Arab connection to Jerusalem: Fake News

Dr. Mordechai Kedar explains why Gaza electricity renewal is logical step following US defunding of UNRWA. 'Egypt fed up with Palestinians'

Rafael Levi and Mordechai Sones ,

Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Rafael Levi

Orientalist and Bar-Ilan University lecturer Dr. Mordechai Kedar spoke to Arutz Sheva about demonstrations by Iranian citizens against the regime, the effectiveness of the death penalty law for terrorists, and reactions in the Arab world to American recognition of Jerusalem.

Iranian authorities claim the demonstrations have been defeated, but Kedar says "additional waves are expected. It's true this is not on the scale of those a week ago, but the reasons that caused this wave didn't disappear, and I don't think they will disappear, so the next wave is only a matter of time."

Dr. Kedar predicts that in March there is a high chance of renewed riots. "On March 21, there's a holiday in Iran that is very sensitive every year because of all sorts of occurrences there in the streets with bonfires and such, which can certainly lead to demonstrations and disturbances. There is also traditionally a mess there on this holiday."

Will the death penalty deter future terrorists?

"Yes and no; nothing works for everyone all the time. It will deter some people and it will give more motivation to others. There will be those who precisely want to avenge blood - say Israel executes one of these murderers, who will probably deserve it. There are those who will be deterred from avenging him and there are those who will be encouraged."

Dr. Kedar explains how the American administration's announcements will affect UNRWAs defunding. He said the organization would not fire essential workers, and that the first to be harmed would be teaching staff, and schools would be emptied. "What will tens of thousands of students do in Gaza or elsewhere? This creates an immediate problem."

He said Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz's announcement on resumption of electricity supply to Gaza may be intended to ease the economic and psychological blow to Gaza residents and thereby prevent a deterioration of the security situation. "In Gaza, cessation of UNRWA funding is a far greater blow than recognition of Jerusalem because Jerusalem has never been the capital of Palestine and therefore nothing was taken away from them that they once had. However, when you take money you withhold something that once existed. And they are not prepared for a situation where there will be no money so they are facing a hopeless situation."

Dr. Kedar also notes the lack of support from the Arab states in the face of Gaza's difficult situation: "The Saudis will certainly not support them; the Qataris are also in trouble because of the siege on them. The Egyptians are not eager to help Hamas; Iran maybe yes, but it's unclear how exactly they'll manage to transfer the money when there are no tunnels. There are formidable problems here.

"Apparently then Israel decided, so it doesn't explode in our faces in the form of demonstrations near the fence, to renew electricity to Gaza in order to soften what has been happening in the past few days. If the Israeli government decided so, apparently they thought about it. This isn't a decision that's made just because some unknown person 'feels like it', so I trust them that they made a decision that has sound logic behind it."

We heard an Egyptian statement that accepts American recognition of Jerusalem and offers to recognize Ramallah as the capital of Palestine.

"Many in the Arab world know that the Palestinian story with Jerusalem is 'fake news' because the sanctity of Jerusalem in Islam is something invented by the Umayyad people when they sought an alternative place for Haj instead of Mecca because of the revolt in Mecca in 682 CE. This was fifty years after Muhammad died - all the stories about Jerusalem are complete nonsense.

"The Egyptians know all these things and are fed up with the Palestinians, their issues, their disagreements, the fact that the Palestinians don't want any rapprochement between any Arab country and Israel until they get everything they want, which they will never get. Therefore the Arabs at some point 3-4 years ago began to turn a cold shoulder to the Palestinians to such an extent that today Egypt has no problem saying this."

Dr. Kedar notes that the US threat to deny aid to countries that do not conform to its position affects Cairo. "Egypt is very concerned about the American aid they receive. The moment Trump sets American policy, even if the Egyptians don't like it with regard to Jerusalem, Egypt can't go to bat for the Palestinians against America because Egypt will stop getting American aid.

"People in Egypt will starve because the Palestinians haven't reached an agreement with Israel regarding Jerusalem? Why should they suffer?"