September 17, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Text: Treaty between the UAE and Israel (White House)
    See also Text: Declaration of Peace between Israel and Bahrain (Times of Israel)
    See also Sudan, Oman Attend Peace Accord Signing in U.S. - Ahmed Younis (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)

UAE, Bahrain Channels Share Live Broadcast with Israeli Channel (Al Arabiya)
    An Emirati channel, Dubai TV, an Israeli channel, Channel 12, and a Bahraini channel, Bahrain TV, shared a live broadcast at the signing of the treaties normalizing ties with Israel on Tuesday.

Israeli Arabs See Opportunity in Accords with Bahrain and UAE - Shakib Ali (Ynet News)
    The hearts of Israel's Arabs are with the Palestinian people, but on the other hand, they want to break out of Israel's borders and reach the Gulf states where they can fulfill the Middle East's version of the American Dream.
    Since the agreement with the UAE was announced, Israeli Arabs mostly talked about the possible economic, academic and tourism benefits it might bring.
    Thanks to their language, education and religion, Israeli Arabs stand to be the main beneficiaries of the agreements. They can not only do business in the Gulf, but also travel and study there.

Iranians Charged in Cyber Theft of National Security and Nuclear Information (U.S. Department of Justice)
    Two Iranian nationals were indicted on Tuesday in connection with a coordinated cyber intrusion campaign at the behest of the government of Iran.
    Hooman Heidarian, 30, and Mehdi Farhadi, 34, stole data pertaining to national security, foreign policy intelligence, non-military nuclear information, aerospace data, human rights activist information, and intellectual property, including unpublished scientific research.
    "These Iranian nationals...infiltrated computer systems and targeted intellectual property and often sought to intimidate perceived enemies of Iran, including dissidents fighting for human rights," said U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito for the District of New Jersey.
    "This conduct threatens our national security, and as a result, these defendants are wanted by the FBI and are considered fugitives from justice."

Russian Fighter Jets Operating in Libya - Diana Stancy Correll (Military Times)
    At least 14 Russian fighter aircraft flown by Russian mercenaries of the Wagner Group are engaging in ground strikes in Libya in support of Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter's Libyan National Army, U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Heidi Berg, director of intelligence at the U.S. Africa Command, said Friday.
    3,000 Wagner Group mercenaries are in Libya, together with 2,000 Syrian mercenaries, to support the LNA, while Turkey has dispatched 5,000 Syrian mercenaries to challenge the LNA.

Islamic State Finds a Haven in Syrian Desert - Sultan al-Kanj (Al-Monitor)
    Islamic State bombings, attacks and ambushes against Syrian regime and pro-Iranian targets have recently intensified in the central Syrian desert, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports.
    Russian general Vyacheslav Gladkikh was killed on Aug. 18 by an IED planted by ISIS.

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EU Discriminates Against Israel over Illegal Construction - Prof. Hillel Frisch (Jerusalem Post)
    There are three times more housing evictions proportionately in EU member states than there are regarding Palestinians in Judea and Samaria. In 2017, there 705,000 evictions in the EU.
   Yet a search for "housing demolitions" on the EU's official website finds that 80% of the reports on this worldwide phenomenon concern Palestinian construction.
    In any event, 8,690 new housing units are being constructed annually by Palestinians compared with 108 demolitions, many of which involve sealing only parts of a building.
    The writer is a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.

Second Wave of Coronavirus Ravages Israel's Arab Population - Afif Abu Much (Al-Monitor)
    During the first wave of the coronavirus in Israel, just 5% of infections were among the Arab community.
    However, during the second wave, "40% of coronavirus patients who are hospitalized and 30% of newly infected patients come from the Arab community," said Dr. Zahi Said, the Israel Ministry of Health's spokesman for the Arab sector.
    See also Amid Pandemic, Large Weddings "Our Most Problematic Issue" for Palestinians - Irris Makler (CBC News-Canada)
    "Wedding ceremonies are our most problematic issue," said Dr. Wael Taadan, a physician and administrator at the Palestine Red Crescent Society.
    He said that in Hebron, the worst-affected town in the West Bank, infections could be traced back to one super-spreader wedding in June.
    Another super-spreader wedding took place in a village near Ramallah in August. "We saw something like 200 cases in two days," said Taadan.
    Large ceremonies are customary in Palestinian society, where weddings bind the couple to each other - and to the community. In a village, all the residents will be invited.
    Without strict enforcement, coronavirus infections in the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem have doubled over the past month from 15,000 to more than 30,000.

Iran Has a Long History of Assassinating People - Seth J. Frantzman (Jerusalem Post)
    In 1989, Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, secretary-general of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, was gunned down in Vienna by Iranian assassins.
    They also murdered Ghassemlou's successor and have hunted down Kurds, Ahwazi activists, and others throughout Europe.
    Tehran has received the blank check that Palestinian terrorists once got in Europe: As long as Iran targets non-Europeans, it can hit whomever it wants.
    In 2018, Iran plotted to kill a dissident in Denmark, according to Dinn Borch Andersen, the chief of Danish intelligence.
    Tehran tried to blow up an opposition meeting in Paris in 2018. A 2017 killing in Turkey targeted an exiled TV executive.

Al-Aqsa Terrorism: The Role of Religious Motivation in Popular Terrorism - Nadav Shragai (Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)
    The Palestinians' "Al-Aqsa is in danger" libel, which has been intensified in recent decades, has been a highly effective religious trigger for motivating both popular terrorism as well as organized terrorist attacks.
    The libel arouses strong feelings among the Muslim general public, both religious and nationalist, and it also creates a sense of unity among the Arabs.
    Hundreds of terrorist attacks were inspired by this false libel.
    See also The "Al-Aksa Is in Danger" Libel: The History of a Lie - Nadav Shragai (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

U.S. Orders Al Jazeera to Register as Foreign Agent - Kylie Atwood (CNN)
    The U.S. Justice Department ordered the Al Jazeera online news platform AJ+ based in the U.S. to register as a foreign agent on Monday, declaring that the outlet is "an agent of the Government of Qatar."

Israel Shipyards, UAE's DP World to Partner in Shipping, Port Activities (Reuters)
    Israel's Dovertower has a signed a series of agreements with the UAE's DP World to cooperate in shipping and port activities, the companies said on Wednesday.

Israeli Special Forces Unit Gets Druze Commander (Algemeiner)
    Lt. Col. Ayoub Kyuff has been appointed the new head of the Israeli Air Force's Shaldag Unit that specializes in reconnaissance and commando operations.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Trump: Accords between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain Show Nations "Breaking Free from the Failed Approaches of the Past"
    At the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel, the UAE and Bahrain on Tuesday, President Donald Trump said the accords "open the door for Muslims around the world to visit the historic sites in Israel and to peacefully pray at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem....For generations, the people of the Middle East have been held back by old conflicts, hostilities...lies that the Jews and Arabs were enemies and that Al-Aqsa Mosque was under attack. Constantly, they would say it was under attack....These agreements prove that the nations of the region are breaking free from the failed approaches of the past."  (White House)
  • Proposed U.S. Sales of F-35 Jets to UAE Prompts Israeli Fears of Mideast Arms Race - Ruth Eglash and Karen DeYoung
    The proposed sale of advanced U.S. F-35 fighter jets to the UAE is raising concerns among some security experts in Israel that the Middle East could be on the verge of an arms race. The proposed sale is tainting the otherwise great enthusiasm in Israel for the agreements brokered by the White House to normalize relations with the UAE and Bahrain.
        A senior figure in Israel's defense establishment warned that there was no guarantee relations between Israel and the UAE would remain amicable. "Things change here rapidly, and we always need to be aware of this. Israel is a small country. Its military advantage allows it to maintain strategic virtual depth. Removing this edge is extremely worrying for Israel's security." He added that the sale "will have a cascade effect, and it will be harder to prevent sales of advanced weaponry to other countries in the region."  (Washington Post)
  • U.S. Threatens to Sanction Arms Makers that Sell to Iran
    U.S. Special Representative for Iran Elliott Abrams said Wednesday: "Five years of JCPOA meetings have not moderated Iran's tactics or choices at all. It's time for peace-loving nations to recognize this reality and join us in imposing sanctions on Iran. It is astonishing that anyone would think or have thought it sensible to allow the arms embargo on Iran to expire next month, given that regime's role in destabilizing Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon and its continuing support for terrorism."
        "It was the position of the United States that the arms embargo should be extended, and had it been extended, we would not have had to snap back to restore the full panoply of UN sanctions. So one practical effect, we believe, will be to say to arms manufacturers and traders around the world that if you engage in business with Iran, the very full force of these new or, rather, restored sanctions will be felt immediately. They will be placed on you....In our view, the UN sanctions snap back on Saturday at 8:00 p.m."  (U.S. State Department)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Prime Minister Netanyahu to UAE and Bahrain: Thank You for Joining Us in Bringing Hope to All the Children of Abraham
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday at the White House: "For thousands of years, the Jewish people have prayed for peace. For decades, the Jewish state has prayed for peace. And this is why today we're filled with such profound gratitude."
        "I am grateful to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates and to you, Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed. I thank you both for your wise leadership and for working with the United States and Israel to expand the circle of peace. I am grateful to King Hamad of Bahrain and to you, Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani, for joining us in bringing hope to all the children of Abraham....This is not only a peace between leaders, it's a peace between peoples - Israelis, Emiratis and Bahrainis are already embracing one another."  (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Palestinians in Gaza Fire Rockets at Israel during White House Ceremony
    Palestinians in Gaza fired 13 rockets at Israel beginning on Tuesday during the White House ceremony where Israel, the UAE and Bahrain signed agreements to establish diplomatic relations. As the rocket fire continued on Wednesday, 8 of the rockets were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system. In response, the IDF launched 10 air strikes on military targets in Gaza. (Ynet News)
        See also Israeli Seriously Injured in Gaza Rocket Attack
    Asher Biton, 62, was seriously wounded in a rocket attack on Tuesday as he was delivering food to the needy in Ashdod. (Times of Israel)
  • Coronavirus in Israel
    The Israel Health Ministry reported Thursday that 1,163 coronavirus patients are being treated in hospitals. 549 are in a serious condition, of whom 140 are ventilated. The death toll has reached 1,165. A nationwide lockdown is to begin on Friday. (Ynet News)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:

    The Israel-UAE-Bahrain Peace Agreements

  • Peace. Shalom. Salaam - Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan
    "Peace. Shalom. Salaam" was written in 2-foot-high letters in three languages on the side of the El Al aircraft that landed in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago. This message elevates opportunity and optimism over conflict and defeatism.
        Non-Arab countries and a mob of non-state actors exist in a warped axis of perpetual resistance. They advocate one brand or another of extremism. They are nostalgic over lost empires or obsess over a new caliphate. The signing of the peace accord this week is a reminder that all the people of the Middle East are tired of conflict. The priority now is to continue to modernize our societies and to stabilize the broader region.
        In the Emirates, we are committed to the true tenets of Islam - moderation, inclusion and peace. The Palestinian leadership should use this moment to reorganize its approach and prepare to re-engage in productive discussions. The writer is the United Arab Emirates minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation. (Wall Street Journal)
  • Israel Has Become Too Valuable to the Arab World to Be Treated as a Pariah - Walter Russell Mead
    A tipping point seems to have been reached in the Middle East. Resentment of Zionism and sympathy for the Palestinians will no longer be allowed to interfere with what embattled Arab rulers see as a vital relationship. Geopolitically, conservative Arab states have long understood that their interests and Israel's are connected.
        The more the U.S. withdraws from the region, the greater the value of Israel to the Sunni Arab world. Growing numbers of Arab leaders believe that Israel is the only country with both the will and the means to help the Arab world defend itself from regional threats. Beyond that, Israel is by any measure the most successful state in the Middle East with the most technologically advanced economy in the region.
        The Arab rapprochement with Israel reflects a sober and serious response to realities that no Arab state can ignore. As a military and intelligence partner, as a diplomatic force multiplier, as a trading partner, as a source of investment and of development expertise, Israel is too valuable to the Arab world to be relegated to the status of a regional pariah. It has earned its place in the Middle East. The writer is professor of foreign affairs and the humanities at Bard College. (Wall Street Journal)
  • A Rare Middle East Triumph - Bret Stephens
    As consequential as the peace deals between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain is the Arab League's refusal to condemn them. This is bad news for those Palestinian leaders and activists who think that they can somehow restore the status quo ante 1948, when Israel didn't exist.
        Peace between Israelis and Arabs will not come from the inside out - from a deal between Jerusalem and Ramallah that wins over the rest of the Arab world. Decades of diplomatic failure should put an end to that fantasy. Peace might come from the outside in: from an Arab world that encircles Israel with recognition and partnership rather than enmity, and which thereby shores up Israel's security while moderating Palestinian behavior. (New York Times)
  • UAE, Bahrain Normalization with Israel Is the Right Thing - Thomas L. Friedman
    The normalization agreements signed Tuesday between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Israel and Bahrain are the right thing. Egypt and Jordan each made peace with Israel to end their state of war, but trade, tourism and mutual investments have been limited. Israel and the Emirates and Israel and Bahrain are normalizing their relations because they want trade, tourism and investment, and also intelligence-sharing against Iran. And Saudi Arabia has clearly blessed it all by allowing Israel's El Al airlines to fly through Saudi airspace back and forth to Bahrain and the UAE.
        You don't see that every day. When the most technologically advanced and globalized Arab state, the UAE, decides to collaborate with the most technologically advanced and globalized non-Arab state in the region, Israel, I suspect new energies will get unlocked and new partnerships forged that should be good for both Arab-Israeli and Jewish-Muslim human-to-human relations. (New York Times)
  • The Significance of the Israel-UAE Deal - Jon B. Alterman
    The agreement between Israel and the UAE is more significant for the Arab world than it is for Israel. Israelis may derive a certain amount of emotional security from feeling less isolated in the region, and they may get some marginal advantages that they could not have obtained otherwise in their struggle with Iran. But this will radically change the way Arab states will deal with each other and their problems.
        The Emiratis believe they have the strength and self-confidence to deal with any country in the world bilaterally, without 20 other countries standing behind them. I would expect other states to act more unilaterally going forward as well.
        Arguably the Iranians will feel more surrounded when their adversaries are cooperating more closely, but in point of fact, the Emiratis were not about to start a war with Iran before, and they are not about to now. The writer is Director of the Middle East Program at the CSIS in Washington. (Center for Strategic and International Studies)
  • What Bahrain's Deal with Israel Really Means - Charles Lipson
    The deals to normalize relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain are significant for several reasons. First, they represent a common regional front against the Iranian threat. They also signal that Arab-Muslim regimes are less concerned with domestic, Islamist opposition to their outreach to Israel. Equally important, they show that the Palestinian Authority no longer holds a veto over fellow Muslims' relations with Israel. This was seen last week when the Arab League refused to condemn the UAE for its accord with Israel.
        What finally convinced the Arab states to come to the table was actually a shift in U.S. policy. The U.S. stopped seeking a "more balanced," friendly relationship with Iran and a less supportive one with Saudi Arabia and Israel. It vocally opposed Iran's mullahs and is determined to isolate them diplomatically, punish them economically, and block them strategically. Its policy to prevent them from building a nuclear weapon is not a joint agreement, but military deterrence and covert attacks on Iran's nuclear program.
        By pulling back from direct military engagement in the Middle East while promoting hardline opposition to Iran, the U.S. has forced all Arab-Muslim states in the region to choose between appeasing the mullahs or making a common front against them. The writer is Professor of Political Science Emeritus at the University of Chicago. (Spectator)
  • The Consequences of the Israel-UAE Peace - Shlomo Ben-Ami
    The Middle East is changing, and the Arabs are accepting that Israel is a legitimate strategic player. The Palestinians, the supposed epicenter of the region's worries, have become a disposable cause. The Palestinians must recognize that they have brought this situation on themselves by their serial rejection of peace offers in the past. How could they assume that the Arab states would forever mortgage their national interests to fulfill the Palestinians' implausible expectations? The writer, a former Israeli foreign minister, is vice president of the Toledo International Center for Peace. (Project Syndicate )
  • The Abraham Accord: Arab Farewell to Iran - Camelia Entekhabifard
    The Abraham Accord with Israel - known in the region as the "Salam Accord" - is the result of the loss of hope by countries of the region for normal relations with Iran after 40 years of trying, and their disappointment in any change in the nature of the regime. Iran's neighbors witnessed that there was indeed no difference between a conservative and a moderate president and that power is in fact in the hands of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the supreme leader who decide the country's foreign policy. The writer is editor-in-chief of the Independent Persian. (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
  • The Importance of the Israel, UAE, Bahrain Deals Ceremony - Herb Keinon
    The normalization accords between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain deserve to be celebrated in a ceremony. The way they realign the Middle East is something worth celebrating. Former State Department officials scoffed at Jared Kushner, an upstart without any diplomatic experience, for even trying. Yet here we are. Having normal relations with the wider Arab world is something Israelis have dreamed about for decades.
        The ceremony at the White House is significant for the message it sends the Palestinians, the region, and the world. It tells the Palestinians that their strategy of trying to pressure Israel by isolating it, by casting it as an international leper, has failed. The event sends a message to the Iranians and the Turks that their designs for regional hegemony will be met by a firm wall of pragmatic Mideast states. It also tells other Arab and Muslim states that ties with Israel are acceptable.
        The ceremony sends an important message to the world - long locked into the idea that peace will come only if the Palestinians get everything they ask for - that this need not be the case, and that significant progress can be made even if the Palestinians refuse to show any flexibility. The agreements signed on Tuesday are proof that different results are possible if different methods are tried. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The United Arab Emirates Has Become a Force in the Middle East
    The agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, announced on August 13, was hashed out quietly by spies and sheikhs and unveiled largely on Twitter. Though long overshadowed by Saudi Arabia, Prince Muhammad bin Zayed, the UAE's de facto ruler, has turned his small country into arguably the most influential Arab state. Dubai is the region's business hub. Emirati money and media have backed coups and intrigue across the Middle East.
        A compact but capable army provides a sharper edge. The troops it sent to Yemen in 2015 were the most effective piece of a Saudi-led coalition fighting the Houthis. Emirati drones propped up Khalifa Haftar, the Libyan warlord who tried last year to conquer Tripoli.
        UAE priorities differ from some of its neighbors: more pragmatic towards Iran and more hostile towards political Islam. Optimists hope "the Dubai model" - good governance, a vibrant economy, an admirable emphasis on religious tolerance - will spread across the Middle East. (Economist-UK)

  • Palestinians

  • Rejection Is Not a Strategy that Works for Palestinians - Ray Hanania
    The U.S. hosted the Peace to Prosperity Conference in Bahrain last year, which offered Palestinians $50 billion in economic aid to build a Palestinian state if they would negotiate with Israel. Instead of attending the conference, the Palestinians boycotted it and rejected the U.S. proposals even before they were published. Palestinians could have commandeered the event just by being there. They could have dominated the message and redefined the international discussion to favor their arguments. In their absence, the U.S. was able to strengthen diplomatic and political ties with several Arab world leaders including the UAE and Bahrain.
        Why shouldn't Trump and Kushner cast us Palestinians aside if we refuse to engage with them, playing the one diplomatic card that has proven over and over again to be ineffective and non-productive - rejection? Is anyone surprised that, after being denounced by the Palestinians, Bahrain would follow the UAE and recognize Israel too?
        The Palestinians have been fighting a losing war for more than 70 years. Palestinian refusal to recognize their failures, or pursue an alternative strategic plan other than rejection, has sealed their fate in a growing avalanche of marginalization. The Palestinians have made it easy for the Arab world to make peace with Israel. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
  • Arab League Rejects Palestinian Rejectionism - Jonathan S. Tobin
    Last week's Arab League drama in Cairo put an end to the era in which the Arab world would continue to grant a veto to the Palestinians over Middle East peace. The League's rejection of Palestinian efforts to condemn the United Arab Emirates' decision to normalize relations with Israel is a milestone. The Arab states will no longer be dragged into supporting such a pointless conflict.
        Predictably, the Palestinians are reacting not by drawing conclusions and rethinking their approach. Instead, they are doubling down on rejectionism and damning their one-time allies. The Palestinians rejected multiple offers of an independent state made by past administrations and wouldn't cooperate even with Obama's efforts to tilt the diplomatic playing field in their direction. The Arab League vote made clear it no longer has any use for a Palestinian national movement that is unable to make peace. (JNS)
  • Palestinians Hurting after PA Rejects Tax Money Collected for Them by Israel - Adam Rasgon and Mohammed Najib
    Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas decided in June to refuse to accept import taxes collected by Israel for the PA that account for 60% of its budget. The result is that salaries are not being paid, families are enduring hardships, and the PA is careening toward bankruptcy. Even some senior Palestinian officials are grumbling about the futility of Abbas' position. Local banks will soon reach a point at which they will be unable to lend money to the Authority, said Raja Khalidi, an economist who runs a research institute in Ramallah. (New York Times)

  • Other Issues

  • Arab Muslim Philosopher Fights Against Islamic Fundamentalism - Ed Husain
    Bassam Tibi has been fighting Islamist fundamentalist ideas for the past four decades. His speeches, essays, and more than 40 books detail the ways in which Islamists are inimical to most of Islam's history. He once wrote, "Islamists invented the formula of 'Islamophobia' to defame their critics." The word "serves as a weapon against all who do not embrace Islamist propaganda, including liberal Muslims."
        "The Enlightenment started in medieval Islam," Tibi tells me. He makes an important distinction between mufti Islam, the world of the fatwa-givers, and the world of Enlightenment Islam. The mufti world of Islam is "leading Muslims backwards," Tibi says. He seeks to explain, revive, and promote the Islam of the early Enlightenment - the "Islam of Light" - which he defines as advocating the primacy of reason. He has long thought it interesting that Arabs constitute only a fifth of the world's Muslims, yet seem to direct most modern Muslim thought. (Spectator-UK)
  • Our Guest Speaker Today, Class, Is a Jew-Hating Terrorist - Jeff Jacoby
    For decades, Leila Khaled has been a leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), which is designated as a terror organization by the U.S., Canada, and the EU. In August 1969, she was one of the hijackers of TWA Flight 840, which was en route from Rome to Tel Aviv before being diverted at gunpoint to Damascus. A year later, Khaled took part in an attempted hijacking of El Al Flight 219 from Amsterdam to New York City. A horrific mass murder was averted when the grenade Khaled carried aboard the plane failed to detonate. She was later released in an exchange for hostages seized in another PFLP hijacking.
        Can anyone imagine any university inviting Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Marathon terrorist, to be the featured speaker at a campus program? Would they host a "conversation" with Dylann Roof, the white supremacist terrorist who gunned down nine Black churchgoers in a South Carolina church? Khaled's appearance at San Francisco State illustrates admiration for one specific kind of terrorist: the kind who targets Jews and demonizes Israel. Khaled is being celebrated for her violent career, not reluctantly tolerated out of deference to First Amendment principles. (Boston Globe)
        See also I Was on a Plane Hijacked by Palestinian Terrorists. A Public University Invited One of Them to Speak - Moshe Raab
    On Sept. 6, 1970, my mother, my four siblings and I were on a flight that was hijacked by Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorists. Imagine my horror and disgust when I read that hijacker Leila Khaled had been invited by San Francisco State University to address a forum on Gender, Justice and Resistance. Khaled, a member of the PFLP, is a convicted terrorist. She is a symbol not of justice and resistance, but of wanton terrorism and death. What will she teach the students? The proper way to hijack an aircraft? (JTA)

