In the Face of Terror, Israel’s New Arab Allies Show Solidarity

March 29 2022

Yesterday and the day before, Israel hosted an unprecedented summit, attended by the foreign ministers of Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Morocco, and Egypt, along with the U.S. secretary of state. But as the delegates gathered, two Islamic State-connected terrorists opened fire at passersby on the streets of the northern town of Hadera, killing two and injuring several others. While the Iran-backed Palestinian Islamic Jihad hailed the attack as a “heroic response to the summit of humiliation and shame,” David Horovitz notes that, if anything, the shooting spree strengthened the resolve of Israel’s Arab allies:

One after another, in their public statements at the formal conclusion of their talks on Monday afternoon, Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and his four Arab counterparts condemned the latest instance of the deadly terrorism with which all of their countries grapple, and then swiftly moved on to stress their shared determination to build a unified front against extremism.

Three of the four Arab foreign ministers—Bahrain’s Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani, Egypt’s Sameh Shoukry, and Morocco’s Nasser Bourita—took a few moments in their brief speeches to highlight the need to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. [Only] the U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken went further, declaring that the Abraham Accords that brought these ministers together were no substitute for progress on the Palestinian front.

But this gathering, determinedly undeterred by terrorism, was a confident, unabashed display of normalization with Israel—of acceptance of Israel, legitimization of Israel—held adjacent to the final resting place of Israel’s first prime minister.

And just as Blinken appeared to be reading from a somewhat discordant script with his familiar comments about the Palestinian conflict, he was also the rather off-message participant when it came to confronting Iran. . . . The Negev summit, and the new, open alignment of these four Arab countries with Israel, is principally designed to facilitate better cooperation—practical, life-saving cooperation—to tackle the Iranian threat.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Abraham Accords, Antony Blinken, ISIS, Israel-Arab relations, Palestinian terror

Why President Biden Needs Prime Minister Netanyahu as Much as Netanyahu Needs Biden

Sept. 28 2023

Last Wednesday, Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu met for the first time since the former’s inauguration. Since then, Haim Katz, Israel’s tourism minister, became the first Israeli cabinet member to visit Saudi Arabia publicly, and Washington announced that it will include the Jewish state in its visa-waiver program. Richard Kemp, writing shortly after last week’s meeting, comments:

Finally, a full nine months into Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest government, President Joe Biden deigned to allow him into his presence. Historically, American presidents have invited newly installed Israeli prime ministers to the White House shortly after taking office. Even this meeting on Wednesday, however, was not in Washington but in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Such pointed lack of respect is not the way to treat one of America’s most valuable allies, and perhaps the staunchest of them all. It is all about petty political point-scoring and interfering in Israel’s internal democratic processes. But despite his short-sighted rebuke to the state of Israel and its prime minister, Biden actually needs at least as much from Netanyahu as Netanyahu needs from him. With the 2024 election looming, Biden is desperate for a foreign-policy success among a sea of abject failures.

In his meeting with Netanyahu, Biden no doubt played the Palestinian issue up as some kind of Saudi red line and the White House has probably been pushing [Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman] in that direction. But while the Saudis would no doubt want some kind of pro-forma undertaking by Israel for the sake of appearances, [a nuclear program and military support] are what they really want. The Saudis’ under-the-table backing for the original Abraham Accords in the face of stiff Palestinian rejection shows us where its priorities lie.

Israel remains alone in countering Iran’s nuclear threat, albeit with Saudi and other Arab countries cheering behind the scenes. This meeting won’t have changed that. We must hope, however, that Netanyahu has been able to persuade Biden of the electoral benefit to him of settling for a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia rather than holding out for the unobtainable jackpot of a two-state solution.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship