August 27, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

New IDF Laser System Intercepts 150 Arson Balloons - Tal Ariel Amir (Israel Hayom)
    Israel's new Light Blade laser system has intercepted 150 arson balloons in 10 days. However, a single system can only cover a small part of the Gaza border.

First Photos from Israel's Newest Spy Satellite - of Syria's Palmyra Ruins - Judah Ari Gross (Times of Israel)
    The Israel Defense Ministry on Tuesday released photographs taken by its newest reconnaissance satellite, showing ancient ruins in the Syrian city of Palmyra.
    Ofek 16 was launched into orbit on July 6 from Palmachim air base in Israel and a week later activated its powerful camera arrays.
    Israel is one of a small number of countries that operate reconnaissance satellites, giving it advanced intelligence-gathering capabilities.
    "Our network of satellites lets us watch the entire Middle East - and even a bit more than that," said Shlomi Sudari, the head of Israel Aerospace Industries' space program.

UN: Over 10,000 Islamic State Fighters Active in Iraq, Syria - Edith M. Lederer (AP-Military Times)
    More than 10,000 Islamic State fighters remain active in Iraq and Syria, the UN counter-terrorism chief Vladimir Voronkov told the Security Council on Monday.
    "There is a continued trend of attacks by individuals inspired online and acting alone or in small groups."
    See also ISIS' Jihad in the Coronavirus Era - Dr. Galit Truman Zinman (BESA Center for Strategic Studies-Bar-Ilan University)
    In May 2020, the Islamic State perpetrated 400 terror attacks worldwide that caused hundreds of casualties.
    In Kirkuk, Diyala, and Saladin provinces in Iraq, ISIS has been attacking army bases, mounting ambushes and raids, laying explosive devices, engaging in sniper fire, launching rockets, and burning agricultural fields.
    In Syria, ISIS has been active in the Euphrates River Valley and in the Hauran region in the south, seizing and executing captives, blowing up vehicles, setting ambushes, and engaging in assassinations.
    ISIS remains active in the Khorasan region of Afghanistan, with attacks in March and May leaving 74 dead.
    In its view, the coronavirus was sent to help ISIS in its struggle to vanquish the "infidels."
    The writer teaches at the University of Haifa.

Egyptian Media Warned Not to Criticize UAE-Israel Deal (Al-Monitor)
    The Egyptian government has instructed media outlets not to criticize the agreement to normalize ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates after Cairo came out in support of the agreement, an Egyptian security source told Al-Monitor.
    He said talk of resisting normalization is unrealistic and does not take into account the new political and economic dimensions in the region.

Four Palestinian Islamic Jihad Members Killed in Gaza Bomb-Making Accident (Al Arabiya)
    Four members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad were killed in a bomb-making accident in Gaza on Monday. The group said that "four martyrs" died while "performing their duty."
    Those killed included Iyad Jamas al-Jadi, 42, a commander linked to missile manufacturing units.
    Palestinian security sources said the four were killed while preparing a bomb which went off prematurely.

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Political Cartoons from Iran, the Palestinians, and Qatar: Intolerant Responses to the UAE Peace Deal - David Andrew Weinberg (Anti-Defamation League)
    Problematic political cartoons, infographics, and front-page headlines have been published in Mideast media outlets since the historic accord between Israel and the UAE was announced.
    The vast majority come from media outlets linked to Iran (or its proxies), the Palestinians, and Qatar.
    For the most part they are blatantly unfair, hateful, or anti-Semitic. They depict Israel and/or the UAE as demonic, bloodthirsty, evil, scheming, or diseased.

We Need to Talk about the Ethnic Cleansing of Middle Eastern Jews - Asher Weisz (Oxford Student)
    On August 16, the Jerusalem Post reported that Yemen's 50-100 remaining Jews, the remains of an ancient and once-thriving Jewish society there, would be transferred to safety in the United Arab Emirates.
    Iranian-backed Houthi rebels had forced the remaining Jews to sell their land and homes for a low price.
    It is reminiscent of the ethnic cleansing of ancient Jewish populations in the mid-20th century when one million Jews were driven from nine Arab countries and Iran.

UK Health Service to Use Israeli Tech to Flag Patients at Risk for Colon Cancer - Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel)
    Barts Health, one of the largest National Health Service providers in Britain, will use Israeli software from Medial EarlySign that can flag high-risk patients for developing colon cancer.
    Its ColonFlag analyzes existing routine clinical data to predict individuals at high risk, to help physicians deliver targeted interventions.
    The software is currently being used by doctors at Israel's Maccabi healthcare provider, and in the U.S. by Geisinger and Kaiser Permanente Northwest.

Israel Develops Nano-Satellites to Receive Distress Signals - Sarah Chemla (Jerusalem Post)
    Three nano-satellites will be launched into space in November with advanced technology developed by the Technion and Israel Aerospace Industries to detect distress signals and pinpoint exact locations for rescue purposes.

Israeli Medical Device Company Nanox Vows X-Ray Revolution - Yoram Gabison (Ha'aretz)
    Israeli medical device company Nanox is developing what it says is the first fundamental change in X-ray technology since its invention in 1895.
    The company's Nanox.ARC is more compact and lightweight than conventional X-ray machines. It produces 3-D images, emits less radiation, and costs a fraction of the price of conventional imaging devices.
    It has no moving parts, has no need for cooling, and requires a lot less electric power than convention X-ray machines.

Israeli Startup Creates Protective Seawalls - Meg Wilcox (GreenBiz)
    Tel Aviv-based ECOncrete designs innovative concrete structures for seawalls and other coastal projects that mimic local marine ecosystems.
    With over 50% of the world's population concentrated on the coasts, sea-level rise and extreme weather events are driving an urgent need for the development or retrofit of seawalls.
    ECOncrete CEO and Chief Scientist Shimrit Perkol-Finkel, a marine biologist, has studied artificial reefs for decades and saw how smooth concrete structures impede native marine life and create the conditions for invasive species to thrive.
    Their technology incorporates a biological-enhancing concrete admix; rough surface texture; and locally attuned 3D designs that foster the growth of native plants and animals.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Iran to Allow UN Inspections of Two Previously Blocked Nuclear Sites - Lara Jakes
    Iran has agreed to let UN inspectors into two previously blocked nuclear sites, officials said on Wednesday. Although the International Atomic Energy Agency did not identify the sites, Israeli intelligence officials identified one as the Abadeh Nuclear Weapons Development Site. (New York Times)
  • Man Convicted in Assassination of Former Lebanese Prime Minister Was Part of Hizbullah Hit Squad - Souad Mekhennet and Joby Warrick
    Salim Jamil Ayyash, 56, a Hizbullah operative convicted last week by the Dutch-based Special Tribunal for Lebanon in the 2005 killing of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri, was part of a dedicated hit squad that carried out at least four other assassinations under orders from Hizbullah, current and former security officials said, citing previously undisclosed intelligence.
        The still-active assassination team, Unit 121, is controlled by Hizbullah's top leadership. The unit has been behind a series of deadly car bombings targeting Lebanese military and political leaders and journalists over at least a decade. Ayyash was a commander of Unit 121, the officials said.
        The existence of the assassination team undercuts speculation that Hariri died at the hands of rogue operatives who acted without authorization from Hizbullah's top leadership. "It's a highly secretive unit with dozens of operatives, totally disconnected from anything else, taking direct orders from [Hizbullah leader] Hasan Nasrallah," said one official. (Washington Post)
  • UN Security Council President Dismisses U.S. Sanctions Move on Iran - Michelle Nichols
    The president of the UN Security Council, Indonesia, said on Tuesday it was "not in the position to take further action" on a U.S. bid to trigger a return of all UN sanctions on Iran because there is no consensus to do so. 13 council members expressed their opposition on Friday.
        U.S. Ambassador Kelly Craft responded: "Let me just make it really, really clear: the Trump administration has no fear in standing in limited company on this matter. I only regret that other members of this council have lost their way and now find themselves standing in the company of terrorists."  (Reuters)
  • U.S. Vows to Ensure Israel's "Military Edge" - Nike Ching
    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday the United States will ensure Israel's military advantage in the Middle East under any potential U.S. arms deals with the United Arab Emirates. "The United States has a legal requirement with respect to qualitative military edge. We will continue to honor that," said Pompeo after meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
        "But we have a 20-plus year security relationship with the United Arab Emirates as well, where we have provided them with technical assistance and military assistance."  (VOA News)
  • U.S. Raps Erdogan's Meeting with Hamas Leadership
    State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said Tuesday: "The United States strongly objects to Turkish President Erdogan hosting two Hamas leaders in Istanbul on August 22. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and EU and both officials hosted by President Erdogan are Specially Designated Global Terrorists."
        "President Erdogan's continued outreach to this terrorist organization only serves to isolate Turkey from the international community...and undercuts global efforts to prevent terrorist attacks launched from Gaza."  (U.S. State Department)
  • Israeli Delegation to Visit UAE Next Week, Accompanied by U.S. Officials - Rami Ayyub
    An Israeli delegation and top U.S. presidential aides, including White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, national security adviser Robert O'Brien, and U.S. Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz, will fly together to the United Arab Emirates next Monday for talks on cementing relations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday. The officials will fly aboard an Israeli airliner on the first-ever commercial flight from Tel Aviv to Abu Dhabi. (Reuters)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Israeli Stabbed to Death by Palestinian in Tel Aviv Suburb - Judah Ari Gross
    A Palestinian man stabbed to death Rabbi Shai Ohayon, 39, a father of four, in the Tel Aviv suburb of Petah Tikva on Wednesday. The Palestinian, from the Nablus area in the West Bank, was in Israel with a legal work permit. (Times of Israel)
  • Israel Strikes Hizbullah Posts in Lebanon after Shots Fired at Troops - Judah Ari Gross
    Israeli aircraft bombed several Hizbullah observation posts along Israel's northern border on Wednesday after shots were fired from Lebanon toward Israel Defense Forces soldiers. (Times of Israel)
  • Arson Balloons from Gaza Spark 33 Fires in Israel on Wednesday
    Palestinians in Gaza launched arson balloons that sparked 33 fires in Israel on Wednesday. One fell near a playground where children were playing and another came down near a home belonging to elderly residents. Israel attacked Hamas targets in Gaza earlier Wednesday after arson balloons caused 29 fires on Tuesday. (Times of Israel)
        See also Gaza Balloon with Grenade Attached Lands in Israel (Jerusalem Post)
  • Netanyahu: UN Security Council's Failure to Join American Snapback Sanctions on Iran Is Outrageous
    After meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem on Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: "People should realize that the Iran deal failed just as we predicted. Not only did it not mollify Iran's aggression, it fueled it, it increased it. And we've seen Iran, since the JCPOA was concluded, emerging from its cage and devouring one country after another, targeting countries with rockets, with terrorism, pillage and plunder and murder all over the Middle East and even beyond."
        "To see the Security Council not only not join the American snapback sanctions but resist it...I think is outrageous. That means that this regime will get tanks, and aircraft, and missiles and anti-aircraft defenses to continue its campaign of aggression throughout the region and the world."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Coronavirus in Israel: Death Toll Reaches 877
    The Israel Health Ministry reported Thursday morning that the Covid-19 death toll had reached 877, with 1,937 new cases confirmed in the past 24 hours. Of the 21,145 active cases, 428 patients were in serious condition, with 124 on ventilators. (Ynet News)
  • 602 New Coronavirus Cases in West Bank and Arab Jerusalem Neighborhoods
    602 new Covid-19 cases were confirmed on Wednesday, PA Minister of Health Mai Alkaila reported. The new cases included 205 in the Hebron district and 164 in the Jerusalem district, among them 125 in the city of Jerusalem. The Ramallah district had 88 new cases, Bethlehem 61 and Qalqilya 38. (WAFA-PA)
  • New Coronavirus Cases in Gaza Lead to Lockdown - Aaron Boxerman
    Rabah Labad, 61, a member of Hamas' military wing, died on Wednesday from Covid-19 - first death outside of quarantine facilities - as nine new cases were confirmed in residential areas of Gaza. For seven months, authorities have managed to block the spread of the virus, subjecting thousands of arrivals to severe quarantine measures.
        "There is an intense feeling of panic and fear. Most people haven't left their houses since Monday night," said Mukhaimar Abu Sa'ada, a professor of political science at Al-Azhar University in Gaza. "Hamas cannot fight two battles at once. The most important battle right now is against the spread of coronavirus."  (Times of Israel)
        See also Coronavirus Spreads in Gaza: 26 Cases Confirmed in Several Locations (Reuters-Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The Israel-UAE Agreement

  • Israel Concerned over Possible U.S. Sale of F-35s to UAE - Yaakov Lappin
    Responding to the potential U.S. sale of F-35 fighter jets to the UAE, Israel opposes the sale of advanced weapons - even to the friendliest Arab states. Current governments could be toppled and replaced with less friendly forces, as occurred in Egypt, armed with F-16 planes and M1 Abrams tanks; Iran, a former ally of Israel that was armed with U.S.-made F-14 jets prior to the 1979 Islamic revolution; and Turkey, a NATO member that is increasingly hostile to Israel.
        Col. (res.) Udi Evental, former head of the Strategic Planning Unit of the Political-Military and Policy Bureau of the Israeli Defense Ministry, noted that Israel's military advantage has already been eroding in recent decades due to regional states stocking up on advanced Western and Russian weapons "at a massive scale estimated at more than $400 billion....In a future scenario of a change in intentions and orientation, they could quickly turn into a heavy and direct threat against us."
        Once the UAE gets F-35 aircraft, Evental said, "all of the Gulf states and Egypt will demand to purchase the plane from the U.S.," a scenario that could spark "a regional arms race, and end up killing the U.S.' qualitative military edge law" for Israel. (JNS)
  • The Warm Peace between Israel and the UAE Is a Victory for Us All - Hasan Saleh al Mujaini
    We are at the gates of a historic era of peace between the State of Israel and the United Arab Emirates. The hearts of both Israelis and Emiratis are filled with joy after news of the historic agreement between our two countries. In the UAE today there is a real desire to get to know Israelis better and most residents of the UAE are excited to visit Israel. Likewise, let me assure you that whenever you visit the UAE you will be warmly welcomed in our country.
        Although we have empathy for the Palestinian people, it is regrettable that instead of grasping this opportunity to advance their own situation, their leadership has yet again dismissed an outstretched hand for real and meaningful change. We must grasp this opportunity and use it as a foundation for a broader peace between Israel and the Arab world. The writer is a senior executive at the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Ex-Mossad Official Reveals Start of Israel's Ties with UAE
    David Meidan, former head of the Mossad's "Tevel" division, responsible for relations with organizations and states with which Israel has no official ties, described the beginning of Israel's relations with the UAE. He said relations kicked off in 2006 when then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tasked the Mossad with establishing ties with moderate Sunni states in the region.
        "The UAE was just one of those countries that we were focusing on, but they weren't the only one. Once we found a connection in the UAE, we started communicating, but everything was clandestine....Initially, these were ties between the intelligence agencies of the two countries."
        "Out of all the Gulf states, they had the most guts. They are a very daring nation. Their leaders are talented and seasoned, way ahead of everyone else in the region....Back then, they already understood the advantages of Israel and gave a green light for trade and business deals."  (Sputnik-Russia)
  • UAE's Israel Olive Branch Punches a Wall through Decades of Arab Intransigence - Dr. Einat Wilf
    The agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is the first peace deal that holds the prospect of being and feeling like true peace. Israel has had peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan for several decades. But it is now clear that these were little more than mutual non-aggression pacts. Egypt and Jordan took every opportunity to make it clear that they have no interest in friendly relations with Israel beyond security cooperation. There has been no broad-based economic cooperation, no open tourism or cultural exchange.
        Worse, Egypt and Jordan, in their desperate intent to signal that they are not Israel's friends, have become their sworn enemies in international forums, spearheading various anti-Israel resolutions. Egypt has been for decades the number one producer and purveyor of hard-core anti-Semitic content to the Arab world. Then along comes the UAE, proposing a relationship with an Arab country resembling what we have always imagined peace should be. The entire tone is one of warmth.
        Yes, ongoing relations between the UAE and Israel have been an open secret for some time, but the decision to "put a ring on it" matters greatly. The UAE is punching a massive hole through the wall of decades of Arab "anti-normalization." This goes to the heart of the Arab-Israeli conflict - the Arab and Islamic view that Israel is a foreign implant in the region that must be ejected.
        Normalizing relations, rather than an icy peace, is an acknowledgement that not only is Israel here to stay, but it belongs in the region. Those who continue to oppose "normalization" with Israel will appear increasingly as curmudgeons attached to historical irrelevance. The writer is a former Labor member of the Knesset. (Telegraph-UK)
  • The UAE Deal Is a Test for Those Who Support Peace - David Suissa
    The forces of darkness in the Middle East are panicking. One of the most powerful Arab countries in the world has made peace with the dreaded Zionist enemy. In the long run, any model based on lies and manufactured hatred is not sustainable. At some point, people wake up. People have to eat and make a living. People have to envision a better future.
        The UAE woke up. In fact, its leaders woke up a while ago. The difference is that now, they're not hiding it. They're telling the world and the people of the region: Israel is not our enemy. Israel doesn't want to invade us. Israel has a lot to offer. This is an earthquake, a call to Israel's Arab neighbors to look to the future rather than the past. But the past will not go down without a fight.
        The UAE, a monarchy aiming to modernize, has shattered the model of the Palestinian conflict as the key to progress in the Middle East. If anything, the conflict has been the biggest obstacle to progress. (Los Angeles Jewish Journal)

  • Palestinians

  • Israel's Right to Self-Determination Does Not Depend on the Palestinians - Isaac Herzog and Michael Herzog
    The Israel-UAE deal demonstrates that offering the Middle East a brighter future can no longer wait for the truly noble goal of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. We do not deny the Palestinian goal of self-determination, yet we strongly reject the notion that failing to achieve the latter denies our right to self-determination.
        To view Israel solely through the broken glass of an unresolved conflict denies Israel's unique qualities and achievements in a rough neighborhood, as well as the fact that the existence of Israel is an insurance policy for Jews around the world facing anti-Semitism.
        Isaac Herzog is Chairman of the Executive at the Jewish Agency for Israel and former leader of the Israeli opposition. Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Michael Herzog is a Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Jewish People Policy Institute. (Forward)
  • The PA Is the One Building in Judea and Samaria - Nadav Shragai
    In the past few years, the Palestinians have been spreading out in Area C of Judea and Samaria (West Bank), which is officially under Israeli defense and security as well as civil control. They are working in an orderly, consistent, and well-funded manner. Hundreds of thousands of dunams of state land have been grabbed. Palestinians are also building tens of thousands of homes at the most strategic points. (Israel Hayom)
  • The West Bank Is Not "Palestinian Land" - Sean Durns
    "Who can challenge the rights of the Jews in Palestine?" Yusuf al-Khalidi wrote to the chief rabbi of France on March 1, 1899. "Historically it really is your country." A sovereign Palestinian Arab state has never existed. Rather, the status of the territory is, at best, disputed. The co-authors of UN Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), U.S. Undersecretary of State Eugene Rostow, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Arthur Goldberg, and British Ambassador Lord Caradon made clear that Jews and Arabs both had claims in the territories.
        The Jewish presence in the Land of Israel predates that of the Arab and Islamic conquests in the 7th century - by thousands of years. In Jerusalem, Jews have constituted a majority of the inhabitants since the 1840s. The writer is a Senior Research Analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA). (CAMERA)
  • A Future Investment Fund for the Palestinian People - Sander Gerber
    For too long, the Palestinian Authority has sought to keep the Palestinian people poor and powerless - while enriching its apparatchiks and functionaries. Now is the time for the Gulf states to rescue the Palestinian people from their Palestinian Authority "prison" and help them thrive economically. To do so will require a new Gulf Cooperation Council relief organization that prioritizes the security and prosperity of the Palestinian people - not the enrichment of their corrupt and cancerous leadership.
        This new organization - let's call it the Future Investment Fund for the Palestinian People - would need to be independent, both of the corrupt Palestinian Authority cronyism that has exploited the Palestinian people and of the UN, which has retarded Palestinian progress. The investment fund would be chartered to provide vocational training, coupled with tolerance and comity with all neighbors, based upon a peaceful Islam. The writer is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (Fox News)

  • Other Issues

  • Court Backs Professor Sued by Muslim Student over Terrorism Course
    After a Muslim student at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona and the Council on American-Islamic Relations sued veteran professor Nicholas Damask for including a module analyzing Islamic terrorism in his world politics course, the college demanded that the professor apologize and warned that the course would be reviewed for "insensitivities."
        This month, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Brnovich dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that the student "was simply exposed to attitudes and outlooks at odds with his own religious perspective....Examining the course as a whole, a reasonable, objective observer would conclude that the teaching's primary purpose was not the inhibition of religion."  (Judicial Watch)
        See also Read the Arizona Judge's Ruling (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education)
  • Do UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Do More Harm than Good? - Prof. Eugene Kontorovich
    The catastrophic blast in the port of Beirut this month underscores the failings of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), which is supposed to block arms smuggling. When its mandate comes up for renewal at the Security Council on Aug. 31, the U.S. should try to reduce the size of the force or end the mission altogether.
        In 2006, after Israel's Second Lebanon War, UNIFIL's mandate was expanded to focus on helping Lebanon disarm Hizbullah in southern Lebanon. By any standard, this mission has failed, as Hizbullah's arsenal of missiles has grown more than tenfold since then. Israel has in recent years discovered Hizbullah attack tunnels into Israeli territory that were dug under UNIFIL's nose, while the force has shown itself to be powerless to deter or respond to Hizbullah violations of UN resolutions. Rather than stop Hizbullah in any future conflict, UNIFIL personnel would likely function as human shields, protecting the militants.
        The one useful task that UNIFIL performs, acting as a liaison between the Israeli and Lebanese militaries, can be done with a force of dozens, not thousands. The writer is director of George Mason University Law School's Center for the Middle East and International Law and a scholar at the Kohelet Policy Forum. (Wall Street Journal)
  • It's Time for Pakistan to Accept Israel Is Here to Stay - Kunwar Khuldune Shahid
    Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan said last week: "We cannot recognize Israel until Palestinians get their rights." But while Pakistan remains one of 31 states that do not recognize Israel, the two countries have much in common. Both were founded on religious nationalism, carved along communal lines as per two-state solutions proposed under British mandates. But only one - a separate Muslim state, rather than a separate Jewish state - was unanimously accepted. So what is it about Israel that Pakistan won't accept?
        In a country where mosque sermons call for the "destruction of Jews and Israel," and where anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are a part of religious and political discourse, even many "progressives" find it hard to envisage a reconsidering of Pakistan's policy on Israel. But these views haven't stopped the two countries working together when it suits. Islamist dictator Zia-ul-Haq spearheaded the ISI's intelligence collaboration with Mossad in the 1980s, as part of CIA-led operations in Afghanistan. Since then, Pakistan's military and intelligence cooperation with Israel has continued.
        Whether Khan likes it or not, the truth is that today Israel is as legitimate as any other post-World War II nation-state. The writer is a Pakistan-based correspondent for The Diplomat. (Spectator-UK)

Palestinians Want What Israeli Arabs Have - Jerry Sorkin (Arab Weekly-UK)
  • Palestinians in the West Bank want nothing more than to see normal life. Two years ago, I took part in a group forum at a West Bank Palestinian university aimed at enabling American visitors to hear from the "20-something" generation of Palestinians. At the Q&A session, the Palestinian professor chairing the event jumped on every question posed to the students and gave her own answers instead. When asked if they would be willing to work with Israeli academics, the Palestinian professor immediately responded that they would never collaborate with Israeli professors or students.
  • After the session, we invited some of the students to join us at a cafe in Bir Zeit, providing them with a less intimidating atmosphere to speak candidly. They felt their professor prevented them from saying what they would have liked to say, which was that they would very much want to meet and have exchanges with their Israeli counterparts.
  • At another forum in March where American citizens met with students from several West Bank Palestinian universities, in a location where they were able to speak freely, we heard from each of the five students that they wanted to have exchanges with their Israeli counterparts. Some admitted that they do so on social media. "We are governed by men who are 70 years and older, men who have found ways to benefit and enrich themselves....It is time for another direction," noted one student.
  • In my numerous visits to the Palestinian territories, in private settings, nearly every Palestinian admits that they just want to be able to enjoy the benefits that their counterparts who hold Israeli citizenship have: access to travel, filling the ranks of Israeli universities.
  • Palestinian leaders' continued refusal of any cooperation or dialogue with Israel has brought nothing to their people. Moving away from old formulae that never worked is the wise thing to do.

    The writer is an adjunct professor at Temple University.
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