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A historic day (2)


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Power Line

Scott Johnson

Sept. 16 2020

Thinking a bit more about the Abraham Accords signing ceremony at the White House yesterday, I want to salute President Trump. Hearing Arab officials refer to Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu in friendly terms before a worldwide audience is mind-boggling. Trump has done a good thing that continues his great undoing of the worst “achievements” of the Obama administration.

In order to arrive at this destination, the Trump administration had to swim upstream against the conventional wisdom of the liberal political/media establishment. The Washington Free Beacon video below compiles the higher wisdom condemning Trump’s relocation of our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This video frames the picture perfectly.



The Hoover Institution has coincidentally just posted the late Fouad Ajami’s essay “The Saudi riddle.” Ajami recalls that three months into its tenure, the Obama administration dispatched Dennis Ross to Saudi Arabia to lay out to King Abdullah the American policy toward Iran. Ajami quotes the New York Times’s Roger Cohen “telling narrative” of the meeting:


[Ross] talked to a skeptical monarch about the Obama administration’s policy with Iran—and talked and talked. When the king finally got to speak, he began by telling Ross: “I am a man of action. Unlike you, I prefer not to talk a lot.” Then he posed several pointed questions about US policy toward Iran: What is your goal? What will you do if this does not work? What will you do if the Chinese and the Russians are not with you? How will you deal with Iran’s nuclear program if there is not a united response? Ross, a little flustered, tried to explain that policy was still being fleshed out.


Walter Russell Mead’s Wall Street Journal column “The long road to Israel’s very good month.” Mead writes:


Not since May 1948, when both the U.S. and the Soviet Union recognized the state of Israel in the critical weeks of its war for independence, has Israel had a diplomatic month like this. On Aug. 13, the United Arab Emirates and Israel signed an agreement to normalize relations, with the formal ceremony to be held Tuesday in Washington with President Trump. On Sept. 11, Bahrain followed suit. The Palestinian Authority, holding the rotating chair of the Arab League, introduced a resolution condemning the U.A.E. move at a Zoom session of Arab foreign ministers, but in a shocking departure from past practice, the motion failed to pass. On Sept. 13 another Arab nation, Oman, issued a statement of support for Bahrain’s decision to normalize relations.

Meanwhile, defying pressure from the European Union and in exchange for Israeli recognition of Kosovo’s independence, Kosovo became the first Muslim-majority country in the world to agree to place an embassy in Jerusalem in another Trump-brokered deal. (The status of a similar pledge from Serbia isn’t clear.)

With Saudi Arabia allowing flights from Israel to the U.A.E. to pass over its territory and Morocco reported to be close to allowing direct flights to the Jewish state, something of a tipping point seems to have been reached in the Middle East. Resentment of Zionism and sympathy for the Palestinians will no longer be allowed to interfere with what embattled Arab rulers see as a vital relationship.



A historic day

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The Washington Post professes concern about Israel’s peace deal

Paul Mirengoff

September 16, 2020

Israel’s peace agreement with the UAE and Bahrain, signed yesterday at the White House, is historic. It hasn’t happened before, nor has Israel entered into such a deal since 1994 (with Jordan).

The extent to which the deal is historically significant can be debated (but won’t be in this post). However, for those who wish Israel well (and who don’t have an ax to grind with Donald Trump or Benjamin Netanyahu), it is difficult to criticize the agreement.

The Washington Post doesn’t meet this test. Thus, it greeted the deal yesterday with a front page story professing concern that the deal will spark an arms race in the Middle East.

In doing so, the Post was peddling Nancy Pelosi’s take on the deal. She has raised questions “regarding the commitment the UAE has received from the Trump administration to purchase American made F-35 aircraft.”

A Middle East arms race sounds ominous, but what are we really talking about when we use that expression in this context? It’s true that, pursuant to this deal, the UAE and Israel will both increase their military capabilities.


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