Almost Half of East Jerusalem’s Arabs Would Rather Be Citizens of Israel Than of Palestine

July 12 2022

The 400,000 Arabs leaving in eastern Jerusalem have a unique status, which allows them to apply for—and usually obtain—Israeli citizenship if they so desire. According to a recent survey, 48 percent say they would rather be citizens of Israel than of a Palestinian state. Moreover, 63 percent agree at least “somewhat” with the assertion that they would be better off under Israel than under either Hamas or the Palestinian Authority. David Pollock analyzes these and other data from the poll, which show surprisingly moderate attitudes toward the Jewish state and the Abraham Accords:

These striking findings represent a reversion to the pragmatic east Jerusalem attitudes last registered in 2014, before the “knife intifada,” rising tensions on the Temple Mount, and tough Israeli responses. The current more conciliatory mood probably reflects their recent experience of access to Israeli healthcare, social-welfare benefits, ability to travel both inside and outside Israel, and jobs during the past two years of coronavirus-related issues. By comparison, most Palestinians across the security barrier in the West Bank have none of those advantages.

Such comparatively moderate (or just apolitical) views emerge in response to many other questions in this new survey as well. For example, 62 percent agree with this statement: “Right now, the Palestinians should focus on practical matters like jobs, healthcare, education, and everyday stability, not on big political plans or resistance options.” The same proportion also agree that “right now, the Palestinians need to pay much more attention to countering extremist Islamic trends in our own society.” And a solid majority (65 percent) say that “the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is mostly just for politicians or old people, and I just don’t think about it very much.”

All these data points counter the impression of mass alienation and anger in east Jerusalem, especially since this survey was taken so soon after high Ramadan tensions there. In this context, it was likely helpful that this time, unlike in some earlier episodes, Israel allowed tens of thousands of mostly local Palestinian Muslims to pray peacefully at al-Aqsa and the surrounding plaza (al-Haram al-Sharif).

Still more surprising are the responses in east Jerusalem to other Arab governments, and to new moves toward broader Arab-Israeli rapprochement. Half (47 percent) of the city’s Palestinians express at least a “somewhat” favorable view of the Abraham Accords—compared with just one-fourth of West Bankers.

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Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Abraham Accords, East Jerusalem, Palestinian statehood, Palestinians

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela