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.
In 1991, the Chairman of the Joint C-o-S, Colin Powell, convinced President Bush #41 to abort the Gulf War, thus perpetuating the terror regime of Saddam Hussein. Consequently, the deterrence posture of the US was severely eroded, the anti-US wave of terror was drastically emboldened, climaxing on 9/11. Moreover, Saddam has evolved into a potential nuclear power, threatening US national security and requiring a US military effort, larger than the 1991 Gulf War.
In 2002, Secretary of State, Colin Powell, attempts to convince President Bush #43 to pressure Israel into a premature conclusion of its war on Palestinian terrorism, which would perpetuate the terror regime of the Palestinian Authority/PLO. Repeating, rather than avoiding, the Powell errors of 1991 would deal another blow to Israel’s power of deterrence. It would expose Israel to a wave of a re-charged Palestinian terrorism, which would dwarf the murder of the 28 Israeli civilians during the March 27, 2002 Passover Massacre (proportionally, 850 Americans!) and the 750 Israelis killed since the signing of the Oslo Accords (proportionally, 22,500 Americans!). Acceding to Powell’s pressure would undermine regional stability and would force Israel – in a few months – to launch a much costlier war on terrorism than the one currently conducted.
Secretary of State Powell is a key player in the Bush Administration, a decorated warrior. But, he has not been perceived – by the Administration – as the luminary on issues of national and international security. Powell has not been a dominant policy initiator, molder and executor as were Jim Baker, George Schultz and Henry Kissinger. He has not reflected authentically the views of the President (on international relations as well as on abortion) as did Madlyn Albright. He has not shared the special personal chemistry with the President, as was the case with his predecessors and as has been the case with Condoleezza Rice. While Kissinger and Baker overshadowed the Vice Presidents, Secretaries of Defense and Advisors on National Security, Powell is serving along with the most influential Vice President in the history of the US. He serves side-by-side with an authoritative Secretary of Defense, who has risen in stature since 9/11, and with an Advisor on National Security who has been – since 1999 – President Bush’s mentor on international relations. The limits to Secretary Powell’s clout in the Administration were initially apparent when the President appointed Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz, in spite of Powell’s explicit objection, and due to Cheney’s insistence. He also had to accept, grudgingly, the appointment of John Bolton as his own Undersecretary for International Security.
However, one should not underestimate the influence of Powell, who has persuaded President Bush to enhance his own involvement in the political process between Israel and the PLO, to enunciate “the vision of a Palestinian state,” and to agree to meet Arafat at the UN. 9/11 has precluded the Bush-Arafat meeting, but has not altered the direction of Powell’s policy, as was proclaimed during his November 19 speech at the University of Kentucky (“end of Israeli occupation”, “Palestinian state”, etc. In order to comprehend Powell’s courting of Arafat, and his tireless efforts to save the skin of Arafat and the PLO/PA, in spite of their staggeringly criminal track record, one should examine Powell’s world view, as reflected in his attitude toward Afghanistan and Iraq.
Contrary to the President, Vice President and Secretary of Defense, who believe that terrorists must be eliminated, Powell believes that terrorists could be integrated. Hence, he disputed the merit of the total obliteration of the Taliban, suggesting that the Taliban could join a coalition government in Afghanistan. He attempted to delay the US bombing of Taliban positions, until a future political settlement is formulated. And, he tried to prevent the takeover of Kabul by the Northern Front, lest there be negative repercussion upon the stability of the region.
In 1990, Powell dismissed much of the intelligence on Saddam’s offensive intentions against Kuwait. He opposed a show of force by the US Navy in the Persian Gulf, which could have deterred Saddam’s belligerence. Following Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, Powell objected to the war on Iraq, and played a key role in the premature ending of the war, lest it ostensibly exacerbate instability in the area. His recommendation to lower the US profile in the war on Saddam, facilitated the massacre – by Saddam – of his Shi’ite and Kurdish opposition and the elimination of the CIA infrastructure in Iraq. As a Secretary of State, Powell has attempted to reduce the scope of sanctions against Iraq and the inspection over the no-fly zone. He has argued against the campaign to expose Saddam’s complicity with 9/11, and has lobbied against the expansion of the US war on terrorism into Iraq, since it would, supposedly, undermine US attempts to galvanize an Arab coalition against terrorism.
Powell is a friend of UN Secretary General, Annan, and – unlike most Americans – he has been supportive of the UN. While Cheney and Rumsfeld have supported unilateral US military actions against the threats of Islamic terrorism, ballistic missiles, Iraq and Iran, Powell has been a proponent of international and multi-lateral initiatives. He has preferred the diplomatic, legal and financial weapon, rather the military weapon. He has been attentive to the advise of Brent Scowcroft and Edward Djeredjian, who served President Bush #41 as the National Security Advisor and Assistant Secretary of State. Both encouraged the courting of Saddam until the day of the invasion of Kuwait, and both opposed the 1991 Gulf War on Saddam. Both were members of the “Arabist” contingency of the administration.
Powell’s appointments have shed light on his world view. His Special Advisor on the Mideast, General (ret.) Anthony Zini, argued against the 1991 Gulf War and cautions against a 2002 war on Saddam. He has considered terrorism to be a diplomatic and a legal – more than a military – problem. He has been a frequent visitor to Arab capitals, especially to Riad, and minimized until recently contacts with Israel and pro-Israel elements in the US. Powell’s Under Secretary for Policy Planning is Richard Haas, who was the Mideast advisor of President Bush #41, and inflamed #41’s negative attitude toward Prime Minister Shamir. Haas has pushed for a total withdrawal by Israel to the 1967 Lines, for the establishment of a Palestinian state, for the repartitioning of Jerusalem and for the dismantling of all Israeli settlements. He has lobbied against a US war on Saddam, and has spoken up against the assistance to Saddam’s Iraqi opposition. He has considered the Iranian regime to be a potentially constructive entity. William Burns, known for his solid contacts with radical Arabs, has been Powell’s Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs. And, Dan Kurtzer, an experienced diplomat, a warm and a committed Jew who has been soft on the PLO, adhering to Peace Now’s philosophy, was appointed by Powell to the post of Ambassador to Israel.
Powell has been known – in military and “Foggy Bottom” circles – to fully identify with his State Department bureaucracy. He has provided a complete support to the bureaucracy of the Department of State, adopting much of its classic positions: political engagement with radical states and organizations, opposition to the massive financing of ballistic missile defense, softening of the policy toward China, North Korea, Iran and Iraq and a full backing of the Oslo Process. Powell has even embraced the lingo of Foggy Bottom: “confidence building measures” (code name for further Israeli territorial concessions), “cycle of violence” (moral equivalence between terrorists and victims), “freeze on settlements” (prejudging outcome of negotiations), “even-handedness” (between a democratic ally and the role-model of terrorism), etc.
Secretary of State Colin Powell has been a committed friend of the Jewish People. However, it is pertinent to recognize his proper role and weight in the Bush Administration, as well as his world view, in order to avoid euphoria or depression in reacting to his pronouncements and meetings with Arafat, a role-model of international terrorism and inter-Arab treachery, a serial violator of commitments, an abuser of human rights, an oppressor of Christians, a money counterfeiter and the corrupt ally of Iraq, Iran, Sudan and other terrorist entities.
President Bush and his administration have outflanked israel from the Right in their hawkish battle against terrorism. During his March 30, 2002 press conference in Crawford Texas, the President repeated five times his support of “Israel’s right to defend itself,” refraining from any explicit or implicit arm-twisting of Israel. In fact, for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001, he has publicly lumped together the US war on Islamic terrorism and Israel’s war on Palestinian terrorism. VP Cheney and Secretary of Defense, Rumsfeld, have often expressed their belief that passivity in face of threats breeds more violence. They support the principle of unilateral – rather than multilateral – military actions in face of threats (ballistic missiles or terrorism), even if the US receives little or no support from its allies. They have frequently heralded the 1981 Israeli bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in Baghdad, as a role-model for unilateral and justifiable military actions. Both consider Arafat and the PLO a destabilizing and a treacherous factor fueling terror and supporting Iraq, Iran and other terrorist regimes. The Administration’s policy toward Israel has been at odds with the entrenched bureaucracy of the Department of State and the traditional editorial policies of the New York Times and the Washington Post.
However, Israel’s inconsistency and indecisiveness, in the battle against terrorism, and in defining its strategic goal (eradication of the PA/PLO/HAMAS infrastructure? separation? autonomy? annexation? Palestinian state?), and the open door left to resumed negotiation with the PA/PLO (terrorists? partners? systematic violators of commitments? murderers? negotiators? hate-mongers?) have made it difficult for President Bush to sustain his positive attitudes. Moreover, the lack of clarity on the part of Israel, has nurtured the counter-productive Zini Mission, which has constituted a major departure from President Bush’s coherent policy of: No Negotiation With Terrorists, No Distinction Between Terrorists And Those Who Harbor Terrorists, and You’re Either With Us Or Against Us In The Fight Against Terrorism!
Rather than implementing a “Six Day War” style swift tactic, Israel seems to have chosen the surgical approach, in order to minimize collateral damage. However, the longer the Israeli war on PA/PLO terrorism, the deeper the impact of the simplistic media coverage, which highlights the pain of the Palestinian population, while minimizing the critical role/responsibility of Palestinian terrorism and the unprecedented scope of its Jewish victims. As the war on Arafat’s, and Arafat-harbored, terrorists lingers on, the speedier the erosion of Israel’s image as The Fastest and The Most Decent Gun In Town (“Six Day War”, Entebbe’s “Jonathan Operation”, the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor, etc.). The more cautious and protracted is the Israeli war on Palestinian terrorists, the more exposed is the Texan President to pressures by former President Bush, Jim Baker, Brent Scowcroft, Secretary of State Powell, major oil companies, Saudi Arabia, West European countries and the UN. So far, the President has adhered to his principled-driven and strategically-motivated policy toward Israel. However, one should recall that the setback to President Reagan’s policy on Israel was accelerated as the 1982/3 war in Lebanon was lingering on. A protracted war of attrition undermines Israel’s self-confidence and posture of deterrence, Israel’s economy and Israel’s personal and national security. It undercuts Israel’s strategic alliance with the US, weakens Israel’s friends and emboldens Israel’s foes and critics.
Never has the Washington political arena been as supportive of a comprehensive swift military campaign to completely obliterate the PA/PLO/Hamas political and terrorist infrastructure, as it has been since 9/11. President Bush has repeatedly echoed a key element of his war on Islamic terrorism: “Any regime that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the USA as a hostile regime.” He has recently added that the Al-Aqsa Brigades, which are led by Arafat, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, which are harbored by Arafat, are terrorist organizations. The obvious conclusion has been that Arafat/PA/PLO should be regarded by the USA as a hostile regime. Bush is not ready, yet, to pronounce such a conclusion publicly, partly because Palestinian terrorism is not the overriding priority for the USA (which it is for Israel). But, Israel has disappointed Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld, awaiting an explicit Green Light from the “Washington Nanny.” Israel is mistaking Green Light for Yellow/Red Light.
Moreover, Israel is currently misinterpreting a glimpse of pressure to be a brutal pressure. Thus, when Clinton exerted pressure on Netanyahu, he conducted a smear campaign to tarnish Netanyahu’s reputation, he threatened to cut foreign aid, to suspend joint military exercises and to cut bi-national projects. When the Bush/Baker team pressured Shamir, they suspended $400MN loan guarantees, denied Israel $10BN loan guarantees, froze a series of legislation which were supposed to expand US-Israel strategic cooperation, brutally criticized AIPAC and viciously attacked Shamir via malicious leaks and briefings. When Reagan pressured Begin following the 1981 bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor, he suspended the supply of aircraft and tanks for six months. When Ford pressured Rabin in order to produce an Israeli withdrawal from critical passes in Sinai, he conducted a reassessment process (marshalling the support of US “elite” media), designed to reduce the scope of US-Israel relations. When the Truman/Marshall team pressured Ben-Gurion to postpone the 1948 Declaration of Independence, they imposed an arms embargo on the region (while Britain shipped arms to Jordan and Iraq), threatened to alter the legal status of Jewish contributions to Jewish causes overseas, and suggested to Ben-Gurion that a declaration of independence would trigger a war, which would cause a second Jewish holocaust within less than a decade. That’s pressure!
