Tag Archives: Israel

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.


Continue reading
30Dec/21

Pan Arabism 2.0? The Struggle for a New Paradigm in the Middle East

It is with  pleasure, following eight  months of work, to share the latest monograph I published titled “Pan Arabism 2.0? The Struggle for a New Paradigm in the Middle East” that attempts to analyze the GCC agenda in the decade that culminated with the Abraham Accords.  It argues that the Accords are connected to a broader vision of regional alignment and offer a detailed explanation to how this  “change of heart” came about.

The Abraham Accords, signed in September 2020 have helped shed a light on a new discourse emerging from the Gulf that seeks to challenge some of the old dogmas that have dominated the region in the last few decades. A decade of turmoil that followed what was once dubbed as the “Arab Spring” finds a divided region, full of ethnic and religious conflict, ungoverned territories, and the growing reality of failed states. An “axis of resistance”, led by radical elements from both the Shi’a and the Sunni world, is perceived as a growing challenge to a group of actors led by a number of Gulf countries who identify radicalization as an existential threat. Facing the “axis of resistance”, a new “axis of renaissance” is coming of age with an alternative vision that seeks to change the face of the Middle East. In parallel to the rapid decline of the traditional Arab capitals, the Gulf is emerging as a more significant voice in the region due to its economic, political, and media influence. This article seeks to capture and explain the rise of this new Gulf-led axis and the early formulation of a new agenda of a more tolerant Middle East through a radical reshuffling of the order of priorities in the region.   This is a long piece, co-authored with my colleague Hussein Abubaker. Read the full article here.

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.

Continue reading
15Apr/20

Mideast Strategic security challenges amid COVID19

The corona contagion overshadows all other issues across the Middle East, as is the case globally. And while all other matters pertaining to the security situation in the Levant and beyond may have been marginalized in the public’s consciousness – they continue to pose challenges to local and major actors, alike.
In today’s program we will discuss the situation in Israel’s northern war-torn neighbor, where misery started long before the global plague; and is unfortunately expected to persist long after the coronavirus will has been subdued.
Panel:
-Jonathan Hessen , host.
-Amir Oren, analyst.
-Dr. Eran Lerman vice president of the Jerusalem Institute of Strategy and Security and a lecturer at Shalem College.
-Dr. Nir Boms, Research Fellow at the Moshe Dayan Center, Tel Aviv University.