Monday, November 6th, 2023
Kobi Michael and Gabi Siboni write:
The Gaza war is also a historic opportunity to dismantle UNRWA, which is an active partner in perpetuating the conflict by fostering the ethos of armed resistance, the demand for the return of refugees, and incitement against Israel.
And the next step:
The sole course of action vis-à-vis Hezbollah must be its complete and utter destruction.
Wednesday, October 25th, 2023
Aha, more spot-on clarity from Tablet magazine in “America Needs a Decisive Israeli Victory” by Raphael Benlevi.
America is being tested no less than Israel; the outcome will determine whether regional states will ally with America or with China and Russia. In other words, the Gaza war will determine whether the American-led order in the Middle East is still sustainable, or rather a relic of a historical period whose time has passed.
Take heed, o Wall Street Journal Editorial Page and Commentary Magazine: your might is being eclipsed!
Thursday, October 19th, 2023
To paraphrase: “What do you all think sovereignty means? Vibes? Papers? Essays? Losers.”
Monday, October 16th, 2023
In The Wall Street Journal, poetic justice from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who suggest “each of these countries should be called on to take ownership of their terrible decisions” by taking in Gazans:
- Iran: Hamas’s chief financier and arms supplier
- Turkey and Qatar: material and financial support [to Hamas]
- Malaysia: a haven for Hamas in years past
- Algeria and Kuwait: cheered on Hamas’s violent and brutal tactics
One wag (I’ve been reading so much I can’t remember who) deliciously suggested Ireland. [Update 2023 Oct 19: Scotland!
Now, forcible population transfer, or ethnic cleansing to use the pejorative language, is a terrible thing — it’s what Meir Kahane was banned from the Knesset for advocating — but Allah help the jackals we have entered war footing, wherein historic generational changes occur.
(That said, these proposals are historic and controversial enough to warrant nitpicking. The authors write:
Civilians are seeking to flee in advance of the fighting…
This is a bit disingenuous, as the IDF has been instructing the population in northern Gaza for days now to head south.
The Rafah crossing on the Egypt-Gaza border is open.
This seems false, it’s most definitely closed, though there is talk of it opening this afternoon for a few hours.)
For decades Palestinians have absurdly been calling themselves refugees even while sitting on territory they control and maintaining refugee camps with nary a tent on their own territory. Ditto the contradictory simultaneous accusation of both occupation and apartheid. So, as it goes for what you wish for, herein lies a lesson: be careful what you lie about.
Sunday, October 15th, 2023
So much, so much to say and catch up on. Here’s a start: Victor Davis Hanson’s “An Annotated Guide to American Middle East Madness”. Events have caught up with VDS’s dark predictions and he has dropped the dark sardonic tone for straightforward exposition.
Thursday, October 5th, 2023
From the Center for Peace Communications, a thinktank led by Dennis Ross, this amazing litany of regional grassroots cooperation with Israel.
Friday, March 10th, 2023
In Rome, Netanyahu speaks to La Repubblica. “What we can do is protect our freedoms,” he says, “using force if necessary, for as long as possible…” This is the second time in recent weeks I’ve heard the great man introduce this concept of existence as temporary. Not that it’s not true, but it’s unusual to hear a national leader speak that way. Intimations perhaps of his own mortality. Anyway, I love that he is coming with a vivid clear ask: Roma, recognize Yerushalayim.
Saturday, March 4th, 2023
David Goldman, back on form, untangles Türkiye’s high-wire new stratagems that leverage its centrality every which way. But I don’t know, this all seems too clever by half and could unravel fairly instantly.
By the way, for ages Goldman was talking about how Türkiye was collapsing and becoming a vassal state to China. But of course, course-corrections happen among the living. For me as someone who believes Goldman is pretty prescient, it’s reassuring that he updates his views.
Tuesday, January 10th, 2023
Senior Saudis tell an American delegation they are ready for normalization with Israel, but first they want normalization with the United States, writes JINSA’s John Hannah in The Jerusalem Post after the visit.
Saturday, December 3rd, 2022
A History of the Israeli Army
Author Ze’ev Schiff provides a matter-of-fact overview, probably not too different from many other books of Israeli military history, though I did learn that it was probably Arafat who precipitated the Six Day War. The edition I read was published a decade after the first publication, in the midst of the Lebanon War, about which the author is caustic and upset yet manages to end the book on an optimistic note, wishing Lebanon serve at least as a lesson for future non-endeavors.
Friday, October 14th, 2022
Tony Badran explicates the terrible maritime deal that Israel signed with the Lebanese. It seems to me they just locked in Bibi’s reelection.
Monday, October 10th, 2022
To form an opinion on the wedge of maritime territory wedged between Israeli and Lebanon, some googling revealed:
- “Lebanon-Israel maritime border dispute” at Global Security with a nice map
- “Lebanon-Israel maritime border dispute picks up again”, June 16th, 2022 by the Atlantic Council
- “Lebanon’s Maritime Boundaries: Between Economic Opportunities and Military Confrontation” by Daniel Meier at St. Anthony’s College, University of Oxford [pdf]
- “Revealed: Lebanon, Israel considering ‘gas resource swap’ to settle sea border dispute” by William Christou
at The New Arab
- “What’s at stake in the Lebanon-Israel maritime dispute?” by William Christou at The New Arab
Tuesday, September 6th, 2022
The Mufti, Qadaffi, King Hussein — I’m vastly enjoying season 2 of the Israeli TV documentary series Enemies (streaming requires an Israeli IP). One thing I can’t help but notice is the impressive living rooms in which the interviewees — mostly military intelligence vets — sit. None of them are in apartments, all have leafy window views, there’s a lot of wood, and most of them aren’t furnished like typical Israeli dwellings. I guess these aren’t military men, they’re men and women of the world.
I can’t tell if I enjoy Israeli docs because they’re so good, or merely because I’m the target audience. If it’s the former, and I think it is, they really should be selling them subtitled to wider audiences, say to Netflix and Amazon Prime.
It’s great, this pounding away at Israeli history, each episode a different prism.
Friday, August 12th, 2022
Hamas stays out of the fray in Israel’s latest Gaza blow-up, further fractalizing the Palestinian movement.
Saturday, July 16th, 2022
At the Washington Institute, they note that popularity among Arab populations for the Abraham Accords remains low and that — surprisingly — it’s highest among… Palestinians!
Tuesday, May 17th, 2022
Not only is it newsworthy that Israeli company Watergen is installing its drinking water generators in Syria, but that (opposition web site) Syria TV reported the fact.
Thursday, April 14th, 2022
In an interview on Israel’s national broadcaster Kan, this is a fair-minded well-informed backgrounder on Temple Mount tensions.
Monday, March 28th, 2022
It’s time to catch up: the UAE’s foreign minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed (a son of the UAE’s founder) speaks in his rather nice English accent at the close of the Negev Summit in Sde Boker.
Tuesday, March 8th, 2022
This is the first time the Saudi crown prince has publicly referred to Israel as a “potential ally.” He also spoke about Iran in a different tone. In an Atlantic interview four years ago, Bin Salman compared Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to “Hitler” and said Iran was leading the “axis of evil.” This time such talk was replaced by calling the Iranians “neighbors” of Saudi Arabia.
Wednesday, January 26th, 2022
JINSA pleads with Biden to accept the gift of much Middle East peace bequeathed him:
Now is the time for Biden to up his game and remove all doubt that widening the circle of Arab-Israeli peace is one of his highest priorities. How? Name a special presidential envoy for normalization. Next, convene a summit meeting at Camp David with the leaders of Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, and Jordan to establish an ongoing forum for building a new regional security architecture with Israel as an integral member.
Militarily, take advantage of the almost limitless opportunities now available to slowly but surely build Arab-Israeli defense ties as the result of Trump’s decision a year ago to move Israel into U.S. Central Command’s area of operations, alongside the armed forces of almost all of the United States’ Arab partners. Make last November’s naval exercises in the Red Sea the first in a regular series that draws in more Arab states over time and involves air, sea, land, and cybersecurity domains. Integrate Israeli forces and capabilities as much as possible into the multinational task forces that the U.S. Navy already leads to uphold freedom of navigation in the region, defend its vital maritime chokepoints, and combat the malign activities at sea of Iran and its network of terrorist proxies.
Thursday, January 20th, 2022
The most important Abraham Accords peace dividend so far: the beautiful Dubai, Dubai, Dubai by Israeli comedienne Noam Shuster-Eliassi. Israel’s biting satire — mocking Arabs and Israelis alike, and in Arabic leavened with Hebrew (or is it vice versa) — has more of a chance of freeing the Middle Eastern masses than in retrospect the US Armed Forces and State Department ever had. As Frank Herbert kind of say: he who control the comedy control the universe.
Tuesday, December 14th, 2021
Abu Dhabi leader Mohamed bin Zayed will visit Israel, reports Israel’s Globes.
Monday, November 29th, 2021
Ehud Yaari reports for Israeli TV that Iran claims it can build offensive atomic weaponry after all. Yaari doesn’t understand why this u-turn is not a global headline.
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021
Apple has disabled its shopping cart in Turkey, the Mac press is reporting, including MacRumors. This could be the mother of Turkish crises, and Turkey is a pivotal enough country that this may affect others. [Update 2021 Nov 30: Sales have been restored at a 25% increase.
David P. Goldman has been writing about a Turkish economic implosion for years — by 2018 he was already examining some consequences.
Sunday, November 21st, 2021
In a landmark trilateral initiative, the UAE will fund Israel and Jordan’s water-for-power deal. This is the way.
Sunday, October 3rd, 2021
Leaked papers reveal King Abdullah of Jordan has spent some $106m on Anglospherian homes. While it’s nice he chooses Malibu and London — and why not — might the story spur domestic unrest?
Saturday, October 2nd, 2021
As rather beautifully cogently introduced by The Center For Peace Communications, Yossi Klein Halevy has written a book that invites replies, and which serves, uniquely as far as I know, as the exquisite Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor: A New Conversation About Narratives and Peace website.
Friday, August 13th, 2021
What’s with Bahrain’s DERASAT thinktank signing an agreement not just with an Israeli counterpart, Jerusalem’s JCPA, nor even with two, also Herzlia’s AEI Abba Eban Institute for International Diplomacy at the Interdisciplinary Center, but now with three, adding Tel Aviv’s INSS. That doesn’t seem right to me; pick a counterpart.
On the INSS web site, the visit warrants not just the top story position but the heading “Special Announcement”. At JCPA it’s no longer the top story but the headline is prefixed “History:”. The Abba Eban Center doesn’t seem to have a news facility. Yet over at DERASAT, the post about the agreement with the JCPA (which a few days later is no longer even discoverable on their website) did not contain the word “Israel”. And there’s no mention at all of the two more recent agreements.
Saturday, August 7th, 2021
In this Al-Jazeera coverage of the protests comprising the anniversary of the Beirut explosion, the word “Hezbollah” doesn’t appear at all.
Sunday, July 4th, 2021
Friday, June 11th, 2021
Jordan and Israel need to exchange electricity for water. Jordan can produce green solar-powered electricity at 60% of the cost that Israel can, while Israel is the world leader in processing sea water into drinking water. Jordan is in dire need of more water due to a massive influx of refugees who aren’t going anywhere, while Israel needs green electricity to power those desalinization plants.
Wednesday, May 12th, 2021
Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile defence in action, in a series of videos compiled by the UK’s The Sun.
Friday, April 9th, 2021
Israel’s INSS thinktank believes it’s time to more firmly oppose Assad’s Syria. Israel’s mostly hands-off approach towards this horrendous conflict on her borders may well go down in history as the main stain on Netanyahu’s record. Yet if Israel could have tipped the scales of civil war at some point to get rid of Assad, would things have been any better? We know from other interventions, eg Libya, the vacuum and chaos that would most likely have ensued. Very hard.
Saturday, April 3rd, 2021
China bails out Iran with $400b deal as part of a Turkish-Iranian-Pakistani alliance, explains house favorite David P. Goldman.
Tuesday, January 26th, 2021
Ra’anana-based Vertical Field signed with Emirates Smart Solutions & Technologies (ESST) to build a pilot of its vertical farms in the United Arab Emirates. Major cool.
Friday, December 25th, 2020
The potential for warm relations between Israel and Morocco may be more than with the Gulf nations, this piece argues, as relations have been significant for some time.
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020
This lengthy interview with Secretary-General Sayyid Nasrallah may be useful for insight into Hezbollah’s perspectives. There are some bizarre connections, such as the notion that Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 because of deep concern regarding Iran’s “liberation of Khorramshahr” in the Iran-Iraq War.
Thursday, December 10th, 2020
Sunday, November 8th, 2020
Seeming US President-elect Joe Biden “has said openly for a long time that “he will go back to the nuclear agreement,” warns Israel’s Settlements Minister and long-time soothsayer Tzachi Hanegbi. “I see that as something that will lead to a confrontation between Israel and Iran.”
Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
“Dubai is gulping the dividends of the peace with Israel with great thirst … there is mutual inspiration without the typical, regrettable condescension on our part.” Israeli journalist Ben Caspit spends four days in Dubai. Wawaweewa, the stuff of fondest fantasy!
Wednesday, September 30th, 2020
Some nice detail here about the business players poised to first benefit from the Abraham Accords.
The first big winner is Israel’s foremost venture capitalist and investment banker, Edouard Cukierman. Cukierman, who has the largest portfolio of Israeli biotech and technology startups through his Tel Aviv-based Catalyst Investment Fund, is also Israel’s leading mid-market M&A banker through his family’s Cukierman & Co Investment House.
Wednesday, September 23rd, 2020
In a rather fine essay for Commentary Magazine, Hussein Aboubakr writes:
Palestine was never merely a disputed geographical territory, it was a claim to the absolute fulfillment of the Islamic political vision, an eternal moral truth, secularized in Arab nationalism and sanctified in Islamism.
He then proceeds to show us a hopeful vision for what the post-Palestine Middle East might look like senza this murderous Arab dream.
Friday, September 18th, 2020
“Recognizing that the Arab and Jewish peoples are descendant of a common ancestor…” — Let us savor the text of the Treaty of Peace between Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Blessed are the peacemakers…
Tuesday, September 1st, 2020
Israel and UAE sign their first agreement in the normalization talks: on banking and finance.
Monday, August 31st, 2020
Dore Gold explains that Arab nations have long held common cause with Israel. This is part of Mosaic Magazine’s symposium on the Israel-UAE peace accords, and contains links to the other essays.
Sunday, August 16th, 2020
In his report of what we know so far on the Beirut explosion, David Wurmser unsurprisingly surmises that what exploded was a Hizbollah weapons cache. Perhaps the whole terrible tale will come to be known as FatimaGate and that we are witnessing, as Wurmser concludes, what “may indeed be the beginning of the end for Hizballah and the Syrian-Iranian Quisling government.”
Saturday, August 15th, 2020
“From left field, a world-changing moment executed by the executive branch…” The Commentary Magazine podcasters speak to the historic Israel-UAE deal.
Friday, August 14th, 2020
Like the more insightful Thomas L. Friedman of yore, full-throated congrats regarding the Israel-UAE agreement.
Thursday, August 6th, 2020
Bahaa Hariri: “It is crystal clear Hezbollah are in charge of the Port and the warehouse where the ammonium nitrate was stored.”
Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020