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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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Irrespective of the final outcome of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it should serve as a wake-up call for Israeli and Western policy-makers and molders of public opinion.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has exposed the flawed nature of certain assumptions, which have impacted the worldview of the Western establishment – but not the worldview of most of the world – while attempting to induce/coerce Israel into adopting these assumptions.

For example:

*The illusion that most of the world subscribes to the Western worldview of a new world (and new Middle East) order, which is supposedly more stable, predictable, tolerant and trending toward peaceful-coexistence, focusing on butter rather than guns;

*The ostensible end to the era of major wars and massive ground force invasions;

*The self-destruct notion that a military posture of deterrence can be effectively-replaced by peace accords, security guarantees and generous financial and diplomatic packages. Thus, the seeds of the current predicament of Ukraine were planted in the reckless December 1994 Budapest security assurances, which were extended to Ukraine by the USA, Britain and Russia in return for Ukraine’s surrender of its most-deterring nuclear stockpile (3rd largest in the world). In 2022, these assurances are exposed in their futility.

*Ignoring the tenuous, unreliable, unpredictable, non-committal and open-ended nature of all security guarantees, even article 5 of the NATO Charter, which is supposed to be the tightest security commitment. But, article 5 states that all NATO members shall assist an attacked member “as [they] deem necessary, including the use of armed force….” As they deem necessary….

*The delusion that peace and security agreements are more important (for national security) than military capabilities and geography/topography-driven posture of deterrence.  This delusion ignores the fact that while peace accords and security guarantees are tenuous, topographic dominance (e.g., the Golan Heights and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) and geographic depth are everlasting.

*Overlooking the fact that a gradual reduction of defense budget is interpreted by most of the globe as erosion of deterrence in a stormy world (and volatile Middle East), undermining stability and crippling national security, and therefore inducing terrorism and wars;

*The presumed superiority of the diplomatic option as a more effective negotiation tool than the military option in settling conflicts with rogue regimes, which have systematically revealed themselves as bad-faith negotiators (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs since assuming power in February, 1979);

*The alleged subordination of national ideologies and strategic visions to a cosmopolitan/universal peaceful-coexistence state of mind;

*Preferring the speculative assessments of the future track records of rogue regimes over their realistic historical track record, which highlights the centrality of rogue history in shaping their radical national vision, policy-making, school curriculum, religious sermons and media.

*The illusion that rogue conduct (e.g., subversion, terrorism and wars) is despair-driven, rather than ideology-driven.

Western policy makers have attempted to induce/coerce Israel into a withdrawal from the topographically dominant mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – in return for a peace accord and security guarantees.  However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the false sense of security, which is generated by security guarantees, which replace geographic depth and dominant topography in the highly volatile, violent, intolerant and unpredictable Middle East. The global experience has reaffirmed the centrality of the military-driven posture of deterrence in the shaping of national security.

Moreover, unlike Ukraine (the 2nd largest European country), Israel’s lack of geographic depth (a 7-15 miles sliver from the Mediterranean to the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) provides for an extremely small margin of error. Thus, if the 1973 surprise Arab military offensive were launched against a pre-1967 Israel (without the dominant topography of the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria and the strategic depth of the Sinai Peninsula), the Arabs would be able to annihilate the Jewish State.

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recent posts

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

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support Appreciated

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.

Support Appreciated

 

 

 

 

Irrespective of the final outcome of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it should serve as a wake-up call for Israeli and Western policy-makers and molders of public opinion.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has exposed the flawed nature of certain assumptions, which have impacted the worldview of the Western establishment – but not the worldview of most of the world – while attempting to induce/coerce Israel into adopting these assumptions.

For example:

*The illusion that most of the world subscribes to the Western worldview of a new world (and new Middle East) order, which is supposedly more stable, predictable, tolerant and trending toward peaceful-coexistence, focusing on butter rather than guns;

*The ostensible end to the era of major wars and massive ground force invasions;

*The self-destruct notion that a military posture of deterrence can be effectively-replaced by peace accords, security guarantees and generous financial and diplomatic packages. Thus, the seeds of the current predicament of Ukraine were planted in the reckless December 1994 Budapest security assurances, which were extended to Ukraine by the USA, Britain and Russia in return for Ukraine’s surrender of its most-deterring nuclear stockpile (3rd largest in the world). In 2022, these assurances are exposed in their futility.

*Ignoring the tenuous, unreliable, unpredictable, non-committal and open-ended nature of all security guarantees, even article 5 of the NATO Charter, which is supposed to be the tightest security commitment. But, article 5 states that all NATO members shall assist an attacked member “as [they] deem necessary, including the use of armed force….” As they deem necessary….

*The delusion that peace and security agreements are more important (for national security) than military capabilities and geography/topography-driven posture of deterrence.  This delusion ignores the fact that while peace accords and security guarantees are tenuous, topographic dominance (e.g., the Golan Heights and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) and geographic depth are everlasting.

*Overlooking the fact that a gradual reduction of defense budget is interpreted by most of the globe as erosion of deterrence in a stormy world (and volatile Middle East), undermining stability and crippling national security, and therefore inducing terrorism and wars;

*The presumed superiority of the diplomatic option as a more effective negotiation tool than the military option in settling conflicts with rogue regimes, which have systematically revealed themselves as bad-faith negotiators (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs since assuming power in February, 1979);

*The alleged subordination of national ideologies and strategic visions to a cosmopolitan/universal peaceful-coexistence state of mind;

*Preferring the speculative assessments of the future track records of rogue regimes over their realistic historical track record, which highlights the centrality of rogue history in shaping their radical national vision, policy-making, school curriculum, religious sermons and media.

*The illusion that rogue conduct (e.g., subversion, terrorism and wars) is despair-driven, rather than ideology-driven.

Western policy makers have attempted to induce/coerce Israel into a withdrawal from the topographically dominant mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – in return for a peace accord and security guarantees.  However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the false sense of security, which is generated by security guarantees, which replace geographic depth and dominant topography in the highly volatile, violent, intolerant and unpredictable Middle East. The global experience has reaffirmed the centrality of the military-driven posture of deterrence in the shaping of national security.

Moreover, unlike Ukraine (the 2nd largest European country), Israel’s lack of geographic depth (a 7-15 miles sliver from the Mediterranean to the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) provides for an extremely small margin of error. Thus, if the 1973 surprise Arab military offensive were launched against a pre-1967 Israel (without the dominant topography of the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria and the strategic depth of the Sinai Peninsula), the Arabs would be able to annihilate the Jewish State.

Support Appreciated

 

It has been suggested that the next Prime Minister of Israel will be proscribed from annexing parts of Judea and Samaria – for the next three years – due to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s personal commitment to President Trump to refrain from annexation.  This ostensible commitment was never ratified by Israel’s Legislature.

Does a personal commitment by an Israeli prime minister to a US president tie the hands of succeeding Israeli prime ministers?

Not according to the tradition of democratic societies, which aims to avoid Executive tyranny, limiting the power of presidents and prime ministers through a system of checks and balance.

For example, international accords reached by US presidents require ratification by two thirds of the Senate.  Therefore, in 2018, President Trump was able to withdraw from the 2015 Iran Nuclear Accord (JCPOA), since it was never ratified by the Senate.  Moreover, the US is not committed to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which was signed in 1999 by President Clinton, but has yet to be ratified by the Senate.

Furthermore, the 1975 assurance of President Ford to Israel’s Prime Minister Rabin “to give great weight to Israel’s position that any peace agreement with Syria must be predicated on Israel remaining on the Golan Heights,” did not commit any of the succeeding presidents, since it was not ratified by the Senate. A similar fate met President Eisenhower’s 1957 non-ratified assurance issued to Israel’s Prime Minister Eshkol, which implied US willingness to deploy its military in the face of Egyptian violations of agreements in the Red Sea and the Sinai Peninsula (which triggered the 1967 War).

On June 19, 1967, in the aftermath of the Six Day War, Israel’s Prime Minister Eshkol and his Cabinet offered “to conclude peace agreements with Egypt and Syria, based on the pre-1967 lines with due consideration to Israel’s security requirements.” Egypt and Syria rebuffed Israel’s unprecedented lavish offer. However, this generous Israeli proposal did not preclude Israeli Prime Minister Begin – who was a member of the 1967 Cabinet – from applying Israeli law to the topographically and geographically overpowering Golan Heights in 1981.

Should future Israeli prime ministers be constrained by the equally- reckless proposals, submitted by four previous Israeli prime ministers, who offered a sweeping retreat from the Golan Heights? Do past Israeli careless peace proposals – which were rejected by Syria – carry more weight than Israeli law and Middle East reality, which has highlighted the erratic, unpredictable, violent and tenuous nature of the Middle East, in general, and Syria, in particular?

In the 2000/2001 Camp David and Taba Summits, Prime Minister Ehud Barak – the shortest term-serving Israeli prime minister – overwhelmed President Clinton and Yasser Arafat by offering to withdraw from 97% of Judea and Samaria, re-divide Jerusalem, transfer some parts of pre-1967 Israel to the Palestinian Authority, and negotiate a return of some Palestinian refugees. That incredible offer – which would have returned Israel back to the pre-1967 nine to fifteen-mile sliver dominated by the mountains of Judea and Samaria – was rejected by the Palestinians.

In 2008, Prime Minister Olmert’s equally reckless peace proposal was rejected by Mahmoud Abbas.

Should future Israeli prime ministers sacrifice Israel’s existential national security requirements – in the volcanic Middle East, which has yet to experience intra Arab peaceful coexistence – on the altar of past foolhardy non-ratified Israeli proposals?

Rather than refraining from the annexation of the Jordan Valley and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – which constitute Israel’s most critical line of defense and the cradle of Jewish history, religion and culture – future Israeli prime ministers are advised to follow in the footsteps of Prime Minister Begin.   Prime Minister Begin applied Israeli law to the Golan Heights in 1981, despite his own support of the aforementioned 1967 peace proposal, and in defiance of brutal pressure from President Reagan, including the suspension of a promising defense cooperation agreement. Begin’s defiance triggered short-term friction and acrimony with the US, but yielded long term appreciation for Israel’s posture of deterrence and enhanced Israel’s national security.

 

 

Dennis Ross and David Makovsky (Be Strong and of Good Courage, September 2019, pp. 276-280):

“For the last decade, one person has stood out among all others in challenging the analysis of those who say that demographic trends require Israel to separate from the Palestinians.  Yoram Ettinger, a former member of the Israel Foreign Ministry, has been the leading voice in seeking to debunk the demographic argument…. It is Ettinger who is the intellectual and political spearhead of the efforts to counter the demographic threat narrative.

“[Ettinger] has supported analytical work…to prove that the Jewish majority is not threatened by demographic trends.  In his words, ‘The Jewish state is not facing a potential Arab demographic time bomb.  In fact, Israel benefits from a robust Jewish demographic tailwind.’

“Ettinger’s analysis is based on several key assertions.  First, the Palestinian census numbers… are exaggerated, counting Palestinians who live abroad.  Second, Israeli demographers who believe in the demographic time bomb make the mistake of double-counting the Palestinians who live in East Jerusalem and those who marry Israelis – counting them in the Palestinian Authority and also as part of Israel’s population.  Third, Palestinian birth rates have declined and Israeli birth rates have grown… And fourth, Israel’s population has the potential for much greater growth given Jewish immigration (Aliyah). As Ettinger observes, Jewish immigration “has persisted since 1882, featuring waves every 20 years… The huge potential of Aliyah – from France, Germany, additional European countries, Russia, Ukraine ad Argentina – awaits a pro-active Aliyah policy, which has not been undertaken since the end of Prime Minister Shamir’s Administration in 1992.”

“Ettinger sees net-migration out of the West Bank and he does not count the… Palestinians in Gaza in the demographic balance…. He rejects talk of near parity in numbers today….”

Ross and Makovsky never bothered to discuss the issue with me, employing misrepresentation by members of Israel’s demographic establishment, which have been wrong, wronger and wrongest.

The Middle East Journal, The Middle East Institute, Washington, DC, Spring 2013: “The argument promoted by Ettinger has proven extraordinarily attractive…for influential calls for Israel to annex Judea and Samaria…. This remarkably (if partially) successful campaign to transform public per­ceptions of the demographic problem began with Ettinger…. Ettinger’s efforts had a major impact on the debate over the implications of demography for the peace process…. [Ettinger’s] publications and interviews were quoted and cited by a multitude of bloggers and editorialists and carried prominently by Jewish community newspapers throughout the world….”

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Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, who was Israel’s Chief Negotiator with Syria and Ambassador to the USA (The Brink of Peace, July 1999, pp. 164-167):

“In 1994, the peace process had seemed to be in full swing…. In May 1994, an organized campaign began in the US against the idea of stationing US troops on the Golan as peace-keepers in the event of an Israeli-Syria agreement.  The campaign was orchestrated and carried out by right-wing organizations and… visitors from Israel… the former Minister for Congressional Affairs in Israel’s Washington Embassy, Yoram Ettinger.  The organizers targeted Congress, the media and the organized Jewish community.  They sought to convey the message that sending US troops as peacekeepers to the Golan was bad for America and bad for Israel.  The Golan was a dangerous place, and the American soldiers stationed there would be exposed to terrorist attacks and other dangers.  While the US could lose the lives of its soldiers and become entangled in a dangerous foreign arena, Israel would lose her freedom of action and could jeopardize the whole fabric of the crucial relationship with the US.  This message was repeated in an organized letter-writing campaign, in briefings on Capitol Hill and in a stream of memoranda….

“We saw the campaign as a shrewd effort to controversalize the Israeli-Arab peace process and to provide an American peg for opposing the notion of an Israeli-Syrian settlement….  Once an American dimension was introduced into the equation – the stationing of US peacekeepers – America decision makers and opinion makers and those concerned with the health of the US-Israel relationship were entitled to raise their voice and exercise their political weight….  The message was the same: I as an American citizen believe that relinquishing the Golan Heights will necessitate the stationing of US buffer troops, who will be exposed to murderous attacks from Arab irregulars.  The American people will not accept casualties among the US peacekeeping forces and rightly so.  Any such deployment of US troops will begin with good intentions and end with American body bags and vehement American protest demonstrations.  This will no doubt led to a rise in Anti-Semitism in the US.

“In May 1994, the organizers of the campaign… demanded discussion and clarification of the plan to place US peacekeepers on the Golan…. On June 28, the NY Times columnist Abe Rosenthal published a column titled ‘Americans on the Golan: Will Congress debate the issue?’…. The campaign acquired a new vitality and much greater significance when the Republicans took charge of both houses of Congress…. It did cast a shadow over the prospect of a significant upgrading of the American-Syrian relationship in the event of an Israeli-Syrian agreement….

“This Congressional opposition had at least some negative impact on Assad’s motivation to move forward in his peacemaking with Israel….”

Israel Hayom

In 1993, 1995 and 2005, Israel retreated from 40% of the Judea and Samaria mountain ridges (West Bank) and the entire Gaza Strip. It transformed these regions into platforms of unprecedented Palestinian terrorism and missile launches, supported by Iran, Turkey and North Korea. Moreover, it has intensified lethal threats to all pro-US Arab regimes, bolstering their security ties with Israel, which they perceived to be the most credible “life insurance agent” in the region. As expected, gestures to rogue regimes and terrorists fuel further violence.

According to Prof. Itamar Rabinovich, former Israeli Ambassador to the US and Chief Negotiator with Syria (The Brink of Peace, 1999, pp. 164-167): “In November 1994, the peace process had seemed to be in full swing…. [But], an organized campaign began in the US against the idea of stationing US troops on the Golan Heights as ‘peace keepers’, in the event of an Israel-Syria [peace] agreement. The campaign was orchestrated by right-wing organizations and individuals in the Jewish community, with occasional participation of visitors from Israel… [such as] the former Minister for Congressional Affairs in our Washington Embassy, Yoram Ettinger…. The organizers conveyed the message that sending US troops as peacekeepers to the Golan was bad for the US [and that the Syrian armored mechanized divisions stationed between the Golan Heights and Damascus would be deployed to the border with Jordan, aiming to topple the pro-US Hashemite regime]…. The US could lose the lives of its soldiers and become entangled in a dangerous foreign arena…. That would no doubt lead to a rise in anti-Semitism in the US…. Senator Jesse Helms, the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations [a friend of Bobby Jacobs] was openly critical of the Assad regime…. The Chairman of the House Committee on International Relations, Benjamin Gilman, was under pressure from voters in his own constituency…. This Congressional opposition had at least some negative impact on Assad’s motivation to move forward in his peacemaking with Israel….”

Since 1967, Israel’s control of the strategically-commanding Golan Heights – over-towering northern Israel – has constrained and monitored the Russian, Iranian, North Korean, ISIS and Turkish strategic profile in Syria.  Furthermore, the Israeli posture of deterrence has bolstered the national security of Jordan’s Hashemite regime and all other pro-US Arab regimes (hence the unprecedented cooperation between Israel and these regimes). For instance, the September 1970 pro-Soviet Syrian invasion of the pro-US Jordan was rolled back, primarily, due to Israel’s deployment of troops to the Golan Heights, 37 miles from Damascus. The Syrian invasion aimed at toppling the Hashemite regime and producing a pro-Soviet domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula, at a time when the US was heavily dependent upon Persian Gulf oil.  Thus, Israel’s control of the Golan Heights spared the US the need to deploy its own troops, in order to save its Jordanian ally, while preventing a potential super-power confrontation, and denying the USSR a geo-strategic bonanza.

The significance of Israel’s control of the Golan Heights for the national security of the US has been intensified due to the following phenomena:

*The raging civil war in Syria which erupted in 2011;
*The escalation of Iran’s involvement in Syria and Lebanon, aspiring to extend its dominance to the Mediterranean and Europe;
*The entrenchment of ISIS cells in Syria, irrespective of their recent setbacks;
*The growing involvement in Syria by Turkey’s Erdogan, who aims to resurrect the Ottoman Empire;
*The inherent Russia-Syria alliance, with Russia expanding its presence in the Mediterranean and throughout the Middle East.
*Since the 1960s, North Korea has been a leading ally of Syria, engaged in illicit military and technology cooperation, including ballistic missiles and chemical warfare. Pyongyang facilitated the construction of a Syrian nuclear reactor that was destroyed, by Israel, in 2007.

In November 2019, the explosive potential of Syria transcends the boundaries of the Middle East, triggering ripple effects throughout the globe. Since 2010, it has been exacerbated by the Arab Tsunami, which has further destabilized the inherently unpredictable and violent Syria and the Middle East. Thus, the pro-Russia, pro-Iran, pro-North Korea and anti-US Damascus – which provided safe haven to Nazi war criminals – has become a global epicenter of proliferation of anti-US global terrorism and drug trafficking.

The endemically turbulent reality of Syria, in particular, and the Middle East, in general, highlight the self-destructive nature of the attempts to get Israel off the Golan Heights, the potential damage to US interests, and the prospective setback to the survival of the pro-US Arab regimes.

An agreement concluded with Damascus can be no less tenuous than the policies of the transient, rogue regime which signs them (would you buy a used car from Assad?!).

The politically-correct assumptions that “a state of peace was the best security arrangement…. the end of occupation would eliminate the motivation to wage wars, and Syria’s record of keeping its commitments was excellent…. (ibid. page 169)” clash with reality, ignoring the rogue and non-compliant nature of Syria as demonstrated by its systematic violation of agreements, domestically and regionally.

For example, since 1953, Syria has violated all water supply agreements with Jordan (from the Yarmouk River).  Notwithstanding the official state of peace with Jordan, Syria invaded Jordan in 1970, threatened to invade again in 1980 and 1989, and periodically supports anti-Hashemite subversion and terrorism.

For 30 years (1976-2006), Syria has violated a series of international and intra-Arab commitments to evacuate Lebanon, until it was forced to withdraw by domestic and international factors.

In 1973, Syria violated the 1967 armistice agreement with Israel, as well as the 1974 Disengagement Agreement with Israel, terrorizing Israel through Palestinian and Shiite terrorists in Jordan and Lebanon.

Israel’s control of the Golan Heights, just like its control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, has bolstered Israel’s posture of deterrence, extending the strategic hand of the US, with no need for additional US soldiers.  Israel’s retreat from the Golan Heights would erode its posture of deterrence, relegating the Jewish State from a national security producer/asset to a national security consumer/liability, to the detriment of the US.

 

 

The US position on the future of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) should be based on US interests in the context of a violent, volcanic, uncontrollable and unpredictable Middle East, where agreements are as tenuous as are the regimes which conclude them.

On September 18, 1970, the pro-USSR Syrian military invaded Jordan in an attempt to topple the pro-US Hashemite regime, which would destabilize the regional balance. The invasion was rolled back on September 23, largely, due to Israel’s deployment of its military, and Israel’s deterring posture on the Golan Heights and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria. Thus, Israel’s posture of deterrence spared the US the need to deploy its own troops (while it was bogged down in the Vietnam quagmire), in order to secure its Jordanian ally, and prevent a devastating ripple effect into Saudi Arabia and all other pro-US Arab Gulf States (at a time when the US was heavily dependent upon Persian Gulf oil).

