August 20, 2020
Special Issue

In-Depth Issues:

Netanyahu Appears on UAE TV after Peace Deal - Mark Moore (New York Post)
    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was interviewed Monday on Emirati television, where he expressed confidence that other Arab countries would seek to build ties with the Jewish state.
    See also Israel's President Invites UAE's Leader to Jerusalem - Jeffrey Heller (Reuters)
    Israeli President Reuven Rivlin on Monday invited the United Arab Emirates' de facto leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, to visit Jerusalem, praising his role in achieving a "noble and courageous" deal to normalize relations with Israel.

Palestinian Analyst: Normalization with Israel Will Force PA to Accept U.S.-Israeli Solution (Xinhua-China)
    Palestinian political analyst Hani al-Masri, director of the Masarat Center for Policy Research & Strategic Studies in Ramallah, told Xinhua that "the normalization of Arab countries and their possible alliance with Israel will eventually force the Palestinians to accept the current U.S.-Israeli solution."

U.S. Intelligence: Iran Paid Bounties to Taliban for Targeting American Troops in Afghanistan - Zachary Cohen (CNN)
    U.S. intelligence agencies assessed that Iran offered bounties to Taliban fighters for targeting American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, identifying payments linked to at least six attacks last year, including a suicide bombing at a U.S. air base in December.
    "Bounties" were paid by Iran to the Haqqani network - led by the second highest ranking leader of the Taliban - for their attack on Bagram Air Base on Dec. 11, which killed two civilians and injured more than 70 others, including four U.S. personnel, according to the Pentagon.

After Palestinian Rocket Fire, Israel Targets Hamas Special Forces Base in Gaza (Times of Israel)
    Israeli planes carried out airstrikes in Gaza on Tuesday, including on a military compound belonging to an elite Hamas unit, after Palestinians fired a rocket and sent arson balloons into Israel, sparking a series of fires, the Israel Defense Forces said.
    The rocket attack, which followed one on Sunday, sent tens of thousands of people running to bomb shelters.
    See also Palestinian Stabs Israeli Border Policeman in Jerusalem on Monday - Gilad Cohen (Ynet News)
    A Palestinian stabbed and wounded an Israeli Border Police officer on Monday in the Old City of Jerusalem. Troops at the scene shot and killed the attacker.

Incendiary Balloon from Gaza Starts Fire outside Israeli Kindergarten (Times of Israel)
    An incendiary balloon from Gaza started a fire outside a kindergarten in the Israeli town of Sderot on Monday.
    Since August 6, 150 fires have been caused by incendiary balloons from Gaza.
    See also Gaza Sewage Overflows into Israel (Jerusalem Post)
    On Wednesday, the Hanun stream, which flows from northern Gaza into Israel, overflowed with sewage water in Israeli territory.
    The Gaza sewage treatment plant has stopped working due to a power shortage.
    Israel stopped providing Gaza with fuel for its power plant due to the recent escalation in incendiary balloons launched from Gaza against Israel.

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Pro-Russian Sunni Forces in Southwest Syria Provide Buffer Against Shiite Groups - Anton Mardasov and Kirill Semyonov (Riddle-Russia)
    Fighters in the pro-Russian 8th Brigade of the 5th Assault Corps (FAC) in southwestern Syria are developing an alternative center of power to the Assad government and are seeking to prevent the empowerment of Shiite groups in the area.
    The brigade's commander, former rebel leader Ahmad Al-Oda, was supported by Israel, Jordan and the UAE until 2018. He is now assisted by a Russian liaison officer.
    In April 2019, the 8th Brigade had 1,585 personnel; now it has 3,000. Its autonomy is causing anger and perplexity in Damascus.
    The Sunni insurgent formations in southwest Syria surrendered only their heavy weapons and have not been fully disarmed. Moscow's backing allows them to deter Iranian expansion in the area.
    Anton Mardasov is an expert at the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC). Kirill Semyonov heads the Center for Islamic Studies at the Innovative Development Institute.

Israel Has Destroyed 1/3 of Syrian Air Defenses in the Past Two Years - Anna Ahronheim (Jerusalem Post)
    As Israel has been targeting weapon convoys for Hizbullah and Iranian infrastructure in Syria, the Israel Air Force has destroyed 1/3 of Syrian air defenses in the past two years.
    Between 2017-2020, Syria fired 844 surface-to-air missiles at Israeli jets.

Hizbullah's School of Cyberwarfare - Wil Crisp and Suadad al-Salhy (Telegraph-UK)
    A three-storey run-down building on the outskirts of Beirut is filled with advanced technology and the blinking lights of specialist computer equipment.
    It is a fake news training camp run by Hizbullah which trains operatives to spread fear and division around the Middle East.
    Since at least 2012, Hizbullah has been flying individuals from Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Syria into Lebanon, training thousands of Iran-backed social media activists to digitally manipulate photographs, manage large numbers of fake social media accounts, make videos, avoid Facebook's censorship, and effectively spread disinformation online.

No Security Coordination, No New IDs for Palestinians - Dima Abumaria (Media Line)
    After the PA cut ties with Israel in May, more than 25,000 Palestinian babies have been born in the West Bank, but their information has not been forwarded to the Israeli side, leaving these children without identification documents or passports.
    The issue also prevents the issuance of new documents for those who reach adulthood. This has prevented Palestinians from traveling overseas.
    Gad Shimron, an Israeli political analyst, says the PA is to blame as the Oslo Accords include a protocol, in place for 25 years, for Palestinian identification documents.
    "The PA can't wake up one day and decide that it doesn't want to implement the agreements....I'm afraid now that the Palestinians have missed the train again, and it's unfortunate that these babies will pay the price."

15 Years after Israeli Withdrawal, Gazans Frustrated by Lack of Progress - Hazem Balousha (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
    Palestinians rejoiced at the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, but that optimism has turned to frustration at the subsequent deterioration in the quality of Gaza residents' lives.
    "Our reality is worse than it was before the Israeli withdrawal. What have we done since?" asked farmer Saad Al-Farra. "We fought, divided, and dispersed, and our youth scattered and emigrated. And many of them died in the sea (trying) to escape from Gaza."
    "Besieged by our own division and disagreement, everything has deteriorated - in all aspects of life. There is no work or electricity."
    "It was possible to (deal with) the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in a better way," said professor of political science Mukhaimer Abu Saada. "But what the Palestinians did was the exact opposite. They devoted themselves to internal battles."
    Political analyst Hani Habib said, "We showed the world our inability to manage ourselves by ourselves and the experience of governance in Gaza is the greatest proof."

UK Seeks Israeli Drones to Enhance Coastal Surveillance (Aerospace and Defense News)
    The UK's Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) awarded Elbit Systems UK, a subsidiary of an Israeli defense company, with a contract worth 990,000 pounds, to develop unmanned aerial vehicles to enhance coastal surveillance.
    The program will showcase how drones could be deployed to search for missing people or vessels and for surveillance on land and sea.
    The UK is increasingly keen on using drones to keep watch on its coasts, after the arrival of small groups of migrants on dinghies.
    Last year, 1,800 people made it to the country this way and the number has been steadily increasing.

Firm Founded by Israelis Uses AI to Speed Traffic Flow in Phoenix - Aaron Reich (Jerusalem Post)
    Traffic management pioneer NoTraffic, founded by Israelis, installed an artificial intelligence-based traffic management platform on Monday to improve traffic flow in Phoenix, after tests showed a 40% reduction in vehicle delay time.
    The technology, which operates traffic lights, is able to prevent accidents, grant priority to pedestrians and emergency service vehicles, and reduce emissions from stalled traffic.

Spanish Priests in Paris in WWII Saved Jews with Forged Baptism Certificates - Rossella Tercatin (Jerusalem Post)
    Between 1940 and 1944, four Spanish Claretian priests based in Paris forged baptismal and wedding certificates for 155 Jews to protect them from persecution, Spanish historian Santiago Lopez Rodriguez has discovered. 138 of those who received the documents managed to survive the Holocaust.
    While researching his doctoral thesis on the work of Spanish diplomacy during the Holocaust, he found that in the period when France was ruled by Nazi-collaborator Philippe Petain, four clerics in a Spanish church in Paris seemingly converted to Catholicism the members of dozens of Jewish families, mostly from Istanbul and Thessaloniki.
    "Entire families were converted on the same day and in some cases the marriage certificate was also forged at the same time," he said.

Israeli Company Develops Smart Cane for the Blind (Xinhua-China)
    Israeli medical devices company RenewSenses has developed an artificial intelligence (AI) cane to help blind or visually impaired people to navigate independently, the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) said Thursday.
    The device, easily installed on a regular cane, provides audio information about what is in front of the user, and vibrates as they approach an obstacle.
    It consists of infrared sensors, which detect distances, and a camera that connects to a smartphone application.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • U.S. Announces "Snapback" of Sanctions on Iran - Laura Kelly
    President Trump announced Wednesday: "I am directing the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to notify the UN Security Council that the United States intends to restore virtually all of the previously suspended United Nations sanctions on Iran. It's a snapback." The move comes after the Security Council rejected an effort by the U.S. to extend a weapons embargo on Iran last Friday.
        "Thirty days after Secretary Pompeo's notification, a range of UN sanctions will be restored, including the requirement that Iran suspend all enrichment-related activities. This will also extend the 13-year arms embargo on Iran," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said. The administration argues that despite leaving the Iran deal, it retains the right to snap back sanctions if it believes Iran is violating the terms of the agreement. Yet a snapback of UN sanctions is unlikely to garner support from the majority of the Security Council. (The Hill)
  • Hizbullah Member Convicted in Hariri Assassination - Marlise Simons
    The long-awaited verdict Tuesday from the Special Tribunal for Lebanon - which was created in 2009 at the behest of the UN Security Council after the suicide car bomb attack in Beirut in 2005 that killed former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and 21 others - disappointed many Lebanese. Three defendants were acquitted for lack of evidence, while a fourth, Hizbullah member Salim Ayyash, was convicted in absentia of participating in a conspiracy to carry out the bombing. The court said it lacked direct evidence implicating Syria and Hizbullah in the crime.
        In 2005, German prosecutor Detlev Mehlis ended a six-month investigation with a list of close to 20 suspects, including several senior Lebanese and top Syrian officials. Diplomats said at the time that Mehlis reluctantly ended his mission because he had been warned about two assassination plots against him. At least two Lebanese police officers who assisted the tribunal's investigations have been killed. (New York Times)
        See also Israel Urges Action Against Hizbullah after Tribunal Ruling
    Israel said Tuesday that Hizbullah was behind both the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and attempts to block a fair investigation of it. "The Hizbullah terror organization and its people were involved in murder and obstruction of justice," the Israeli Foreign Ministry said. "Hizbullah took the future of the Lebanese people captive in the service of foreign interests. Countries of the world need to act against this terror organization to help Lebanon be freed from this threat."  (Times of Israel)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israel Opposes Sale of F-35s to Any Country in the Middle East
    The historic peace agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates did not include Israel's consent to any arms deal between the U.S. and the UAE. From the outset, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has opposed the sale of F-35s and other advanced weaponry to any country in the Middle East, including Arab countries that have peace agreements with Israel. The U.S. has made it clear that it will always take strict care to maintain Israel's qualitative edge. (Prime Minister's Office)
        See also Trump: Sale of F-35s to UAE Is "Under Review"
    President Donald Trump discussed the interest of the UAE in acquiring U.S. F-35 stealth jets at a press conference on Wednesday.
    Q: The Emeratis have expressed interest in the F-35. Do you think that that should be something that they could look forward to in the future?
    Trump: "Look, they've definitely got the money to pay for it...and they would like to order quite a few F-35s....So yeah, they'd like to buy F-35s, we'll see what happens. It's under review."  (Rev)
        See also U.S. Ambassador: Israeli Security Not Undermined in UAE Deal - Yaakov Katz
    Responding to reports that the U.S. has agreed to sell F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman told the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday: "Any sale of weapons by the United States to the UAE or any other regional player will continue to be governed by our obligation to maintain Israel's qualitative military edge - that's the law."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Coronavirus Death Toll in Israel Rises with Inclusion of Previously Uncounted Fatalities
    Israel's coronavirus death toll rose on Thursday to 789 following the Health Ministry's announcement that 53 fatalities at senior living homes hadn't been previously included. Currently, 403 people are in serious condition, of whom 110 are on ventilators. (Times of Israel-Jerusalem Post)
        Of the 20 localities in Israel with the highest rates of coronavirus as reported on Wednesday, 14 are Arab and Druze communities and 4 have a large Orthodox Jewish population. (Ha'aretz)
        See also 90 Chinese Workers Catch Covid-19 in Israel
    On Tuesday, 90 people were confirmed coronavirus positive at a Chinese construction worker residential community in Petah Tikva, Israel, all of whom were mild cases or asymptomatic. The workers were sent to a designated hotel for quarantine or to a hospital for treatment, according to the Chinese embassy in Israel. (Global Times-China)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The Israel-UAE Agreement: Consequences

  • Israel's Deal with the UAE Could Be a Turning Point for the Middle East - Editorial
    The agreement struck between Israel and the United Arab Emirates last week to normalize their relations is, indeed, historic. Acceptance of the Jewish state by its Arab neighbors has been a cherished objective of Israel's leaders since its foundation.
        The new agreement reflects how Middle Eastern security concerns have shifted. The running sore of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is now secondary to shared fears about Iran's regional adventurism. It is Tehran's own interference in Arab nations from Lebanon to Yemen that is the driving force behind the Middle East's fracture into coalitions that stand against or for Iran. (The Times-UK)
  • Israel Has Been Making Common Cause with the Victims of Regional Aggression for Decades - Amb. Dore Gold
    Israel has been making common cause with the victims of regional aggression since the early 1960s, when it found itself in a coalition of states, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan, opposed to Egypt's military intervention in Yemen's civil war. When Jordan faced an armed invasion from Syrian tanks in 1970, Israel understood that it was in its interest to safeguard its neighbor's territorial integrity.
        Until 1971, the UAE was still a British protectorate. The UK announced it would withdraw from all of its positions "east of Suez" by 1972. The UAE thus gained independence at a time when it was clear that Britain would no longer provide security; the new state had to protect itself. After the rise of revolutionary Iran in 1979, the Iranian regime aspired to recover the lands its predecessors once controlled during the era of the Safavid empire.
        Israel is not the regional policeman, nor should it attempt to take on such a role. But it must make its contribution to upholding the regional order along with its Arab allies. The writer is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Mosaic)
  • The Unfolding Arab-Israeli Detente - Ilan Berman
    The peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates represents an unalloyed triumph for Israel, which has worked assiduously over the past decade to cultivate deeper political and economic contacts with the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.
        A decade on, this diplomacy has become a thriving web of bilateral contacts on everything from trade to scientific collaboration. The aggregate result has strengthened security and prosperity on all sides, with the effect of drawing Jerusalem and Arab capitals much closer together. Last week's announcement was simply a public recognition of this reality.
        The U.S. plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, unveiled publicly in January, has been effectively endorsed by a bevy of Arab nations (including the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Egypt, Morocco and Qatar), as well as by Israel itself, thereby further setting the stage for the current unfolding detente.
        The writer is senior vice president of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington. (Newsweek)
  • Israel-UAE Deal: Start of a Strategic Coalition to Check Iranian Aggression? - Adm. (ret.) James Stavridis
    Given the lack of demonstrations by the "Arab street" following the Israel-UAE deal, other Israel recognition deals may soon follow. Especially if the remaining Gulf Arab states join the UAE in recognizing Israel, the potential for anti-Iranian military and intelligence activity will grow significantly. The new coalition could create advanced early warning systems against Iranian missiles; a connected command and control network for missile defense; naval operations in the Red Sea, northern Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf; shared military technology; and a regular exchange of intelligence.
        The writer, former supreme allied commander of NATO, is dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. (Bloomberg)
  • Shalom, Abu Dhabi - David Horovitz
    Four years ago, I spent a few days at a conference in one of the Gulf states not yet at peace with Israel and was struck, every time I introduced myself as being from Israel, by the warmth with which this information was received. The UAE-Israel deal has not yet even formally been consummated, but we have already entered the honeymoon period, thanks, in great part, to interviewees in the UAE itself. The UAE is our first peace partner with whom we do not have a bloody history. Our ties are not being established over shared memories of war and loss. In short, the forging of our alliance is more normal.
        On the international stage, this agreement is wonderful news for Israel. It's now not only the U.S. and Israel that are warning the Palestinians that their intransigence is self-defeating, but also a goodly chunk of the Arab world as well. The UAE is being either applauded or defended by much of the Arab world against the bitter cries of the Palestinian Authority and the dark threats from Tehran and Ankara. The writer is the founding editor of The Times of Israel. (Times of Israel)
  • Why the UAE Made Peace with Israel - Graeme Wood
    The Gulf monarchies' eagerness to work with Israel is sincere. The UAE has not hated Israel the way other Arab states have. The final affinity among these states is hatred of Iran, which would destroy Israel and many of the Sunni Arab states if it had the chance. Conversations with Arabs about Israel once characterized by vitriol now much more often begin and end with shrugs of resignation. (Atlantic)
  • Pact with UAE Opens Arab World to Israeli Business - Dan Zaken
    Israel's normalization agreement with the UAE will give Israeli businesses an official, stable bridge to the entire Arab world, particularly the other Gulf states, with Saudi Arabia at their head. The opportunities that have been opened up in the Arab markets for Israeli firms are huge, and could dramatically boost Israel's exports. Although there were substantial ties with the UAE before, a prominent businessperson and former senior officer in the security forces said the agreement lends legitimacy to buying from Israel, and now "the sky is the limit."
        The UAE has invested considerable efforts in diversifying its exports beyond oil. Exports account for almost half of the UAE's GDP, while the proportion from oil has fallen to about 1/3. With the opening of this bridge, the entire Arab market has in effect opened up, especially to Israeli technology companies. (Globes)
  • Israeli Peace Deal Coaxes Emirati Investors Out of the Shadows - Ivan Levingston
    The head of Tel Aviv-based Cukierman & Co. Investment House Ltd. is buzzing with 20 to 30 messages a day from Emiratis eager to do deals - without having to conceal themselves. Many businesses are hoping that the new pact with the UAE will be the economic boon that Israel's peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan never were.
        Israeli entrepreneurs are also preparing for a flood of investments into the local technology industry. For the UAE, betting on technology is another key element of diversifying its economy away from oil. (Bloomberg)

  • The Israel-UAE Agreement: Muslim Reactions

  • Why Israel's First Peace Agreement in Decades Is with the Emirates - Ed Husain
    The UAE-Israel peace treaty is a blueprint for what is yet to come with the other moderate Sunni Arab nations, and beyond. We are in the midst of an existential shift in the global Muslim mind. In the last few years, the Emirati leadership slowly started to dismantle its suspicions of Jews and Israel, by, for instance, sponsoring and publicizing interactions between rabbis and imams, and by speaking openly about the common Abrahamic heritage of Jews and Muslims, as well as Christians. From these first steps came last week's long stride toward a new, peaceful order in the Middle East.
        In the newly built Abrahamic Family House in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the Emirates, a mosque, church, and synagogue are located inside a single shared compound. The message sent by this symbol is that it is time to turn away from fighting the religious wars of the past. For enlightened Muslims, Jews are not our enemy. We are brothers.
        Hamas or Hizbullah cannot win anything for ordinary Palestinians. The Emirati diplomacy of direct conversations with the Israelis, far from closing off the idea of a Palestinian state, has provided the Palestinians with their last hope for one. The writer, a British Muslim, is a doctoral researcher at the University of Buckingham. (Mosaic)
  • Saudi Journalist: Every Arab Country Is Entitled to Establish Relations with Israel
    Senior Saudi journalist Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed wrote in Asharq Al-Awsat on Aug. 15 that 163 of the 193 countries in the world recognize Israel. The establishment of ties between the UAE and Israel comes 40 years after the appointment of Egypt's first ambassador to Tel Aviv. "Every state makes its own sovereign decisions according to its own interests, not according to what the Palestinians or other Arabs desire."
        "The Arabs have already gotten over the stage of establishing relations with Israel, and doing so is no longer shocking - it is considered old hat. The Israelis have already landed at every airport in the Arab capitals, and have been officially received there as diplomats, athletes, security officials, or journalists....The Palestinian losses have never stopped, because of their failure to deal with reality and their refusal to understand the circumstances of the Arab countries that establish relations with Israel."  (MEMRI)
  • Saudi Journalist Praises Israel-UAE Normalization Agreement
    Saudi journalist Mishari Al-Dhaidi wrote in Asharq Al-Awsat on Aug. 14: "The UAE achieved a great political, psychological and security breakthrough in the Middle East when the historic agreement with Israel was announced....It provides a feasible opportunity...to implement the two-state solution in practice."
        "Being a realistic and responsible Arab leader, Egyptian President 'Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi welcomed the [agreement] between the UAE and Israel....Whether we like it or not, Israel is one of the countries of this region, and Iran and Turkey are the ones who do us harm that we feel and that burns us."  (MEMRI)
  • No Reason for Muslims and Jews to Be Enemies - Dr. Qanta Ahmed
    As a Muslim, I know there are no theological or historical reasons for Muslims and Jews to be enemies. In fact, throughout much of history Muslims and Jews have lived together in peace in many Muslim-majority nations, in what is now Israel, and in other nations as well. Cooperation rather than confrontation between Israel and its neighbors - and between Jews and Muslims - makes sense on both a practical and a moral level. I know that many Muslims feel the same way as I do about the need to make peace with our Jewish brothers and sisters, although many stay silent to avoid criticism and threats of violence from some fellow Muslims.
        The UAE's decision to move forward to establish normal relations with Israel is a sure sign that leaders of other Arab nations will also come to the realization that it makes no sense to allow Palestinian opponents of peace with Israel to hold the future of the region hostage and require a perpetual state of hostilities with the Jewish state.
        The UAE is home to some of the most educated and empowered Muslim women in the region, including Maj. Mariam Al Mansouri, the UAE's first female fighter pilot, who led the first airstrike her country launched against ISIS. It is in the self-interest of all Muslim nations to at long last accept the fact that the modern state of Israel exists and is here to stay. The writer is a senior fellow at the Independent Women's Forum and an attending critical care physician at New York University Langone. (Fox News)

  • The Israel-UAE Agreement and the Palestinians

  • Kushner Slams Palestinians, Critics of UAE-Israel Peace Deal - Ray Hanania
    In a teleconference briefing on Monday, senior U.S. presidential advisor Jared Kushner strongly denounced the Palestinians and other critics of the UAE-Israel peace deal. The Palestinians "have the same talking points that their attack dogs say. Quite frankly I feel the world has started to block out the noise that comes out of there because it's so predictable and it's so illogical." Kushner said President Trump is "ready to engage at any time" with the Palestinians to resolve the conflict, but warned: "We aren't going to chase the Palestinian leadership."
        Kushner said Palestinian "credibility is at an all-time low....Even people who want to help the Palestinians, those people are seeing you can't help people who don't want to help themselves. There's a lot of frustration in the region with the Palestinian leadership. It's because they're either stuck in the past, or they don't want to make peace....I don't see how their current actions are leading to the Palestinian people having a better life."  (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
  • Abu Dhabi and Tel Aviv...The Truth is Painful - Salman Al-Dossary
    The Palestinian cause is going through its worst situation, not because of the UAE and its new relationship with Israel, but because of the accumulation of complex problems and political and economic conditions that have become more difficult year after year.
        The dilemma of the region does not lie in Israel, which has become a reality that cannot be changed whether we like it or not. The real dilemma is that slogans still replace logic and reliance on populism is much easier than facing facts. The writer is a former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • Palestinian Professor Slams PA's "Overreaction" to Israel-UAE Deal - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Mohammed Dajani, a prominent Palestinian professor of political science and peace activist, on Monday criticized the Palestinian Authority leadership for rejecting last week's agreement between Israel and the UAE to normalize relations. "The Palestinian leadership is losing. They have to understand one thing: that the United Arab Emirates did not do this out of the blue; they did not just suddenly do it. There are other countries involved, such as Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and other Gulf countries. In addition, there are other countries such as Sudan, Morocco and Lebanon that are thinking along these lines."
        Dajani advised the PA leadership to calm down "and stop this overreaction." "If you have taken a strategic decision that you want peace, then peace cannot happen without reconciliation, and reconciliation cannot happen without normalization. Since a decision has been taken to seek peace with Israel through diplomatic ways and negotiations, then normalization should be a pillar in that reconciliation process."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • The Israel-UAE Agreement Offers a Chance for a New Peace Paradigm - David Makovsky
    Palestinians have insisted that they maintain a veto on progress of ties between Arab states and Israel. Either Israel accepted a deal on Palestinian terms, or Israel would remain in regional isolation. At best, peace between Israel and the Arab states would be a consolation prize in return for Israel meeting all Palestinian demands that have not modified in many years. This approach has emerged to be utterly unrealistic. It is time for the Palestinians to let go and finally bury a failed paradigm.
        It is time for the Palestinians to get over their shock and begin to see the Israeli-Emirati breakthrough as a potential bridge to restart talks with Israel. The Emirates' close ties with Israel can be helpful. The writer is a Fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. (New York Daily News)
  • The Palestinian People Cannot Expect Their Arab Allies to Suspend Their Needs Forever - Hussain Abdul-Hussain
    After 72 years of conflict with Israel, the only path forward is peace. Either the Palestinian leadership offers its Arab allies a clear vision - with a timetable - of how it plans to arrive at peace with Israel, or it should let its Arab allies look after their own interests. The Palestinian people cannot expect regional states to suspend their needs forever while waiting for the Palestinian leadership to make up its mind on what it wants and how it plans to achieve it.
        The writer is the Washington bureau chief of the Kuwaiti daily Al-Rai and a former visiting fellow at Chatham House in London. (Asia Times-Hong Kong)
  • The Arab World Is Fed Up with the Palestinians - Ben-Dror Yemini
    The biggest surprise following Israel's peace accord with the UAE is that there was no division within the Arab world about it. In fact, almost all Arab countries - except for Yemen and Qatar - have expressed their support for the agreement and hopped on the peace train. The Arab world is fed up. It realizes, albeit belatedly, that wherever Islamic radicalism is involved - whether Shi'ite or Sunni - the result is always destruction and ruin. The Arab world refuses to continue entertaining every Palestinian whim.
        Beginning in the late 1990s, Arab leaders realized that the "Palestinian problem" was not an asset, but a burden. After all, being hostile to Israel never benefited anyone. Although Abbas stopped the violence, he stuck to Arafat's diplomatic policy of always saying "no," regardless of what was on offer. They never wanted a state for the Palestinian people, they just didn't want one for the Jews.
        Israel gave Gaza to the Palestinians and it resulted in Hamas rule. Arab leaders know that Hamas' parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, hates them. When the Palestinians choose peace over the fantasy of destroying Israel, their situation will improve drastically. (Ynet News)

  • Other Issues

  • Former U.S. Envoy Jason Greeblatt Still Supports Israeli Sovereignty in Parts of West Bank - Zachary Keyser
    Former U.S. special envoy to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt told Israel's Army Radio on Tuesday that he still "supports the application of Israeli sovereignty" over parts of Judea and Samaria. "As you know, I am myself a big proponent of recognizing Israel's sovereignty and application of Israeli law." He stressed that the West Bank was "never occupied Palestinian territories."
        "You have to deal with this step by step, you have to re-educate the public from the decades of misinformation that was given out to the rest of the world about the reality of the conflict, about the reality of...Jewish history in Judea and Samaria."  (Jerusalem Post)
  • Anger over Beirut Explosion Sees Support for Hizbullah Start to Crumble in Its Heartlands - Louise Callaghan
    In the Lebanese city of Nabatieh, Hizbullah are publicly revered as the saviors of the country who were instrumental in Israel's decision in 2000 to withdraw from Lebanon's south. Yet Hizbullah's venerated status is beginning to fade. Even in the group's southern heartlands, some are asking what Hizbullah has done for them. "Now it's just corruption. They're lining their own pockets," said Mohammed, 35.
        "Their role is supposedly to help the people, but they don't," said Ali, a restaurateur. "They only help their own people, the ones who are members of the party. They get their salaries in dollars." He had no doubt that Hizbullah knew about the ammonium nitrate stored at Beirut port. "Of course they knew. If a fly is buzzing, they know."  (The Times-UK)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • I Grew Up with Anti-Semitism in the UAE. Peace with Israel Is a Dream Come True. - Mujahed Kobbe
    From the age of eight until adulthood, I called the UAE home. Calling Israel and its Jewish inhabitants the enemy of Islam and God was as common as breathing while I was growing up. Anti-Semitism was in my home. It was in the school hallways and yard. You heard it at the cafe.
        At Friday prayers, a religious cleric at any given mosque was sure to make a comment about how Allah will one day destroy Israel from the map. Believing in conspiracies like the idea that Israel was the true mastermind behind 9/11 or that Israel is funding ISIS was prevalent, mainstream, part of the culture - passed down through generations by people who had never once interacted with a Jew.
        It's so weird looking back at it now, trying to understand how it is that I had this hate in my heart for an entire group of people I had never met. Watching high-level Emiratis on Twitter show their support for Israel, actually tweeting the UAE flag and Israeli flag together, sparked hope in me. Seeing the UAE let go of its hate for a country and a people, just as I did, made me so proud of the country I had called home and grew up in. (Forward)
  • Facebook Bans Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories - Shirin Ghaffary
    Facebook announced on Aug. 11 that it will start banning posts that promote anti-Semitic conspiracy theories that depict "Jewish people running the world or controlling major institutions such as media networks, the economy or the government." These depictions represent examples of "implicit speech" that "has historically been used to disparage, intimidate, or exclude people based on protected characteristics like race or religion," said Facebook VP of content policy Monika Bickert.
        "This is a welcome yet overdue step from Facebook. It's distressing that it took this long for the platform to crack down on these particular forms of hate, when it's quite obvious they should not have been allowed to proliferate in the first place," said a spokesperson for the Anti-Defamation League. "It's equally as disturbing that Facebook still doesn't view Holocaust denial as a violation of their terms of service."  (Vox)
        See also Facebook Algorithms Actively Promote Holocaust Denial - Marcy Oster
    The London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue found that typing "holocaust" in the Facebook search function brought up suggestions for denial pages, which point users to publishers that sell revisionist and denial literature. Their new report said there are 36 Facebook groups, with a combined 366,068 followers, that are specifically dedicated to Holocaust denial or host such content. (JTA)
        See also Hosting the "Holohoax": A Snapshot of Holocaust Denial across Social Media - Jakob Guhl and Jacob Davey (Institute for Strategic Dialogue-UK)

