Category Archives: Middle East

17Apr/22

Warm Peace and the Challenge of People to People Relations after the Abraham Accords

U.S., Israeli, Bahraini, and Qatari flags on a mural celebrating the Abraham Accords

Washington Institute, Fikra Forum Policy Analysis

“Today, we already witness a change taking place in the heart of the Middle East, a change that will send hope throughout the world,” said Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the UAE’s Foreign Minister when signing what would be dubbed the Abraham Accords at the White House in August 2020. A move that surprised many, the accords began to shape a new model for relations in the region—especially in its demonstrated interest in people-to-people relations. However, it must also be recognized that creating a “People’s Peace” needs more than words to become a reality. 

The Abraham Accords were crafted in a very different spirit than the earlier peace agreements between Israel and Jordan or Egypt. The Camp David Agreement of 1978 did in fact outline plans to establish normal relations between Egypt and Israel, including diplomatic, economic, and cultural ties. Furthermore, in 1982, a cultural agreement called for the establishment of two academic centers to facilitate cultural ties between the two nations. Yet actual people-to-people (P2P) relations remain effectively nonexistent. While an Israeli center was established in Cairo, it is guarded by Egyptian intelligence who make it clear that Egyptians are not welcomed. Likewise, after 40 years, the gates of the corresponding Egyptian academic center in Tel Aviv still remain unopened.


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17Apr/22

New Tensions in Israel – an Update 

For several years now, Israel’s domestic security situation was considered relatively good, with long periods of quiet occasionally punctured by few incidents and frequent reports of air strikes against hostile targets in neighboring countries.
Military Intelligence nevertheless continued to issue strategic alerts regarding an outbreak of violence emanating from the West Bank, due either to internal Palestinian tensions or individual frustrations. Whatever the cause, the warnings were proved correct with a series of deadly attacks on civilians in major urban centers.
With fear turning to panic, Israel’s political and security leaders tried to go on the offensive, responding to the series of terror attacks with “Operation Waves Breaker,” particularly focused on the Palestinian Authority district of Jenin.
How effective can such missions be and what are the possible repercussions?
Panel:
– Amir Oren, Host; Editor at Large, Host of Watchmen Talk and Powers in Play.
– Brig. Gen. (Res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, Project Director on Middle East Developments, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
– Dr. Nir Boms, Research Fellow, Moshe Dayan Center at Tel Aviv University.
– Col. (Res.) Reuven Ben-Shalom, TV7 Powers-in-Play Panelist, Cross-Cultural Strategist and Associate at ICT, Reichman University.

03Sep/21

The Egyptian TikTok Girls

Beehive: Middle East Social Media

In August issue of Beehive, Nir Boms analyses the Egypt’s recent restrictive policy on social media and its impact on young bloggers.


Campaign to release Mawada al-Adham, from facebook
Campaign to release Mawada al-Adham. From facebook, 3 August 2020.

Amidst a new wave of authoritarianism and repression in Egypt, the Internet remains one of the only platforms of alternative expression, although perhaps, not for long.

Aside from Covid-19, the water crisis of the Rival Nile Dam, and the ongoing economic challenge, Egyptian news also dealt with the visible arrest of two young “TikTok stars.” Haneen Hossam, aged 20, was sentenced in absentia by a Cairo court to ten years in prison while Mawada al-Adham, aged 23, who appeared before the court, was sentenced to six.[1]


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25Jul/21

Israel-Gaza 2021: A moment for the emerging moderates?

The more tolerant Arab states have no incentive to support the extremist theocrats like Hamas and Hezbollah that rally for resistance rather than renaissance.by Jul 24, 2021, Newsi, South Africa

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Commons; Signing of Abraham Accords, White House, Credit: Avi Ohayon

Extremists of all types have had their debut moment in the 11 days fighting between Israel and Gaza. By launching rockets at the holy sites of Jerusalem, Hamas – the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate running the Gazan enclave – has sought to place itself at the center of Palestinian political life. Hamas’s rhetoric has also empowered extremist elements inside Israel and has spurred attacks between mobs from both Israeli Jewish and Arab communities. They lit a fire. But will it continue to burn?

This round of fighting has also gone further on social media than before. Platforms like TikTok spread incitement while proudly showing young Arab mobs attacking Jews in the middle of the street. Antisemitism levels have gone up 80% in a month. In America, the socialist wing of the Democratic party has been pushing hard to overturn the traditional moderate position of the party. Those such as Rep. Rashida Tlaib, have openly spoken about the destruction of Israel.

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