on of Sunni Arab states, which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE. The violence of the Arab Spring brought to the fore the inevitable confrontation between a revisionist, aggressive Shi’ite Iran and the Arab countries deploying to defend themselves against Iranian aggression, mainly in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Africa.
The presence of the Egyptian foreign minister in Israel last month came as a surprise to many. Critical Egyptian public opinion and the Egyptian media indicate that, in the years since the Israeli-Egyptian peace was signed, the formal agreement has yet to trickle into public consciousness and that there is still considerable suspicion on both sides of the border. The same is true of the peace between Israel and Jordan.
Under the reign of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi, relations had reached a new low, with Egypt covertly aiding Iran’s proxy, Hamas, against Israel.
The visit of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry to Israel in early July 2016 could be an indication that the frozen peace between Israel and Egyptians, signed by Begin and Sadat in 1979, might be thawing.
At the level of regional strategy, Egypt has a central role in the anti-Iran coalition of Sunni Arab states, which includes Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE. The violence of the Arab Spring brought to the fore the inevitable confrontation between a revisionist, aggressive Shi’ite Iran and the Arab countries deploying to defend themselves against Iranian aggression, mainly in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Africa.
Under such circumstances, even publicizing any kind of cooperation between Egypt and Israel indicates a thaw and could, for the benefit of the Arab and Muslim world, be the beginning of legitimizing bilateral relations. Shoukry’s visit to Israel might even have been intended to pave the way for a broadening of relations with Israel and an avowal of the hitherto covert cooperation between many Arab and Muslim states and Israel.
|Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with visiting Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry in Jerusalem, on July 10, 2016. (Image source: Israel Government Press Office)|
However, given the current situation of Egypt’s rapprochement with Israel and Russia, there might be a confrontation — unfortunately with the United States. Even as the Iranians proceed with developing nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to carry them, and as they use incitement, weapons, money, and proxies to destabilize the Arab and Muslim states, the American shoulder grows colder towards both Israel and the el-Sisi government in Egypt.
The current administration is known throughout the Middle East for empowering its enemies and being treacherous to its friends. We joke that is far better for a country to be America’s enemy than its ally: it will then spend unlimited amounts of wealth and effort and wealth to woo you. It seems never to have met an enemy it did not like.
Both Israel and Egypt regard Hamas as a terrorist organization because it collaborates with ISIS in the Sinai Peninsula and because it is the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose sole avowed purpose is globally to spread Islam.
According to sources in Egypt, Israel deliberately leaked information about firepower and intelligence aid from the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to the Egyptian forces operating in the Sinai Peninsula to use this “collaboration with the ‘enemy'” to strengthen relations between the two countries.
It is, however, in the interest of Arab and Muslim states to find a solution as soon as possible to get the Palestinian problem off the agenda, to be able to form a united front against Iran. It might even help to win if such a “strong horse” were included.
The visit of Egypt’s foreign minister to Jerusalem seemed a signal to the Palestinian Authority to lower its expectations. The traditional Arab stance, used by autocratic leaders to bamboozle their dissatisfied populace by pointing them at an external villain instead of at our own leaders, has clearly begun to change. Israel as the greatest enemy, is, intelligently for most of us in the Arab and Muslim world, being replaced by Iran.
The visit to Israel also indicates that Hamas has weakened the Palestinian Authority’s legitimacy and ability to maneuver, as it continues to present itself as an obstacle to a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and keeps Western countries busy with its marginal problems, preventing them from dealing with the genuinely critical regional issues.
Like it or not — and they could do worse — at some point the Sunni Arab states would be wise to allow Israel into their trenches as they fight to the death against Iran.
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.
A Sa’ar 4.5-class Corvette of the Israeli Navy fires its canons during a naval exercise off the coast of Israel.
Israel’s Defense Ministry on Sunday announced a series of deals for the purchase of combat systems from local defense industries in the amount of $420 million by the end of this year. This is part of a project to acquire warships whose mission would to protect natural gas platforms within Israel’s “economic waters” in the Mediterranean against military threats.
An Israeli soldier training in Krav Maga.
Several dozen members of the Indian military are currently learning how to protect themselves using the Israeli martial art of Krav Maga, India Today reported this weekend.
“I brought Krav Maga to India in year 2002 after intensive training in Israel,” Vikram Kapoor — the head instructor at the International Krav Maga Federation — was quoted as saying. “This is the only self-defense technique that is being evolved every moment and that is why it is the best.”
Culminating a three-year process, delegates at the Mennonite Church USA assembly in Orlando on Thursday adopted a resolution titled “Seeking Peace in Israel and Palestine,” with approximately 98 percent voting in favor. The resolution calls on members to “avoid purchase of products associated with the occupation or produced in settlements in occupied territories.” It also establishes a process for the church to review its investments “for the purpose of withdrawing investments from companies that are profiting from the occupation.”
Rabbi Steven Wernick says Netanyahu recruited progressive Jews to find a compromise for the holy site; now that the PM has reneged, world Jewry won’t be silent
The fight for pluralistic prayer at the Western Wall is a battle already won by Jewry’s Conservative movement. For some 20 years, Conservative Jews have inhabited a spiritual home at Jerusalem’s contentious holy site, which they won through a series of Supreme Court cases — in a section allocated to the Davidson Archaeological
Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. (Photo credit: hebron.com)
In a secret ballot held at the World Heritage Committee’s 41st annual summit in Krakow Poland, on Friday, UNESCO voted twelve to three in favor declaring the Holy City of Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs “Palestinian world heritage sites”.
The resolution described a Muslim history of the city while blatantly ignoring the Biblical narrative describing 3,000 years of Jewish connection to the site. Six countries abstained from the controversial vote which, at the request of Poland, Croatia, and Jamaica, was a secret ballot; a first for such a vote.
During last month’s 2017 Chicago Dyke March, the true face of “inclusion” among “progressives” finally surfaced. According to the Chicago based newspaper Windy City Times, the march proceeded calmly with people “of all races, genders and gender identities” attending, until “the Dyke March Collective ejected three people carrying Jewish Pride flags (a rainbow flag with a Star of David in the center).”
Something is terribly broken in the relationship between American and Israeli Jews. I say this as an American Jew who has lived in Israel for almost half a century. But if anyone thinks this started with Women of the Wall or PM Netanyahu’s recent – and I believe unfortunate – backtracking on the agreement over egalitarian prayer space at the Kotel, he is suffering from selective memory, if not total denial.
gentleman from times gone by. He was soft-spoken, courtly, and wore his pants hoisted high and held up by suspenders; clearly, a European who had personally endured horrors in the last century.
Indeed, he had personally survived the Holocaust in Poland. Therefore, I could not immediately understand why he now attends a very left-wing synagogue—but, totally incomprehensible, was his unexpected and rather passionate defense of Poland and of the Poles. He argued on their behalf as if his very life still depended upon it.
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s decision to visit Jerusalem but not Ramallah has prompted much comment.
The expectation of equal treatment goes back to the Oslo Accords’ signing in Sep. 1993, when the prime minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, represented his government in the handshake with Yasir Arafat, the much-despised chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. No one found it strange or inappropriate at the time but things look differently nearly a quarter century later.
Matthew Healy at the Atlantic, one of the few remaining liberal anti-censorship magazines, offers a disingenuous counterpoint to the debate over political correctness.
The attempts to silence dissenting points of view are counter-speech, according to Healy. And counter-speech is an important form of free expression.