June 16, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Israel Destroyed Several Iranian Arms Convoys in Iraq - Nazir Magally (Asharq Al-Awsat-UK)
    Israel has carried out numerous strikes against truck convoys smuggling Iranian weapons to Hizbullah, targeting convoys as they were making their way from Iraq to Syria and carrying out the strike in either country, an Israeli source revealed.

Two Iranian Aerospace Engineers Found Dead Were Developing Weapons for Hizbullah (Jerusalem Post)
    Two Revolutionary Guards air force officers, Mohammad Abdous and Ali Kamani, who were found dead on Sunday, were involved in developing weapons for Hizbullah in Lebanon, according to Iran International.

Iranian Cyber Attack Targets Israeli Officials, Former U.S. Ambassador - Michael Bachner (Times of Israel)
    Iranian hackers recently employed a wide array of fake email accounts to impersonate trusted parties, take over the targets' accounts, steal information and use it to attack new targets, including former foreign minister Tzipi Livni and a former U.S. ambassador to Israel, the Israeli cybersecurity firm Check Point Research said Tuesday.
    Check Point said it believed the attack was perpetrated by an Iranian group called Phosphorus, which has a long history of conducting high-profile cyber operations aligned with Tehran's interests as well as targeting Israeli officials.

Israel Deploys Radar Systems in UAE and Bahrain - Debbie Mohnblatt (Media Line)
    "Israel has deployed radar systems in several countries in the Middle East, including the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain," to counter the threat of ballistic missiles from Iran, Israel's Channel 12 reported.
    Dr. Eyal Pinko, a retired Israeli naval commander and an expert in intelligence, said the radar can also detect cruise missiles and drones.
    "I assess that this move is well coordinated with the U.S. and probably even funded by the U.S.," he added.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Says Visa Waiver Will Be in Place by 2023 - Ariel Kahana (Israel Hayom)
    By 2023, Israel will join the U.S. visa waiver program, U.S. Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides told Israel Hayom in an interview.
    According to Nides, the Knesset needed to vote on a few matters of compliance with U.S. requirements, and that the legislative body was working on it.

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PA Foils Hamas Plot to Seize West Bank Security Base - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    PA security forces recently discovered a weapons cache and tunnel near the headquarters of a Palestinian security installation in the town of Beitunia, west of Ramallah.
    At least 19 Hamas members suspected of planning to infiltrate and seize control of the PA's Preventive Security Service installation were arrested, Palestinian sources said Tuesday.
    See also Mysterious Blast Leads PA to "Hamas Bomb Plot"  (JNS)
    Palestinian Authority security forces have uncovered what they believe is a Hamas bomb lab in Beitunia, following a mysterious blast there on Monday.
    After being drawn to the site by the explosion, Palestinian forces found a 17-pound explosive device, Israel's Channel 12 reported.

Israel Issues 20,000 Additional Work Permits to West Bank Palestinians - Yossi Yehoshua (Ynet News)
    Israel on Wednesday increased by 20,000 the number of work permits issued to West Bank Palestinians wishing to work inside Israel - to 120,000.
    Security officials said the move would improve the financial situation of more residents of the Palestinian Authority.
    The civil administration of the West Bank opted to change some of the criteria limiting potential workers. Permits offered only to married men over the age of 22 are now available for unmarried men aged 27 and older.
    With the approval of the Israel Security Agency, Palestinians who were previously bared from entry because of minor security offences decades ago would now be allowed to apply for permits.

Palestinian Officer Sells Guns to Undercover Agent to "Use Against Jews"  (Ynet News)
    The Israel Police revealed Monday that as part of a widescale undercover investigation into illegal trade of firearms, a Palestinian security officer sold an Israeli undercover agent an M-16 rifle, improvised submachine guns, and pistols on condition they would be "used against Jews."

Iran Provides Aid to Palestinian Martyrs' Families in Gaza (AhlulBayt-Iran)
    Nasser al-Sheikh Ali, head of the Palestinian Martyrs' Institute in Gaza, said Monday that Iran had supported the families of Palestinian martyrs and wounded in Gaza for years, and that 7,000 families were receiving aid from Iran.

Three Projects Awarded Israel Defense Prize (JNS)
    Israeli President Isaac Herzog awarded the Israel Defense Prize to three projects on Tuesday in Jerusalem.
    One was for the Ofek spy satellite program. The program is led by the Defense Ministry, Israel Aerospace Industries designed and built the satellites, and Elbit Systems produced the advanced space camera payloads.
    Another prize went to a decade-long project run by Military Intelligence, the Mossad, and the Defense Ministry.
    The third prize went to a project by the Mossad, the Defense Ministry, and defense companies aimed at preserving Israel's qualitative edge over strategic threats.

Britain's Independent Accepts False Claim on Jerusalem Building Permits - Adam Levick (CAMERA-UK)
    A video report in the Independent on June 12 included the claim that "it is almost impossible [for Palestinians in Jerusalem] to get building authorization from the city, forcing them to build homes without permits."
    Yet, as data reported by the anti-settlement group Peace Now shows, in the most recent year of available data, 2018, the rate of construction permit approvals for Palestinian neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem (841) exceeded approvals for Jewish neighborhoods in that part of the city (780).

Syria Confiscates Children's Kites for "Promoting Homosexuality" (Middle East Eye-UK)
    The Syrian government has "confiscated [600] rainbow-colored kites in the city of Hama" that "promote homosexuality," Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported.
    Some Syrians criticized the confiscation of the kites, since they had always carried the colors of the rainbow, long before it became a global logo for the LGBTQ+ community.

Ben and Jerry's Requires Employees to Watch Lectures on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - Melissa Weiss (Jewish Insider)
    New employees hired by Ben & Jerry's are required to watch video lectures featuring activists discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    One of the videos features Omar Shakir, who serves as Human Rights Watch's Israel and Palestine director and was expelled from Israel in 2019.

Israeli Researchers Unveil World's First Insect Radar - Adam Decker (Jewish News-UK)
    Israeli researchers at the University of Haifa have unveiled a first-of-its-kind radar that can accurately detect the size and direction of insect swarms to help forewarn farmers and save crops.
    Prof. Nir Sapir said researchers would be able to "identify pollinating insects that are of great importance for wild plants and agriculture, as well as other insects that cause damage to agriculture, such as various species of moths."

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Israel and Egypt Sign Gas Export Deal as Europe Seeks Russia Alternative - Shira Rubin
    Israel, Egypt, and the EU signed on Wednesday a trilateral natural gas deal in Cairo as Europe scrambles to replace the Russian supplies it has relied on for decades. The deal will enable Israel to send its natural gas through already existing pipelines to Egyptian ports, where it can be liquefied and pressurized and then exported to Europe. "This will contribute to our energy security," Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, tweeted on Wednesday. (Washington Post)
  • EU to Resume Funding for Palestinians - Andrew Rettman
    The EU Commission decided on June 13 to unfreeze aid funds for the Palestinians. Hungary was the only country to vote "no." The EU, the Palestinians' largest donor, has been withholding 215 million euros for the past six months as Hungarian EU commissioner Oliver Varhelyi tried to make the money conditional on the Palestinian Authority removing anti-Israeli content from its school textbooks. (EU Observer-Belgium)
        See also EU Renews Support for Palestinians with 224.8 Million Euro Assistance Package (Office of the European Union Representative [West Bank and Gaza])
        See also EU States Vote to Continue Funding despite Palestinian Anti-Semitic Incitement in Textbooks - Lahav Harkov (Jerusalem Post)
  • Palestinian Forces Assault Student Protesters at An-Najah University in West Bank - Shatha Hammad
    Palestinian Authority security forces at An-Najah University in Nablus could be seen on social media beating students, spraying them with pepper spray, and forcing them out of the campus during a protest Tuesday in response to the university's decision to expel a group of students last week. Gunshots could be heard in the background.
        Last Wednesday, undercover PA security officers and student members of the ruling party, Fatah, assaulted students and journalists at a protest organized by the Islamic bloc, affiliated with Hamas. The university dismissed 10 students in connection to the brawls, 5 members of the Islamic bloc and five from Fatah. (Middle East Eye-UK)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • World Vision Defendant Convicted for Assisting Hamas - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    The Beersheba District Court on Wednesday convicted Mohammad al-Halabi, a Gazan who worked at World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, of transferring millions in funds to the Hamas terror group. Halabi was recruited by Hamas in 2004 and was assigned to infiltrate World Vision in 2005. By 2014 he had achieved a high management position.
        Throughout his World Vision employment, Halabi met with Hamas military operatives to keep up with their needs. In the verdict, the court said that Halabi intentionally diverted large volumes of iron, plastic and digging tools to Hamas to assist it with digging terror tunnels.
        Al-Halabi was indicted in August 2016 for smuggling $7.2 million a year to Hamas for buying weapons and building attack tunnels instead of the funds being used by World Vision for food, humanitarian assistance, and aid programs for disabled children. (Jerusalem Post)
        See also The Conviction of World Vision Employee Mohammad al-Halabi (NGO Monitor)
  • EU President Arrives in Israel to Discuss Deepening Ties - Haviv Rettig Gur
    European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, a former German defense minister, arrived in Israel on Monday to discuss Europe's sudden need to expand its defense capabilities, energy supply and food security following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The EU is seeking an intensification of its relationship with Israel as defense ties have been flourishing in recent months.
        With European defense agencies looking to spend as much as $210 billion to quickly upgrade their defense capabilities against further Russian expansionism, many have turned to Israel for solutions. For many Europeans, Israel has become a symbol of what it means to defend oneself in an increasingly dangerous world. (Times of Israel)
        See also High-Level Visit Paves Way for Deepened EU-Israeli Partnership (Brussels Times-Belgium)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • If Syria Continues to Let Iranian Weapon Planes Land, It Risks Losing Damascus Airport - Yaakov Lappin
    After international media reported that Israel struck Damascus International Airport, Maj. (res.) Tal Beeri, head of the research department at the Alma Center, said: "The message is clear. So long as Iran's air corridor for smuggling weapons from Iran to Syria and Lebanon continues, the Syrian state will be seen as responsible by the attacking party. So long as Syria won't act, the airport will continue to be a target."
        Future attacks could include a "roof knock" - dropping empty munitions to serve as a warning - on the airport's control tower and destroying it after it is evacuated, or strikes on the airport's radars.
        "If the message isn't received, attacks could escalate further, to the point that serious damage is caused to the airport, and it will take more than a few days to repair," he said. "The messaging is not aimed at Iran - that is a lost cause. It is determined to continue trafficking arms to Hizbullah. It is aimed at Syria."
        However, Prof. Eyal Zisser, vice rector of Tel Aviv University, said, "There are many other airports in Syria. If small equipment is being smuggled, as reports in Israel have said, they could also try to smuggle them through direct flights to Beirut or overland through Iraq. I don't believe they will give up easily."  (JNS)

  • Palestinians

  • Hussein Al-Sheikh Is Gradually Stepping into Mahmoud Abbas' Shoes - Yoni Ben Menachem
    Senior Fatah officials report that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, 86, has slowed his activity and cut back his meetings, participating only in the important ones while leaving the others to his confidant, senior PLO official Hussein Al-Sheikh. Al-Sheikh, currently the leading candidate to succeed Abbas until elections are held, is gradually assuming Abbas' duties.
        Two weeks ago, Abbas authorized Al-Sheikh to assume the role of secretary-general of the PLO Executive Committee. Last week, Al-Sheikh assumed the role held by the late Saeb Erekat and met with foreign consuls and U.S. envoy Hady Amr.
        The Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar reported on June 6, 2022, on sharp disagreements between senior members of the Fatah Central Committee. Most of the Fatah top brass oppose Al-Sheikh as their future leader. There is intense anger over Abbas' designation of Al-Sheikh as Executive Committee secretary-general without internal elections as required. Al-Sheikh's reputation has been hit hard in recent years by reports charging him with corruption and sexual harassment. In Gaza, all the factions oppose his becoming Abbas' successor. (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
  • Hamas Security Forces Forcibly Evict 40 Palestinian Families from Gaza Village - Sally Ibrahim
    On June 9, Hamas security forces launched a violent crackdown on dozens of poor families living in makeshift homes in the village of Umm al-Nasr in northern Gaza. The reason for the evictions was because the homes were built on state land. Palestinians in Gaza accused Hamas of handing over state land to its employees in lieu of salaries. (Al-Araby Al-Jadeed-UK)
        See also House Demolitions by Hamas in Gaza - Khaled Abu Toameh
    No one seems to be interested in the ongoing human rights violations against Palestinians by Hamas. At least 25 villagers were injured during clashes in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Nasr, eight of them from gunfire. Hamas security forces arrested 85 villagers. Sources in Gaza said there are 28 more villages slated for demolition by Hamas on the pretext that they were illegally built on public lands.
        Egyptian writer Ali Rajab said that while Hamas has been trying to present itself as the defender of the Bedouin citizens of Israel, it is targeting the Bedouin living under its control in Gaza by demolishing their homes and confiscating their lands. Had the raid on the Bedouin village in Gaza been carried out by Israel, we would have seen scores of foreign journalists and the UN rushing to report about Israeli "crimes" and "ethnic cleansing." Since no Jew was involved, the international media are unlikely to report the story. (Gatestone Institute)
  • The Palestinian Authority: On a Journey to Nowhere - Kobi Michael and Ori Wertman
    Nearly three decades after its establishment, despite flickers of hope for reform, the Palestinian Authority is advancing nowhere; it offers no prospect of real change and is increasingly losing the remnants of its legitimacy.
        The manifest weakness of Mahmoud Abbas' leadership - and the PA's failures in the field of governance - pose for Israel a poor choice between sub-optimal conflict management, the alternative of localized centers of power, or the dangerous rise to dominance of more radical elements.
        The basic drivers for these failures can be found in the PA's own conduct. The main one is the failure of the Palestinian leadership to carry out the necessary transition from a national liberation organization that was characterized by many as a terrorist organization, to a real and painstaking process of state-building. Yet the political conduct of the Palestinian leadership in the institutional, economic, and social dimensions did not significantly change from the days of exile in Tunisia.
        Dr. Kobi Michael is a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, where Dr. Ori Wertman is a research fellow. (Jerusalem Strategic Tribune)

  • The UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry

  • 22 Countries Lash UN Rights Council for Report Blaming Israel for Conflict - Lazar Berman
    22 countries including the U.S., the UK, Canada, Israel, Brazil, Germany, Holland, Austria and Bulgaria signed a statement on Monday condemning a report by a Commission of Inquiry of the UN Human Rights Council that blamed Israel for violence against Palestinians. (Times of Israel)
        See also Palestinians Call to Suspend U.S. from UN Human Rights Council - Tovah Lazaroff
    After the U.S. organized a 22-member bloc to reject the UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry against Israel, the Palestinians called for the U.S. to be ousted from the UNHRC on Monday. "The U.S. should not be a member of this Council and we call on the UN General Assembly to suspend its membership," PLO Amb. Ibrahim Khraishi said. (Jerusalem Post)
  • The UN vs. Israel, Yet Again - Daniel S. Mariaschin and David J. Michaels
    This year, the U.S. rejoined the UN Human Rights Council to try to advance fundamental values and address political corruption. Exhibit A of this corruption is the UN's unparalleled misuse as a propaganda tool against Israel, a country of fewer than 10 million people, barely the size of New Jersey, which is excoriated more than all other countries.
        In the new UNHRC Commission of Inquiry report, relentless Palestinian violence - and rejection of sweeping overtures for two-state coexistence in 1947, 2000 and 2008 - does not register as a "root cause" of the conflict. The commission claims "Israel has no intention of ending the occupation," ignoring Israel's sacrifice of territory for peace with Egypt and Jordan, and its surrender of land to the Palestinians. It also ignores Israelis' dramatically worsened security following their total withdrawal from a security zone along the Lebanese border in 2000 and pullout from Gaza in 2005.
        Nor does the commission even feign interest in Palestinians' endemic dehumanization of Jews, denial of their equal legitimacy and glorification of violence. There is talk of past "Gaza conflicts," as if the conflicts didn't involve indiscriminate bombardments upending the lives of millions within Israel.
        Daniel S. Mariaschin is the CEO, and David J. Michaels is director of UN and intercommunal affairs, at B'nai B'rith International. (New York Daily News)
  • The UN's Kangaroo Court - Melanie Phillips
    A UN Commission of Inquiry report on "alleged violations" of international law in "the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and in Israel" was presented to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on June 13. A tissue of malevolent falsehoods, distortions and misrepresentations of international law, the report makes only passing reference to Palestinian terrorism and the thousands of Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli civilians which constitute actual war crimes. It is, in short, little more than Hamas and Palestinian propaganda.
        Ignoring the fact that Palestinian Arabs had turned the Al-Aqsa mosque into a theater of war from which they hurled rocks down at Jewish worshippers and Israeli police, the report claimed that Israeli forces had conducted "aggressive actions" against "peaceful protesters and worshippers."
        The Commission of Inquiry has all the trappings of a kangaroo court - verdict first, evidence to follow - straight out of the Soviet playbook. The UN gave the commission a mandate in perpetuity to report annually on alleged war crimes and discrimination going right back to Israel's establishment. Applied to no other country, the UN has thus singled out Israel for a permanent inquisition. What is intolerable is the acquiescence of the leaders of the free world to this betrayal of the core mission of the UN.
        The writer is a columnist for The Times-UK. (Substack)
        See also UNHRC to Probe Question of Israeli Apartheid - Tovah Lazaroff
    The UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry plans to investigate whether Israel committed acts of apartheid against Palestinians, commission chair Navi Pillay told the Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Basic Lies in the UN Commission of Inquiry Report - David Litman
    On June 7, the new UN anti-Israel Commission of Inquiry published its first report. The report states: "Israel remains in occupation of the territory [of Gaza] by virtue of the control exercised over...land crossings at the borders." In fact, Israel does not control all the "land crossings at the borders." Gaza's southern border is with Egypt and contains the Rafah crossing, over which Israel exerts no authority.
        The report states that in eastern Jerusalem, "Palestinian residents are not eligible for Israeli citizenship." In fact, Palestinian residents of Jerusalem are eligible for Israeli citizenship. In 2019, 1,200 Palestinians applied for and were granted Israeli citizenship. In 1967, all Palestinian residents were given permanent residency status, with the option of acquiring Israeli citizenship if they so choose, and many have become Israeli citizens over the years.
        The report states that "the entire territory [of the West Bank and Gaza], divided in the Oslo Accords into Areas A, B and C, was to be gradually handed over to the Palestinians." This is false. Nowhere did the Oslo Accords state that the entire territory was to be handed over to the Palestinians. The issue of final borders was clearly reserved for "permanent status negotiations" to be concluded later. (CAMERA)

  • Other Issues

  • Iraqi Parliament Speaker Has Gone Out of His Way to Shun Israel - Michael Nahum
    Mohamed al-Halbousi, the Speaker of Iraq's parliament, presents an appealing persona to outside powers, a man with whom the West feels it can do business. Back home in Iraq, his ascent to the speakership was due largely to an alliance with Moqtada al-Sadr, the former chief of Iran's largest militia in Iraq.
        Halbousi's enthusiastic support for key elements of the Sadrist agenda include the recent "Law Criminalizing Normalization with the Zionist Entity." It prescribes the death penalty or life imprisonment for Iraqis who attempt to forge any contact at all with Israelis. Halbousi played a decisive role in whipping Sunni and tribal votes to ensure its swift passage.
        On August 31, 2021, Halbousi asserted, "There will never be normalization with that usurping entity. Never! Whether I'm in or out of power. Iraqis will never extend their hands to the Israelis. Never!"
        However, survey data indicates that close to 50% of the Iraqi public want relations with Israel and its people. More than 750,000 Iraqis follow Israel's official Arabic platforms on Facebook and Twitter. Thus, Halbousi has gone far out of his way to promote the anti-normalization agenda even where there is no domestic political imperative to do so.
        The writer is Chief Operating Officer of the Center for Peace Communications. (Times of Israel)
        See also Video - Iraqi Parliament Speaker Halbousi: Arabs Must Never Recognize Israel (YouTube)
  • Labeling of Judea and Samaria Goods Is About Discrimination, Not Law - Israel Kasnett
    Norway's recent decision to label food products from Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria is not about upholding international law, but about discriminating against the Jewish state, says Professor Eugene Kontorovich, director of international law at the Kohelet Policy Forum. Norway has defended its decision, stating that it is in line with a 2019 ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union, but Kontorovich noted that Norway is not a member of the EU and the court's decision was not a binding one. (JNS)

  • Anti-Semitism

  • Ireland Lags the Rest of Europe in Fighting Anti-Semitism - Alan Shatter
    Social media commentary originating from Ireland is replete with anti-Semitic rhetoric. Anti-Semitic tropes are commonplace in anti-Israeli protests of Irish NGOs and university student groups. Unbalanced Opposition Dail speeches and questions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict act as an incitement to hatred.
        Our Government and the Dail should adopt the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism in the action plan on anti-Semitism the state is obliged to publish this year. This is not an issue on which our parties in government should remain EU outliers.
        The writer is a former Irish minister for Justice, Equality & Defense. (Irish Times)

