The Symbolic and Practical Significance of Israel’s Reconciliation with Sudan

On Monday, Benjamin Netanyahu visited Uganda for the second time during his premiership, and discussed with the country’s president a full restoration of diplomatic ties. While there, the Israeli prime minister also met with the leader of Sudan, Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, who came to power ten months ago after the overthrow of the dictator Omar al-Bashir. Dore Gold explains the geostrategic and symbolic significance of the meeting:

It was on September 1, 1967, just after Israel’s lightning victory in the Six-Day War, that an Arab League Summit convened in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, and issued what became known as the Khartoum Declaration, or simply the three no’s: “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with Israel.” Today that declaration has been reversed, symbolizing the beginning of the end to the Arab-Israeli wars that raged for decades in the past.

Sudan has multiple connections to the worst conflicts that Israel and the West have faced. The Sudanese brought together many of the main Islamist militant organizations from around the Middle East and supplied them with training camps, including the Muslim Brotherhood, the Algerian GIA, Hizballah, and even the PLO. Sudan was one of the earliest places that hosted the Saudi jihadist Osama bin Laden before he made Afghanistan his main base of operations in the summer of 1996. It provided neutral ground where al-Qaeda could meet with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Sudan was incorporated into the regional network of Iran as well. Tehran gained access to Port Sudan on the Red Sea for its naval forces. . . . This was [part of] one of the key supply routes for Hamas as it built up its capacity to wage war against Israel.

In short, while it was geographically on the periphery of the Middle East, Sudan was part of the joint front against Israel in many significant ways. With Sudan exploring new ties with Israel, that front has been split.

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel diplomacy, Sudan, Uganda

Would an American-Backed UN Resolution Calling for a Temporary Ceasefire Undermine Israel?

Yesterday morning, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution, sponsored by Algeria, that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. As an alternative, the American delegation has been circulating a draft resolution calling for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released.” Benny Avni comments:

While the Israel Defense Force may be able to maintain its Gaza operations under that provision, the U.S.-proposed resolution also warns the military against proceeding with its plan to enter the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israel says that a critical number of Hamas fighters are hiding inside tunnels and in civilian buildings at Rafah, surrounded by a number of the remaining 134 hostages.

In one paragraph, the text of the new American resolution says that the council “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries, which would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

In addition to the paragraph about Rafah, the American-proposed resolution is admonishing Israel not to create a buffer zone inside Gaza. Such a narrow zone, as wide as two miles, is seen by many Israelis as a future protection against infiltration from Gaza.

Perhaps, as Robert Satloff argues, the resolution isn’t intended to forestall an IDF operation in Rafah, but only—consistent with prior statements from the Biden administration—to demand that Israel come up with a plan to move civilians out of harms way before advancing on the city.

If that is so, the resolution wouldn’t change much if passed. But why is the U.S. proposing an alternative ceasefire resolution at all? Strategically, Washington has nothing to gain from stopping Israel, its ally, from achieving a complete victory over Hamas. Why not instead pass a resolution condemning Hamas (something the Security Council has not done), calling for the release of hostages, and demanding that Qatar and Iran stop providing the group with arms and funds? Better yet, demand that these two countries—along with Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon—arrest Hamas leaders on their territory.

Surely Russia would veto such a resolution, but still, why not go on the offensive, rather than trying to come up with another UN resolution aimed at restraining Israel?

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship, United Nations