  • Weekend Features

  • When Tel Aviv Was Bombed - by the Italians - Ofer Aderet
    On Sep. 9, 1940, 80 years ago, Italian warplanes bombed Tel Aviv, killing 137 people. Ha'aretz called it "indiscriminate bombings," noting the attack on "a city whose only 'sin' is that it's Jewish." Italy, an ally of Nazi Germany, launched the planes from Rhodes that dropped four tons of bombs. Tel Aviv historian Ilan Shchori recounted, "There was total shock. No one had expected it. Tel Aviv had been calm." On June 12, 1941, French planes killed 13 in Tel Aviv when a bomb fell on a home for invalids near the Habima Theater. On July 15, 1940, 10 Italian planes dropped 50 bombs on Haifa. Another bombing, on July 24, left 46 dead, with another 90 wounded.
        Historian Nir Arielli at the University of Leeds has documented 30 attacks by French, Italian and German warplanes on Mandatory Palestine during World War II, which killed over 200 civilians. (Ha'aretz)
  • Roosevelt Allowed 982 Jewish Refugees from Europe into U.S. in 1944 - Keren Blankfeld
    The troop ship U.S.S. Henry Gibbins sailed from Italy to New York in the summer of 1944, carrying hundreds of wounded soldiers and close to a thousand Jewish war refugees. After arriving, the refugees were ordered to strip and were sprayed with DDT, then sent by train to Fort Ontario in Oswego, N.Y., an hour north of Syracuse, to the only refugee center in the U.S. during World War II. It is the single example of the U.S. sheltering people fleeing the Nazis.
        Those who arrived had to sign statements agreeing to return to Europe when the war ended since they were in the U.S. under no official immigration quota, with no legal status. Yet a vast majority had nothing to return to. In late 1945, despite most Americans' disapproval, President Truman directed that the Fort Ontario war refugees be given visas. (New York Times)
  • Germany Marks Site of One of Last Nazi Massacres
    Germany's president Frank-Walter Steinmeier opened a commemoration site on Tuesday for one of the last Nazi massacres of civilians, when more than 1,000 prisoners were shot or burned to death in a barn at Gardelegen, 90 miles west of Berlin. On April 13, 1945, more than 100 Nazi SS officers and Wehrmacht soldiers mowed down the mainly non-Jewish forced laborers with machine-guns and grenades and then set fire to the barn. U.S. troops arrived one day after the massacre. (AFP)

  • It is argued that Israel's new peace treaties with the UAE and Bahrain don't really matter because both are mini-states in population and territorial expanse. But the UAE's case exemplifies how a smaller state can actually make a huge difference.
  • The UAE has deployed its armed forces in Yemen, established military bases in Somalia and a naval presence in Eritrea. They have been active in the Libyan conflict, helping General Khalifa Haftar operate his drone units. Given Turkey's alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, the UAE is contesting President Erdogan's race for power throughout much of Central and East Africa.
  • Having states that can coordinate to undercut Iranian subterfuge is essential for blocking its expansionism across the Middle East.
    See also The Abraham Accords May Herald New Security Structures for the Middle East - Dore Gold (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
  • The Abraham Accords create possible new security structures for the Middle East. Israel is currently in a position similar to that of Europe at the end of World War II, when the U.S. was planning to pull out and Russia would fill the vacuum. In response, the U.S. created NATO.
  • In terms of the Palestinians, the key is whether they are ready to consider reasonable proposals. President Mahmoud Abbas was not ripe for a deal toward the end of the Obama years, and the same situation holds today.
  • When Israel accepted the Trump peace plan, it accepted the territorial divisions in the proposal as being relevant for the future. Israel has the opportunity to work with Arab state partners on how to use normalization to impact the territorial configuration in a peace settlement with the Palestinians.

    The writer, former Director-General of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Israeli Ambassador to the UN, is president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
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