A Chance to Make Life Better for Eastern Jerusalem’s Arabs

Despite the growing influence of Hamas, and despite living in neighborhoods that tend to get an unequal share of municipal resources, the Arabs of eastern Jerusalem express surprisingly encouraging attitudes toward Israel. According to recent surveys, 42 percent report feeling a sense of belonging in Israeli society, 43 percent recognize a historic connection between the Jewish people and the land, and 46 percent have a positive attitude toward the police. Nadav Shragai explains what Jerusalem can and should do to capitalize on this good will:

Many [of east Jerusalem’s Arabs] are undergoing a process of “Israelization,” not to say Westernization, and are becoming more and more like [Arab citizens of Israel living elsewhere in the country]. Some, dissatisfied with their permanent-residency status, are requesting Israeli citizenship, but this is granted sparingly.

Despite this, however, merely a few thousand of the 335,000 east-Jerusalem Arabs have voted in municipal elections for Jerusalem’s city council, even though they have the right to [do so]. Incidentally, far more east-Jerusalem residents would vote, and perhaps shape a list that . . . represents them in the municipality, had they not been terrorized by Fatah and Hamas. . . .

But this time things can be different. . . . As Jews and Israelis, we shouldn’t be afraid of this change. If voters and political lists from east-Jerusalem were to participate actively in local elections, it would be a welcome thing. Jerusalem is a binational city, and that is not going to change anytime soon. . . .

Israel needs to create the conditions for them to participate in truly free elections. They will not come to the ballots if they fear being shot on the way, or having their cars torched. The police and the Shin Bet security agency, for their part, must enable the Arabs to vote without fear. Technology can also be used to this end: in the 21st century, it is possible to vote using a computer, even from home or from the workplace. Even those who fear east-Jerusalem Arabs influencing national Jewish interests in Jerusalem should not be afraid of striking a true partnership with them.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: East Jerusalem, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Arabs

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy