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

Strengthening the Abraham Accords at Sea

In an age of jet planes, high-speed trains, electric cars, and instant communication, it’s easy to forget that maritime trade is, according to Yuval Eylon, more important than ever. As a result, maritime security is also more important than ever. Eylon examines the threats, and opportunities, these realities present to Israel:

Freedom of navigation in the Middle East is challenged by Iran and its proxies, which operate in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, and the Persian Gulf, and recently in the Mediterranean Sea as well. . . . A bill submitted to the U.S. Congress calls for the formulation of a naval strategy that includes an alliance to combat naval terrorism in the Middle East. This proposal suggests the formation of a regional alliance in the Middle East in which the member states will support the realization of U.S. interests—even while the United States focuses its attention on other regions of the world, mainly the Far East.

Israel could play a significant role in the execution of this strategy. The Abraham Accords, along with the transition of U.S.-Israeli military cooperation from the European Command (EUCOM) to Central Command (CENTCOM), position Israel to be a key player in the establishment of a naval alliance, led by the U.S. Fifth Fleet, headquartered in Bahrain.

Collaborative maritime diplomacy and coalition building will convey a message of unity among the members of the alliance, while strengthening state commitments. The advantage of naval operations is that they enable collaboration without actually threatening the territory of any sovereign state, but rather using international waters, enhancing trust among all members.

Read more at Institute for National Security Studies

More about: Abraham Accords, Iran, Israeli Security, Naval strategy, U.S. Foreign policy