Do Not Overinterpret Qatar’s Hostility toward Israelis

Dec. 12 2022

In order to host the World Cup soccer championship, Qatar—a major funder of Hamas and exporter of anti-Semitism—agreed to allow Israeli fans and reporters into its borders for the duration of the tournament. Many of the roughly 4,000 citizens of the Jewish state who came to the emirate for the games were surprised at the animus they encountered from soccer fans, local businesses, and even cab drivers. Hussein Aboubakr writes:

Pro-Palestinian activists and Palestinian media picked up these stories in the most celebratory ways, making video compilations and using them to prove that the Abraham Accords never represented the true opinion of most Arabs. Many of them, including sympathetic Western observers, used them to bolster the claim that the Palestinian cause pretty much remains the unifying cause of all the Arabs.

But while a first emotional impression might indicate such a possibility, this is more of a propagandistic depiction of reality than the truth. All such incidents, including the hysterical waving of Palestinian flags by many Arab fans, were utterly ignored by Emirati, Saudi, and Bahraini media outlets. Many of the Arab Gulf social-media personalities sympathetic to the Abraham Accords even used the opportunity to deride Qatar and the hatred the Palestinian cause produces.

[T]here is little doubt such hostility would not have occurred without the official anti-Israel policy and climate that Qatar insists on maintaining and funding domestically and regionally. The . . . experience of Israelis in Qatar is a stark contrast to their experience in the UAE, where Israelis flooded Dubai only to find a welcoming and hospitable environment. . . . The intimidation and harassment of Israelis in Doha didn’t occur because of the spontaneous outbreak of love of Palestine but because everyone knows the leaders of Qatar approve of it. If this proves anything, it is not that the Abraham Accords do not work; it is that they most certainly do.

Read more at EMET

More about: Abraham Accords, Anti-Semitism, Qatar, Soccer


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy