How the Abraham Accords Are Mitigating Israel-Palestinian Violence

Following Israel’s groundbreaking peace treaties with Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, skeptics in both the West and the Arab World condemned them as a betrayal of the Palestinian people—without any explanation of how over seven decades of Arab nonrecognition of the Jewish state has aided the Palestinians. Robert Cherry argues that, to the contrary, the Abraham Accords and Benjamin Netanyahu’s strategy of “shrinking the conflict” rather than seeking grand solutions has contributed to the short duration and limited scope of last month’s fighting in Gaza:

Over the last few years, Israel’s leadership has been winning the political battle by weaving Israeli Arabs into the educational, occupational, and political fabric of the country. In addition, the Abraham Accords made clear that the economic and military interests of other Arab countries would no longer be held captive to the decisions of the Palestinian Authority. Finally, the post-Netanyahu government embraced a strategy of “shrinking the conflict:” not allowing small flashpoints to fuel larger conflicts. It included . . . allowing more Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank to work within Israel, expanding permits for Palestinian housing, and an unwillingness to evict Bedouin communities from strategic West Bank locations.

As shrinking-the-conflict policies have reduced tensions, hundreds of gunmen belonging to West Bank militant groups, most notably Islamic Jihad, have stepped up their attacks on settlers and Israel Defense Forces soldiers. “There is a feeling that the Palestinian Authority is no longer in control,” said a Palestinian academic from Ramallah. In July, at least 23 Palestinians were injured in shooting incidents in the Jenin and Nablus areas, including Nasser al-Shaer, an academic who previously served as deputy prime minister. President Mahmoud Abbas is afraid that these men will turn against him if he orders a crackdown. As a result, it was left to Israeli forces to counter these militants, leading to the Gaza conflict.

Fortunately, this military engagement did not result in any significant anti-Israeli demonstrations in east Jerusalem or the West Bank, forcing Islamic Jihad to accept a quick ceasefire and military defeat. For many, this verifies how the shrinking-the-conflict strategy has created an unwillingness among Palestinians to risk its benefits—weakening, at least for the moment, the likelihood of a third intifada.

Read more at RealClear World

More about: Abraham Accords, Islamic Jihad, Israeli Arabs, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Palestinian Authority

While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy