News Digest — 6/23/23

Survey: 48% Of Israelis Support Military Operation In Judea And Samaria

Nearly half of Israelis support the launch of a large-scale military operation in Judea and Samaria following recent deadly terror attacks, according to a new poll conducted by Panels Politics Institute Director Dr. Menachem Lazar for Maariv.

In response to the question, whether following the recent terrorist attacks Israel should launch a large-scale military operation in Judea and Samaria, the results were: 48% answered – “yes,” 26% answered – “no,” and 26% answered – “I don’t know.”

71% of respondents who voted for parties in the current coalition supported a military operation, while only 9% of coalition voters said no.  20% said that they did not know.

500 participants took part in the online survey, which has a margin of error of 4.3%.



Israel Concerned About Abraham Accord States’ Ties With Iran

A senior Israeli diplomat expressed concern at Abraham Accord states’ improving relations with Iran this week.

Foreign Ministry Political Director Aliza Bin Noun expressed concerns about Bahrain reestablishing relations with Iran during a visit to Manama this week, diplomatic sources said.

In addition, she inquired as to why the volume of visits to Israel from Bahrain has been lower than it was in the first year after the two countries established diplomatic relations in 2020. 

Bahraini officials assured Bin Noun that ties with Iran will not negatively impact relations with Israel and promised there would be more visits, the diplomatic source said.

Bin Noun tweeted after her visit that she had “a productive exchange with Dr. Sheikh Abdullah bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Foreign Affairs Ministry Undersecretary for Political Affairs, about enhancing Israel & Bahrain ties.  Israel is committed to developing our cooperation with Bahrain with the spirit of the Abraham Accords.”

The Foreign Ministry denied that those were the topics of discussion in Bahrain and said that they do not give information on diplomatic conversations.  Bin-Noun’s meetings were about “bilateral and regional matters,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Bahrain is likely to resume diplomatic ties with Iran in the near future, US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Barbara Leaf said in the US House of Representatives last week.  Bahrain cut ties with Iran in 2016, after an attack on the Saudi Embassy in Tehran, but Saudi Arabia – with whom Israel hopes to establish relations – has restored relations with Iran.

The United Arab Emirates, the first country to announce normalization with Israel in the framework of the Abraham Accords in 2020, has also taken steps to improve relations with Iran, with that country’s foreign minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian meeting with the UAE’s President Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Thursday (22nd),

Morocco, which also announced restored ties with Israel in 2020, called off the Negev Forum Summit of foreign ministers from the United States, Israel and Arab nations, which was postponed indefinitely due to expedited  settlement activity.

The key forum of the US, Israel and the Arab states with which Israel has relations  (Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco, though not Jordan), was established by the previous Israeli government with a foreign ministers’ meeting in Sde Boker in March 2022 to translate the promise of the Abraham Accords into action.

Morocco, which had planned to host the meeting, canceled it after the Israeli government voted on Sunday (18th) to expedite the procedure to approve construction in Judea and Samaria.  The vote was followed by an announcement of 4,560 housing units in settlements.



Poll: Arab Youth In Morocco, UAE And Egypt Support Peace With Israel

Youth in Morocco, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Egypt are generally in favor of their respective nations’ normalization of relations with Israel, the 2023 Arab Youth Survey conducted by ASDA’A BCW, a public relations agency in Dubai, found.

The home countries of the survey’s respondents have signed the Abraham Accords, a series of joint normalization statements between Israel and other countries in the Middle East.

In Morocco, 50% of young Arabs “strongly support” or “somewhat support” relations with Israel, with the percentage among UAE and Egypt youth reaching 75% and 73%, respectively.

In Bahrain, 53% of respondents said they “strongly oppose” or somewhat oppose” normalizing relations with Israel.

Of the other 14 countries included in the survey, most saw a  consensus in opposition, with respondents in Iraq and the Palestinian territories both being 100% opposed to closer connections with Israel.

Respondents from Saudi Arabia and North Africa were also strongly opposed to normalizing relations with Israel.

86% of survey participants believe that the Jewish state is an enemy to their own countries, showing that the perception of Israel among Arab youth is still overwhelmingly negative.

According to the results of the survey, young Arabs in North Africa do not believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be settled any time soon and only one-third of those surveyed think that the Arab world is giving the issue “adequate attention and focus.”

