Weekly Update: When “no” becomes “yes”

editor - 30 October 2020

Fifty-three years ago, the Arab world – humiliated by Israel’s resounding victory in the Six Day War in which Israel took control of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, as well as Gaza, the Sinai and Golan Heights – voted unanimously to reject Israel: no recognition of Israel’s existence, no peace with Israel, and no negotiations with it. The famous “three no’s of Khartoum” laid the foundations for the renewed Arab attack on Israel six years later in the Yom Kippur War – an attack that was intended to wipe Israel from the map. That war, in turn, led to many Western nations (especially in Europe) adopting the Palestinian narrative and the PLO’s exclusive claims to Jerusalem. This has developed to the point that any state that (like the US) recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital is outright condemned.

A week ago, it was announced that Sudan intends to “normalize” its relations with Israel. Khartoum’s “no” has become a (tentative) “yes”.

Sudan is also not acting out of altruistic motives. Like all states, it is acting in self-interest. That is what states do (and should do). Amongst other things, the regime in Khartoum (that is far from innocent, when it comes to human rights abuses) will be removed from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism, and will receive massive financial aid from the US (the precise amount is still to be determined).

Nevertheless, the mere fact that Arab states are officially and openly prioritising cooperation with Israel above their claim to liberation of Jerusalem is significant. It reflects a shift in thinking in the Arab world: a growing chasm between the aggressive political Islamism of Iran and Turkey on the one hand, and the emerging alliance of mainly moderate Sunni states on the other, many of whom are developing closer ties with Israel.

Apparently, the latter are realizing that the Jewish homeland (with Jerusalem as its capital) is here to stay, and that it plays a key role in ensuring peace, security and prosperity in the region.

The Editorial Team – Israel & Christians Today

Sudan and Israel: An Era of Change

Dr. Haim Koren at BESA: “On October 23, the US, Israel, and Sudan issued a joint statement on the normalization of relations between Khartoum and Jerusalem. This step follows the peace agreements between Israel and the UAE and Bahrain and helps cement the nascent regional axis that features Israel as a highly prized ally rather than a vilified enemy. Time will tell to what extent this step will help the provisional Sudanese government overcome its internal differences and reach the 2022 elections as a functioning and effective body.” Read more..

The Sudan Agreement – another political breakthrough 
Ehud Yaari at The Washington Institute: The latest deal shows how firm U.S. pressure, quiet contacts with Israel, and domestic political breakthroughs can help Arab governments advance normalization even in the face of popular opposition and past military conflict. Read more..

‘Yes, yes, yes’: Why peace with Khartoum would be true paradigm shift for Israel
Raphael Ahren at Times of Israel: “The remarkable tale of Sudan turning from a symbol of the Arab world’s rejection of the Jewish state, into its latest potential peace partner, could be summed up by referring to three no’s that, in the span of 53 years, look set to become three yes’s.” Read more..

Israel-Sudan deals blow to Hamas 
Yoni Ben Menachem at Jerusalem Centre for Public Affairs: “The Hamas movement is very concerned about the declaration of normalization between Sudan and Israel. Sudan, a Sunni Muslim state, has for many years been a convenient setting for the Muslim Brotherhood and the Hamas movement and a vital smuggling route for weapons from Iran into the Gaza Strip because of its location along the Red Sea.” Read more..

Could Indonesia also “normalize” relations with Israel? 
Michael Singh and Ehud Yaari at The Washington Institute: “Jakarta’s domestic politics make normalization unlikely despite years of positive signals, but the United States should nevertheless urge it to consider incremental, mutually beneficial steps toward rapprochement with Jerusalem.” Read more..


Podcast #3 Normalization between the Jew and the Arab?
In this episode Johannes Gerloff and Andrew Tucker discuss the normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.  What can we learn from the history of Arabic peoples about this normalization? What does this normalization mean? Johannes argues it is revolutionary.

Listen Now

Scripture for the week: Isaiah 19:19-25

19 In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and a monument to the Lord at its border.
20 It will be a sign and witness to the Lord Almighty in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and defender, and he will rescue them.
21 So the Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians, and in that day they will acknowledgethe Lord. They will worship with sacrifices and grain offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and keep them.
22 The Lord will strikeEgypt with a plague; he will strike them and heal them. They will turnto the Lord, and he will respond to their pleas and heal them.
23 In that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will go to Egypt and the Egyptians to Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together.
24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing on the earth.
25 The Lord Almighty will bless them, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.”

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