The Israel-Palestinian Conflict Is Not the Root of the Middle East’s Problems

This week, the rich, powerful, and famous gathered in the Swiss resort town of Davos to talk to each other and be photographed by journalists. One of the numerous sessions featured a conversation between the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and the American secretary of state Antony Blinken. While it revealed little about global affairs, it revealed much about the way some prominent people think about them. Matthew Continetti writes:

On the morning Blinken spoke in Davos, Iran launched missiles into Syria, Iraq, and nuclear-armed Pakistan. War rages. What most interests Tom Friedman, however, are the chances for a Palestinian state. He says it’s the key to peace in the Middle East—a position from which he has not wavered, despite all evidence to the contrary, for more than twenty years. Antony Blinken is more than happy to indulge in this delusion.

In a world filled with crises, the U.S. secretary of state has decided to resume a generations-long quest for the diplomatic Holy Grail: a Palestinian state. Governed by whom? His answer is a “stronger, reformed Palestinian Authority that can more effectively deliver for its own people.”

Where will that come from? Jupiter? . . . A Palestinian state is a nonstarter until Israel defeats its enemies, reestablishes deterrence, and evicts UNRWA from the premises.

It was in the Sunni Arab interest to back the “strong horse” of Israel and its ally, the United States, to ward off the Shiite radicals. Nor is the region disintegrating because the Palestinians remain stateless. It’s falling apart because Israel has been weakened and American power has declined. . . .

The transcript of Blinken’s conversation runs for 6,868 words. Israel is namechecked 23 times. Iran is mentioned just six times.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Thomas Friedman

Despite the Toll of War at Home and Rising Hostility Abroad, Investors Are Still Choosing Israel

When I first saw news that Google wasn’t going through with its acquisition of the tech startup Wiz, I was afraid hesitancy over its Israeli founders and close ties with the Jewish state might have something to do with it. I couldn’t have been more wrong: the deal is off not because of Google’s hesitancy, but because Wiz feared the FTC would slow down the process with uncertain results. The company is instead planning an initial public offering. In the wake of the CrowdStrike debacle, companies like Wiz have every reason to be optimistic, as Sophie Shulman explains:

For the Israeli cyber sector, CrowdStrike’s troubles are an opportunity. CrowdStrike is a major competitor to Palo Alto Networks, and both companies aim to provide comprehensive cyber defense platforms. The specific issue that caused the global Windows computer shutdown is related to their endpoint protection product, an area where they compete with Palo Alto’s Cortex products developed in Israel and the SentinelOne platform.

Friday’s drop in CrowdStrike shares reflects investor frustration and the expectation that potential customers will now turn to competitors, strengthening the position of Israeli companies. This situation may renew interest in smaller startups and local procurement in Israel, given how many institutions were affected by the CrowdStrike debacle.

Indeed, it seems that votes of confidence in Israeli technology are coming from many directions, despite the drop in the Tel Aviv stock exchange following the attack from Yemen, and despite the fact that some 46,000 Israeli businesses have closed their doors since October 7. Tel Aviv-based Cyabra, which creates software that identifies fake news, plans a $70 million IPO on Nasdaq. The American firm Applied Systems announced that it will be buying a different Israeli tech startup and opening a research-and-development center in Israel. And yet another cybersecurity startup, founded by veterans of the IDF’s elite 8200 unit, came on the scene with $33 million in funding. And those are the stories from this week alone.

But it’s not only the high-tech sector that’s attracting foreign investment. The UK-based firm Energean plans to put approximately $1.2 billion into developing a so-far untapped natural-gas field in Israel’s coastal waters. Money speaks much louder than words, and it seems Western businesses don’t expect Israel to become a global pariah, or to collapse in the face of its enemies, anytime soon.

Read more at Calcalist

More about: cybersecurity, Israeli economy, Israeli gas, Israeli technology, Start-up nation