An Update from CUFI Action Fund
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With Congress out of session, it’s a relatively quiet week in Washington. Nonetheless, there’s one meeting that Israel’s supporters should be aware of; so, we’ll unpack that today. In addition, some things are going on between Israel and Lebanon – and they’re not what you might expect.

The Diplomats Meet

On Wednesday Secretary of State Tony Blinken will meet with his counterparts from Israel and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). As some readers of the update may recall, this past June, a CUFI delegation met with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed in Abu Dhabi as sell as Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in Jerusalem. Those meetings went very well, and despite having not met with either leader in the past, both top diplomats were warm and welcoming to the CUFI delegation. We got a very good sense of the Arab and Israeli gentlemen leading their country’s engagement with the world, and we expect both Middle Eastern leaders will approach Secretary Blinken with identical messages on several key issues.

One of the reasons this trilateral meeting is a net positive is that it indicates that the Biden administration has more fully embraced the Abraham Accords. When President Biden took office, the impression we had was that the administration begrudgingly accepted that the Trump administration-backed peace accords were a positive development. With this meeting, it appears the Biden administration has gotten over any misgivings about who enabled this historic achievement to occur and is ready to support enhancing and expanding the accords.

It's worth noting that the diplomats’ meeting comes on the heels of a visit by a group of Bahraini officials, leaders and activists to Jerusalem’s Western Wall. Both that visit and this week’s meeting in Washington would’ve been unthinkable just a few years ago.

Top of the Agenda

The common threat with which the Americans, Israelis, and Emirates must contend is Iran. The Islamic Republic oppresses its people, seeks to dominate its neighbors, is advancing its illicit nuclear weapons program and, Israel recently announced, is trying to build an army on Israel’s border with Syria.  Iran is the region’s and world’s preeminent pariah.

From their wholesale destruction of a functioning Lebanese society to the terror they support through proxies around the world, Iran is the malicious force with which the Israeli and Emirate foreign ministers will be concerned. When Arab and Israeli leaders are in lockstep on an issue, Washington and the world should listen. Secretary Blinken would do well to heed the warnings of these two American allies.

We’ve no doubt that the post-meeting press conference will send an important message to Tehran, but the true test of the Biden administration’s mettle in this context will come in the weeks and months ahead.

Loving Thy Neighbor

As we’ve discussed here and in other venues recently, Lebanon remains in crisis due rampant corruption and mismanagement enabled by Iran’s proxy Hezbollah. The economic havoc wreaked by Lebanon’s dysfunctional leadership has been so significant that the Lebanese people’s daily existence is dramatically regressing. Despite the fact that the two neighbors remain officially at war, and that Lebanon’s rulers regularly condemn Israel, the Jewish state is poised to enable Egypt and Jordan to help provide the Lebanese people with the fuel they need to power basic necessities.

In fact, according to one report, “Egyptian gas is “mixed together” with Israeli gas, and Jordanian electricity is also supplied by means of Israeli gas.” Put another way, Israeli natural gas may very well relieve some of pain the Lebanese people are currently suffering – and unlike when Iran sends shipments of fuel to Lebanon, the valuable commodity will not be used by Hezbollah to try to exert further control over the people.

This development shouldn’t come as too great a surprise to regional observers as Israel has consistently sought to help those in distress, including, for example Syrians wounded during that country’s brutal civil war. There are a lot of reasons to stand with Israel. And the Israelis often make such a stance rather easy because when all is said and done, it’s at times of crisis that one can separate the caring from the callous, and Israel is always on the right side of that equation.


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