The conspiracy theory of the UAE-Israel agreement

Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, smiles during a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington.  (photo: Andrew Harnik / AP,  File)
The Arab leaders who have recognized and normalized with Israel have stated they have not betrayed the Palestinians. Do they know something that we do not know?

By Gershon Baskin  | The Jerusalem Post  |  Sept 16, 2020

The ambitious plan of MBZ, if successful, will turn the entire Middle East upside down.

I have heard a lot of conspiracy theories over the years, but I tend not to believe them. This is the latest one I heard, and there might be something to it. It seeks to explain why Arab states are breaking out from the Arab Peace Initiative, which promised Israel recognition and normalization only after the creation of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Now, one Arab state after the other is recognizing and normalizing relations with Israel without any concessions from Israel on the Palestinian issue.

Continue reading “The conspiracy theory of the UAE-Israel agreement”

6th Annual Conference: Responding to the Kairos/Global Call

Rifat Kassis
Please join Kairos Puget Sound Coalition (KPSC) along with co-sponsors Jewish Voice for Peace/Portland and JVP/Tacoma for this 6th annual conference. The key note speaker will be Rifat Kassis, co-author of “A Moment of Truth, the Kairos Palestine Document”.  Mark Braverman, executive director of Kairos USA and manager of the Kairos Portal website will facilitate the Q&A and discussion following Rifat’s presentation. 
  Saturday, October 10, 2020  
  10:00 am – 12:00 pm (PDT)  
  Zoom Virtual Event  
  Event Flyer  
  Free, Zoom registration required  
Event Details

Rifat Odeh Kassis is a Palestinian Christian, who was born in Beit Sahour, in the West Bank. He is a human rights, political and community activist, as well as an author and lecturer. He co-authored “A Moment of Truth, the Kairos Palestine Document”, published in 2009. His total commitment to this effort led to his assignment as General Coordinator of the Kairos Palestine Group, in December of 2009.

Rifat has been arrested and imprisoned several times, by Israeli authorities. In 1991, he founded the Palestine arm of Defense of Children-International (DCI), and has served in various capacity with DCI since that time. Since 2015, together with other international consultants, Rifat started a consulting group, called GRIP Consulting (


  • “Palestine: A Bleeding Wound in the World’s Conscience” (2006)
  • “Kairos for Palestine” – Published in India, (2011)
  • “Kairos for Global Justice” – with a forward by Patriarch Michael
     Sabbah. Published by Kairos Palestine (2012)
  • “Generation Palestine – Voices from the Boycott, Divestment and
     Sanctions Movement” – edited by Rich Wiles, with a forward by Archbishop
     Desmond Tutu. Published by Pluto Press, London, 2013.

More information here →

This summer has revealed a sharp rise in suicides in Gaza

Suleiman al-Ajoury, 25. (photo: Facebook)

Mental health has become a serious challenge in Gaza over the last ten years and numbers of suicedes are increasing.

By Hamza Abu Al-Tarabeesh | Mondoweiss  | Sept 11, 2020

‘Youth in Gaza have all motives for suicide. There’s poverty, unemployment, and uncertainty about the future.’
— Muhammad Abu el-Sebah, psychiatrist in Gaza

Suleiman al-Ajoury, 23, was a handsome young man and a cherished friend. Over the last three years he found himself unemployed and had no idea how to resume his once modest, yet stable, profession as a carpenter. Like so many young people in Gaza, he was at a standstill personally, out of work with no job on the horizon, all the while our wider environment crumbling around us. Our youth unemployment rate is a staggering 65%. The age bracket that figure encompasses is up to 24.

Then, on July 4, 2020 al-Ajoury killed himself at his home, leaving a message on social media that has since been removed by the platform. He described humiliation and a sense of hopelessness.

Continue reading “This summer has revealed a sharp rise in suicides in Gaza”

Peace through weapons sales to the UAE

President Donald Trump shakes hands with Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in the White House in Washington on May 15, 2017.  (photo: AP / Andrew Harnik, File)

Shortly after the UAE-Israel normalization deal was announced one of the U.S.’s primary motivations came into focus: tens of billions of dollars in UAE weapons sales.

By Ariel Gold | CodePink  |  Sept 9, 2020

‘Fake news,’ Netanyahu cried when Yedioth Ahronoth, the New York Times and other outlets reported that the U.S.-UAE arms sale deal had been the driving force behind the Israel-UAE normalization deal and that Netanyahu had been in the know from the start.

Next week, on September 15, Trump will host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan for a ceremonial signing of the Israel-United Arab Emirates deal to normalize relations between the two countries. Termed the Abraham Accord, the deal has been condemned by many for failing to secure even a single concession for Palestinians. But shortly after the deal was announced, another downside — and perhaps the U.S.’s primary motivation for pursuing the deal — came sharply into focus: tens of billions of dollars in UAE weapons sales.

Less than a week after Trump announced the Abraham Accord on August 13, the story broke that Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner and National Security Council senior director for the Middle East Miguel Correa had been secretly pushing for the U.S. to sell F-35 stealth fighters, weaponized drones, and other advanced military equipment to the Emiratis. Anwar Gargash, the UAE’s minister of foreign affairs, said that his country had placed their request for the F-35 jets six years prior. He denied that the normalization deal was connected to his country finally being granted their request, but Trump administration officials later admitted that the deal had paved the way. On August 18, leading Israeli newspaper YNet News reported that the Abraham Accord included a “secret clause” wherein the UAE would get to buy billions of dollars in advanced U.S. military hardware.

Continue reading “Peace through weapons sales to the UAE”

Kairos Palestine condemns US Bishop’s support for Israel-UAE normalization


The US Catholic Bishops come under fire for condoning the agreement that perpetuates the ongoing injustice for Palestinians.

By Kairos Palestine  |  IMEMC News  |   Sept 10, 2020

It would be a step towards peace if this accord were accompanied by the resolution of the core of the conflict: the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian land.

A major Christian Palestinian group yesterday criticized a United States bishop for condoning the recent Israeli-UAE normalization agreement.

Kairos Palestine addressed an open letter to Bishop of Rockford and Illinois, David Malloy, who also serves as Chair of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on International Justice and Peace, criticizing him on showing satisfaction with the agreement and providing him with their observations on the issue.

“People who think that any mutual recognition between an Arab country and the state of Israel is a step forward towards peace are mistaken. It would be a step towards peace if this accord were accompanied by the resolution of the core of the conflict: the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian land,” they said.

Continue reading “Kairos Palestine condemns US Bishop’s support for Israel-UAE normalization”

We are all made in God’s image

Rev. William J. Barber, II.  (photo: Repairers of the Breach)

Reverend William Barber II places the struggle for justice in Palestine in the broad framework of global struggles against racism, colonialism and white supremacy.

By Rev. William J. Barber II  |  | Sept 1, 2020

The same philosophy that claimed black bodies and called it Christian now justifies the displacement of Palestinian families and calls it ‘pro-Israel.’

The Palestinian experience resonates with my own background. I didn’t grow up anywhere near Israel/Palestine, but the slave masters did treat my ancestors as property. What is required if we are to be human, even against the backdrop of colonialism? The colonial masters who said America was their property saw my native ancestors as savages. The ways some people talked about “God’s people” excluded me. They said it was their manifest destiny to subdue the land that was promised to them, no matter who was already there. The same philosophy that claimed black bodies and called it Christian now justifies the displacement of Palestinian families and calls it “pro-Israel.” But based on ancient Hebrew scripture in Leviticus: “You shall treat the stranger who sojourns among you as the native and you are to love them as yourself. You shall have the same law for the sojourner and the native, for I am the Lord your God who honor and loves all of creation.”

Often when I was young, I heard fellow Christians talk about the nation state of Israel–especially the TV preachers, but I never heard much about the Palestinian people who were already living on that land. I did know about a large number of European Jews who were fleeing terrible oppression who had settled in Palestine. But just as I never heard much about my people in many tellings of American history, I never heard about Palestinian people and their desperate need for equality in that land

Continue reading “We are all made in God’s image”

Israel’s Friends at the RNC: ‘Christian Zionists’ dictate the agenda of the Republican Party


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses the Republican National Convention from Jerusalem. (Photo: Video Grab)

Both Republicans and Democrats head to the November elections with strong pro-Israel sentiments and outright support, completely ignoring the plight of occupied and oppressed Palestinians.

By Ramzy Baroud   | The Palestine Chronicle  |   Sept 2, 2020

“This is apocalyptic foreign policy in a nutshell,‘ …“Israel is not as a real country but a fantasyland, backdrop for Christian myth.’
— Gershom Gorenberg, Israeli commentator

t is difficult – and futile – to argue which American president has historically been more pro-Israel. While former President Barack Obama, for example, has pledged more money to Israel than any other US administration in history, Donald Trump has provided Israel with a blank check of seemingly endless political concessions.

Certainly, the unconditional backing and love declared for Israel is common among all US administrations. What they may differ on, however, is their overall motive, primarily their target audience during election time.

Both Republicans and Democrats head to the November elections with strong pro-Israel sentiments and outright support, completely ignoring the plight of occupied and oppressed Palestinians.

Continue reading “Israel’s Friends at the RNC: ‘Christian Zionists’ dictate the agenda of the Republican Party”

The Israel-UAE deal isn’t about peace at all

(photo: rjzaar – CC BY 2.0)

The UAE move provides political cover for other Arab states to make deals that would likely do nothing for Palestinians.

By Phyllis Bennis   | CounterPunch |  Sept 3, 2020

The Palestinians get what the Palestinians always get. Bupkes, as my grandma used to say. Yiddish for ‘nothing.’

In some ways, the U.S.-brokered plan for mutual recognition between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is big news. For more than a quarter of a century, only two Middle Eastern countries — Egypt and Jordan — had officially recognized Israel. None of the Gulf monarchies did.

So, it was a pretty big deal when the announcement was made. Except, actually, not so much.

Despite the UAE’s claimed adherence to a decades-long position that no Arab country should normalize relations with Israel until it ended its occupation of Palestinian land, ties between the UAE and Israel had been quietly underway for years. The same is true of many other Arab states.

Continue reading “The Israel-UAE deal isn’t about peace at all”

How creeping annexation is strangling hope for Israeli-Palestinian peace

Bedouin children attend improvised class in the village of Abu Nuwar, West Bank, after the Israeli army demolished their two-classroom school in the West Bank on Sunday.  (photo: AP)

A look back at the history of settlements which prevent the prospects for Palestinian statehood under a negotiated peace agreement.

By Seth Eislund  |  J Street  |  Aug 27, 2020

‘In June alone, Israel demolished 30 Palestinian homes in the West Bank (not including East Jerusalem) – the same number demolished throughout the entire first five months of 2020.’
— Israeli human rights organization NGO B’Tselem Report

Creeping Annexation is a decades-long project
Since Israel took control of the West Bank following its victory in the Six-Day War of 1967, the Israeli government has supported settlement construction on captured, occupied territory. This policy commenced just months after the end of the war, with successive Israeli governments basing much of their settlement policy in the first decade of occupation around what was known as the ‘Allon Plan’, which envisioned the annexation of large parts of the West Bank.

The settlement movement had an even more expansive view of Israel’s right to the occupied territory, pushing for the government to support Israelis in building settlements — and displacing Palestinians — across the entire West Bank. With increasing encouragement from the government, the number of Israelis living in the West Bank has ballooned from just 1,500 in the early years of occupation to almost 430,000 in the broader occupied West Bank and 220,000 in occupied East Jerusalem.

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Evidence that U.S. pro-Israel groups may have violated U.S. laws

Israel Allies then director Joe Sabag speaks at Standing with Israel event in Texas.

Questions are being brought to light about American groups that receive Israeli government funds.

By Alison Weir |  Israel-Palestine News  |  Sept 1, 2020

Israel has been manipulating US policies – and some US organizations and politicians have been helping them, in what appears to be violation of US laws… Will the government investigate them and censure Israel, the way it did the claims of ‘Russian interference’? Or will Israel and its collaborators once again escape consequences?
— Aiden Pink, reposted from The Forward, “U.S. pro-Israel groups failed to disclose grants from Israeli government’

More than half of all American states have passed laws designed to combat the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. No advocacy group was more important to this push than the Israel Allies Foundation, an American non-profit that supports a network of pro-Israel legislators across the globe.

From Israel Allies Foundation (Israel Allies Foundation)

[Editor’s note: BDS is an international movement to oppose Israel’s systematic human rights violations. BDS upholds “the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.”]

It was the IAF that in 2014 connected a South Carolina politician with an Israeli legal scholar who drafted the first bill to ban state agencies from contracting with entities that boycott Israel. [For details, see this.]

After that law passed in South Carolina in 2015, the IAF successfully lobbied for nearly-identical anti-BDS bills in 25 other states, including Florida, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

Continue reading “Evidence that U.S. pro-Israel groups may have violated U.S. laws”