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


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy