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

What Is the Biden Administration Thinking?

In the aftermath of the rescue of four Israeli hostages on Friday, John Podhoretz observes some “clarifying moments.” The third strikes me as the most important:

Clarifying Moment #3 came with the news that the Biden administration is still calling for negotiations leading to a ceasefire after, by my count, the seventh rejection of the same by Hamas since Bibi Netanyahu’s secret offer a couple of weeks ago. Secretary of State Blinken, a man who cannot say no, including when someone suggests it would be smart for him to play high-school guitar while Ukraine burns, will be back in the region for the eighth time to urge Hamas to accept the deal. Why is this clarifying? Because it now suggests, here and for all time, that the Biden team is stupid.

Supposedly the carrot the [White House] is dangling in the region is a tripartite security deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Which would, of course, be a good thing. But like the stupid people they are now proving to be, they seem not to understand the very thing that led the Saudis to view Israel as a potential ally more than a decade ago: the idea that Israel means business and does what it must to survive and built itself a tech sector the Saudis want to learn from. Allowing Hamas to survive, which is implicitly part of the big American deal, will not lead to normalization. The Saudis do not want an Iranian vassal state in Palestine. Their entire foreign-policy purpose is to counter Iran. I know that. You know that. Everybody in the world knows that. Even Tony Blinken’s guitar is gently weeping at his dangling a carrot to Israel and Saudi Arabia that neither wants, needs, nor will accept.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Antony Blinken, Gaza War 2023, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship