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The ties with the US constitute Israel’s backbone militarily, diplomatically, financially, commercially and technologically. These ties are not shaped exclusively by the President, even when the President’s own party enjoys overwhelming majorities in both chambers of Congress. Much is shaped by the House and the Senate, sometimes in defiance of the White House. Moreover, Israel is not a classic-foreign-policy-issue. Israel benefits from a unique foundation of mutual-values, which precedes its own establishment in 1948 and even 1776. US-Israel relations have constituted a win-win two-way street. How will they be impacted by the incoming Obama Administration?

THE WIDER CONTEXT

President Obama will, supposedly, enjoy nearly-automatic support of a Democratically-controlled Capitol Hill. However, US legislators are loyal – primarily – to their constituents and to the Constitution. Adherence to the principles of Separation of Powers, independence of the Legislature, checks and balances and Federalism (which prevent Executive tyranny), is stronger than party loyalty. Moreover, the Clinton-precedent suggests that the president is not almighty, even when his own party controls Congress. In 1992, Clinton was elected on the coattail of the yearning for “Change”, along with a resounding Democratic majority in both chambers. But, his attempt to force his domestic agenda upon Congress – ignoring the fact that congressional political life expectancy was different than his – paved the road to the Republican revolution/majority in 1994.

While not all US presidents have supported the enhancement of US-Israel ties, Congress has been a systematic, powerful ally of the bilateral mutually-beneficial relations. Congress possesses the “Power of the Purse” and it is empowered to change, suspend and initiate policy. In fact, Congress has expanded its involvement in foreign policy since the Vietnam War, Watergate, Irangate and globalization. It was Congress that stopped US military involvement in Vietnam, Angola and Nicaragua (Eagleton, Clark and Boland Amendments), altered US policy toward South Africa, coerced the USSR to allow massive Jewish Aliya (immigration) to Israel, forced the Bush (41st) Administration to extend emergency assistance to Israel during the First Iraq War, nurtured the joint development of the anti-ballistic missile Arrow Project, etc. A bi-partisan congressional leadership opposed US pressure for an Israeli withdrawal from Sinai, but Israel outflanked Congress from left field….

The special US-Israel ties survived non-supportive presidents, primarily due to a covenant, which was established in the 17th century by the Pilgrims, who turned their back on “Modern day Egypt-Pharaoh,” crossed the “Modern day Red Sea” and reached the “Modern day promised land.” The Founding Fathers and the Thirteen Colonies were inspired by the Bible, the autonomy of the Twelve Tribes, the Legislature of the 70 Elders, the Separation of Powers between Moses, Aaron and Joshua, Samuel and Gideon and the revolt of the Maccabees. The statutes of Moses are featured at the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court in Washington and the Two Tablets welcome visitors to the Capitol Building in Austin, Texas.

The potency of the US-Israel connection is derived, also, from its Win-Win aspect, which transcends the narrow context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Former Secretary of State, and Supreme Commander of NATO, Alexander Haig, refers to Israel as the largest, most battle-tested, most cost-effective US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US personnel and is located in an area, which is most critical to vital US national security interests. If Israel did not exist, the US would have to deploy a few aircraft carriers, and tens of thousands of US soldiers, to the eastern flank of the Mediterranean, at a mega-billion dollar annual cost.

THE IMPACT OF THE INCOMING OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

President Obama’s formal and informal network of foreign policy and national security advisors consists, largely, of Carter and (mostly) Clinton Administrations’ graduates. A chief national security legacy of Carter has been the betrayal of the Shah and the facilitation of the Khomeini Revolution, which still haunts the Middle East and beyond. The Clinton Administration was known for its vacillation in the face of Islamic terrorism, beginning with the February 26, 1993 “Twin Towers,” through the 1998 destruction of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the terror attack against the USS Cole in 2000, which paved the road to 9/11.

President Obama and his advisors view the UN – which has been a hostile arena toward the US and Israel – as a chief formulator of international relations. They consider the top State Department bureaucracy – which has been the chief critic of Israel in Washington, DC – as the luminaries on global affairs. They hold the world view of Western Europe – which has usually sided with Israel’s enemies – in high esteem, and they assess Western World (Israel)-Third World (Arabs) relations through the lenses of Goliath-David relations.

According to Obama, there is a cultural, ideological wedge between Western democracies and non-democratic regimes. The wedge should be addressed diplomatically, with increased foreign aid and cultural and scientific ties, while lowering the military profile. The added-value of the “Israeli Aircraft Carrier” is demoted accordingly. Obama assumes that Islamic terrorism represents a radical minority, driven by economic despair and – to an extent – by erroneous US policy. He maintains that Islamic terrorism constitutes a challenge to law enforcement agencies and to the international community, rather than a challenge to the armed services and to the US alone.

Obama sees the Arab-Israeli conflict – more than shared values, joint interests and mutual threats – as a key determinant of US-Israel relations. In his opinion, the Palestinian issue is the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict (although not a single Arab-Israeli war has erupted due to the Palestinian issue), the core cause of Middle East turbulence (although the turbulence is 1,400 year old), the crown jewel of Arab policy (although Arabs shower Palestinians with rhetoric rather than resources) and a root cause of Islamic terrorism (which was launched in the 7th century…). Therefore, Obama is likely to increase US involvement in pressuring Israel back to the 1949 Lines, including the repartitioning of Jerusalem. The more intense US involvement grows, the heavier the pressure on Israel. The more neutral is the US, the less of a special ally is the US for Israel.

However, President Obama’s capability to tend to the Arab-Israeli conflict will be reduced due to his expected pre-occupation with the economic meltdown, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the threats/challenges of Islamic terrorism, Iran, Russia, China, etc. He will also be constrained by the constitutional limits to presidential power and by the unique US-Israel Covenant. Will the Jewish State leverage the geo-political reality, in order to avoid reckless concessions, or will it entice Obama and his advisors to an intensified 1949 Lines-driven involvement?

The more entrenched is the defensive state of Israeli mind – as has been the case since the 1993 Oslo Accord – the more intensified is Palestinian terrorism.

The defensive world view on one hand and the “No Military Solution to Terrorism” on the other hand, have eroded Israel’s steadfastness, have revolutionized the potential of Palestinian terrorism and have advanced its step-by-step strategy to annihilate the Jewish State:

1. To weaken Israelis’ confidence in their government’s capability to safeguard personal/national security;

2. To transform terrorism into a routine cost-of-living in Israel;

3. To establish war of attrition as an acceptable mode of Israeli-Palestinian relations – terrorists’ “wet dream” and western democracies’ nightmare;

4. To undermine Israel’s conviction in its cause;

5. To entice Israelis to accept the concepts of “moral equivalence” and shared-responsibility for the “cycle of violence”;

6. To exacerbate Israeli battle fatigue, resulting in sweeping Israeli concessions and rewarding/fueling Palestinian terrorism, which is driven by hope for further concessions;

7. The collapse and the abandonment of the Jewish State.

The “Oslo Legacy” and its derivatives – from the Hebron Accord through Wye Accord, the flight from South Lebanon, Camp David II, “Disengagement”, Lebanon War II and “Convergence” – have transformed “fortifications and defense”, “Separation”, “Containment”, “Low Intensity Warfare”, “Back to 1949 Lines” and the recruitment of counter-terrorism subcontractors (Egypt, Jordan, Arafat/Abu Mazen, international forces) into key battle tactics against Palestinian terrorism. Such tactics dismiss the option of bringing the enemy to submission, and therefore add fuel – not water – to the fire of terrorism.

Instead of defending Israeli citizens, the “defense-fortification-separation” tactic has been employed, in order to rescue the “Oslo-Separation” theory from an extremely costly collapse: Over 2,000 Israelis murdered since 1993, compared with 250 murdered during 15 years preceding Oslo; a multi-billion dollar cost of homeland security measures; severe erosion of Israel’s confidence in its cause and in its capability to confront its enemies; undermining Israel’s posture of deterrence in the Middle East and in the US.

The sealing of windows with sand sacks and the erection of a series of protective walls, did not stop the 2000-1 Palestinian sniping at Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood. In fact, it energized Palestinian terrorists and enabled them to improve their terrorist capabilities. The sniping was totally aborted – and overall Palestinian terrorism was curtailed by 90% – when Israel’s military took over the Palestinian breeding ground of terrorism in Beit Jallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus and other major towns in Judea & Samaria. Israeli military re-engagement with these areas – rather than the Fence or the Wall – reasserted Israel’s initiative in the battle against Palestinian terrorism.

Upgrading the defensive/security features of bus stops, restaurants, coffee shops, synagogues, kindergartens, schools and residential areas in the Kassam-plagued Sderot, Ashqelon and the West Negev Kibbutzim – and tomorrow probably in Ashdod, Kfar Saba, Hadera and Ben Gurion Airport – provides a short term false sense of security, but plays into the hands of terrorists.

The focus on defense, fortifications and retreat has signaled Israel’s abandonment of the victory option. Rather than destroying the infrastructure and capabilities of Palestinian terrorism, the focus on defense has reflected co-existence with terrorism. The addiction to defense, the belief that “Restrain Is Strength”, and the subordination of the war on terrorism to international public opinion, have been by-products of the false assumptions that “we’ve tried everything” and that “There’s no military solution to terrorism”. Such false assumptions mirror battle fatigue, which is non-existent among other countries fighting terrorism: India, Turkey, Thailand, Australia, Germany, Russia, France, Italy, Egypt, Algeria, etc.

Fourteen years of unprecedented terrorism – since Oslo – have made it clear that there is no political solution to Palestinian terrorism, that the Palestinian Authority is a non-compromising enemy and not a partner for peace, that “Disengagement/Separation” upgrades terrorist capabilities, that an effective military action must be comprehensive, decisive and disproportionate and that international public opinion is never saturated with Israeli concessions. Instead of relying on defense, deterrence, retaliation and on surgical, sporadic and limited offensive initiatives, Israel should adopt the tactics of pre-emption, prevention and comprehensive/sustained offense, aimed at uprooting terrorist infrastructure and capabilities (ideologically, educationally, politically, logistically and operationally). Rather than retreating toward the 1949 Green Lines, Israel should take charge of the breeding ground and the home-base of terrorism, which would enhance Israel’s power of deterrence, human-intelligence and interception capabilities. It would reduce Palestinian capabilities to conduct hate-education, to incite, to recruit, to train, to manufacture and smuggle terrorist and military hardware, to plan, to maneuver and to perpetrate terrorist activities. Thus, it would chop Palestinian terrorism by 90%!

Rather than defend against Palestinian terrorists, Israel should decimate the potential and actual capabilities of Palestinian terrorists.

Will Israel’s military operations in Gaza constitute another derivative of the suicidal Oslo State Of Mind, or will it be a milestone on the road to reclaim the pre-Oslo Israeli posture as the role-model of deterrence, defiance of odds, determination, gumption and counter-terrorism, which paved the road to the 1948 Declaration of Independence, the 1967 Six Day War, the 1976 Entebbe Jonathan Operation and the 1981 bombing of Saddam’s nuclear reactor?

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I am not surprised by President Obama’s performance – since January 2009 – in face of unprecedented and simultaneous economic, social, national security challenges, domestically and internationally.

 

I am not surprised by President Obama, who was elected to the most difficult and complicated post – during a most unstable period internally and externally – in spite of his obvious lack of experience and superficial world view.

 

I am not surprised by President Obama’s policy toward the Jewish State and toward the Arab-Israeli conflict, which is a derivative of his world view that was fully displayed during the 2008 campaign.

 

I am not surprised by President Obama’s performance – the writing was on the wall for those who were ready to read it!

 

Obama was elected at the peak of an economic meltdown, the extent of which has not been determined. Millions of Americans have lost their homes, unemployment is around a 26 year record 10%, under-employment is 17%, the budget deficit is the worst since the end of WW2, hundreds of banks have collapsed, the real estate bubble burst, private consumption and investment have dipped beyond expectation, the social security and the medical insurance systems are severely threatened, taxes are rising and government’s involvement in the economy is expanding. Obama is increasingly identified and burdened with the economic crisis – which was not caused by him – and the steps taken to solve the crisis.

 

Obama prefers to be preoccupied with domestic challenges, which will determine the future of the USA and of his presidency.  However, as expected, he is sucked into the lava of Islamic terrorism and religious, territorial, tribal, ideological and power struggles throughout the globe.  While Obama extends his hand to rogue regimes, Islamic terrorism stretches its hand into the US mainland, exacerbating a sense of insecurity and reawakening the question: “When – and not if – will the second shoe fall?!” Islamic terrorism has intensified its operational, political, financial, ideological and logistical involvement in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, the USA, Latin America and Australia.

 

Pakistan persists in its double-role of the most critical base of Islamic terrorism on one hand and counter-terrorism on the other hand.  In fact, Islamabad could be taken over by terrorists along with its nuclear arsenal.  India’s restraint in the face of Islamic terrorism may be suspended, reigniting the endemic conflict with Pakistan.  The US war in Afghanistan could be Vietnamized and the war in Iraq is far from a conclusion. The possible evacuation of US troops from these two arenas could add fuel, not water, to the fire, further destabilizing the region and the globe. 

 

Syria has provided safe haven for anti-US Iraqi terrorists. Iran supports and incites Persian Gulf and global terrorism, while upgrading its ballistic and nuclear capabilities, which would agitate the Gulf, the Middle East, the US, Europe and the entire world. Nuclear North Korea has been a source of unexpected threats.  Russia and China have never hidden their imperial aspirations, which have gravely concerned their neighbors in East Europe and Asia.  Mexico is facing a lethal challenge from drug cartels, which have expanded their internal wars into Texas, Arizona and California.  Venezuela and Cuba collaborate with enemies and rivals of the USA, who may thus gain access to Washington’s backyard.  And, that’s an incomplete list of external challenges preoccupying Obama.

 

President Obama is facing these challenges with a world view, which was enunciated during the 2008 campaign and in three major speeches at Cairo University (June 4, 2009), the UN General Assembly (September 23, 2009) and West Point Military Academy (December 1, 2009).

 

In contrast with the US ethos, Obama does not believe in the moral, economic and military exceptionalism of the US or in the destiny of the US to lead the battle of Western democracies against rogue regimes. He views the US as a power-in-retreat, which abused its dominance.  Therefore, he systematically apologizes to Muslims, in particular, and Third World societies in general, investigates the conduct of CIA agents in their war against terrorists and is closing down the Gitmo detention camp.  He does not define the world as an arena of confrontation between free societies and terror organizations and states, but as a platform of engagement between rivals who must comprehend that covenants and accords are preferable to wars and that their common ground exceeds that which separates them.

 

Obama is convinced that military force does not solve conflicts and that the era of military balance is over.  Therefore, he cuts the budget of military R&D and missile defense, does not replenish military inventories consumed in Iraq and Afghanistan, does not expand US armed forces despite expanding threats and initiates agreements to reduce the arms race, even when this advances Russian interests.

 

Obama’s Administration refrains from using the terms “international terrorism,” “Islamic terrorism,” (because “Islam is part of America…”) or “Jihadist terrorism” (because “Jihad means to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal…”).  According to Obama, there are no terrorists, only “extremists,” “man-made disasters” and “isolated cases” such as Al-Qaeda and Taliban.  Terrorism is considered a challenge for law-enforcement officials rather than for military personnel.  Moreover, terrorism constitutes, to an extent, a Third World reaction to abuse and lack of respect by the Western World.  Therefore, terrorists benefit from the rights of civil law offenders.  And, when there is no moral clarity, there is hardly battle field clarity.

 

Obama considers the UN as the quarterback of international relations and the bureaucracy of Foggy Bottom as the luminaries of foreign policy.  He aspires to move closer to the European state of mind and world view, while the world is in a dire need of a US Marshall and not for a European cop. Hence, Obama aims at minimizing unilateral initiatives and maximizing military, legal, political and environmental multilateralism.  He has joined the vehemently anti-US and anti-Israel UN Council on Human Rights, which was boycotted by Bush. Furthermore, he awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Mary Robinson, who headed the Council on Human Rights and led the racist anti-US and anti-Israel UN “Durban Conference.” 

 

Obama’s attitude toward the Jewish State has been a by-product of his aforementioned world view, of his non Judeo-Christian background and of his inner circle associates and friends at Harvard University and in Chicago, who have been critical and hostile toward Israel.  The principles of “moral equivalence” and “evenhandedness” have underlined his policy toward the Arab-Israeli conflict.  He does not regard Israel as a strategic, let alone unique, ally and is hardly a supporter of US joint defense and commercial projects with Israel. He does not rush to defend Israel at the UN and views the Jewish State as part of the exploiting Western World and the Arabs as part of the exploited Third World. 

 

Obama has adopted the sophisticated line of Arab propaganda, claiming that the moral foundation of Israel is the Holocaust, which resulted in ushering Jews to a newly acquired home, while uprooting Palestinians from their own home. He perceives the Palestinian issue as the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the root cause of anti-US Islamic terrorism and the chief trigger of Middle East turbulence.  His prescription for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict is an Israeli withdrawal to the 1949/67 Lines, the uprooting of Jewish communities in the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria, the repartitioning of Jerusalem, the negotiation of the return of the 1948 Arab refugees to the pre-1967 Israel and the exchange of land.  President Obama is intent on clipping the wings of the Jewish State morally, strategically and territorially.  However, that is not a top priority for him.  He would not confront Israel’s friends on Capitol Hill and in the public if they are mobilized against his prescription. Does Obama have the power to overcome such a pro-Israel alliance and impose a solution on Israel?

 

Voters in the US elected Obama to office, in spite of his lack of experience domestically and globally.  Instead of reading the writing on the wall, US voters entertained the delusion that an “attractive cover” meant an “instructive book.”  However, Obama’s conduct since January 2009 has led to the collapse of his attractive image.  For example, a majority of Americans oppose higher taxes, an expanded budget deficit and bigger government, which have become Obama’s trade mark.  60% of the US public believes that the US is moving in the wrong direction.  Support for Obama has declined from 65% in January 2009, to less than 50% in January 2010 – the steepest presidential decline since 1975. 

 

From a consensus-builder candidate in 2008 he has emerged as a controversy-promoting president in 2009. From a moderate candidate he has transformed into a liberal president, while only 20% of the American public consider themselves to be Liberals.  From a coattail candidate, who received the Independent vote and swept Democrats to a major victory in both congressional chambers, he has become an anchor-chained president, who has distanced Independents from the Democratic Party, has energized the Angry White Vote and could drag Democrats to defeat in November 2010.  The Democratic failure in November 2009 and public opinion polls for the spring primaries and for the November 2010 election, suggest a major Republican tailwind.  As a result, a number of prominent Democratic legislators have announced retirement.  Therefore, as we approach the November 2010 election, and as legislators are growing more attentive to their constituents, moderate and conservative Democratic legislators are distancing themselves from President Obama.

 

While Obama is perceived as a President who strays away from the American consensus, Israel benefits from a consensus support.  “Joe Six Pack” and “Lunch Pail Mabel,” conservative and liberal America, Jews and Christians, Republicans and Democrats do not view Israel as a classic foreign policy issue, but as an internal Judeo-Christian American issue, which is bonded with the USA through shared values, mutual threats and joint interests.  Israel is largely regarded as a peace-seeking democratic militarily-able ally, surrounded by enemies who reject American values. US public opinion polls position Israel as the fourth or fifth most favorite ally with 66%-70% support, compared with the Palestinian Authority, which is at the bottom of the list along with Iran and North Korea. The key factor of support for the idea of a Jewish State – since the 17th century – has been the US public and its representatives on Capitol Hill.  Most initiatives enhancing the US-Israel relationship originated in Congress, many times following a struggle against an opposing Administration.  President Obama’s world view suggests that such struggles could be intensified during the next few years. 

 

The writing is on the wall!    

 

The ties with the US constitute Israel’s backbone militarily, diplomatically, financially, commercially and technologically. These ties are not shaped exclusively by the President, even when the President’s own party enjoys overwhelming majorities in both chambers of Congress. Much is shaped by the House and the Senate, sometimes in defiance of the White House. Moreover, Israel is not a classic-foreign-policy-issue. Israel benefits from a unique foundation of mutual-values, which precedes its own establishment in 1948 and even 1776. US-Israel relations have constituted a win-win two-way street. How will they be impacted by the incoming Obama Administration?

THE WIDER CONTEXT

President Obama will, supposedly, enjoy nearly-automatic support of a Democratically-controlled Capitol Hill. However, US legislators are loyal – primarily – to their constituents and to the Constitution. Adherence to the principles of Separation of Powers, independence of the Legislature, checks and balances and Federalism (which prevent Executive tyranny), is stronger than party loyalty. Moreover, the Clinton-precedent suggests that the president is not almighty, even when his own party controls Congress. In 1992, Clinton was elected on the coattail of the yearning for “Change”, along with a resounding Democratic majority in both chambers. But, his attempt to force his domestic agenda upon Congress – ignoring the fact that congressional political life expectancy was different than his – paved the road to the Republican revolution/majority in 1994.

While not all US presidents have supported the enhancement of US-Israel ties, Congress has been a systematic, powerful ally of the bilateral mutually-beneficial relations. Congress possesses the “Power of the Purse” and it is empowered to change, suspend and initiate policy. In fact, Congress has expanded its involvement in foreign policy since the Vietnam War, Watergate, Irangate and globalization. It was Congress that stopped US military involvement in Vietnam, Angola and Nicaragua (Eagleton, Clark and Boland Amendments), altered US policy toward South Africa, coerced the USSR to allow massive Jewish Aliya (immigration) to Israel, forced the Bush (41st) Administration to extend emergency assistance to Israel during the First Iraq War, nurtured the joint development of the anti-ballistic missile Arrow Project, etc. A bi-partisan congressional leadership opposed US pressure for an Israeli withdrawal from Sinai, but Israel outflanked Congress from left field….

The special US-Israel ties survived non-supportive presidents, primarily due to a covenant, which was established in the 17th century by the Pilgrims, who turned their back on “Modern day Egypt-Pharaoh,” crossed the “Modern day Red Sea” and reached the “Modern day promised land.” The Founding Fathers and the Thirteen Colonies were inspired by the Bible, the autonomy of the Twelve Tribes, the Legislature of the 70 Elders, the Separation of Powers between Moses, Aaron and Joshua, Samuel and Gideon and the revolt of the Maccabees. The statutes of Moses are featured at the House of Representatives and the Supreme Court in Washington and the Two Tablets welcome visitors to the Capitol Building in Austin, Texas.

The potency of the US-Israel connection is derived, also, from its Win-Win aspect, which transcends the narrow context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Former Secretary of State, and Supreme Commander of NATO, Alexander Haig, refers to Israel as the largest, most battle-tested, most cost-effective US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US personnel and is located in an area, which is most critical to vital US national security interests. If Israel did not exist, the US would have to deploy a few aircraft carriers, and tens of thousands of US soldiers, to the eastern flank of the Mediterranean, at a mega-billion dollar annual cost.

THE IMPACT OF THE INCOMING OBAMA ADMINISTRATION

President Obama’s formal and informal network of foreign policy and national security advisors consists, largely, of Carter and (mostly) Clinton Administrations’ graduates. A chief national security legacy of Carter has been the betrayal of the Shah and the facilitation of the Khomeini Revolution, which still haunts the Middle East and beyond. The Clinton Administration was known for its vacillation in the face of Islamic terrorism, beginning with the February 26, 1993 “Twin Towers,” through the 1998 destruction of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the terror attack against the USS Cole in 2000, which paved the road to 9/11.

President Obama and his advisors view the UN – which has been a hostile arena toward the US and Israel – as a chief formulator of international relations. They consider the top State Department bureaucracy – which has been the chief critic of Israel in Washington, DC – as the luminaries on global affairs. They hold the world view of Western Europe – which has usually sided with Israel’s enemies – in high esteem, and they assess Western World (Israel)-Third World (Arabs) relations through the lenses of Goliath-David relations.

According to Obama, there is a cultural, ideological wedge between Western democracies and non-democratic regimes. The wedge should be addressed diplomatically, with increased foreign aid and cultural and scientific ties, while lowering the military profile. The added-value of the “Israeli Aircraft Carrier” is demoted accordingly. Obama assumes that Islamic terrorism represents a radical minority, driven by economic despair and – to an extent – by erroneous US policy. He maintains that Islamic terrorism constitutes a challenge to law enforcement agencies and to the international community, rather than a challenge to the armed services and to the US alone.

Obama sees the Arab-Israeli conflict – more than shared values, joint interests and mutual threats – as a key determinant of US-Israel relations. In his opinion, the Palestinian issue is the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict (although not a single Arab-Israeli war has erupted due to the Palestinian issue), the core cause of Middle East turbulence (although the turbulence is 1,400 year old), the crown jewel of Arab policy (although Arabs shower Palestinians with rhetoric rather than resources) and a root cause of Islamic terrorism (which was launched in the 7th century…). Therefore, Obama is likely to increase US involvement in pressuring Israel back to the 1949 Lines, including the repartitioning of Jerusalem. The more intense US involvement grows, the heavier the pressure on Israel. The more neutral is the US, the less of a special ally is the US for Israel.

However, President Obama’s capability to tend to the Arab-Israeli conflict will be reduced due to his expected pre-occupation with the economic meltdown, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wars and the threats/challenges of Islamic terrorism, Iran, Russia, China, etc. He will also be constrained by the constitutional limits to presidential power and by the unique US-Israel Covenant. Will the Jewish State leverage the geo-political reality, in order to avoid reckless concessions, or will it entice Obama and his advisors to an intensified 1949 Lines-driven involvement?

The more entrenched is the defensive state of Israeli mind – as has been the case since the 1993 Oslo Accord – the more intensified is Palestinian terrorism.

The defensive world view on one hand and the “No Military Solution to Terrorism” on the other hand, have eroded Israel’s steadfastness, have revolutionized the potential of Palestinian terrorism and have advanced its step-by-step strategy to annihilate the Jewish State:

1. To weaken Israelis’ confidence in their government’s capability to safeguard personal/national security;

2. To transform terrorism into a routine cost-of-living in Israel;

3. To establish war of attrition as an acceptable mode of Israeli-Palestinian relations – terrorists’ “wet dream” and western democracies’ nightmare;

4. To undermine Israel’s conviction in its cause;

5. To entice Israelis to accept the concepts of “moral equivalence” and shared-responsibility for the “cycle of violence”;

6. To exacerbate Israeli battle fatigue, resulting in sweeping Israeli concessions and rewarding/fueling Palestinian terrorism, which is driven by hope for further concessions;

7. The collapse and the abandonment of the Jewish State.

The “Oslo Legacy” and its derivatives – from the Hebron Accord through Wye Accord, the flight from South Lebanon, Camp David II, “Disengagement”, Lebanon War II and “Convergence” – have transformed “fortifications and defense”, “Separation”, “Containment”, “Low Intensity Warfare”, “Back to 1949 Lines” and the recruitment of counter-terrorism subcontractors (Egypt, Jordan, Arafat/Abu Mazen, international forces) into key battle tactics against Palestinian terrorism. Such tactics dismiss the option of bringing the enemy to submission, and therefore add fuel – not water – to the fire of terrorism.

Instead of defending Israeli citizens, the “defense-fortification-separation” tactic has been employed, in order to rescue the “Oslo-Separation” theory from an extremely costly collapse: Over 2,000 Israelis murdered since 1993, compared with 250 murdered during 15 years preceding Oslo; a multi-billion dollar cost of homeland security measures; severe erosion of Israel’s confidence in its cause and in its capability to confront its enemies; undermining Israel’s posture of deterrence in the Middle East and in the US.

The sealing of windows with sand sacks and the erection of a series of protective walls, did not stop the 2000-1 Palestinian sniping at Jerusalem’s Gilo neighborhood. In fact, it energized Palestinian terrorists and enabled them to improve their terrorist capabilities. The sniping was totally aborted – and overall Palestinian terrorism was curtailed by 90% – when Israel’s military took over the Palestinian breeding ground of terrorism in Beit Jallah, Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus and other major towns in Judea & Samaria. Israeli military re-engagement with these areas – rather than the Fence or the Wall – reasserted Israel’s initiative in the battle against Palestinian terrorism.