  • Weekend Features

  • The American Jew Who Created the Nuclear Submarine - Rich Tenorio
    Admiral Hyman Rickover: Engineer of Power, by Marc Wortman, tells the incredible life story of the father of America's nuclear navy. Rickover was born into an Orthodox Jewish family in 1899 in Poland and arrived in the U.S. at age 6. A graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Rickover served aboard multiple vessels during World War II.
        After the war, he worked to develop a nuclear-powered submarine at the Manhattan Project site of Oak Ridge, Tennessee. After five years he had figured out a way to develop a nuclear-powered reactor, leading to the launch of the USS Nautilus, the world's first nuclear-powered submarine, in 1954. His career began during the administration of Woodrow Wilson and lasted into the Reagan years when he was 81, making him the longest-serving active-duty officer in American military history. (Times of Israel)
  • The Modern Miracle of the State of Israel - Avi Benlolo
    The in-gathering of the Jewish people from the four corners of the world is one of the greatest stories of our time. A people who had been dispersed following the destruction of the Jewish temples kept their faith for 2,000 years and managed to return home to Jerusalem. The Jewish people, after all, are indigenous to the Land of Israel and have lived in the region since time immemorial. No other nation on earth has expended so much kindness, acceptance and effort to reunify its lost tribes as has the State of Israel.
        Despite the fact that our history is written in stone throughout the land - from ancient synagogues, to the Dead Sea Scrolls and what remains of our Temple in Jerusalem - there are those who continue to falsely label Jewish people living in Israel as "colonizers" and "settlers." The fact is, there has never been a Palestinian state on this land.
        The writer is founder and chairman of the Abraham Global Peace Initiative. (National Post-Canada)

Podcast: How Sunni Arab States See Security Threats Today - Amb. Ron Dermer interviewed by Dr. Michael Makovsky (JINSA)
  • In its first 72 years, until 2020, Israel had made two peace agreements with Arab countries - with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994. There was nothing for over 25 years, and then in one year, 2020, there were four more - the Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. What happened?
  • A huge shift occurred in the region even before the Trump administration took office. Netanyahu spoke publicly about an opening for peace between Israel and the Arab states for the first time in 2015 at the United Nations. He said, "I've never seen this situation between Israel and the Arab world in our lifetime." He was already talking then about getting peace from the outside, in.
  • A lot of people think the road to peace has to go through the Palestinians, but it's actually the other way around. We can actually make peace with the broader Arab world and then we'd have a greater chance of moving forward with the Palestinians.
  • The change really began in 2011-12 due to a combination of factors where Israel's interests began aligning with some of the Arab states. The first factor was the Arab Spring beginning in 2010 in Tunisia and then Egypt, which led to a tremendous sense of instability. Then there was the emergence of threats that were becoming more acute such as the growing empowerment of Iran. The silver lining in the dark cloud of the nuclear deal was that it brought Israel and the Arab states together against the common threat.
  • There was also the danger of Sunni radicals. Al-Qaeda was 1.0, ISIS is 2.0, and the Sunni regimes know there is going to be a 3.0. They're also worried about the Muslim Brotherhood.
  • There was also the U.S. issue. Not only did the Arabs see that the U.S. didn't back its putative ally, Mubarak, but they also saw the U.S. as reducing its military footprint in the region. The key question is: Is the U.S. seen as the force that is going to maintain order in the region? In the American political system, 90% agree that they need to reduce their military commitments in the region. This is something that unites Presidents Obama, Trump, and Biden.
  • So if you look at the region from the Arab states' point of view, you see this instability, you see this dangerous Iranian tiger, you see this ISIS-Muslim Brotherhood leopard that's coming at you, and then the 800-pound American gorilla just left the building.
  • So they look around and see a 200-pound gorilla with a kipa on and they say, "Maybe we'll work with you" because their security interests are aligned with Israel. They need Israel in a way they didn't before, and a lot of it is because America has reduced its military footprint in the region. American withdrawal brought space for Israel and the Arab states to move closer together.

    Ron Dermer is a former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S.  Michael Makovsky is president and CEO of the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA).
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