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Palestinian Conflict Won’t Change Arab-Israel Normalization

Palestinian Conflict Won’t Change Arab-Israel Normalization

Ahmed Quraishi


Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid Al Zayani, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan display their copies of signed agreements while US President Donald Trump looks on, at the signing ceremony of the Abraham Accords, at the White House in Washington, DC, Sept. 15, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Tom Brenner.

A future Gaza war will not derail Arab-Muslim normalization with Israel. The theory that Palestinian-Israeli peace dictates Israel’s wider acceptance in the Arab and Muslim region no longer holds true. The Palestinian conflict remains significant, but does not preclude Israel’s integration into the Arab-Muslim expanse around it.

The direst prediction of them all — the death of the Abraham Accords after the latest Gaza war — never came close.

On the contrary, a stream of actions involving major Muslim nations, stretching from Kazakhstan to Egypt, and from Sudan to Morocco, immediately after the recent escalation, indicate subtle shifts in the dynamics of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The biggest one could be the decoupling of the Palestinian-Israel peace process and Israel’s wider regional relations.

The United Arab Emirates has just received the first Israeli foreign minister in Abu Dhabi. Eight Muslim nations and Israel were part of the US-led Sea Breeze military drills in the Black Sea recently. The Muslim nation of Kazakhstan, a member state of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), dedicated a memorial to Jews just days after the recent Gaza war. And that war was still raging when Sudan reaped the fruits of its normalization with Israel (among other positive policies), through international debt-relief commitments in Paris on May 17.

A week later, President Ilham Aliev celebrated “the strong ties” between Azerbaijan and Israel, and proudly declared that Baku has “full access to sophisticated Israeli weaponry.” Egypt sent the first invitation in 13 years to an Israeli foreign minister to visit Cairo.

In March, OIC membership applicant Kosovo became the first Muslim nation to move its embassy to Jerusalem. When Gaza erupted two months later, Kosovo did not reconsider. Nor did the OIC or any member state take significant punitive action against Israel. [The multilateral organization did slap Kosovo on the wrist for that move, though].

There is also Bangladesh — days after the Gaza ceasefire — removing the Israel exclusion from its passport and telling the Palestinian ambassador: “We are a sovereign country; we will decide what to do.” Although the country has no diplomatic ties with Israel, the timing of the gesture is important.

Normalization is here to stay, and Israel is no longer the enemy in many strategic circles across the wider Middle East. Predictions of the Abraham Accords’ demise were premature. Hamas and Iran, and a long list of right-wing parties, leftist nationalists, and populist leaders (like President Erdogan in Turkey and Prime Minister Imran Khan in Pakistan) find few buyers in the region for their anti-normalization pitch.

Perceptions about Israel changed between 2011 and 2020 in regional national security circles. Israel’s reputation in technology, its precision strikes in Syria, the role of its weaponry in the Nagorno-Karabakh war, and its alleged covert actions on Iran’s nuclear program have had the combined effect of forcing some policy planners in the region to see a robust Israeli role in collaborative regional security.

In interviews with two security officials in two countries neighboring Iran in January and May last year, they said that they indirectly rely on Israel to counter Iran’s influence, which they believe they cannot do alone. Officials in the region will not say this openly, but journalists have heard variations of this view from government, military, and intelligence officials in background briefings within the past five years.

But a word of caution: Israel should not stretch its luck.

While the dynamics have changed, a repeat of the Gaza conflict, renewed unrest in Jerusalem, and fresh images of Palestinian women and children scuffling with strong-looking, impressively attired Israeli soldiers will strain the luck of Israel’s many good friends in the region, empower hard-liners, and could slow new ties.

But if Israel shows its new friends that it can deftly handle the conflict with the Palestinians, then it can expect help from its new support network in the region to pressure Palestinian leaders to enact necessary reforms, focus on opportunities for young Palestinians, and shun violence. The idea that Arabs should nudge Palestinians toward moderation is another brewing trend in moderate Arab countries that has the potential to change the Arab approach toward the Palestinian issue, depending again on how Israel plays its cards.


Ahmed Quraishi a journalist who covers national security issues in the MENA region. Twitter @_AhmedQuraishi


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Israeli Model Set to Star in New Music Video From Latin Singer Maluma Alongside Scott Disick

Israeli Model Set to Star in New Music Video From Latin Singer Maluma Alongside Scott Disick

Shiryn Ghermezian


Eden Fines on the cover of the May 2020 issue of Harper’s Bazaar Vietnam. Photo: ITM Models.

Israeli model Eden Fines will be featured in a new music video from Latin pop singer Maluma, it was announced Monday during the Israeli television show “Good Evening with Guy Pines.”

The Yemenite-Turkish model flew to Miami in June to film scenes for the music video, in she will play part of a love triangle with Maluma and his friend, “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star Scott Disick.

Fines, who is studying naturopathy, has been featured on the covers of Harper’s Bazaar VietnamGlamour Bulgaria and Cosmopolitan Mexico. She previously starred in Israeli singer Moshe Peretz’s music video for “Caramela,” and was on the Israeli reality show “It Girls.”

This is not the first time that Maluma has included an Israeli model in one of his music videos. In 2019, Rishon Lezion native Neta Alchimister starred in the music video for his song “HP.”


