Weekend long read

1) At the JNS Dan Diker and Khaled Abu Toameh discuss ‘Arab normalization and Palestinian radicalization: The Middle East tug of war’.

“The Abraham Accords have refuted the Palestinian leadership’s anti-normalization discourse that it has advanced in Arabic since May 1994 (eight months after the Oslo I Accord at the White House) when Arafat called for “jihad” from a Johannesburg mosque, and in English since the 2001 World Conference against Racism in Durban, South Africa, that launched the global BDS campaign against Israel. The P.A. al-tatbi (“anti-normalization”) crusade hit a “high note” in 2014 when Jibril Rajoub, the P.A.’s minister of sport and head of its Olympic Committee, launched an international campaign to expel Israel from the International Football Federation. At that time, he famously posted on his Facebook page, “Any activity of normalization in sports with the Zionist enemy is a crime against humanity.””

2) Raz Zimmt and Sima Shine analyse Iran’s reaction to the result of the US presidential election at the INSS.

“Iran appears satisfied with the results of the United States presidential elections, although more so by the defeat of Donald Trump than by the victory of Joe Biden. However, Tehran is aware that the tensions between the United States and its European partners, inter alia over the issue of the nuclear agreement – tensions that played in Iran’s favor – may dissipate. Against this background, with the heated debate within the Iranian political system regarding a return to negotiations with the US on the JCPOA, a number of key messages have been underscored: a demand for a complete lifting of sanctions as a condition for a return to the agreement, compensation to Iran for the damages caused by the sanctions, and total opposition to renegotiation of the 2015 deal, which Iran sees as a fait accompli. In the meantime, Iran’s nuclear program is progressing, although not at great speed, and in view of the limited period between Biden’s entering the White House (January 2021) and the Iranian presidential elections (June 2021) it is doubtful whether it will be possible to move forward with any agreement that will change the current trend.”

3) At the FDD Benham Ben Taleblu looks back at the 2019 protests in Iran.

“On November 15, 2019, protests began in major cities in Iran in response to the decision of the government of President Hassan Rouhani to revoke fuel-subsidies, drastically raising the cost of gasoline by nearly 50 percent overnight. Demonstrations soon mushroomed across more than 100 cities and towns over the next week, as protestors quickly turned an economic matter into a referendum on the regime itself. Iranians now refer to these events as the Aban protests, named for the Persian month in which they occurred.

The regime met these protests with a harsh crackdown, including a sustained internet blackout that limited the flow of information into and out of the country. Under the cover of this internet blackout, Iranian security forces moved against protestors ruthlessly with weapons of war.

Initial assessments of the death toll varied greatly, but a month after the demonstrations, a Reuters report citing unnamed Iranian official sources put it at about 1,500. The same report claimed that Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, said of the protests, “The Islamic Republic is in danger. Do whatever it takes to end it. You have my order.””

4) At the JCPA Pinhas Inbari discusses the Palestinian approach to the incoming US administration.

“On November 17, 2020, the PA announced it would restore PA-Israel security cooperation, accept $100 million a month in tax money collected for them by Israel, and restore salaries to public workers. With that, Abbas is signaling to the Biden administration his readiness to return to the negotiations – but on the PLO’s terms.  That includes restoration of American aid, a repeal of Trump’s policies on Jerusalem and the U.S. Embassy, 1967 boundaries, and a solution for Palestinian refugees. […]

The news that President Trump lost the elections was received in Ramallah with relief, not so much because of political prospects of renewing the peace talks, but because the Trump plan had annulled the PLO doctrine of the liberation of Palestine by “struggle” – military or political.  The path of “struggle” led the Palestinians to a deadlock; the path of a “deal” led to the normalization peace treaties between Israel and the Gulf States.”



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