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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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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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*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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Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan believe that the expansion of the Abraham Accords, the enhancement of Israel-Saudi defense and commercial cooperation and the conclusion of an Israel-Saudi Arabia peace accord are preconditioned upon major Israeli concessions to the Palestinian Authority.

Is such a belief consistent with Middle East reality?

Arab interests

*The signing of the Abraham Accords, and the role played by Saudi Arabia as a critical engine of the accords, were driven by the national security, economic and diplomatic interests of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan.

*The Arab interest in peace accords with Israel was not triggered by the realization that the Jewish State was genuinely seeking peaceful-coexistence, nor by a departure from the fundamental tenets of Islam. It was motivated by the assessment that critical concerns of the respective Arab countries would be effectively-served by Israel’s advanced military (Qualitative Military Edge), technological and diplomatic capabilities in the face of mutual and lethal enemies, such as Iran’s Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.

*Saudi Arabia and the six Arab peace partners of Israel (including Egypt and Jordan) are aware that the Middle East resembles a volcano, which occasionally releases explosive lava – domestically and/or regionally – in an unpredictable manner, as evidenced by the 1,400-year-old stormy intra-Arab/Muslim relations, and recently demonstrated by the Arab Tsunami, which erupted in 2011 and still rages.

They wish to minimize the impact of rogue regimes, and therefore are apprehensive about the nature of the proposed Palestinian state, in view of the rogue Palestinian inter-Arab track record, which has transformed Palestinians into an intra-Arab role model of subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude.

*They are anxious about the erosion of the US posture of deterrence, which is their most critical component of national security, and alarmed about the 43-year-old US diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs, which has bolstered the Ayatollahs’ terroristic, drug trafficking and ballistic capabilities. They are also concerned about the US’ embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the largest Sunni terrorist entity with religious, educational, welfare and political branches. And, they are aware of the ineffectiveness of NATO (No Action Talk Only?), the European vacillation, and the vulnerability of all other Arab countries.

Israel’s role

*Saudi Arabia and the Arab partners to peace accords with Israel feel the machetes of the Ayatollahs and the Moslem Brotherhood at their throats. They consider Israel as the most reliable “life insurance agent” in the region.  They view Israel as the most effective US force-multiplier in the Middle East, and appreciate Israel’s proven posture of deterrence; flexing its military muscles against Iran’s Ayatollahs in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran itself and against Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorism. They respect Israel’s unique counter-terrorism intelligence and training capabilities, and its game-changing military and counter-terrorism battle tactics and technologies.

*The Arab view of Israel as a reliable partner on “a rainy day” has been bolstered by Israel’s willingness to defy US pressure, when it comes to Israel’s most critical national security and historic credos (e.g., Iran, Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria).  In addition, Saudi Arabia and Israel’s peace-partners aim to leverage Israel’s good-standing among most Americans – and therefore among most Senators and House Representatives – as a venue to enhance their military, commercial and diplomatic ties with the US.

*Saudi Arabia, 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.

Thus, 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.

*The Abraham Accords – as well as Israel’s peace accords with Egypt and Jordan – and the unprecedented expansion of defense and commercial cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel, demonstrate that critical Arab national security interests may supersede fundamental tenets of Islam, such as the 1,400-year-old rejection of any “infidel” sovereignty in “the abode of Islam.”  Moreover, critical national security interests may lead to a dramatic moderation of the (Arab) education system, which is the most authentic reflection of one’s vision and policies.

Thus, contrary to the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates has uprooted hate-education curriculum, replacing it with pro-Israel/Jewish curriculum.

Abraham Accords’ durability

*The success of the Abraham Accords was a result of avoiding the systematic mistakes committed by the US State Department. The latter has produced a litany of failed peace proposals, centered on the Palestinian issue, while the Abraham accords bypassed the Palestinian issue, avoiding a Palestinian veto, and focusing on Arab interests. 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 the individual Arab countries and the Middle East at-large.

*The Abraham Accord have yielded initial and unprecedented signs of moderation, modernity and peaceful coexistence, which requires the US to support the respective pro-US Arab regimes, rather than pressuring them (e.g., Saudi Arabia and the UAE).