However, when President Bush “pressures” Sharon he states that Israel’s military operation against Palestinian terrorism is not helpful, and requests that the operation be suspended until the Iraqi Chapter is over. No sanctions, no arm-twisting, no suspension of projects and no ugly psychological warfare. that’s pressure?
Never has the USA been as sensitive to the mutuality of the Islamic terrorism threat to the USA and to the Jewish State, as has been the case since 9/11. Never has the public standing, in the USA, of Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians been as low as it has been since the WTC and Pentagon Islamic terrorism. Never has Israel’s predicament benefited from such a sympathetic all American combination of a President, Vice President, Defense Secretary, National Security Advisor, Congress and most importantly, the American public. Never has the USA gone through such a drastic and a hawkish mental, operational, legal and legislative reassessment of its counter-terrorist effort, as it has since losing almost 3,000 persons to Islamic terrorists.
But, the irresolute and vacillating Israel of Oslo-Wye-Camp David-Mitchell-Tenet-Zini is yet to leverage the potential stored in post-9/11 USA. Something is flawed in the strategic thinking of a government, which does not conduct a DRASTIC change of course (away from Oslo/PA/PLO) in response to a DRAMATIC American reassessment and to the murder of 700 Israelis (since the Oslo Accords were concluded), which is equal proportionally to the murder of 35,000 Americans!
The unprecedented deterioration of the personal and national security in Jerusalem, Galilee, Acre, Jaffa, Negev and Netzarim, is the direct and lethal outcome of the Oslo Process. The rectification of the erosion in Israel’s national and personal security is preconditioned upon the annulling – and not just suspension – of the Oslo Process. The suspension of the Process has been suggested by spineless politicians. But, it would not solve the security problem; it would only postpone the end…
The Oslo Process was initiated in 1993, a year and a half following the victory over the previous Intifada, which was fought with rocks rather than with firearms. A proper due-diligence of the Oslo Process reveals that is has not been a peace process. Rather, it has been a process of gradual elimination of the Jewish State.
For instance, the Oslo Process was supposed to nurture mutual trust between Israelis and Palestinians. In fact, the Process has become a fertile ground for a systematic and a brutal violation of all PLO commitments, with the scandalous acquiescence of all Israeli prime ministers since 1993. The Process was intended to resolve security problems, eliminate terrorism and advance the cause of peace. Actually, it has exacerbated the security predicament, has facilitated terrorism to an unprecedented scope, has undermined the cause of peace and has intensified the threat of a war with the Arabs in Israel, with the Palestinians and with the Arab States. The Oslo Process was supposed to bolster Israel’s security, but has lethally eroded Israel’s own confidence in its own military capabilities (as if there’s no military solution to PLO terrorism, in spite of the fact that the previous Intifada was defeated militarily). It has also eroded Israel’s power of deterrence and the steadfastness of the politicians who have “led” Israel since 1993.
The erosion of Israel’s power of deterrence and steadfastness capabilities – which are at the foundation of personal and national security – has been deepened simultaneously with the erosion of Israel’s Red Lines. The Process has perpetrated the illusion that concessions and appeasement could substitute military deterrence in the Mideast, the most violent neighborhood in the world. The Oslo Process was intended to enhance Israel’s standing internationally. Instead, it has transformed Israel from the role-model of defiance of terrorism and principled-tenacity in face of threats, into a role model of submission to terrorism, retreat in face of threats and “pragmatic” withdrawal from principles. The Oslo Process was supposed to improve the overall Israeli state-of-mind, but in fact it has shattered self-confidence, has distanced the Jewish State from roots, values and Mideast reality and has weakened Individual commitment to the Collective.
In order to bolster personal and national security – which are the most essential prerequisites for peace – one must turn the clock forward and to resurrect Israel’s posture of deterrence. The problem is not merely local and military; it is primarily systemic and political. In order to resurrect Israel’s posture of deterrence, one must defeat the PLO and to accept the fact that the PLO has not been a partner for peace negotiation. Such a step would terminate the Oslo Process. On the other hand, Prime Minister Barak’s commitment to the Oslo Process precludes a military victory over the PLO. Moreover, the reluctance to defeat the PLO is perceived as weakness, is therefore radicalizing PLO and Arab expectations, resulting in more casualties and gradually dooming the Jewish State. The Oslo Process must be terminated, before it terminates the Jewish State.
Official Palestinian demographic numbers are highly-inflated, as documented by a study, which has audited the Palestinian data since 2004:
*500,000 overseas residents, who have been away for over a year, are included in the Palestinian census, contrary to international regulations. 325,000 were included in the 1997 census, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, and 400,000 in 2005, according to the Palestinian Election Commission. The number grows steadily due to births.
*350,000 East Jerusalem Arabs are doubly-counted – by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority. The number grows daily due to births.
*Over 150,000 Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs are similarly doubly-counted. The number expands daily due to births.
*A 390,000 Arab net-emigration from Judea & Samaria is excluded from the Palestinian census, notwithstanding the annual net-emigration since 1950. For example, 15,466 in 2022, 26,357 – 2019, 15,173 – 2017 and 24,244 – 2014, as documented by Israel’s Population and Migration Authority (exits and entries) in all the land, air and sea international passages.
*A 32% artificial inflation of Palestinian births was documented by the World Bank (page 8, item 6) in a 2006 audit.
*The Judea & Samaria Arab fertility rate has been westernized: from 9 births per woman in the 1960s to 3.02 births in 2021, as documented by the CIA World Factbook. It reflects the sweeping urbanization, growing enrollment of women in higher education, rising marriage age and the use of contraceptives.
*The number of Arab deaths in Judea & Samaria has been under-reported (since the days of the British Mandate) for political and financial reasons.
*The aforementioned data documents 1.4 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, when deducting the aforementioned documented-data from the official Palestinian number (3 million).
In 2023: a 69% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel. In 1947 and 1897: a 39% and 9% Jewish minority. In 2023, a 69% Jewish majority benefiting from fertility tailwind and net-immigration. Arab fertility is Westernized, and Arab net-emigration from Judea and Samaria. No Arab demographic time bomb. A Jewish demographic momentum.
More data in this article and this short video.
Jewish Policy Center’s inFOCUS, Spring, 2023
Saudi-Iranian diplomatic relations
*Riyadh does not allow the resumption of the Saudi-Iranian diplomatic ties to befog the reality of the tenuous and shifty Middle East regimes, policies and agreements, and the inherently subversive, terroristic, anti-Sunni and imperialistic track record of Iran’s Ayatollahs.
*Saudi Arabia is cognizant of the 1,400-year-old fanatic, religious vision of the Ayatollahs, including their most critical strategic goal – since their February 1979 violent ascension to power – of exporting the Shiite Revolution and toppling all “apostate” Sunni Arab regimes, especially the House of Saud. They are aware that neither diplomatic, nor financial, short term benefits transcend the deeply-rooted, long term Ayatollahs’ anti-Sunni vision.
*Irrespective of its recent agreement with Iran – and the accompanying moderate diplomatic rhetoric – Saudi Arabia does not subscribe to the “New Middle East” and “end of interstate wars” Pollyannaish state of mind. The Saudis adhere to the 1,400-year-old reality of the unpredictably intolerant and violent inter-Arab/Muslim reality (as well as the Russia-Ukraine reality).
*This is not the first resumption of Saudi-Iranian diplomatic ties, which were previously severed in 1988 and 2016 and followed by the Ayatollahs-induced domestic and regional violence.
*The China-brokered March 2023 resumption of diplomatic ties is a derivative of Saudi Arabia’s national security interests, and its growing frustration with the US’ eroded posture as a reliable diplomatic and military protector against lethal threats.
*The resumption of Saudi-Iranian diplomatic relations constitute a major geo-strategic gain for China and a major setback for the US in a region which, until recently, was perceived as a US domain.
*The US posture of deterrence has been severely undermined by the 2015 nuclear accord (the JCPOA), the 2021 withdrawal/flight from Afghanistan, the systematic courting of three real, clear and lethal threats to the Saudi regime – Iran’s Ayatollahs, the “Muslim Brotherhood” and Yemen’s Houthi terrorists –- while exerting diplomatic and military pressure on the pro-US Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.
*US policy has driven Saudi Arabia (as well as the UAE and Egypt) closer to China and Russia, commercially and militarily, including the potential Chinese construction of civilian nuclear power plants and a hard rock uranium mill in Saudi Arabia, which would advance Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030.”
Saudi “Vision 2030”
*Effective Israel-Saudi Arabia cooperation is a derivative of Saudi Arabia’s national security and economic interests, most notably “Vision 2030.”
*The unprecedented Saudi-Israeli security, technological and commercial cooperation, and the central role played by Saudi Arabia in inducing the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan to conclude peace treaties with Israel, are driven by the Saudi assessment that Israel is an essential ally in the face of real, clear, lethal security threats, as well as a vital partner in the pursuit of economic, technological and diplomatic goals.
*The Saudi-Israel cooperation constitutes a win-win proposition.
*The Saudi-Israel cooperation is driven by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’ (MBS’) “Vision 2030.” He aspires to catapult the kingdom to a regional and global powerhouse of trade and investment, leveraging its geo-strategic position along crucial naval routes between the Far East and Europe (the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Arab Sea and the Red Sea).
*”Vision 2030″ has introduced ground-breaking cultural, social, economic, diplomatic and national security reforms and upgrades, leveraging the unique added-value of Israel’s technological and military capabilities.
*Saudi Arabia, just like the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, are preoccupied with the challenge of economic diversification, realizing that they are overly-reliant on oil and natural gas, which are exposed to price-volatility, depletion and could be replaced by emerging cleaner and more cost-effective energy. They consider Israel’s ground-breaking technologies as a most effective vehicle to diversify their economy, create more jobs in non-energy sectors, and establish a base for alternative sources of national income, while bolstering homeland and national security.
*”Vision 2030″ defies traditional Saudi religious, cultural and social norms. Its future, as well as the future of Saudi-Israel cooperation, depend on Saudi domestic stability and the legitimacy of MBS. The latter is determined to overcome and de-sanctify the fundamentalist Wahhabis in central and southwestern Saudi Arabia, who were perceived until recently as the Islamic authority in Saudi Arabia, and an essential ally of the House of Saud since 1744.
“Vision 2030”, the Middle East and Israel’s added-value
*MBS’ ambitious strategy is preconditioned upon reducing regional instability and minimizing domestic and regional threats. These threats include the Ayatollahs regime of Iran, “Muslim Brotherhood” terrorists, Iran-supported domestic Shiite subversion (in the oil-rich Eastern Province), Iran-based Al Qaeda, Iran-supported Houthis in Yemen, Iran-supported Hezbollah, the proposed Palestinian state (which features a rogue intra-Arab track record), and Erdogan’ aspirations to resurrect the Ottoman Empire, which controlled large parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Currently, Erdogan maintains close security and political ties with the “Muslim Brotherhood” and the pro-Iran and pro-“Muslim Brotherhood” Qatar, while confronting Saudi Arabia in Libya, where they are both involved in a series of civil wars.
*Notwithstanding the March 2023 resumption of diplomatic ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia is aware that the Middle East resembles a volcano, which frequently releases explosive lava – domestically and regionally – in an unpredictable manner, as evidenced by the Arab Tsunami, which erupted in 2010 and is still raging on the Arab Street.
*The survival of the Saudi regime, and the implementation of “Vision 2030,” depend upon Riyadh’s ability to form an effective coalition against rogue regimes. However, Saudi Arabia is frustrated by the recent erosion of the US’ posture of deterrence, as demonstrated by the 43-year-old US addiction to the diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs; the US’ limited reaction to Iranian aggression against US and Saudi targets; the US’ embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood; and the US’ appeasement of the Ayatollahs-backed Houthi terrorists. In addition, the Saudis are alarmed by the ineffectiveness of NATO (No Action Talk Only?), European vacillation in the face of Islamic terrorism, and the vulnerability of the Arab regimes. This geo-strategic reality has driven the Saudis (reluctantly) closer to China and Russia, militarily and commercially.
*Against this regional and global backdrop, Israel stands out as the most reliable “life insurance agent” and an essential strategic ally, irrespective of past conflicts and the Palestinian issue. The latter is considered by the Saudi Crown Prince as a secondary or tertiary issue.
*In addition, the Saudis face economic and diplomatic challenges – which could benefit from Israel’s cooperation and can-do mentality – such as economic diversification, innovative technology, agriculture, irrigation and enhanced access to advanced US military systems, which may be advanced via Israel’s stature on Capitol Hill.
*The Saudi interest in expanding military, training, intelligence, counter-terrorism and commercial cooperation with Israel has been a byproduct of its high regard for Israel’s posture of deterrence and muscle-flexing in the face of Iran’s Ayatollahs (in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran itself); and Israel’s systematic war on Palestinian and Islamic terrorism. Furthermore, the Saudis respect Israel’s occasional defiance of US pressure, including Israel’s high-profiled opposition to the 2015 JCPOA and Israel’s 1981 and 2007 bombing of Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors, which spared the Saudis (and the US) the devastating wrath of a nuclear Saddam Hussein and a nuclear Assad.
*A deterring and defiant Israel is a cardinal force-multiplier for Saudi Arabia (as it is for the US). On the other hand, an appeasing and retreating Israel would be irrelevant to Saudi Arabia’s national security (as it would be for the US).
*On a rainy day, MBS (just like the US) prefers a deterring and defiant Israel on his side.
Saudi interests and the Palestinian issue
*As documented by the aforementioned data, Saudi Arabia’s top national security priorities transcend – and are independent of – the Palestinian issue.
*The expanding Saudi-Israel cooperation, and the key role played by Riyadh in accomplishing the Abraham Accords, have contradicted the Western conventional wisdom. The latter assumes that the Palestinian issue is central to Arab policy makers, and that the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict is preconditioned upon substantial Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, including the establishment of a Palestinian state.
*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, MBS is aware that the Palestinian issue is not the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, neither a crown-jewel of Arab policy-making, nor a core cause of regional turbulence.
*Independent of the pro-Palestinian Saudi talk, Riyadh (just like the Arabs in general) has demonstrated an indifferent-to-negative walk toward the Palestinians. Arabs know that – in the Middle East – one does not pay custom on words. Therefore, the Arabs have never flexed a military (and barely financial and diplomatic) muscle on behalf of the Palestinians. They have acted in accordance with their own – not Palestinian – interests, and certainly not in accordance with Western misperceptions of the Middle East.
*Unlike the Western establishment, MBS accords critical weight to the Palestinian intra-Arab track record, which is top heavy on subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude. For instance, the Saudis don’t forget and don’t forgive the Palestinian collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which was the most generous Arab host for Palestinians. The Saudis are also cognizant of the deeply-rooted Palestinian collaboration with Islamic, Asian, African, European and Latin American terror organizations, including “Muslim Brotherhood” terrorists and Iran’s Ayatollahs (whose machetes are at the throat of the House of Saud), North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela. The Saudis are convinced that the proposed Palestinian state cannot be different than the Palestinian rogue track record, which would add fuel to the Middle East fire, threatening the relatively-moderate Arab regimes.
Saudi Arabia and the Abraham Accords
*Saudi Arabia has served as the primary engine behind Israel’s peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan, and has forged unprecedented defense and commercial cooperation with Israel, consistent with the Saudi order of national priorities.
*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, the Saudis do not sacrifice Middle East reality and their national security interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue.
*The success of the Saudi-supported Abraham Accords was a result of avoiding the systematic mistakes committed by Western policy makers, which produced a litany of failed Israeli-Arab peace proposals, centered on the Palestinian issue. Learning from prior mistakes, the Abraham accords focused on Arab interests, bypassing the Palestinian issue, avoiding a Palestinian veto.
*Therefore, the durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the interests of the respective Arab countries, and not on the Palestinian issue, which is not a top priority for any Arab country.
*The durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the stability of Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries which signed the Abraham Accords. Their stability is threatened by the volcanic nature of the unstable, highly-fragmented, unpredictable, violently intolerant, non-democratic and tenuous Middle East.
*The tenuous nature of most Arab/Muslim regimes in the Middle East yields tenuous policies and tenuous accords. For example, in addition to the Arab Tsunami of 2010 (which is still raging on the Arab Street), non-ballot regime-change occurred (with a dramatic change of policy) in Egypt (2013, 2012, 1952), Iran (1979, 1953), Iraq (2003, 1968, 1963-twice, 1958), Libya (2011, 1969) and Yemen (a civil war since the ’90s, 1990, 1962), etc.
*Bearing in mind the intra-Arab Palestinian track record, regional instability, the national security of Saudi Arabia, the Abraham Accords and US interests would be severely undermined by the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. It would topple the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River; transform Jordan into a chaotic state in the vein of the uncontrollable Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; and produce another platform of regional and global Islamic terrorism, which would be leveraged by Iran’s Ayatollahs, in order to tighten their encirclement of Saudi Arabia. This would trigger a domino scenario, which would threaten every pro-US Arab oil-producing country in the Arabian Peninsula, jeopardizing the supply of Persian Gulf oil; threaten global trade; and yield a robust tailwind to Iran’s Ayatollahs, Russia and China and a major headwind to the US and its Arab Sunni allies, headed by Saudi Arabia.
*Why would Saudi Arabia and the Arab regimes of the Abraham Accords precondition their critical ties with Israel upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, which they view as a rogue element? Why would they sacrifice their national security and economic interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue? Why would they cut off their noses to spite their faces?
The well-documented fact that Arabs have never flexed a military muscle (and hardly a significant financial and diplomatic muscles) on behalf of the Palestinians, provides a resounding answer!
Israel-Saudi cooperation and Israel’s national security interests
*Notwithstanding the importance of Israel’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia, it takes a back seat to Israel’s critical need to safeguard/control the geographic cradle of its history, religion and culture, which coincides with its minimal security requirements in the volcanic Middle East: the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (West Bank), which dominate the 8-15-mile-sliver of pre-1967 Israel.
*The tenuously unpredictable Middle East reality defines peace accords as variable components of national security, unlike topography and geography (e.g., the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights) which are fixed components of Israel’s minimal security requirements in the non-Western-like Middle East. Israel’s fixed components of national security have dramatically enhanced its posture of deterrence. They transformed the Jewish State into a unique force and dollar multiplier for the US.
*An Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty would be rendered impractical if it required Israel to concede the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which would relegate Israel from a terror and war-deterring force multiplier for the US to a terror and war-inducing burden upon the US.
*Contrary to the Western (mis)perception of Israel-Arab peace treaties as pillars of national security, the unpredictably-violent Middle East features a 1,400-year-old reality of transient (non-democratic, one-bullet, not one-ballot) Arab regimes, policies and accords. Thus, as desirable as Israel-Arab peace treaties are, they must not entail the sacrifice of Israel’s most critical national security feature: the permanent topography of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which dominate 80% of Israel’s population and infrastructure.
*In June and December of 1981, Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor and applied its law to the Golan Heights, in defiance of the Western foreign policy establishment. The latter warned that such actions would force Egypt to abandon its 1979 peace treaty with Israel. However, Egypt adhered to its national security priorities, sustaining the peace treaty. Routinely, Western policy makers warn that construction in Jerusalem (beyond the “Green Line”) and in Judea and Samaria would trigger a terroristic volcano and push the Arabs away from their peace treaties with Israel.
*None of the warnings materialized, since Arabs act in accordance with their own interests; not in accordance with Western misperceptions and the rogue Palestinian agenda.
US departure from the recognition of a United Jerusalem as the exclusive capital of the Jewish State, and the site of the US Embassy to Israel, would be consistent with the track record of the State Department, which has been systematically wrong on Middle East issues, such as its opposition to the establishment of the Jewish State; stabbing the back of the pro-US Shah of Iran and Mubarak of Egypt, and pressuring the pro-US Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while courting the anti-US Ayatollahs of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Arafat, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the Houthis of Yemen; transforming Libya into a platform of global Islamic terrorism and civil wars; etc..
However, such departure would violate US law, defy a 3,000 year old reality – documented by a litany of archeological sites and a multitude of documents from Biblical time until today – spurn US history and geography, and undermine US national and homeland security.
United Jerusalem and the US law
Establishing a US Consulate General in Jerusalem – which would be a de facto US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority – would violate the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which became US law on November 8, 1995 with substantially more than a veto-override majority on Capitol Hill.
According to the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which enjoys massive support among the US population and, therefore, in both chambers of Congress:
“Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….
“Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the state of Israel; and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem….
“In 1990, Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that Congress ‘strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….’
“In 1992, the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 113… to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and reaffirming Congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city….
“In 1996, the state of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry….
“The term ‘United States Embassy’ means the offices of the United States diplomatic mission and the residence of the United States chief of mission.”
United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers
The US Early Pilgrims and Founding Fathers were inspired – in their unification of the 13 colonies – by King David’s unification of the 12 Jewish tribes into a united political entity, and establishing Jerusalem as the capital city, which did not belong to any of the tribes (hence, Washington, DC does not belong to any state). King David entered Jerusalem 3,000 years before modern day US presidents entered the White House and 2,755 years before the US gained its independence.
The impact of Jerusalem on the US founders of the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist system and overall civic life is reflected by the existence, in the US, of 18 Jerusalems (4 in Maryland; 2 in Vermont, Georgia and New York; and 1 in Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Utah, Rhode Island and Tennessee), 32 Salems (the original Biblical name of Jerusalem) and many Zions (a Biblical synonym for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel). Moreover, in the US there are thousands of cities, towns, mountains, cliffs, deserts, national parks and streets bearing Biblical names.
The Jerusalem reality and US interests
Recognizing the Jerusalem reality and adherence to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act – and the subsequent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the site of the US Embassy to Israel – bolstered the US posture of deterrence in defiance of Arab/Islamic pressure and threats.
Contrary to the doomsday assessments by the State Department and the “elite” US media – which have been wrong on most Middle East issues – the May 2018 implementation of the 1995 law did not intensify Palestinian, Arab and Islamic terrorism. State Department “wise men” were equally wrong when they warned that Israel’s 1967 reunification of Jerusalem would ignite a worldwide anti-Israel and anti-US Islamic volcanic eruption.
Adherence to the 1995 law distinguishes the US President, Congress and most Americans from the state of mind of rogue regimes and terror organizations, the anti-US UN, the vacillating Europe, and the cosmopolitan worldview of the State Department, which has systematically played-down the US’ unilateral, independent and (sometimes) defiant national security action.
On the other hand, US procrastination on the implementation of the 1995 law – by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama – eroded the US posture of deterrence, since it was rightly perceived by the world as appeasement in the face of pressure and threats from Arab/Muslim regimes and terrorists. As expected, it radicalized Arab expectations and demands, failed to advance the cause of Israel-Arab peace, fueled Islamic terrorism, and severely undermined US national and homeland security. For example, blowing up the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and murdering 224 persons in August 1998; blowing up the USS Cole destroyer in the port of Aden and murdering 17 US sailors in October 2000; the 9/11 Twin Towers massacre, etc.
Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure
In 1949, President Truman followed Secretary of State Marshall’s policy, pressuring Israel to refrain from annexing West Jerusalem and to accept the internationalization of the ancient capital of the Jewish people.
in 1950, in defiance of brutal US and global pressure to internationalize Jerusalem, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion reacted constructively by proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish State, relocating government agencies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and settling tens of thousands of Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel) in Jerusalem. He upgraded the transportation infrastructure to Jerusalem, erected new Jewish neighborhoods along the 1949 cease fire lines in Jerusalem, and provided the city land reserves for long-term growth.
In 1953, Ben Gurion rebuffed President Eisenhower’s pressure – inspired by Secretary of State Dulles – to refrain from relocating Israel’s Foreign Ministry from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In 1967, President Johnson followed the advice of Secretary of State Rusk – who opposed Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence – highlighting the international status of Jerusalem, and warned Israel against the reunification of Jerusalem and construction in its eastern section. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol adopted Ben Gurion’s statesmanship, fended off the US pressure, reunited Jerusalem, built the first Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines, Ramat Eshkol, in addition to the first wave of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights.
In 1970, President Nixon collaborated with Secretary of State Rogers, attempting to repartition Jerusalem, pressuring Israel to relinquish control of Jerusalem’s Holy Basin, and to stop Israel’s plans to construct additional neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem. However, Prime Minister Golda Meir refused to rescind the reunification of Jerusalem, and proceeded to lay the foundation for additional Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines: Gilo, Ramot Alon, French Hill and Neve’ Yaakov, currently home to 150,000 people.
In 1977-1992, Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir defied US and global pressure, expanding construction in Jerusalem, sending a clear message: “Jerusalem is the exclusive and non-negotiable capital of Israel!”
“[In 1978], at the very end of [Prime Minister Begin’s] successful Camp David talks with President Jimmy Carter and President Anwar Sadat, literally minutes before the signing ceremony, the American president had approached [Begin] with ‘Just one final formal item.’ Sadat, said the president, was asking that Begin put his signature to a simple letter committing him to place Jerusalem on the negotiating table of the final peace accord. ‘I refused to accept the letter, let alone sign it,’ rumbled Begin. ‘If I forgot thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning,’ said [Begin] to the president of the United States of America, ‘and may my tongue cleave to my mouth’ (The Prime Ministers – An Intimate Portrait of Leaders of Israel, 2010)”
In 2021, Prime Minister Bennett should follow in the footsteps of Israel’s Founding Father, Ben Gurion, who stated: “Jerusalem is equal to the whole of the Land of Israel. Jerusalem is not just a central Jewish settlement. Jerusalem is an invaluable global historical symbol. The Jewish People and the entire world shall judge us in accordance with our steadfastness on Jerusalem (“We and Our Neighbors,” p. 175. 1929).”
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The goal of Passover’s liberty was not the subjugation of the Egyptian people, but the defeat of the tyrannical Pharaoh and the veneration of liberty throughout the globe, including in Egypt.
Moses received the Torah – which includes 50 gates of wisdom – 50 days following the Exodus, as celebrated by the Shavou’ot/Pentecost Holiday, 50 days following Passover. Moreover, there are 50 States in the United States, whose Hebrew name is “The States of the Covenant” (Artzot Habreet -ארצות הברית).
Passover aims at coalescing the fabrics of the Jewish family and the Jewish people, commemorating and strengthening Jewish roots, and refreshing and enhancing core values such as faith, humility, education, optimism, defiance of odds and can-do mentality, which are prerequisites to a free and vibrant society.
Passover is an annual reminder that liberty must not be taken for granted.
Jerusalem has been the exclusive capital of the Jewish people since King David established it as his capital, 3,000 years ago.
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A new 8-minute-video: YouTube, Facebook
*Israel’s control of the topographically-dominant mountain ridges of the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria has enhanced Israel’s posture of deterrence, constraining regional violence, transforming Israel into a unique force-multiplier for the US.
*Top Jordanian military officers warned that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into a non-controllable terrorist heaven, generating an anti-US domino scenario in the Arabian Peninsula.
*Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria has eliminated much of the threat (to Jordan) of Judea and Samaria-based Palestinian terrorism.
*Israel’s posture of deterrence emboldens Jordan in the face of domestic and regional threats, sparing the US the need to deploy its own troops, in order to avoid an economic and national security setback.
*The proposed Palestinian state would become the Palestinian straw that would break the pro-US Hashemite back.
*The Palestinian track record of the last 100 years suggests that the proposed Palestinian state would be a rogue entity, adding fuel to the Middle East fire, undermining US interests.
Israel’s and the US’ counter-terrorism
*Islamic and Palestinian terrorism consider Israel as a critical beachhead – and a proxy – of the US in the Middle East and a significant collaborator with the pro-US Arab regimes. They perceive the war on “the infidel Jewish State” as a preview of their more significant war on “the infidel West” and their attempts to topple all pro-US Sunni Arab regimes. Therefore, Islamic and Palestinian terrorism has been engaged in intra-Arab subversion, while systematically collaborating with enemies and rivals of the US and the West (e.g., Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Ayatollah Khomeini, Latin American, European, African and Asian terror organizations, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba). The more robust is Israel’s war on terrorism, the more deterred are the terrorists in their attempts to bring the “infidel” West to submission.
*Islamic and Palestinian terrorism has terrorized Jewish communities in the Land of Israel since the late 19th century, adhering to an annihilationist vision as detailed by the Fatah and PLO charters of 1959 and 1964 (eight and three years before 1967), as well as by the hate-education system, which was installed by Mahmoud Abbas in 1993 following the signing of the Oslo Accord.
*Israel battles Palestinian terrorism (Hamas and the Palestinian Authority) and Islamic terrorism (Iran and Hezbollah), which are not preoccupied with the size – but with the eradication – of the “infidel” Jewish State from “the abode of Islam.”
*Israel and the West fight against deeply-rooted and institutional Islamic and Palestinian terrorism, that is inspired by 1,400-year-old rogue values, which are perpetrated by K-12 hate-education, mosque incitement and official and public idolization of terrorists.
*Israel and the West combat terrorism, that has astutely employed 1,400-year-old Islamic values such the “Taqiya’ ” – which promotes double-speak and dissimulation, as a means to mislead and defeat enemies – and the “Hudna’,” which misrepresents a temporary non-binding ceasefire with “infidels” as if it were a peace treaty.
*Israel and the West confront Islamic and Palestinian terrorism, which is politically, religiously and ideologically led by despotic and rogue regimes, rejecting Western values, such as peaceful-coexistence, democracy, human rights and good-faith negotiation.
*Israel and the West face off against Palestinian and Islamic terrorism, which does not allow lavish financial and diplomatic temptations to transcend intrinsic, fanatic, rogue and annihilationist vision. Moreover, terrorists bite the hands that feed them.
*Israel and the West are not assaulted by despair-driven terrorism, but by hope-driven terrorism – the hope to bring the “infidel” to submission. The aspiration of these terrorists contradicts peaceful-coexistence.
*Israel and the West clash with terrorists, who view gestures, concessions and hesitancy as weakness, which inflames terrorism.
*Israel and the West struggle against terrorism, which is not driven by a particular Israeli or US policy, but by a fanatic vision. Thus, Islamic terrorism afflicted the US during the Clinton and Obama Democratic Administrations, as well as during the Bush and Trump Republican Administrations.
*The US State Department has embraced a “moral equivalence” between Palestinian terrorists – who systematically and deliberately hit civilians, while sometimes hitting soldiers – and Israeli soldiers, who systematically and deliberately hit terrorists, while sometimes, unintentionally, hitting civilians. It emboldens terrorism, which threatens all pro-US Arab regimes, undermining regional stability, benefiting US’ rivals and enemies, while damaging the US.
War on terrorism
*The bolstering of posture of deterrence – rather than hesitancy, restraint, containment and gestures, which inflame terrorism – is a prerequisite for defeating terrorism and advancing the peace process.
*The most effective long-term war on terrorism – operationally, diplomatically, economically and morally – is not a surgical or comprehensive reaction, but a comprehensive and disproportional preemption, targeting the gamut of terroristic infrastructures and capabilities, draining the swamp of terrorism, rather than chasing the mosquitos.
*Containment produces a short-term, false sense of security, followed by a long-term security setback. It is the terrorists’ wet dream, which does not moderate terrorism, but adrenalizes its veins, providing time to bolster its capabilities – a tailwind to terror and a headwind to counter-terrorism. It shakes the confidence in the capability to crush terrorism. Defeating terrorism mandates obliteration of capabilities, not co-existence or containment.
*Containment aims to avoid a multi-front war (Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah and Iran), but it erodes Israel’s posture of deterrence, which brings Israel closer to a multi-front war under much worse conditions.
*Containment erodes Israel’s posture of deterrence in the eyes of the relatively-moderate Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, the Sudan, Jordan and Egypt), which have dramatically enhanced cooperation with Israel due to Israel’s posture of deterrence against mutual threats, such as Iran’s Ayatollahs, the “Muslim Brotherhood” and ISIS terrorists).
*Containment is also a derivative of White House’s and the State Department’s pressure, subordinating national security to diplomatic priorities. It undermines Israel’s posture of deterrence, which plays into the hand of anti-Israel and anti-US rogue regimes. Precedents prove that Israeli defiance of US pressure yields short-term tension, but long-term strategic respect, resulting in expanded strategic cooperation. On a rainy day, the US prefers a defiant, rather than appeasing, strategic ally.
*The 2002 comprehensive counter-terrorism Israeli offensive, and the return of Israel’s Defense Forces to the headquarters of Palestinian terrorism in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) – and not defensive containment and surgical operations – resurrected Israel’s effective war on Palestinian terrorism, which substantially curtailed terrorists’ capabilities to proliferate terrorism in Israel, Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula.
*The containment option intensifies terrorists’ daring, feeds vacillation and the self-destructive “don’t rock the boat” mentality. It erodes steadfastness and confidence in the capabilities to withstand the cost of terrorism, and feeds the suicidal perpetual retreat mentality.
*The addiction to containment is one of the lethal by-products of the 1993 Oslo Accord, which has produced a uniquely effective hot house of terrorism, highlighted by the importation, arming and funding of some 100,000 Palestinian terrorists from Tunisia, the Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria to Gaza, Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, who have unprecedentedly radicalized the Arab population of pre-1967 Israel, established a K-12 hate education system, launched an unparalleled wave of terrorism, and systematically violated agreements.
The bottom line
*The 30 years since the Oslo Accord have featured unprecedented Palestinian hate-education and wave of terrorism. It has demonstrated that a retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria has boosted terrorism; that the Palestinian Authority is not committed to a peace process, but to the destruction of the Jewish State; and that terrorism requires a military, not political, solution. A successful war on terrorism behooves a preemptive offense, not defense, containment and reaction; and that fighting in the terrorists’ own trenches is preferable to fighting in one’s own trenches. No Israeli concessions could satisfy international pressure; and diplomatic popularity is inferior to strategic respect. Avoiding a repeat of the critical post-Oslo errors requires a comprehensive, disproportional, decisive military campaign to uproot – not to coexist with – terroristic infrastructures.
*The historic and national security indispensability of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – which dominate the 8-15-mile sliver of pre-1967 Israel – and the necessity to frustrate Palestinian terrorism, behooves Israel to eliminate any sign of hesitancy and vacillation by expanding the Jewish presence in this most critical area. It will intensify US and global pressure, but as documented by all Prime Ministers from Ben Gurion, through Eshkol, Golda Meir, Begin and Shamir, defiance of pressure results in the enhancement of strategic respect and cooperation.
*The Palestinian track record during the 30 years since the 1993 Oslo Accord has highlighted the violent, unpredictable and anti-US rogue nature of the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, which would force the toppling of the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River. It would transform Jordan into an uncontrollable, chaotic state in the vein of Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, triggering a domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula (south of Jordan), which could topple the pro-US, oil-producing Arab regimes. This would reward Iran’s Ayatollahs, China and Russia, while severely undermining regional and global stability and US economic and national security interests.