Taiwan and Israel Won’t Be Recognizing Each Other Anytime Soon. But They Should Still Work Together

March 16 2020

The Republic of China and the Jewish state share much in common: both were founded in the 1940s, both are small democracies that punch above their weight economically, both are U.S. allies, and both have spent their entire existence under the threat of destruction from larger powers. Nonetheless, the two do not have formal diplomatic relations. Roie Yellinek explains why this is so, and argues that it should not be an obstacle to informal friendliness:

Both Israel and Taiwan struggle for international recognition, yet have not recognized one another. This is essentially because the Israelis want a positive relationship with Beijing and the Taiwanese want a positive relationship with the Arab world.

The countries started inching toward each other in the 1980s and picked up the pace in the 1990s. In 1993 (a year after Israel and China established diplomatic relations), the Ministry of Economy and Trade of Taipei opened in Tel Aviv, and Israel opened an equivalent ministry in Taipei. This was the start of the relationship, but it took a decade for the connection to flourish. Israel and Taiwan have now signed more than 30 trade agreements, including a technology-cooperation agreement (2006) . . . and a water-cooperation agreement (2011).

Israel is famous for its agricultural technology, an area of expertise that is even more attractive for Taipei. Taiwan’s challenges in this field include a lack of sufficient land worthy of cultivation as well as changes in population composition through aging and urbanization, which are causing manpower shortages in agriculture. Israeli agricultural technology is supporting Taiwanese efforts to develop “smart agriculture” to mitigate these problems.

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel diplomacy, Israeli agriculture, Israeli economy, Taiwan

Iran’s Four-Decade Strategy to Envelope Israel in Terror

Yesterday, the head of the Shin Bet—Israel’s internal security service—was in Washington meeting with officials from the State Department, CIA, and the White House itself. Among the topics no doubt discussed are rising tensions with Iran and the possibility that the latter, in order to defend its nuclear program, will instruct its network of proxies in Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and even Iraq and Yemen to attack the Jewish state. Oved Lobel explores the history of this network, which, he argues, predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution—when Shiite radicals in Lebanon coordinated with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s movement in Iran:

An inextricably linked Iran-Syria-Palestinian axis has actually been in existence since the early 1970s, with Lebanon the geographical fulcrum of the relationship and Damascus serving as the primary operational headquarters. Lebanon, from the 1980s until 2005, was under the direct military control of Syria, which itself slowly transformed from an ally to a client of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The nexus among Damascus, Beirut, and the Palestinian territories should therefore always have been viewed as one front, both geographically and operationally. It’s clear that the multifront-war strategy was already in operation during the first intifada years, from 1987 to 1993.

[An] Iranian-organized conference in 1991, the first of many, . . . established the “Damascus 10”—an alliance of ten Palestinian factions that rejected any peace process with Israel. According to the former Hamas spokesperson and senior official Ibrahim Ghosheh, he spoke to then-Hizballah Secretary-General Abbas al-Musawi at the conference and coordinated Hizballah attacks from Lebanon in support of the intifada. Further important meetings between Hamas and the Iranian regime were held in 1999 and 2000, while the IRGC constantly met with its agents in Damascus to encourage coordinated attacks on Israel.

For some reason, Hizballah’s guerilla war against Israel in Lebanon in the 1980s and 1990s was, and often still is, viewed as a separate phenomenon from the first intifada, when they were in fact two fronts in the same battle.

Israel opted for a perilous unconditional withdrawal from Lebanon in May 2000, which Hamas’s Ghosheh asserts was a “direct factor” in precipitating the start of the second intifada later that same year.

Read more at Australia/Israel Review

More about: First intifada, Hizballah, Iran, Palestinian terror, Second Intifada