Tuesday, November 25, 2014

68% of Israeli Arabs oppose recent wave of terrorism, poll finds

by Ariel Ben Solomon
Jerusalem Post
November 25, 2014

81% believe Israel is trying to harm status quo on Temple Mount.

A bullet hole in a door of the Jerusalem synagogue where two Palestinian terrorists killed four rabbis and a police officer, November 19, 2014. (photo credit:REUTERS)

An overwhelming majority of 68 percent of Israeli Arabs opposes the recent wave of terrorist attacks, while 77% prefer to live under Israeli rule rather than Palestinian, according to a recent poll by the Statnet research institute.

The poll, commissioned by Channel 10 and published on its website, also found that 84% of Israeli Arabs support Knesset members who condemned the attacks in Jerusalem, while fully 81% believe Israel is trying to harm the status quo on the Temple Mount.

Just 16% opposed the condemnation of the attacks by Arab MKs.

Yousef Makladeh, CEO of Statnet.co.il shared with The Jerusalem Post on Monday previously unreleased data, which broke down Arab support according to religion.

Of the Israeli Arabs who oppose the terrorist attacks, 88% were Druse, 80% Christian, and 64% Muslim.

Of the percentage of Arabs who prefer to live under Israeli rule: 70% were Druse, 57% Christian, and 49% Muslim. And those that preferred to live under the Palestinian Authority: 2% were Druse, 5% Christian, and 18% Muslim.

Makladeh said the poll was conducted from Thursday to Sunday and included phone interviews of 405 Israeli Arab citizens nationwide, not including east Jerusalem. The survey was conducted in Arabic and 39% of the respondents were men and 61% women.

The survey found that 42% of Arabs feel that they suffer from strong racism; 44% moderate racism; and 14% light racism.

Only 9% feel the state treats them equally; 52% semi-equally; and 39% not equally at all.

Prof. Sammy Smooha, a sociologist from the University of Haifa, told the Post that the survey’s findings appear reasonable.

To read the entire article click here.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Voters may turn back the clock on ‘Arab Spring’

by Ariel Ben Solomon
Jerusalem Post
November 24, 2014

The 2011 revolution that ousted ruler Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali did change the rules of the game from the past, but parallels to Egypt and continuity with the previously ousted regime cannot be missed.

Tunisia election
Election workers count ballots for Tunisia's presidential election. (photo credit:REUTERS)

In Tunisia, where the 'Arab Spring' began in 2011, voters appeared on Sunday to come full circle, with preliminary election results showing the majority supporting a former official with the toppled regime.

Beji Caid Essebsi, of the anti-Islamist Nidaa Tounes Party, is slightly ahead of rival Moncef Marzouki, the incumbent president, who has warned against the return of “one-party era” figures like Essebsi, according to initial results tweeted by the Tunisialive website on Monday.

Early results in the country’s first presidential ballot since the uprising were expected later on Monday, but the parties of the two front-runners said initial tallies show they would face off next month in a second round.

Turnout is estimated to be close to 65 percent, according to Agence Tunis Afrique Presse.

Perhaps the poor results of the Arab uprisings – at least partly due to the failure of Islamist parties that had swept into power in Tunisia and Egypt – had the North African country’s voters favoring stability and the old order. The image of atrocities and violence throughout the region, from Syria and Iraq to Yemen, has many Arabs preferring security even at the expense of democratic values.

Tunisia’s Ennahda Party, the first Islamist movement to secure power after the 2011 Arab Spring revolts, was defeated in last month’s elections, perhaps drawing a lesson from the failed power grab of Islamists in Egypt.

Unlike former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ennahda’s leader, Rached Ghannouchi, an Islamist scholar who spent decades in exile in Britain, acted pragmatically when faced with overwhelming opposition, instead of seizing power.

The 2011 revolution that ousted long-time ruler Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali did change the rules of the game from the past, but parallels to Egypt and continuity with the previously ousted regime cannot be missed.

To read the entire article click here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Analysis: Making up is mostly about Iran

by Ariel Ben Solomon
Jerusalem Post
November 18, 2014

Expert tells Post that Sunday night’s Riyadh summit was “historic.”

Saudi King Abdullah speaks at his private residence in the Red Sea city of Jeddah. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Saudi Arabi, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain agreed on Sunday to return their ambassadors to Qatar after withdrawing them in March, in what is likely an effort to form a united front against Shi’ite Iran and its proxies throughout the region.

In a sign of worry, the tribal trait of uniting against a threatening outside force seems to be at play, expressed as Sunni unity in the face of external Shi’ite opposition, as well as concern over Islamic State.

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, with the exception of Qatar, have been trying to keep revolutionary Islamic extremist forces at bay, favoring the status quo. From their perspective, Iran is expanding its influence and power in the region.

Whether it is the move by the West to seek a nuclear deal with Iran and ally itself with the Shi’ite axis against Islamic State and al-Qaida, the advance of Iranian- backed Houthis in Yemen, or the advance of Shi’ite forces in Syria, Iraq, and Lebanon, Sunnis are alarmed.

In an article in the Saudi-backed Arab daily Asharq Alawsat, which was republished on the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya website, journalist Abdul Rahman al-Rashed noted that the UAE is the second Gulf state after Saudi Arabia to designate the Yemeni Houthi movement Ansar al-Allah a terrorist group.

“This step is significant on many levels, especially as it reorganizes relations in a region which has seen dangerous political changes,” Rashed said. “The group was blacklisted because it takes directives from Iran and because it is being employed to take over the Yemeni state amid a regional war.”

In his book Culture and Conflict in the Middle East, Philip Carl Salzman, a professor of anthropology at McGill University and an expert on Arab tribal culture, described how the ethos of Arab tribal culture functions and how it is still relevant today.

To read the entire article click here.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Arabs strongly reject ‘Jewish State’ bill, but some Druse show support

by Ariel Ben Solomon
Jerusalem Post
November 16, 2014

This comes too late, it should have been done in ’48, Druse leader says with community’s support.

AMAL JAMAL of Tel Aviv University and I’lam – Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel says the proposal would transfer sovereignty to Jews everywhere.. (photo credit:BOKRA.NET)

Arab Israelis oppose a Knesset bill that would anchor in law Israel’s status as a Jewish state and that Arabic is not an official language, seeing it as an anti-Arab move that violates democratic values.

Arabs oppose the legislation because it “is exclusive – reiterating the status of Israel as a state for its Jewish citizens,” Amal Jamal, head of the International MA Program in Political Science and Political Communication at Tel Aviv University, told The Jerusalem Post in an interview on Sunday.

Jamal, who is also the head of the NGO I’lam – Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel, argues that the proposal raises a democratic issue – “the question of who is the sovereign of the state – all Jewish people, or the citizens that live here, which includes non-Jews.”

The bill would remove the sovereignty from the citizens, and shift it to all Jews, many of whom are not citizens of Israel, he said.

It “empties citizenship of meaning because it becomes exclusive” to one ethnic group, added Jamal.

Such a law would give the majority a privilege that is not “part of the democratic game,” he said.

By formulating the legislation this way, “you are actually constitutionalizing a rule,” which then removes it from public debate, he said.

If Israel wants to be like a Western democracy, it should not pass such a law binding an ethnic group to the state, Jamal said.

Atta Farhat, the head of the Druse Zionist Council for Israel, told the Post that since this summer’s Gaza war, Muslims have been inciting against the Druse all over the country because they support the state and serve in the army.

“This is the Jewish state – how it was 3,000 years ago, and it will continue to be that way,” Farhat said.

To read the entire article click here.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Is Turkey heading for a train wreck with the West?

by Ariel Ben Solomon
Jerusalem Post
October 14, 2014

Former Pentagon official: Even if Erdogan swore allegiance to al-Qaida, NATO could not expel Turkey

Turkey's Prime Minister and presidential candidate Tayyip Erdogan addresses his supporters during an election rally in Istanbul August 3, 2014.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Turkey's foriegn policy is becoming more aggressively Islamist by the day. How far can it go before it ruins its relationship with the West? Or perhaps the question should be, what would Turkey have to do to get kicked out of NATO? Quite a lot, it turns out.

Ankara is set to take over the presidency of the G20 next month, and aims to use the opportunity to promote its image as a global economic power and assuage its self-image as a country increasingly isolated on the world stage and buffeted by conflict on its southern frontiers.