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Cabinet votes on reinstating ‘green pass’

Cabinet votes on reinstating ‘green pass’

ILTV Israel News


As #Israel continues to struggle with containing the new #DeltaVariant of the #Coronavirus, the cabinet convened on Sunday to discuss new #restrictions and outline clear incentives for Israelis who have gotten #vaccinated.

Several months after #Israel signed an agreement to normalize relations with #Morocco, in an #historic ceremony, both El Al and Israir launched direct #flights to #Marrakesh on Sunday.

The #DeltaVariant continues to sweep across the globe and across Israel, with it now accounting for 90% of new #Coronavirus cases in the country. Israel continues to struggle with containing the spread of the virus, to the point where the government has had to #reintroduce the #greenpass, now the Health Ministry announces that the #vaccines are only #39%effective at preventing infection.


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Hamas Is Abusing Children, and the World Is Complicit

Hamas Is Abusing Children, and the World Is Complicit

David M. Litman


Palestinian youths at a graduation ceremony for a military-style camp organized by the Hamas terror group in Gaza, Aug. 18, 2017. Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90.

The immorality of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) is unsurprising. Terrorist disregard for the welfare of children is nothing unusual. The real story is how the world will once again shrug its shoulders as children are taught to be hateful terrorists.

Their acquiescence makes them complicit.

Take, for example, the United Nations. At a press conference for the Hamas “Vanguard of Liberation” camps, the spokesperson defended teaching children “armed resistance” by referencing a 1990 UN resolution that explicitly justified terrorism.

The UN has since become more subtle. Perhaps it realized the awkwardness of being an organization supposedly committed to “peace and security” while also expressly justifying the deliberate bombing of pizza parlors full of children.

Yet, it still works to provide cover for those terrorists.

The UN Secretary-General produces an annual report on “children and armed conflict.” As the group NGO Monitor has ably demonstrated, the report finds ways to apply unique standards, used nowhere else, to slander Israel (read: Jews) as child killers.

All the while, the annual reports have been almost entirely silent when it comes to the Palestinian terrorist groups’ incitement and recruitment of children.

To be clear, lack of evidence isn’t the problem.

Research analyst Joe Truzman, of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has been regularly posting the public statementsimages, and videos (including even music videos) from these summer camps.

The UN’s silence isn’t unique, either. The websites of “human rights” groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch return no results when searching for condemnation of the summer camps.

The game played is particularly cynical, because it victimizes Palestinian children twice, and all just to continue blaming Israel (read: Jews) for the world’s wrongs. They are first victimized when Hamas robs them of a childhood, and places hatred in their hearts and weapons in their hands. They are then victimized a second time when “human rights” actors knowingly divert their gaze elsewhere, so as not to complicate the narrative of “Israel is bad.”

There is also the lame attempt of whataboutery. A favorite of anti-Israel social media users when videos and images of the terrorist camps begin emerging was to reuse old pictures of Israeli children examining weapons during an Independence Day celebration exhibit in 2016. The comparison is obviously silly.

I grew up nearby one of the largest airshows in the world, the EAA AirVenture. Every summer, many hundreds of thousands visit the airshow with their children, where they can get up close and personal with all sorts of military equipment exhibits. Just peruse the airshow’s gallery and you’ll find all sorts of children gawking at weapons as deadly as an F-35.

There’s obviously no moral equivalence between a summer camp that teaches kids how to use weapons and abduct Israelis on the one hand, and bringing children to a military exhibit fit for a history museum on the other.

But then again, it isn’t consideration for the welfare of children that invokes the absurd comparisons, the spreading of modern-day blood libels against Israel, and the willful ignorance towards Hamas’ crimes against children.

Rather, it is the hatred of Israel, and the “human rights” intelligentsia is seemingly more than willing to sacrifice the well-being of Palestinian children to score a few points against the Jewish State.

The harm is not just theoretical, either. Several years ago, I helped prepare a report on the growing trend of Palestinian children being used to carry out terror attacks during the “Knife Intifada.” Dozens of attacks were carried out by Palestinian children, some as young as eight-years-old. Even before then, terrorist groups in Gaza were using children to dig their terror tunnels. At least 160 children reportedly died digging those tunnels even before Operation Protective Edge in 2014.

Or take an example from just a couple of months ago. Muhammad Sabar Ibrahim Suleiman, just 16-years-old, was a Hamas operative who died during the fighting in May alongside his father, a Hamas commander. Subsequently released video shows Muhammad wearing a Hamas uniform, and being trained to use weapons — just like at a Hamas summer camp.

Of course, The New York Times put Muhammad’s picture on its front page, implying he was a victim of Israel, rather than a victim of a terrorist organization and a father who placed a gun in his hands and put him in harm’s way.

All of this illustrates the broader win-win game Hamas plays. Israel either defends itself and loses the PR war, or Israel stands down and innocent Israelis will lose their lives.

By remaining silent amid Hamas and PIJ’s crimes against their own children, while unfailingly condemning Israel for acting in self-defense, organizations like the UN and Human Rights Watch only encourage the terrorists to brainwash and endanger even more children.


David M. Litman is a lawyer who advocates for Israel and human rights.


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Meeting United Hatzalah’s Sanaa Mahameed

Meeting United Hatzalah’s Sanaa Mahameed

United Hatzalah


Sanaa Mahameed is one of 330 Muslim United Hatzalah volunteers who respond to medical emergencies all over Israel.

Each one of them has a unique story and puts their lives on hold to save the lives of others.

*Filmed by United Hatzalah volunteer Moshe Bitton.

 


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