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Islands in the Straits of Tiran are part of the discussion between Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Israel and Saudi Arabia Move Toward Peace

Dion Nissenbaum at the Wall Street Journal reports:

Saudi Arabia is engaging in serious talks with Israel to build business ties and create new security arrangements as the conservative Islamic kingdom senses a shift among its public in favor of establishing official ties with the majority Jewish state.

Although Saudi Arabia doesn’t recognize Israel and has no diplomatic relations with its neighbor, the kingdom is expanding its secretive talks with Israeli leaders that could reshape Middle East politics and end decades of enmity between two of the region’s most influential nations.

The report adds that Saudi Prince Khalid bin Salman privately told people in Washington that recent polling in the Kingdom shows a shift, especially among Saudis under 30 years old, in favor of diplomatic relations with Israel.

Lahav Harkov at the Jerusalem Post writes:

Israel is set to agree to new security arrangements allowing Egypt to transfer control of two islands in the Straits of Tiran to Saudi Arabia… There is currently a multinational force on the islands of Tiran and Sanafir, which Saudi Arabia does not want there once they control the islands. Under a soon-to-be-announced deal, Israel will agree to have the forces stationed on what will remain Egyptian soil, several kilometers away.

In return, Saudi Arabia will allow Israeli airlines to fly over its airspace. Currently, only Israeli flights to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain can fly over Saudi Arabia, as well as Air India flights to and from Israel.

Further reading:
Orde Kittrie: Israeli-Saudi Deal Over Two Islands Is a Step Toward Peace

Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei.

Iran Isn't Happy about Israel-Saudi Moves

Of course, the positive moves in Israeli-Saudi relations are seen by Iran as a threat. Fars News Agency reported comments by Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, in which he urged those traveling to Saudi Arabia for the Muslim hajj to expose "the Zionists' plots and conspiracies." He said, apparently with the Abraham Accords and the recent Saudi news in mind:

The Arab and non-Arab governments that moved toward normalizing their relations with the Zionist regime, against the will of their nations and for the will of the United States, must know that these interactions will bring them nothing but exploitation at the hands of the Zionist regime.

Khamenei’s Twitter account is an outlet for Iran’s English-language propaganda. Yesterday that account posted this rank antisemitism:

Today, #Zionism is an obvious plague for the world of #Islam. The Zionists have always been a plague, even before establishing the fraudulent Zionist regime. Even then, Zionist capitalists were a plague for the whole world. Now they’re a plague especially for the world of Islam.

Yes, even before the establishment of Israel, the "Zionists" (read: Jews) were a plague (read: vermin) on the world. Iran is an enthusiastic student of the Nazis when it comes to antisemitic incitement.

Biden’s "Indecision" on Mideast Trip Hurts US

President Joe Biden announced last month that he would soon travel to the Middle East, with stops in Israel and Saudi Arabia. This week, that trip was postponed. Why? Some media reports point to scheduling issues. Perhaps it was because of political pressure.

Benny Avni at the New York Sun (paywall) writes that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) criticized the planned Biden meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, because of the prince’s reported involvement in the death of Washington Post opinion writer Jamal Khashoggi. The Washington Post editorial board made the same objection.

Avni notes that leftwing Democrats, including Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) opposed the trip because of the planned stop in Israel.

Avni writes that the trip Saudi Arabia was apparently intended to ask the Saudis for help: if the Saudis increase oil production, the eventual decrease in gas prices in the US might help Democrats, come November. Avni concludes that Biden’s "indecision" in the face of these competing pressures hurts the US, as “indecision becomes a signature of Mr. Biden’s foreign policy.”

Former US consulate to the Palestinians, now the home of the Palestinian Affairs Unit of the American Embassy.

Biden Admin Quietly Modifies Palestinian Office

Last week, we noted a report from the Times of Israel indicating that the Biden administration planned to boost diplomatic ties with the Palestinians in lieu of reopening the US Consulate in Jerusalem.

The State Department has now done exactly that. Reuters reports:

The United States upgraded its diplomatic mission to the Palestinians on Thursday, reversing a Trump administration move ahead of a planned visit by President Joe Biden.

The "Palestinian Affairs Unit" (PAU) was renamed the "US Office of Palestinian Affairs" (OPA) and will report directly to Washington "on substantive matters". Prior to becoming the PAU, it had been the US consulate in Jerusalem and a focus of Palestinian statehood goals in the city.

Former President Donald Trump formally closed the consulate and redesignated it as the PAU within the US Embassy that was moved to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in 2018.

Under the Trump-era redesignation, the former consulate's staff and functions remained largely identical, but were subordinate to the embassy rather than on a strict US-Palestinian bilateral track.

Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, responded to the administration’s "unofficial US consulate for Palestinians" in Jerusalem:

I unequivocally oppose this plan for what appears to be a new unofficial US diplomatic mission in Israel’s capital. This plan is inconsistent with the full and faithful implementation of the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 and suggests that the Administration is once again trying to undermine America’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s eternal and undivided capital.

RJC Victory Team volunteers knocked on doors in Pennsylvania in 2016.

RJC is Hiring Field Reps!

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We are actively reviewing resumes on a rolling basis for RJC Field Representatives in key battleground states like Georgia and Pennsylvania. Field Representatives work directly with the Political Director and RJC Victory Team volunteers to identify, persuade, and turn out Jewish voters to support Republican candidates up and down the ballot this November – work that is absolutely critical to winning back the US Senate and House of Representatives.

Click here for details and information on applying.


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Short Takes

The UN Commission of Inquiry: An Exercise in Historical Revisionism

The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has published an analysis by Prof. Anne Bayefsky on the report of the UN Human Rights Council’s Commission of Inquiry on Israel and the Palestinians. She writes: "The United Nations and its top human rights body, the UN Human Rights Council, is now engaged in an active campaign to destroy the state of Israel – by way of lethal politics. The tool is a 'Commission of Inquiry,' created last year by the Council, which has just reported for the first time. Its opening salvo: the Jewish state is a racist state, and discrimination by Jews of non-Jews is a driver and root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict." Read the Commission’s reports here.

'Foreign aid' to Israel is a billion-dollar bonanza for the US

Yoram Ettinger writes: The US does not give foreign aid to Israel, the US makes an annual investment in Israel, one that provides the American taxpayer a return on investment of several hundred percent… Israel enhances the economy, national security and homeland security of the United States.

What does the BDS movement really stand for? Unadulterated hate

Jonathan Tobin warns us about a Boston BDS group promoting a “Mapping Project” that creates maps of synagogues and other Jewish institutions, including schools in the state of Massachusetts, and attempts to tie them to the "occupation" of Palestine and a host of "harms" such as "racism," "policing," "US imperialism" and "ethnic cleansing." He writes: "It should be understood clearly what Boston BDS and its leftist allies are doing here. They are placing a target on American Jews—declaring that anything and everything associated with Jewish life in this country is fair game for false accusations of crimes against minorities, delegitimization, and, at the very least, hounding out of the public square and, perhaps, ultimately violence." More about the mapping project here.






National Volunteer Training via Zoom
Join the RJC Victory Team! Signing up for this volunteer training program is a critical step to help Republicans take back the US Senate and House of Representatives!





NY: National Legislative Update
Join us for this in-person event with RJC Congressional Affairs Director Noah Silverman.





AZ: Congressional Candidates Forum
Join us for this in-person event with candidates in AZ-04.





CA: Event with Rep.Young Kim
Save the date for this in-person event with the Congresswoman respresenting CA-40!




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