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Biden Administration Continues to Undermine Israel

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The Biden administration continues to pressure Israel against its own national interests. Israel’s democratically elected coalition government is not good enough for President Biden, who recently called it “one of the most extremist…cabinets that I’ve seen.” Despite Israel’s coalition pursuing judicial reform that strengthens democracy in the country, US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides stated that the US wants to prevent Israel from “going off the rails” on such reform. Clearly siding with the protesters, the White House also told Israel to “protect and respect the right of peaceful assembly.”

 

Additionally, the Biden administration is undermining Israel’s national interests by supporting a “two-state solution,” opposing “settlements,” hating on prospects of a Saudi-Israel peace, and joining UNESCO.

 

“Two-State Solution” / “Settlements”

The Biden administration continues to peddle the so-called “two-state solution.” In a recent interview with CNN, President Biden remarked that “I am one of those who believes that Israel’s ultimate security rests in a two-state solution.” This is despite the reality of the multiple wars that the Palestinians have initiated against Israel after the Oslo Accords and the so-called “peace process.”

Additionally, in that interview, Biden said that certain members of Israel’s cabinet [he did not mention any by name] are “…part of the problem…particularly individuals in the cabinet who would say…we [i.e., the “settlers”] could settle anywhere we want, they [i.e., the Palestinians] have no right to be here, et cetera.” This is despite the fact that Israel has an inalienable right to build in Judea and Samaria both historically and according to international law.

And the Biden administration has forced Israel’s hand on the “settlements” recently, as it was integral in getting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to postpone hearings on constructing in the E-1 corridor in both March and June of this year. E-1 falls within Area C of to the Oslo Accords, and coincidentally is also within Judea, the ancient homeland of the Jewish people. E-1 also serves to join Jerusalem with Ma’aleh Adumim, and to also provide a buffer between Jerusalem and Palestinian-administered Bethlehem.

Saudi/Israel Normalization

The Biden administration is undercutting prospects for a Saudi-Israeli normalization pact through its negative public statements on the issue. President Biden recently said:  “We’re a long way from [reaching a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel].”Biden also said that “…whether or not we would provide a means by which they could have civilian nuclear power and/or be a guarantor of their security, that is — I think that is a little way off.” This remark is jarring, given the Biden administration’s willingness to allow Iran to have [at least] civilian nuclear power, as shown in the administration’s shuttle diplomacy with Iran in Oman. These statements follow earlier remarks by Secretary of State Antony Blinken that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict undermines prospects of an Israeli-Saudi deal. Statements like these push Saudi Arabia and Israel further away from reaching peace with each other.

US Joins UNESCO

Days ago, the US formally re-joined UNESCO, following multiple statements of the Biden administration announcing its desire to do so. Both the US and Israel, under President Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, announced their intent to withdraw from the organization in October 2017, following through in January 2019. UNESCO has long had a pro-Palestinian bias. In 2010, UNESCO called the Tomb of Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, recognized as Jewish Heritage sites by Muslims for centuries, as “Palestinian Heritage Sites” in “the occupied Palestinian territory.” UNESCO then made similar declarations in 2017 and 2018. Included in these statements was UNESCO referring to Rachel’s Tomb as a “mosque,” adopting Palestinian propaganda that had begun referring to the tomb as such only beginning in 1996. UNESCO also called the Golan Heights “Occupied Syrian Golan” in a separate statement in 2018.

The Biden administration continues to undermine its greatest ally in the region by supporting a “two-state solution,” opposing “settlements,” undermining Saudi-Israel peace negotiations, and joining UNESCO. For it to contribute to durable peace in the region, the Biden administration must support the Abraham Accords, withdraw from negotiations with Iran, and cease bullying Israel on issues critical to its national security.

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Israel

In Wake of Abraham Accords, Saudi Arabia Revises Textbooks

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Follow Steve Postal: @HebraicMosaic

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In the aftermath of the 2020 Abraham Accords, which Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman helped to broker behind the scenes, Saudi Arabia continues to slowly tilt towards reform. Most noticeably, it is continuing to improve its textbooks, previously a source of glorification of terrorism and anti-Jewish and anti-Christian hatred. According to a recent report analyzing the kingdom’s textbooks from 2022-2023, key reforms include the following:

Praise for jihad continues to be removed. The report notes that most problematic passages glorifying martyrdom and jihad had been removed from Saudi textbooks by 2021-2022, but this trend continues. Passages removed include a reference that “all sins of the martyr will be forgiven, except debt,” that jihad is “the climax of Islam” and that jihad means “fighting the enemies for the protection of religion, land, and worshipers.”

Problematic opinions on Jews and Christians removed. According to the report, Saudi Arabia has removed “almost all” defamatory anti-Jewish and anti-Christian textbook passages. Passages removed include: references that some Jews and Christians worship Satan and idols; that Allah turned some Jews into pigs and apes; that some Jews and Christians falsified Allah’s word; that Jews and Christians lied about prophets in the Torah and the New Testament; negative opinions of how Jews and Christians portray Jesus; implicit references of Jews and Christians as enemies of Islam; and that Jews and Christians are polytheists.

New criticism of the Muslim Brotherhood. In contrast to Qatar, who supports the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hamas, who is the Muslim Brotherhood branch that many Palestinians support, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates have all recognized the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. In line with that stance, Saudi Arabia’s textbooks become increasingly critical of the Islamist movement. One textbook stated that groups formed under the Muslim Brotherhood “wreaked havoc in the country and among the people, as known and evident in crimes of violence and terrorism around the world.” Further, that textbook comments that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “deviant group based on arguing with rulers, rebelling against leaders, stirring up strife in countries, destabilizing coexistence in the unified nation, and describing Islamic societies as ignorant.” A second textbook warns that the Muslim Brotherhood “instigate(s) civil wars in countries” and is “a terrorist group.”

New criticism of other “deviant groups.” Further, one Saudi textbook labelled “Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Tablighi Jamaat, and other parties and sects” are “deviant groups” and “terrorist sects and parties” that “seek to divide societies, incite them, and exploit religion for their interests.” Another textbook labelled “The Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra, Hezbollah, the Houthis, the Sururiyya” as “errant groups” that are “purportedly religious but are in fact the opposite.”

“Slight” reforms on opinions on Israel and Zionism. The report qualifies that reforms on the portrayal of Israel and Zionism are “slight” but that those reforms are “are an encouraging sign that progress may include attitudes toward Israel and Zionism [in the future].” Saudi textbooks removed a libel falsely accusing Israel of the 1969 arson of the al-Aqsa mosque (which was carried out by an Australian Christian fundamentalist), an excerpt defining “patriotic poetry” to include that which “oppos[es] the Jewish settlement of Palestine,” and passages glorifying the First Intifada at Israel’s expense. However, textbooks continue to not recognize Israel, not include it in maps, and refer to it as an “occupying” power.

While Saudi Arabia still has room for improvement in reforming its textbooks, it has made significant headway in its education about jihad, Jews and Christians in recent years. These reforms, coupled with increased religious tolerance from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco, is a direct outgrowth of the Abraham Accords. The Biden administration should capitalize on this opening by formally bringing the kingdom into the Abraham Accords. Saudi Arabia’s ascension into the Accords would serve as a powerful check on Iranian and other Islamist forces, and advance American interests in the region.

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