According to a Pew Research Center poll released in July, only 19 percent of Turks view the US positively, and 25% feel that way about the EU.

Moreover, seven in 10 Turks have an unfavorable view of NATO.

“The problem is that NATO has no mechanism to kick out a member,” Michael Rubin, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

“Countries have withdrawn before, of course, but once NATO allows a country in, it’s stuck with it,” he said. “No one expected that any NATO member would change direction so radically.”

“Even if [President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan swore allegiance to al-Qaida tomorrow – NATO wouldn’t have any mechanism to expel him short of dissolving the alliance entirely,” said Rubin.

Since the Turkish people gave Erdogan and his Islamist AK Party a first-round victory in the presidential election in August, he has increasingly become dictatorial, clamping down on the press and the Internet, and weeding out his opponents in the police, military and the prosecutor’s office.

As Erdogan has consolidated power at home, he has had a freer hand to act abroad.

To read the entire article click here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Israeli Arab mayors criticize Netanyahu comments inviting protesters to leave country

by Ariel Ben Solomon
Jerusalem Post
October 11, 2014

Violent protests have mainly took place in the north and Jerusalem but have generally not reached too far south.

Protest in Kafr Kana. (photo credit:Courtesy)

Comments from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that protesters could go live in the West Bank and Gaza drew criticism from Israeli Arab mayors on Tuesday, with former Rahat Mayor Faiz Abu Seheban warning that tensions could spread to the South if the situation did not calm down.

The previous mayor of the southern Beduin town told The Jerusalem Post in an interview that the government needed to deal with the rising tensions and violence between Arabs and the state.

Israeli Arabs have expressed anger at government officials and the police in recent weeks. On Friday, policemen killed an Arab attacker during an arrest operation on Friday evening in the northern village of Kafr Kana, leading to further violent protests – though such protests have mainly taken place in the North and Jerusalem so far.

“We ask the prime minister to open up an investigation” into the shooting, said Abu Seheban, adding that the tensions in the North were affecting Arabs in the South.

Beduin in the Negev have been suffering under government policies and discrimination, with issues including land disputes, poverty, and high unemployment, and this latest incident is just another grievance on top of existing ones, he said.

He also called for allocating more budgetary resources to Arab municipalities, saying such a move could help deal with tensions between Arabs and the government.

On Monday, Netanyahu publicly challenged Israeli Arabs protesting the police shooting to go and live under Palestinian rule in the West Bank and Gaza.

“To all those who are demonstrating and shouting their denunciation of Israel and support of a Palestinian state, I can say one simple thing: You are invited to move there – to the Palestinian Authority or to Gaza,” he said.

Mazen Ganaim, mayor of Sakhnin and chairman of the committee of Arab municipal authorities, told the Post that “we Arabs want to calm the situation,” but some politicians and ministers were pouring oil on the flames.

To read the entire article click here.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pastor treated in Israel for acid burns: West doesn’t understand reality of Islamic ideology

by Ariel Ben Solomon
Jerusalem Post
October 11, 2014

Ugandan pastor Umar Mulinde, a Christian convert from Islam, said growing up, he constantly heard “Jews are the most hated people by God.”

Umar Mulinde. (photo credit:Courtesy)

a Christian convert from Islam, said growing up, he constantly heard “Jews are the most hated people by God.”

He had no relationship with Jews, and “did not even know where Israel was on a map,” but he was taught to hate it.

Muslim hate is mainly religiously based and when he became a Christian, all of the sudden the preachers were “talking about love, and a lot about Israel,” Mulinde said, sin an interview in his most recent visit for treatment after an acid attack threatened his life and severely damaged his face.

“It is part of the Islamic mind, and the Western mind refuses to accept the reality of Islamic ideology,” he said.

On December 24, 2011, Muslims in Uganda threw acid on him and severely burned his face, neck and back. He was transported to Sheba Medical Center for treatment with the help of Israeli friends, and has been returning for treatment.

At the hospital, Mulinde has met Arab patients from countries that are enemies of Israel.

Israeli Arab hospital workers, after discovering his name was Umar – an Islamic name – approach him talking bad about the country. However, he said, they soon realize that he is not going to have any of it, and they stop their comments.

Asked if he thought about changing his name, he responded no, “but maybe I should add a third Jewish name!” “After my conversion my perspective changed completely – I changed my heart.”

Only about 12 percent of Ugandans are Muslims, but they are radical, he said, pointing out that Muslim clerics from Iran, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and even Pakistan radicalized Muslims in his country.

To read the entire article click here.

Main Islamist group in Sinai pledges allegiance to Islamic State

by Ariel Ben Solomon
Jerusalem Post
November 10, 2014

Ansar statement: Allah allowed the banner of jihad to be raised in our countries, and granted us the honor of acting as his chosen soldiers for fighting his most bitter foes, the nation of the Jews.

A poster issued by Egyptian terrorist group Ansar Bayit al-Maqdis. (photo credit:Courtesy)

Egypt's most active militant group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, has sworn allegiance to Islamic State and emphasized its jihad against “the Jews”, according to an audio clip posted on its Twitter account on Sunday.

The Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor of MEMRI (the Middle East Media Research Institute) exclusively provided The Jerusalem Post with a report on Monday carrying the statement of a narrator, who reads the organization’s oath of fealty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

"After decades during which the Muslims drank from the cups of humility and disgrace, and the oppression and despotism of the tyrants – the Jews' collaborators and allies – Allah allowed the banner of jihad to be raised in our countries, and granted us the honor of acting as his chosen soldiers for fighting his most bitter foes, the nation of the Jews,” said the statement.

“Indeed, we hurt them [the Jews] greatly and inflicted grievous wounds upon them in many raids, such as the Um Al-Rashrash raid [the August 18, 2011 attack near Eilat] and others,” said the Sinai-based terror group.

“[For now,] the war between us and them continues. This situation [is also true for] many of the Muslims' countries, in the East and in the West – a ferocious crusader war on Islam and its people waged by the Jews, the Crusaders and by their collaborators, the tyrants [the Arab state rulers], the Rawafid [a derogatory term for the Shii'tes], and the apostates,” it said, according to the report.

“The greatest share of this war is waged against our brothers the mujahideen in Iraq and Syria, which are the home of the believers and Allah's best people, and in which Allah's best soldiers are located.”

The declaration of allegiance would be a boost for Islamic State, showing its widening influence in the region alongside its territorial advances in Iraq and Syria.

The posting comes the week after the group distanced itself from a statement pledging loyalty to Baghdadi that appeared in its name online.

Rafael Green, director of the Jihad and Terrorism Monitor at MEMRI, told the Post on Monday that this confirms MEMRI’s report last week, which reported the alleged pledge of loyalty.

This new pledge of allegiance makes it more official, he said.

To read the entire article click here.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Israeli Arabs furious over Galilee killing

by Ariel Ben Solomon
Jerusalem Post
November 10, 2014

NGOs: Calm can be restored by opening probe against police officers.

Youths set fire to tires throw stones at entrance to Kafr Kana Sunday. (photo credit:BOKRA.NET)

Israeli Arabs have expressed furor against government officials and the police, which killed an Arab attacker during an arrest operation on Friday evening in the village of Kafr Kana.
Amin Badir, the owner of a car repair shop in Kafr Kasim in the center of the country, said Arab citizens “are angry at the police,” adding that they “never do good, apart from a few good officers.”

“Kafr Kasim is tranquil,” and Arabs in this part of the country are less active than in the North, where a strike against the incident was kept more strictly, and where most of the protests take place, he said.

Community leaders of the Arab minority declared a 24-hour general commercial strike Sunday that was more faithfully observed in Arab cities in the North than in the central Arab cities, where schools also closed.

Regarding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement on Saturday that he would instruct the interior minister to evaluate revoking the citizenship of those who “call for the destruction of the State of Israel,” Badir said the prime minister and other politicians should be more “balanced” instead of “heating up the situation.” Badir referred to Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett.

Aharonovitch recently said that “the fate of a terrorist who harms civilians is death.”

Bennett said: “A crazed Arab terrorist attacked a police car with a knife, in an attempt to murder the officers inside. The officers’ reaction is what is expected from our security men.”

“Would the police act in the same way if it was a Jew?” asked Badir.

Protests took place mainly in the North, with protesters throwing rocks and setting tires on fire at the road entering Kafr Kana. This came after thousands took to the streets Saturday and some threw rocks and lit fires at the entrance to Kafr Kana, near a main road, hours after Kheir a-Din Hamdan was shot by police.

Arab villages in the southern Arab Triangle, east of Kfar Saba, observed the strike more in the morning hours than in the afternoon, when businesses opened and the streets were full of cars and people, though perhaps less than on a typical day.

United Arab List-Ta’al MK Ahmed Tibi made a similar argument to Badir on Sunday, telling Ynet that “there is one Jew [Yigal Amir] that shot the prime minister [Yitzhak Rabin] and he was neutralized without being shot to death.”

Ghada Zoabi, the founder and CEO of the Israeli Arab news portal Bokra.net, said the strike was successful and that only some smaller towns in the North didn’t participate.

In addition, “most of the protests occurred without violence,” she said.

Arabs in Israel “feel that they don’t have security,” said Zoabi, adding that they do not trust the police, which do not know how to operate within Arab society.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Did Egypt’s Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis pledge allegiance to Islamic State?

by Ariel Ben Solomon
Jerusalem Post
November 5, 2014

Sinai-based terror group denies expressing loyalty to Islamic State via Twitter.

A black flag belonging to the Islamic State is seen near the Syrian town of Kobani, as pictured from the Turkish-Syrian border. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Egypt's most active terrorist group, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, denied in a Twitter message on Tuesday that it had pledged allegiance to Islamic State, distancing itself from a previous statement that had appeared in its name online.

The original statement, purporting to be from Ansar, appeared late on Monday on two jihadist Twitter feeds. It said the group had pledged loyalty to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of Islamic State, an al-Qaida offshoot that has seized territory in Iraq and Syria and is now facing US-led air strikes.

Tuesday’s message appears to have come from Ansar’s official account, which has issued other statements on behalf of the group in recent months.

“The statement that has been circulated in the media and is sourced to us, regarding the group’s declaration of allegiance to the Caliphate of the Muslims, is nothing to do with us,” said the tweet.

The statement pledging loyalty, which carried the Ansar logo, had been removed by Tuesday morning from one of the Twitter accounts where it appeared. The second account issued subsequent tweets saying the statement had not been attributable to Ansar.

Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi, a Shillman- Ginsburg Fellow at the Philadelphia- based Middle East Forum who closely follows Islamist opposition groups in Syria and Iraq, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that he doubted the reported pledge of allegiance from the beginning.

“Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis has pro-Islamic State tendencies, but that has to be distinguished from a formal pledge of allegiance,” he explained. “Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis is trying to play it both ways: show sympathy for Islamic State while not actually pledging allegiance.”

Regarding Tuesday’s corrective statement issued by the Sinai-based group, Tamimi said the language of it “fundamentally encapsulates the incoherence of their position: They don’t want to issue a formal pledge of allegiance and yet refer to Baghdadi as ‘caliph of the Muslims,’ undoubtedly not wanting to offend Islamic State.”

To read the entire article click here.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Tunisia’s Islamists learned from the Muslim Brotherhood’s failure in Egypt

by Ariel Ben Solomon
Jerusalem Post
October 29, 2014

Unlike former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, the leader of Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party acted pragmatically when faced with overwhelming opposition.

Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement wave party flags during a campaign event in Tunis. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Tunisia's Ennahda party, the first Islamist movement to secure power after the 2011 “Arab Spring” revolts, conceded defeat on Monday in elections, perhaps drawing a lesson from the failed power grab of Islamists in Egypt.

Unlike former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ennahda’s leader, Rached Ghannouchi, an Islamist scholar who spent decades in exile in Britain, acted pragmatically when faced with overwhelming opposition.

Instead of trying to force his party’s Islamist vision on much of the population that is less religious, Ghannouchi did not overstay his welcome, deciding to continue playing the political game, instead of seizing power in ways reminiscent of Morsi.

His party ruled in a coalition until it was forced to make way for a caretaker government during a political crisis at the start of this year.

Ennahda is playing a smarter game than the Brotherhood did in Egypt, understanding that in Tunisia, where at least half of the country opposes Islamists, it must follow the path of slowly building grassroots support.

However, Ghannouchi’s pragmatism should not be mistaken for moderation.

Martin Kramer, an expert on the Middle East and president of Shalem College in Jerusalem, has followed Ghannouchi’s sayings and doings. He “has urged violence against US interests, and he continues to demand Israel’s destruction,” Kramer wrote in “A US Visa for Rachid Ghannouchi?,” an article the Washington Institute for Near East Policy published back in 1994.

In 1989, on a visit to the US, Ghannouchi lashed out at the US for its reaction to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, calling it “Crusader America” and the “enemy of Islam,” and saying that the Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, was doing good – “joining together two Arab states out of twenty-two, praise be to God.”

Ghannouchi went on to state: “There must be no doubt that we will strike anywhere against whoever strikes Iraq... We must wage unceasing war against the Americans until they leave the land of Islam, or we will burn and destroy all their interests across the entire Islamic world... Muslim youth must be serious in their warning to the Americans that a blow to Iraq will be a license to strike American and Western interests throughout the Islamic world.”

Ghannouchi took two visits to Iran in 1990 meant to thaw relations between Sunni Islamists and Shi’ite Iran. Kramer quotes him as saying on the second visit, at the Islamic Conference on Palestine, which included Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad leaders: “The greatest danger to civilization, religion and world peace is the United States administration. It is the Great Satan.”

Moreover, in 1991, he was quoted as urging Palestinian Islamists to destroy Israel.

“I think that the approach of Palestinian Islamists must be the liberation of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea,” the Tunisian Islamist said. “Any part that is liberated is a gain, provided the price is not the sale of the rest of Palestine.

“Palestine belongs to the Muslims and must be liberated in its entirety. The truth cannot be divided,” he said.

To read the entire article click here.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What will the next 20 years of Jordan-Israel relations look like?

by Ariel Ben Solomon
Jerusalem Post
October 27, 2014

The peace agreement, signed in the Arava 20 years ago on October 26, 1994, cemented perhaps the closest relationship between Israel and any Arab state.

US PRESIDENT Bill Clinton applauds as prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and Jordanian King Hussein shake hands after signing a peace treaty between the countries in the Arava 20 years ago. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Despite some rough riding and bumps in the road, the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan has served the interests of both countries, as well as the US, but the question is whether King Abdullah II’s regime will last even five or 10 more years.

The peace agreement, signed in the Arava 20 years ago on October 26, 1994, cemented perhaps the closest relationship between Israel and any Arab state. This, despite the fact that the Jordanian population, which is mostly Palestinian, loathes Israel.

Jordanian views were adequately summed up in the front-page leading story in Sunday’s Jordanian newspaper Al-Arab Al-Yawm: “Twenty Years of ‘Odious Peace’ with Israel.”

Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, Daniel Nevo, suggested that King Abdullah’s recent allegation that Israel kills Arab children en masse stems from pressure by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Egypt.

Nevo offered the commentary in an interview that aired Friday on Army Radio. Abdullah leveled the accusation at Israel last week during a meeting with Jordanian lawmakers “If, as we are fighting radical Islamist groups as a coalition, they are slaughtering children in Gaza and Jerusalem every five minutes, then it’s impossible,” said Abdullah, who usually employs less inflammatory language when speaking about Israel.

“The king is being attacked by countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and even Egypt on how the Israelis are allegedly disrespecting him,” Nevo told Army Radio when asked to comment on Abdullah’s use of harsh language.

“They don’t see the whole picture,” He said. “The violence at the Temple Mount puts Abdullah in an embarrassing situation each time anew.”

“People on the Jordanian street, they don’t watch Israeli television. They watch Al Jazeera. So how do you expect him to celebrate the anniversary?” Nevo asked.

Dore Gold, a foreign policy adviser to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, as well as the former Israeli ambassador to the UN, told The Jerusalem Post, “Having been a frequent visitor to Amman since 1994, all I can say is that Jordan’s leadership, especially King Abdullah, have skillfully led their kingdom through one regional challenge after another.”

“The fact that Jordan has become a home for waves of Arab refugees, including those who arrived recently from Iraq and Syria, should not be seen as a source of Jordanian instability or weakness, but rather Jordanian confidence and strength,” Gold said.

David Schenker, the director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a former official dealing with the Middle East for the Pentagon, told the Post that “no one thought that Jordan would be around for long when it was created in the 1940s,” but “the Kingdom has proven remarkably resilient – and it continues to be so.”

To read the entire article click here.