What Palestinians Can Learn from Martin Luther King, Jr.

Jan. 24 2022

Last week, Americans celebrated the life and legacy of the great civil-rights leader Martin Luther King. The veteran Palestinian activist Bassam Eid, who has dedicated much of his career to criticizing Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza, reflects on what his own people can learn from this great man:

Dr. King would have been proud to see the progress Israel has made toward making his dream of a free, equitable society a reality in the Middle East. In his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech, King shared his vision for a world in which his children would be judged “not for the color of their skin, but for the content of their character.”

Today in Israel, one can see the manifestation of Dr. King’s dream. Israel is a sprawling, diverse nation, where diverse communities coexist peacefully. Regardless of their background, Israelis—be they Jews or Arabs—can practice their religion freely, serve in government, and raise their children without fear of retribution.

Dr. King also recognized that there can be no justice and equality without democracy and economic opportunity. The event where he gave his 1963 speech was called “The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” Israel has internalized this message with its booming economy, and it is sharing at least some of that wealth. Every day, thousands of Palestinians are allowed to cross the border into Israel to work side by side with Israelis.

Meanwhile, the feckless Palestinian leadership has rejected this vision for decades, to the detriment of our people. The Palestinian Authority (PA) is currently led by a president who just celebrated the seventeenth anniversary of his election to a four-year term. Rather than use his position to improve life for ordinary Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas has spent his nearly two decades in office enriching his cronies. He has blocked fair elections, hindered peace with Israel, and done nothing to create jobs and opportunity in the West Bank. Things are even worse in Gaza, where a terrorist group runs the show and economic opportunity is nonexistent.

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Read more at Newsweek

More about: Israeli Arabs, Martin Luther King, Palestinians

The End of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and the Rise of the Arab-Israeli Coalition

Nov. 30 2022

After analyzing the struggle between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors since 1949, Dan Schueftan explains the current geopolitical alignment and what it means for Jerusalem:

Using an outdated vocabulary of Middle Eastern affairs, recent relations between Israel and most Arab states are often discussed in terms of peace and normalization. What is happening recently is far more significant than the willingness to live together and overshadow old grievances and animosities. It is about strategic interdependence with a senior Israeli partner. The historic all-Arab coalition against Israel has been replaced by a de-facto Arab-Israeli coalition against the radical forces that threaten them both. Iran is the immediate and outstanding among those radicals, but Erdogan’s Turkey in the eastern Mediterranean, Syria—and, in a different way, its allies in the Muslim Brotherhood—are not very far behind.

For Israel, the result of these new alignments is a transformational change in its regional standing, as well as a major upgrade of its position on the global stage. In the Middle East, Israel can, for the first time, act as a full-fledged regional power. . . . On the international scene, global powers and other states no longer have to weigh the advantages of cooperation with Israel against its prohibitive costs in “the Arab World. . . . By far the most significant effect of this transformation is on the American strategic calculus of its relations with Israel.

In some important ways, then, the “New Middle East” has arrived. Not, of course, in the surreal Shimon Peres vision of regional democracy, peace, and prosperity, but in terms of a balance of power and hard strategic realities that can guardrail a somewhat less unstable and dangerous region, where the radicals are isolated and the others cooperate to keep them at bay.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel-Arab relations, Middle East, Shimon Peres, U.S.-Israel relationship