The following is a collection of MEMRI TV clips of speakers expressing support for Middle East peace initiatives in 2021. Producing such content is very costly, and your help allows us to continue our vital work of supporting counterterrorism efforts in the U.S. and throughout the West. We are very grateful to those of our valued readers who have already donated this year, and ask those who have not yet done so to please consider making a tax-deductible donation now.
This research is part of the MEMRI Reform Project, which informs our constantly growing audience about promoters of reform in the Arab and Muslim world, while highlighting the obstacles that they face in advancing such reforms.
The following are selected MEMRI TV clips in support of peace in the Middle East from the Reform Project in 2021.
#8578 - Former Egyptian Diplomat Mostafa El Feki: Arab-Israeli Normalization Is A Major Breakthrough; The Barrier Between The Arabis And Israel Has Been Lifted
Former Egyptian diplomat Mostafa El Feki said in a December 23, 2020 interview on MBC Masr TV (Egypt/Saudi Arabia) that the normalization between Israel and some Arab countries is a major breakthrough in the region, which will also benefit the Palestinians. He said that the removal of the barrier between the Arabs and Israel has allowed for more direct contact between Israel and the Palestinians, and that "cutting to the chase" is the only way to bring about a breakthrough in relations between Israel and the Palestinians.
#8995 - Israeli Tourists Greeted By Traditional Musicians As The First Israeli Plane Lands In Marrakesh, Morocco
The first Israeli airplane to land in Marrakesh, Morocco was greeted by a band playing traditional Moroccan music. In a report posted on Hespress on YouTube on July 25, 2021, a woman at the airport said that Moroccans have been waiting a long time for this, and they had hoped for and wanted this relationship. She thanked everyone who "took part in this step (towards) peace." She further said that the King of Morocco strives "to gather all his Moroccan children together." She said: "May Allah bless you. This is your country. Welcome, my brothers and sisters." An Israeli passenger said that this is a good thing that will support tourism between Israel and Morocco.
#8634 - Sudanese Journalist Mahjoub Othman: Sudan And Its Citizens Stand To Gain From Normalization With Israel; 'The Opposition To Normalization With Israel Is Not Based On Logic'
Sudanese journalist Mahjoub Othman spoke about the normalization of relations between Sudan and Israel on Sudan TV on December 29, 2020. He said that Sudanese citizens stand to gain from normalization, while Israel will only benefit politically and from allowing Israeli planes to travel through Sudanese airspace and to fuel up at Khartoum airport. Othman said that this had already happened during the 1950s when Sudan had relations with Israel. He added that if Sudan's position towards the Palestinian cause is not changed, there would be nothing wrong with such relations. Othman said that the "opposition to normalization with Israel is not based on logic," and Sudan would benefit even if Israel merely refrains from attacking Sudanese citizens.
#8622 - Iraqi-American Activist And Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan: Iraq Should Be Independent From Iranian influence, Militias; I Want To Facilitate Peace Between Muslims And Jews, Arab Countries And Israel
Former Miss Iraq Sarah Idan spoke about her experience as a former beauty queen, who is now a peace activist on Al-Arabiya Network (Dubai/Saudi Arabia) on January 12, 2021. She said that she founded the Humanity Forward organization in order to improve relations between Jews and Muslims and facilitate peace between Arab countries and Israel. She said that many Iraqi activists support her cause and understand that Israel is not an enemy of Iraq. Idan explained that she cannot visit Iraq today, because activists who have criticized the militias in Iraq have been killed. Sarah Idan was crowned Miss Universe Iraq in 2017. During the Miss Universe competition, she posted a photo of herself with Miss Universe Israel. She received multiple death threats for this and was forced to leave Iraq. She is currently living in the United States.
#9094 - Iraqi Sunni Tribal Leader Sheikh Wissam Al-Hardan At A Peace Conference In Erbil: We Demand To Join The Abraham Accords And To Establish Full Diplomatic Relations Between The Signatories And Israel
Iraqi Sunni tribal leader Sheikh Wissam Al-Hardan said that he demands that Iraq joins the Abraham Accords and establishes full diplomatic relations with Israel. He made his remarks at the Conference for Peace and Reclamation that was held in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan on September 24, 2021 and swas posted on the YouTube channel of the Center for Peace Communications. Al-Hardan denounced the injustice carried out against the Jews by banishing them from Iraq. He said: "We refuse to let Iraq fall victim to the mentality of warlords" that destroyed Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon.
