January 2, 2019

Report: Arab League Ready to Readmit Syria

Eight years after suspending the Assad regime for its ruthless quashing of protests that led to a civil war, the Arab League is going to bring Syria back into its membership roll in 2019, The Guardian reported Wednesday (26th).

Certain countries among the current 22-member alliance have already begun publicly meeting with Syrian officials, with the highest-level one being Sudanese Omar al-Bashir, who visited Damascus earlier this month.

According to the report, this was also seen as signaling a rapprochement with Arab League powerhouse Saudi Arabia, which has grown closer to Sudan ever since it severed relations with Saudi rival Iran in 2016.

Signaling a further thawing of Arab relations with Syria, it was announced Thursday (27th) that the Damascus embassy of the United Arab Emirates is set to reopen this week after being shuttered since 2011.

The Saudis reportedly hope that bringing Syria back into the fold will reduce Iran’s influence in Damascus, an outgrowth of its heavy military support for the regime.

The oil giant’s deep pockets may tempt Assad away from Iran, as he faces an estimated $400 billion price tag to rebuild his country.  Iran can’t compete with Saudi money, especially with renewed U.S. sanctions weighing on its economy.

The Guardian reports that the United States is pressuring the Saudis and Egyptians to delay a vote on Syria’s entry into the Arab League.  In general, the West is not enamored with normalizing relations with the Assad regime unless a peace agreement between all warring parties is signed.  Free and fair elections for the presidency may be another Western demand.

(worldisraelnews.com; jpost.com)


Danon Prepares To Block Palestinian Appeal For Full UN Membership

The Palestinian Authority’s foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki, announced on Wednesday (26th) that the PA will appeal to the United Nations Security Council to gain recognition as a full member-state of the UN.

The request comes against the backdrop of the Security Council’s quarterly discussion on the “Situation in the Middle East,” which is expected to take place on January 15 and focus primarily on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In response to the PA’s announcement, Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said that he is preparing to block the Palestinian initiative in cooperation with the United States delegation, Israel’s Mission to the UN said.

“Even as it continues to pay salaries to terrorists every month, encourage violence and lead an unrelenting campaign of incitement against Israel, the Palestinian Authority has the audacity to ask the Security Council to recognize it as a full member-state of the UN,” Danon stated.

“Instead of focusing on building a better and more hopeful future for the Palestinians and helping to ensure stability in the region, the Palestinian leadership is continuing its destructive policies that have encouraged recent terror attacks, including the murder of four-day-old baby Amiad Yisrael,” he said, referring to the Palestinian shooting of a pregnant woman in the abdomen earlier this month.



Palestinians Learn To Hate – Nadav Shragal

Palestinians are not born hating Jews.  That hatred is learned. This is how for generations they have been churning out terrorists who shoot, stab and run over pregnant women, children asleep in their beds, and soldiers and police officers on guard duty.

The Palestinians feed their children hatred with their mother’s milk.  Where else in the world will you find a society that gives babies names like “Knife of Jerusalem” and posts pictures of them on Facebook holding weapons in their tiny hands?  Where else on earth are sports teams, streets and schools named after the murderers of children and the elderly?

While in Israeli society we fight the agents of hatred and try to cast them out from among us, religious figures in the Palestinian Authority explain that the conflict with Israel is an eternal war commanded by God and that hating and killing Jews is the will of Allah.  The problem is not just the murderers themselves, it is the masses in Palestinian society who stand behind them.

The writer, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a veteran journalist and commentator.



Eyeing New Diplomatic And Economic Horizons, Netanyahu Heads To Brazil

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu left for Brazil Thursday evening (27th) for a six-day trip focused on improving diplomatic and economic ties with Latin America’s largest country.

The main event of the trip – the first-ever to the country by an Israeli prime minister – will be the inauguration of Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro on January 1.

Netanyahu will also meet with other senior members of the Brazilian government, as well as leaders of the local Jewish community, before returning to Israel on January 2.  He is also scheduled to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will represent the Trump administration at Bolsonaro’s inauguration.

“This visit will also bring important diplomatic news: a turnaround in Israel’s relations with the largest country in Latin America,” Netanyahu said Sunday (23rd) during Israel’s weekly cabinet meeting.  “Step by step, methodically and persistently, we are turning Israel into a rising global power.”

Calling his visit “historic,” the prime minister also stressed the vast economic opportunities that lie in closer ties with Brasilia.

Bolsonaro, a strong supporter of Israel, has vowed at some point to move his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and to close the Palestinian embassy in Brasilia.

Brazil supported both Israel and the United States recently during a US-proposed United Nations General Assembly resolution condemning Hamas on December 7 – even before Bolsonaro officially took office.



Air BNB Embroiled in Controversy After Refusing to House People in Judea and Samaria

Air BNB, an online booking company for travel accommodations, became embroiled in a controversy when they refused to house people in the Territories of Judea and Samaria. The company claimed its refusal was based on “listings in Israeli settlements in the Occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.” This action affects 200 settlement homes.The Israeli government will seek to limit the company’s access in Israel. Minister Levin calls the action “hypocritical and disgusting,” and will possibly seek legal action both in Israel and the United States against the company. 

While Air BNB says it rejects the Boycott Divest and Sanction against Israel unequivocally, it still panders to the actions of the movement. To truly distance itself from the movement, they must reconsider their view and allow people to stay in housing in the territories to allow “more people from around the world to enjoy the wonders of the country and its people.” 

Tim Munger, The Friends of Israel Staff Writer