Throughout March and April, ASDA’A BCW conducted 3,600 interviews with Arab youth and young adults across 18 nations and 53 cities in the Middle East and North Africa.  The Arab Youth Survey for this year gives a general overview of the “largest demographic in the Arab world.”  The margin of error for the poll is 1.6%.



Behind The Escalating Palestinian Terror Offensive – Caroline Glick

The factors pushing the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria to escalate their terror assaults on Israel include the succession battle in anticipation of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’ death.  Abbas, 88 and ailing, was reportedly hospitalized last week during an official visit to China.  Palestinian terror groups are the only viable quasi-political forces in Palestinian society.  Their means for achieving  both public support and military power is by killing Israeli Jews.  the more Jews they murder, the greater their perceived power and public support.

The second factor is the availability of weapons that enter from Jordan.  The third factor feeding the violence is the erosion of Israel’s deterrent power over young Palestinian terrorists.  ‘Operation Defensive Shield,’ when IDF forces restored Israel’s security control over Judea and Samaria after eight years of PA role, was 21 years ago.  Most of the terrorists attacking Israel today weren’t even born then.

The fourth factor emboldening the Palestinians is the U.S. administration’s desire to blame Palestinian terrorism on Israel, along with its massive financial and military assistance to the PA despite the PA’s underwriting and sponsorship of terrorism and rejection of Israel’s right to exist.  In blaming Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria and IDF counterterrorism operations for Palestinian massacres of Israelis, the administration is effectively embracing the Palestinian narrative.

The writer is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy.



Current Biden Administration Increases Aid To UN Palestinian Agency Despite Anti-Semitism In Schools

The US Department of State has increased its 2023-24 contribution to a UN agency assisting Palestinian “refugees” despite widespread concern that anti-Semitism and jihadi violence is openly taught in schools it administers in the Palestinian territories.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), founded in 1949, will receive an additional $16.2 million this year, the State Department announced on Wednesday (21st), bringing the total dollar amount that it will take in from the US under a framework agreement finalized in April to $223 million.  Since 2021, the US has provided UNRWA $940 million.

On Thursday (22nd), Israeli education watchdog Impact-se, citing numerous reports it has authored about anti-Semitic teachers and curricular materials in UNRWA administered schools, criticized the funding boost.

“UNRWA not only teaches the hate filled Palestinian curriculum but produces its own extremist teaching materials,” Impact-se CEO Marcus Sheff said on Thursday (22nd) in a press release.  “The US seems to be bucking the global trend in increasing its funding to UNRWA while the organization does nothing to stop the hate teaching.”

The announcement of additional funding for UNRWA comes amid repeated calls for defunding the agency from US lawmakers.



Egyptian Writer Condemns Those Celebrating Killing Of Three Israeli Soldiers At Border

• Dalia Ziada, an Egyptian writer who is executive director of the MEEM Center for Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean Studies in Cairo, has condemned those who celebrated the killing of three Israeli soldiers on June 3 by an Egyptian policeman.  Ziada wrote on her Facebook page, which has 30,000 followers, that Israel should not be viewed as an enemy of Egypt, as it has supported Egypt on multiple occasions.

• “Anyone who truly loves Egypt cannot possibly be joyful or celebrate such an event, nor consider it a heroic act in any way…. What heroic act is there in trespassing the borders of a neighboring country with which we have a peace treaty and years of security cooperation, as well as countless economic interests?”

• “The unprecedented cooperation between Egypt and Israel in recent years has been one of the most important factors in Egypt’s success in overcoming a very critical phase in its history, amidst combating terrorism and facing immense economic challenges.”

• “During the period between 2013-2015, when Hamas elements infiltrated Sinai and later pledged allegiance to ISIS, Israeli forces were fighting alongside Egyptian forces against terrorism in Sinai.”

• “Israel is not an enemy of Egypt.  Israel is Egypt’s direct neighbor and one of the countries that stood by Egypt in its most critical times.  There is absolutely no reason to ignite conflict with it.”

• “Anyone who does so or encourages it harms Egypt’s interests greatly…especially considering all the positive and loving attitudes of Israel towards Egypt that I have witnessed firsthand.”