Newsletter of September 5th, 2020
Updated: Oct 27, 2020
Internal and External Current Events
The recent UAE-Israel Peace Deal's ink has dried, and as relations begin to warm, the protests against the deal have been overwhelming. That is to say, the silence is deafening. Even regarding the Coronavirus as a factor, there have been little in terms of mass demonstrations against the peace deal. Reports range from hundreds in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, thousands in Pakistan and less than a hundred outside of the UAE embassy in Iran ("Thousands", 2020, par 1) ("Palestinians", 2020, par 1) ("Hundreds", 2020, par 1) ("Iran", 2020, par 8).
These meager numbers stand in stark contrast to internal protests against the Israeli prime minister Netanyahu in Israel itself, which has drawn thousands out for over 8 weeks, and pales in comparison to the million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who striked after the Israeli-Jordanian peace deal, or even the 300 who protested in Amman (Peleg, 2020, par 1) (Andoni, 1994, par 2) ("Jordan Peace", 1994, par 1).
Looking further into this odd lack of protest, coming from the same region that the Arab Spring occurred just 10 years prior, Prof. Hillel Frisch points out that a lot of the images showing Palestinian protesters skew old in terms of its participants (2020, par 7). His analysis, as follows, is mostly his belief that the Arab public has matured politically and is growing more comfortable with the idea of Israel (pars 10-11). The explanation is sound, but there are two blank spots that he has overlooked.
Firstly, as a blanket statement, peace is positive. The growth of economic and political ties between the UAE and Israel, as stated last week, will lead to the two nations having more prosperous societies. There is a lot to be said about grudges, but after nearly three-quarters of a century spent fighting its creation, one could easily draw the conclusion that the Arab world is growing tired of the persistent conflict.
The other issue is that of the non-Arab protests. As mentioned earlier, more Pakistanis came out to protest the peace deal as a betrayal of Palestine than actual Palestinians. In the coming years, it will be interesting to see how the Arab world comes to terms with Israel, and how non-Arab nations which were or are becoming hostile - especially Pakistan, Turkey and Iran, but to a lesser extent nations like Somalia, Bangladesh and Indonesia - will cope once they can no longer use the excuse of "but Palestine" to justify their lack of ties.
Andoni, L. (1994). Jordan-Israel pact unites Palestinians in protest; Arafat says the pact will block future Palestinian attempts to win control of East Jerusalem. The Christian Science Monitor, 234.
Frisch, H. (2020, September 3). The Israel-UAE Agreement's Greatest Achievement: Little Arab Protest. The Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/israel-uae-peace-protest/
Hundreds of Palestinians protest in West Bank against Israel-UAE deal. (2020, August 19). France 24. https://www.france24.com/en/20200819-hundreds-of-palestinians-protest-in-west-bank-against-israel-uae-deal
Iran threatens 'dangerous future' for UAE after Israel deal. (2020, August 15). Associated Press. https://apnews.com/fde0a01ac79d044afa1cc3585ff45be8
Jordan Peace Agreement Protest. (1994, July 27). Associated Press. http://eds.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.lib.usf.edu/eds/detail/detail?vid=5&sid=fd85bb66-0b64-4a9b-a4ca-81df0a86ee9e%40sessionmgr4007&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#AN=1a8a69514b005b252cec4e4831e77787&db=apg
Palestinians in Gaza rally against Israel-UAE deal. (2020, August 19). Al Jazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/08/palestinians-gaza-rally-israel-uae-deal-200819114138805.html
Peleg, B. (2020, August 16). 'UAE deal won't keep us at home': Anti-Netanyahu Protests Draw Thousands. Haaretz. https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-thousands-of-anti-netanyahu-protesters-gather-in-jerusalem-1.9074996
Thousands protest UAE-Israel peace deal in Pakistan. (2020, August 18). Middle East Monitor. https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20200818-thousands-protest-uae-israel-peace-deal-in-pakistan/
On August 21st, Israel confirmed that 12 rockets from the Gaza Strip were launched towards Israel overnight. Nine of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome. In response, Israel launched 3 airstrikes at targets that were linked to Hamas rulers. It has been confirmed that there were no casualties, however, there was damage to property and bomb disposal units were dispatched to help collect rocket parts. In response to the recent attacks, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the army “is prepared, is protecting and will continue to protect the people of the south, and will attack the attackers in turn, inflicting serious damage.” The Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also put out a response saying that the military “will respond with force and determination, sortie after sortie, and will continue even if it requires patience and time. The statement put out by Hamas and other groups was that “we will not allow the enemy to continue the unjust siege on our people, who have the right to express their rejection to this siege by all means.” They also have said that they will continue to respond to any Israeli airstrikes on militant sites that will continue to come.
Akram, F. (2020, August 21). Gaza Militants Fire 12 Rockets, Israel Strikes Hamas Targets. Retrieved September 04, 2020, from https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2020-08-21/gaza-militants-fire-12-rockets-israel-strikes-hamas-targets
Professionally known in her music career as Ofra Haza, Batsheva Ofra Haza-Ashkenazi was an internationally successful star. Ofra Haza was from a Yemeni Jewish family living in a neighborhood of Tel Aviv and was the youngest of nine kids. Her success came from her unique and powerful sound, giving her the nickname “Israeli Madonna.” In her career she has produced well over 20 albums and multiple singles. In 1983, Ofra Haza was nominated to represent Israel in the Eurovision song contest, a competition where many different countries, mainly Europe, come together and perform original music to compete for best song.
The winner of the competition then brings the Eurovision song contest of the following year to their home country. Notable performers include: ABBA, Celine Dion, and Netta Barzilai. Ofra Haza sang the song “Chai” which later became the highest selling album of her entire career. At Eurovision this song awarded her second place, beat by a singer from Luxembourg.
A year later she continued her international success through the album “Shirei Teiman”, composed of Yemenite songs and music Haza heard throughout her childhood. This album topped charts in not only Israel but in the USA and Europe. Haza also collaborated with many other big-name stars, including Paula Abdul, and sang on the soundtracks of popular movies, including The Prince of Egypt. At the age of 42, Ofra Haza passed away due to AIDS-related pneumonia. Her death affected Israel deeply, and multiple tributes were made to her in her honor, carrying on her legacy.
Upset that the Birthright Israel trips were cancelled this year?
Wish you could’ve tasted the famous foods of the holy land?
Look no further than Mana Mana , an Israeli restaurant conveniently located in Clearwater.
Ami, the chef and owner of Mana Mana is no stranger to the restaurant business or delicious food, and he’ll be sure to show you the culinary experience that your summer was missing! In the 90s, Ami had owned two restaurants in Tel Aviv, which he eventually sold to move to New York. After getting into some real estate for a while, he ultimately found his way back to the restaurant industry out of his passion for making exceptional food. Mana Mana opened seven years ago in Clearwater and has continued to serve the local business district on their lunch break and others needing to get a taste of Israel! If you’re already an avid lover of shawarma and falafel, or you’re ready to try something new, then Mana Mana is your place. Ami serves up these Middle Eastern classics Israeli style, with some out of this world flavor that make you feel like you’re on the Tel Aviv beach vibing to Omer Adam. So, if you’re ever in Clearwater, be sure to stop by, you’ll probably never go anywhere else for your fix!