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The US-engineered and guaranteed Israel-Lebanon maritime/gas accord is supposed to follow in the footsteps of the Israel-Arab peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, reducing regional terrorism and instability, inducing moderation and enhancing US interests.  Does it?

Hezbollah and Lebanon

*The Shiite Hezbollah – Iran’s proxy and globally recognized terrorist organization – is a dominant player in the increasingly imploding, failed-state, Lebanon, politically, militarily, socially, educationally, religiously and journalistically.

Hezbollah has dramatically bolstered its capabilities and clout since its establishment in 1982 – by Iran’s Shiite Ayatollahs – as a vehicle to export the Shiite Islamic Revolution, extend the Ayatollahs’ reach from the Persian Gulf, through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the eastern Mediterranean, and undermine the US strategic posture in the Middle East.  Hezbollah has collaborated with Iran’s Ayatollahs in the Middle East, West Africa and throughout Latin America, all the way to the US-Mexico border. It has gained substantial sway due to its major contribution to the survival of the Assad regime.  Hezbollah has benefited from the Ayatollahs’ financial support, combat training, and the supply of precise missiles and predator unmanned aerial vehicles.

*Hezbollah’s dominant role in Lebanon’s decision-making has led the pro-US Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to ostracize Lebanon and suspend financial aid to Beirut, lest it bolsters Hezbollah’s stature.

Israel’s maritime accord vs. Israel-Arab peace treaties

*Israel’s peace treaties with the relatively-stable, pro-US, anti-Iran and anti-terrorist Sunni Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, with the blessing of Saudi Arabia, which generated a critical impetus to the Abraham Accords. Their policy and vision do not extend beyond their own national boundaries.

On the other hand, the maritime/gas accord was concluded with the uncontrollable Lebanon, which is afflicted by intrinsic religious, ethnic and political fragmentation, that has been leveraged by the violently domineering, anti-US, pro-Iran Hezbollah, a major arm of Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, west Africa and Latin America. Hezbollah is dedicated to advancing the fanatic vision of a universal Shiite Moslem society, through the exportation of the Ayatollahs’ Shiite Islamic Revolution, toppling all Sunni (“apostate” and “heretic”) Sunni regimes, transforming the Republic of Lebanon into the Islamic Republic of Lebanon, a province of a universal Shiite Islamic entity, and bringing the “infidel” West (especially “the Great American Satan) to submission.

*The Abraham Accords were signed with regimes, which have accepted peaceful-coexistence with Israel and are focused on domestic stability, including economic growth.

Nonetheless, the maritime/gas accord was concluded with a country, dominated by Hezbollah, which perceives peaceful-coexistence with the Jewish state and its Sunni Arab neighbors an anathema to its fanatic vision, and has made it clear – since establishment – that its ideology supersedes financial and diplomatic benefits.

The conventional Western wisdom that Hezbollah will choose economic benefits over ideology should be assessed against the backdrop of the track record of Iran’s Ayatollahs and their adherence to their core ideology irrespective of the mega-billion-dollars of Western gifts, showered upon them by the US and the West since 1979. In addition, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have exhibited faithfulness to hate-education, incitement and terrorism, notwithstanding the unprecedented geographic, diplomatic and financial concessions made by Israel, the US and the world at-large.

*The Abraham Accords were concluded with Arab regimes, which consider Israel as a most effective military and technological ally in the face of lethal threats and in their pursuit of economic diversification.

While these Arab regimes are not fully-reconciled to the existence of an “infidel” Jewish sovereignty in the “abode of Islam” (the Middle East), they do not consider it a top priority, realizing the potential Israeli contribution to their survival. Moreover, some of them (especially the UAE) are moderating their education curriculum and policy toward Israel, rethinking Islam’s fundamental view of the Jewish people and the Jewish State.

On the other hand, Hezbollah and their masters in Tehran, consider Israel as a loathsome entity, religiously and strategically, to be uprooted, in order to advance their fanatic, religious, megalomaniacal vision.

They recognize the Jewish State as the most effective beachhead of “The Great American Satan,” culturally and strategically, and a powerful ally of the “apostate” Sunni Arab regimes.

*All Israel-Arab peace treaties resulted from a deep appreciation, by the Arab partners, of Israel’s military, technological and diplomatic capabilities, including its military defiance of Iran and Hezbollah, and its ability to fend off US pressure, which have demonstrated Israel’s willingness to assume short-term setbacks, in order to benefit from long-term national security benefits. The pro-US Arab regimes consider Israel’s posture of deterrence as a key component of their own national security.

On the other hand, the maritime/gas accord, was brokered by the US under the assumption that an Israeli giveaway of the entire area in dispute (330 square miles of economic water and 10 square kilometers of sovereign water) would avert a Hezbollah threat to launch an attack of missiles and predator unmanned vehicles.  In other words, a sweeping capitulation, rather than confrontation and preemption of a terrorist threat.

*The maritime/gas accord – which reflects the State Department worldview that concessions made to terrorists could induce moderation – has eroded Israel’s posture of deterrence, which has transformed Israel (since 1967) into the most productive force-multiplier for the US, and a desirable ally of the pro-US Arab regimes, in the face of lethal threats.

The bottom line

*The US architects of the maritime/gas accord and their Israeli partners overlook the fact that terrorists bite the hands that feed them. For example, the Mujahideen defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan due to US support, and were quick to launch a major terror offensive against the US in the Middle East and in the US itself. Furthermore, Iran’s Ayatollahs seized power in Iran due to US support, and then became the lead epicenter of global anti-US terrorism. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas responded to unprecedented Israeli gestures in 1993 (the Oslo Accord) and 2005 (the disengagement from Gaza) with unprecedented hate-education, incitement and terrorism.

*The US architects and their Israeli partners have ignored the fact that concessions to terrorists – just like any other rogue entity – whets their appetite and intensifies terrorism.

*The maritime/gas accord represents a victory of Western conventional wisdom over Middle East reality, sacrificing long-term national security on the altar of short-term gratification, which plays into the hands of rogue entities (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority), undermining the homeland and national security of Western democracies (e.g., the US, Europe and Israel).

*At a time, when most Iranians, and especially Iranian women, are rising against the repressive regime of the Ayatollahs, demanding regime-change, the US-engineered maritime/gas accord bolsters the Ayatollahs’ geo-strategic posture, while repeating the critically erroneous policy of 2009, when the US ignored the popular uprising in Iran, allowing the Ayatollahs to butcher its unarmed citizens.

*The US-engineered maritime/gas accord provides a tailwind to the Ayatollahs and their Hezbollah proxy, while ruling out active support of the regime-change movement in Iran; waiving an essential US military option (which is the only way to test the Ayatollahs’ intentions); sustaining the self-destructive diplomatic option (which has bolstered the Ayatollahs’ fortunes since their ascension to power in February 1979); assuming that the Ayatollahs are potentially good-faith negotiators; and viewing the Ayatollahs as if they were amenable to peaceful-coexistence, abandoning their 1,400-year-old fanatic, imperialistic vision, in return for another financial and diplomatic bonanza, which is currently offered – by the US – to Tehran.

*Against the backdrop of the aforementioned data, the US-engineered maritime/gas accord, is an extension of the well-intentioned US policy in the Middle East, which has been at odds with Middle East reality, intensifying regional terrorism and instability and eroding US posture and interests.

Support Appreciated

In 2019, the inherently unpredictable and violent Middle East has driven all pro-US Arab regimes – which face domestic and external lethal threats – to expand their strategic cooperation with Israel.

The substantial US-Israel strategic common denominator, the growing role of Israel as a unique geo-strategic ally of the US, and the enhanced mutually-beneficial nature of US-Israel and Israel-Arab cooperation, have been a by-product of the following critical developments:

*The recent Iranian offensive as demonstrated by the June 2019 attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, and the May 2019 assaults on vessels in the Persian Gulf port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates;

*The mushrooming anti-US, pro-Muslim Brotherhood, imperialistic Turkish military buildup in Iraq, Syria, Qatar and Somalia (the largest since the 1922 demise of the Ottoman Empire);

*The proliferation of Shiite (Iran-related) and Sunni (Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc.) terrorism and subversion;

*The Iranian military, terroristic and subversive entrenchment in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, the Al-Hasa oil region in Saudi Arabia, etc.

*The intensified regional, military profile of Erdogan’s anti-US Turkey, which pursues imperialistic aspirations, while charging the batteries of Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.

*The transformation of the “Arab Spring” illusion of democracy into the “Arab Tsunami” reality of despotic regimes, as evidenced by the intensification of intra-Arab/Muslim and inter-Arab/Muslim conflicts, which threaten every pro-US Arab regime.

*Israel’s systematic track record of democracy, unconditional alliance with the US, military and commercial effectiveness, game-changing technological innovation and second-to-none optimism, patriotism and attachment to roots.

The precarious state of the Middle East, and the top challenges facing pro-US Arab regimes – all of whom resoundingly opposed the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, in particular, and President Obama’s Middle East policy, in general – were articulated on June 18, 2019 by the Arab League Secretary General and former Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit: “The crisis with Iran and Turkey has aggravated to the point that holding a dialogue with them has become futile…. We see today the threats Iran and its wings are posing to Arab and global security as regards safety of global navigation and commercial routs…. Iran considers the Arab region an open ‘terra nullius’ [‘nobody’s land’ available for occupation] for its own expansion, and gives itself the right to interfere [via subversion and terrorism] in the crises of some Arab countries [e.g., Iraq, Syria, Yemen]…. Turkey seeks to promote its own ideologies and political Islam, giving itself the right to [invade/access] neighboring countries [Iraq, Syria, Qatar and Somalia] on the pretext of protecting its own national security, without any consideration to other countries’ sovereignty. Both Turkey and Iran see ongoing crises in the region as a chance for more expansion….”

According to the June 18, 2019 Saudi daily, A-Sharq al-Awsat, which reflects the worldview of the House of Saud, the US has approved Israel’s systematic bombings of Iranian military sites in Syria – in defiance of the Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile operated by Syria – considering the Israeli raids an effective tool to constrain the Ayatollahs’ regional expansion. Attesting to Israel’s rising geo-strategic role, Iran’s military presence in Syria will be featured during next week’s unprecedented meeting, in Jerusalem, between the national security advisors of the US, Russia and Israel.

Contrary to conventional Western wisdom, the growing concern about Iran’s Ayatollahs and other critical regional challenges, increasingly overshadow the Palestinian issue, as was evidenced in the February 2019 Warsaw-hosted 60 country summit on Iran with no Palestinian presence.  Furthermore, Israel’s relations with all pro-US Arab countries have improved substantially, irrespective of the paralysis on the Palestinian front.

According to the Atlantic Magazine, the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, “like many Arab leaders, has tired of the Palestinians,” while considering Israel a key member in the regional alliance against the “triangle of evil,” which consists of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Sunni terrorist organizations.

In the words of Jamal al-Suwaidi, the founder of the United Arab Emirates Center for Strategic Studies: “The Palestinian cause is no longer at the forefront of Arab interests…. It has sharply lost priority in light of the challenges, threats and problems that face countries of the region.”

In fact, the Arab attitude toward the Palestinians has been consistent since 1949 – when Jordan and Egypt occupied Judea & Samaria and Gaza and did not transfer the regions to the Palestinians; during 1982/83 – no Arab support when Israel devastated PLO terror headquarters in Lebanon, expelling the PLO leadership from Beirut; and 1991 – no Arab outcry when Kuwait expelled some 300,000 PLO-affiliated Palestinians in response to Palestinian collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s destruction of Kuwait; through 2008, 2012 and 2014 – no Arab support during Israel’s wars against Palestinian terrorism in Gaza.

According to The Guardian, intelligence, counter-terrorism, military and commercial cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain has been routine since the mid-1990s, switching to a higher gear in recent years – a reflection of intensified lethal threats, on the one hand, and Israel’s posture of deterrence and reliable capabilities, on the other hand.

Hence, Israel’s existence in the Middle East has extended the strategic hand of the US, bolstering the national and homeland security of US’ Arab allies in the Persian Gulf and throughout the Middle East, producing an effective headwind to Iran’s megalomaniacal aspirations, and enhancing the war on Islamic terrorism. This has spared the need to expand US military bases in the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Mediterranean and the Middle East at-large, and the necessity to dispatch additional US military divisions and aircraft carriers to the region, which would cost the US taxpayer mega-billion dollars annually.

 

 

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The US-engineered and brokered Israel-Lebanon (Hezbollah) maritime/gas accord includes (in section 4) US guarantees. It aims to reassure both parties, especially Israel: “The United States intends to exert its best efforts working with the Parties to help establish and maintain a positive and constructive atmosphere for conducting discussions and successfully resolving any differences as rapidly as possible.”

Is that a reassuring commitment?

Section 4 of the maritime/gas accord is a classic example of four features of all US’ international guarantees, which – as logically expected – intend to subordinate the implementation of the guarantees to the interests of the US guarantor, not the interests of the guaranteed countries:

*Non-specificity;
*Non-automaticity;
*Open-ended interpretations;
*Escape routes.

*For example, the NATO Treaty – led by the US – is perceived to be the tightest commitment by all member states to the defense of an attacked NATO country.  However, article 5 of the NATO Charter highlights the aforementioned four features:

“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them… will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area…. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.”

*Furthermore, the seeds of the current devastation of Ukraine were planted in the December 5, 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances accorded to Ukraine by the US, Britain and the USSR in return for Ukraine’s giving up its nuclear arsenal, which was the 3rd largest in the world.

According to the Budapest Memorandum: “Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a specified period of time… the United States of America, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine… to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine….”

The Budapest Memorandum was exposed as a useless and misleading “screen saver” in 2014, when Russia occupied the Crimean Peninsula. Its ineffective nature was further revealed during the 2014-2022 Russia-Ukraine war in Donbas and in 2022, when Russia – again – invaded and plundered Ukraine with no implementation of the Budapest Memorandum of Security Assurances.

*Israel should be aware of the intrinsic flaws of all security guarantees, and persist in reliance only upon its own national security capabilities, rather than the mirage of international/US assurances.

*Moreover, the US constitutional balance of power stipulates that no US international commitment is binding unless ratified by a 2/3 Senate majority.

Thus, in 1999 and 2000, President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits international nuclear testing, and the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court in the Hague. However, Clinton did not submit the Rome Statute for Senate ratification (realizing that there was no support for ratification), and the Test Ban Treaty was also not ratified – it was defeated 48:51 in the Senate.  Both are yet to be ratified….

The open-ended nature of US guarantees, and the paramount role of US interests during the implementation phase, were demonstrated by the US defense treaties, which were concluded with Taiwan (1955), South Vietnam (1973) and New Zealand (1951), but terminated by the US in 1979, 1975 and 1986, in order to advance US interests, as perceived by US presidents at the time.

*Israeli reliance on US guarantees in the context of the 2022 maritime/gas accord ignores past mistakes:

*In 2000, President Clinton pledged $800mn in emergency aid to fund Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon. It was never delivered, since Congress – and not the President – possesses the Power of the Purse, and it did not agree to fund the self-defeating Israeli withdrawal (which triggered an unprecedented wave of Palestinian terrorism).

*In 1979 – when President Carter attempted to insert into the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty a reference to a future Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights – the Israeli team shared with Carter the September 1, 1975 assurance of President Ford  to Prime Minister Rabin, required to induce an Israeli withdraw from the Gulf of Suez to the Mitla’ Pass in mid-Sinai: “… [The US] will give great weight to Israel’s position that any peace agreement with Syria must be predicated on Israel remaining on the Golan Heights.”  President Carter’s correct response was that President Ford’s non-ratified executive commitment did not bind any of Ford’s successors in the White House.

*In 1967 – on the eve of the Six Day War – Israel shared with President Johnson well-documented evidence about the Egypt-Syria-Jordan planned war on Israel. Prime Minister Eshkol submitted to President Johnson the 1957 assurance (Aide Memoir) by President Eisenhower, which was a prerequisite for Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula. It implied US willingness to deploy its military in the face of Egyptian violations of commitments made to the US and Israel. President Johnson responded that Eisenhower’s non-ratified Executive Commitment did not bind Eisenhower’s successors, and “it ain’t worth a solitary dime.” He added that “I am a tall Texan, but a short president in the face of a Congress that opposes overseas military deployment.”

The bottom line

*Security agreements with the US should enhance – not reduce – Israel’s posture of deterrence and its independence of national security action.

*Security agreements with the US should advance Israel’s posture as a national security producer – which deters regional violence – rather than a national security consumer, which fuels regional violence.

*Security agreements with the US should expand Israel’s posture as a unique force-multiplier for the US – a strategic asset, not a liability.

*The 2022 maritime/gas Israel-Lebanon (Hezbollah) accord suggests that US and Israeli policy-makers are determined to learn from history by repeating – rather than avoiding – past critical mistakes, undermining their own interests.

Support Appreciated

 

 

The US-engineered and guaranteed Israel-Lebanon maritime/gas accord is supposed to follow in the footsteps of the Israel-Arab peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, reducing regional terrorism and instability, inducing moderation and enhancing US interests.  Does it?

Hezbollah and Lebanon

*The Shiite Hezbollah – Iran’s proxy and globally recognized terrorist organization – is a dominant player in the increasingly imploding, failed-state, Lebanon, politically, militarily, socially, educationally, religiously and journalistically.

Hezbollah has dramatically bolstered its capabilities and clout since its establishment in 1982 – by Iran’s Shiite Ayatollahs – as a vehicle to export the Shiite Islamic Revolution, extend the Ayatollahs’ reach from the Persian Gulf, through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to the eastern Mediterranean, and undermine the US strategic posture in the Middle East.  Hezbollah has collaborated with Iran’s Ayatollahs in the Middle East, West Africa and throughout Latin America, all the way to the US-Mexico border. It has gained substantial sway due to its major contribution to the survival of the Assad regime.  Hezbollah has benefited from the Ayatollahs’ financial support, combat training, and the supply of precise missiles and predator unmanned aerial vehicles.

*Hezbollah’s dominant role in Lebanon’s decision-making has led the pro-US Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to ostracize Lebanon and suspend financial aid to Beirut, lest it bolsters Hezbollah’s stature.

Israel’s maritime accord vs. Israel-Arab peace treaties

*Israel’s peace treaties with the relatively-stable, pro-US, anti-Iran and anti-terrorist Sunni Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco, with the blessing of Saudi Arabia, which generated a critical impetus to the Abraham Accords. Their policy and vision do not extend beyond their own national boundaries.

On the other hand, the maritime/gas accord was concluded with the uncontrollable Lebanon, which is afflicted by intrinsic religious, ethnic and political fragmentation, that has been leveraged by the violently domineering, anti-US, pro-Iran Hezbollah, a major arm of Islamic terrorism in the Middle East, west Africa and Latin America. Hezbollah is dedicated to advancing the fanatic vision of a universal Shiite Moslem society, through the exportation of the Ayatollahs’ Shiite Islamic Revolution, toppling all Sunni (“apostate” and “heretic”) Sunni regimes, transforming the Republic of Lebanon into the Islamic Republic of Lebanon, a province of a universal Shiite Islamic entity, and bringing the “infidel” West (especially “the Great American Satan) to submission.

*The Abraham Accords were signed with regimes, which have accepted peaceful-coexistence with Israel and are focused on domestic stability, including economic growth.

Nonetheless, the maritime/gas accord was concluded with a country, dominated by Hezbollah, which perceives peaceful-coexistence with the Jewish state and its Sunni Arab neighbors an anathema to its fanatic vision, and has made it clear – since establishment – that its ideology supersedes financial and diplomatic benefits.

The conventional Western wisdom that Hezbollah will choose economic benefits over ideology should be assessed against the backdrop of the track record of Iran’s Ayatollahs and their adherence to their core ideology irrespective of the mega-billion-dollars of Western gifts, showered upon them by the US and the West since 1979. In addition, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas have exhibited faithfulness to hate-education, incitement and terrorism, notwithstanding the unprecedented geographic, diplomatic and financial concessions made by Israel, the US and the world at-large.

*The Abraham Accords were concluded with Arab regimes, which consider Israel as a most effective military and technological ally in the face of lethal threats and in their pursuit of economic diversification.

While these Arab regimes are not fully-reconciled to the existence of an “infidel” Jewish sovereignty in the “abode of Islam” (the Middle East), they do not consider it a top priority, realizing the potential Israeli contribution to their survival. Moreover, some of them (especially the UAE) are moderating their education curriculum and policy toward Israel, rethinking Islam’s fundamental view of the Jewish people and the Jewish State.

On the other hand, Hezbollah and their masters in Tehran, consider Israel as a loathsome entity, religiously and strategically, to be uprooted, in order to advance their fanatic, religious, megalomaniacal vision.

They recognize the Jewish State as the most effective beachhead of “The Great American Satan,” culturally and strategically, and a powerful ally of the “apostate” Sunni Arab regimes.

*All Israel-Arab peace treaties resulted from a deep appreciation, by the Arab partners, of Israel’s military, technological and diplomatic capabilities, including its military defiance of Iran and Hezbollah, and its ability to fend off US pressure, which have demonstrated Israel’s willingness to assume short-term setbacks, in order to benefit from long-term national security benefits. The pro-US Arab regimes consider Israel’s posture of deterrence as a key component of their own national security.

On the other hand, the maritime/gas accord, was brokered by the US under the assumption that an Israeli giveaway of the entire area in dispute (330 square miles of economic water and 10 square kilometers of sovereign water) would avert a Hezbollah threat to launch an attack of missiles and predator unmanned vehicles.  In other words, a sweeping capitulation, rather than confrontation and preemption of a terrorist threat.

*The maritime/gas accord – which reflects the State Department worldview that concessions made to terrorists could induce moderation – has eroded Israel’s posture of deterrence, which has transformed Israel (since 1967) into the most productive force-multiplier for the US, and a desirable ally of the pro-US Arab regimes, in the face of lethal threats.

The bottom line

*The US architects of the maritime/gas accord and their Israeli partners overlook the fact that terrorists bite the hands that feed them. For example, the Mujahideen defeated the Soviets in Afghanistan due to US support, and were quick to launch a major terror offensive against the US in the Middle East and in the US itself. Furthermore, Iran’s Ayatollahs seized power in Iran due to US support, and then became the lead epicenter of global anti-US terrorism. Moreover, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas responded to unprecedented Israeli gestures in 1993 (the Oslo Accord) and 2005 (the disengagement from Gaza) with unprecedented hate-education, incitement and terrorism.

*The US architects and their Israeli partners have ignored the fact that concessions to terrorists – just like any other rogue entity – whets their appetite and intensifies terrorism.

*The maritime/gas accord represents a victory of Western conventional wisdom over Middle East reality, sacrificing long-term national security on the altar of short-term gratification, which plays into the hands of rogue entities (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs, Hezbollah, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority), undermining the homeland and national security of Western democracies (e.g., the US, Europe and Israel).

*At a time, when most Iranians, and especially Iranian women, are rising against the repressive regime of the Ayatollahs, demanding regime-change, the US-engineered maritime/gas accord bolsters the Ayatollahs’ geo-strategic posture, while repeating the critically erroneous policy of 2009, when the US ignored the popular uprising in Iran, allowing the Ayatollahs to butcher its unarmed citizens.

*The US-engineered maritime/gas accord provides a tailwind to the Ayatollahs and their Hezbollah proxy, while ruling out active support of the regime-change movement in Iran; waiving an essential US military option (which is the only way to test the Ayatollahs’ intentions); sustaining the self-destructive diplomatic option (which has bolstered the Ayatollahs’ fortunes since their ascension to power in February 1979); assuming that the Ayatollahs are potentially good-faith negotiators; and viewing the Ayatollahs as if they were amenable to peaceful-coexistence, abandoning their 1,400-year-old fanatic, imperialistic vision, in return for another financial and diplomatic bonanza, which is currently offered – by the US – to Tehran.

*Against the backdrop of the aforementioned data, the US-engineered maritime/gas accord, is an extension of the well-intentioned US policy in the Middle East, which has been at odds with Middle East reality, intensifying regional terrorism and instability and eroding US posture and interests.

Support Appreciated

In 2019, the inherently unpredictable and violent Middle East has driven all pro-US Arab regimes – which face domestic and external lethal threats – to expand their strategic cooperation with Israel.

The substantial US-Israel strategic common denominator, the growing role of Israel as a unique geo-strategic ally of the US, and the enhanced mutually-beneficial nature of US-Israel and Israel-Arab cooperation, have been a by-product of the following critical developments:

*The recent Iranian offensive as demonstrated by the June 2019 attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, and the May 2019 assaults on vessels in the Persian Gulf port of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates;

*The mushrooming anti-US, pro-Muslim Brotherhood, imperialistic Turkish military buildup in Iraq, Syria, Qatar and Somalia (the largest since the 1922 demise of the Ottoman Empire);

*The proliferation of Shiite (Iran-related) and Sunni (Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS, Al Qaeda, etc.) terrorism and subversion;

*The Iranian military, terroristic and subversive entrenchment in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Bahrain, the Al-Hasa oil region in Saudi Arabia, etc.

*The intensified regional, military profile of Erdogan’s anti-US Turkey, which pursues imperialistic aspirations, while charging the batteries of Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.

*The transformation of the “Arab Spring” illusion of democracy into the “Arab Tsunami” reality of despotic regimes, as evidenced by the intensification of intra-Arab/Muslim and inter-Arab/Muslim conflicts, which threaten every pro-US Arab regime.

*Israel’s systematic track record of democracy, unconditional alliance with the US, military and commercial effectiveness, game-changing technological innovation and second-to-none optimism, patriotism and attachment to roots.

The precarious state of the Middle East, and the top challenges facing pro-US Arab regimes – all of whom resoundingly opposed the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran, in particular, and President Obama’s Middle East policy, in general – were articulated on June 18, 2019 by the Arab League Secretary General and former Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit: “The crisis with Iran and Turkey has aggravated to the point that holding a dialogue with them has become futile…. We see today the threats Iran and its wings are posing to Arab and global security as regards safety of global navigation and commercial routs…. Iran considers the Arab region an open ‘terra nullius’ [‘nobody’s land’ available for occupation] for its own expansion, and gives itself the right to interfere [via subversion and terrorism] in the crises of some Arab countries [e.g., Iraq, Syria, Yemen]…. Turkey seeks to promote its own ideologies and political Islam, giving itself the right to [invade/access] neighboring countries [Iraq, Syria, Qatar and Somalia] on the pretext of protecting its own national security, without any consideration to other countries’ sovereignty. Both Turkey and Iran see ongoing crises in the region as a chance for more expansion….”

According to the June 18, 2019 Saudi daily, A-Sharq al-Awsat, which reflects the worldview of the House of Saud, the US has approved Israel’s systematic bombings of Iranian military sites in Syria – in defiance of the Russian S-300 surface-to-air missile operated by Syria – considering the Israeli raids an effective tool to constrain the Ayatollahs’ regional expansion. Attesting to Israel’s rising geo-strategic role, Iran’s military presence in Syria will be featured during next week’s unprecedented meeting, in Jerusalem, between the national security advisors of the US, Russia and Israel.

Contrary to conventional Western wisdom, the growing concern about Iran’s Ayatollahs and other critical regional challenges, increasingly overshadow the Palestinian issue, as was evidenced in the February 2019 Warsaw-hosted 60 country summit on Iran with no Palestinian presence.  Furthermore, Israel’s relations with all pro-US Arab countries have improved substantially, irrespective of the paralysis on the Palestinian front.

According to the Atlantic Magazine, the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, “like many Arab leaders, has tired of the Palestinians,” while considering Israel a key member in the regional alliance against the “triangle of evil,” which consists of Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Sunni terrorist organizations.

In the words of Jamal al-Suwaidi, the founder of the United Arab Emirates Center for Strategic Studies: “The Palestinian cause is no longer at the forefront of Arab interests…. It has sharply lost priority in light of the challenges, threats and problems that face countries of the region.”

In fact, the Arab attitude toward the Palestinians has been consistent since 1949 – when Jordan and Egypt occupied Judea & Samaria and Gaza and did not transfer the regions to the Palestinians; during 1982/83 – no Arab support when Israel devastated PLO terror headquarters in Lebanon, expelling the PLO leadership from Beirut; and 1991 – no Arab outcry when Kuwait expelled some 300,000 PLO-affiliated Palestinians in response to Palestinian collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s destruction of Kuwait; through 2008, 2012 and 2014 – no Arab support during Israel’s wars against Palestinian terrorism in Gaza.

According to The Guardian, intelligence, counter-terrorism, military and commercial cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain has been routine since the mid-1990s, switching to a higher gear in recent years – a reflection of intensified lethal threats, on the one hand, and Israel’s posture of deterrence and reliable capabilities, on the other hand.

Hence, Israel’s existence in the Middle East has extended the strategic hand of the US, bolstering the national and homeland security of US’ Arab allies in the Persian Gulf and throughout the Middle East, producing an effective headwind to Iran’s megalomaniacal aspirations, and enhancing the war on Islamic terrorism. This has spared the need to expand US military bases in the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, Mediterranean and the Middle East at-large, and the necessity to dispatch additional US military divisions and aircraft carriers to the region, which would cost the US taxpayer mega-billion dollars annually.

 

 

“Israel Hayom”

While US recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights bolsters the national security of the Jewish State, it also yields major strategic benefits for the US.

Thus, President Trump’s endorsement of Israeli sovereignty over the strategically commanding Golan Heights – which may be reinforced by a Congressional resolution – highlights the synergy between the national security of the US and Israel.  It underlines the mutually-beneficial, two-way-street strategic coordination and cooperation between the US and Israel.

This endorsement enhances the posture of deterrence of Israel – a systematic, unwavering, effective beachhead of the US in the Middle East – and therefore extends the strategic hand of the US, without the need to deploy additional US forces to the region.

In fact, Israel’s upgraded strategic profile has been a most effective US force-multiplier in the Middle East.

For example, in 1970, pro-Soviet Syria invaded pro-US Jordan, aiming to topple the Hashemite regime and trigger an anti-US ripple effect into the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf.  It could have toppled the pro-US oil-producing regimes in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the UAE, Bahrein and Oman, granting the USSR a global bonanza, and dealing a major blow to the economy and national security of the US (when the US was heavily dependent upon Persian Gulf oil), during the Vietnam quagmire, which precluded a dispatch of US troops to Jordan.

President Nixon called Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir, who reinforced Israel’s military presence on the Golan Heights – the joint frontier between Israel, Syria and Jordan – delivering a clear warning to Damascus, which is located 37 miles from the Golan Heights. Israel’s posture of deterrence triggered a swift rollback of the Syrian invasion (within 48 hours), with no exchange of fire between the two military forces.

Thus, in 1970, Israel’s control of the Golan Heights – with no need for US military involvement – minimized regional violence and instability, secured the survival of key pro-US Arab regimes, prevented a major anti-US domino-effect in the Middle East with its drastic financial and military consequences, and spared the globe a potential super-powers confrontation.

In 2019, the control of the Golan Heights enables Israel to play a key role in constraining Iran’s expansion into Syria and Lebanon, restraining the flow of lava emitted by the potential Syrian volcano, securing Jordan’s Hashemite regime and removing the anti-US machetes from the throats of every pro-US regime.

In 2019, the potential contribution by Israel’s control of the Golan Heights to vital US interests, is bolstered against the backdrop of the following Middle East reality: Iran’s entrenchment in Syria and the megalomaniacal Ayatollahs, who consider the US their major hurdle on the way to regional and global domination; the 14-centuries-old Middle East unpredictability, intolerance and violence; the Arab Tsunami (erroneously branded as “Arab Spring”) which erupted in 2010 and is still raging; the historical role played by Damascus in fomenting intra-Arab and intra-Muslim confrontations, narcoterrorism (facilitating supply of heroine to the US’ inner cities) and anti-US international terrorism (e.g., PanAm-103, the US Embassy and US Marine headquarters in Beirut); the operation of a multitude of Islamic terrorist organizations in Syria; and the systematic alignment of Syria with enemies and adversaries of the US (e.g., the USSR, Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Cuba and Venezuela).

In 2019, the Israeli “life insurance agent” is increasingly more critical for the survival of Jordan’s pro-US Hashemite regime, which is more vulnerable than it was in 1970. Israel’s posture of deterrence has been enhanced in value in view of the Iranian Ayatollahs’ entrenchment in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon; the potentially explosive 1.5 million Syrian refugees in northern Syria; the Palestinian majority in Jordan and its subversive track record; the high domestic profile of the subversive, terroristic Muslim Brotherhood; and the intensifying fragmentation among Jordan’s Bedouin tribes, some of which consider the Hashemite family “carpetbaggers” from the Arabian Peninsula.

Israel’s retreat from the Golan Heights would have severely eroded Israel’s posture of deterrence, transforming the Jewish State from a national security producer/asset – for the US – to a national security consumer/liability. This would have generated a tailwind to rogue Arab/Muslim regimes, taxing vital US national security interests, bringing Islamic terrorism closer to the US shores and rewarding enemies and adversaries of the US.

On June 29, 1967, the late General Earl Wheeler, then the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, handed President Johnson a map of Israel’s minimal security requirements, which included the Golan Heights and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria.  General Wheeler was aware that Israel’s sovereignty on the Golan Heights secures Israel’s survival, while advancing vital US interests in the tectonic Middle East.

 

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SCHEDULE LECTURES & INTERVIEWS

Demography

2024 artificially inflated Palestinian demography

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
March 25, 2024

Palestinian demographic numbers are highly-inflated, as documented by a study, which has audited the Palestinian data since 2004.  For example:

*500,000 Arabs, who have been away for over a year, are included in the census, contrary to international regulations. 325,000 were included in the 1997 census, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, and 400,000 in 2005, according to the Palestinian Election Commission. The number grows steadily due to births.

*350,000 East Jerusalem Arabs are doubly-counted – by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority. The number grows steadily due to births.

*Over 150,000 Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs are similarly doubly counted. The number expands steadily due to births.   

*A 413,000 net-emigration (since the 1997 first Palestinian census) is ignored by the Palestinian census, overlooking the annual net-emigration since 1950. A 23,445 net-emigration in 2022 and a 20,000 annual average in recent years have been documented by Israel’s Population and Migration Authority in all international passages.  

*A 32% artificial inflation of Palestinian births was documented by the World Bank (page 8, item 6) in a 2006 audit.

*The Judea & Samaria Arab fertility rate has been westernized: from 9 births per woman in the 1960s to 2.9 births in 2022 (In Jordan – similar to Judea & Samaria), reflecting the sweeping urbanization, a growing female enrollment in higher education, rising marriage age and the rising use of contraceptives.

*The number of deaths is under-reported for political and financial reasons.

*The aforementioned artificial inflation of 1.7 million documents a population of 1.55 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, not the official 3.25 million. In 2024: a 69% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel, benefitting from a tailwind of fertility and net-immigration, while Arab demography is westernized. In 1947 and 1897: a 39% and 9% Jewish minority.
No Arab demographic time bomb; but, a Jewish demographic momentum. More data in these articles and this short video.

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Iran

FBI Director Chris Wray defies the State Department on Iran

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel initiative”
June 17, 2024

FBI Director Chris Wray’s position on Islamic terrorism/Iran

FBI Director, Chris Wray reiterated – during his June 4, 2024 Senate testimony and April 11, 2024 House testimony – his warning of an October 7-like terrorism on the US soil:

“We have seen the threat from foreign terrorists rise to a whole another level after the October 7 [Hamas terrorism]….Increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the [US] homeland, akin to the ISIS attack we saw at the Russia Concert Hall in March, 2024 [137 murdered, 180 wounded]…. Nations such as the PRC, Russia and Iran are becoming more aggressive and more capable than ever before.  These nations seek to undermine our core democratic, economic and scientific institutions….

“We are in an environment where the threats from international terrorism, domestic terrorism and state sponsored terrorism are all simultaneously elevated…. We are paying heightened attention to how the events abroad could directly affect and inspire people to commit violence here in the homeland….

“Our top concern stems from lone offenders inspired by the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, as they pose the most likely threat to Americans.  In recent years, there have been several events in the US that were purportedly motivated, at least in part, by the Israel-Hamas conflict….

Iran and its global proxies and partners, including Iraqi Shia militant groups, attack and plot against the US and our allies throughout the Middle East.  Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force has also provided support to terrorist organizations. And, Iran has supported Lebanese Hezbollah and other terrorist groups. Hezbollah has sent operatives to build terrorist infrastructure worldwide [including in Latin America all the way to the US-Mexico border]. The arrests of individuals in the US allegedly linked to Hezbollah’s main overseas terrorist arm, and their intelligence-collection and procurement efforts, demonstrate Hezbollah’s interest in long-term contingency planning activities here in the homeland….

“We continue to see the drug cartels [which intensely collaborate with Iran’s Ayatollahs and Hezbollah, that supply them predator unmanned aerial vehicles and tunnel construction equipment] push fentanyl and other dangerous drugs into every corner of the country, claiming countless American lives….

“Since October 7, we have seen a rogue gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against Americans and our allies…. Our most immediate concern has been that [terrorists] will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home….”

The FBI Director Wray’s April 11 and June 4 testimonies followed his alarming testimonies on October 31, 2023 and on November 15, 2023, in the Senate and House Homeland Security Committees.

FBI Director Wray vs. Secretary of State Blinken

*FBI Director Chris Wray recognizes that the October 7, 2023 Hamas terrorism is relevant to the US homeland security, and that Israel’s war on Hamas supports the US’ war on Islamic terrorism. Unlike Director Wray, Secretary of State Blinken has assumed the role of an “honest broker,” ignoring the US-allied role of Israel and the US-enemy role of Hamas, a proxy of Iran’s Ayatollahs and a branch of the Moslem Brotherhood, the largest anti-US Sunni terrorist organization.

*FBI Director Wray considers Iran’s Ayatollahs and their Islamic terror proxies, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, as a clear and present threat to the US homeland security. He is aware of their intensified collaboration with the drug cartels in Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, as well as with Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and all other anti-US governments in Latin America, the US’ soft underbelly. In contrast, Secretary of State Blinken – true to his multilateralist UN-oriented worldview – has approached Iran’s Ayatollahs as a diplomatic challenge, opposing the options of regime change, and refraining from establishing a potent military threat hovering above the head of the Ayatollahs.

*FBI Director Wray realizes that Iran’s Ayatollahs are the chief epicenter of Hamas, Hezbollah and other components of the global anti-US Islamic terrorism, in addition to the Ayatollahs’ role as the main anti-US drug trafficker, money launderer and proliferator of advanced military systems. However, irrespective of the Ayatollahs’ rogue anti-US track record, Secretary Blinken refrains from defining Iran as a terrorist-state, viewing the Ayatollahs as partners in good-faith negotiations.

*FBI Director Chris Wray is aware that Iran’s Ayatollahs, and other anti-US Islamic terrorists, are driven by a 1,400-year-old fanatical and imperialistic ideology, which aims to bring the “infidel US” to submission. He is convinced that Islamic terrorism should be addressed by national security means, and not via gestures and concessions, which are perceived by terrorists as terror-inducing weakness. On the other hand, Secretary Blinken believes that Islamic terrorism is despair-driven, and therefore, should be addressed via substantial diplomatic and financial gestures, notwithstanding the fact that terrorists bite the hands that feed them (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs terrorize the US, which facilitated their rise to power; the Mujahideen’s terrorize the US, which helped them expel the Soviet military from Afghanistan; Libyan Islamic terrorists lynched US diplomats, notwithstanding the US-led NATO military offensive, which helped them topple Gadhafi; etc.).   

*Will the mounting threat of anti-US Islamic terrorism, and the volcanic Middle East reality, cause Secretary Blinken to reassess his position on Iran’s Ayatollahs, Hamas and other forms of Islamic terrorism, by avoiding rather than continuing to repeat critical mistakes, which have undermined the national security and homeland security of the US?

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Judea & Samaria

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
February 27, 2024

Secretary of State Antony Blinken represents conventional wisdom when claiming that “It’s been longstanding US policy… that new settlements are… inconsistent with international law.”

However, conventional wisdom is frequently demolished by the march of facts

For instance:

*According to Prof. Eugene Rostow, who was the co-author of the November 22, 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242, served as Undersecretary of State and was the Dean of Yale University Law School: “Jews have the same right to settle in the West Bank as they have in Haifa.”

*According to UN Resolution 242, Israel is required to withdraw from territories, not the territories, nor from all the territories, but some of the territories, which included Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula and the Golan Heights.  Moreover, according to Prof. Rostow, “resolutions calling for withdrawal from all the territories were defeated in the Security Council and the General Assembly…. Israel was not to be forced back to the fragile and vulnerable [9-15 mile-wide] lines… but to secure and recognized boundaries, agreed to by the parties…. In making peace with Egypt in 1979, Israel withdrew from the entire Sinai… [which amounts to] more than 90% of the territories occupied in 1967….”

*Former President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, stated: “Between Israel, acting defensively in 1948 and 1967 (according to Article 52 of the UN Charter), on the one hand, and her Arab neighbors, acting aggressively in 1948 and 1967, on the other, Israel has better title in the territory of what was [British Mandate] Palestine…. It follows that modifications of the 1949 armistice lines among those States within former Palestinian territory are lawful…. [The 1967] Israeli conquest of territory was defensive rather than aggressive… [as] indicated by Egypt’s prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat, and the amassing of [Egyptian] troops in Sinai, coupled with its ejection of the UN Emergency Force…[and] Jordan’s initiated hostilities against Israel…. The 1948 Arab invasion of the nascent State of Israel further demonstrated that Egypt’s seizure of the Gaza Strip, and Jordan’s seizure and subsequent annexation of the West Bank and the old city of Jerusalem, were unlawful….” 

*The legal status of Judea and Samaria is embedded in the following 4 authoritative, binding, internationally-ratified documents, which recognize the area for what it has been: the cradle of Jewish history, culture, language, aspirations and religion.

(I) The November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, issued by Britain, calling for “the establishment in Palestine (a synonym to the Land of Israel) of a national home for the Jewish people….”
(II) The April 24, 1920 resolution, by the post-First World War San Remo Peace Conference of the Allied Powers Supreme Council, entrusted both sides of the Jordan River to the British Mandate for Palestine, for the reestablishment of the Jewish Commonwealth: “the Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the [Balfour] declaration originally made on November 2, 1917, by the Government of His Britannic Majesty, and adopted by the said Powers, in favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people.” It was one of over 20 Mandates (trusteeships) established following WW1, responsible for the boundaries of most Arab countries.
(III) The July 24, 1922 Mandate for Palestine was ratified by the Council of the League of Nations, entrusted Britain to establish a Jewish state in the entire area west of the Jordan River, as demonstrated by its 6th article: “[to] encourage… close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands….” The Mandate was dedicated exclusively to Jewish national rights, while guaranteeing the civic rights of all other religious and ethnic groups. On July 23, 1923, the Ottoman Empire signed the Treaty of Lausanne, which included the Mandate for Palestine.  
(IV) The October 24, 1945 Article 80 of the UN Charter incorporated the Mandate for Palestine into the UN Charter.  Accordingly, the UN or any other entity cannot transfer Jewish rights in Palestine – including immigration and settlement – to any other party. According to Article 80 of the UN Charter and the Mandate for Palestine, the 1967 war of self-defense returned Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria to its legal owner, the Jewish state.  Legally and geo-strategically the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, since they are not “foreign territory,” and Jordan did not have a legitimate title over the West Bank.  Moreover, the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply in view of the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty. The 1950-67 Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria violated international law and was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan.

*The 1949 4th Geneva Convention prohibits the forced transfer of populations to areas previously occupied by a legitimate sovereign power. However, Israel has not forced Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, and Jordan’s sovereignty there was never legal.

*The November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly Partition Resolution 181 was a recommendation, lacking legal stature, superseded by the Mandate for Palestine. The 1949 Armistice (non-peace) Agreements between Israel and its neighbors delineated “non-territorial boundaries.”   

*The term “Palestine” was a Greek and then a Roman attempt (following the 135 CE Jewish rebellion) to eradicate Jews and Judaism from human memory. It substituted “Israel, Judea and Samaria” with “Palaestina,” a derivative of the Philistines, an arch enemy of the Jewish people, whose origin was not in Arabia, but in the Greek Aegian islands.    

*The aforementioned march of facts demonstrates that Secretary Blinken’s conventional wisdom on the Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria is based on gross misperceptions and misrepresentations, which fuels infidelity to law, undermining the pursuit of peace.

*More on the legality of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria in this article by George Mason University Law School Prof. Eugene Kontrovich.

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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

Shavou’ot (Pentecost) guide for the perplexed, 2024

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
June 9, 2024

More on Jewish holidays: Smashwords, Amazon

1. Shavou’ot (June 11-12, 2024) and the Land of Israel

*Shavou’ot commemorates the receipt of the Torah (the Five Books of Moses). It is one of the three liberty-driven Jewish pilgrimages to Jerusalem:  Passover, Shavou’ot (Pentecost) and Sukkot (Tabernacles). It documents the critical linkage between Judaism, the Land of Israel and the Jewish people. These pilgrimages constitute central milestones in the formation of Jewish history and the 4,000-year-old Jewish roots in the Land of Israel.

*Shavou’ot is an historical, national, agricultural and a spiritual extension of Passover. Passover highlights the physical liberty from slavery in Egypt; Shavou’ot highlights spiritual liberty, embracing the values of the Five Books of Moses, the Ten Commandments and The Ethics of our Fathers (Pirkey Avot). Therefore, the eve of Shavou’ot is dedicated to an all-night study of Jewish values.

*Shavou’ot is also called the Holiday of the Harvest (Bikoorim in Hebrew), since it concludes the harvesting season, which starts during Passover.

*Shavou’ot commemorates the 40 years of the Exodus, which entailed tough challenges on the road to the Land of Israel, forging the state-of-mind of the Jewish people and the Jewish State. 

*Shavou’ot means “weeks” in Hebrew and its root is identical to the root of the Hebrew word for “vows” (שבע), which is the same word for “seven.” It documents the seven weeks between Passover (the Exodus) and Shavou’ot.

*Shavou’ot highlights the prerequisites for a secure Land of Israel: the willingness to sustain blood, sweat and tears; faith and principle-driven tenacity in the face of severe odds; the steeper the hurdle, the more critical is the mission; crises are opportunities in disguise.

2. Shavou’ot’s impact on the formation of the US

*The holiday of Shavou’ot commemorates the legacy of Moses, which had a significant impact on the Early Pilgrims and the Founding Fathers, and the formation of the US culture, civic life, the federal system (e.g., the Separation of Powers), the US Revolution, The Federalist Papers, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. 

  • *The Liberty Bell and the Abolitionist Movement were inspired by the Biblical concept of Jubilee – the role model of Biblical liberty – which is a cardinal component of the Mosaic legacy. The essence of the Jubilee is engraved on the Liberty Bell: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and unto all the inhabitants thereof (Leviticus 25:10).”
  • *The Liberty Bell was installed in Philadelphia in 1752, 50years following William Penn’s Charter of Privileges, and eventually inspiring the 50 States in the union. According to the Biblical Jubilee, all slaves must be released, and land must be returned to the original proprietors every 50 years. Shavou’ot is celebrated 50 days following Passover, and Pentecost – a derivative of the Greek word for 50 – is celebrated 50 days following Easter.  According to Judaism, there are 50 gates of wisdom, studied during the 50 days between Passover and Shavou’ot.
  • 3. The Scroll of Ruth (Honor thy mother in-law…)
  • Shavou’ot spotlights the Scroll of Ruth, the first of the five Biblical scrolls, which are studied during five Jewish holidays: Ruth (Shavou’ot), Song of Songs (Passover), Ecclesiastes (Sukkot/Tabernacles), Book of Lamentations (the Ninth day of Av), Esther (Purim).
  • *Ruth was a Moabite Princess, who joined the Jewish people, and became the great grandmother of King David. She was a role model of loyalty to her Jewish mother in-law. Ruth is exemplary of humility, gratitude, responsibility, reliability, faith, optimism and respect of fellow human beings. Ruth stuck by her mother-in-law, Naomi, during Naomi’s roughest time, when she lost her husband, Elimelech (a President of the Tribe of Judah), two sons and property.
  • *The stature of Ruth reflects the centrality of Biblical women: the four Matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel; Yocheved, Miriam and Tziporah, the mother, older sister and the wife of Moses; Deborah the Prophetess, Judge and military leader; Hannah, the mother of Samuel the Prophet; Queen Esther and Yael, who delivered the Jewish people from potential oblivion; etc.  
  • The Scroll of Ruth took place in the Judean Desert (in Judea and Samaria), the cradle of Jewish history, religion, culture, language and ethnicity.

4. The Ethics of the Fathers  (Pirkey Avot in Hebrew)

It is customary to study – from Passover through Shavou’ot – the six brief chapters of The Ethics of the Fathers, one of the 63 tractates of the Mishnah (the Oral Torah) – a compilation of common-sense values, ethical and moral teachings, which underline key inter-personal relationships. For example:

“Who is respected? He who respects other persons!”
“Who is a wise person? He who learns from all other persons!”
“Who is wealthy? He who is satisfied with his own share!”
“Who is a hero? He who controls his urge!”
“Talk sparsely and walk plenty;”
“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? If not now, when?”
“Don’t be consumed with the flask, but with its content.”
“Conditional love is tenuous; unconditional love is eternal.”
“Treat every person politely.”
“Jealousy, lust and the obsession with fame warp one’s mind.”

5. Jubilee/Constitution. Shavou’ot has seven names: The holiday of the Jubilee; the holiday of the harvest; the holiday of the giving of the Torah; Shavou’ot; the holiday of offerings; the Rally and the Assembly (Constitution).

More on Shavou’ot and additional Jewish holidays: Smashwords, Amazon

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Golan

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

Islamic Terrorism

FBI Director Chris Wray defies the State Department on Iran