A New Palestinian Political Party Promises Peace and Prosperity. But It’s Unlikely to Get Any Traction

At the beginning of this month, a businessman from Hebron named Ashraf Jabari announced the formation of a new Palestinian political party, Reform and Development. Bassam Tawil describes its agenda, and the challenge it faces:

A member of a large Palestinian clan in the city, Jabari believes in economic cooperation and peaceful coexistence with his Jewish neighbors, including settlers living in the West Bank. Earlier this year, Jabari and some of his Jewish friends launched a new economic initiative to advance joint entrepreneurship between Israelis and Palestinians there.

[The new party] calls for focusing on economic prosperity for Palestinians. One would expect a message like that to be welcomed by Palestinians. Here is a man who is talking about helping his people put food on their tables. [But] some Palestinians have waged a massive smear campaign against him, with many denouncing him as a “traitor” and “collaborator” with Israel and Jews. Other Palestinians have even gone so far as to call for his arrest or execution.

The campaign against the Palestinian businessman reached its peak on May 13, after he hosted at his home several Jews for the Ramadan break-the-fast meal, iftar. It is not unusual for Muslims to host non-Muslims for the iftar meal. In this instance, however, Jabari seems to have invited the “wrong” guests: Jews. . . . In the face of the widespread protests [that followed], Jabari’s own clan was forced publicly to denounce and disown him. . . .

The yet-to-be revealed American peace plan, Tawil notes, is reported to involve channeling billions of dollars into the West Bank and Gaza, in order to bring the sort of material improvements Jabari speaks of. It is thus not a promising sign that Jabari’s “talk of ‘economic prosperity’ for Palestinians has turned him into a public enemy.” Indeed, Tawil concludes, “no Palestinian leader has the stomach to face the threats that Jabari is currently confronting.”

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian economy, Palestinians, Peace Process

 

Why the Recent Uptick of Israeli Activity in Syria?

Sept. 23 2022

On September 16 and 17, the IDF carried out airstrikes in the vicinity of Damascus, reportedly aimed at Iranian logistical centers there. These follow on an increase in the frequency of such attacks in recent weeks, which have included strikes on the Aleppo airport on August 31 and September 6. Jonathan Spyer comments:

The specific targeting of the Aleppo airport is almost certainly related to recent indications that Iran is relying increasingly on its “air bridge” to Syria and Lebanon, because of Israel’s successful and systematic targeting of efforts to move weaponry and equipment by land [via Iraq]. But the increased tempo of activity is not solely related to the specific issue of greater use of air transport by Teheran. Rather, it is part of a broader picture of increasing regional tension. There are a number of factors that contribute to this emergent picture.

Firstly, Russia appears to be pulling back in Syria. . . . There are no prospects for a complete Russian withdrawal. The air base at Khmeimim and the naval facilities at Tartus and Latakia are hard strategic assets which will be maintained. The maintenance of Assad’s rule is also a clear objective for Moscow. But beyond this, the Russians are busy now with a flailing, faltering military campaign in Ukraine. Moscow lacks the capacity for two close strategic engagements at once.

Secondly, assuming that some last-minute twist does not occur, it now looks like a return to the [2015 nuclear deal] is not imminent. In the absence of any diplomatic process related to the Iranian nuclear program, and given Israeli determination to roll back Iran’s regional ambitions, confrontation becomes more likely.

Lastly, it is important to note that the uptick in Israeli activity is clearly not related to Syria alone. Rather, it is part of a more general broadening and deepening by Israel in recent months of its assertive posture toward the full gamut of Iranian activity in the region. . . . The increasing scope and boldness of Israeli air activity in Syria reflects this changing of the season.

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Read more at Jonathan Spyer

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, Syria, War in Ukraine