Polls Show Palestinians to Be Less Anti-Israel Than Their Fellow Arabs

The most frequently voiced criticism of the Abraham Accords is that they somehow constitute a betrayal of the Palestinians—even though it is rarely explained how Palestinians might be harmed by Israel’s warmer relations with their Arab brethren, or how 75 years of war and hostility has improved their lot. If the claim of betrayal were correct, one might expect Palestinians to be the most hostile of all Arabs to recent peacemaking. Yet the opposite is true. Frances McDonough writes:

When compared to the average 16 percent of other Arab publics in the April 2023 poll who viewed the Abraham Accords as “somewhat” or “very” positive for the region, attitudes in Gaza and east Jerusalem are starkly different. Notably, 47 percent in Gaza and 63 percent in east Jerusalem express a positive view of the regional impact of the Accords. And while the percentage of those who held this opinion shrinks in the West Bank, it is a similar proportion to the UAE, which had the most positive response in April 2023 at 27 percent.

That said, a solid majority in all three locations—58 precent in Gaza, 61 percent in the West Bank, and 64 percent in east Jerusalem—agree with the following statement: “Arab governments are neglecting the Palestinians and starting to make friends with Israel, because they think the Palestinians should be more willing to compromise.” And, as discussed in a separate article, a significant number of Gazans and some West Bankers agree that Palestinian leadership should normalize with Israel were Saudi Arabia to do so.

Another issue on which Palestinians diverge from other Arab publics was the prospect of receiving aid from Israel in the wake of a natural disaster. Whereas at least two thirds of other Arab publics (and an almost unanimous 98 percent in Lebanon) agreed with the statement: “In the case of an earthquake or other natural disaster, as we just saw in Syria and Turkey, Arab countries should refuse humanitarian aid from Israel,” this percentage dips to 50 percent in Gaza, 58 percent in the West Bank, and 59 percent in east Jerusalem.

Read more at Washington Institute for Near East Policy

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel-Arab relations, Palestinian public opinion

An American Withdrawal from Iraq Would Hand Another Victory to Iran

Since October 7, the powerful network of Iran-backed militias in Iraq have carried out 120 attacks on U.S. forces stationed in the country. In the previous year, there were dozens of such attacks. The recent escalation has led some in the U.S. to press for the withdrawal of these forces, whose stated purpose in the country is to stamp out the remnants of Islamic State and to prevent the group’s resurgence. William Roberts explains why doing so would be a mistake:

American withdrawal from Iraq would cement Iran’s influence and jeopardize our substantial investment into the stabilization of Iraq and the wider region, threatening U.S. national security. Critics of the U.S. military presence argue that [it] risks a regional escalation in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Iran. However, in the long term, the U.S. military has provided critical assistance to Iraq’s security forces while preventing the escalation of other regional conflicts, such as clashes between Turkey and Kurdish groups in northern Iraq and Syria.

Ultimately, the only path forward to preserve a democratic, pluralistic, and sovereign Iraq is through engagement with the international community, especially the United States. Resisting Iran’s takeover will require the U.S. to draw international attention to the democratic backsliding in the country and to be present and engage continuously with Iraqi civil society in military and non-military matters. Surrendering Iraq to Iran’s agents would not only squander our substantial investment in Iraq’s stability; it would greatly increase Iran’s capability to threaten American interests in the Levant through its influence in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon.

Read more at Providence

More about: Iran, Iraq, U.S. Foreign policy