Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

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Showing posts for "Israel"

Human Rights Watch and the Destruction of Rafah

by Elliott Abrams

Rafah is a town in Egypt, on the border of Gaza, that will soon cease to exist. The government of Egypt is destroying it, leaving thousands of Egyptians homeless, in an effort to create a buffer zone along the border.

Smoke rises after a house is blown up during a military operation by Egyptian security forces in the Egyptian city of Rafah, near the border with southern Gaza Strip October 29, 2014.  (Suhaib Salem/Courtesy: Reuters)

Smoke rises after a house is blown up during a military operation by Egyptian security forces in the Egyptian city of Rafah, near the border with southern Gaza Strip October 29, 2014. (Suhaib Salem/Courtesy: Reuters)

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The Omnibus Appropriations Bill and Payments for Terrorists

by Elliott Abrams

The Omnibus Appropriations bill recently passed by Congress contains an interesting provision regarding the support for terrorists and their families by the Palestinian Authority:

The Secretary of State shall reduce the amount of assistance made available by this Act under the heading “Economic Support Fund” for the West Bank and Gaza by an amount the Secretary determines is equivalent to that expended by the Palestinian Authority in payments to individuals and the families of such individuals that are imprisoned for acts of terrorism or who died committing such acts during the previous calendar year. Read more »

Gaza at Year End

by Elliott Abrams

At the end of last summer’s war between Israel and Hamas, all sorts of pledges were made about rebuilding Gaza. Hamas in particular claimed victory because it had broken the “siege of Gaza” and now all Gazans would benefit.

This was nonsense, and clearly so back then. It was obvious from previous experience that goods would not flow easily into Hamas-controlled territory, especially with Egypt smashing the network of smuggling tunnels between Gaza and Sinai. Read more »

The Scholars Who Ban Disagreement

by Elliott Abrams

Here’s a thought: when American scholars disagree with foreign officials, they should join together to try and ban those officials from entering the United States or any country in the European Union. Moreover, they should seek a freeze on any assets those officials may have–a bank account in the United States, for example. Read more »

Israel’s Election Timing

by Elliott Abrams

Israel will have an election next year on March 17. (St. Patrick’s Day is not widely celebrated there.)

Given the usual weeks needed to assemble a coalition, a new government will be formed only in April 2015, perhaps the end of April. It is then just a matter of weeks until the summer– and what follows the summer is the American election season. Of course, there is a tradition of late and even last minute American efforts at peacemaking: Clinton at Camp David, Bush at Annapolis. But both failed, and the clock ran out. Read more »

Business as Usual with UNRWA

by Elliott Abrams

Business as usual is nicely defined as “Persistence in the ordinary course of events despite difficulties, morality, and other hindrances.”

This month the Department of State published its “Framework for Cooperation Between the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East and the Government of the United States of America for 2015.”  Near the top it states that: Read more »

The British Royals, Arabs, and Israel

by Elliott Abrams

The bizarre story of the refusal of British royals to visit Israel, while they are constantly in the Arab world, continues.

I wrote about this phenomenon here, last February, when Prince Charles visited Saudi Arabia. As I noted then, the Queen has never set foot in Israel and Prince Charles set foot there briefly only once, for the Rabin funeral. Read more »

Closing Rafah: A Tale of Two Narratives

by Elliott Abrams

Think about this: Israel closes the major crossing point into Gaza. Thousands of Gazans are stranded in other countries and cannot get home.  In Gaza a thousand more people, in need of medical treatment outside, cannot get out. They are “suffering from medical problems including kidney failure, cancer and blood-related diseases [and] seek urgent treatment or further diagnosis….” A health ministry official says “If the closure continues, their health conditions will deteriorate and we may start to witness some deaths.” Read more »