Israel’s control of the mountains of Judea and Samaria and the Jordan Valley – as well as the Golan Heights – dramatically catapulted its regional position from violence-inducing weakness to violence-deterring strength, reducing regional violence and threats to all pro-US Arab regimes.

Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – the cradle of Jewish history – has transformed the Jewish State from a supplicant and national security consumer to a strategic ally of the US and national security producer.  In the words of the late General Alexander Haig (former Supreme Commander of NATO and US Secretary of State), Israel has become the largest US aircraft carrier with no US boots on board, yielding the US a few hundred percent rate of return on its annual investment in Israel.

Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (3,000 ft. above the Jordan Valley and 2,000 ft. above the coastal plain) has considerably bolstered the national security of the pro-US and highly vulnerable Hashemite regime in Jordan. It has transformed Israel into Jordan’s most security-generating neighbor. Israel systematically combats anti-Israel and anti-Hashemite Palestinian terrorists west of the Jordan River, sharing with Jordan vital intelligence on Palestinian and Islamic terrorists in Jordan, and deterring potential assaults on Jordan by rogue organizations and regimes in the north (Syria) and east (Iraq/Iran).  Moreover, Saudi Arabia and all other pro-US Arab Gulf States have unprecedentedly expanded their military, intelligence, counter-terrorism and commercial cooperation with Israel, realizing the added-value of Israel’s deterrence in face of the real and clear lethal threats posed by Iran’s Ayatollahs, Islamic Sunni terrorism (e.g., the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS) and Turkey’s Erdogan.

On the other hand, an Israeli retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, would transform Jordan’s western border (the proposed Palestinian state) into a deadly threat to the Hashemite regime.  It would be the straw that would break the back of the Hashemite regime, transforming pro-US Jordan into a Libya/Yemen/Iraq/Syria-like platform of anti-US Islamic terrorism, according Iran’s Ayatollahs an opportunity to extend their reach toward the Mediterranean.

The toppling of the Hashemite regime – and its substitution by a Palestinian, “Muslim Brotherhood” or any other rogue regime – would intensify Islamic terrorism in Iraq and Syria, and would generate tailwind to the systematic attempts to topple the pro-US Arab regimes in Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni Arab oil states, as well as Egypt, with their dramatically adverse impact on the state of Western national security and economy (e.g., disruption of the supply – and a surge in the price – of oil).

Thus, in October 1994, during the Israel-Jordan peace treaty ceremony, top Jordanian military officers shared a crucial message with their Israeli counterparts: “In view of the subversive, terroristic and treacherous Palestinian track record in their relations with Arab states, a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the Hashemite regime east of the River, boding disaster for Saudi Arabia and all other Arab states south of Jordan and possibly Egypt.” This assessment was a derivative of Jordan’s inherently fragile domestic scene, exacerbated by intensifying external Islamic/Arab threats:

*70% of Jordan’s population are Palestinians.  Most Palestinian leaders (e.g., the PLO, Palestinian Authority and Hamas) consider Jordan an artificial entity, claiming title to the whole of British Mandate Palestine, from the Mediterranean to the Iraqi border, of which Jordan is 78%.  Hence, the ongoing battle of the Jordanian secret service against Palestinian terrorism and subversion.

*A well-entrenched presence of the Muslim Brotherhood (the largest Islamic Sunni terrorist organization with “human rights” subsidiaries such as CAIR) aims to replace the Hashemite regime, violently, with a Muslim Caliphate.

*Some ISIS veterans of the Syria and Iraq civil wars consider Jordan their home.

*Jordan’s Bedouins (who control the military and homeland security establishments) are deeply fragmented, geographically, tribally and ideologically. Southern (indigenous) Bedouin tribes have displayed tenuous loyalty to the throne, considering the Hashemites “carpetbaggers” from the Arabian Peninsula.

Based on the Palestinian intra-Arab and global rogue track record and the Palestinian Authority hate-education, Israel’s retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria would yield another anti-US rogue regime. It would further destabilize the inherently violent, intolerant, unpredictable, unstable and despotic Middle East, providing Russia and possibly Iran naval, air and land rights, and accelerating the flight of Christians from the Bethlehem area.

Ignoring the volcanic Middle East reality, the unique benefits derived from Israel’s control of the Judea and Samaria mountain ridges, and the significant damage which would be caused by the proposed Palestinian state, would resemble a person cutting off his/her nose to spite his/her face.

Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria highlights the synergy between the national security of the US and Israel, emphasizing Israel’s military and commercial contribution as the most effective US force-multiplier in the Middle East and beyond.

 

 

“The Middle East and North Africa have a well-deserved reputation for being a region plagued by war and conflict.  Every decade since the end of WW2 has seen at least one interstate conflict; it has also witnessed 25 types of intrastate war, including insurgencies, civil wars and protracted terrorism.  In the same timeframe, 2.3 million citizens have died as a result of political violence – 40% of the global total of battle-related deaths, although the region accounts for 5% of the world’s population…. 25 of these [intrastate] conflicts have claimed 1.5 million victims – 64% of the region’s total war deaths…. ” (Florence Gaub, Deputy Director, European Union Institute for Security Studies, October, 2017).

Middle East inter and intra-Arab/Muslim conflicts – some of them 1,400 year old – have been largely intractable, defying Western conventional wisdom, which has been dominated by the well-meaning pursuit of peaceful-coexistence, conflict-resolution, democracy and improved standard of living.

According to Dr. Daniel Pipes and Prof. Gunnar Heinsohn, some 11 million Muslims have been killed in wars from 1948-2007, only 35,000 of them in Arab-Israel wars – 0.3%!

Middle East inter and intra-Arab/Muslim conflicts – which preceded the 1948 establishment of Israel – have exposed the oversimplification of conventional Western wisdom, which has approached the Arab-Israeli conflict as if it were “the Middle East conflict.”

Perry Cammack and Michele Dunne of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace stated: “More than any other region in the world, the Middle East is defined not by commercial ties, diplomatic interaction, or regional organizations, but by hard power and military might…. The Middle East suffers from a lack of both regional dispute-resolution mechanisms and diplomatic protocols that might reduce the scope for regional conflict…. In the last six years alone, Arab states and Iran have intervened militarily in four Arab countries (Syria, Yemen, Libya and Bahrain)…. Massive violations of international humanitarian law have become commonplace… including indiscriminate bombing of urban civilian populations, ethnic cleansing and civilian displacement on a grand scale, widespread sexual violence, use of chemical weapons, denial of humanitarian access and use of starvation as a weapon, and the bombing of hospitals and schools….”

Middle East inter and intra-Arab/Muslim conflicts – which ravaged the area well before the 1967 Six Day War – have demonstrated that the Palestinian issue has never been a core cause of regional turbulence, nor a crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers, nor the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Thus, Toronto Ryerson University’s Dr. Murtaza Haider wrote: “Since the end of WW2… the Muslim world has fallen into one violent conflict after another, involving mostly Muslims. In the 1980s, the Iran-Iraq war left millions dead…. While intra-Muslim violence is claiming victims all over Pakistan, the violence against non-Muslims, including Hindus and Christians, often brings together Muslims of different stripes….”

The following are some of the inter and intra-Arab/Muslim Middle East conflicts, most of which have dwarfed the Arab-Israeli conflict as far as their impact on the (in)stability of all Arab/Muslim countries, the region and the globe:

Sunni Islam (85%) vs. Shite Islam (15%) has traumatized the Middle East since the 7th century; Shite Iran vs. Sunni-ruled Iraq (e.g., 1980-1988); Shite Iran vs. Sunni Saudi Arabia, directly and via proxies in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco and Sudan; Shite Iran vs. Sunni-ruled Bahrain; Shite Iran vs. Sunni United Arab Emirates; civil wars in Libya, Syria (6 million refugees and 600,000 fatalities), Iraq (4 million refugees and 400,000 fatalities) , Yemen (3 million refugees and 70,000 fatalities in the last two years) and Sudan (3 million refugees and 400,000 fatalities); recent civil conflicts/wars in Iran (80,000 killed during the 1978-79 revolution), Saudi Arabia (e.g., 1979-1983 in the Qatif and al-Hasa Shite-majority eastern regions), Bahrain (2011), Lebanon, Jordan (20,000 killed in 1970-71), Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria (200,000 killed from 1991-2006); Iraq-Kurdish (200,000 killed by Saddam Hussein), Iran-Kurdish, Syria-Kurdish and Turkey-Kurdish conflicts; Iraq vs. Kuwait (e.g., 1990); etc..

Inter and intra-Arab/Muslim conflicts set the pursuit of Middle East peaceful-coexistence in a realistic geo-strategic context, which has been inherently war-ridden, terroristic, subversive, one-bullet tenuous regime, tenuous policies and agreements, intolerant, violent and devoid of civil liberties.

In 2019, the Arab Tsunami – superficially defined as the Arab Spring – which erupted in 2010, is alive and kicking, posing a clear, present and lethal threat to every pro-US Arab regime.

In 2019, the more turbulent the Middle East, the less attainable is durable peaceful-coexistence, and therefore the higher the threshold for national security requirements.

Israel Hayom

Defensible borders’ key feature, in the Middle East, must be the capability to confront the shifty, volcanic and violent reality of the region, which has been top heavy on worst-case scenarios, highlighting clear and present lethal threats.

Realistically, Israel’s defensible borders should not be based on well-meaning, peaceful coexistence (best-case) scenarios – cushioned by eloquent statements, agreements, assurances and guarantees – which have been detached from the blustery Middle East inter-Arab and inter-Muslim reality since the 7th century.

Defensible borders are not based on a state-of-peace; defensible borders, in the Middle East, should be able to overcome an abrupt military violation of a state-of-peace.

The most critical feature/test of defensible borders in the Middle East is their capability to fend off realistic (worst-case) scenarios.

The most critical goal of defensible borders is long-term survival/security in the turbulent, unpredictable Middle East, rather than advancing (pertinent) peace accords in a region, which has yet to experience long-term, inter-Arab peaceful coexistence.

Defensible borders must be drawn on the basis of Middle East reality, which accentuates the inherent tenuous nature of Arab/Islamic regimes, and therefore the unstable nature of their policies and accords, including peace agreements.  The latter can rarely be more durable than the regimes which conclude them.

Israel’s defensible borders must provide for an effective response to – or better yet, deter – conventional and non-conventional attacks, as well as assaults by regular military forces and terror organizations.

Israel’s defensible borders reflect the realization that military high-tech today may be military low-tech tomorrow, but high-ground today will be high-ground tomorrow, playing a most crucial role in delaying potential invasions, providing time for the deployment of reservists, which constitute 75% of Israel’s Defense Forces.

Israel’s defensible borders should be war-restraining (a bolstered posture of deterrence) rather than war-enticing (a slackened posture of deterrence).