  • Weekend Features

  • Ancient Muslim Texts Confirm the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem - Nadav Shragai
    Jerusalem Center researcher Nadav Shragai responds to modern-day Muslim and Palestinian fabrications about the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem with the testimonies of esteemed Islamic religious authorities from more than 1,000 years ago. He presents archeological evidence such as a Jewish ritual bath found under the al-Aqsa mosque and Islamic coins with a Jewish menorah imprinted on them, and documents how the Jews of Jerusalem introduced the Muslim conquerors of the city to the Temple Mount and accompanied them on their visit there. This is a chapter from his latest book in Hebrew, Al-Aqsa Terror: From Blood Libel to Bloodshed (2020). (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • In WWII, Canada Kept Jewish "Enemy Aliens" in Barbed Wire Camps - Julie Masis
    Sherbrooke, Quebec, two hours east of Montreal, was the site of a camp where German and Austrian Jews were held as prisoners during World War II. In 1940, biochemist Reinhart Pariser was a student in his 20s at the University of Cambridge in England when one day police knocked on his door and gave him 10 minutes to pack. He was put on a boat crammed with German Jews and German Nazis - both labeled by the British as "enemy aliens." Some boats went to Australia, others to Canada. In Canada, Reinhart looked out of the window of the train and saw signs that read, "No dogs or Jews allowed."
        In Sherbrooke's Camp N, the men were housed in an old train repair yard. It was cold. There was one water faucet for 900 people, and only nine toilets. The men wore uniforms with a big circle on the back that looked like a target. There was barbed wire and watch towers. One prisoner lost his nerve and ran for the fence. The guards shot him. About a year later, Reinhart was released. He went back to England and joined the war effort. But other men spent years locked up.
        Many prisoners went on to become extremely successful. Walter Kohn and Max Perutz received Nobel prizes in chemistry. Walter Homburger became the director of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. "This small group of refugees and the enormous contributions they made is an example of what could have happened if the world had opened its doors to Jews trying to escape the Holocaust," said Paula Draper, a historian who wrote her PhD thesis on the Canadian internment camps for German, Austrian, and Italian Jews during the war.
        "They were kept interned because the Canadian government knew they were Jews and didn't want them in the country." Still, she said, most of the former internees are not bitter because, after all, they survived the Holocaust. (Times of Israel)

How Jews in America and Israel Look at the World - Einat Wilf and Oren Gross (Tablet)
  • America is a country where anyone arriving on its shores could become fully and completely American. This idea of the universal America is as inspiring as it is exceptional. The U.S. is the only country that was purposefully built on universal ideals.
  • The rest of the world's countries are not universal nations, and almost none of them aspire or even pretend to be so. Ever since the 20th-century collapse of empires, the Earth is divided between nation-states - almost all based on a single dominant national, ethnic, linguistic, or religious group, often with some other national, ethnic, linguistic, or religious minorities.
  • Israel, as the nation-state of the Jewish people, with an Arab national, ethnic, linguistic minority, is well within the global norm.
  • When Israel is measured by the EU guidelines on how nation-states should treat their national, ethnic, and linguistic minorities - for example, in providing schooling, government services, and road signs in the minority's language and providing the ability to celebrate holidays - Israel emerges with strong marks.
  • This achievement is especially impressive since Israel operates in the rare situation that its minority belongs to the dominant national, ethnic, linguistic majority in the region - most of which is still officially at war with it, and continues to deny the right of the Jewish people to self-determination in any borders. In fact, the status of the Arab minority in Israel during wartime is better than that of minorities in many countries which are at peace.
  • Most Jews in America still believe that Zionism is deeply entwined both with their Jewish and American identities, and that Zionism incorporates both the particular and the universal. Jews in Israel will continue to celebrate the fact that they finally live in the sovereign nation-state of the Jewish people and can therefore walk this Earth knowing that someone has their back.

    Einat Wilf, a former member of the Israeli Parliament, is co-author of The War of Return: How Western Indulgence of the Palestinian Dream has Obstructed the Path to Peace.
        Oren Gross is Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota Law School.
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