The overall Arab reaction to Operation Breaking Dawn was akin to their muted response to the death of Palestinian-American Shireen Abu Aqleh a while back. It appears to confirm that the Abraham Accords are both taking root and are for real, and Israel’s neighbors are prepared to move on from the Palestinian paralysis.

As we noted at the time of Ms. Abu Aqleh’s death, that was the first time most Arab countries, rather than issuing the customary hackneyed condemnations of Israel even before the facts were in, instead called for a “transparent” investigation into what really happened. Israel said at the time that it couldn’t determine whether the bullet came from an Israeli or Palestinian gun without further evidence. The Palestinians, of course, insisted from the start that the bullet came from an IDF gun but refused Israel’s offer to conduct a joint investigation. They initially refused to turn the bullet over for examination by third parties; in the end, the United States was given the bullet for study but the inquiry didn’t result in anything definitive.


In response to Operation Breaking Dawn, scholars and journalists in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain – hardly bastions of free speech or free press – took to condemning Islamic Jihad for provoking Israel. According to the Middle East Media Research Institute, as reported in Yeshiva World News, one prominent Saudi academic wrote:

“It is apparent that if at one time any confrontation between Israel and the Palestinian organizations would attract world and Arab attention and provoke a wave of anger [against Israel], today this does not shock most Arabs and most of the world’s [countries]. Furthermore, even a sense of human solidarity [with Palestinians] has become rare and embarrassing, raising the question, Why [is this so] and who is to blame?

Is it because the [Palestinian] side [leading] the confrontation is an extremist Islamist organization [Islamic Jihad] whose activity is subordinate to orders from Iran… Or is it because this is an outcome of the Palestinian leaders’ cumulative failures throughout history in dealing with the Palestinian cause?”

This theme that the Palestinian cause has morphed into a confrontation between Israel and Iran in which few Arab states have an abiding interest was echoed by some others as well.

Another leading Saudi journalist mocked Iran for not only making empty threats to “wipe Israel off the map” but also manipulating Palestinians in Gaza to attack Israel and then leaving them to suffer the consequences.

The same message from a UAE academic: Iran has repeated declarations to “deal with Israel’s crimes “ for 40 years, but failed to take any action. Also, a UAE daily condemned Islamic Jihad writing that since Iran is too cowardly to directly confront Israel, “Gaza is the sole outlet for an Iranian response and for the settling of accounts between Iran and Israel, with the Palestinians the ones paying the price.

We were also intrigued by a Jerusalem Post report on a increasing denouncement among Arab youth of Hamas and Islamic Jihad’s actions against Israel. It seems that after the Abraham Accords agreements and other steps taken by the Arab countries, like the recent formal opening of Saudi airspace to Israel overflights, more young Arabs are condemning Islamic Jihad and Hamas for using Gaza as a launching pad to start wars with Israel. They see that in countries controlled by Iran – Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen – the people suffer daily with their basic needs for survival, while in the Arab countries that signed the Abraham Accords people enjoy a better quality of life.

We hope that the Biden Administration recognizes the current dynamic in the Middle East – and acts accordingly.


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