Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu exposes Hezbollah missile sites in Beirut
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This Update discusses the revelations made by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in his speech to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday (delivered remotely) concerning a Hezbollah missile facility in Beirut right next to a gas company – which he warned could lead to a repetition of something like the horrific Beirut port explosion last month. Subsequently, the IDF also released maps of two further Hezbollah missile facilities in suburban areas of Beirut near civilian dwellings.
This Update also features a piece on how the new normalisation agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Israel and Bahrain, known as the Abraham Accords, are changing racist attitudes toward Jews across the Middle East.
We start with a backgrounder from BICOM, the Britain-Israel Communications and Research Centre, on the new revelations about the Hezbollah missile facilities. This lays out what Netanyahu said and also what was revealed by the IDF about the other two alleged missile sites. It also looks at potential political implications of these revelations.
Next up, American law academic Orde Kittrie explores the wider legal implications of the Hezbollah revelations – namely that they strongly suggest use of human shields, a war crime. He notes that Hezbollah and other groups have found human shield tactics very effective, despite their blatant illegality, and yet never pay any penalty for these actions.
Kittrie points out that there is already legislation in place in the US under a 2018 law to impose sanctions for these war crimes, and urges that the new evidence makes a strong case that such sanctions now need to be imposed.
Finally, as noted, we offer a piece on the Abraham Accords and their cultural effects on Middle Eastern attitudes toward Jews, written by American Middle East scholar Stephen Cook. Cook reviews the widespread antisemitism – not related to Israel or Zionism – he personally witnessed when travelling across the region, including in Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
He notes that the UAE has been reaching out to Jews, as well as Catholics, for some time, and also notes signs of positive changes in Egypt and Iraq. He argues that this change – the abandonment of very widespread antisemitism across regional societies – may actually be more important than the political outcomes of the Abraham Accords.