#8585 - Tunisian Musician Nomene Chaari On His Duet With An Israeli Musician: This Is A Message Of Peace Between Arabs And Jews; 'We Have Had Enough Destruction, Enough Bloodshed'
Tunisian singer and composer Nomene Chaari spoke about his collaboration with Ziv Yehezkel, an Israeli musician in an interview on Al-Jazeera Network (Qatar) on December 28, 2020. Chaari said that he started this in order to send a message of peace to Arabs, Muslims, and Jews. "We have had enough destruction, enough bloodshed," he said. The host on Al-Jazeera asked Chaari whether this project would be considered normalization with Israel, and stated that Tunisian president Kais said had declared normalization with Israel high treason. Chaari replied that since the revolution, Tunisians enjoy freedom of thought, freedom of faith, and freedom of speech. He added that as an artist, he cannot be bound by borders and religion, and said that Judaism is the second official religion of Tunisia.
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#9092 - Iraqi Official Dr. Sahar Al-Ta’i at a Peace Conference in Erbil: We Want Peace with Israel; Iraq Must Recognize Israel as a Friendly Country, Join the Abraham Accords
Dr. Sahar Al-Ta'i, Head of Research at the Iraqi Ministry of Culture, said that Iraq should recognize Israel as a friendly country. Dr. Al-Ta'i was speaking at the Conference for Peace and Reconciliation that was held in Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan on September 24. According to media reports, some 250 people participated in the conference that was organized by the American organization, Center for Peace Communication. "We want peace with Israel," said Dr. Al-Ta'i, who added that Iraq should join the Abraham Accords. Dr. Al-Ta'i also delivered the closing statement for the conference, in which she declared the establishment of seven committees to promote the ideas presented in the conference, including a committee that would focus on the lost Jewish property in Iraq, and a committee for exporting the ideas of conference to other Arab countries.
#8983 - Former Iraqi MP Mithal Al-Alusi: Palestinian Rights Should Not Come At The Expense Of The Iraqi People; The Streets Of Gaza Are More Beautiful Than Those Of Baghdad; Hamas Leaders Live A Life of Luxury, While We Are Being Slaughtered
Former Iraqi MP Mithal Al-Alusi said that the Palestinian rights should not come at the expense of the Iraqi people and that the "the Palestinians live a life of luxury, while we in Iraq are slaughtered." He made his remarks in an interview that aired on Sharqiya TV (Iraq) on July 13, 2021. Al-Alusi said that the Iraqi budget is paid to the "resistance" and their leaders live like princes, just like Hamas leaders live like princes. He added that there is no difference between the Islamists in Iraq and the Islamists in Gaza. Al-Alusi was asked by the interviewer whether normalization with Israel would solve the crises in Iraq, to which he replied that Iraqis care about their country and their people. He said that not all of the Iraqi people agree with him, although all of the Iraqi politicians agree with this "under the table."
#8724 - Lebanese Maronite Patriarch Bechara Raï: I Support The Arab Peace Initiative With Israel, But In Lebanon, It Is Hizbullah – Not The Government – That Calls The Shots
Cardinal Bechara Raï Maronite Patriarch of Antioch and All the East said that he supports the implementation of the Arab Peace Initiative that was formulated in the 2002 Arab League Beirut Summit, and was the basis for the recent peace agreements between Arab countries and Israel. He made these remarks in an interview that aired on Al-Hurra TV (U.S.) on March 2, 2021. Cardinal Raï said that the Maronite Patriarchate supports peace over war, "wars are vile." However, he lamented, in Lebanon it is Hizbullah, and not the Lebanese state, that calls the shots.
#8981 - Moroccan Musician Hamid El Hadri Responds To Speculation That He Is Jewish: Perhaps I Look Jewish, But I Am A Muslim; Moroccan Jews Are Good People Who Love Their Country; Everyone Is Free To Choose Their Own Faith
Moroccan singer and musician Hamid El Hadri responded to speculations that he was Jewish, saying that perhaps he looks Jewish, and he has no problem with that, but he is a Muslim. He made these remarks in an interview that aired on Chada TV (Morocco) on July 12, 2021. Hadri continued to say that he considers Moroccan Jews as brothers and believes that everyone is free to choose their own faith. He added that the Jews "are good people who love their country."
#8848 - Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, Chairman Of Sudan's Sovereignty Council: What Is Happening In Gaza Is Sad But This Has Nothing To Do With Sudan's Normalization With Israel
General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan chairman of the Sovereignty Council of Sudan said that what is happening in Gaza "is sad," but Palestinian rights have nothing to do with Sudan's normalization with Israel. He made his remarks in an interview that aired on France 24, on May 17, 2021. General Al-Burhan added that unless a two-state solution is implemented "these problems will continue to resurface."
#9151 - Algerian FM Ramtane Lamamra: We Respect The Sovereign Decision Of Some Arab Countries To Establish Relations With Israel
Algerian FM Ramtane Lamamra said in an October 24, 2021 interview on Russia Today TV that the Arabs should unite around the cause of the Palestinian people and their rights, because division among Arabs does not serve the Palestinians. However, he said that he respects the sovereign decision made by some Arab countries to establish relations with Israel, such as Morocco, even though he does not agree with such decisions. Lamamra expressed support for the Arab Peace Initiative and said that Israel should withdraw from territory it is occupying.
#8756 - Lebanese Political Activist Naji Hayek: If The Lebanese Army Fails To Protect Us, We Have Men Who Are Ready To Take Up Arms; We Will Accept Weapons From Whoever Offers Them, Even From Israel
Lebanese political activist from the Free Patriotic Movement Naji Hayek said that if the Lebanese army fails to protect Lebanon, then "we have men who are ready to do it, and they are ready, at any moment, to take up arms and to bring weapons." He made these remarks in an interview that aired on Beirut International Radio (Lebanon) on March 8, 2021. Hayek said that he would be willing to accept weapons from anyone who offers them, even if it is Israel, America, Syria, Saudi Arabia, or Jordan. He said that Turkey seeks to establish an Ottoman Sultanate by encroaching upon north Lebanese territory and that Hizbullah is doing the bidding of Iran and is "extremely detrimental to Lebanon."
#8683 - Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi: We Arabs Wanted To Throw Israel Into The Sea But Failed; Now I Support A Just, Comprehensive, Lasting Peace With Israel
Former Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said that peace with Israel is not a matter of opinion but rather a "basic and important" matter and that he supported a just, comprehensive, and lasting peace with Israel. He made his remarks in an interview that aired on Alsumaria TV (Iraq) on February 11, 2021. Allawi said: "We wanted to throw them into the sea, but we couldn't." He clarified that peace with Israel does not mean abandoning the Palestinian cause, and the Gulf countries are still committed to the Arab summits and U.N. resolutions regarding a two-state solution with East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine.
#8800 - Lebanese Journalist Raghida Dergham: I Support Normalization And Peace With Israel Once Borders Are Demarcated; There Is No Shame In Peace; Jerusalem Will Not Be Returned To Palestinians
Lebanese journalist Raghida Dergham said that she supports normalization and peace negotiations with Israel once the borders between Lebanon and Israel are demarcated. She made these remarks in an interview that aired on OTV (Lebanon) on April 15, 2021. Dergham said that peace is not shameful and once there are no longer border disputes with Israel, it will no longer be an enemy of Lebanon. She added that European countries were "more savage" than Arab countries, yet they were able to make peace with each other. Dergham said that Jerusalem will not return to the hands of Palestinians so they should not be held hostage for eternity by this goal.
#8655 - Sudanese Politician Mubarak Al-Fadil Al-Mahdi: Israel Has Many Shared Interests With Sudan, Arab Countries In Face Of Iran's Expansionism, Nuclear Threat
Sudanese economist and politician Mubarak Al-Fadil Al-Mahdi, chairman of the Umma Party detailed Israel’s shared interests with the Arab countries in an interview on Asharq TV (Saudi Arabia) on January 24, 2021. He said that Sudan was targeted by Israel because of Omar Bashir’s regime’s ties with Iran and Syria and because of its involvement in smuggling weapons into Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula. He said that Sudan served as the pipeline delivering weapons to Hamas and other armed groups. Al-Mahdi said that this is why Sudan became very important to the security of Israel. He said that he believes that Israel is now a friend of the Arab world and the Arab world now shares the same interests. Al-Mahdi added that Iran has expanded into Arab countries in the region, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq, saying: "It has been trying to fragmentize the social fabric in those countries." Al-Mahdi continued to say that the first element of the shared interests between Israel and the Arab countries is Israel's belief that if Iran does carry out such an expansion and does obtain a nuclear bomb, Israel will also be threatened. He added that there are also shared economic interests between Israel and the Arab countries. Al-Mahdi said that while in the past ideologies ran the world, today the world is run by shared economic interests.
#8925 - Former Kuwaiti Minister Of Information Sami Al-Nesf: The Palestinian Problem Cannot Be Solved Until Palestinian Leadership Is Replaced; Why Not Create A 'Palestinian Spring' And Oust Those Leaders?
Former Kuwaiti Minister of Information Sami Al-Nesf said that the Palestinian problem cannot be solved until the Palestinian leadership is replaced. He made his remarks in an interview that aired on Al-Arabiya Network (Saudi Arabia) on June 11, 2021. Al-Nesf said that Palestinian Mufti Hajj Amin Al-Husseini became a model for Palestinian leadership, by placing a losing bet on Hitler, and then remaining in his leadership position. He said that Yasser Arafat followed suit by remaining in power despite his actions in Jordan, destroying Lebanon, and siding with Saddam Hussein against Kuwait, which took in half a million Palestinian refugees. Al-Nesf continued to say that the Gulf cannot afford to support the causes of others, as it faces several challenges such as security threats and threats of an Arab Spring in the Gulf, and he said: "Why not create a Palestinian Spring that will get will oust those leaders?" For more about Sami Al-Nesf, see MEMRI TV clips Nos. 6709, 6830, 6693, 7571, 8177, and 8310.
#9136 - Lebanese Author Jean-Marie Kassab: I Demand Peace With Israel; Israel Can Keep The Shebaa Farms, Nobody Lives There Anyway; We Should Declare War On Iran
Lebanese author and political commentator Jean-Marie Kassab said in an October 12, 2021 show on MTV (Lebanon) that he demands peace with Israel, and that in exchange for peace and comfort, he would happily let Israel simply keep the Shebaa Farms in the border region between Lebanon and Israel. Kassab also said that he demands peace with Syria, which he said is worse than Israel, and he called for war to be declared against Iran.
#8660 - Algerian TV Debate About Participation In Sporting Events With Israeli Teams: Journalist Hassan Moali: Sports Should Be Separated From Politics; Journalist Mahdi Berrached: If This Were True, The 1972 Munich Olympics Attack Would Have Been Unjustified
Lina TV (Algeria) aired a debate about Algerian participation in international sporting events with Israelis on January 22, 2021. Algerian journalist Hassan Moali said that if Algeria were to face Israel in the Qatar World Cup in 2022, the Algerian national team should play against Israel. He added that while he does not support "sports normalization" with Israel, he does believe that athletes should not boycott Israeli athletes and they should respect international sports treaties. Moali added that participation in sporting events with Israelis should not make much of a difference, since Algeria and Israel are both members of various international organizations such as the Union for the Mediterranean. He said: "Sports and politics should be separated."
#8928 - Saudi Journalist Jasser Al-Jasser: Hamas Does Not Care About The Palestinian Cause Or Liberation – It Only Wants To Rule
Saudi journalist Jasser Al-Jasser said that Hamas does not serve the interests of the Palestinian people, and that it only wants to rule. He made these remarks in an interview that aired on MBC TV (Saudi Arabia) on June 11, 2021. Al-Jasser said that Hamas does not care about pan-Arabism, Islam, the Palestinian cause, or the people of Gaza, and it does not care about liberating Palestine, in fact, he said, all Hamas cares about is entrenching its rule. Al-Jasser said that the Palestinian "resistance" factions have always been "back-stabbers," as evidenced by their actions in Jordan and Lebanon. He added that Hamas is connected with "Hizbullah, and its crimes in Syria and Iraq, as well as with Iran and its numerous crimes," and the Houthis, "at a time when they are murdering Yemen's children."