Upgrading the defensive/security features of bus stops, restaurants, coffee shops, synagogues, kindergartens, schools and residential areas in the Kassam-plagued Sderot, Ashqelon and the West Negev Kibbutzim – and tomorrow probably in Ashdod, Kfar Saba, Hadera and Ben Gurion Airport – provides a short term false sense of security, but plays into the hands of terrorists.

The focus on defense, fortifications and retreat has signaled Israel’s abandonment of the victory option. Rather than destroying the infrastructure and capabilities of Palestinian terrorism, the focus on defense has reflected co-existence with terrorism. The addiction to defense, the belief that “Restrain Is Strength”, and the subordination of the war on terrorism to international public opinion, have been by-products of the false assumptions that “we’ve tried everything” and that “There’s no military solution to terrorism”. Such false assumptions mirror battle fatigue, which is non-existent among other countries fighting terrorism: India, Turkey, Thailand, Australia, Germany, Russia, France, Italy, Egypt, Algeria, etc.

Fourteen years of unprecedented terrorism – since Oslo – have made it clear that there is no political solution to Palestinian terrorism, that the Palestinian Authority is a non-compromising enemy and not a partner for peace, that “Disengagement/Separation” upgrades terrorist capabilities, that an effective military action must be comprehensive, decisive and disproportionate and that international public opinion is never saturated with Israeli concessions. Instead of relying on defense, deterrence, retaliation and on surgical, sporadic and limited offensive initiatives, Israel should adopt the tactics of pre-emption, prevention and comprehensive/sustained offense, aimed at uprooting terrorist infrastructure and capabilities (ideologically, educationally, politically, logistically and operationally). Rather than retreating toward the 1949 Green Lines, Israel should take charge of the breeding ground and the home-base of terrorism, which would enhance Israel’s power of deterrence, human-intelligence and interception capabilities. It would reduce Palestinian capabilities to conduct hate-education, to incite, to recruit, to train, to manufacture and smuggle terrorist and military hardware, to plan, to maneuver and to perpetrate terrorist activities. Thus, it would chop Palestinian terrorism by 90%!

Rather than defend against Palestinian terrorists, Israel should decimate the potential and actual capabilities of Palestinian terrorists.

Will Israel’s military operations in Gaza constitute another derivative of the suicidal Oslo State Of Mind, or will it be a milestone on the road to reclaim the pre-Oslo Israeli posture as the role-model of deterrence, defiance of odds, determination, gumption and counter-terrorism, which paved the road to the 1948 Declaration of Independence, the 1967 Six Day War, the 1976 Entebbe Jonathan Operation and the 1981 bombing of Saddam’s nuclear reactor?

According to a groundbreaking AIDRG study, there is no need to retreat from Judea & Samaria Jewish geography, in order to secure Jewish demography. Such a perceived need is based on the assumption that Jews are, ostensibly, doomed to become a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean.

 

However, this assumption is crashed against the rocks of reality, as evidenced by the 2006 “Green Line” data, published by Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS).  In 1995, Jewish births constituted 69% of total births, growing to 74% in 2006!  A 36% increase in the number of annual Jewish births has occurred since 1995: 109,183 in 2006, compared with 103,599 in 2003 and 80,400 in 1995.  At the same time, the number of annual Arab births has stagnated: 38,653 in 2006, compared with 41,447 in 2003 and 36,500 in 1995.

 

A dramatic decline of fertility rates (number of children per woman) in Third World, Arab and Muslim countries has been documented by the UN Population Division.  For instance, Iran, Egypt and Jordan have plummeted to 1.98, 2.5 and 3 children respectively, down from 10, 7 and 8 children per woman 25 years ago. Moreover, the “Green Line” Arab-Jewish fertility rate gap has shrunk drastically from 6 children in the 1960s to 1 in 2006 (3.70:2.75).  While the number of Arab births per 1,000 has sharply declined from 35.0 in 1996 to 27.7 in 2006, the number of Jewish births has increased from 18.3 in 1996 to 19.3 in 2006.

 

The gradual westernization of Arab/Muslim fertility rates has characterized Third World societies, located contiguous to Western societies.  Yakov Feitelson has shed light on the demographic evolution of Third World societies.  The first stage displays very high birth and death rates.  The initial contact with a Western society – as took place in 1949 (“Green Line”) and in 1967 (Judea & Samaria, Gaza) – benefits the Third World society with advanced medical, educational and employment infrastructures.  Consequently, infant mortality plunges, life expectancy rises and emigration drops – a “Demographic Explosion” which peaks in about 20 years.  The sustained decline in birth rates and the faster decrease in death rates produce a slower expansion of natural increase.  Then, birth rates decline persists, while death rates stabilize and the ranks of the elderly expand.  Hence, the erosion of natural increase (birth rate minus death rate).  “Green Line” and Judea & Samaria Arab natural increase rates peaked during the 1960s and early 1990s respectively.  Since then, they have converged toward the secular Jewish natural increase rate.

 

Arab population growth rate in Judea & Samaria has been chopped substantially due to a significant emigration rate: over 10,000 net negative annual Arab emigration since 1950. A retreat from Judea & Samaria would reverse the Arab migration trend, yielding a massive immigration into Judea & Samaria, and from there – due to economic pressures – into the “Green Line”, which would wreck Jewish demography.

 

The myth of the demographic machete hovering, supposedly, over the Jewish State has been nurtured by Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) numbers.  They are 70% inflated in Judea & Samaria (1.5 million and not 2.5 million) and more than 50% inflated in Gaza, Judea & Samaria (2.5 million and not 4 million). That inflation is documented by the Palestinian Ministries of Health and Education, Palestinian Election Commission, Jordan’s Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s Borders’ Police and the ICBS.  For example, some 400,000 non-resident Palestinians are counted, about 300,000 babies who were projected to be born were never born, 300,000 expected immigrants have never arrived but 100,000 emigrants were never projected, over 200,000 Jerusalem Arabs are doubly-counted by the ICBS and PCBS as “Green Line” and West Bank Arabs, and 100,000 Palestinians who married Israeli Arabs are similarly doubly-counted.

 

An examination of documented births, deaths and migration highlights a solid, long-term Jewish majority of 67% over 98.7% of the land west of the Jordan River (without Gaza), or 60% over the entire land. The Jewish majority benefits from a demographic tailwind.  There is no demographic machete at its throat.  A formulation of a long-term demographic strategy would bolster Jewish majority by leveraging annual Aliya (Jewish immigration), annual net Arab emigration, the decrease in Arab – and the increase in Jewish – birth rates.

 

However, a retreat from Judea & Samaria geography/topography would produce a relief of a non-lethal demographic burden, while exacerbating a lethal security and water burden.

The Bush-Sharon Summit sheds light on a few misrepresentations, which have been promoted, since the April 2004 Summit, by supporters of the disengagement plan. The misrepresentations were employed in order to garner support for the retreat from Gaza and from – sparsely populated and strategically dominating – mountains of northern Samaria, and for the uprooting of Jewish communities there.

 

1.  Disengagement has, supposedly, been a top priority for the Bush Administration and its ties with Israel.  Really?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

President Bush is concerned about rogue and potentially nuclearized Iran and its ties with terrorist-driven Syria than he is about Israel’s settlements and disengagement.  He’s more concerned about the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction than he is about the proliferation of housing in Judea and Samaria. He is Sleepless in DC because of Islamic threats to execute a Twin Tower Il and the uncertainties hovering above Iraq and Afghanistan and the future of Egypt and not because of the tension between Israeli opponents and proponents of disengagement. Contrary to its Arab neighbors Israel has constituted a unique ally in the US war on Islamic terrorism, defense against ballistic missile and weaponry of mass destruction, enhancement of homeland security and upgrading of defense technologies.  Israel’s Home Court – in its strategic dialogue with the US – has been the shared values, joint interests and mutual threats.  Israel’s Problematic Court – in its strategic dialogue with the US – has been settlements and disengagement (the latter contrasting the US mode of combating terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq).  Has Prime Minister Sharon focused on the Home Court, leveraging Israel’s unique strategic role in order to demolish Palestinian terrorism and minimize Israeli concessions, as did all Israeli prime ministers from Ben Gurion (1948) until Shamir (1992)?  Or, has Sharon concentrated on the Problematic Court, being consumed with restraint in face of terrorism and “painful sweeping concessions”, as has been the case with all prime ministers since 1992?

 

2.  President Bush has, supposedly, committed the US to a substantial financial assistance package. Really?                                                                                                                                                

 

In 2000 President Clinton promised Prime Minister Barak $800MN, in order to expedite the Disengagement from Southern Lebanon.  Israel disengaged, Hizballah’s terrorism was significantly and regionally upgraded, Palestinian terrorism was inspired and escalated to an unprecedented level, but the $800MN is yet to be granted.  US Presidents do not have the authority to write checks; they can ask Congress – which possesses the Power of the Purse – to appropriate funds.  Congress is currently alarmed by a growing all time high budget deficit, and Israel’s leading friends have recommended that Israel refrains from requesting special financial assistance. Cheney and Rumsfeld, two of Israel’s hawkish allies, are concerned that a special assistance to Israel would nibble into the stretched defense budget.  Each financial request must go through Congress, which would entail a legislative process. But, some Israeli officials are counting their eggs before they hatch… 

 

3.  The Bush Administration has, ostensibly, given up on the Green (1949 Ceasefire) Line, recognizing major Israeli settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria. Really?

