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

Ordinary Gazans Are Turning against Hamas—and Its Western Sympathizers

In the past few days, difficult-to-confirm reports have emerged of unrest in the Gaza Strip, and of civilians throwing stones at Hamas operatives. A recent video from Al Jazeera showed a Gazan declaring that “God will bring Qatar and Turkey to account” for the suffering of Palestinians in the current war. Being an agent of the Qatari government, the journalist turned away, and then pushed the interviewee with his hand to prevent him from getting near the microphone. Yet this brief exchange contributes much to the ongoing debate about Palestinian support for Hamas, and belies the frequent assertion by experts that the Israeli campaign is only “further radicalizing” the population.

For some time, Joseph Braude has worked with a number of journalists and researchers to interview ordinary Gazans under circumstances where they don’t fear reprisals. He notes that the sorts of opinions they share are rarely heard in Western media, let alone on Al Jazeera or Iran-sponsored outlets:

[A] resident of Khan Younis describes how locals in a bakery spontaneously attacked a Hamas member who had come to buy bread. The incident, hardly imaginable before the present war, reflects a widespread feeling of “disgust,” he says, after Gazan aspirations for “a dignified life and to live in peace” were set back by the Hamas atrocities of October 7.

Fears have grown that this misery will needlessly be prolonged by Westerners who strive, in effect, to perpetuate Hamas rule, according to one Gazan woman. Addressing protesters who have taken to the streets to demand a ceasefire on behalf of Palestinians, she calls on them to make a choice: “Either support the Palestinian people or the Hamas regime that oppresses them.” If protesters harbor a humanitarian motive, she asks, “Why don’t we see them demonstrating against Hamas?”

“Hamas is the destruction of the Palestinian people. We’ve had enough. They need to be wiped out—because if they remain, the people will be wiped out.”

You can watch videos of some of the interviews by clicking the link below.

Read more at Free Press

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