*However, one should not ignore the grave threats to the durability of the accords, posed by the volcanic nature of the unstable, highly-fragmented, unpredictable, violently intolerant, non-democratic and tenuous Middle East (as related to intra-Arab relations!).  These inherent threats would be dramatically alleviated by a resolute US support.

*A major threat to the Abraham Accord is the tenuous nature of most Arab regimes in the Middle East, which 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), Yemen (a civil war since the ’90s, 1990, 1962), etc.

*Regional stability, the Abraham Accords and US interests would be undermined by the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River (bearing in mind the intra-Arab Palestinian track record). It would topple the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River; transforming Jordan into another platform of regional and global Islamic terrorism, similar to Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; triggering a domino scenario, which would threaten every pro-US Arab oil-producing country in the Arabian Peninsula; yielding a robust tailwind to Iran’s Ayatollahs, Russia and China and a major headwind to the US.

*While Middle East reality defines policies and accords as variable components of national security, the topography and geography of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights are fixed components of Israel’s minimal security requirements in the reality of the non-Western Middle East. Israel’s fixed components of national security have secured its survival, and have dramatically enhanced its posture of deterrence. They transformed the Jewish State into a unique force and dollar multiplier for the US.

*The more durable the Abraham Accords and the more robust Israel’s posture of deterrence, the more stable the pro-US Arab regimes and the Middle East at-large; the more deterred are anti-US rogue regimes; the less potent are Middle Eastern epicenters of anti-US terrorism and drug trafficking; the more bolstered is the US global posture and the weaker is the posture of the US’ enemies and adversaries.

*Would 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? Would they sacrifice their national security and economic interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue? Would they cut off their nose to spite their face?

The fact that these Arab regimes concluded the Abraham Accords without preconditioning it upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, and that they limit their support of the Palestinians to talk, rather than walk, provides an answer to these three questions.

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Secretary Blinken’s January 29-31, 2023 visit to Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority was another one of his milestones, well-intentioned – but erroneous – Middle East legacies. It has backfired on vital US interests, in general, and the pursuit of regional stability and peace, in particular.

Secretary Blinken in Egypt

*A major issue raised by President El-Sisi, during his meeting with Secretary Blinken, was the volcanic turbulence in Libya, which has traumatized the region since 2011, fueling Muslim Brotherhood terrorism in Egypt and overall Islamic terrorism in Africa and Europe.

*This turbulence was triggered by a US-led NATO military offensive against the Gaddafi regime, and was masterminded, largely, by key policy-makers in the Obama-Biden Administration. They included Antony Blinken, then National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden, and were led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her close advisor and Director of Policy Planning Jake Sullivan, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Special Assistant to President Obama Samantha Power.

*The offensive was motivated by noble values of human rights, but went astray due to an intrinsic misreading of the Middle East, in general, and Libya, in particular, where Gaddafi was not fighting innocent bystanders, but anti-US Islamic terrorists. In fact, these terrorists murdered the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, following their US-facilitated victory over Gaddafi.

*While the aim of the offensive was to prevent a massive slaughter of non-combatant Libyans by Gaddafi, the outcome of the offensive has doomed Libya to decades of chaos, plagued by an ongoing slaughter house, which has dwarfed the worst casualty assessments made by Clinton and Blinken.

*The ill-advised offensive has transformed Libya – the soft underbelly of Europe – into one of the world’s largest platforms of anti-Western Islamic terrorists, drugs and arms traffickers.  It energized a global resurgence of Islamic terrorism, and became a home base for scores of terrorist militias and an arena of civil wars with the participation of Turkey, Qatar, Italy, Russia, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and France.

*Secretary Blinken’s well-intentioned, but misguided, human rights-driven policy has ignored the only choice facing the US in the Middle East, where human rights have not been complied by Arab regimes: a choice between pro-US human rights violating Arab regimes, or anti-US human rights violating Arab regimes.

*The refusal to accept that reality has also led to US military, financial and diplomatic pressure on the pro-US President Sisi – as well as the pro-US Saudi Crown Prince MBS and the pro-US UAE Crown Prince MBZ – to desist from the rough-handling of Muslim Brotherhood terrorists and the Iran-supported Houthi Yemenite terrorists, which the State Department establishment considers legitimate political, religious and social entities.

*This US policy – highlighted by the eagerness to conclude another accord with Iran’s Ayatollahs, who threaten the survival of every pro-US Arab Sunni regime – has pushed Egypt, Saudi Arabia. the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain closer to China and Russia.

Secretary Blinken in Israel and the Palestinian Authority

*As frustrated as Secretary Blinken is with the rogue conduct of Iran’s Ayatollahs, and notwithstanding the recently expanded US-Israel military drills, Blinken still opposes Israel’s determination that the 43-year-old diplomatic option has dramatically failed, while significantly bolstering the Ayatollahs anti-US global rogue strategy in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

*Blinken rejects the Israeli suggestion (shared by all pro-US Arab regimes) that a credible threat to resort to regime-change and military options is the only way to abort the regional and global terroristic, conventional, ballistic and nuclear Ayatollah threats. He still assumes that the apocalyptic Ayatollahs could be induced – via a generous financial and diplomatic package – into good faith negotiation, peaceful-coexistence and to abandon their 1,400-year-old fanatic, religious and megalomaniacal vision.

*Blinken’s policy toward Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Muslim Brotherhood – which pose a lethal threat to all Sunni Arab regimes – has eroded the US strategic credibility in pro-US Arab capitals, and has pushed Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – reluctantly – closer to China and Russia, militarily and commercially.

*According to the State Department spokesperson: “The Secretary will underscore the urgent need for the parties [Israel and the Palestinians] to take steps to deescalate tensions… [and] put an end to the cycle of violence that has claimed too many innocent lives….”

*Once again, Secretary Blinken resorts to the immoral moral-equivalence, failing to distinguish between PA-incited Palestinian terrorists (killed by Israel) and Israeli civilians (murdered by Palestinian terrorists). Inadvertently, moral equivalence energizes Palestinian terrorism, while aiming to constrain Israel’s counter-terrorist efforts.

*Secretary Blinken’s visit to Ramallah enhanced legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority, while the latter has enshrined, since 1993, K-12 hate-education, which has brainwashed Palestinian youth against the existence of the “infidel” Jewish State. This rogue education system has been the most authentic reflection of the Palestinian vision/aspiration – consistent with the 1959 and 1964 charters of Fatah and the PLO, which focus on the annihilation of the pre-1967 “Zionist entity.”  The PA education system has become the most effective hot house and production-line of terrorists and suicide-bombers.

*Blinken has accorded more weight to Palestinian diplomatictalk than to the Palestinian hate-walk and its induced terrorism.  He has ignored the fact that a prerequisite to meaningful negotiation and peace is the uprooting of hate-education, mosque incitement, generous monthly allowances to terrorists’ families, and the glorification of terrorists through public monuments, schools and other institutions.

*Secretary Blinken attempts to convince Israel that the establishment of a Palestinian state is a prerequisite for bolstering Middle East stability and concluding an Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty. However, such a proposal should be assessed against the backdrop of the systematic failure of all State Department’s proposals to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.  They failed because they ignored the Palestinian track record, the non-central role of the Palestinian issue in the Middle East, and due to the preoccupation with the Palestinian issue, which yielded a Palestinian veto power.

*In fact, Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan were successfully concluded by bypassing the Palestinian issue, and focusing on Arab – not Palestinian – interests, which are increasingly served by enhanced defense and commercial cooperation with Israel. Arabs do not cut off their noses to spite their faces.

*Blinken ignores Middle East reality, which highlights the non-centrality of the Palestinian issue (no Arab-Israel war has erupted due to the Palestinian issue) and Arab order of priorities (no Arab country has flexed its military – and hardly its financial – muscle on behalf of the Palestinians), unless one assumes that the Palestinian-embracing Arab talk supersedes the indifferent/negative Arab walk.

*Unlike Secretary Blinken, the pro-US Arab Sunni regimes are aware of the despotic, corrupt and terroristic nature of the Palestinian Authority, and the rogue nature of the proposed Palestinian state, as evidenced by the Palestinian intra-Arab track record.  Arabs perceive the Palestinians as an intra-Arab role model of subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude, who bite the hands that feed them (Egypt – in the 1950s, Syria – 1960s, Jordan – 1968-1970, Lebanon – 1970-1982 and Kuwait – in 1990).

*The Arabs are also aware of the systematic Palestinian collaboration with anti-Western rogue entities, such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Iran’s Ayatollahs, Saddam Hussein, Latin American and other international terrorist organizations, Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and North Korea.

