The findings of the February 19, 2010 Gallup poll put President Obama at odds with the US public, when it comes to attitudes toward the Jewish State, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Arabs, Muslims and Islamic terrorism.
For example, Israel maintains its traditional spot among the five most favored nations by 67% of the US public, despite Obama’s moral-equivalence and even-handedness toward the Arab-Israeli conflict, in spite of his attempts to force Israel into sweeping concessions, and in defiance of the US “elite” media and academia. On the other hand, the Palestinian Authority is ranked – along with Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan – at the bottom of the list, favored by only 20% of the US public.
According to an August 10, 2009 Rasmussen poll, Israel is ranked as the third most favorable ally (70%), preceded only by Canada and Britain. The low regard toward Egypt (39%) and Saudi Arabia (23%) demonstrates that Americans remain skeptical – at least since 9/11 – of Arabs and Muslims, even when they are portrayed by the media and the Administration as supposedly moderate and pro-American. Moreover, only 21% of adult Americans expect that the US relationship with the Muslim world will improve in a year, while 25% expect that it will get worse.
Apparently, US public attitude towards Arabs and Muslims has hardly been impacted by President Obama’s highly-publicized outreach to Muslims, as demonstrated by his apologetic speeches at Turkey’s National Assembly (“…the Islamic faith has done so much to shape the world, including my own country…”), at Cairo University (“Islam has always been a part of America’s story…”) and at the UN (“America has acted unilaterally, without regard for the interests of others…”).
Historically, most Americans have been suspicious of Arabs and Islam, while identifying with Judeo-Christian values, Judaism and the Jewish State, as documented by a June 3, 2009 Gallup poll. By an overwhelming 80%:13% ratio, Americans believe that Muslims are hostile toward the USA. They subscribe to Samuel Huntington’s “War of Civilizations,” much more that Obama’s June 4, 2009 statement, made at Cairo University: “America is not – and never will be – at war with Islam.” Apparently, Obama’s efforts have failed to uproot the legacy of the Islamic threat since the early 19th century war against Muslim pirates, through the 1983 detonation of the US embassy and the truck bombing of the Marine Headquarters in Beirut, the 1998 bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, 9/11, the December 2009 Ft. Hood, Texas massacre and the Muslim terrorist attempt to bomb a Detroit-bound airliner.
Since, at least 9/11, most Americans have held the Palestinian Authority in disfavor, 15% support and 73% opposed, according to a March 3, 2009 Gallup poll. A definite connection has been established between the Palestinian Authority and terrorism, pro-Saddam Hussein and Bin-Laden sentiments and anti-US sentiments. In contrast, support of Israel has remained steady at 63% with only 23% opposing.
Israel‘s good standing has recently been reflected on Capitol Hill. For instance, 344 House Representatives (79%) signed a November 4, 2009 letter, supporting Israel and condemning the Goldstone Report. On the other hand, only 54 House Representatives (12%) signed a January 27, 2010 letter, criticizing Israel and supporting Hamas.
Unlike dictatorships, which manipulate results of public opinion polls, democracies are shaped, to a large extent, by public opinion. Public opinion is especially critical in the US democracy, which features the constituent as its centerpiece. Therefore, US legislators are more attentive to voters than are other Western legislators. They take seriously the electoral battle cry: “We shall remember in November!” Hence, the sustained support of the Jewish State on Capitol Hill, which reflects the will of the American People, in addition to the role played by shared-values, mutual-threats and joint-interests in shaping the unique covenant between the US, the Jewish People and the Jewish State.
In 1948, Prime Minister Ben Gurion declared independence in defiance of demographic fatalism, which was perpetrated by Israel’s leading demographers. He rejected their assumptions that Jews were doomed to be a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean, that massive Aliya was not feasible, that the Jewish fertility rate was declining below reproduction levels and that the Arab fertility rate would remain the highest in the world, irrespective of modernity. Ben Gurion did not subordinate his vision and security concerns to demographic fatalism. Instead of retreating, he declared independence, highlighted demographic optimism and Aliya as top national priorities, coalesced a solid Jewish majority and planted the seeds which catapulted Israel to a Middle East power, highly respected for its civilian and military achievements.
In 2005, in capitulation to demographic fatalism, Prime Minister Sharon retreated from Palestinian terrorism, uprooting 10,000 Jews from Gaza and Samaria. Sharon abandoned his life-long ideology of defiance and subordinated long-term strategy and security concerns to doomsday demography. Thus, he facilitated the Hamas takeover of Gaza and its ripple effects: a slackened posture of deterrence, the intensified shelling of southern Israel, the 2006 Lebanon War, the 2008 Gaza War, the Goldstone Report and exacerbated global pressure on Israel.
Demographic assumptions have played an increasing role in shaping Israel’s national security policy since 1992. But, what if these assumptions are dramatically wrong?!
For example, since the beginning of annual Aliya in 1882 – and in contradiction to demographic projections – the Jewish population between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean has grown 238 fold, while the Arab population increased only 6 fold. Since 1948, the Jewish population increased almost 10 fold and the Arab population expanded 3 fold.
Israel‘s demographers did not believe that a massive Aliya would take place in the aftermath of the 1948/9 War. One million Jews arrived. They projected no substantial Aliya from the Communist Bloc during the 1970s. Almost 300,000 Jews arrived. They dismissed the possibility for a massive Aliya from the USSR, even if gates were opened. One million Olim relocated from the Soviet Union to the Jewish Homeland during the 1990s.
Contrary to demographic assumptions, a rapid and drastic decline in Muslim fertility has been documented by the UN Population Division: Iran – 1.7 births per woman, Algeria – 1.8 births, Egypt – 2.5 births, Jordan – 3 births, etc. Arab fertility rate in pre-1967 Israel has declined 20 years faster than projected and Judea and Samaria Arab fertility has dropped below 4.5 births per woman, trending toward 3 births.
Precedent suggests that low fertility rates can rarely be reversed following a sustained period of significant reduction.
At the same time, the annual number of Jewish births has increased by 45% between 1995 (80,400) and 2008 (117,000), mostly impacted by the demographic surge within the secular sector. The total annual Arab births, in pre-1967 Israel, has stabilized at about 39,000 during the same period, reflecting the successful Arab integration into Israel’s infrastructure of education, employment, health, trade, politics and sports.
An audit of the documentation of Palestinian births, deaths and migration, which is conducted by the Palestinian Ministries of Health and Education and Election Commission, as well as by Israel’s Border Police, Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics and by the World Bank, reveals huge misrepresentations by the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).
For instance, the PCBS’ census includes about 400,000 overseas residents, who have been away for over one year, ignores high net-emigration (28,000 in 2008, 25,000 in 2007, etc.) and double-counts some 250,000 Jerusalem Arabs, who are also counted by Israel. Furthermore, a 40,000-60,000 annual actual birth gap is confirmed between PCBS numbers and the documentation conducted by the Palestinian Ministries of Health and Education.
The audit of Palestinian and Israeli documentation exposes a 66% distortion in the current number of Judea & Samaria Arabs – 1.55 million and not 2.5 million, as claimed by the Palestinian Authority. It certifies a solid 67% Jewish majority over 98.5% of the land west of the Jordan River (without Gaza), compared with a 33% and an 8% Jewish minority in 1947 and 1900, respectively, west of the Jordan River. An 80% majority is attainable by 2035 with the proper demographic policy, highlighting Aliya, returning expatriates, etc.
In conclusion, demographic optimism is well-documented, while demographic fatalism is resoundingly refuted. There is a demographic problem, but it is not lethal and the demographic tailwind is Jewish. Therefore, anyone suggesting that there is a demographic machete at the throat of the Jewish State and that Jewish geography must be conceded, in order to secure Jewish demography, is either grossly mistaken or outrageously misleading.
The prevention of a nuclear Iran constitutes a top US national security priority. It sheds light on a special aspect of US-Israel relationship: defiance of mutual threats.
Iran pursues nuclear capabilities, in order to advance strategic goals, which are led by the super-goal: hegemony of the Persian Gulf and its natural resources. Those who undermine the super-goal are considered super-enemies, targeted by super-capabilities. Hence, Teheran would use its nuclear power/threat, first and foremost, to force US and NATO out of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. It would then turn it against Iraq – its arch rival since the seventh century – and against Saudi Arabia, which is considered an apostate regime. All Gulf States are perceived by Iran as a key prize, required in order to control the flow and the price of oil and to bankroll Teheran’s megalomaniac regional and global aspirations (e.g. leading Islam’s drive to dominate the globe).
The Jewish State constitutes a non-Gulf basin target for Iran; not a primary target. Moreover, Israel is expected to retaliate in a traumatic manner, which would paralyze much of Iran’s military and civilian infrastructures. Therefore, Iran would not sacrifice its super-goal (forcing the US out of the Gulf and subjugating the Gulf States) on the altar of a secondary-goal (obliterating the Jewish State).
For the US and Israel, the preferred option – against Iran – is preemption rather than retaliation. Recent precedents suggest that the two countries benefit from leveraging each other’s unique experience, as well as from bold unilateral military action against rogue threats.
In September 2007, Israel’s air force destroyed a Syrian-North Korean nuclear plant, extending US’ strategic arm. It provided the US with vital information on Russian air defense systems, which are also employed by Iran. It bolstered US posture of deterrence and refuted the claim that US-Israel relations have been shaped by political expediency. In 1981, Israel destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor, providing the US with a conventional option in 1991 and 2003, preventing a mega-billion dollar mega-casualties nuclear war. In 1970, while the US was bogged down in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, Israel forced the rollback of a pro-Soviet Syrian invasion of pro-US Jordan. It prevented a pro-Soviet “Domino Effect” into the Persian Gulf, which would have shattered US economy. In 2009, Israel shares with the US its battle-tested experience in combating Palestinian and Hizballah terrorism, which are the role model of anti-US Islamic terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. US GIs benefit from Israel’s battle tactics against car bombs, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and homicide bombing. An Israel-like ally in the Persian Gulf would have spared the need to dispatch US troops to Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Former Secretary of State and NATO Commander, General (ret.) Al Haig, refers to the Jewish State as the largest cost-effective, combat-experienced US aircraft carrier that does not require US personnel, cannot be sunk and is located in a most critical region for US national security interests.
While the US has been Israel’s indispensable ally, Israel’s battle experience has been integrated into the US defense industry. For example, the F-16 includes over 600 Israeli modifications, sparing the US a mega-billion dollar and a multi-year research & development budget. A litany of state-of-the-art US military systems have been upgraded in a similar manner, enhancing US national and homeland security and expanding US employment and exports.
Iran’s nuclear threat is a symptom of endemic Middle East violent unpredictability and Moslem hostility toward western democracies. It calls for an upgraded US-Israel win-win relationship, which requires a strong Israel, which is a national security producer. A weak Israel, pushed into a 9-15 mile sliver along the Mediterranean, pressured to concede the mountain ridges of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, relying on foreign troops and guarantees would become a national security consumer. It would be a burden rather than an asset to the US in a bad neighborhood, which is crucial for vital US interests.
Iran would benefit from an ineffective Israel. However, the US would have to deploy to the eastern flank of the Mediterranean real aircraft carriers and tens of thousands of US servicemen, costing scores of billions of dollars annually, denied the benefits of Israel – the largest US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US personnel.
The bubble of demographic fatalism is bursting, according to the most recent data, published by the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS). The data should be leveraged by the new Israeli government, in order to formulate a demographic policy, aimed at increasing the current 67% Jewish majority west of the Jordan River (without Gaza). The policy would uproot demographic fatalism and advance demographic optimism, thus energizing Aliya, Israel’s economy, overseas investments, diplomacy, national security, posture of deterrence and minimizing Jewish-Arab tension, which is fed by demographic fear.
According to the ICBS, Israel’s Jewish society is getting younger and the Arab society is getting older. The number of annual Jewish births increased by 45% between 1995 (80,400) and 2008 (117,000), as a result of Aliya from the USSR, the shift by the “Soviet Olim” from a typical Russian rate of 1 birth per woman to a typical Israeli rate of 2-3 births, the rising secular Jewish rate and the sustained high orthodox and ultra-orthodox rate. The number of annual Arab births has stabilized – since 1995 – around 39,000, reflecting a most successful integration by Israeli Arabs into Israel’s infrastructures of education, health, human services, commerce, finance, culture, sports and politics. The fertility gap is down from 6 births per woman in 1969 to 0.7 births in 2009, and the proportion of Jewish births has grown from 69% (of total births) in 1995 and 74% in 2007 to 75% in 2008.
The downward trend typifies, also, the Arabs in Judea and Samaria due to large scale emigration, entrenched family planning, reduction of teen pregnancy, rapid urbanization, expanded education especially among women, record divorce rate and higher median marriage age.
The Westernization of Arab fertility rate (3.5 births per woman in pre-1967 Israel and 4 births in Judea and Samaria), is apparent throughout most of the Arab and Moslem world. For instance, the 2008 map of the UN Population Division documents an average fertility rate of 2-4 births, compared with over 4 births 30 years ago (http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/worldfertility2007/TFRmaps.htm).
Even Yemen, the flagship of robust Arab demography, is adopting family planning. In February 2009 it approved a new law, setting the minimum age for marriage at 17 for boys and girls, prohibiting marriage without the consent of the woman and benefiting divorced women.
The Jewish demographic tailwind, in Israel, behooves the new government to introduce a demographic roadmap, which would increase the Jewish majority, while respecting the rights of the Arab minority:
1. Reverting Aliya to the top of the order of national priorities, as expected from the Jewish State and as required by economic and security challenges. The global economic meltdown, and the rise in anti-Semitism, should be leveraged, in order to increase Aliya from the former USSR, USA, Europe, Latin America, South Africa, etc.
2. The conversion of some 250,000 Olim from the former USSR – in accordance with Jewish Laws – should be expedited.
3. Jewish immigration to – instead of emigration from – Jerusalem would be facilitated by the availability of jobs and lower-cost housing, which would be created by entrepreneurs, attracted by a drastic enhancement of Jerusalem’s infrastructures (airport, fast railroad, Loop, additional freeway, industrial and residential zones).
4. Enticing the return of expatriates and reducing the number of quality emigrants, by improving education, research and development infrastructures.
5. Expanding high school and academic programs for prospective Olim.
6. Significant development of infrastructures in the Galilee and in the Negev, triggering emigration from the Greater Tel Aviv area, which would yield economic, environmental and demographic benefits.
7. Synchronizing industrial and educational 9:00-5:00 schedule, which would facilitate raising children and obtaining employment.
8. The establishment of a global Jewish foundation, which would support Jewish fertility worldwide, in view of high assimilation, low fertility rates among non-Israeli Jews and Holocaust-driven demographic challenges.
In 1949, Ben Gurion considered demography as a top priority, in order to salvage the Jewish State, thus transferring to his successors a foundation for a long-term robust Jewish majority. In 2009, the new government will enjoy an impressive critical mass of demography, military, economy and technology. Will it resurrect the Ben Gurion legacy and buttress the future of the Jewish State, by reinforcing Jewish majority?
Just as the world at large is experiencing an unprecedented collapse of demography, the UN Population Division reports a sharp decline of fertility rates (number of births per woman) in Muslim and Arab countries, excluding Afghanistan and Yemen.
The myth of “doubling population every 20 years” has been shattered against the cliffs of demography. The director-general of UNESCO, Koichiro Matsuura, stated, during a UNESCO conference on “Population: From Explosion to Implosion,” that “there is an abrupt slowdown in the rate of growth… also in many countries where women have only limited access to education and employment… There is not the slightest reason to assume that the decline in fertility will miraculously stop just at replacement level (2.1 births per woman)… Before 2000, the young always outnumbered their elders; for some years now it has been the other way around.”
THE collapse of fertility rates in Muslim countries is a derivative of modernization and Westernization, rapid urbanization and internal security concerns by dictators fearing the consequences of the widening gap between population growth and economic growth. As a result, the UN Population Division has reduced its 2050 population projections by 25 percent, from 12 billion to 9 billion, possibly shrinking to 7.4 billion.
For instance, the fertility rate in Iran – the flagship of radical Islam – has declined from nine births per woman, 30 years ago, to 1.8 births in 2007. The Muslim religious establishment has also played a key role in decreasing fertility rates in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, from eight and seven births per woman 30 years ago, to less than four and less than 2.5 respectively in 2007.
Jordan, which is demographically close to Judea and Samaria, and Syria have demonstrated a diminished fertility rate: from eight, 30 years ago, to less than 3.5 in2007. A substantial dive of fertility rates in Muslim countries – trending toward two births per woman – is documented by the PopulationResourceCenter in Washington, DC.
Demographic precedents suggest only a very slight probability of resurrecting high fertility rates following a sustained period of significant reduction.
The Bennett Zimmerman-led American-Israel Demographic Research Group (AIDRG) has documented a similar demographic trend among the Arab population of Judea and Samaria (currently four births per woman, and trending downward).
The decline in fertility and population growth rates has resulted from escalating emigration (which has characterized the region since 1950), accelerated urbanization (70% rural in 1967 and 60% urban in 2008), the expansion of education infrastructure, especially among women, the entrenchment of career mentality; the increase of median-marriage-age, an all-time high divorce rate, the contraction of teenage pregnancy and the UNRWA/PA-led family planning campaign.
The sharp lowering of fertility rate among “Green Line” (pre-1967 Israel) Arabs, from nine births per woman in 1969 to 3.5 in 2007, has been the outcome of their successful integration into Israel’s education, employment, commerce, health, banking, cultural, political and sports infrastructures. The annual number of Arab births stabilized at approximately 39,000 between 1995-2007. The Arab fertility rate converges swiftly toward the Jewish fertility rate (2.8 births per woman).
ON the other hand, Israel‘s Jewish demography has been non-normative as far as the impact of education and income levels on the level of fertility rates is concerned. The annual number of Jewish births (including among those immigrants from the former USSR who have yet to be recognized as Jews by the rabbinate) rose by 40% between 1995-2007.
The number of Jewish births has increased from 69% of total births in 1995 to 74% in 2006 and 75% in 2007. The secular sector – and particularly the immigrants from the former Soviet Union – has been by and large responsible for such an impressive rise. The Jewish demographic tailwind is bolstered by the (highly under-utilized) potential of immigration – which has increased due to the global economic collapse – from the former USSR, the US, West Europe, Latin America, South Africa, etc.
Recent demographic trends bode well for the solid, long-term Jewish majority of 67% within the “Green Line” and in Judea and Samaria, compared with a 33% and 8% Jewish minority in 1947 and 1900 respectively between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.
Israel‘s policy-makers and public opinion-molders should base their assessments on thoroughly-documented demographic optimism and not on baseless demographic fatalism, in order to avoid erroneous assumptions, which yield erroneous and self-destructive policy decisions.
Prime Minister Barak has claimed that Assad is an honorable man. Barak has given the public a false sense of security in order to facilitate a total withdrawal from the Golan Heights.
Defying a series of water agreements signed with Jordan starting in 1953, Syria has diverted 50 percent of the Jordanian share supplied by the Yarmuk River. Damascus has used its control of the ‘Yarmuk faucet’ to undermine Jordan’s stability and to force change in Jordanian policy toward Iran, Iraq, the Moslem Brotherhood, and Israel.
Formal peace did not prevent a Syrian invasion of Jordan in 1970 and threats of invasion in 1980 and 1989. In fact, Assad has attempted to topple the Hashemite regime – via subversive activities – since 1970. But Assad is an honorable man…
Syria concluded three major security protocols with Turkey in 1987, 1992, and 1993, in addition to several less comprehensive agreements. Assad violated all of them. In the agreements, Syria promised to expel the PKK Kurdish terrorists from its territory and Syrian-controlled Lebanon in return for additional water from the Euphrates.
Syrian support of the PKK has persisted, and more than 20,000 Turks have been killed since the mid-1980s. But, Assad is an honorable man…
In 1978, Syria and Iraq concluded a series of agreements, both military and nonmilitary. But in 1979 they were on the verge of a war ignited by Assad’s alleged involvement in an attempted coup in Baghdad.
Syrian and Iraqi militias have been engaged in a war by proxy on Lebanese soil since the 1975 Syrian invasion of Lebanon. That year Assad cut drastically the water quota of the Euphrates committed to Iraq. But Assad is an honorable man…
ASSAD considers peace agreements a temporary tactical means, advancing permanent strategic goals: Greater Syria and regional domination. He has cooperated with Iran, Sudan, Libya, North Korea, and other terror entities to achieve these goals.
While he has identified, rhetorically, with inter-Arab covenants of unity, Assad has supported the Popular Fronts for the Liberation of Bahrain, Oman, and the Arabian Peninsula. But, Assad is an honorable man…
The subjugation of Lebanon, the ‘Western Province,’ has been exacerbated despite Syria’s signing the three Arab Summit Resolutions (1978, 1982, and 1989) calling for the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon. In October 1990 Assad reinforced his military units in Lebanon, conducting a massive massacre of Christian strongholds there.
International agreements, inter-Arab commitments, and basic codes of human rights were brutally violated. But Assad is an honorable man…
In 1973 Assad launched a surprise attack on Israel, violating the cease-fire agreement of 1967. In 1975 he violated the 1974 Disengagement Agreement with Israel, igniting a wave of anti-Israel terrorism, operating from northern Jordan. In 1977 he abrogated the 1976 Red Line Agreement with Israel (in Lebanon).
Assad’s operational support of anti-Israel Hizbullah terrorism violates the 1974 Disengagement Agreement and the 1993 (Operation Accountability) understanding. But, Assad is an honorable man…
Would it be logical to assume that Assad – a leader of international terrorism, a ruthless abuser of human rights, the ferocious occupier of Lebanon, a chief heroin trafficker and a systematic violator of agreements – is credible? Would it be logical to assume that Assad would accord to the Jewish state that reliability which he has denied his Arab and Moslem neighbors?
Assad sticks by agreements only when they serve his interests or when he feels threatened. In October 1998 he expelled Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the anti-Turkish PKK terrorists, from Syria, in response to Turkish military deployment on his border. In 1970, Syria withdrew from Jordan in the face of a full Israeli military mobilization.
Israeli tanks and artillery on the Golan Heights, less than 60 kilometers from Damascus, have kept Assad constrained on that front. A determined Israeli military response stopped Syrian-supported terror in 1975 and the 1977 violation of the Red Line Agreement in Lebanon. But, Assad is an honorable man…
Continued overlooking of Assad’s violation of commitments would add to a false sense of short-term security. It may facilitate quick conclusion of an agreement with Syria. But it would jeopardize the long-term survival of Israel and the pursuit of a durable peace.
Involving US troops in an Israeli-Syrian peace agreement is not just a suggestion floating somewhere between Jerusalem and Washington.
Congressman Lee Hamilton, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, recently indicated that a US survey is already underway to determine the specific locations of a US peacekeeping force on the Golan. The survey’s underlying assumption is that Israel will evacuate the whole Golan.
Assad’s military potential and his record of brutality and unpredictability, the brief life-span of hundreds of Mideast agreements and the violently abrupt nature of their abrogation make Israel’s risks in evacuating the Golan substantial.
An American force would supposedly constitute an essential reassuring component.
But to bolster a potentially vulnerable accord, a US presence on the Golan must be durable, and politically/militarily sustainable. Moreover, it must be compatible with US interests, lest it be summarily withdrawn.
Is the deployment of US peacekeepers (monitoring or combat, unilateral or multinational) consistent with such requirements?
Unlike US observers in Sinai (22,000 square miles of empty desert) US personnel on the Golan (450 sqm) would be situated about 25 miles from two of the most notorious training/operational centers of international terrorism and narco-terrorism: Damascus and the Syrian-controlled Beka’a Valley (“Medellin East.”).
They would be stationed in a neighborhood the size of a small US congressional district, populated by well-armed Afghan, Hizbullah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Abu Nidal, Jibril, Habash, Hawatmeh, PLO, PKK, Japanese Red Army, Latin American, West European and Southeast Asian terrorists.
Moreover, these terrorists are proxies of hostile radical regimes (Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, etc.). They would enable their patron regimes to intimidate Washington, constrain its ability to respond to provocations elsewhere (e.g. the Gulf area), and extort political concessions by targeting US servicemen. The states sponsoring the terrorists would, meanwhile, preserve the element of deniability.
A truly effective US combat force is precluded – even theoretically – by the diminished overall size of the US military. One may predict, then, a possible withdrawal of the peacekeepers in face of hostage-taking and casualties.
Such a withdrawal would be perceived as another retreat (following Beirut, Somalia and Haiti), further eroding the US posture of deterrence and shrinking public support for essential overseas military involvement.
WHILE ON the Golan, the US presence would constrain Israel by forcing it to coordinate preemptive and reactive operations with the US, inadvertently shielding terrorists. It would also deny the US the benefits from Israel’s “unauthorized actions” (e.g. the 1981 bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor).
Requiring Israel to seek prior approval in countering belligerence would strain US relations with Israel. At the same time, appearing to have enabled Israel to act freely, would damage US- Arab ties.
However, as demonstrated by the precedent of the 1982/83 US episode in Lebanon, and evidenced by Mideast complexities, one can expect the relationship between the US and both sides, essential to the achievement of a genuine peace, to be undermined.
In addition, a US presence at a stormy junction bordering Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and numerous terrorist groups, could draw the US unwillingly into inter-Arab and Arab-Israel disputes. It would certainly deepen the involvement of Russia (which has resumed strategic cooperation with Syria), France (which still views Lebanon as a French auxiliary), and other powers, further exacerbating global and regional tensions.
A Washington power broker recently agreed that the question of a complete withdrawal from the Golan should be decided by Israeli voters. But the fate of US peacekeepers and their implications for US national security should be debated by the American public and the appropriate congressional committees, independent of Israel’s stance on the Golan.
Keeping in mind the American public reaction to the US military involvement in Lebanon and Somalia and recognizing the likely pitfalls of a US force on the Golan, such an undertaking would probably not be politically/militarily sustainable.
A political arrangement predicated upon such a tenuous component would ultimately imperil regional stability, threaten US interests and jeopardize the quest for long-term peace in the Middle East.
Memo: American troops on the Golan? That’s a decision for US public opinion, not Israel.
The recent scolding of United Jewish Appeal officials by top members of the Labor Party is part of what some say is a concerted effort to reduce the organized US Jewish community to its “proper” political size.
It may also reflect an attempt to undermine the credibility of the current leadership and enhance the stock of those who have always been “politically correct.”
These suspicions explain Prime Minister Rabin’s blunt reprimand of the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee in August 1992.
The echoes of that widely publicized rebuke – directed at one of the most respected lobbying organizations in Washington – still reverberate in the corridors of the administration, Capitol Hill and the Jewish organizations. It has seriously impaired AIPAC’s ability to advance Israel’s concerns in the US.
After 44 years of starring on the team shaping US-Israel relations, American Jewish politicos have been largely sidelined. They are hardly consulted on critical decisions which impact on ties between Jerusalem and Washington.
They are deterred from initiating new legislation and projects designed to expand cooperation between two countries. Moreover, they’ve been urged to keep a low political profile (in the bilateral context), “lest it upset the direct line of communications between the two administrations.”
Unlike the attitude emanating from Jerusalem, President Bill Clinton has held US Jewish activists in high political esteem, appointing an unprecedentedly large number of Jews to executive positions.
He is aware of their centrality in the domestic political scene, their unique role in his 1992 victory and their potential impact on the future of critical legislation (e.g, crime, health care, deficit reduction, unemployment). He is also aware of their crucial role in his effort to retain a working Democratic majority in both Houses in the 1994 election, and of their importance to his own 1996 reelection bid.
Some 60 percent of early (1992) campaign funds in Democratic congressional races was raised from Jewish sources, as was 50 percent of the financing of Harris Wofford’s 1991 senatorial campaign, which exposed George Bush’s vulnerability and became the turning point in the 1992 presidential election.
THE GULF war shed light on the role of the Jewish community, even in the shaping of US foreign policy.
Thus, it was Jewish lobbying on and off Capitol Hill – in concert with the administration – which played a key role in forging a comfortable bipartisan congressional majority for “Desert Storm.”
Jewish political involvement also contributed to the shaping of public and media support and to the moderation of antiwar protests before and during the war.
A similar effort (though narrower in scope) was launched by the Jewish community when it was drafted by president Ronald Reagan to promote his highly controversial “Star Wars” (SDI) initiative on the Hill.
On the other hand, Jewish hesitancy (resulting from conflicting signals out of Jerusalem! ) during the decisive stages of the 1991/2 campaign for loan guarantees played into the hands of president Bush and weakened the stance of Israel’s friends in Congress.
Internationally, Russia, other CIS Republics, China, East Europe, India, Indonesia, Nigeria and other countries have viewed US Jewish organizations as a preferred political target audience. In fact, they have adopted a US Jewry-driven policy toward Israel.
They assume that improved ties with Israel plays well in Jewish circles in the US, which may be willing to use their political clout in order to eliminate restrictive US policies or to extend foreign aid.
Overlooking the political significance of US Jewry can be at the expense of major Israeli interests. It defies political reality in the US, it ignores the constitutional role of lobbying and the separation of powers, which may reflect badly on Israel’s attitude toward Congress.
Reactivating the “American Jewish political player” has become vital in view of the growing vulnerability of foreign aid.
Another factor that enhances the importance of a strong American Jewish community is the proliferation of conventional and non-conventional weapons in the Middle East, continued inter-Moslem conflicts, unstable regimes and a rising tide of Islamic fanaticism and terrorism.
Finally, a politically well-connected Jewish community is indispensable in the effort to resist pressure to establish a Palestinian state, forsake the settlements, withdraw to the ’67 lines, re-divide Jerusalem and accept the legitimacy of the PLO’s “right of return.”
Any Israeli government should recognize that.
UNLIKE most other forms of international terrorism, the Middle East brand has always constituted a combination of religious, ideological and political zeal, intimately connected with regional regimes.
It has been used as a low-risk, low-cost and readily available instrument, providing sovereign operators with the diplomatically essential factor of deniability.
Traditionally, Middle East terrorism has enjoyed the support of regional rulers, who have used it to advance their own goals.
For instance, Saudi Arabia and Libya have backed Islamic terrorist groups throughout the Mideast, Africa and the Far East; and Sudan’s ruling Salvation Front is training – with Iranian assistance and Syrian involvement – Egyptian, Jordanian, Tunisian and Gulf States’ terrorists. (The notorious suicide operations camp is situated at Al-Kamilay, 120 km. east of Khartoum).
Moreover, Syria drafts Kurdish and Armenian terrorists for its territorial and water conflicts with Turkey (while political dialogue goes on between Damascus and Ankara); under the direct supervision of its elite intelligence units, Syria trains Arab terrorists to topple Arab regimes, to advance its ties with Iran, and to intimidate Israel.
With the personal involvement of Defense Minister Mustafa Tlas, Syria also activates European, Japanese and Third World terrorists and Lebanese narco-terrorism.
Iran is widening its own network of state-sponsored terrorism; Iraq is still a major sponsor of regional and international terrorism; and even Jordan is using the imposed presence of Hamas, PLO and other terrorists on its soil, to advance its internal and inter-Arab interests.
President Assad, his relatives and political allies directly control the operations of the major organizations of violence and state-sponsored terrorism established by the Ba’ath regime – the Special Units, the Defense Brigades, the General Intelligence, Military Intelligence, Political Security, Internal Security and the Bureau of National Security.
NOW, a regime which exploits terrorism as an instrument to subdue domestic opposition is being expected to use that same instrument against the plague of terrorism!
State-sponsored Middle East terrorism such as Hizbullah, PLO and Hamas, with its roots in the seventh century, has constituted violence as a political norm in the region. It has both created and used it as an instrument to pursue military goals unattainable through conventional warfare.
Some observers have claimed that the fate of terrorism depends on progress (or the lack thereof) in the political process; however, it has been the effectiveness of a struggle against terrorism which has determined the protagonist’s steadfastness or weakness in the political process.
For example, Turkey’s political posture vis-a-vis Syria has been advanced by its crackdown on the Damascus-supported PKK, and King Hussein’s domestic and inter-Arab political dialogues have improved since his 1970 annihilation of PLO strongholds.
In other words, the more tenacious the fight against terrorism, the less effective terrorism becomes as a political instrument and as an obstacle to peace.
The internationally renowned Lebanese Shi’ite scholar and Middle Eastern analyst, Prof. Fuad Ajami of Johns Hopkins University, demolishes the notion that countering terrorism in the region is best advanced through political means. He contends that “to talk of a peace process that would end this wave of terror is naive … Nothing would inflame the tensions of the extremists in the region more than a major American diplomatic initiative.”
He adds: “it is a false reading of a large civilization to say that the terror springs from the impasse between Israeli and Palestinian. It springs from that, but only partly so … (New York Times, April 17, 1986).
Ignoring the fundamental tenets of Middle East terrorism, misunderstanding the correlation between terrorism and politics, and overlooking its intimate connection with regional regimes may become a major obstacle on the path to defeating terrorism and attaining peace.
The recent announcement of the transfer of $600-700 million worth of US combat helicopters, missiles and other advanced defense equipment to Israel and the pre-positioning in Israel of $200m worth of US defense items does not represent a truly new development. It is the fulfillment of legislation signed into law two years ago, in October 1990.
To be sure, the Bush Administration’s promise to implement this legislation does demonstrate the improved atmosphere between the two governments. It reflects the impact of the presidential, senatorial and congressional campaigns on the shape and atmosphere of US-Israel relations.
Not that the influence of Israel’s own policies on the decision can be underestimated. But one must not ignore the central role played by US domestic politics: the unprecedented ebb in the popularity of President Bush; the growing significance of the Jewish electorate; the pressure exerted on the president by Republican legislators who are concerned lest they be adversely affected by the expected anti-Bush vote; the protests by Aipac and other pro-Israel Jewish and non-Jewish organizations; and the persistence displayed by legislators who are critical of the passage of other legislative items sought by the Administration.
The 1990 initiatives were the brainchild of Senators Bob Kasten (R-Wisconsin) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who pushed these pieces of legislation in the face of determined attempts by President Bush to avoid implementing them.
Senators Kasten (the ranking member on the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Foreign Operations) and Inouye (the chairman of the Appropriations Sub-Committee on Defense) are major players on the Appropriations Committee, the most powerful committee on Capitol Hill.
They have also initiated – in defiance of President Bush – the $10 billion absorption loan guarantees, the $400m housing loan guarantees, the $650m (post-Gulf War) special security assistance to Israel, the early dispersal of the $1.8b annual military assistance to Israel and the $15m initial improvement of the Haifa port facilities, as well as the expansion of US-Israel strategic cooperation in the areas of smart weaponry, avionics, drug interdiction, counter-terrorism cooperation and a series of other bills benefiting both the US and Israel.
Both senators are members of a small family of legislators who do not treat Israel merely as a classic issue of foreign policy. Rather, they take a broader and a deeper view, one based on moral and strategic grounds and on the lessons of the Holocaust, and the 1948, 1967 and 1973 wars.
Both are fighting for their political lives in the coming November election. A record number of 18 new senators and more than 150 new house members may be elected in November. Senator Kasten is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbents. The political fortunes of Kasten, Inouye and their colleagues will immensely affect the overall atmosphere on Capitol Hill, the scope of US-Israel cooperation, and the ability of a future administration to exert pressure on an Israeli government resisting withdrawal to the 1967 lines.
Official Palestinian demographic numbers are highly-inflated, as documented by a study, which has audited the Palestinian data since 2004:
*500,000 overseas residents, who have been away for over a year, are included in the Palestinian 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 daily due to births.
*Over 150,000 Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs are similarly doubly-counted. The number expands daily due to births.
*A 390,000 Arab net-emigration from Judea & Samaria is excluded from the Palestinian census, notwithstanding the annual net-emigration since 1950. For example, 15,466 in 2022, 26,357 – 2019, 15,173 – 2017 and 24,244 – 2014, as documented by Israel’s Population and Migration Authority (exits and entries) in all the land, air and sea 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 3.02 births in 2021, as documented by the CIA World Factbook. It reflects the sweeping urbanization, growing enrollment of women in higher education, rising marriage age and the use of contraceptives.
*The number of Arab deaths in Judea & Samaria has been under-reported (since the days of the British Mandate) for political and financial reasons.
*The aforementioned data documents 1.4 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, when deducting the aforementioned documented-data from the official Palestinian number (3 million).
In 2023: a 69% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel. In 1947 and 1897: a 39% and 9% Jewish minority. In 2023, a 69% Jewish majority benefiting from fertility tailwind and net-immigration. Arab fertility is Westernized, and Arab net-emigration from Judea and Samaria. No Arab demographic time bomb. A Jewish demographic momentum.
More data in this article and this short video.
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.
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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The goal of Passover’s liberty was not the subjugation of the Egyptian people, but the defeat of the tyrannical Pharaoh and the veneration of liberty throughout the globe, including in Egypt.
Moses received the Torah – which includes 50 gates of wisdom – 50 days following the Exodus, as celebrated by the Shavou’ot/Pentecost Holiday, 50 days following Passover. Moreover, there are 50 States in the United States, whose Hebrew name is “The States of the Covenant” (Artzot Habreet -ארצות הברית).
Passover aims at coalescing the fabrics of the Jewish family and the Jewish people, commemorating and strengthening Jewish roots, and refreshing and enhancing core values such as faith, humility, education, optimism, defiance of odds and can-do mentality, which are prerequisites to a free and vibrant society.
Passover is an annual reminder that liberty must not be taken for granted.
Jerusalem has been the exclusive capital of the Jewish people since King David established it as his capital, 3,000 years ago.
More: Jewish Holidays Guide for the Perplexed – Amazon, Smashwords
A new 8-minute-video: YouTube, Facebook
*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.
Israel’s and the US’ counter-terrorism
*Islamic and Palestinian terrorism consider Israel as a critical beachhead – and a proxy – of the US in the Middle East and a significant collaborator with the pro-US Arab regimes. They perceive the war on “the infidel Jewish State” as a preview of their more significant war on “the infidel West” and their attempts to topple all pro-US Sunni Arab regimes. Therefore, Islamic and Palestinian terrorism has been engaged in intra-Arab subversion, while systematically collaborating with enemies and rivals of the US and the West (e.g., Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Ayatollah Khomeini, Latin American, European, African and Asian terror organizations, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba). The more robust is Israel’s war on terrorism, the more deterred are the terrorists in their attempts to bring the “infidel” West to submission.
*Islamic and Palestinian terrorism has terrorized Jewish communities in the Land of Israel since the late 19th century, adhering to an annihilationist vision as detailed by the Fatah and PLO charters of 1959 and 1964 (eight and three years before 1967), as well as by the hate-education system, which was installed by Mahmoud Abbas in 1993 following the signing of the Oslo Accord.
*Israel battles Palestinian terrorism (Hamas and the Palestinian Authority) and Islamic terrorism (Iran and Hezbollah), which are not preoccupied with the size – but with the eradication – of the “infidel” Jewish State from “the abode of Islam.”
*Israel and the West fight against deeply-rooted and institutional Islamic and Palestinian terrorism, that is inspired by 1,400-year-old rogue values, which are perpetrated by K-12 hate-education, mosque incitement and official and public idolization of terrorists.
*Israel and the West combat terrorism, that has astutely employed 1,400-year-old Islamic values such the “Taqiya’ ” – which promotes double-speak and dissimulation, as a means to mislead and defeat enemies – and the “Hudna’,” which misrepresents a temporary non-binding ceasefire with “infidels” as if it were a peace treaty.
*Israel and the West confront Islamic and Palestinian terrorism, which is politically, religiously and ideologically led by despotic and rogue regimes, rejecting Western values, such as peaceful-coexistence, democracy, human rights and good-faith negotiation.
*Israel and the West face off against Palestinian and Islamic terrorism, which does not allow lavish financial and diplomatic temptations to transcend intrinsic, fanatic, rogue and annihilationist vision. Moreover, terrorists bite the hands that feed them.
*Israel and the West are not assaulted by despair-driven terrorism, but by hope-driven terrorism – the hope to bring the “infidel” to submission. The aspiration of these terrorists contradicts peaceful-coexistence.
*Israel and the West clash with terrorists, who view gestures, concessions and hesitancy as weakness, which inflames terrorism.
*Israel and the West struggle against terrorism, which is not driven by a particular Israeli or US policy, but by a fanatic vision. Thus, Islamic terrorism afflicted the US during the Clinton and Obama Democratic Administrations, as well as during the Bush and Trump Republican Administrations.
*The US State Department has embraced a “moral equivalence” between Palestinian terrorists – who systematically and deliberately hit civilians, while sometimes hitting soldiers – and Israeli soldiers, who systematically and deliberately hit terrorists, while sometimes, unintentionally, hitting civilians. It emboldens terrorism, which threatens all pro-US Arab regimes, undermining regional stability, benefiting US’ rivals and enemies, while damaging the US.
War on terrorism
*The bolstering of posture of deterrence – rather than hesitancy, restraint, containment and gestures, which inflame terrorism – is a prerequisite for defeating terrorism and advancing the peace process.
*The most effective long-term war on terrorism – operationally, diplomatically, economically and morally – is not a surgical or comprehensive reaction, but a comprehensive and disproportional preemption, targeting the gamut of terroristic infrastructures and capabilities, draining the swamp of terrorism, rather than chasing the mosquitos.
*Containment produces a short-term, false sense of security, followed by a long-term security setback. It is the terrorists’ wet dream, which does not moderate terrorism, but adrenalizes its veins, providing time to bolster its capabilities – a tailwind to terror and a headwind to counter-terrorism. It shakes the confidence in the capability to crush terrorism. Defeating terrorism mandates obliteration of capabilities, not co-existence or containment.
*Containment aims to avoid a multi-front war (Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah and Iran), but it erodes Israel’s posture of deterrence, which brings Israel closer to a multi-front war under much worse conditions.
*Containment erodes Israel’s posture of deterrence in the eyes of the relatively-moderate Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, the Sudan, Jordan and Egypt), which have dramatically enhanced cooperation with Israel due to Israel’s posture of deterrence against mutual threats, such as Iran’s Ayatollahs, the “Muslim Brotherhood” and ISIS terrorists).
*Containment is also a derivative of White House’s and the State Department’s pressure, subordinating national security to diplomatic priorities. It undermines Israel’s posture of deterrence, which plays into the hand of anti-Israel and anti-US rogue regimes. Precedents prove that Israeli defiance of US pressure yields short-term tension, but long-term strategic respect, resulting in expanded strategic cooperation. On a rainy day, the US prefers a defiant, rather than appeasing, strategic ally.
*The 2002 comprehensive counter-terrorism Israeli offensive, and the return of Israel’s Defense Forces to the headquarters of Palestinian terrorism in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) – and not defensive containment and surgical operations – resurrected Israel’s effective war on Palestinian terrorism, which substantially curtailed terrorists’ capabilities to proliferate terrorism in Israel, Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula.
*The containment option intensifies terrorists’ daring, feeds vacillation and the self-destructive “don’t rock the boat” mentality. It erodes steadfastness and confidence in the capabilities to withstand the cost of terrorism, and feeds the suicidal perpetual retreat mentality.
*The addiction to containment is one of the lethal by-products of the 1993 Oslo Accord, which has produced a uniquely effective hot house of terrorism, highlighted by the importation, arming and funding of some 100,000 Palestinian terrorists from Tunisia, the Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria to Gaza, Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, who have unprecedentedly radicalized the Arab population of pre-1967 Israel, established a K-12 hate education system, launched an unparalleled wave of terrorism, and systematically violated agreements.
The bottom line
*The 30 years since the Oslo Accord have featured unprecedented Palestinian hate-education and wave of terrorism. It has demonstrated that a retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria has boosted terrorism; that the Palestinian Authority is not committed to a peace process, but to the destruction of the Jewish State; and that terrorism requires a military, not political, solution. A successful war on terrorism behooves a preemptive offense, not defense, containment and reaction; and that fighting in the terrorists’ own trenches is preferable to fighting in one’s own trenches. No Israeli concessions could satisfy international pressure; and diplomatic popularity is inferior to strategic respect. Avoiding a repeat of the critical post-Oslo errors requires a comprehensive, disproportional, decisive military campaign to uproot – not to coexist with – terroristic infrastructures.
*The historic and national security indispensability of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – which dominate the 8-15-mile sliver of pre-1967 Israel – and the necessity to frustrate Palestinian terrorism, behooves Israel to eliminate any sign of hesitancy and vacillation by expanding the Jewish presence in this most critical area. It will intensify US and global pressure, but as documented by all Prime Ministers from Ben Gurion, through Eshkol, Golda Meir, Begin and Shamir, defiance of pressure results in the enhancement of strategic respect and cooperation.
*The Palestinian track record during the 30 years since the 1993 Oslo Accord has highlighted the violent, unpredictable and anti-US rogue nature of the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, which would force the toppling of the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River. It would transform Jordan into an uncontrollable, chaotic state in the vein of Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, triggering a domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula (south of Jordan), which could topple the pro-US, oil-producing Arab regimes. This would reward Iran’s Ayatollahs, China and Russia, while severely undermining regional and global stability and US economic and national security interests.