The Abraham Accords and the Birth of Arab Zionism

While the detractors of Israel’s recent peace treaties with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have argued that they are purely “transactional” and that they somehow foster the abandonment of the Palestinians, Einat Wilf makes the case that the reality is very different. Drawing on numerous interactions with denizens of the Persian Gulf, especially young ones, as well as matters of public record, Wilf argues that the accords have opened the doors for Arabs to sympathize openly, and sometimes fervently, with Zionism. For the UAE in particular, they represent a maneuver in a “battle for the soul of Islam,” striking a blow for those who embrace tolerance over the fanatics. And by their very name—as well as by the way their signatories have put them into practice—the Abraham Accords suggest an acceptance of Jews and the Jewish state as part of the Middle East. And such acceptance, Wilf explains, can in turn make it possible for Palestinians themselves to make peace with Israel. (Video, 64 minutes.)

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More about: Abraham Accords, Israel-Arab relations, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, United Arab Emirates

How to Turn Palestinian Public Opinion Away from Terror

The Palestinian human-rights activist Bassem Eid, responding to the latest survey results of the Palestinian public, writes:

Not coincidentally, support for Hamas is much higher in the West Bank—misgoverned by Hamas’s archrivals, the secular nationalist Fatah, which rules the Palestinian Authority (PA)—than in Gaza, whose population is being actively brutalized by Hamas. Popular support for violence persists despite the devastating impact that following radical leaders and ideologies has historically had on the Palestinian people, as poignantly summed up by Israel’s Abba Eban when he quipped that Arabs, including the Palestinians, “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Just as worrying is the role of propaganda and misinformation, which are not unique to the Palestinian context but are pernicious there due to the high stakes involved. Misinformation campaigns, often fueled by Hamas and its allies, have painted violent terrorism as the only path to dignity and rights for Palestinians. Palestinian schoolbooks and public media are rife with anti-Semitic and jihadist content. Hamas’s allies in the West have matched Hamas’s genocidal rhetoric with an equally exterminationist call for the de-normalization and destruction of Israel.

It’s crucial to consider successful examples of de-radicalization from other regional contexts. After September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia implemented a comprehensive de-radicalization program aimed at rehabilitating extremists through education, psychological intervention, and social reintegration. This program has had successes and offers valuable lessons that could be adapted to the Palestinian context.

Rather than pressure Israel to make concessions, Eid argues, the international community should be pressuring Palestinian leaders—including Fatah—to remove incitement from curricula and stop providing financial rewards to terrorists.

Read more at Newsweek

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Palestinian public opinion