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Why Was Mahmoud Abbas Avoiding the UN Secretary-General?

Sept. 8 2017

Last week, the UN secretary-general António Guterres visited Israel, Ramallah, and Gaza without meeting with the Palestinian Authority president, who was conveniently in Turkey to see President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Pinḥas Inbari suggests that Abbas simply didn’t want to hear what Guterres had to say:

Guterres’s meeting, [Abbas’s aides believed], was to be a continuation of the visit of the U.S. delegation led by Jared Kushner that pressured Abbas to “behave himself” at the [upcoming meeting of the UN General Assembly]. That meant not addressing the assembly with extreme anti-Israeli messages, not applying to the Security Council for status as an independent state in the UN, and not applying to UN agencies for membership.

The moderate Arab countries, . . . Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, . . . are pressuring Abbas along the same lines. . . . The point these Arab states are emphasizing is that “we are with Trump.” They demand the Palestinians align with their pro-Trump policy. . . .

There was a second reason why Mahmoud Abbas avoided seeing the UN secretary-general: Gaza. He knew that Guterres was about to plead with him to soften the PA’s sanctions against it, and he did not want to hear that message.

Indeed, the purpose of Abbas’s Turkey visit was to secure support for his Gaza policy, and, according to our sources, that visit failed. Abbas sought to tell Erdogan to handle Gaza only through Ramallah channels. He wanted to block Hamas’s bypassing of his sanctions by applying directly to Turkey for help. Erdogan, however, suggested instead that he will act as mediator because he has good relations “with both sides.” Hence, Erdogan put his fellow Muslim Brotherhood members, Hamas, on the same level with Abbas and the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Antonio Guterres, Donald Trump, Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority, Turkey, United Nations

Israel’s Economy Thrives While the Middle East Disintegrates

Jan. 19 2018

Now that the data have come in from 2017, it is clear that the Israeli economy had another successful year, expanding at a rate higher than that of any other advanced country. Israel’s per-capita GDP also grew, placing it above those of France and Japan. Daniel Kryger notes some of the implications regarding the Jewish state’s place in the Middle East:

The contrast between first-world Israel and the surrounding third-world Arab states is larger today than ever before. Israel’s GDP per capita is almost twenty times the GDP per capita of impoverished Egypt and five times larger than semi-developed Lebanon.

Like any human project, Israel is a never-ending work in progress and much work remains to integrate ḥaredi Jews and Israeli Arabs into Israel’s knowledge economy. Properly addressing Israel’s high costs of living requires more economic and legislative reforms and breaking up inefficient oligopolies that keep the prices artificially high. However, by any standard, the reborn Jewish state is a remarkable success story. . . .

Much has changed since OPEC launched its oil embargo against the West after the failed Arab aggression against Israel in October 1973. Before the collapse of the pro-Arab Soviet empire, China and India had no official ties with Israel and many Western and Japanese companies avoided doing business with Israel. Collapsing oil prices have dramatically eroded the power of oil-producing countries. It has become obvious that the future belongs to those who innovate, not those who happen to sit on oil. Israel has today strong commercial ties with China and a thriving partnership with India. Business delegations from Jamaica to Japan are eager to do business with Israel and benefit from Israel’s expertise. . . .

[For its part], the boycott, divest, and sanction (BDS) movement may bully Jewish and pro-Israel students on Western campuses. However, in real life, BDS stands no chance of succeeding against Israel. The reason is simple: reborn Israel has . . . become too valuable a player in the global economy.

Read more at Mida

More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Israeli economy, Middle East, OPEC