Spotlight on the Palestinians: Renewing Ties with Israel & Much More
Updated: Nov 19, 2020
In a sudden turn of events, the Palestinian Authority has agreed yesterday to restart relations with Israel after six months. This apparently includes both security cooperation and finally accepting their taxes which Israel collects on their behalf (import/export taxes via Israeli ports).
Part of this was due to the fact that the EU had stopped giving aid to the Palestinians until they took their own tax money - and restarted security cooperation with Israel. https://www.ynetnews.com/article/BymJSv2IP
They also quietly returned their ambassadors to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. https://www.timesofisrael.com/palestinians-said-to-quietly-return-their-ambassadors-to-uae-bahrain/
Basically, they very quietly came down off their soapbox after throwing a temper tantrum and discovering that nobody cared.
Yet that is not the only news from the last several weeks regarding the Palestinians. Here are some important articles to get you all caught up, courtesy of your tour guide of Israel.
First and foremost, longtime Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat passed away last week and a three-day mourning period was held for him by the Palestinian Authority. Erekat had a lung transplant a few years ago and contracted coronavirus and was being treated in an Israeli hospital (despite the fact that the Palestinian Authority was barring Palestinians from doing so at the time).
Gaza meanwhile is on track to have an operational power plant powered by Israeli-supplied gas from the Leviathan field in the Mediterranean by the beginning of 2024 which should take care of all of their electricity needs. Here's hoping they won't attack it (like they sometimes do to the Ashkelon power plant which provides them with electricity). One might also ask... is this a BDS fail? Even Hamas is not boycotting Israel.... For more click here: https://www.ynetnews.com/article/rJtDYbvOw
Speaking of Hamas, finally, after 6 months, they released several Gazans for having the audacity to have a Zoom call with Israelis. I guess if they were talking to Israel, it made it hard to jail others for doing the same. https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/hamas-frees-palestinian-activists-arrested-after-zoom-call-with-israelis-647038
This is a great article by Foreign Policy magazine about the exiled Palestinian leader who is a chief adviser in the UAE - and a giant headache for Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas. https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/10/30/mohammed-dahlan-uae-palestinians-israel/
A fascinating article about the history of "normalization" with the Arab world details the ties that were built with Arab countries following the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and what happened in the subsequent decades. https://www.jpost.com/opinion/the-turning-point-for-normalization-was-in-1993-not-2020-opinion-648953
Some looks at the Palestinians recent foreign policy failures can be found here:
You can also read a concise history of Israeli settlement building and policy vis-a-vis the stances of the last several US presidents here: https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/will-joe-biden-reset-us-policy-on-borders-settlements-648968
Palestinian support for a two-state solution has hit a 9-year low according to noted Palestinian pollster Khalil Shikaki. Just keep in mind that other polls by Shikaki have shown that virtually every Palestinian who supports a two-state solution also believes that it is just a stepping stone to a one-state solution (aka all of Palestine). The most interesting thing in the poll, however, is this fascinating statistic: "If elections were held [in the West Bank], Abbas would lose to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, who had the support of 52%, compared with 39% for the PA president. The issue is more Abbas than Haniyeh, Shikaki said, because the poll showed that jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti [for planning terrorist acts during the Second Intifada] would defeat both men in an election." This is why the first Palestinian elections since 2006, which are supposed to happen in the next four months, will almost certainly not come to pass: Abbas does not want to lose to Hamas.
Despite the Palestinians [finally] consistently losing funding from European donors over the past year or two due to their honoring of terrorists by naming schools, teams and tournaments, squares and more after them, apparently they are at it again. https://www.jpost.com/arab-israeli-conflict/palestinian-uni-new-gate-named-after-planner-of-munich-olympics-massacre-648245
As the Abraham Accords have shown people in the West, not all Arabs think alike. Their states all have different economies, ethnic/religious makeups, histories, challenges and priorities. A fascinating column from a Saudi Arabian writer in an Israeli newspaper came out a few months back which addresses Jordan and the Palestinians. Keep in mind some history: while Saudi Arabia and Jordan are both Sunni Muslim states with Bedouin leaders, they have a contentious history. Jordan is run by the Hashemites - descendants of the Mohammed who used to run the holy sites in Mecca and Medina until they were driven out of Arabia by, you guessed it, the Saud family. That's how you have "Saudi Arabia" and the "Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan." And Jordan used to be part of the British Mandate of Palestine (which is why the PLO Charter calls for taking over Jordan as well - which they actively attempted to do in 1970). Here's the article: https://www.israelhayom.com/opinions/a-new-saudi-perspective-for-peace/
One of the Palestinians' (and their supporters) main claims is that they are the indigenous people of the land and that the Jews are a bunch of invading, colonialists with no ties to the land or region. This is of course absolute nonsense. DNA testing, archaeology, history and population records all show that Jews have lived in the land for thousands of years and in fact were the only indigenous people to create a self-governing body in that land in the past 3000 years. The Palestinians took their name from a Hebrew word meaning invaders. They like to claim that they are descended from the Canaanites (or the Philistines) - i.e. to say they were here before the Jews - but the truth of the matter is much more complex.
Some Palestinians have DNA tests showing that they descend from ancient peoples in the land, some came to the land with the Muslim conquest in the 7th c. (remember that the Arabs come from Arabia, not Judea) and some with Salah al-Din (a Kurdish military leader) in the 12th c. But the truth is that most Arabs today - like most Jews - can only trace back their continual presence in the land a few generations, which is why numerous travelogues in the mid 19th. c. talk about an almost desolate land. The Arabs love to point out the Jewish immigration to the land, but always ignore the fact that this is when most Palestinians arrived as well, often due to increased economic opportunities in the area (often, but not only, provided by the Zionist enterprise). This is why many Arabs here have last names reflecting places outside of Israel. The British meanwhile, at the Arab behest, began to limit Jewish immigration while ignoring Arab immigration. And yet, some numbers can actually be found. It definitely creates a new way of thinking about the past - and hopefully about a shared future. Here is an article about some of this: https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/286180?fbclid=IwAR1HB4-VFNi2teaf7MfYY5zyWmZROq1eUspSj3VlgdLbXUIlSgOhAeIf32s
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