the context of the Middle East’s changing geopolitics compared to Islamabad.
PMW: PMW in Jpost: Four things Biden must know before meeting Abbas
Before discussing any agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, Biden must first demand that Abbas give real expression to the alleged Palestinian recognition of Israel’s existence.

United States President Joe Biden is set to meet with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Friday. Here’s a short list of must knows for Biden.

No support
The first thing Biden must know is that Abbas enjoys almost no popular support. Abbas does not represent the Palestinian people, cannot make commitments in their name and has zero legitimacy to enter any type of agreement on behalf of the Palestinian people.

Abbas was originally elected PA chairman in 2005, soon after the death of Yasser Arafat. The elections were boycotted by Hamas and, according to the PA Central Elections Committee, of the 1,760,481 potential voters only 802,077 cast their ballot. Abbas won less than two thirds of the votes of those who bothered to vote. From the outset, Abbas was an unpopular leader lacking any real support or legitimacy.

As Palestinian Media Watch recently noted, a poll last month conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PCPSR) found that 77% of Palestinians want Abbas to resign. Were Abbas to ever agree to new elections, he would lose.

A failure
The second thing Biden must know, is that Abbas is nothing but a failed dictator, clinging to power in breach of Palestinian law. The PA Basic Law – seen by many as the PA’s constitution – provides that the term in office of the PA chairman is limited to four years, with the option of one additional four year term, subject to re-election.

Since 2005, Abbas has ignored PA law, refusing to hold elections for the position of PA chairman. Having risen to power in 2005 on a minority vote, Abbas is now in his 18th year of his first four-year term.

In 2006, Abbas’ Fatah party also lost in general elections for the Palestinian Parliament to Hamas, an internationally designated terror organization. The PCPSR poll quoted above also shows that if new elections were to be held again, Abbas’ Fatah would lose again. 

PBS Provides Platform for Hanan Ashrawi to Deceive Viewers About Israel’s Commitment to Peace As US President Joe Biden arrived in Jerusalem for a historic visit, former Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) official Hanan Ashrawi kicked off a media tour meant to cast doubt on Israel’s commitment to peace.

No journalist acknowledged the fact that the primary reason peace between Israel and the Palestinians has been so elusive is the more than seven decades of rejectionism on the part of the Palestinian leadership.

“Filthy” Israel is “a racist Nazi occupation,” says Fatah official
Fatah Director of Popular Resistance in the Nablus Area Nidal Battat: “In addition to the crime that the occupation committed against Martyr Nabil [Ghanem] (i.e., attempted to infiltrate Israel), it also held his body, and this is a filthy policy that the filthy occupation is implementing. I can only say that it is a racist Nazi occupation in the full sense of the word.”

[Official PA TV, June 23, 2022]

Nabil Ghanem – Palestinian who damaged the Israeli security fence, trying to infiltrate Israel near Qalqilya on June 19, 2022, causing Israeli soldiers guarding the fence to shoot and kill him.

Bodies of dead terrorists - In certain instances, Israel does not release the bodies of dead terrorists for burial by their families. There are three main reasons for this practice: First, the measure is seen as a deterrent since the fear of not receiving a proper burial as a “Martyr” or of leaving suffering parents behind may discourage potential terrorists. Second, since 2014 the Hamas terror organization has refused to release the bodies of 2 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza, and it is also holding 2 Israeli civilians who strayed into Gaza in captivity - the bodies of the terrorists are thus held to facilitate negotiations for their return to Israel. Third, in some instances the bodies of terrorists are not released in order to prevent disturbances of the peace and incitement during the funerals.

Buy the EoZ book, PROTOCOLS: Exposing Modern Antisemitism  today at Amazon!

Or order from your favorite bookseller, using ISBN 9798985708424. 

Read all about it here!