Israel’s defensible borders should enhance its status as a national security producer, rather than a national security consumer; a geo-strategic asset – not a liability – of the US and the pro-US Arab regimes; thus, extending the strategic hand of the US, while minimizing the number of US troops in the region.

Israel’s defensible borders generate a tailwind to its determination to avoid reliance on non-Israeli soldiers – a critical component of US-Israel cooperation, and a prerequisite for Israel’s survival and stature in the Middle East.

A reference to the indefensibility of the pre-1967 borders – “something of a memory of Auschwitz” – was made by the late Abba Eban, who was one of Israel’s leading doves, in a November 5, 1969 interview with the German weekly, Der Spiegel: “The map will never be the same as on June 4, 1967. For us, this is a matter of security and principles. The June [1967] map is for us equivalent to insecurity and danger.  I do not exaggerate when I say that it has for us something of a memory of Auschwitz. We shudder when we think of what would have awaited us in the circumstances of June, 1967, if we had been defeated; with Syrians on the [Golan Heights] mountain and us in the valley, with the Jordanian military in sight of the [Mediterranean] sea, with the Egyptians in Gaza. This is a situation which will never be repeated in history….”

The critical role played by the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria [the “Golan Heights” of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport and most of Israel’s population, transportation and industrial infrastructures] in forging defensible borders was documented on July 29, 1991 (Congressional Record – Senate) by the late US Navy Admiral James Wilson “Bud” Nance, who served as Staff Director of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee (“Forcing Israel to give up land for peace is wrong”):

“The West Bank is the prime strategic defensive real estate in the area.  Without the West Bank, most of the major population and industrial centers of Israel are easily within artillery [and terrorism] range…. [The West Bank] is a natural barrier to any attack on Israel from the east.  The Judean mountains and Samarian Ridge that run down the north-south axis of the West Bank afford complete domination of the area…. Any attacking army would have to climb from the lowest point on earth (the Dead Sea) to the 3,000 ft elevation of the West Bank Mountains…. With the West Bank, the Israelis have one of the world’s best natural tank and armored vehicle traps…. The western slopes fall gently down to the heart of Israel [a dream platform of terrorism and invasion]….

“Without the West Bank, Israel is only 9 miles across at its center close to Tel Aviv…. This is scarcely more than the distance from the Pentagon to Mount Vernon [and between JFK to La Guardia airports, and the length of DFW Airport].  A modern tank can traverse this distance in about 15 minutes…. With the West Bank, Israel is approximately 40 miles across at its mid-point…. In this thin strip, we have 2/3 of Israel’s Jewish population and ¾ of their industry…. If Israel were to move out of the Golan Heights, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, it would (1) increase the instability in the area; (2) increase the possibility of war; (3) increase the necessity for Israel to preempt in war; (4) increase the possibility nuclear weapons would have to be used to prevent an Israeli loss; (5) and increase the possibility of US involvement in a war in the area…. It is not in the US’ best interest to have Israel leave the disputed areas….”

On June 29, 1967, General Earl Wheeler, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, submitted to President Lyndon Johnson and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, a memorandum on Israel’s minimum territorial security requirements:

“Control of the high ground [in the West Bank]… would provide Israel with a militarily defensible border…. The high ground running north-south through the middle of West Jordan overlooks Israel’s narrow midsection and offers a route for a thrust to the [Mediterranean] sea which would split Israel in two parts…. [The West Bank is] an area where launching of saboteurs and terrorists into Israel was relatively easy…. Israel must hold the commanding terrain east of the boundary of June 4, 1967 [the Golan Heights] which overlooks the Galilee area….extending from the border of Lebanon to the border of Jordan…. Occupation of the [Gaza] Strip by Israel would reduce the hostile border by a factor of five and eliminate a source for raids and training of [terrorists]….”

The 2019 global and Middle East reality is much more explosive, threatening and tenuous than it was in 1967, including the unprecedented proliferation of Islamic terror organizations, equipped with conventional and non-conventional military systems, which has intensified lethal threats to each relatively-moderate Arab regime (e.g., Egypt and Jordan).

In 2019, the world and the Middle East face turbulent multi-polarization – intensified by the unprecedented proliferation of military hardware among rogue regimes and terror groups – rather than the relatively-manageable bi-polar world of 1967.  This has dramatically destabilized the world, thus enhancing the critical importance of defensible borders, especially in the Middle East, which has been a role model of instability, unpredictability and temporary regimes/policies/accords.

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SCHEDULE LECTURES & INTERVIEWS

Demography

2024 artificially inflated Palestinian demography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Iran

Can Israel afford NOT to defy State Department pressure?

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
July 2, 2024

The current pressure on Israel

*Since Israel’s establishment in 1948 – which was ferociously opposed by the State Department, and tenaciously realized by Israel’s defiant Founding Father, David Ben Gurion – The State Department has systematically pressured Israel to act against its own assessment of its own national security requirements.  In fact, in most cases, Israel’s compliance with State Department pressure undermined the US’ own interests, while a defiant Israel spared a major setback to the US’ own interests.

*Since the horrific Hamas terrorism of October 7, 2023, the State Department – which subscribes to a worldview, contending that terrorism is driven by despair, and therefore should be confronted diplomatically and financially, not militarily – has intensified the pressure on Israel to refrain from militarily preempting Hezbollah, the chief proxy of Iran’s Ayatollahs.

*In addition, the State Department has pressured Israel to switch from fighting – to negotiating with – Hamas, a proxy of Iran’s Ayatollahs and a branch of the Moslem Brotherhood, which is the largest Sunni terror organization in the world.  The pressure has been exerted, notwithstanding Hezbollah’s and Hamas’ commitment to fanatic, Islamic anti-US ideologies – which transcend financial and diplomatic benefits – mandating the toppling of all pro-US Arab regimes, bringing the “infidel” West, and especially “the great American Satan” to submission. Moreover, Hezbollah’s and Hamas’ ideologies are committed to the uprooting of the “infidel” Jewish state – which is deemed by them as the Middle East beachhead of the US – as evidenced in Hezbollah’s and Hamas’ school curriculum, mosque sermons and systematic regional and global terrorism, which extends to Latin America and the US homeland.

*The State Department pressures Israel into another round of negotiation with Iran-controlled Hezbollah and Hamas, despite the fact that all previous agreements were violated, intensifying terrorism, transforming these two terror entities into the most fortified above-ground and under-ground terror states in the world, and paving the road to the October 7 massacre and the current Iran-orchestrated Hamas and Hezbollah wars on Israel.

More examples of State Department ill-advised pressure on Israel:

*In 2006, Israel bowed to State Department pressure, allowing the participation of Hamas in the Palestinian Authority election, which catapulted Hamas to unprecedented political stature in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. 

*In 2006, Israel complied with State Department pressure (assisted by Israeli clones of Foggy Bottom), ending its war against Hezbollah through UN Security Council Resolution 1701, rather than through the obliteration of Hezbollah’s military infrastructure. It solidified Hezbollah’s dominance in Lebanon and bolstered its role as a regional and global epicenter of terrorism and drug trafficking in the service of Iran’s Ayatollahs, as demonstrated by Hezbollah’s expanded foothold on US soil, and growing terror collaboration with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil.

*In 2000, the State Department offered an $800 MN inducement (which was never realized) for Israel’s intent to evacuate South Lebanon, which elevated Hezbollah into a dominant stature in Lebanon, and ushered in a 150,000 missile strong Hezbollah terror machine, fortified by a most advanced underground tunnel network, which may exceed Hamas’ tunnel complex.

*Since the 1993 establishment of the PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority, the State Department has promoted annual foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, while pressuring Israel to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state. This policy has been pursued irrespective of the core Palestinian ideology and its rogue daily conduct – which mandate the annihilation of Israel – as evidenced by the 1964 PLO charter, Palestinian hate education, mosque sermons, monthly allowances to families of terrorists and the Palestinian intra-Arab terrorism. Foggy Bottom ignores the potential impact of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan river: toppling the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the river, transforming Jordan into an epicenter of anti-US Islamic terrorism and destabilizing the pro-US Arabian Peninsula regimes – a setback to Western economy and national and homeland security.

*In 1981, the State Department pressured (and punished) Israel against bombing Iraq’s nuclear reactor.  Israel defied the pressure, which spared the US a potential nuclear confrontation in 1991, and snatched the pro-US Arab oil-producing regimes from the jaws of the anti-US Saddam Hussein.

*In 1973, the State Department pressured Israel, successfully, against preempting Egypt and Syria. Israel’s defiance of this pressure would have spared the region the costly war of October 1973.

*In 1967, the State Department pressured Israel against preempting Egypt and Syria.  Israel defied the pressure, devastated Egypt’s military force, which was involved in an attempt to topple all pro-US Arab oil-producing regimes, at a time when the US was heavily dependent upon Persian Gulf oil. Israel’s defiance spared the US a dramatic national security and economic blow.

Israel’s survival requires defiance of State Department pressure   

*Israeli compliance with State Department pressure would snatch Hamas from the jaws of obliteration and would be perceived – in the Middle East – as a dramatic victory for Islamic terrorism. It would escalate the lethal threat (from the Moslem Brotherhood and Iran’s Ayatollahs) to every pro-US Arab regime, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt and Jordan, and to US homeland security (as recently stated by the FBI Director).

*Israeli capitulation to State Department pressure would devastate Israel’s posture of deterrence – in the volcanic Middle East, where one’s posture of deterrence is a prerequisite for one’s survival – which could induce an Iranian ballistic missile offensive against Israel and an Iran-supported terror offensive by Hamas, Hezbollah, the Palestinian Authority and radical Israeli Arabs. 

*Israel’s succumbing to State Department pressure would reduce/eliminate the inducement of moderate-Arab regimes to expand normalization/peace with Israel, which was initiated by their high respect for Israel’s posture of deterrence, in the face of the mutual threats by Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Moslem Brotherhood, and against the backdrop of the slackened US and Western posture of deterrence.  

*Refraining from the obliteration of Hamas’ military infrastructure and Hezbollah’s terrorist presence in South Lebanon would preclude the return of most Israeli evacuees (150,000 – equal to 5 million evacuees in the US) to their homes in the areas adjacent to Gaza and Lebanon.

*Both the US’ and Israel’s national security benefit from Israel’s defiance of State Department pressure, which highlights Israeli preference of long term national security over short term diplomatic convenience.

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Judea & Samaria

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

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

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jerusalem

United Jerusalem – a shared US-Israel legacy and interest

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

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

United Jerusalem and the US law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers

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

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

The Jerusalem reality and US interests

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

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

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

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

Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jewish Holidays

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

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

More on Jewish holidays: Smashwords, Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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