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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
December 5, 2023

“Those who experience wake up calls usually discover, in hindsight, that they had received plenty of warning before the poop hit the propeller, but they chose to disregard it…. Whether a wake up call becomes a boon, or a bane, depends on what you’re willing to learn from it, and whether you’re willing to be moved by experience.” (Greg Levoy, a psychologist and an author).

The US-Israel mutual threat of Islamic terrorism

Israel’s war against Hezbollah and Hamas is a wakeup call, highlighting the shared US-Israel war against Islamic terrorism. The latter considers Israel a US geo-strategic beachhead in the Middle East, that should be uprooted as a critical step toward the defeat of the Western “infidel.”

For example:   

*Hezbollah and Hamas are critical proxies of Iran, which funds, trains and supplies advanced ballistic and engineering hardware, aiming to realize its 1,400-year-old vision of toppling all “apostate” (Sunni) regimes, export the Islamic Shiite Revolution globally, and bring “the Great American Satan” to submission.

*Hamas was established in 1988 by the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been dedicated since 1928 to the toppling of all national Islamic regimes, replacing them with a universal Islamic society, establishing Islam as the only, divinely-ordained, legitimate religion on earth, defeating the “infidel” Western culture and bringing down “the Great American Satan.”

*Securing a boon, rather than a bane, requires the uprooting of Hamas’ terroristic, political and educational infrastructure, which would deter anti-US Islamic terrorism. On the other hand, the survival of Hamas would adrenalize the veins of anti-US Islamic terrorists in the Middle East and beyond, afflicting the US with a bane.

Israel’s war highlights Iran’s terrorist nature  

*Heeding the October 7, 2023 wakeup call should trigger a US reassessment of its 44-year-old diplomatic option toward Iran, which has facilitated Iran’s lead role – operationally and financially – in the transformation of Hezbollah and Hamas (as well as a multitude of additional Islamic and non-Islamic terror organizations) into a most effective anti-US global terrorist network. The US diplomatic option has also bolstered the evolution of Iran into the leading regional and global epicenter of anti-US terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and proliferation of advanced military systems.

*An effective wake up call, requires experience-based rather than wishful thinking-based policy making, reassessing the impact of lifted sanctions – especially Iranian oil export – on the supply of advanced Iranian missiles and other military systems to Hezbollah and Hamas.  Thus, Iranian oil exports surged from 500,000 barrels per day (under the sanctions) to 2.5-3 million barrels per day, which has provided the Ayatollahs with some $100bn in additional income, that was dedicated, mostly, to anti-US rogue activities in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, North, East and Central Africa and Latin America. 

*Heeding the wakeup call should alert the US to the 40-year-old collaboration of Iran’s Ayatollahs and Hezbollah with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, Latin American terror organizations, and every anti-US government in South and Central America (up to the US-Mexico border), which is the US’ geo-strategic soft underbelly. This collaboration includes the training of terrorists and the supply of predator unmanned aerial vehicles and tunnel construction equipment. 

The Palestinian wake up call

*The October 7 wake up call should lead to a reassessment of the US State Department policy on the Palestinian issue, subordinating conventional wisdom to the march of facts. Hence, while the State Department has been eager to establish a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), pro-US Arabs have showered the Palestinians with embracing talk, but indifferent-to-negative walk, refraining from tangible steps toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.

*While Foggy Bottom’s policy has been driven by a moderate Palestinian diplomatic talk and future, subjective and speculative State Department  scenarios of Palestinian compliance and peaceful coexistence, the policy of the pro-US Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Oman has been driven by the rogue Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab and global context.

*For instance, the systematic Palestinian betrayal of – and violence against – their Arab hosts, such as Egypt (1950s), Syria (1960s), Jordan (1968-70), Lebanon (1970-1982) and Kuwait (1990). Also, Palestinian collaboration with rogue entities, such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and Palestinian training camps – in Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen – for terror organizations from Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  

*Contrary to Foggy Bottom, the pro-US Arab regimes have concluded that the rogue Palestinian track record (in addition to the Palestinian hate education, mosque incitement and monthly allowances to families of terrorists) suggests that a rogue Palestinian state would add fuel to the Middle East fire, threatening to consume the Hashemite regime in Jordan and other all pro-US Arab regimes.

*The October 7 wakeup call should clarify to the State Department the reason that the pro-US Arabs extend a shabby-doormat-welcome to Palestinian leaders, contrary to the red-carpet-welcome extended by Foggy Bottom.

The bottom line

Whether the aforementioned October 7, 2023 wakeup call shall be a boon or a bane depends on the US State Department’s own decision. Will its policy remain driven by agreeable conventional wisdom, or will it shift to an experience-based policy, irrespective of the disagreeable, violent, shattering, and frustrating reality?

   Support Appreciated

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
October 31, 2023

The Iran-Hamas-US connection

*National Security advisor Jake Sullivan said in an October 10, 2023 White House press briefing: “Iran is complicit in this attack in a broad sense because they have provided training, they have provided capabilities, they have provided support, and they have had engagement and contact with Hamas over years and years. And all of that has played a role in contributing to what we have seen [on October 7].”

*Iran’s Ayatollahs, who have been courted and appeased by the West, are committed to bring the West – and especially “the Great American Satan” – to submission. They are the chief architects and enablers of the Israel-Hamas and Israel-Hezbollah wars, determined to escalate them into a regional pandemonium, which would undermine Western interests.

*Iran considers its military and financial support of Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists – as well as many terror entities in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America – as a means to fueling instability, toppling pro-US regimes, and severely downgrading the US’ strategic posture. Therefore, Iran has been – since the 1980s – an epicenter of global, anti-US terrorism, drug trafficking and proliferation of advanced military systems. Iran’s rogue foreign and national security policy has been matched by its rogue domestic policy, which has been replete with ruthless oppression and suppression of the population, in general, and religious and ethnic minorities and especially women, in particular.

However, irrespective of this rogue policy, the US adheres to the diplomatic option, which has bolstered the Ayatollahs’ global posture since their ascension to power in 1979. Moreover, the US’ response to sustained Iranian attacks on US installations in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Syria has been restrained, further eroding its posture of deterrence. Furthermore, the US has lifted most sanctions against the rogue Ayatollahs and is eagerly seeking another nuclear accord with Tehran.

*The lifting of most sanctions without Congressional consent – especially on the exportation of oil and natural gas – has enabled Iran to supply Hezbollah, Hamas and additional terror organizations and drug traffickers more advanced military systems (e.g., missiles, drones, electronics and explosives) to the detriment of the US and its allies, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

*”Iran’s oil exports have increased more than threefold over the past 3 years, a consequence of relaxed US sanctions enforcement…. US sanctions imposed in 2018 and 2019 severely constricted Iranian exports of crude oil. Exports fell well below 500,000 barrels per day from a pre-sanctions peak of 2.7 million barrels per day…. Even though negotiations to revive the nuclear agreement have failed, Iran’s oil exports continue to increase, as Washington opts not to enforce the sanctions.  As of September 2023, Iranian exports are estimated at close to 1.5 million barrels per day or higher [at the current $90 per barrel, at least $50 billion annual income].” According to Reuters, August 31, 2023, Iran exports 3.15 million barrels per day.

Iran’s narco-Jihad against the USA

*Recently, Iran’s Ayatollahs and their Hezbollah proxy have stepped up their drug trafficking, money laundering and terror activities. They have expanded collaboration with Mexico’s drug cartels (e.g., Los Zetas and Sinaloa), training them in car bombing, and smuggling the highly addictive methamphetamine across the border to the USA. This is an extension of their Latin American narco-terror operation, which is centered in the Tri-Border areas of Argentina- Paraguay-Brazil, as well as Chile-Peru-Bolivia.

*The Ayatollahs and Hezbollah leaders have concluded that narcotic trafficking may be more effective than guns in bringing the Western “infidel” to submission.

*According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Iran and Hezbollah established close collaboration with drug cartels in Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil [and the Albanian Mafia], exporting cocaine to the US and Europe, and developing the most sophisticated money laundering schemes through Lebanon.  They have managed to smuggle illegal immigrants from the Middle East into the USA, bolstering their terroristic and drug trafficking infrastructure in the USA.

*Venezuela has been an effective gateway for Iran into South, Central and North America, issuing false passports to Iranian and Hezbollah terror and drug trafficking operatives. It has also provided Iran with a business and military foothold close to the shores of “the Great American Satan.”  The heavy traffic of IranAir planes between Iran and Venezuela has not been limited to innocent passengers… 

Iran’s fanatic vision transcends Israel

*According to Dr. Yaron Friedman, a Haifa University expert on Islam and the Middle East, the driving force of Iran’s Ayatollahs is a 1,400-year-old vision, which transcends economic and diplomatic benefits and is not centered on Israel, but on the world at large, with a focus on the “infidel” West.

*The root of the Ayatollahs’ vision is the 680 AD Battle of Karbala – a supreme Islamic milestone – which featured the murder of Hussein bin Ali, the grandson of Muhammed and the third Shiite Imam, by Yazid, the Sunni Caliph. For Shiite Islam – as it is in the Middle East which cherishes history and memory – it has been a living memory, commemorated annually during Ashura processions, by Shiite communities in the Middle East, Europe and the USA, with bare-chested men flagellating their bleeding backs and chests.

*The Battle of Karbala has become a permanent call for Shiite martyrdom, sacrifice and revenge, leading to an intrinsic Sunni-Shiite conflict, religiously and militarily, which is still a major force of breeding turbulence among Muslims. The Sunni majority is convinced that the Shiite minority is trying to rule Islam and revenge the 680 AD betrayal, as almost happened from the mid-10th century to the mid-11th century, and during the 16th century, when Iran accepted Shiite Islam and became a major power.

*Since February 1979, when the Ayatollahs (assisted by the US) ascended to power in Tehran, Iran has been preoccupied with the global exportation of the Karbala-driven Islamic Shiite Revolution, aiming to topple every “apostate” (Sunni), “modern-day Yazid” regime, and bring the “infidel” West, and especially “the Great American Satan” to submission, unconditionally, peacefully, or militarily.

*The nature of Iran’s fanatic, religious, megalomaniacal, apocalyptic vision – and the 43-year-old rogue track record of the Ayatollahs – reveal that the Ayatollahs are not amenable to good faith negotiation, peaceful-coexistence, nor exchanging their 1,400-year-old vision for a financial/diplomatic bonanza.  

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
February 8, 2024

Prof. Bernard Lewis, who was a leading authority on Islam and the Middle East, shed light on a cardinal aspect of the frustrating, complicated and inconvenient reality of the Middle East: “If the fighters in the war for Islam are fighting for God, it follows that their opponents are fighting against God…. In the classical Islamic view, the world is divided into two: the House of Islam… and the House of Unbelief, which it is the duty of Muslims ultimately to bring to Islam…. The struggle between these rival systems has now lasted for some 14 centuries…. America has become the archenemy, the incarnation of evil, the diabolic opponent of all that is good… of Islam….”

*Western conventional wisdom has been based on the assumptions that Middle East violence is despair-driven; that radical Middle East dictators can be induced to subordinate their radical ideologies to dramatic financial benefits (“money talks”); and that significant gestures and concessions could motivate rogue Middle East leaders to embrace peaceful coexistence, compliance with agreements, adoption of human rights and democracy, to depart from fanatic ideologies, and to join the “multilateral/cosmopolitan club.”

*In order to advance its well-intentioned assumptions, Western conventional wisdom has consistently overlooked the 1,400-year-old shifty, unpredictable, violent, totalitarian, intolerant, anti-“infidel” (Islam vs. the West), anti-“apostate” (Shiite vs. Sunni), fragmented, volcanic and frustrating nature of Middle East (intra-Arab and intra-Moslem) reality. It has also overlooked the supremacy of fanatical ideologies over financial benefits in shaping the policy of Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Moslem Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, as reflected in their (K-12) school curriculum, mosque sermons and constitutions/charters.

*Western appeasement of Shiite, Sunni and Palestinian terrorism has ignored the well-documented fact, that terrorists bite the hands that feed them, as demonstrated by the Mujahideen (who were assisted by the US to drive the USSR out of Afghanistan and proceeded to carry out 9/11), Iran’s Ayatollahs (who were critically assisted by the US to topple the Shah of Iran and proceeded to become the lead  anti-US terrorist and drug trafficker) and the Palestinian leadership (which was hosted by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait and proceeded to subvert and terrorize them).

*In defiance of Western conventional wisdom, the inherent hostility toward the “infidel” West, and especially “the Great American Satan,” has been a dominant feature of fundamental Arab and Islamic education, culture and politics, fomenting epicenters of global anti-US terrorism.

*Notwithstanding Western conventional wisdom-driven gestures, Islamic terrorism has haunted the US since the Barbary pirates in the beginning of the 19th century, irrespective of US policy, and independent of the identity of the US President. Thus, it afflicted the US during Presidents Trump (e.g., the Hudson River Park terrorism murdering 8), Obama (e.g., the Orlando terrorism murdering 49), G.W. Bush (9/11 murdering 2,977), Clinton (e.g., the car-bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania murdering 300), Reagan (e.g., the blowing-up of PanAm-103 murdering 257), etc.

*9/11 underscored the determination of Islamic terror regimes to engage the US in their battle to bring the “infidel” West to submission, irrespective of the US’ intent to disengage from Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East at-large. These rogue regimes view the US’ disengagement, isolationism and gestures as symptoms of Western battle-fatigue and the erosion of a posture of deterrence, which intensifies terrorism and shifts the battle gradually to the US mainland (e.g., Iran’s and Hezbollah’s sleeper cells in the US and collaboration with Latin American terror organizations and drug cartels).

*Islamic terrorism is not driven by despair, but rather by the imperialistic vision of Islam as the only legitimate religion, divinely-ordained to bring “apostates” and “infidels” – especially the US – to submission, peacefully or militarily.

*The following examples demonstrate the unbridgeable gap between Western conventional wisdom (WCW) and Middle East reality:

<While WCW believes in the separation of state and church and secular policy making, Islam believes in the dominance of religion in domestic and foreign policy-making, civic life, justice, law and order, education, culture, peace, war and geo-strategy.

<While WCW is preoccupied with the present and the future, the Middle East is preoccupied with the past 1,400 years as a base for future undertaking. For instance, WCW shapes its positive attitude toward the proposed Palestinian state according to future, speculative scenarios (e.g., peaceful coexistence), but the Arabs shape their indifferent-to-negative attitude toward the proposed Palestinian state according to the subversive and terroristic Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab sphere.

<While WCW underscores give-and-take, Islam is determined to bring the adversary/enemy (especially the “apostate” and “infidel”) to submission, peacefully or militarily, employing dissimulation, in order to mislead naïve opponents.

<While WCW refers to the Arab-Israeli conflict as “the Middle East conflict,” 11 million Muslims have been killed since 1948, of which 35,000 – 0.3% – were related to Arab-Israel wars.

<While WCW assumes that the Palestinian issue is the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a crown-jewel of Arab policy makers and a core cause of Middle East turbulence, no Arab-Israeli war was every triggered by the Palestinian issue.  No Arab country has ever flexed a military muscle, or a substantial financial muscle on behalf of the Palestinians.  No Israel-Palestinian war has ever expanded into a regional war, and no major Middle East turbulence has ever erupted due to the Palestinian issue.

<While WCW has focused on the Arab talk, which embraces the proposed Palestinian state, the Arab walk refrains from advancing the cause of a Palestinian state. It is consistent with Aa dominant Middle East motto: on words one does not pay custom.

<While WCW assumes that ceasefire agreements advance the cause of peace, and peace accords end hostilities and the state of war, Islam considers ceasefires (especially with “infidels”) as an opportunity to regroup for the next phase of a perpetual war until submission of the enemy.  Peace accords are viewed (especially with “infidels”) as temporary ceasefires, serving the cause of the Moslem party, to be abrogated upon amassing sufficient power to bring adversaries to submission.

*The self-destructive nature of WCW (e.g., the 45-year-old diplomatic option toward Iran in defiance of Iran’s rogue track record) is exposed by the march of Middle East facts.

*The attempt to subordinate Middle East reality to WCW, was compared by Prof. Elie Kedourie – who was a leading historian of the Middle East – to trying to make water run uphill.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
December 5, 2023

“Those who experience wake up calls usually discover, in hindsight, that they had received plenty of warning before the poop hit the propeller, but they chose to disregard it…. Whether a wake up call becomes a boon, or a bane, depends on what you’re willing to learn from it, and whether you’re willing to be moved by experience.” (Greg Levoy, a psychologist and an author).

The US-Israel mutual threat of Islamic terrorism

Israel’s war against Hezbollah and Hamas is a wakeup call, highlighting the shared US-Israel war against Islamic terrorism. The latter considers Israel a US geo-strategic beachhead in the Middle East, that should be uprooted as a critical step toward the defeat of the Western “infidel.”

For example:   

*Hezbollah and Hamas are critical proxies of Iran, which funds, trains and supplies advanced ballistic and engineering hardware, aiming to realize its 1,400-year-old vision of toppling all “apostate” (Sunni) regimes, export the Islamic Shiite Revolution globally, and bring “the Great American Satan” to submission.

*Hamas was established in 1988 by the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been dedicated since 1928 to the toppling of all national Islamic regimes, replacing them with a universal Islamic society, establishing Islam as the only, divinely-ordained, legitimate religion on earth, defeating the “infidel” Western culture and bringing down “the Great American Satan.”

*Securing a boon, rather than a bane, requires the uprooting of Hamas’ terroristic, political and educational infrastructure, which would deter anti-US Islamic terrorism. On the other hand, the survival of Hamas would adrenalize the veins of anti-US Islamic terrorists in the Middle East and beyond, afflicting the US with a bane.

Israel’s war highlights Iran’s terrorist nature  

*Heeding the October 7, 2023 wakeup call should trigger a US reassessment of its 44-year-old diplomatic option toward Iran, which has facilitated Iran’s lead role – operationally and financially – in the transformation of Hezbollah and Hamas (as well as a multitude of additional Islamic and non-Islamic terror organizations) into a most effective anti-US global terrorist network. The US diplomatic option has also bolstered the evolution of Iran into the leading regional and global epicenter of anti-US terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and proliferation of advanced military systems.

*An effective wake up call, requires experience-based rather than wishful thinking-based policy making, reassessing the impact of lifted sanctions – especially Iranian oil export – on the supply of advanced Iranian missiles and other military systems to Hezbollah and Hamas.  Thus, Iranian oil exports surged from 500,000 barrels per day (under the sanctions) to 2.5-3 million barrels per day, which has provided the Ayatollahs with some $100bn in additional income, that was dedicated, mostly, to anti-US rogue activities in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, North, East and Central Africa and Latin America. 

*Heeding the wakeup call should alert the US to the 40-year-old collaboration of Iran’s Ayatollahs and Hezbollah with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, Latin American terror organizations, and every anti-US government in South and Central America (up to the US-Mexico border), which is the US’ geo-strategic soft underbelly. This collaboration includes the training of terrorists and the supply of predator unmanned aerial vehicles and tunnel construction equipment. 

The Palestinian wake up call

*The October 7 wake up call should lead to a reassessment of the US State Department policy on the Palestinian issue, subordinating conventional wisdom to the march of facts. Hence, while the State Department has been eager to establish a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), pro-US Arabs have showered the Palestinians with embracing talk, but indifferent-to-negative walk, refraining from tangible steps toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.

*While Foggy Bottom’s policy has been driven by a moderate Palestinian diplomatic talk and future, subjective and speculative State Department  scenarios of Palestinian compliance and peaceful coexistence, the policy of the pro-US Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Oman has been driven by the rogue Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab and global context.

*For instance, the systematic Palestinian betrayal of – and violence against – their Arab hosts, such as Egypt (1950s), Syria (1960s), Jordan (1968-70), Lebanon (1970-1982) and Kuwait (1990). Also, Palestinian collaboration with rogue entities, such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and Palestinian training camps – in Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen – for terror organizations from Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  

*Contrary to Foggy Bottom, the pro-US Arab regimes have concluded that the rogue Palestinian track record (in addition to the Palestinian hate education, mosque incitement and monthly allowances to families of terrorists) suggests that a rogue Palestinian state would add fuel to the Middle East fire, threatening to consume the Hashemite regime in Jordan and other all pro-US Arab regimes.

*The October 7 wakeup call should clarify to the State Department the reason that the pro-US Arabs extend a shabby-doormat-welcome to Palestinian leaders, contrary to the red-carpet-welcome extended by Foggy Bottom.

The bottom line

Whether the aforementioned October 7, 2023 wakeup call shall be a boon or a bane depends on the US State Department’s own decision. Will its policy remain driven by agreeable conventional wisdom, or will it shift to an experience-based policy, irrespective of the disagreeable, violent, shattering, and frustrating reality?

   Support Appreciated

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
October 31, 2023

The Iran-Hamas-US connection

*National Security advisor Jake Sullivan said in an October 10, 2023 White House press briefing: “Iran is complicit in this attack in a broad sense because they have provided training, they have provided capabilities, they have provided support, and they have had engagement and contact with Hamas over years and years. And all of that has played a role in contributing to what we have seen [on October 7].”

*Iran’s Ayatollahs, who have been courted and appeased by the West, are committed to bring the West – and especially “the Great American Satan” – to submission. They are the chief architects and enablers of the Israel-Hamas and Israel-Hezbollah wars, determined to escalate them into a regional pandemonium, which would undermine Western interests.

*Iran considers its military and financial support of Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists – as well as many terror entities in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America – as a means to fueling instability, toppling pro-US regimes, and severely downgrading the US’ strategic posture. Therefore, Iran has been – since the 1980s – an epicenter of global, anti-US terrorism, drug trafficking and proliferation of advanced military systems. Iran’s rogue foreign and national security policy has been matched by its rogue domestic policy, which has been replete with ruthless oppression and suppression of the population, in general, and religious and ethnic minorities and especially women, in particular.

However, irrespective of this rogue policy, the US adheres to the diplomatic option, which has bolstered the Ayatollahs’ global posture since their ascension to power in 1979. Moreover, the US’ response to sustained Iranian attacks on US installations in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Syria has been restrained, further eroding its posture of deterrence. Furthermore, the US has lifted most sanctions against the rogue Ayatollahs and is eagerly seeking another nuclear accord with Tehran.

*The lifting of most sanctions without Congressional consent – especially on the exportation of oil and natural gas – has enabled Iran to supply Hezbollah, Hamas and additional terror organizations and drug traffickers more advanced military systems (e.g., missiles, drones, electronics and explosives) to the detriment of the US and its allies, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Israel.

*”Iran’s oil exports have increased more than threefold over the past 3 years, a consequence of relaxed US sanctions enforcement…. US sanctions imposed in 2018 and 2019 severely constricted Iranian exports of crude oil. Exports fell well below 500,000 barrels per day from a pre-sanctions peak of 2.7 million barrels per day…. Even though negotiations to revive the nuclear agreement have failed, Iran’s oil exports continue to increase, as Washington opts not to enforce the sanctions.  As of September 2023, Iranian exports are estimated at close to 1.5 million barrels per day or higher [at the current $90 per barrel, at least $50 billion annual income].” According to Reuters, August 31, 2023, Iran exports 3.15 million barrels per day.

Iran’s narco-Jihad against the USA

*Recently, Iran’s Ayatollahs and their Hezbollah proxy have stepped up their drug trafficking, money laundering and terror activities. They have expanded collaboration with Mexico’s drug cartels (e.g., Los Zetas and Sinaloa), training them in car bombing, and smuggling the highly addictive methamphetamine across the border to the USA. This is an extension of their Latin American narco-terror operation, which is centered in the Tri-Border areas of Argentina- Paraguay-Brazil, as well as Chile-Peru-Bolivia.

*The Ayatollahs and Hezbollah leaders have concluded that narcotic trafficking may be more effective than guns in bringing the Western “infidel” to submission.

*According to the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Iran and Hezbollah established close collaboration with drug cartels in Mexico, Columbia, Ecuador, Bolivia and Brazil [and the Albanian Mafia], exporting cocaine to the US and Europe, and developing the most sophisticated money laundering schemes through Lebanon.  They have managed to smuggle illegal immigrants from the Middle East into the USA, bolstering their terroristic and drug trafficking infrastructure in the USA.

*Venezuela has been an effective gateway for Iran into South, Central and North America, issuing false passports to Iranian and Hezbollah terror and drug trafficking operatives. It has also provided Iran with a business and military foothold close to the shores of “the Great American Satan.”  The heavy traffic of IranAir planes between Iran and Venezuela has not been limited to innocent passengers… 

Iran’s fanatic vision transcends Israel

*According to Dr. Yaron Friedman, a Haifa University expert on Islam and the Middle East, the driving force of Iran’s Ayatollahs is a 1,400-year-old vision, which transcends economic and diplomatic benefits and is not centered on Israel, but on the world at large, with a focus on the “infidel” West.

*The root of the Ayatollahs’ vision is the 680 AD Battle of Karbala – a supreme Islamic milestone – which featured the murder of Hussein bin Ali, the grandson of Muhammed and the third Shiite Imam, by Yazid, the Sunni Caliph. For Shiite Islam – as it is in the Middle East which cherishes history and memory – it has been a living memory, commemorated annually during Ashura processions, by Shiite communities in the Middle East, Europe and the USA, with bare-chested men flagellating their bleeding backs and chests.

*The Battle of Karbala has become a permanent call for Shiite martyrdom, sacrifice and revenge, leading to an intrinsic Sunni-Shiite conflict, religiously and militarily, which is still a major force of breeding turbulence among Muslims. The Sunni majority is convinced that the Shiite minority is trying to rule Islam and revenge the 680 AD betrayal, as almost happened from the mid-10th century to the mid-11th century, and during the 16th century, when Iran accepted Shiite Islam and became a major power.

*Since February 1979, when the Ayatollahs (assisted by the US) ascended to power in Tehran, Iran has been preoccupied with the global exportation of the Karbala-driven Islamic Shiite Revolution, aiming to topple every “apostate” (Sunni), “modern-day Yazid” regime, and bring the “infidel” West, and especially “the Great American Satan” to submission, unconditionally, peacefully, or militarily.

*The nature of Iran’s fanatic, religious, megalomaniacal, apocalyptic vision – and the 43-year-old rogue track record of the Ayatollahs – reveal that the Ayatollahs are not amenable to good faith negotiation, peaceful-coexistence, nor exchanging their 1,400-year-old vision for a financial/diplomatic bonanza.  

Support appreciated



Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
October 24, 2023

Israel – a secondary target

*According to the Paris-based think tank, Fondation pour l’Innovation Politique: “…. In 1979-2019, at least 33,769 Islamist terrorist attacks took place worldwide [not counting the civil wars’ terrorism in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen]. They caused the deaths of at least 167,096 people…. 91.2% of the victims were Muslims…. In Europe, in forty years, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland and Russia, have been hit [in addition to India, Bangladesh, Thailand, China, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Somalia, and other parts of Asia and Africa]….”

*11 million Muslims have been killed since 1948, of which 35,000 (0.3%) were killed during Arab-Israeli wars.  Over 90% were killed by fellow Muslims.

*The fourteencenturies-old Islamic terrorism (e.g., three of the first four caliphs were murdered in the seventh century) has not been triggered by despair, neither by the US, nor by Israel. Islamic terrorism has been triggered by the megalomaniacal aspiration to force the Western “infidel” and the Arab “apostate” to submit – unconditionally, peacefully or militarily – to Islam, the only “legitimate” religion, divinely-ordained to rule the world.

Hamas’ anti-Western priority

*According to its 1988 covenant, Hamas is a branch of the anti-Western global Islamic terrorism.

*Hamas was established by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose vision is to topple all national Muslim regimes, establish a Quran-based universal society, and bring the “infidel” West to submission, peacefully or militarily.

*Hamas is heavily assisted by Iran’s Ayatollahs, whose strategic goal is to oust all “apostate” (Sunni) Muslim regimes and defeat the “infidel” West, and especially “the Great American Satan.”  

Anti-US Islamic terrorism independent of Israel

*In recent years, Iran-affiliated terrorists in Yemen, Iraq and eastern Syria have challenged the US posture in the Persian Gulf by routine attacks on civilian, commercial and military sites, which are controlled by the US, and the pro-US (and “apostate”) Sunni Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In addition, Iran has challenged the US posture in Central and South America by collaborating with Latin American drug barons, terrorists and anti-US regimes.

*This apocalyptic Islamic terrorism has targeted the USA – and has simultaneously plagued Muslims since the 7th century – independent of Israel and the nature of US policy.

*Thus, Islamic terrorism has afflicted the US, irrespective of President Carter’s facilitating the rise to power of Iran’s Ayatollahs, and regardless of the US’ diplomatic option, which has netted the Ayatollahs hundreds of billion dollars since 1979. It has assaulted the US, despite the mega-billion dollars of US assistance to the Islamic Mujahideen, which enabled the Mujahideen to end the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. It has plagued the US, in spite of the US bombing of Serbia, which yielded independence to the Muslim-dominated Bosnia and Kosovo. It has attacked the US, notwithstanding the generous US foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority. In fact, Islamic terrorism also haunted the US during the Obama and the Trump Administrations, as it did during the Clinton and Bush Administrations.

*Islamic terrorists view the US as the “enemy of Allah,” a “modern day Crusader” and the key obstacle in the way of Islam’s imperialistic vision to bring the “infidel” West to submission.

*According to the late Prof. Bernard Lewis of Princeton University, who was a leading expert on Islam, Islamic terrorists are convinced that they can absorb US retaliation, while the US will not be able to sustain painful terrorism abroad and on the mainland. Their aim is to erode the confidence of Americans in their government’s capability to defeat Islamic terrorism.

*Anti-Western Islamic terrorism has been energized by the dramatic Islamic penetration of Western Europe, which is losing its will to flex cultural and military muscles. It has also been adrenalized by the success of Islamic terrorism to force the 2021 US retreat from Afghanistan, following its forcing the 1989 Soviet retreat from Afghanistan, which impacted the disintegration of the USSR.

*The confidence of Islamic terrorists in their ability to defeat the “infidel” West has been bolstered by the overwhelming surge of Iran’s Ayatollahs – since their February 1979 rise to power – in the areas of global terrorism, drug trafficking and the proliferation of advanced military systems (including in Latin America), while the US sustains its 43-year-old diplomatic option toward Iran, eagerly seeking another accord with the Ayatollahs, and timidly responding to the Iranian bombing of US, Saudi and Emirati installations.  

The bottom line

*Islamic terrorism – which has been a Middle East fixture since the seventh century – is neither driven by the 18th-century-established US, nor by the 20th-century-established Israel. It has been driven by a 1,400-year-old fanatic, religious, imperialistic non-compromising vision.

*Islamic terrorists consider Israel a Western beachhead in “the abode of Islam,” which constrains the maneuverability of anti-Western Islamic entities. They view Israel as the role model of counter terrorism and a critical line of defense for Western societies.  An Israeli failure to defeat Islamic terrorists would provide a critical tailwind to their assault of the “infidel” West.

*In order to defeat Islamic terrorism, Western democracies – led by the US – must acknowledge its inherently apocalyptic, non-compromising vision/aspiration, which is not despair-driven, but driven by violence, intolerance, and the quest for submission and suppression.

*The assault of Islamic terrorism on the Western culture is another edition of the clash of civilizations, which is leveraged by Russia and China, in order to advance their own global aspirations.

*As such, Islamic terrorism must be confronted militarily, not diplomatically, recognizing the role of hate-education and mosque incitement (in Muslim countries as well as in Europe and the US) as a most effective production line of Islamic terrorists.

*An effective war on Islamic terrorism must be offensive rather than defensive, preemptive in the terrorists’ own trenches rather than reactive in Western trenches.

*Counter-terrorism authorities should implement an American football principle: The closer you get to your opponent’s “end zone,” the closer you are to scoring a touchdown. But, the closer you get to your own “end zone,” the closer is your opponent to scoring a touchdown.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
September 15, 2023, https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/377022

*The platform of an Israel-Saudi accord is the volcanic, violent and unpredictably tenuous Middle East, not Western Europe or No. America;

*Saudi Arabia is driven by Saudi – not Palestinian – interests;

*Unlike the State Department, Saudi Arabia accords much weight to the rogue Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab arena, and therefore limits its support of the proposed Palestinian state to (mostly) talk, not to walk; *An accord with Saudi Arabia – in the shifty, tenuous Middle East – is not a major component of Israel’s national security. On the other hand, Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea & Samaria is a prerequisite for Israel’s survival in the inherently turbulent, intolerantly violent Middle East, which features tenuous regimes, and therefore tenuous policies and accords.

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
August 15, 2023

A conclusion of an Israeli-Saudi (peace or normalization) accord requires the US State Department to demonstrate realism, by recognizing:

The inherent constraints of the inter-Arab arena;
The predominance of the Saudi – over Palestinian – interest;
The intra-Arab Palestinian track record;
The critical role of Israel’s posture of deterrence.

*Any accord will have to acknowledge the endemic features of the inter-Arab arena, which has demonstrated – since the 7th century – violence, intolerance, endemic fragmentation (tribal, geographic, religious, cultural and ideological), local over national identity/loyalty, no peaceful-coexistence, no democracy, but despotic rulers, who ascend to – and lose – power through “the bullet” rather than the ballot. Hence, the tenuous and unpredictable nature of rulers, their policies and accords.

The tenuous nature of rulers has been attested to by “the Arab Tsunami” (gullibly named “the Arab Spring”), which has traumatized the Arab Street since 2010, as well as by the litany of violent regime-changes in Egypt (2013, 2012, 1952), Iran (1979, 1953), Iraq (2003, 1968, twice in 1963, 1958), Libya (2011, 1969), Yemen (a civil war since the 1990s, 1990, 1962), Lebanon (a multitude of civil wars and violent regime changes), etc.

The Saudi Crown Prince, Muhammed bin Salman (MBS), played a key role in orchestrating the Abraham Accords and has displayed exceptional courage and tenacity in modernizing Saudi Arabia, religiously, culturally, economically and educationally.  However, he operates in the unpredictable, tenuous inter-Arab environment, as evidenced by domestic and external threats surrounding Saudi Arabia, including a power struggle within the royal family, and the intensified tension between MBS and the puritan Wahabbi establishment in central and southwestern Saudi Arabia, which was accepted until recently as the leading authority on Islam and an essential ally of the House of Saud since 1744. 

*Saudi – not Palestinian – interests have guided MBS’ policy toward Israel, which he views as a vital ally, militarily, technologically and diplomatically, in the pursuit of his ambitious “Vision 2030.”  This vision aims at leveraging the Saudi geography and wealth, transforming the kingdom into a regional and global financial, military and diplomatic power. MBS has no illusions about the volcanic nature of the Middle East, including his assessment of the lethal threat posed by Iran’s Ayatollahs, irrespective of the resumption of diplomatic ties. He considers Israel as the most reliable ally in the face of mutual threats (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood terrorists), especially against the backdrop of the eroded US’ posture of deterrence.

Israel’s technological capabilities are sought by MBS, in order to diversify the energy-reliant Saudi economy and expand sources of national income.

MBS is aware of Israel’s positive stature on Capitol Hill (despite the antagonistic radical wing of the Democratic Party), which possesses the power of the purse, and is co-equal and co-determining to the Executive Branch in finalizing the sale of advanced military system and the ratification of defense pacts, which are aspired by Saudi Arabia.

*The Palestinian inter-Arab track record – especially subversion and terrorism against Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait – has become a role model of inter-Arab rogue conduct, treachery and ingratitude. It has determined MBS’ attitude toward the Palestinian issue. The Crown Prince is also aware of the Palestinian intimate relationship with terror organizations in the Middle East (especially the Moslem Brotherhood), Europe, Africa and Latin America, as well as with Iran’s Ayatollahs, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and the Soviet Bloc.  

MBS realizes that a Palestinian state would add fuel to the Middle East fire, and therefore, limits his support of the Palestinians (mostly) to talk, refraining from significant walk.  He does not sacrifice Saudi interests on the Palestinian altar, and will not tolerate a Palestinian veto power over Saudi relations with Israel, which he perceives as an essential ally in the pursuit of “Vision 2030.”

*Israel’s posture of deterrence has induced MBS to seek closer ties with the Jewish State. He appreciates Israel flexing its military muscle against Iran in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and even on Iranian soil, and Israel’s war on Palestinian and Islamic terrorism.

Israel’s posture of deterrence is upgraded by its determination to fend off US pressure, when it comes to critical national security matters, such as the bombing of Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors, which spared Saudi Arabia the wrath of a nuclear Saddam Hussein and a nuclearized civil war in Syria.

On a rainy day, MBS prefers a deterring – rather than a deterred – Israel.

Israel’s posture of deterrence has been substantially upgraded since 1967, upon regaining control of the mountain ridges of the Golan Heights, Samaria and Judea (the West Bank), which constitute the cradle of Jewish history, religion and culture, as well as the minimal security requirements in the volcanic and shifty Middle East.

A retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – which are a fixed asset of national security – in return for an accord with Saudi Arabia – which is a variable asset of national security in the violently tenuous Middle East – would transform Israel from a war and terror-deterring country and a force-multiplier for the US, to a war and terror-inducing country and a burden upon the US. It will exacerbate Middle East instability, intensify the lethal threat to the pro-US Arab regime, threaten the exportation of Middle East oil, enhance the fortunes of Iran’s Ayatollahs, anti-US Sunni terror organizations, Russia and China, while dealing a blow to vital US interests.

In fact, major waves of Palestinian terrorism erupted following dramatic Israeli gestures/concessions, such as 1993 Oslo, the 2000 withdrawal/flight from Lebanon and the 2005 “disengagement” from Gaza, not following determined Israeli action, such as the reunification of Jerusalem, the application of Israeli law to the Golan Heights, the construction of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and the destruction of Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors.

The bottom line

*Is the US State Department aware that Saudi Arabia’s policy is driven by Middle East reality and its own interests, not by Western conventional wisdom and Palestinian interests?

*Is the State Department cognizant of the fact that while Saudi Arabia would rather avoid a “Zionist infidel” sovereignty in the “abode of Islam,” it respects Israel’s history and security-driven posture of deterrence, and its willingness to defy US and global pressure?

*Is the State Department mindful of the fact that the Saudi Crown Prince is preoccupied with “Vision 2030,” aware of Israel’s potential contribution to this mega-vision, and therefore encouraged the Abraham Accords, while concluding unprecedented commercial and defense agreements with Israel?

*Is the State Department aware that Saudi frustration with the US diplomatic option toward Iran is pushing the Saudis closer to China and Russia?

Support Appreciated

Jewish Policy Center’s inFOCUS, Spring, 2023

Saudi-Iranian diplomatic relations

*Riyadh does not allow the resumption of the Saudi-Iranian diplomatic ties to befog the reality of the tenuous and shifty Middle East regimes, policies and agreements, and the inherently subversive, terroristic, anti-Sunni and imperialistic track record of Iran’s Ayatollahs.

*Saudi Arabia is cognizant of the 1,400-year-old fanatic, religious vision of the Ayatollahs, including their most critical strategic goal – since their February 1979 violent ascension to power – of exporting the Shiite Revolution and toppling all “apostate” Sunni Arab regimes, especially the House of Saud. They are aware that neither diplomatic, nor financial, short term benefits transcend the deeply-rooted, long term Ayatollahs’ anti-Sunni vision.

*Irrespective of its recent agreement with Iran – and the accompanying moderate diplomatic rhetoric – Saudi Arabia does not subscribe to the “New Middle East” and “end of interstate wars” Pollyannaish state of mind. The Saudis adhere to the 1,400-year-old reality of the unpredictably intolerant and violent inter-Arab/Muslim reality (as well as the Russia-Ukraine reality).

*This is not the first resumption of Saudi-Iranian diplomatic ties, which were previously severed in 1988 and 2016 and followed by the Ayatollahs-induced domestic and regional violence.

*The China-brokered March 2023 resumption of diplomatic ties is a derivative of Saudi Arabia’s national security interests, and its growing frustration with the US’ eroded posture as a reliable diplomatic and military protector against lethal threats.

*The resumption of Saudi-Iranian diplomatic relations constitute a major geo-strategic gain for China and a major setback for the US in a region which, until recently, was perceived as a US domain.

*The US posture of deterrence has been severely undermined by the 2015 nuclear accord (the JCPOA), the 2021 withdrawal/flight from Afghanistan, the systematic courting of three real, clear and lethal threats to the Saudi regime –  Iran’s Ayatollahs, the “Muslim Brotherhood” and Yemen’s Houthi terrorists –- while exerting diplomatic and military pressure on the pro-US Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.

*US policy has driven Saudi Arabia (as well as the UAE and Egypt) closer to China and Russia, commercially and militarily, including the potential Chinese construction of civilian nuclear power plants and a hard rock uranium mill in Saudi Arabia, which would advance Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030.”

Saudi “Vision 2030” 

*Effective Israel-Saudi Arabia cooperation is a derivative of Saudi Arabia’s national security and economic interests, most notably “Vision 2030.”

*The unprecedented Saudi-Israeli security, technological and commercial cooperation, and the central role played by Saudi Arabia in inducing the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan to conclude peace treaties with Israel, are driven by the Saudi assessment that Israel is an essential ally in the face of real, clear, lethal security threats, as well as a vital partner in the pursuit of economic, technological and diplomatic goals.

*The Saudi-Israel cooperation constitutes a win-win proposition.

*The Saudi-Israel cooperation is driven by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’ (MBS’) “Vision 2030.” He aspires to catapult the kingdom to a regional and global powerhouse of trade and investment, leveraging its geo-strategic position along crucial naval routes between the Far East and Europe (the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Arab Sea and the Red Sea).

*”Vision 2030″ has introduced ground-breaking cultural, social, economic, diplomatic and national security reforms and upgrades, leveraging the unique added-value of Israel’s technological and military capabilities.

*Saudi Arabia, just like the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, are preoccupied with the challenge of economic diversification, realizing that they are overly-reliant on oil and natural gas, which are exposed to price-volatility, depletion and could be replaced by emerging cleaner and more cost-effective energy. They consider Israel’s ground-breaking technologies as a most effective vehicle to diversify their economy, create more jobs in non-energy sectors, and establish a base for alternative sources of national income, while bolstering homeland and national security.

*”Vision 2030″ defies traditional Saudi religious, cultural and social norms.  Its future, as well as the future of Saudi-Israel cooperation, depend on Saudi domestic stability and the legitimacy of MBS.  The latter is determined to overcome and de-sanctify the fundamentalist Wahhabis in central and southwestern Saudi Arabia, who were perceived until recently as the Islamic authority in Saudi Arabia, and an essential ally of the House of Saud since 1744.

“Vision 2030”, the Middle East and Israel’s added-value

*MBS’ ambitious strategy is preconditioned upon reducing regional instability and minimizing domestic and regional threats.  These threats include the Ayatollahs regime of Iran, “Muslim Brotherhood” terrorists, Iran-supported domestic Shiite subversion (in the oil-rich Eastern Province), Iran-based Al Qaeda, Iran-supported Houthis in Yemen, Iran-supported Hezbollah, the proposed Palestinian state (which features a rogue intra-Arab track record), and Erdogan’ aspirations to resurrect the Ottoman Empire, which controlled large parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Currently, Erdogan maintains close security and political ties with the “Muslim Brotherhood” and the pro-Iran and pro-“Muslim Brotherhood” Qatar, while confronting Saudi Arabia in Libya, where they are both involved in a series of civil wars.

*Notwithstanding the March 2023 resumption of diplomatic ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia is aware that the Middle East resembles a volcano, which frequently releases explosive lava – domestically and regionally – in an unpredictable manner, as evidenced by the Arab Tsunami, which erupted in 2010 and is still raging on the Arab Street.

*The survival of the Saudi regime, and the implementation of “Vision 2030,” depend upon Riyadh’s ability to form an effective coalition against rogue regimes. However, Saudi Arabia is frustrated by the recent erosion of the US’ posture of deterrence, as demonstrated by the 43-year-old US addiction to the diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs; the US’ limited reaction to Iranian aggression against US and Saudi targets; the US’ embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood; and the US’ appeasement of the Ayatollahs-backed Houthi terrorists. In addition, the Saudis are alarmed by the ineffectiveness of NATO (No Action Talk Only?), European vacillation in the face of Islamic terrorism, and the vulnerability of the Arab regimes.  This geo-strategic reality has driven the Saudis (reluctantly) closer to China and Russia, militarily and commercially.

*Against this regional and global backdrop, Israel stands out as the most reliable “life insurance agent” and an essential strategic ally, irrespective of past conflicts and the Palestinian issue. The latter is considered by the Saudi Crown Prince as a secondary or tertiary issue.

*In addition, the Saudis face economic and diplomatic challenges – which could benefit from Israel’s cooperation and can-do mentality – such as economic diversification, innovative technology, agriculture, irrigation and enhanced access to advanced US military systems, which may be advanced via Israel’s stature on Capitol Hill.

*The Saudi interest in expanding military, training, intelligence, counter-terrorism and commercial cooperation with Israel has been a byproduct of its high regard for Israel’s posture of deterrence and muscle-flexing in the face of Iran’s Ayatollahs (in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran itself); and Israel’s systematic war on Palestinian and Islamic terrorism.  Furthermore, the Saudis respect Israel’s occasional defiance of US pressure, including Israel’s high-profiled opposition to the 2015 JCPOA and Israel’s 1981 and 2007 bombing of Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors, which spared the Saudis (and the US) the devastating wrath of a nuclear Saddam Hussein and a nuclear Assad.

*A deterring and defiant Israel is a cardinal force-multiplier for Saudi Arabia (as it is for the US). On the other hand, an appeasing and retreating Israel would be irrelevant to Saudi Arabia’s national security (as it would be for the US).

*On a rainy day, MBS (just like the US) prefers a deterring and defiant Israel on his side.

Saudi interests and the Palestinian issue

*As documented by the aforementioned data, Saudi Arabia’s top national security priorities transcend – and are independent of – the Palestinian issue.

*The expanding Saudi-Israel cooperation, and the key role played by Riyadh in accomplishing the Abraham Accords, have contradicted the Western conventional wisdom.  The latter assumes that the Palestinian issue is central to Arab policy makers, and that the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict is preconditioned upon substantial Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, including the establishment of a Palestinian state.

*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, MBS is aware that the Palestinian issue is not the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, neither a crown-jewel of Arab policy-making, nor a core cause of regional turbulence.

*Independent of the pro-Palestinian Saudi talk, Riyadh (just like the Arabs in general) has demonstrated an indifferent-to-negative walk toward the Palestinians.  Arabs know that – in the Middle East – one does not pay custom on words. Therefore, the Arabs have never flexed a military (and barely financial and diplomatic) muscle on behalf of the Palestinians. They have acted in accordance with their own – not Palestinian – interests, and certainly not in accordance with Western misperceptions of the Middle East.

*Unlike the Western establishment, MBS accords critical weight to the Palestinian intra-Arab track record, which is top heavy on subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude. For instance, the Saudis don’t forget and don’t forgive the Palestinian collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which was the most generous Arab host for Palestinians. The Saudis are also cognizant of the deeply-rooted Palestinian collaboration with Islamic, Asian, African, European and Latin American terror organizations, including “Muslim Brotherhood” terrorists and Iran’s Ayatollahs (whose machetes are at the throat of the House of Saud), North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela.  The Saudis are convinced that the proposed Palestinian state cannot be different than the Palestinian rogue track record, which would add fuel to the Middle East fire, threatening the relatively-moderate Arab regimes.

Saudi Arabia and the Abraham Accords

*Saudi Arabia has served as the primary engine behind Israel’s peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan, and has forged unprecedented defense and commercial cooperation with Israel, consistent with the Saudi order of national priorities.

*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, the Saudis do not sacrifice Middle East reality and their national security interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue.

*The success of the Saudi-supported Abraham Accords was a result of avoiding the systematic mistakes committed by Western policy makers, which produced a litany of failed Israeli-Arab peace proposals, centered on the Palestinian issue. Learning from prior mistakes, the Abraham accords focused on Arab interests, bypassing the Palestinian issue, avoiding a Palestinian veto.

*Therefore, the durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the interests of the respective Arab countries, and not on the Palestinian issue, which is not a top priority for any Arab country.

*The durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the stability of Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries which signed the Abraham Accords. Their stability is threatened by the volcanic nature of the unstable, highly-fragmented, unpredictable, violently intolerant, non-democratic and tenuous Middle East.

*The tenuous nature of most Arab/Muslim regimes in the Middle East yields tenuous policies and tenuous accords. For example, in addition to the Arab Tsunami of 2010 (which is still raging on the Arab Street), non-ballot regime-change occurred (with a dramatic change of policy) in Egypt (2013, 2012, 1952), Iran (1979, 1953), Iraq (2003, 1968, 1963-twice, 1958), Libya (2011, 1969) and Yemen (a civil war since the ’90s, 1990, 1962), etc.

*Bearing in mind the intra-Arab Palestinian track record, regional instability, the national security of Saudi Arabia, the Abraham Accords and US interests would be severely undermined by the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. It would topple the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River; transform Jordan into a chaotic state in the vein of the uncontrollable Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; and produce another platform of regional and global Islamic terrorism, which would be leveraged by Iran’s Ayatollahs, in order to tighten their encirclement of Saudi Arabia. This would trigger a domino scenario, which would threaten every pro-US Arab oil-producing country in the Arabian Peninsula, jeopardizing the supply of Persian Gulf oil; threaten global trade; and yield a robust tailwind to Iran’s Ayatollahs, Russia and China and a major headwind to the US and its Arab Sunni allies, headed by Saudi Arabia.

*Why would Saudi Arabia and the Arab regimes of the Abraham Accords precondition their critical ties with Israel upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, which they view as a rogue element? Why would they sacrifice their national security and economic interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue? Why would they cut off their noses to spite their faces?

The well-documented fact that Arabs have never flexed a military muscle (and hardly a significant financial and diplomatic muscles) on behalf of the Palestinians, provides a resounding answer!

Israel-Saudi cooperation and Israel’s national security interests

*Notwithstanding the importance of Israel’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia, it takes a back seat to Israel’s critical need to safeguard/control the geographic cradle of its history, religion and culture, which coincides with its minimal security requirements in the volcanic Middle East: the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (West Bank), which dominate the 8-15-mile-sliver of pre-1967 Israel.

*The tenuously unpredictable Middle East reality defines peace accords as variable components of national security, unlike topography and geography (e.g., the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights) which are fixed components of Israel’s minimal security requirements in the non-Western-like Middle East. Israel’s fixed components of national security have dramatically enhanced its posture of deterrence. They transformed the Jewish State into a unique force and dollar multiplier for the US.

*An Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty would be rendered impractical if it required Israel to concede the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which would relegate Israel from a terror and war-deterring force multiplier for the US to a terror and war-inducing burden upon the US.

*Contrary to the Western (mis)perception of Israel-Arab peace treaties as pillars of national security, the unpredictably-violent Middle East features a 1,400-year-old reality of transient (non-democratic, one-bullet, not one-ballot) Arab regimes, policies and accords. Thus, as desirable as Israel-Arab peace treaties are, they must not entail the sacrifice of Israel’s most critical national security feature: the permanent topography of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which dominate 80% of Israel’s population and infrastructure.

*In June and December of 1981, Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor and applied its law to the Golan Heights, in defiance of the Western foreign policy establishment.  The latter warned that such actions would force Egypt to abandon its 1979 peace treaty with Israel. However, Egypt adhered to its national security priorities, sustaining the peace treaty. Routinely, Western policy makers warn that construction in Jerusalem (beyond the “Green Line”) and in Judea and Samaria would trigger a terroristic volcano and push the Arabs away from their peace treaties with Israel.

*None of the warnings materialized, since Arabs act in accordance with their own interests; not in accordance with Western misperceptions and the rogue Palestinian agenda.

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Israel’s and the US’ counter-terrorism

*Islamic and Palestinian terrorism consider Israel as a critical beachhead – and a proxy – of the US in the Middle East and a significant collaborator with the pro-US Arab regimes. They perceive the war on “the infidel Jewish State” as a preview of their more significant war on “the infidel West” and their attempts to topple all pro-US Sunni Arab regimes. Therefore, Islamic and Palestinian terrorism has been engaged in intra-Arab subversion, while systematically collaborating with enemies and rivals of the US and the West (e.g., Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Ayatollah Khomeini, Latin American, European, African and Asian terror organizations, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba). The more robust is Israel’s war on terrorism, the more deterred are the terrorists in their attempts to bring the “infidel” West to submission.

*Islamic and Palestinian terrorism has terrorized Jewish communities in the Land of Israel since the late 19th century, adhering to an annihilationist vision as detailed by the Fatah and PLO charters of 1959 and 1964 (eight and three years before 1967), as well as by the hate-education system, which was installed by Mahmoud Abbas in 1993 following the signing of the Oslo Accord.

*Israel battles Palestinian terrorism (Hamas and the Palestinian Authority) and Islamic terrorism (Iran and Hezbollah), which are not preoccupied with the size – but with the eradication – of the “infidel” Jewish State from “the abode of Islam.”

*Israel and the West fight against deeply-rooted and institutional Islamic and Palestinian terrorism, that is inspired by 1,400-year-old rogue values, which are perpetrated by K-12 hate-education, mosque incitement and official and public idolization of terrorists.

*Israel and the West combat terrorism, that has astutely employed 1,400-year-old Islamic values such the “Taqiya’ ” – which promotes double-speak and dissimulation, as a means to mislead and defeat enemies –  and the “Hudna’,” which misrepresents a temporary non-binding ceasefire with “infidels” as if it were a peace treaty.

*Israel and the West confront Islamic and Palestinian terrorism, which is politically, religiously and ideologically led by despotic and rogue regimes, rejecting Western values, such as peaceful-coexistence, democracy, human rights and good-faith negotiation.

*Israel and the West face off against Palestinian and Islamic terrorism, which does not allow lavish financial and diplomatic temptations to transcend intrinsic, fanatic, rogue and annihilationist vision. Moreover, terrorists bite the hands that feed them.

*Israel and the West are not assaulted by despair-driven terrorism, but by hope-driven terrorism – the hope to bring the “infidel” to submission. The aspiration of these terrorists contradicts peaceful-coexistence.

*Israel and the West clash with terrorists, who view gestures, concessions and hesitancy as weakness, which inflames terrorism.

*Israel and the West struggle against terrorism, which is not driven by a particular Israeli or US policy, but by a fanatic vision. Thus, Islamic terrorism afflicted the US during the Clinton and Obama Democratic Administrations, as well as during the Bush and Trump Republican Administrations.

*The US State Department has embraced a “moral equivalence” between Palestinian terrorists – who systematically and deliberately hit civilians, while sometimes hitting soldiers – and Israeli soldiers, who systematically and deliberately hit terrorists, while sometimes, unintentionally, hitting civilians. It emboldens terrorism, which threatens all pro-US Arab regimes, undermining regional stability, benefiting US’ rivals and enemies, while damaging the US.

War on terrorism

*The bolstering of posture of deterrence – rather than hesitancy, restraint, containment and gestures, which inflame terrorism – is a prerequisite for defeating terrorism and advancing the peace process.

*The most effective long-term war on terrorism – operationally, diplomatically, economically and morally – is not a surgical or comprehensive reaction, but a comprehensive and disproportional preemption, targeting the gamut of terroristic infrastructures and capabilities, draining the swamp of terrorism, rather than chasing the mosquitos.

*Containment produces a short-term, false sense of security, followed by a long-term security setback. It is the terrorists’ wet dream, which does not moderate terrorism, but adrenalizes its veins, providing time to bolster its capabilities – a tailwind to terror and a headwind to counter-terrorism. It shakes the confidence in the capability to crush terrorism. Defeating terrorism mandates obliteration of capabilities, not co-existence or containment.

*Containment aims to avoid a multi-front war (Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah and Iran), but it erodes Israel’s posture of deterrence, which brings Israel closer to a multi-front war under much worse conditions.

*Containment erodes Israel’s posture of deterrence in the eyes of the relatively-moderate Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, the Sudan, Jordan and Egypt), which have dramatically enhanced cooperation with Israel due to Israel’s posture of deterrence against mutual threats, such as Iran’s Ayatollahs, the “Muslim Brotherhood” and ISIS terrorists).

*Containment is also a derivative of White House’s and the State Department’s pressure, subordinating national security to diplomatic priorities.  It undermines Israel’s posture of deterrence, which plays into the hand of anti-Israel and anti-US rogue regimes. Precedents prove that Israeli defiance of US pressure yields short-term tension, but long-term strategic respect, resulting in expanded strategic cooperation.  On a rainy day, the US prefers a defiant, rather than appeasing, strategic ally.

*The 2002 comprehensive counter-terrorism Israeli offensive, and the return of Israel’s Defense Forces to the headquarters of Palestinian terrorism in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) – and not defensive containment and surgical operations – resurrected Israel’s effective war on Palestinian terrorism, which substantially curtailed terrorists’ capabilities to proliferate terrorism in Israel, Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula.

*The containment option intensifies terrorists’ daring, feeds vacillation and the self-destructive “don’t rock the boat” mentality.  It erodes steadfastness and confidence in the capabilities to withstand the cost of terrorism, and feeds the suicidal perpetual retreat mentality.

*The addiction to containment is one of the lethal by-products of the 1993 Oslo Accord, which has produced a uniquely effective hot house of terrorism, highlighted by the importation, arming and funding of some 100,000 Palestinian terrorists from Tunisia, the Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria to Gaza, Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, who have unprecedentedly radicalized the Arab population of pre-1967 Israel, established a K-12 hate education system, launched an unparalleled wave of terrorism, and systematically violated agreements.

The bottom line

*The 30 years since the Oslo Accord have featured unprecedented Palestinian hate-education and wave of terrorism. It has demonstrated that a retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria has boosted terrorism; that the Palestinian Authority is not committed to a peace process, but to the destruction of the Jewish State; and that terrorism requires a military, not political, solution.  A successful war on terrorism behooves a preemptive offense, not defense, containment and reaction; and that fighting in the terrorists’ own trenches is preferable to fighting in one’s own trenches.  No Israeli concessions could satisfy international pressure; and diplomatic popularity is inferior to strategic respect.  Avoiding a repeat of the critical post-Oslo errors requires a comprehensive, disproportional, decisive military campaign to uproot – not to coexist with – terroristic infrastructures.

*The historic and national security indispensability of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – which dominate the 8-15-mile sliver of pre-1967 Israel – and the necessity to frustrate Palestinian terrorism, behooves Israel to eliminate any sign of hesitancy and vacillation by expanding the Jewish presence in this most critical area.  It will intensify US and global pressure, but as documented by all Prime Ministers from Ben Gurion, through Eshkol, Golda Meir, Begin and Shamir, defiance of pressure results in the enhancement of strategic respect and cooperation.

*The Palestinian track record during the 30 years since the 1993 Oslo Accord has highlighted the violent, unpredictable and anti-US rogue nature of the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, which would force the toppling of the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River. It would transform Jordan into an uncontrollable, chaotic state in the vein of Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, triggering a domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula (south of Jordan), which could topple the pro-US, oil-producing Arab regimes. This would reward Iran’s Ayatollahs, China and Russia, while severely undermining regional and global stability and US economic and national security interests.

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*The US’ co-sponsorship of an anti-Israel UN Security Council Statement reflects the return of the State Department’s worldview to the center stage of US foreign policy-making. This was the first time, in six years, that the US enabled the UN Security Council to act against Israel.

*This is not merely a worldview, which is highly critical of Israel, as has been the case since 1948, when Foggy Bottom led the charge against the re-establishment of the Jewish State.

This worldview has systematically undermined US interests, by subordinating the unilateral, independent US national security policy (on Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Palestinian issue, etc.) to a multilateral common denominator with the anti-US and anti-Israel UN and international organizations, as well as the vacillating and terrorists-appeasing Europe.

*It has sacrificed Middle East reality on the altar of wishful-thinking, assuming that the establishment of a Palestinian state would fulfill Palestinian aspirations, advance the cause of peace, reduce terrorism and regional instability; thus, enhancing US interests.

*However, the reality of the Middle East and Jordan and the rogue Palestinian track record lend credence to the assumption that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, yielding traumatic ripple effects, regionally and globally:

^Replace the relatively-moderate Hashemite regime with either a rogue Palestinian regime, a Muslim Brotherhood regime, or other rogue regimes;
^Transform Jordan into a chaotic state, similar to Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, which would be leveraged by Iran’s Ayatollahs to intensify their encirclement of the pro-US Saudi regime;
^Convert Jordan into a major arena of regional and global Islamic terrorism;
^Trigger a domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula, which could topple all pro-US, oil-producing Arab regimes;
^Imperil the supply of Persian Gulf oil, which would be held hostage by anti-US entities, catapulting the price at the pump;
^Jeopardize major naval routes of global trade between Asia and Europe through the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea and the Suez Canal;
^Intensify epicenters of regional and global terrorism and drug trafficking;
^Generate a robust tailwind to US’ adversaries (Russia and China) and enemies (Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS) and a powerful headwind to US economic and national security interests.

*The State Department assumes that Palestinian terrorism – just like Islamic terrorism – is driven by despair, ignoring the fact that Palestinian terrorism has been driven (for the last 100 years) by the vision to erase the “infidel” Jewish entity from “the abode of Islam,” as stated by the charters of Fatah (1959) and the PLO (1964), 8 and 3 years before the Jewish State reunited Jerusalem and reasserted itself in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

*Aspiring for a Palestinian state, and viewing Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria as an obstacle to peace, ignores the Arab view of the Palestinians as a role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism, corruption and treachery. Moreover, the State Department has held the view that the Palestinian issue is the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict and a central to Arab interests, which has been refuted by the Abraham Accords. The latter ignored the State Department, sidestepped the Palestinian issue and therefore came to fruition.

*The State Department overlooks the centrality of the Palestinian Authority’s hate education, which has become the most effective production-line of terrorists, and the most authentic reflection of the Palestinian Authority’s worldview and vision.

*The State Department has also taken lightly the Palestinian Authority’s mosque incitement, public glorification of terrorists and monthly allowances to families of terrorists, which have documented its rogue and terroristic nature (walk), notwithstanding its peaceful diplomatic rhetoric (talk).

*The State Department’s eagerness to welcome the Palestinian issue in a “red carpet” manner – contrary to the “shabby doormat” extended to Palestinians by Arabs – and its determination to promote the establishment of a Palestinian state, along with its embrace of Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Muslim Brotherhood, have been interpreted by rogue regimes and organizations as weakness.

Experience suggests that weakness invites the wolves, including wolves which aim to bring “The Great Satan” to submission throughout the world as well as the US mainland.

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SCHEDULE LECTURES & INTERVIEWS

Demography

Demographic optimism IN, demographic pessimism OUT

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
October 2, 2023

The suggestion that Israel should retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is based, partly, on the assumption that the Jewish majority is exposed to an “Arab demographic time bomb,” which would explode if Israel were to apply its law to Judea and Samaria.

However, Israel’s Jewish majority is not vulnerable to an “Arab demographic time bomb,” but benefits from demographic momentum, fertility-wise and migration-wise.

Arab demography artificially inflated

This erroneous assumption is based on the official Palestinian numbers, which are embraced and reverberated by the global community – with no due-diligence auditing – ignoring a 1.6-million-person artificial inflation of the reported number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria.

For instance:

*The official Palestinian census includes 500,000 residents, who have been away for over a year, while international standards require their elimination from the census (until they return for, at least, 90 days).  This number was documented by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (325,000 in 1997), Election Commission (400,000 in 2005) and the Ministry of Interior, increasing systematically through births.

*The Palestinian census ignores the net-emigration of 390,000 since the first 1997 census, as documented by Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority, which supervises Israel’s international passages.

*375,000 Jerusalem Arabs and more than 150,000 (mostly) Judea and Samaria Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs are doubly-counted (by Israel and the Palestinian Authority). This number increases systematically through births.

*A September 2006 World Bank report documented a 32% artificial inflation of the number of births.  At the same time, death has been substantially underreported as evidenced by the 2007 Palestinian census, which included Arabs born in 1845….   

*The aforementioned data indicates an artificial inflation of 1.6 million in the Palestinian census of Judea and Samria Arabs: 1.4 million – not 3 million – Arabs.

Arab demography Westernized

Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, Arab demography has been westernized dramatically in recent years, from a fertility rate of 9 births per woman west of the Jordan River during the 1960s to 2.85 births in 2021 in pre-1967 Israel and 3.02 in Judea and Samaria.

The westernization of Arab demography has been a result of sweeping urbanization. From a 70%-rural-population in Judea and Samaria in 1967, to a 77%-urban-population in 2022.  In addition, almost all girls complete high school, resulting in the expanded integration of women in employment and academia, as well as an increase in wedding age (from 15 to 24-year-old).  Moreover, there has been an expansion of the use of contraceptives (70% of women in the Palestinian Authority) and a shorter fertility cycle (25 through 45 in 2022 compared to 16 through 55 during the 1960s).

Demographic westernization has occurred in the entire Moslem World, other than the Sub-Saharah countries: In 2022, Jordan – 2.9 births per woman, Iran – 1.9, Saudi Arabia – 1.9, Morocco – 2.27, Iraq – 3.17, Egypt 2.76, Yemen – 2.91, the UAE – 1.62, etc.

Jewish demographic momentum

Israel’s Jewish demography features a fertility momentum – especially in the secular sector – simultaneously with a moderate decline in the ultra-orthodox sector. In fact, Jewish fertility (3.13 births per woman) is higher than any Arab country, other than Iraq’s (3.17). The OECD’s average fertility rate is 1.61 births per woman.

In 2022, the number of Jewish births (137,566) was 71% higher than in 1995 (80,400), while the number of Arab births (43,417) was 19% higher than in 1995 (36,500).

Contrary to most global societies, Israel enjoys a positive correlation between the level of fertility, on the one hand, and the level of education, income, urbanization and (the rise of) wedding age on the other hand.

The growth of Jewish fertility reflects a high level of patriotism, optimism, attachment to roots, communal responsibility, frontier mentality, high regard for raising children and the decline in the number of abortions.

The Jewish population is growing younger, while the Arab population is growing older.

Until the 1990s, there was a demographic race between Arab births and Jewish immigration.  Since the 1990s, the race is between Jewish and Arab births, while net-migration provides a robust boost to Jewish demography.

The Jewish demographic momentum has been bolstered by an annual Aliyah (Jewish immigration) – which has been the most critical engine of Israel’s economic, educational, technological and military growth – simultaneously with the declining scope of annual emigration.  From an additional 14,200 emigrants in 1990 to 10,800 in 2020, while the overall population has doubled itself since 1990. A substantial decline in emigration has taken place since the 2007/2008 global economic meltdown, which has underscored the relative stability and growth of Israel’s economy.

In 2023, there has been an increase in Aliyah. This highlights a potential of 500,000 Olim (Jewish immigrants) in five years – from Europe, the former USSR, Latin and North America – should the Israeli government resurrect the pro-active Aliyah policy, which defined Israel from 1948-1992.

The bottom line

In 1897, upon convening the First Zionist Congress, there was a 9% Jewish minority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel.

In 1948, upon the establishment of the Jewish State, there was a 39% Jewish minority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel.

In 2022, there was a 69% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel (7.5 million Jews, 2 million Arabs in pre-1967 Israel and 1.4 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria), benefiting from a tailwind of fertility and net-migration.

Those who claim that the Jewish majority – in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel – is threatened by an Arab demographic time bomb are either dramatically mistaken, or outrageously misleading.

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Iran

Diplomatic option toward Iran is self-destructive

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
December 19, 2023

*The US State Department’s diplomatic option has facilitated the transformation of Iran from “the American policeman of the Gulf” to “the largest anti-American venomous octopus in the world,” stretching its rogue arms from the Persian Gulf through Africa to Latin America and the US-Mexico border, which it perceives as the soft underbelly of the US.

*The diplomatic option – including a frail US response to sustained Iranian attacks on US installations in the Persian Gulf region – has aggravated Middle East instability, threatening the survival of every pro-US Arab regime, and is inducing anti-US global Islamic terrorism.  This is severely eroding US posture of deterrence, benefitting Russia, China and mostly Iran, while undermining US national and homeland security. 

*The diplomatic option has suspended most economic sanctions – without Congressional consent – surging Iran’s oil export from 500,000 barrels per day to 2-3 million barrels per day, increasing Iran’s national income by some $100bn, mostly dedicated to bolster Iran’s anti-US rogue operations, increasingly in Latin America, the US’ backyard.

*The diplomatic option has consistently overlooked the decisive power of the Ayatollahs’ imperialistic ideology, and its determination to export the anti-US Islamic Shiite Revolution. Consequently, the State Department has deluded itself into believing that an astounding financial and diplomatic bonanza would induce Iran’s Ayatollahs to accept peaceful coexistence with their pro-US Arab Sunni neighbors, become good-faith negotiators, and abandon their 1,400-year-old religious, fanatic vision, which is enshrined in their Constitution, K-12 school curriculum, Friday mosque sermons and official media.

*However, as expected, the mega-billion-dollar bonanza yielded by the diplomatic option (e.g., the 2015 JCPOA and the current suspension of economic sanctions) has bolstered its global terroristic network, advancing its vision to topple all pro-US Sunni regimes, and bring the “infidel” West to submission, especially the “The Great American Satan,” while egregiously oppressing and suppressing Iranian women and religious and ethnic minorities.  

*The State Department’s diplomatic option was initiated in 1978/1979, stabbing in the back the pro-US Shah of Iran, and contending that Ayatollah Khomeini was anti-Communist and therefore potentially pro-Western and a stabilizing element geopolitically, “…holding a Gandhi-like positionpreoccupied with tractors, not tanks….”

*Has the diplomatic option dumped the Monroe Doctrine?! In 2023, Iran’s Ayatollahs invest mega billions of dollars in fueling civil wars, terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering throughout the Middle East, Africa and especially in Latin America. There, they collaborate – along with Hezbollah terrorists – with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, and train terror organizations. They cooperate with all anti-US governments (especially Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Bolivia), testing ballistic missiles, and supplying predator drones, attack boats, anti-ship missiles, and equipment for the construction of underground tunnels along the US-Mexico border, which smuggle drugs and illegal Middle East terrorists into the US.

*The bottom line is: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me!  After 44 years of being fooled by the Ayatollahs, critically undermining the strategic posture of the US and its allies, it is time to reassess the diplomatic option, and consider other options, such as regime-change and a credible military threat hovering above the head of the Ayatollahs.  

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Judea & Samaria

Israel-Saudi accord and Israel’s control of Judea & Samaria (video)

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
September 15, 2023, https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/377022

*The platform of an Israel-Saudi accord is the volcanic, violent and unpredictably tenuous Middle East, not Western Europe or No. America;

*Saudi Arabia is driven by Saudi – not Palestinian – interests;

*Unlike the State Department, Saudi Arabia accords much weight to the rogue Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab arena, and therefore limits its support of the proposed Palestinian state to (mostly) talk, not to walk; *An accord with Saudi Arabia – in the shifty, tenuous Middle East – is not a major component of Israel’s national security. On the other hand, Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea & Samaria is a prerequisite for Israel’s survival in the inherently turbulent, intolerantly violent Middle East, which features tenuous regimes, and therefore tenuous policies and accords.

Jerusalem

United Jerusalem – a shared US-Israel legacy and interest

US departure from the recognition of a United Jerusalem as the exclusive capital of the Jewish State, and the site of the US Embassy to Israel, would be consistent with the track record of the State Department, which has been systematically wrong on Middle East issues, such as its opposition to the establishment of the Jewish State; stabbing the back of the pro-US Shah of Iran and Mubarak of Egypt, and pressuring the pro-US Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while courting the anti-US Ayatollahs of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Arafat, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the Houthis of Yemen; transforming Libya into a platform of global Islamic terrorism and civil wars; etc..

However, such departure would violate US law, defy a 3,000 year old reality – documented by a litany of archeological sites and a multitude of documents from Biblical time until today – spurn US history and geography, and undermine US national and homeland security.

United Jerusalem and the US law

Establishing a US Consulate General in Jerusalem – which would be a de facto US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority – would violate the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which became US law on November 8, 1995 with substantially more than a veto-override majority on Capitol Hill.

According to the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which enjoys massive support among the US population and, therefore, in both chambers of Congress:

“Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….

“Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the state of Israel; and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem….

“In 1990, Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that Congress ‘strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….’

“In 1992, the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 113… to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and reaffirming Congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city….

“In 1996, the state of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry….

“The term ‘United States Embassy’ means the offices of the United States diplomatic mission and the residence of the United States chief of mission.”

United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers

The US Early Pilgrims and Founding Fathers were inspired – in their unification of the 13 colonies – by King David’s unification of the 12 Jewish tribes into a united political entity, and establishing Jerusalem as the capital city, which did not belong to any of the tribes (hence, Washington, DC does not belong to any state). King David entered Jerusalem 3,000 years before modern day US presidents entered the White House and 2,755 years before the US gained its independence.

The impact of Jerusalem on the US founders of the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist system and overall civic life is reflected by the existence, in the US, of 18 Jerusalems (4 in Maryland; 2 in Vermont, Georgia and New York; and 1 in Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Utah, Rhode Island and Tennessee), 32 Salems (the original Biblical name of Jerusalem) and many Zions (a Biblical synonym for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel).  Moreover, in the US there are thousands of cities, towns, mountains, cliffs, deserts, national parks and streets bearing Biblical names.

The Jerusalem reality and US interests

Recognizing the Jerusalem reality and adherence to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act – and the subsequent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the site of the US Embassy to Israel – bolstered the US posture of deterrence in defiance of Arab/Islamic pressure and threats.

Contrary to the doomsday assessments by the State Department and the “elite” US media – which have been wrong on most Middle East issues – the May 2018 implementation of the 1995 law did not intensify Palestinian, Arab and Islamic terrorism. State Department “wise men” were equally wrong when they warned that Israel’s 1967 reunification of Jerusalem would ignite a worldwide anti-Israel and anti-US Islamic volcanic eruption.

Adherence to the 1995 law distinguishes the US President, Congress and most Americans from the state of mind of rogue regimes and terror organizations, the anti-US UN, the vacillating Europe, and the cosmopolitan worldview of the State Department, which has systematically played-down the US’ unilateral, independent and (sometimes) defiant national security action.

On the other hand, US procrastination on the implementation of the 1995 law – by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama – eroded the US posture of deterrence, since it was rightly perceived by the world as appeasement in the face of pressure and threats from Arab/Muslim regimes and terrorists.  As expected, it radicalized Arab expectations and demands, failed to advance the cause of Israel-Arab peace, fueled Islamic terrorism, and severely undermined US national and homeland security. For example, blowing up the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and murdering 224 persons in August 1998; blowing up the USS Cole destroyer in the port of Aden and murdering 17 US sailors in October 2000; the 9/11 Twin Towers massacre, etc.

Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure

In 1949, President Truman followed Secretary of State Marshall’s policy, pressuring Israel to refrain from annexing West Jerusalem and to accept the internationalization of the ancient capital of the Jewish people.

in 1950, in defiance of brutal US and global pressure to internationalize Jerusalem, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion reacted constructively by proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish State, relocating government agencies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and settling tens of thousands of Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel) in Jerusalem. He upgraded the transportation infrastructure to Jerusalem, erected new Jewish neighborhoods along the 1949 cease fire lines in Jerusalem, and provided the city land reserves for long-term growth.

In 1953, Ben Gurion rebuffed President Eisenhower’s pressure – inspired by Secretary of State Dulles – to refrain from relocating Israel’s Foreign Ministry from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

In 1967, President Johnson followed the advice of Secretary of State Rusk – who opposed Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence – highlighting the international status of Jerusalem, and warned Israel against the reunification of Jerusalem and construction in its eastern section. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol adopted Ben Gurion’s statesmanship, fended off the US pressure, reunited Jerusalem, built the first Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines, Ramat Eshkol, in addition to the first wave of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights.

In 1970, President Nixon collaborated with Secretary of State Rogers, attempting to repartition Jerusalem, pressuring Israel to relinquish control of Jerusalem’s Holy Basin, and to stop Israel’s plans to construct additional neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.  However, Prime Minister Golda Meir refused to rescind the reunification of Jerusalem, and proceeded to lay the foundation for additional Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines: Gilo, Ramot Alon, French Hill and Neve’ Yaakov, currently home to 150,000 people.

In 1977-1992, Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir defied US and global pressure, expanding construction in Jerusalem, sending a clear message: “Jerusalem is the exclusive and non-negotiable capital of Israel!”

“[In 1978], at the very end of [Prime Minister Begin’s] successful Camp David talks with President Jimmy Carter and President Anwar Sadat, literally minutes before the signing ceremony, the American president had approached [Begin] with ‘Just one final formal item.’ Sadat, said the president, was asking that Begin put his signature to a simple letter committing him to place Jerusalem on the negotiating table of the final peace accord.  ‘I refused to accept the letter, let alone sign it,’ rumbled Begin. ‘If I forgot thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning,’ said [Begin] to the president of the United States of America, ‘and may my tongue cleave to my mouth’ (The Prime Ministers – An Intimate Portrait of Leaders of Israel, 2010)”

In 2021, Prime Minister Bennett should follow in the footsteps of Israel’s Founding Father, Ben Gurion, who stated: “Jerusalem is equal to the whole of the Land of Israel. Jerusalem is not just a central Jewish settlement. Jerusalem is an invaluable global historical symbol. The Jewish People and the entire world shall judge us in accordance with our steadfastness on Jerusalem (“We and Our Neighbors,” p. 175. 1929).”

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Jewish Holidays

Chanukah guide for the perplexed, 2023

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
November 29, 2023

More on Jewish holidays: SmashwordsAmazon

1. According to Israel’s Founding Father, David Ben Gurion: Chanukah commemorates “the struggle of the Maccabees, which was one of the most dramatic clashes of civilizations in human history, not merely a political-military struggle against foreign oppression…. Unlike many peoples, the meager Jewish people did not assimilate.  The Jewish people prevailed, won, sustained and enhanced their independence and unique civilization…. It was the spirit of the people, rather than the failed spirit of the establishment, which enabled the Hasmoneans to overcome one of the most magnificent spiritual, political and military challenges in Jewish history….” (Uniqueness and Destiny, pp 20-22, David Ben Gurion, IDF Publishing, 1953).

2. A Jewish national liberation holiday.  Chanukah (evening of December 7 – December 15, 2023) is the only Jewish holiday that commemorates an ancient national liberation struggle in the Land of Israel, unlike the national liberation holidays, Passover, Sukkot/Tabernacles and Shavu’ot/Pentecost, which commemorate the liberation from slavery in Egypt to independence in the land of Israel, and unlike Purim, which commemorates liberation from a Persian attempt to annihilate the Jewish people.

3. Chanukah and the Land of Israel.  When ordered by Emperor Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Seleucid region to end the Jewish “occupation” of Jerusalem, Jaffa, Gaza, Gezer and Akron, Shimon the Maccabee responded: “We have not occupied a foreign land…. We have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation (Book of Maccabees A: 15:33).”

Chanukah highlights the centrality of the Land of Israel in the formation of Jewish history, religion, culture and language. The mountain ridges of Judea and Southern Samaria (the West Bank) were the platform for the Maccabean military battles: Mitzpah (the burial site of the Prophet Samuel, overlooking Jerusalem), Beth El (the site of the Ark of the Covenant and Judah the Maccabee’s initial headquarters), Beth Horon (Judah’s victory over Seron), Hadashah (Judah’s victory over Nicanor), Beth Zur (Judah’s victory over Lysias), Ma’aleh Levona (Judah’s victory over Apolonius), Adora’yim (a Maccabean fortress), Eleazar (named after Mattityahu’s youngest Maccabee son), Beit Zachariya (Judah’s first defeat), Ba’al Hatzor (where Judah was defeated and killed), Te’qoah, Mikhmash and Gophnah (bases of Shimon and Yonatan), the Judean Desert, etc.

4. Historical context  Chanukah is narrated in the four Books of the MaccabeesThe Scroll of Antiochus and The Wars of the Jews.

In 323 BCE, following the death of Alexander the Great (Alexander III) who held Judaism in high esteem, the Greek Empire was split into three independent and rival mini-empires: Greece, Seleucid/Syria and Ptolemaic/Egypt.

In 175 BCE, the Seleucid/Syrian Emperor Antiochus (IV) Epiphanes claimed the Land of Israel. He suspected that the Jews were allies of his Ptolemaic/Egyptian enemy.  The Seleucid emperor was known for eccentric behavior, hence his name, Epiphanes, which means “divine manifestation.”  He aimed to exterminate Judaism and convert Jews to Hellenism. In 169 BCE, he devastated Jerusalem, attempting to decimate the Jewish population, and outlaw the practice of Judaism.

In 166/7 BCE, a Jewish rebellion was led by the non-establishment Hasmonean (Maccabee) family from the rural town of Modi’in, half-way between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean.  The rebellion was headed by Mattityahu, the priest, and his five sons, Yochanan, Judah, Shimon, Yonatan and Eleazar, who fought the Seleucid occupier and restored Jewish independence.  The Hasmonean dynasty was replete with external and internal wars and lasted until 37 BCE, when Herod the Great (a proxy of Rome) defeated Antigonus II Mattathias.

5. The reputation of Jews as superb warriors was reaffirmed by the success of the Maccabees on the battlefield. In fact, they were frequently hired as mercenaries by Egypt, Syria, Carthage, Rome and other global and regional powers.

6. The significance of Chanukah. Chanukah celebrates the Maccabean-led national liberation by conducting in-house family education and lighting candles for 8 days in commemoration of the re-inauguration of Jerusalem’s Jewish Temple and its Menorah (candelabra).

The Hebrew words Chanukah (חנוכה), inauguration (חנוכ) and education ((חנוך possess the same root.

7. As was prophesized by the Prophet Hagai in 520 BCE, the re-inauguration of the Temple took place on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, which is the month of miracles, such as the post-flood appearance of Noah’s rainbow, the completion of the construction of the Holy Ark by Moses, the laying of the foundations of the Second Temple by Nehemiah, etc.

In 1777, Chanukah candles were lit during the most critical battle at Valley Forge, which solidified the victory of George Washington’s Continental Army over the British monarchy.

The 25th Hebrew word in Genesis is “light,” and the 25th stop during the Exodus was Hashmona (the same Hebrew spelling as Hasmonean-Maccabees).

The first day of Chanukah is celebrated when daylight hours are equal to darkness hours – and when moonlight is hardly noticed – ushering in brighter days.

8. Chanukah highlights the defeat of darkness, disbelief, forgetfulness and pessimism by the spirit of light, faith, commemoration and optimism over.

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Golan

US interests and Israel’s control of Judea & Samaria (West Bank)

A new 8-minute-video: YouTube, Facebook

Synopsis:

*Israel’s control of the topographically-dominant mountain ridges of the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria has enhanced Israel’s posture of deterrence, constraining regional violence, transforming Israel into a unique force-multiplier for the US.

*Top Jordanian military officers warned that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into a non-controllable terrorist heaven, generating an anti-US domino scenario in the Arabian Peninsula.

*Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria has eliminated much of the threat (to Jordan) of Judea and Samaria-based Palestinian terrorism.

*Israel’s posture of deterrence emboldens Jordan in the face of domestic and regional threats, sparing the US the need to deploy its own troops, in order to avoid an economic and national security setback.

*The proposed Palestinian state would become the Palestinian straw that would break the pro-US Hashemite back.

*The Palestinian track record of the last 100 years suggests that the proposed Palestinian state would be a rogue entity, adding fuel to the Middle East fire, undermining US interests.

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Islamic Terrorism

US and Israel facing the mutual threat of Islamic terrorism

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
February 21, 2024

*FBI Director Christopher A. Wray visited Israel on February 14, 2024, during the Israel-Hamas and Israel-Hezbollah wars, meeting with leaders of the Mossad, Israel’s Secret Service, and Israel’s National Police in order to benefit from Israel’s unique urban and tunnel warfare experience and battle tactics in the war against Islamic terrorists, who are advancing the vision of Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Moslem Brotherhood.

*Director Wray considers Israel’s as the most effective battle-tested laboratory of the US armed forces, law enforcement agencies and defense industries.

*Director Wray is aware of the Ayatollahs’ and Hezbollas’ growing entrenchment in Mexico, along the US-Mexico border and throughout Latin America. In fact, since the early 1980s, Iran’s Ayatollahs and Hezbollah have entrenched themselves in Latin America, bolstering collaboration with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, all Latin American terror organizations, and each anti-US Latin American government. They supply the drug cartels underground tunnel construction equipment, and train them in the areas of car bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices. In addition, they have leveraged the convoys of illegal aliens from Guatemala to the US-Mexico border, smuggling terrorists and drug traffickers into the US.

*Islamic terrorism has targeted the US since the early 19th century irrespective of US policy and independent of the identity of the US President.  Thus, Islamic terrorism afflicted the US during the presidencies of both Trump and Obama, G.W. Bush and Clinton, Reagan and Carter.

*Hamas is a branch of the Moslem Brotherhood – the largest Sunni terror organization with religious, educational and welfare branches – whose charter aims to topple all national Islamic regimes, establish a universal Islamic society, bring the Western “infidel” – and especially the USA – to submission, and establish Islam as the only legitimate and divinely-ordained religion.

*Hamas and Hezbollah are proxies of Iran’s Ayatollahs, whose Constitution highlights a megalomaniacal vision, which stipulates the toppling of all “apostate” (Sunni) regimes, asserting itself globally – beyond the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, all the way to Latin America – and bringing the “infidel” West, and especially “The Great American Satan” to submission.

*Since February 1979, when it toppled the Shah of Iran, the Ayatollahs’ regime has transformed Iran from “The American Policeman of the Gulf” to the leading anti-US epicenter of global terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and the proliferation of advanced military systems.

*Israel’s war against Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism has bolstered the US’ defense against Islamic terrorism.

*On November 15, 2023, Director Christopher Wray testified at the House Committee on Homeland Security:

“The war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the US to a whole other level…. Since October 7th, we’ve seen a rogue gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against Americans and our allies. Hezbollah threatened to attack US interests in the Middle East. Al-Qaida issued specific calls to attack the US. Al-Qaida called on jihadists to attack Americans and Jewish people everywhere. ISIS urged its followers to target Jewish communities in the US and Europe.

“Our most immediate concern is that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home. That includes homegrown violent extremists inspired by a foreign terrorist organization and domestic violent extremists…. We cannot discount the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization may exploit the current conflict to conduct attacks on our own soil…. But it’s not just Hamas. As the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran has directly, or by hiring criminals, mounted assassination attempts against dissidents and high-ranking current and former U.S. officials, including right here on American soil. Hezbollah, Iran’s primary strategic partner, has a history of raising money and seeking to obtain weapons here in the US…. Hezbollah has tried to seed operatives, establish infrastructure, and engage in spying here domestically, raising our concern that there may be contingency planning for future operations in the United States….”

*The bottom line is that FBI Director, Christopher Wray, is driven by Middle East reality, not by alternative, less frustrating, but self-destructive reality. Therefore, he does not subscribe to the diplomatic option in the battle against Islamic terrorism, and does not propose to negotiate with – and make financial and diplomatic concessions to – terrorists. He does not expect Iran to accept peaceful coexistence with its pro-US Sunni Arab regimes, conduct good faith negotiation, or abandon its 1,400-year-old fanatic vision. Director Wray attempts to defeat Iran-controlled Islamic terrorists. He does not expect Israel to slow down its war on Hamas, which is a proxy of Iran. Just like Saudi Arabia and all other pro-US Arab countries, Director Wray is aware that the obliteration of Hamas, militarily, politically and educationally, will bolster the posture of deterrence of both Israel and the USA, reducing terror assaults on pro-US Arab countries (e.g., Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco) and in the US mainland.

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