BLOG 573

July 18, 2022


Having traveled and worked in the Middle East since l968, Robert L. Wise has journeyed through the region, giving him insights from behind the scenes. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon. Each week he attempts to present an objective view of current events.


While the headlines reported the controversy over President Biden’s trip to the Middle East other important details were not mentioned. Here’s a couple of the items the American media missed.

President Biden pressed Saudi Arabia to consider a new relationship with Israel.  However, a senior Saudi minister described normalizing ties with Israel as a “strategic option,” while clarifying that a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians was a “requirement” before Riyadh would formalize ties with Jerusalem.

The remarks by Saudi Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir during an interview with CNN late Friday came after Riyadh announced that it would be opening its airspace to all civilian airliners in a move seen aimed at allowing Israeli overflights.

President Joe Biden called the decision the “first tangible step” toward normalized ties between Israel and Saudi Arabia. But al-Jubeir poured cold water on the idea, insisting that the Saudi Arabia’s position on ties with the Jewish state have not changed. “We have said that Saudi Arabia supports the Arab Peace Initiative. In fact, we offered it, and we have made it clear that peace comes at the end of this process, not at the beginning of it,” the senior diplomat said.

The 2002 proposal offers Israel full normalized relations with all 22 members of the Arab League if Israel agrees to a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders and with a just resolution for Palestinian refugees. ‘Just resolution’ is like paying descendants of American Indians for what their ancient ancestors lost. A problematic proposal indeed!  The plan was never welcomed by Israel, which now argues that the Abraham Accords, which saw Israel normalize ties with the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco, prove that the two-decade-old proposal is no longer relevant.

On the home front in Israel an attack was made on Gaza. The Israeli military carried out strikes in the Gaza Strip early Saturday morning, hours after several rockets were launched at Israel from the Hamas-run Palestinian enclave.The Israel Defense Forces said it targeted a Hamas underground facility used for the production of rocket materials in the central Gaza Strip, after two rockets were launched at the southern city of Ashkelon at around 1 a.m. Palestinians reported that several strikes occurred near Gaza City shortly before 5 a.m. Videos and photos showed large fireballs rising following the strikes.

“The site targeted was one of the largest and most important sites in the Gaza Strip for the production of base materials for rockets by terror groups,” the Israel Defense Forces said, asserting that the attack would significantly set back rocket-making.

That’s the latest and you got it here.

Readers of my Wise on the Middle East blog will be fascinated by my latest book



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Filed under America, Biden, Gaza, Israel, Palestinians

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