ISRAEL’S PLACE IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Sep 5, 2014 by

This week’s must-read article is Elliott Abrams‘ essay at Mosaic,What Now for Israel?” On Israel’s place in the Middle East, he writes:

The Saudis under King Abdallah, Egypt under General (now President) Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Jordan under King Abdullah, the PA under President Mahmoud Abbas, and Israel under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are essentially status-quo powers fearing and fighting the same enemies-enemies who wish to overturn the regional order and establish either an Iranian hegemony or an Islamist caliphate. All this leaves Israel and many Arab heads of state eyeing each other as potential allies rather than as perpetual foes.

Among the challenges facing these “status-quo powers,” Abrams lists American policy, Iran, Sunni extremism, the Palestinians’ internal weaknesses, and the virulent anti-Semitism of the “Arab street.” His clear-eyed, informed analysis is well worth your time.

Israel’s place in the Middle East has a new dimension: as regional natural gas supplier. “Israel signed a memorandum of understanding with Jordan Wednesday, under which it will supply the Hashemite Kingdom with $15 billion worth of natural gas from its Leviathan energy field over 15 years.” Israel also has natural gas deals with a Palestinian firm and an Egyptian facility.

Jonathan Tobin comments on this:

The larger point here is that rather than getting weaker as its opponents and critics have consistently predicted, Israel is getting stronger, both economically and militarily. Anyone who thinks the two factors are not linked should remember the decisive role technology in the form of the Iron Dome missile defense system played in determining the outcome of the fighting with Hamas…Rather than running out of time to make a peace that will save it, Israel actually has both the strength and the time to wait until a sea change in Palestinian and Arab political culture will make peace possible.

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