 

The blunt call – by President Bush – to freeze construction in ALL settlements, and his repeated reference to the supposed prominence of the 1949 Ceasefire Line (which divides Jerusalem!) has clarified that Israel should not expect any settlement-bonus, from the US, for the disengagement from Gaza and Northern Samaria. In fact, disengagement – just like any retreat in face of pressure and terrorism – would generate more Palestinian terrorism and more pressure by the Department of State, the CIA, the Europeans and the UN, which expect further sweeping Israel concessions. President Bush’s statements at the summit, just like those made by Secretaries Powell and Rice since April 2004, clarify that the US has not change its position on the Green Line: no recognition of Israeli sovereignty beyond the 1949 Ceasefire Line, and no recognition of Israeli sovereignty over any Jewish community in the post-Green Line area in Judea & Samaria, Jordan Valley, Golan Heights and Jerusalem (e.g. loan guarantees are reduced by the amount spent by Israel in post-Green Line neighborhoods in Jerusalem). Wishful-thinking (sinking?) concerning a disengagement-driven diplomatic bonus have been shattered in Crawford, Texas. 

 

Bush’s proclamations suggest that disengagement from Gaza and Northern Samaria would be the first in a series, leading to the 1949 Lines (unless otherwise mutually-agreed by Israel and the Palestinians). They indicate that the post-April 2004 celebrations were based on wrong assumptions and on misrepresentations, by Israeli politicians, of the President’s statements. The April statements by Bush were neither unprecedented, nor do they bind him or his successors. On June 19, 1967, President Johnson stated that an Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 Lines “is not a prescription for peace, but for a renewal of hostilities.” President Reagan said  on September 1, 1982: “In the pre-1967 borders Israel was barely 10 miles wide…I am not about to ask Israel to live that way again…It is clear that peace cannot be achieved by the formation of an independent Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza.” These statements were not binding, since they were not ratified or legislated.  Bush’s statements were approved, by Congress, as a Non-Binding Resolution, which is (as suggested by its title) non-binding.

 

4. Israel cannot defy US pressure, and therefore must, supposedly, freeze construction in all settlements. Really?                                                          

 

The US – and especially the Texas – state of mind, respects winners and not losers, admires  gumption, the overcoming of odds and defiance of pressure.  On a rainy day, the Texan President would rather have an ally, in the Mideast, “which resembles a 160 pound rodeo contestant, who can tame a 2000 pound wild bull, rather than a Coca Cola Cowboy.” And, indeed, during 1948-1992, from Ben Gurion to Shamir, Israel’s Prime Ministers usually – and frequently – defied US pressure.  As a result they were subjected to short-term inconveniences, which were promptly replaced by a long-term strategic esteem. For instance, in 1948/9 Ben Gurion faced a US pressure to postpone declaration of independence and accept a UN Trusteeship.  The US imposed a military embargo, contemplated economic sanctions, accused Ben Gurion of leading the Jewish People toward another Holocaust, demanded an end to the “Occupation of the Negev”, the internationalization of Jerusalem and the absorption and compensation of Palestinian refugees.  Israeli Prophets of Demographic Doom pressured Ben Gurion to refrain from independence, lest the Jewish population be overwhelmed – by 1968 – by Arab majority.  Ben Gurion defied the pressure, established the Jewish State, increased construction in the Negev, relocated government agencies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which was declared the capital of Israel. Consequently, the US upgraded its attitude toward the Jewish State, whose image was transformed – by Ben Gurion’s defiance – from a powerless democracy into a promising strategic entity.   Will Prime Minister Sharon resurrect the legacy of Ben Gurion and his successors which characterized Israel’s leadership up to 1992, or will he sustain the Oslo-State-Of-Mind which has afflicted Israel since 1992? 

 

 

In 1967, the Israeli society was panicked by the deadly threat posed by the May 30 Egypt-Syria-Jordan anti-Israel military pact, by the brutal pressure of the US, France, Britain and the international community to refrain from a preemptive operation, by the deepening (20%) unemployment, and by escalating pessimism within the political and military leadership.

 

Prime Minister Levy Eshkol exercised leadership.  He was not swept by the weakness of the people, and he did not allow a transient somber reality to erode long term national strategic goals.  Instead, he leveraged the crisis as a springboard for a strategic upgrade.  He defied US and international pressure, launched the preemptive Six Day War, destroyed the infrastructure of the threatening enemy, rescuing the Jewish State from pending oblivion.  Eshkol, therefore, enhanced strategic appreciation of Israel, transforming the Jewish State from a “historical accident” to a factor of regional deterrence and a unique strategic ally of the USA.

 

In the aftermath of the 1967 war, Eshkol was besieged by Prophets of Demographic Doom, who urged him to withdraw from Gaza, Judea and Samaria, “since there would be an Arab majority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean by 1987.”  Eshkol ignored the demographic projections, demonstrating that capable leaders would not shape boundaries in accordance with temporary demographic problems (which are impacted by immigration, emigration, modernity, education, war, etc.). Eshkol was a capable leader, and therefore shaped boundaries in accordance with historical and geographic reality (which is carved in stone). Eshkol has been vindicated: Jewish majority in 1987 remained as it was in 1967 and as it is today: some 60%:40% west of the Jordan River and 80%:20% within the Green Line (1949 boundaries).  Thus, Eshkol followed in the footsteps of Theodore Herzel and David Ben Gurion, who rejected the demographic projections of the world renowned Jewish historian/demographer Shimon Dubnov (1900) and Israel’s Chief Statistician Prof. Roberto Bachi (1948), who lobbied against the establishment of the Jewish State on demographic grounds.  50,000  Jews resided in the Land of Israel in 1900, 600,000 Jews in 1948, compared with almost 6 million today.

 

In 1981, Iraq expanded its nuclear capabilities, targeting Israel and other countries. The US, West Europe and the UN pressured Israel against a preventive military operation, “lest it destabilizes the region”. They threatened Israel with diplomatic, military and economic sanctions. Israel’s heads of Mossad and military intelligence opposed a military (air force) operation against Iraq’s nuclear reactor, “lest it unites the Islamic world against Israel, lest it cause an irreparable crisis with the US and lest it fail operationally, with the bodies of Israel’s pilots dragged in the streets of Baghdad.”  Moreover, Shimon Peres leaked vital information to the media, in order to abort the operation.

 

However, Prime Minister Menachem Begin displayed leadership, accepting short term risk, pressure and inconvenience, in order to advance the long term national security of the Jewish State. He ordered the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor, thus becoming the subject of a US military embargo and of international sanctions.  Nevertheless, a few months later when the international condemnation was gradually dissipating, a new reality was in place: the nuclear threat to the region was demolished, Israel’s strategic profile was enhanced dramatically and therefore the first ever strategic memorandum of understanding was signed (Nov. 1981) between the US and Israel.  Begin’s leadership has accorded Israel a substantial line of strategic credit, which is still in force.  Begin’s leadership, also, provided the US with the conventional option in the 1991 and 2003 wars against Iraq, sparing the US and the globe horrific human losses and mega-billion dollar expenditures.

 

In 2004, Israel’s leadership (and not Israel’s public!) displays unprecedented indecisiveness and vacillation in face of exacerbated terrorism, global pressure to refrain from crashing the infrastructure of the Palestinian Terror Authority, intensifying threat of Islamic non-conventional capabilities, domestic economic difficulties and general weakness and skepticism afflicting many top political and security officials. The leadership crisis stands in striking contrast to the unprecedented demographic, military, economic and technological resources at the disposal of the Jewish State. Standing by Israel is the post-9/11 USA , which confronts on a daily basis a mutual threat – Islamic terrorism.  The US is led by a friendly President, whose power base supports Israel strategically, religiously, intellectually and politically, and whose Vice President and Secretary of Defense are more hawkish than most Israel’s cabinet members. The US is co-led by a Congress, which is the friendliest to Israel ever since 1948.  Never has Israel enjoyed such a large scale support in the US, and never has it failed so much in leveraging that support, in order to advance critical national security goals.

 

Eshkol and Begin, just like all prime ministers until 1992 – did rarely submit themselves to the burden of pressure, terrorism and demography.  They did not ignore the pressure, but they did not allow it to divert themselves away from the national strategic long term goal of the Jewish State.  They did not instill weakness in the mind and hearts of their people and their friends abroad.  They did not erode the conviction of the People in the justness of their historical cause and in the capabilities of the Jewish military to defeat terrorism.  They were not intimidated by domestic and external odds, they did not consider restraint as strength, did not subscribe to protracted wars (which are deadly to democracies and adrenalize the veins of terrorists). They did not offer concessions as a substitute to the crashing of the infrastructure of Arab threat.

 

The drastic departure from the legacy of Eshkol and Begin (as well as the legacy of Ben Gurion, Golda Meir and Yitzhak Shamir) has transformed Israel – since the signing of the Oslo Accord – from a role model of confronting terrorism and pressure to the role model of retreat in face of pressure and violence. 

Senator Phil Gramm, The Texas Aggie, who was a powerful Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and a presidential candidate, was astounded to hear from a prominent Hebrew University professor, that Israeli concessions could moderate the PLO. “Professor”, he responded, “I’m not a Mideast scientist. But, I was told at Texas A&M, where I taught economics, that if your kids are threatened by a poison ivy, you don’t water and fertilize it. The only way to de-poison ivy is by uprooting it!”

The Department of State “Road Map’ has ignored Gramm’s common sense. Moreover, the Department of State’s Road Map has overlooked the track record (since the late ’50s!) of the Fatah/PLO/PA as the role model of systematic and violent violation of agreements (concluded mostly with Arab countries as well as with Israel), international terrorism, hijacking, murder of ambassadors, treachery, corruption, suppression of human rights and oppression of Christians.

Contrary to Gramm’s recommendation, the “Road Map” prescribes further watering and fertilizing of the poison PLO/PA ivy. It defies the 1,200 Israelis (proportionally equal to 60,000 Americans!) murdered by PLO and Hamas terrorists, harbored by the PA. Once in a while, Israel trims some branches of the poison ivy in a surgical manner, deluding itself that trimming could de-poison the ivy. However, trimming tends to strengthen the roots, and the potency of the poison keeps growing, unless the ivy is completely uprooted.

The Texan President, Lyndon Johnson, was known for his social compassion and political ruthlessness. “When confronted by a rattle snake, don’t wait until it bites you; grab a hoe and hit the head – and not the tail – of the snake,” LBJ advised his political allies. Israel has ignored LBJ’s advise since the eruption of the unprecedented wave of Palestinian terrorism, triggered by the 1993 Oslo Accord. In its battle against Palestinian terrorism, Israel has focused on the tail – rather than the head – of the PLO/PA/Hamas snake, which keeps on biting. On the other hand, LBJ’s legacy has been adopted by Turkey, Peru, Germany, Italy and the US, thus yielding military victories over Kurdish (PKK), Armenian (ASALA), Shining Path, Baader Meinhoff and Red Brigade terrorists, as well as the terror regimes of Grenada (1983), Libya (1986), Panama (1989), Afghanistan (2002) and Iraq (2003).

In 2003, President Bush of Midland Texas launched the war on Saddam’s regime (and may have determined its outcome) by dropping a few smart bombs – a few thousand tons each – on the bunker of the political and ideological elite. In 2002, he bombed the political, ideological and financial headquarters of the Taliban in Kabul. 1986, President Reagan instructed the US Air Force to target Qaddafi’s Presidential Palace. In contrast, Israel has mostly targeted terrorists, who execute the strategy and ideology enunciated by their political leadership.

The Department of State “Road Map” has legitimized the self-defeating and artificial distinction between “Political PLO” and “Terrorist PLO,” as well as the non-existing distinction between the top of the PA/PLO pyramid (Arafat) and the entire structure of the PA/PLO pyramid. It has reinforced the morally-wrong and strategically-flawed Moral Equivalence – professed by the Department of State – between a terrorist regime and its democratic victim. The Road Map has legitimized an underlying pitfall of the Oslo Process, which refers to a most lethal endemic enemy as a partner for co-existence. It has thus further handcuffed the hands of Israel’s Defense Forces.

Would President Bush consider surgical elimination of terror leaders and cells in Afghanistan and Iraq, while refraining from the destruction of the Taliban and the Saddam regimes (as is Israel pressured to do)?! Would the former two times Governor of Texas contemplate negotiation with any of Saddam’s deputies and lieutenants, who were intimately linked to Saddam during the last few decades (as is Israel pressured to do)?! Would the principle-driven President Bush have entertained the idea of a cease fire with Afghani or Iraqi terrorists, rather than the eradication of the civilian and military infrastructure, which fed the fire of terrorism (as is Israel pressured to do)?! Would President Bush take seriously a proposal to entrust the security of Basra, in Southern Iraq, to Saddam’s regime, as a test of its intentions and capabilities (as is Israel pressured to do)?! Would Paul Bremer, the Governor of Iraq, allow members of the Ba’ath Party and Saddam’s security forces to join the governing bodies of Free Iraq (as is Israel pressured to do)?! Should President Bush have acted in face of Islamic terrorism in accordance with the Road Map, and in a manner, which he pressures Israel to act in face of Palestinian terrorism, he would have failed in his mission, becoming the laughing stock of global and US public opinion!

The Department of State’s “Road Map” is fertilizing and watering the lethally poisonous Oslo Ivy/Process. The Road Map has sacrificed the (blood-saturated) lessons of the last 10 years – since the signing of the Oslo Accord – on the altar of wishful thinking. The Road Map has dealt another blow to Israel’s personal and national security, has undermined Israel’s confidence in its own cause and power, has eroded Israel’s capability to withstand pressure, has chopped Israel’s posture of deterrence, has radicalized Arab expectations and demands, and has therefore added more fuel to the fire of terror and war, which has further distanced Jews and Arabs from peace.

The “Road Map” constitutes a thundering reflection of the Texas colloquialism: Fool me once shame on you; Fool me twice, shame on me.”

In order to free itself of the deadly trap of the 1993 Oslo Process, the 1998 Wye Accord and the 2003 Road Map, it is incumbent upon Israel to continue talking Hebrew, but fight in Texanese!

President George W. Bush considers Moses to be a role-model for a conviction-driven leadership, driven by the principles of justice (vs. the Axis of Evil), strategic thinking (vs. tactical cynicism) and tenacity (vs. hesitancy and vacillation).  President Bush and most of the American public and US Congress, have viewed the Exodus from Egypt and the Ten Commandments as critical elements of the American culture, guiding George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson in the 1976 Revolution and in the formulation of the US Constitution.

 

The President has presented his own Ten Commandments, in the combat against terrorist regimes, during his wars on Afghanistan and Iraq, which have been driven by values and strategic interests:

 

1.  THOU SHALL SUSTAIN MORAL CLARITY, avoiding moral equivalence between terrorists and their victims, thus de-legitimizing the very existence of terrorist regimes. Moral clarity is a prerequisite for a victory on the battlefield: terrorist regimes are not partners to negotiation; they are enemies to be crashed.  Saddam Hussein and his network are not “President”, “Prime Minister”, “Head of security organizations”, “legislators”; rather they are terrorists, regional cancer, bloodthirsty oppressive gang, pirates. President Bush does not combat “suicide bombers” (the term may possess a glimpse of heroism); he is condemning homicide bombers (criminals).

 

2.  THOU SHALL NOT PURSUE COEXISTENCE WITH TERRORIST REGIMES, since they have been murderous and systematic violators of agreements.  Therefore, the aim is not to conduct negotiation, to reach a compromise or agreement; the aim is the defeat terrorist regime, and in a traumatic manner. One does not consider a “Basra First” arrangement (which would test, supposedly, the intent of a terrorist regime).  One does not contemplate negotiation with Saddam’s prime minister, chiefs of security organizations or other key members of his regime, because terrorist regimes are not partners to negotiation – terrorist regimes are targets to annihilation.  The target should not be personalized, thus diverting attention away from the nature of the entire terrorist regime. The aim should be structural – toppling the entire regime.

 

3.  THOU SHALL NOT COMBAT TERRORISM THROUGH CONTAINMENT, DEFENSE, DETERRENCE AND RETALIATION, but rather through PREVENTIVE OFFENSIVE ON THE ENEMY’S OWN GROUND.  Unlike the USSR, most terrorist regimes are not deterable or containable.  Therefore, the offensive on terrorist regimes should not be surgical and restrained, but rather systemic, comprehensive and disproportional.  It aims at bringing down terrorist regime in a TRAUMATIC manner, thus delivering a shockingly lucid message to successor regimes and other terrorist regimes.

 

4.  THOU SHALL NOT ASPIRE FOR CEASEFIRE.  Rather, one should attempt to tarnish the INFRASTRUCTURE, which feeds the fire of terrorism.  The primary attention should be paid to the destruction of the political, financial and ideological infrastructures of terrorist regimes, which lead, mold, incite, equip, train and sets the human targets for the operational sector. Hence, the opening mission of the war on Iraq was directed at the bunker housing the political/ideological infrastructure of Saddam’s regime, as was the case in 1989 (targeting Noriega) and 1986 (bombing Qadaffi’s palace).

 

5.  THOU SHALL NOT WAIT FOR A “SMOKING GUN.”  Thou shall attempt to prevent the access of terrorist regimes to their “guns.”  The war on terrorist regimes is based on a pyramid of evidence constructed over many years. No time should be wasted by waiting for a few more stones to be added to the pyramid.

 

6.  THOU SHALL NOT SACRIFICE VITAL INTERESTS ON THE ALTAR OF A POLITICAL PROCESS.  The process is not the strategic goal; it is merely a tactical means.  Time spent on a political process with terrorist regimes plays into the hands of terrorists, providing them with more opportunities to enhance their destructive capabilities.  Therefore, the price of hesitancy and a delayed military assault on terrorist could be devastatingly higher than the price of a swift-comprehensive-traumatic war on terrorism.   

 

7.  THERE IS A MILITARY SOLUTION TO TERRORISM, as evidenced by the lessons of Afghanistan (2002) and Iraq (2003), as well as by the war launched by Turkey, Germany, Italy, Peru and Egypt on Armenian and Kurdish terrorism, Baader Meinhoff, Red Brigade, the Shining Path and Islamic terrorism.  Passivity and restraint in face of terrorist regimes breed more violence, adrenalizing terrorists.  It constitutes recklessness in face of threat – an unacceptable price in terms of personal and national security.

 

8.  THE PRIME RESPONSIBILITY OF A LEADER IS TO THE PERSONAL AND NATIONAL SECURITY OF HIS PEOPLE, rather than to the prestige of the UN or members of the international community. The price of an international opposition is dwarfed by the potentially lethal damage caused by terrorism.

 

9.  WAR ON TERRORIST REGIMES SOLVE, RATHER THAN CREATES, PROBLEMS, minimizing/deterring future problems.

 

10. ” EITHER YOU ARE WITH US, OR YOU ARE WITH THE TERRORISTS… Anyone who continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded as a hostile regime… We are not deceived by pretense to piety.  We have seen their kind before…” (President George W. Bush, Sept. 20, 2001, Joint session of Congress).

 

The descendants of Moses may benefit immensely by applying the lessons of President Bush’s “Ten Commandments”, to their own battle against Palestinian and Hizballah terrorism.  Obviously, Israel and the US are not equal in stature, and do not face an identical threat!  The US has launched a decisively justifiable(!) war on Islamic terrorism, headquartered 7,000 MILES AWAY from the mainland, threatening – AS OF A FEW YEARS AGO – the PERSONAL SECURITY of Americans and VITAL INTERESTS of the US.  Israel, on the other hand, is combating Palestinian and Islamic terrorism, headquartered literally ACROSS THE FENCE, threatening -SINCE 1948 – the very NATIONAL SURVIVAL of the country.  President George W. Bush’s “Ten Commandments” are MORALLY and STRATEGICALLY applicable to Israel, which is facing an imminent and present deadly threat, rather than a national security challenge. THAT WHICH HAS AFFLICTED THE USA SINCE 9/11, has plagued Israel SINCE 1948, taking a toll of 1,100 Israelis murdered since the Oslo Accord was signed in 1993 (proportionally, equal to 50,000 Americans!).

 

Israeli adherence to the counter-terrorism legacy of President George W. Bush, would be condemned by SOME circles in the US.  However, one should recall that a BRUTAL PRESSURE BY THE UNITED STATES ADMINISTRATION (including a military embargo) did not deter Prime Minister Ben-Gurion from declaring independence in 1948, did not dissuade Prime Minister Eshkol from launching the preventive Six Day War in 1967, and did not prevent Prime Minister Begin from destroying the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981. The pursuit of moral and strategic Israeli concerns, in defiance of pressure by the US administration, produced a SHORT-TERM political and economic crisis and inconvenience, but it yielded a dramatic LONG-TERM enhancement of Israel’s strategic posture in the Middle East and in the US.

 

The die was cast, and the US war on Saddam’s regime has been set in motion. The transfer of the Central Command from Florida to the Gulf area, the completion of US military installations in Qatar and Northern Iraq (no-fly zone) suggest determination rather than indecisiveness. The lease, by the Pentagon, of Danish boats, specializing in the transport of tanks and armed personnel carriers indicate intent to employ ground forces, rather than just air force and navy bombings. Accompanied by joint exercises between the US Marines and the Jordanian military not far from the Iraqi border, such developments send a lucid signal of purpose to destroy the Saddam regime.

The die was cast upon the election of President Bush #43 – and the debate within the administration has been limited to the timing and the scope of force employed – since the balance of power has increasingly tilted toward VP Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, rather than toward Secretary of State Powell and CIA Director Tenet. The opposition to the war, expressed by Brent Scowcroft and other Bush #41 Republicans, has not affected the position of Bush #43. Scowcroft was national security advisor to Bush #41, but he has not shined in the administration of Bush #43. Scowcroft dismissed the 1990 intelligence reports on the pending Iraq invasion of Kuwait, opposed US power projection in order to deter Saddam before the invasion, failed to sway Bush #41 against the 1991 Gulf War, but succeeded to convince Bush #41 to prematurely conclude that war, thus planting the seeds of the current predicament.

The die was cast – in spite of opposition by the UN, most of Europe and doves and isolationists in the US – since Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld subscribe to unilateral military actions if necessary. They subscribe to offensive rather than defensive and deterring tactics against terrorist regimes, and they oppose negotiation and compromise with regimes which violate agreements systematically. They consider the Saddam regime a critical element in the Axis of Terror, Ballistic, Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Threats. Contrary to Powell, they do not attribute much utility to multinational coalitions. Unlike Bush #4,1 who went ballistic following the 1981 Israeli bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor, Bush #43, Cheney and Rumsfeld have praised the 1981 Israeli initiative as a role-model of justifiable unilateral military actions, in defiance of global public opinion.

The die was cast due to the world view of the Bush Administration, which has believed that there is an inherent conflict – of values and strategic interests – between Western democracies, led by the US, and rogue regimes which threaten global stability. In contrast to the cynical/”pragmatic” stance by Europe, the US administration believes in the need to shed blood, sweat and tears, in order to secure the triumph of Good over Evil. As a typical Texan, Bush #43 is not seeking fights, but is not intimidated by bullies. The current administration insists that the US should not tolerate the Iraqi bully, who attempted to murder a former US president (Bush #41) in 1993. The current administration is proliferated with veterans of the 1991 Gulf War, who wish to conclude the “Unfinished Symphony.” They do not seek a “smoking gun” in the hands of Saddam. Rather, they attempt to deny Saddam access to a “smoking gun.” They adhere to the Texan colloquialism: “When threatened by a rattle snake, don’t wait until it bites; preempt by hitting the snake, and preferably on its head.”

Casting the Iraqi die has been facilitated by the nature of President Bush’s political power base (conservatives, the intellectual Right and Christian Right), which has been a steady proponent of the War on Saddam’s Regime and Islamic terrorism, driven by values and security considerations. Such has been the position of most of the US public and Congress. The Wall Street Journal, Fox News, National Review and The Weekly Standard have urged the President to eradicate the Saddam regime. They, more than the New York Times, CNN, Newsweek and Time Magazine, constitute an authentic reflection of most Americans. The closer is the November 2002 election day, the more sensitive is the President to the positions of his power base, lest he becomes a Lame Duck President on his way to a defeat in 2004. A swift and an overwhelming victory by the US military, over Iraq, would upstage the domestic US economic and legal issues, which have dominated the headlines.

The die was cast since the only superpower in the world cannot afford to project indecisiveness in face of imminent threat: To fight of not to fight?! Saddam’s arsenal of terrorism, ballistic missiles, near-nuclear, biological and chemical capabilities constitute a clear and present threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf, the Mideast and the entire globe. Each day of a delayed US War on Saddam’s Regime is enhancing Saddam’s deadly capabilities, expanding Saddam’s power of extortion from the Mideast, to Europe and then to the US (“I’ve got two nuclear bombs targeting Paris and New York; I am willing to absorb twenty nuclear bombs – are you willing to absorb two?!”). The cost of the delayed war exceeds significantly the cost of an immediate war. Delay works in favor of Saddam, threatening freedom of decision by Western democracies, horrifically escalating the cost of the inevitable war (in terms of blood and dollars). Ignoring Iraq’s track record of yesterday, and therefore avoiding/delaying the war on Saddam’s regime, may smother the globe with an illusion of a pacified Iraq today. However, it would doom the globe tomorrow.

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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

US-Israel vs. Iran: acumen

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
April 24, 2024

*Israel is grateful to the US and its Arab allies for their support in the face of Iran’s ballistic offensive against Israel.

*At the same time, Israel’s war against the Ayatollahs – who constitute a clear and present lethal threat to the pro-US Arab regimes, as well as a potent threat to the US’ homeland security – enhances the national security and homeland security of the US and its Arab allies.

*In fact, FBI Director, Chris Wray, highlighted the Iranian threat during his hearings at the House and Senate Committees on Homeland Security. Wray stated that the October 7, 2023 horrific Hamas terrorism is inspiring Iran-supported anti-US Islamic terrorists to attack US targets throughout the globe, including on the US homeland.

*The Middle East considers Israel as the US’ main beachhead and force-multiplier, and as a role-model of countering-terrorism in a region, which is critical to global trade and to the supply of oil and natural gas, as well as a global epicenter of anti-US terrorism and drug trafficking. Anti-US rogue entities assume that hitting Israel injures the US strategic posture in the Middle East and beyond.

*Since the early 1980s, Iran and Hezbollah have operated in Latin America – which they view as the soft underbelly of the US – along with the drug cartels of Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, Latin American terror organizations and all anti-US Latin American governments. Moreover, they’ve intensified their presence along the US-Mexico border and on US soil, in order to advance the vision of Iran’s Ayatollahs: bringing “The Great American Satan” to submission.

*The Ayatollahs are also determined to topple the pro-US Sunni Arab regimes in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco. 

*Recently, the Ayatollahs have intensified their attempts to topple Jordan’s pro-US Hashemite regime, which would complete the encircling of Saudi Arabia by Iran and its proxies (in Yemen, Iraq and Syria), and radically aggravate lethal threats to Israel. The Ayatollahs activate their terror-proxies in Jordan-bordering Iraq and Syria, as well as the terror potential among the 2 million Syrian refugees in northern Jordan.  In addition, the Ayatollahs have forged ties with the subversive infrastructure of the Jordan-based Moslem Brotherhood, and leverage the fragmentation among Jordan’s Bedouin tribes, and the history of confrontations between the Hashemite regime and its Palestinian majority. 

*The dramatic catapulting of Iran’s Ayatollahs to a dramatic regional and global prominence – since their February ascension to power – has been largely a derivative of the US State Department’s policy.  This policy has adhered to the diplomatic option, opposing the regime-change option, irrespective of the Ayatollahs’ systematic anti-US track record of regional and global terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and proliferation of advanced military technologies. It is based on an alternate reality, whereby a financial and diplomatic bonanza could induce the Ayatollahs to accept peaceful coexistence, become good faith negotiators and abandon their 1,400-year-old vision.

*While the US attempts to deter Iran’s Ayatollahs (“Don’t”), the State Department has waived and softened economic sanctions on Iran, which has rewarded Tehran with well over $100bn, which have been mostly channeled to the Ayatollahs’ anti-US policy.

*Simultaneously, the State Department is pressuring Israel to limit its independent military actions against Iran, to replace the military option toward Hamas with the diplomatic option, and to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state. The State Department aims to impose on Israel its own alternate reality, ignoring the volcanic, violently unpredictable Middle East reality; thus, eroding Israel’s posture of deterrence, which would yield a robust tailwind to terrorism and wars, posing a Iranian-Palestinian death sentence to the pro-US Hashemite regime in Jordan, transforming Jordan into a platform of Islamic terrorism, which would constitute a lethal threat to Saudi Arabia and all other pro-US Arab regimes.

*In the face of pressure Israel should prefer long-term national security over short-term convenience.

*For instance, during the several Israel-Hamas wars of the last 17 years, effective US pressure snatched Hamas from the jaws of defeat. It dramatically bolstered Hamas capabilities, facilitating the October 7, 2024 massacre of 1,200 Israeli civilians (equal to 40,000 American civilians). On the other hand, Israel’s repelling of the 1981 US brutal pressure, and bombing Iraq’s nuclear reactor, in defiance of US (realized) threats to withhold the supply of combat aircraft and suspend defense cooperation agreements, freed pro-US Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman from a lethal Iraqi nuclear threat, and spared the US in 1991 a potential nuclear confrontation with Iraq.

*Since 1948, Israel fended off a series of US pressures, which would have corroded Israel’s posture of deterrence, denying the US the largest American aircraft carrier, which does not require a single American on board.

For example:

*Spurning US pressure to refrain from the 1967 preemptive war, which decimated the Egyptian military, when the pro-Soviet Egypt was about to topple the pro-US, oil-producing Arab regimes of the Arabian Peninsula (at a time when the US was heavily dependent on Gulf oil).

*Fending off US pressure to rescind the 1981 application of the Israeli law to – and retreat from – the Golan Heights, which has bolstered Israel’s capabilities to constrain the military maneuverability of Iran and Syria and emerge as an effective line of defense of Jordan’s pro-US Hashemite regime and the Arab Gulf States.

*Rebuffing US pressure to end the 1949 ”occupation” of West Jerusalem, the Western Galilee and major parts of the coastal plain and the Negev, which would have transformed Israel into a strategic burden, fully dependent upon active US military personnel for protection.

*The track record of US pressure demonstrates that succumbing to pressure injures Israel’s national security, while defying pressure safeguards Israel’s national security and advances vital US interests.

*During the 1991 First Gulf War, the US pressured Israel to avoid reacting to Iraq’s Scud missiles. Prime Minister Shamir acceded, because it was, primarily, a US war against Saddam Hussein and for the liberation of Kuwait. In 2024, the US pressures Israel to avoid a significant military preemption against Iran’s Ayatollahs, despite the fact that – unlike 1991 – this is, primarily, Israel’s war against Iran’s Ayatollahs.

The bottom line

*Middle East reality, in particular, and military precedents, in general, behoove Israel to shun military reaction, containment and surgical offensive, and preempt enemies (irrespective of US pressure), which are driven by deeply-rooted fanatic ideologies, that focus on the existencenot the size – of the Jewish State.

*Moreover, the cost of today’s preemption would be dwarfed by the cost of reacting to a significantly-upgraded, and possibly nuclear, Iran.

*A precondition for cooling off the regional and global impact of the volcanic Middle East reality, and for reducing the threat of Islamic terrorism on the US soil, and for ending oppression of women and ethnic and religious minorities in Iran is changing – not negotiating with – the regime in Iran.

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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

Passover Guide for the Perplexed 2024

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
April 18, 2024

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1. Passover (April 22-30, 2024) is a Jewish national liberation holiday, highlighting the Exodus, the Parting of the Sea, the Ten Commandments, the 40-year-wandering in the desert, and the reentry to the Land of Israel 3,600 years ago.

2. The Abolitionist and human rights movements were spurred by the Passover Exodus. For example,  in 1850, Harriet Tubman, who was one of the leaders of the “Underground Railroad” – an Exodus of Afro-American slaves to freedom – was known as “Mama Moses.” Moreover, on December 11, 1964, upon accepting the Nobel Prize, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “The Bible tells the thrilling story of how Moses stood in Pharaoh’s court centuries ago and cried, ‘Let my people go!’” Furthermore, Paul Robeson and Louis Armstrong leveraged the liberty theme of Passover through the lyrics: “When Israel was in Egypt’s land, let my people go! Oppressed so hard they could not stand, let my people go! Go down Moses, way down in Egypt’s land; tell old Pharaoh to let my people go….!” 

3. The US Founding Fathers were inspired by the Exodus, in particular, and the Mosaic legacy, in general, shaping the Federalist system, including the concepts of (anti-monarchy) limited government, separation of powers among three co-equal branches of government, featuring Congress, as the most powerful legislature in the world. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense – “the cement of the 1776 Revolution” – referred to King George III as “the hardened, sullen-tempered Pharaoh of England.” And, the Early Pilgrims considered their 10-week-sail in the Atlantic ocean as “the modern day Parting of the Sea,” and their destination as “the modern day Promised Land” and “the New Israel.”  

4. The US Founding Fathers deemed it appropriate to engrave the essence of the Biblical role model of liberty (the Passover-related Jubilee) on the Liberty Bell: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof (Leviticus, 25:10).”    The Jubilee is commemorated every 50 years, and the Liberty Bell was installed in 1751 upon the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s Charter of Privileges.  

  • Moreover, there are 50 States in the United States, whose Hebrew name is “The States of the Covenant” (Artzot Habreet -ארצות הברית ). Also, the Exodus is mentioned 50 times in the Five Books of Moses; Moses received (on Mount Sinai) 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.
  • 5. According to Heinrich Heine, the 19th century German poet, “Since the Exodus, freedom has always spoken with a Hebrew accent.”  
  • 6. According to the late Prof. Yehudah Elitzur, one of Israel’s pioneers of Biblical research, the Exodus took place in the second half of the 15th century BCE, during the reign of Egypt’s Amenhotep II. Accordingly, the 40-year-national coalescing of the Jewish people – while wandering in the desert – took place when Egypt was ruled by Thutmose IV. Then, Joshua conquered Canaan when Egypt was ruled by Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV, who were preoccupied with domestic affairs to the extent that they refrained from expansionist ventures. Moreover, as documented by letters which were discovered in Tel el Amarna, the capital city of ancient Egypt, the 14th century BCE Pharaoh, Amenhotep IV, was informed by the rulers of Jerusalem, Samaria and other parts of Canaan, about a military offensive launched by the “Habirus” (Hebrews and other Semitic tribes), which corresponded to the timing of Joshua’s offensive against the same rulers. Amenhotep IV was a determined reformer, who introduced monotheism, possibly influenced by the ground-breaking and game-changing legacy of Moses and the Exodus.  

7. Passover aims at coalescing the fabrics of the Jewish family and the Jewish people, commemorating and strengthening Jewish roots, and enhancing core values such as faith, humility, education, defiance of odds, can-do mentality, optimism, and patriotism, which are prerequisites to a free and vibrant society.

8. Passover highlights the unique resilience, which has surged the Jewish people to new heights (for the benefit of all of humanity) following a multitude of crises such as: the 722 BCE destruction and exile of the Kingdom of Israel by Assyria, the 586 BCE destruction of the First Temple by Babylon, the 70 AD destruction of the Second Temple by Rome, the 135 crushing of the Bar Kochba’ rebellion against Rome, the 484, 1736 and 1865 pogroms of the Jews in Persia, the 627 massacre of the Jewish tribe of Quraysh by Muhammed, the 873 pogroms by Byzantine, the 1096 First Crusade’s pogroms, the 1141 pogroms in Moslem-ruled Andalusia, the 1147 Second Crusade’s pogroms, the 1189  Third Crusade, the 1198 forced Islamization of Jews in Yemen, the 1248 pogroms in Baghdad, the 1290 expulsion of England’s Jews, the 1306 expulsion of France’s Jews, the 1492 expulsion of Spain’s Jews, the 1496 expulsion of Portugal’s Jews, the 1648 pogroms of Ukraine’s Jews, the 1881 pogroms of Russia’s and Ukraine’s Jews, the 1903 pogroms in Russia, the 1919 pogroms in Ukraine, the 1929 Arab terror in Hebron, the 1938 Kristallnacht pogroms in Germany and Austria, the January 20, 1942 Wannsee Nazi Conference which presented “the Final Solution of the Jewish Question.”     

9. Passover highlights the central role of women in Jewish history.  For instance, Yocheved, Moses’ mother, hid Moses and then breastfed him at the palace of Pharaoh, posing as a nursemaid.  Miriam, Moses’ older sister, was her brother’s keeper.  Batyah, the daughter of Pharaoh, saved and adopted Moses (Numbers 2:1-10).  Shifrah and Pou’ah, two Jewish midwives, risked their lives, sparing the lives of Jewish male babies, in violation of Pharaoh’s command (Numbers 1:15-19).  Tziporah, a daughter of Jethro and Moses’ wife, saved the life of Moses and set him back on the Jewish course (Numbers, 4:24-27). They followed in the footsteps of Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel, the Matriarchs (who engineered, in many respects, the roadmap of the Patriarchs), and inspired future leaders such as Deborah (the Prophetess, Judge and military commander), Hannah (Samuel’s mother), Yael (who killed Sisera, the Canaanite General) and Queen Esther, the heroine of Purim and one of the seven Biblical Jewish Prophetesses (Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah and Esther).

  1. 10. Passover is the first of the three Jewish pilgrimages to Jerusalem, followed by Shavou’ot (Pentecost), which commemorates the receipt of the Ten Commandments, and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), which was named after Sukkota – the first stop in the Exodus.
  2. 11. Jerusalem is mentioned three times in the annual story of Passover (Haggadah), which is concluded by the vow: “Next Year in the reconstructed Jerusalem!”
  3. United 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

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