*The bottom line is that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would topple the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the river, transforming Jordan into another platform of Islamic terrorism (just like Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen), and triggering a domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula.  It would topple the pro-US Arab oil-producing regimes, undermine regional and global stability and economy and erode the US economy and geo-strategic posture, while advancing the fortunes of Russia, China, Iran’s Ayatollahs and anti-US Islamic Sunni terrorism.

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Saudi order of priorities

*The State Department and the Western foreign policy establishment have contended that the Palestinian issue features prominently on the Saudi order of national priorities. Therefore, they have maintained that a substantial enhancement of Israel-Saudi cooperation – and certainly, the attainment of an Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty – would be preconditioned upon substantial Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, including the establishment of a Palestinian state.

*However, contrary to the State Department’s worldview, Saudi Arabia’s strong man, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), does not consider the Palestinian issue a top priority.

*Moreover, conversely to State Department assessments, 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.

*Furthermore, unlike the State Department, MBS accords critical weight to the Palestinian intra-Arab track record, which is low on moderation but, top heavy on subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude (especially the Palestinian collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait); as well as, the deeply-rooted Palestinian collaboration with international terror organizations, Muslim Brotherhood terrorists and Iran’s Ayatollahs’ regime (which constitute lethal threats to the House of Saud), North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela.

*Simultaneously, MBS is absorbed with the strategic goal of evolving Saudi Arabia into a modern regional/global superpower, by reinforcing regional stability, minimizing the threat of existing rogue entities (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood terrorists), preventing the rise of additional rogue entities (e.g., the domestic Shiite subversion in the oil region in eastern Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s Houthis, the proposed Palestinian state and Hezbollah), and bolstering investment, infrastructure development and economic diversification (e.g., hightech).

*Irrespective of MBS’ deep Islamic beliefs, and notwithstanding the 280-year-old alliance between the House of Saud and the fundamentalist Wahhabi establishment in central and southwestern Saudi Arabia, MBS has recognized the value of Israel’s military, technological capabilities, and Israel’s special standing among most US voters and Capitol Hill legislators, as well as Israel’s reliability and effectiveness in the pursuit of MBS’ game-changing strategic goal.

*In fact, under the leadership of MBS, Saudi Arabia has forged unprecedented defense and commercial cooperation with Israel, and has served as the most critical engine behind Israel’s peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan, independent of the Palestinian issue and in the service of their own order of national priorities.

*Contrary to the State Department’s position, these countries – just like Egypt and Jordan before them – do not sacrifice Middle East reality and their national security interests on the altar of wishful-thinking, oversimplification and the Palestinian issue.

Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty?

*An effective Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty must be a derivative of the national security interests of both countries.

*The Saudi interest in expanding its defense, counter-terrorism and commercial cooperation with Israel – and possibly concluding a peace treaty – has not been a byproduct of the Saudi appreciation of Israel’s peaceful intention and concessions to the Palestinians.  It has been a byproduct of the high regard for Israel’s posture of deterrence and muscle-flexing in the face of Iran’s Ayatollahs, Israel’s determined war on Palestinian and Islamic terrorism, and its defiance of US pressure and US policy on Iran.

*On a rainy day, MBS would prefer a deterring and defiant Israel on his side.

*A deterring-Israel is a cardinal national security asset for Saudi Arabia. A retreating Israel would be irrelevant to Saudi Arabia’s national security.

*An Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty would be rendered impractical if it required Jerusalem to give up the most critical historic, geographic and topographic high grounds of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), facilitating the establishment of a Palestinian state. It would transform Israel from a terror and war-deterring force multiplier for the US and Saudi Arabia to a terror and war-inducing burden.

*Israeli retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria to the pre-1967 8 to 15-mile-wide sliver along the Mediterranean would emit short-term congrats from Foggy Bottom. But, it would devastate Israel’s long-term posture of deterrence, eliminate Israel’s value for Saudi Arabia, reduce Israel’s economic and defense boon for the US, and doom Israel to extinction.

*Contrary to the State Department’s view 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, Middle East reality stipulates that as desirable as Israel-Arab peace treaties are, they must not be preconditioned upon a 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 State Department warning that such actions would force Egypt to abandon its peace treaty with Israel. However, Egypt adhered to its national security requirements, sustaining the peace treaty. Routinely, the State Department warned that construction in Jerusalem (beyond the “Green Line”) and in Judea and Samaria would trigger a terroristic volcano and push Egypt away from the peace treaty.

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

*Notwithstanding the State Department’s worldview, and independent of the pro-Palestinian Arab talk, Arabs have demonstrated an indifferent-to-negative walk toward the Palestinians. They have never flexed military (and barely financial and diplomatic) muscles on behalf of the Palestinians. They have acted in accordance with their own – not Palestinian – interests, and certainly not in accordance with the State Department misperceptions of the Middle East.

*Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will conclude a peace treaty with Israel when he deems it beneficial to his game-changing, grand vision of Saudi Arabia, and when it’s possible to overcome domestic Wahhabi opposition, regardless of the Palestinian issue.

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*A major goal of President Biden’s July, 2022 visit to the Middle East – in addition to increasing the Saudi and Emirati oil production – is the restoration of the US stature as a reliable strategic ally of the pro-US Arab regimes, and stop their drift toward Russia and China.

*At the same time, Biden pursues a JCPOA-like agreement with Iran’s Ayatollahs and embraces the Muslim Brotherhood.

*However, the attempt to restore the US’ strategic reliability, while aiming for a JCPOA-like accord with Iran’s Ayatollahs and embracing the Muslim Brotherhood, constitutes a contradiction in terms, since all pro-US Arab regimes view Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Muslim Brotherhood as lethal threats. Moreover, they are convinced that a JCPOA-like accord would bolster (as did the 2015 JCPOA) the Ayatollahs’ regional and global subversion, terrorism, fueling of civil wars, drug trafficking, money laundering and the proliferation of advanced military systems to rogue entities in the Middle East and beyond. They are also frustrated by the State Department’s underestimation of the fanatic vision of the Muslim Brotherhood, and taking lightly its terror network throughout the Middle East and beyond (e.g., India and Thailand).

*Contrary to President Biden and the State Department establishment, the pro-US Arab regimes are fully aware that Iran’s Ayatollahs are not amenable to peaceful coexistence with their Arab Sunni neighbors; neither to abandoning their fanatic, religious, imperialistic vision in return for a financial and diplomatic bonanza; nor to compliance with agreements.  They have concluded that the rogue 43-year-old track record of Iran’s Ayatollahs – since rising to power in February 1979 – is irreconcilable with good-faith negotiation.

*The visit may awaken Biden and Secretary of State Blinken – who have prodded Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt on account of human rights and their involvement in the Iran-fueled civil war in Yemen – to Middle East reality.  The visit may alert them to the fact that the choice facing the US is not between Arab countries, which respect or violate human rights, but between pro-US and anti-US Arab countries, which violate human rights.

*President Biden’s visit will reaffirm the return of the State Department – since January 2021 – to the center stage of US foreign policy-making, as it was until January 2017, notwithstanding Foggy Bottom’s systematic blunders in the Middle East.

*For example, the State Department opposed the Abraham Accords, which were forged in defiance of its (Palestinian-centered) Middle East perspective. Thus, the Abraham Accords were concluded because their architects recognized the secondary role of the Palestinian issue in the Middle East. Therefore, they did not focus on the Palestinian issue, but on Arab national security and economic interests, in the face of lethal Iranian and Muslim Brotherhood threats, and the need to diversify/modernize the economy of the oil-producing countries.

*The Abraham Accords – similar to Israel’s prior peace accords with Egypt and Jordan and consistent with intra-Arab priorities – bypassed the Palestinian issue, and therefore, avoided a Palestinian veto. On the other hand, the State Department establishment has ignored the wide gap between the Arab (supportive) talk and (harsh) walk on the Palestinian issue.  Therefore, it has misconstrued the Palestinian issue as the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a core cause of Middle East turbulence and a crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers. Therefore, all State Department Israel-Arab peace proposals have failed, wrecked on the rocks of Middle East reality.

*Hence, the attempt to expand the scope of the Israel-Arab peace process, on the one hand, and the State Department’s preoccupation with the Palestinian issue, on the other hand, constitute a thundering oxymoron.

*When assessing the validity of State Department proposals, which may be submitted during President Biden’s visit, Israel should study additional examples of critical State Department blunders, such as its early embrace of Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, Yasser Arafat and Bashar Assad, as well as Foggy Bottom’s reference to the eruption of the 2010-2011 turbulence/Tsunami on the Arab Street (which is still raging) as “Youth and Facebook Revolution” and “the Arab Spring.”  In addition, in 1948, the State Department ferociously opposed the establishment of the Jewish State, which it expected to be pro-Soviet, too weak to withstand Arab military offensive, undermining US national security interests and a burden for the US.  In 1981 and 2007 the State Department brutally attempted to stop, and then condemned, Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors, which spared the US, the Middle East and the world at-large much devastation.

*President Biden may attempt to impose upon Israel a quid-pro-quo – consistent with the State Department’s “Palestine Firsters” – requiring Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, in return for enhanced strategic cooperation with Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries (which regard Palestinians as a role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism and ingratitude).

*President Biden and Secretary Blinken should be reminded that concessions to rogue entities whet their appetite and intensifies terrorism, as documented by the unprecedented waves of Palestinian terrorism following Israel’s dramatic concessions in 1993 (Oslo Accord) and 2005 (disengagement from the Gaza Strip). Furthermore, Egypt (1950s), Syria (1966), Jordan (1970), Lebanon (1970s) and Kuwait (1990) made major civic and financial concessions to the Palestinians, which resulted in Palestinian terrorism against their Arab hosts, including civil wars in Jordan and Lebanon and Palestinian participation in Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

*President Biden will try to convince Israel to concede the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and allow the establishment of a Palestinian state.  President Biden should be advised that based on the Palestinian rogue track record, a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River. It would be replaced by a radical, anti-US regime, triggering an anti-US ripple effect into the Arabian Peninsula, toppling pro-US Arab regimes, transferring the supply of Persian Gulf oil to anti-US entities, and bolstering the geo-strategic stature of Iran’s Ayatollahs, Russia and China at the expense of dire US interests.

Israeli control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria deters rogue entities and advances US interests; the proposed Palestinian state would radicalize the region, undermining US interests.

*Israel will be asked to authorize a US Consulate in Jerusalem, acting as the US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority. Such a demand would be in violation of the US 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act, which defines Jerusalem as the undivided and exclusive capital of Israel. It would be interpreted – regionally and globally – as succumbing to Arab/Muslim pressure, thus further eroding the US posture of deterrence.

*When considering President Biden’s demands for Israeli concessions, Israel’s Prime Minister Lapid should study the conduct of previous Israeli Prime Ministers, who fended off US Presidential pressure, experienced a short-term setback in the US-Israel relationship, but gained in long-term US strategic respect for defiance of odds and adherence to a principle-driven stance.

*While expressing much respect to President Biden and Secretary Blinken and their demands, Israeli leaders should realize that the US democracy features Congress as a co-equal, co-determining branch of government, the most authentic representative of the American people, the most powerful legislature in the world, which has the power to both propose and dispose in the areas of foreign and defense policies, and has expressed its deep reservations with regard to US policy on Iran (e.g., Democratic Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menendez’ February 2022 floor speech). While most US Presidents have pressured Israel, Congress has been a systematic supporter of enhancing the mutually-beneficial US-Israel strategic and commercial cooperation.

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Since the 1978/79 revolution against the Shah of Iran, the Ayatollahs regime has adhered to its mega-goal of global Shite domination, developing mega-capabilities (nuclear, ballistic technologies and worldwide terrorism), aiming to remove/subordinate its mega-obstacle, the USA.

During 1962-1970, then anti-US Egypt was involved in the Yemen civil war, as a springboard to topple the pro-US regime in Saudi Arabia and, subsequently, all other pro-US Arab regimes in a most critical region to global trade, oil and security, the Arabian Peninsula.

Since 2011, Iran’s anti-US Ayatollahs are deeply involved in the Yemen civil war on the side of the anti-US Shite Houthis (“Soldiers of Allah”) – via Iranian and Hezbollah manpower, military supplies, training and intelligence – as a springboard to oust the pro-US Sunni House of Saud (bordering north Yemen), and subsequently, all other pro-US Sunni regimes in the Arabian Peninsula.

In February, 2021, the US removed Yemen’s Shite Houthis – who are Iran’s proxy – from the list of terrorist organizations, courted the rogue Ayatollahs regime, terminated US support of the pro-US Saudi military offensive against the anti-US Houthis, and pressured the Saudis on account of human rights violations. However, in November, 2021, the Houthis stormed the US Embassy in Sanaa, holding a few of the local staff hostage, demonstrating – once again – that Islamic terrorists bite the hands that feed them.

Yemen’s geostrategic importance for the US

The limbs of the Iranian octopus extend from the Persian Gulf and Central Asia to the whole Middle East, Europe, Africa, South, Central and North America, including Yemen, where Iran’s Ayatollahs outflank the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea, Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, playing a decisive role in fueling the civil war, as a dagger aimed at its Sunni arch-rival, the pro-US Saudi Arabia.

Iran’s Ayatollahs are aware of the geo-strategic significance of Yemen – regionally and globally – and its impact on the national security, homeland security and economy of the US, “The Great Satan,” which they consider the most critical obstacle on their way to global domination.

The gravely underdeveloped Yemen plays a key role in the survival of the highly-vulnerable House of Saud, in particular, and all other pro-US oil-producing, strategically-situated Arab regimes in the Arabian Peninsula, such as the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman.

Yemen shares 1,458 and 288-kilometer-explosive borders with Saudi Arabia and Oman respectively, and could serve as a land-sea-air base of Iran’s rogue Ayatollahs.

Yemen is an epicenter of regional and global Islamic terrorism and a platform for the 1,400-year-old intra-Muslim Sunni-Shia conflict, inherent intra-Sunni conflicts and intra-Arab tribal fighting.

Yemen shares a maritime border with the inherently unstable, unpredictable and non-democratic Eritrea, Djibouti, Somaliland and Somalia in the strategically crucial Horn of Africa, controlling the Bab el Mandeb Strait (“Gate of Tears”), which connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, and facilitating the European-Asian trade. Bab el Mandeb is critical to global energy security, in general, and the supply of Gulf oil to Europe, in particular, as well as the functioning of the Suez Canal, the economic stability of Egypt and the safety of the prominent Saudi Red Sea port of Jeddah.

Yemen’s prominence as a hub of critical shipping routes, and a site of actual and potential naval bases, is derived from the highly-strategic Yemen ports of Aden, Mukalla, Mocha, Al-Hudaydah and the Yemen islands of Socotra (Arabian Sea), Perim, Zuqar and Hanish (southern Red Sea).

While the US is the world largest oil producer, approaching energy-independence, the price and supply of oil still largely depend upon Middle East oil, which accounts for 27% of world production and hinges on the safety of the Bab el Mandeb Strait and the southern part of the Red Sea.

Iran’s military involvement in Yemen

Iran’s intervention in the Yemen civil war on the side of the anti-US, anti-Saudi Shite Houthis minority against the Saudi-backed highly-fragmented Sunni majority, shifted into high gear in 2011, after the eruption of the Arab Tsunami (superficially known as “the Arab Spring”), which triggered the current turbulence, which is raging throughout the Middle East.

The significance of Iran’s (and Hezbollah’s) involvement has been evidenced by the recent successful Houthi military offensive, solidifying their control of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, coalescing their domination of western and northern Yemen (along the border of Saudi Arabia), and their progress in the battle over Yemen’s oil and natural gas-producing area of Marib.

These Houthi gains have been made possible by Iranian finance, manpower, training, intelligence and the supply of rockets, surface-to-air missiles, rocket-propelled grenades, explosives and ammunition.

Also, the anti-US Houthis have employed the Iran-supplied drones and missiles to strike Riyadh, additional Saudi cities, Saudi oil installations, airports and other civilian targets.

The Iran-US bottom line

Iran’s aggressive intervention reflects the imperialistic, fanatic vision and global policy of Iran’s Ayatollahs, which – contrary to the worldview of Western foreign policy and national security establishments – are not driven by despair, humiliation, economic deprivation, or local border disputes; are not amenable to compromise, compliance with agreements, peaceful-existence, human rights and democracy; and are not limited to the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, but encompass the entire world, including South and Central America.

Iran’s Ayatollahs are energized by the apparent US shift of paradigm from military to diplomacy, the US rejection of the regime-change option, and the US tendency to accommodate and appease – rather than confront and crush – the rogue regime in Teheran.

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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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