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Israel Sustains Historic Loss of Life As Hamas, Iran Coordinate Major Terror Attack

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Israel is still reeling from a massive and depraved Hamas killing spree – current estimates place 700 Israelis dead with over 2,200 wounded and an estimated 100 kidnapped. This would mark Israel’s greatest loss of life since its reestablishment in 1948, and the murder of more Jews in one day since the Holocaust. Additionally, at least nine Americans have been killed, and according to Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs, Hamas has captured Americans as well.  

Some key developments are below.

Abraham Accords Partners Distancing from Israel, to the Pleasure of Palestinians and Iran

Hamas is believed to instigate the attack to quash prospects of a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Even US Secretary of State Antony Blinken conceded that “it wouldn’t be a surprise.”

Israel’s environmental minister was slated to visit Riyadh, the third of Israel’s ministers to do so in recent weeks.

The Wall Street Journal had also recently reported that Saudi Arabia was offering to increase oil output in exchange for a defense agreement with and more arms from the United States.

The attack has achieved its goal of putting normalization on ice, at least in the short term. America’s allies, some of whom have condemned Hamas in the past, have issued statements that are tepid at best. Saudi Arabia’s foreign ministry called on all sides to respect international law. The UAE called for an immediate ceasefire, although who its asking to do so is unclear from the statement. Morocco opposed targeting civilians “from any side.” Kuwait and Indonesia, once prospects for joining the Abraham Accords under the Trump administration, blamed Israel.

Iran Directed Attack 

Despite Secretary of State Antony Blinken saying that the State Department did not have information of Iran coordinating the attack, an article in the Wall Street Journal stated that yes, Iran had been planning this attack for weeks.

Further, a Hamas spokesman admitted that Iran directly supported the attack. And a spokesman from the Izzuddin Al-Qassam Brigades has also thanked Iran for its material support. Additionally, a senior Iran Revolutionary Guard Corp (IGRC) member said that “we support this operation…until the liberation of Palestine and Jerusalem.”

Palestinian Authority Supports Attack

Fatah supported the attack, calling it “a morning of victory, joy [and] pride.” 

And the Palestinian Authority helped to incite violence against Israel immediately preceding the attacks. A Fatah spokesman stated on PA TV that “the only way to liberate Palestine is the rifle.

President Abbas’ religious advisor called for Palestinians “to resist the occupation by all means.

Fatah posted on one of its Facebook pages that Palestinians “will not avoid sacrificing the best of its sons for freedom and independence.

Hamas Has, May Have Used US Weapons 

Some analysts are referencing a June report from an “ Israeli commander” that American weapons left during the retreat from Afghanistan ended up in the hands of Hamas. American weapons ending up in the hands of Hamas and being used against Israel, if true, would represent a further setback for American foreign policy in the region and a confined abandonment of our Allies by the Biden administration.

While too early to tell lasting impacts, Hamas has scored a short term victory by putting the Abraham Accords on  ice. It is becoming clear that Iran helped coordinate the attack, which was in turn enabled by inflammatory rhetoric from the PA. The Biden administration should at the very least cease funding the PA, and withdraw from negotiations with Iran.

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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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