Weekend long read

1) At WINEP Assaf Orion discusses an upcoming event to which the BBC briefly referred last week; ‘UNIFIL’s Yearly Mandate Renewal’.

“To prevent another war—UNIFIL’s original goal—the force needs to effectively discharge its mandate of limiting illicit military operations in the south or at least honestly report on them, but neither of these minimal requirements has been fulfilled. Instead, the Lebanese government has stepped up its efforts to prevent UNIFIL from encountering or exposing Hezbollah activities; the security margins established by Resolution 1701 have further eroded; and Hezbollah has increased its strength and activities in UNIFIL’s area of operations. This state of affairs is more than just a mission core failure—it represents a dangerous slope toward unwarranted escalation, as the UN’s June report correctly notes.”

2) At the INSS Orit Perlov and Gallia Lindenstrauss analyse ‘The Arab World on the Decision to Convert Hagia Sophia Back into a Mosque’.

“With few exceptions, the change in the status of Hagia Sophia was met in the Arab world with contemptuous rejection, scorn, and ridicule by political leaders and commentators, as well as in discussions on the social media. Exceptions included statements by Hamas spokesmen, who welcomed the “moment of pride for all Muslims,” and spokesmen from the Muslim Brotherhood, who praised the return of Hagia Sophia to the site’s “true status.” Among Arab leaders, the criticism reflects concern about the regional ambitions of Erdogan, who regards himself as the leader of the Muslim world, and is perceived as seeking to rejuvenate the Ottoman legacy. They also fear internal political threats from the Muslim Brotherhood movement.”

3) NGO Monitor reports on the halt of Dutch government funding to a Palestinian NGO.

“As a direct result of NGO Monitor research, the Dutch government is halting €8 million in funding, over three years, to the Palestinian NGO known as “UAWC.” The Dutch announced that it will also conduct an external investigation into UAWC’s ties to the PFLP terror group. […]

The Dutch government initially denied the allegations. However, after an internal review in the framework of parliamentary discussions, the Minister of Development confirmed NGO Monitor’s findings. She admitted that its funds were used to pay the salaries of two senior UAWC employees who were arrested for the murder of a 17-year-old Israeli in August 2019.”

4) At the Fathom Journal Ronnie Fraser looks at ‘The ‘Antisemite Ernest Bevin’ and the day Britain recognised the State of Israel’.

“Bevin’s primary reason for taking two years to recognise Israel, when it only took America minutes, was because Britain needed to rebuild her position in the region as the Arab defeat had a catastrophic effect on British influence there, with many Arabs blaming Britain for Israel’s creation. British policy towards Israel has always been decided by national self-interest and her wider Middle East policy was determined by her need for the friendship of key Arab states, as well as regular oil supplies. Britain’s relations with Israel came second and did not improve until 1958 when the Iraqi revolution threatened to destabilise Jordan. Both Israel and Britain then saw advantages in co-operating. This change in policy enabled Britain to sell military hardware to Israel and it was the start of new era of Anglo-Israeli relations.”


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