The Abraham Accords Withstood Their First Test

In its recent round of fighting with Israel, write Bonnie Glick and Dore Feith, Hamas hoped that it could “drive a wedge between Israel and its new Arab friends,” namely the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco. It failed:

The premise of the [Abraham] Accords is that Israel’s diplomacy with Arab states can flourish without being constrained by the Israel-Palestinian deadlock. Hamas had hoped to prove that premise wrong by attacking Israel, provoking it to retaliate across military targets embedded in Gaza’s densely populated neighborhoods and inflaming Arab publics to rally around the Palestinian cause and force their own governments to nullify the agreements. Though many Arabs denounced Israel’s military operation, no country downgraded its relations with Israel. Compare this with the outbreak of the second intifada in 2000, when four Arab countries (Tunisia, Morocco, Oman, and Qatar) dissolved the less-than-full diplomatic ties they had established with Israel in the 1990s.

Indeed, official Arab voices were some of the most moderate, especially compared with their reaction to Israel’s last major operation in Gaza in 2014. That was when the UAE’s foreign ministry disparaged the Israel Defense Forces operating in Gaza as “occupation forces” exacting “collective revenge” on the Palestinians.

Emirati officials have changed their tone on Gaza since normalizing relations with Israel in 2020. Their mild press releases about the fighting resembled standard U.S. State Department calls for de-escalation and “restraint.” [One UAE] official accused Hamas of “dooming the residents of the [Gaza] Strip to a life of suffering.” Behind the scenes, Emirati officials reportedly worked to restrain Hamas, threatening to withhold future investments in Gaza if it continued attacks on Israel.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel diplomacy, Israel-Arab relations, United Arab Emirates


The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship