September 29, 2020

In-Depth Issues:

Saudi Arabia Thwarts Iran-Trained Terror Cell (Reuters)
    Saudi Arabia said on Monday it had arrested 10 members of a terrorist cell this month, three of whom had received training from Iran's Revolutionary Guards.
    Weapons and explosives were also seized.

Two Stabbed in Paris Knife Attack Friday (France 24)
    A Pakistan-born 18-year-old has admitted to stabbing two people with a meat cleaver outside the former Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine, investigators said Saturday.
    He said he wanted to avenge the republication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed by the satirical weekly, which in January 2015 was targeted in a massacre carried out by Islamist gunmen.

50-State Survey on Holocaust Knowledge of Americans Aged 18 to 39 (Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany)
    63% of respondents do not know that six million Jews were murdered and 36% thought that "two million or fewer Jews" were killed during the Holocaust.
    11% believe Jews caused the Holocaust.
    See also Survey Finds Lack of Holocaust Knowledge among Adults under 40 - Kit Ramgopal (NBC News)

Another Palestinian Intifada Not an Option - Elizabeth Blade (Sputnik-Russia)
    Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, who held senior posts in IDF Military Intelligence for over 20 years, says Palestinian anger with the agreements inked between Israel, Bahrain, and the UAE earlier this month are unlikely to translate into a massive popular uprising.
    "They are more interested in how to improve their lives and buy an apartment in [the new luxury neighborhood of] Rawabi, than in mass protests."
    "Palestinians believe that the PA is so corrupt that the whole idea of being governed by them or to put their lives [at risk] for them doesn't appeal to the masses. Plus, many look at the revolutions of the Arab Spring and understand the price they would pay for such chaotic actions."

Israeli Professor Knows UAE from Close Up - Israel Fisher (Ha'aretz)
    Prof. Ron Robin, currently president of the University of Haifa, knows the UAE from close up; he resided there to help recruit faculty for New York University's Abu Dhabi campus over a decade ago.
    "The people who I dealt with understood I was Israeli. I didn't hide it because people would have assumed I had something to hide. Their immediate reaction was surprise and afterwards immense curiosity."
    He describes Emiratis as different from the Arabs in Israel's neighboring countries. "They are religious, but the Islam of Abu Dhabi is a lot more moderate than the Islam we know of Saudi Arabia or even our region."
    Emiratis support the Palestinians, but they are far more concerned with domestic issues and economic development.

News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Hamas Reveals Weapons Smuggling from Iran - Adnan Abu Amer
    The program "What is Hidden is Greater," broadcast by Qatar's Al Jazeera on Sept. 13, presented footage showing Hamas members collecting Iranian Fajr missiles and Kornet anti-tank missiles which it received by land and sea. The program was hosted by Ismail Haniyeh, head of Hamas' political bureau. A Hamas official told Al-Monitor: "Hamas may be responding to these agreements [between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain] by showing off its military."
        An arms dealer in Gaza revealed to Al-Monitor that "the military factions in Gaza, headed by Hamas, possess distinct types of Iranian R-160 and Fajr-5 missiles with a range of 100 km. (62 miles). They also have drones and anti-tank missiles and shoulder-launched rockets produced by Russia. They also plan to acquire Chinese C-704 missiles, anti-ship missiles with a range of 35 km. (21 miles) and radar systems for guided missiles." The writer heads the Political Science and Media Department of Umma University Open Education in Gaza. (Al-Monitor)
        See also Al-Jazeera Documentary on Hamas Missile Industry (MEMRI-TV)
  • Israel to Hold U.S.-Mediated Talks with Lebanon on Sea Border - Joseph Krauss
    Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz will lead the Israeli delegation in talks with Lebanon next month, mediated by the U.S., to resolve a longstanding maritime border dispute, an Israeli official said Saturday. (AP-ABC News)
        See also U.S. to Mediate Israel-Lebanon Maritime Border Talks - Ehud Yaari, Simon Henderson, and Hanin Ghaddar (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Coronavirus: Israel Is in Lockdown
    Israel's coronavirus death toll stood at 1,507 on Tuesday morning, Health Ministry data showed, with over 500 deaths recorded in the past three weeks. Israel has 65,025 active coronavirus cases, 755 of them serious, including 207 requiring ventilation.
        Health Minister Yuli Edelstein said Tuesday, "There is no chance that the lockdown will be lifted in a week and a half, immediately after Simhat Torah....We've seen the lessons from the first wave of illness, and this time the exit from the lockdown will be done gradually and responsibly."  (Times of Israel)
  • Palestinian Terrorist Wanted in 1982 Paris Jewish Restaurant Bombing to Be Extradited from Norway to France
    Norway has decided to extradite Walid Abdurahman Abu Zayed to France to face charges that he took part in a fatal attack on the Jo Goldenberg Jewish restaurant in Paris in 1982. The bombing and shooting assault killed six people and wounded at least 20. Zayed was identified long after the attacks in statements to French prosecutors from other former members of the Abu Nidal group. (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
  • The Middle East's New Map - Robert D. Kaplan
    The imminent establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain means that the process of ending the era of Arab-Israeli confrontation will continue. Even without official ties, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, and Oman all have in a spiritual sense ended their hostility to the Jewish state. The new Arab-Israeli security condominium will go beyond the naval sphere and embrace high-tech security and warfare in all its aspects.
        The Middle East is in the complicated process of transformation. Since the 1960s, the Baathist totalitarian regimes in Syria and Iraq had organized the rejection front against Israel. But those states, along with radical Libya, are now utterly shattered. The Palestinians, Qatar, and Shiite elements in Lebanon are all that's left of the Arab rejection front, which now has to rely on support from non-Arab Turkey and Iran.
        We are in a new era: one of Arab-Israeli implicit and explicit cooperation, Turkish neo-Ottoman expansion, and Iranian internal crisis, all under the creeping economic shadow of the Chinese. The writer holds the Chair in Geopolitics at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. (National Interest)
  • Retired Turkish Admiral Touts Supremacy at Sea - Kareem Fahim
    Retired Turkish admiral Cem Gurdeniz, 62, touts an expansive, nationalist vision of Turkish power projected far into the contested waters off his country's shores. His doctrine, called Blue Homeland, includes a map showing Turkey's land mass surrounded by a wide buffer of nearly 180,000 squares miles of sea stretching beyond the Greek islands off Turkey's west coast. Blue Homeland has energized Turks who feel the country has been unjustly denied its rightful claims to the sea, given its long coastline, and has confirmed for adversaries fears of resurgent Turkish expansionism.
        The admiral has become a frequent guest on television talk shows, and Blue Homeland has been widely adopted by Turkish politicians. (Washington Post)
  • Saudi Editor: Normalization with Israel Is the Arabs' Only Option
    On Sep. 13, Khalid bin Hamad Al-Malik, editor of the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah, wrote, "The Arabs have no option but to normalize and establish full diplomatic ties with Israel. They tried war and were defeated; they tried hostility towards Israel and gained nothing."
        "The internal disputes among the Palestinians and among the Arabs, coupled with Israel's growing offensive military capabilities and the growing support of the superpowers for Israel, are factors that must be taken into account in any intelligent Arab and Palestinian decision."  (MEMRI)

What Was in the Abraham Accords Signed in Washington? - Amb. Alan Baker (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • The Declaration of Peace, Cooperation, and Constructive Diplomatic and Friendly Relations between the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Bahrain is a bilateral, non-binding declaration expressing the joint intentions of the two parties to enter into negotiations on a series of agreements in twelve fields of normalization.
  • The declaration includes agreement to establish "a culture of peace," an expression which also appears in the Israel-UAE Peace Agreement.
  • The preamble to the Treaty of Peace, Diplomatic Relations and Full Normalization between the United Arab Emirates and the State of Israel includes a unique reference to the Arab and Jewish common heritage, as descendants of Abraham, and the concomitant need "to foster in the Middle East a reality in which Muslims, Jews, Christians and peoples of all faiths, denominations, beliefs, and nationalities live in, and are committed to a spirit of coexistence, mutual understanding, and respect."

    The writer, former legal adviser and deputy director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
    See also UAE-Israel Treaty Is Far Larger Step Towards Peace than Critics Allege - Orde Kittrie (National Interest)
  • The UAE-Israel Peace Treaty commits the two countries to a relationship far warmer than the cold peace Israel has with Egypt and Jordan (outside the security field).
  • It will facilitate peace by showing that Arab governments and their citizens benefit more by partnering with Israel than by seeking to isolate or dismantle it.
  • The UAE's commitment to sweeping government-to-government cooperation with Israel, close people-to-people relations with Israelis, and other stark departures from the zero-sum Palestinian agenda represent a remarkable strategic pivot.

    The writer, who served for ten years as a U.S. State Department attorney, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and law professor at Arizona State University.

        See also Abraham Accords Reframe Conflict and Isolate Regional Extremists - Alex Ryvchin (European Eye on Radicalization)
    The writer is Co-Chief Executive Officer of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.

Daily Alert is published every Monday and Thursday.
Unsubscribe from Daily Alert.