Israel’s Joint Arab List Won’t Send a Delegation to the Arab League, and That’s Good News

Mahmoud Abbas recently invited Knesset members from the Joint Arab List (JAL) to address a meeting of the Arab League. Evelyn Gordon explains the reason for, and the significance of, the JAL’s unprecedented decision not to attend:

[P]olls have shown for years that Israeli Arabs would like their MKs to focus on domestic problems like unemployment and crime rather than the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. But, until now, Arab MKs have blithely ignored their constituents’ preference, preferring to devote most of their time to condemning Israel’s handling of the conflict. . . .

[I]n contrast to the Palestinian conflict, bread-and-butter issues are ones on which Israel can and should provide reasonable answers to Israeli-Arab demands. Israel can’t withdraw from the West Bank and allow it to become a rocket-launching pad like Gaza, nor can it refuse to fight back when Palestinians attack it, even if war inevitably entails Palestinian civilian casualties. But it can approve master plans for Arab towns so that new housing can be legally built, set up industrial parks to provide employment opportunities in Arab communities, crack down on the rampant illegal weapons that contribute to high crime rates in these communities, and so forth. Indeed, all recent governments have invested heavily in trying to improve Arab educational and employment opportunities, and these efforts have already produced significant gains.

Clearly, much more remains to be done. But because these are issues on which the government can actually make progress toward satisfying its Arab citizens’ demands, they have the potential to draw Jews and Arabs together rather than driving them apart, as the Palestinian conflict does.

Read more at Evelyn Gordon

More about: Arab League, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Arabs, Israeli politics, Mahmoud Abbas

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas