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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
May 7, 2024

On April 29, 2024, Secretary of State, Blinken, expressed his hopeful vision: “We continue to work… on a plan to build a just and lasting peace, a pathway to a state of the Palestinians with guarantees for Israel’s security as part of a more integrated and a more secure region… greater stability in this region and to prevent conflict from spreading….”

*However, policy-making should not be based on hope, but on reality. It should be a derivative of Middle East reality, where Iranian, Hezbollah and Palestinian (PLO and Hamas) terrorists are driven by fanatic visions and by an unwavering commitment to bring their enemies to submission. They are not driven by despair, neither by peaceful coexistence with their enemies, nor by life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In the Middle East, deeply-rooted zealot ideologies transcend “money talks.”

*Moreover, reality has documented that terrorists bite the hands that feed them, as demonstrated by Iran’s Ayatollahs (whose rise to power was critically assisted by the US), Afghanistan’s Mujahideen (whose victory over the USSR was enabled by the US), Libya’s Islamic terrorists (who gained power due to a US-led NATO military offensive against Qadhafi), the Palestinian Authority (which was imported by Israel into Judea and Samaria), Hamas (which owes much of its terrorist maneuverability to Israel’s disengagement from Gaza), etc.

*Hence, the failure of all State Department’s Israel-Arab peace proposals, which centered on Palestinian interests, contrary to the successful conclusion of six Israel-Arab peace accords, which centered on Arab national interests, denying Palestinians a veto power over the peace process.

*Secretary Blinken’s hope-based vision of a Palestinian state, which would peacefully-coexist with Israel and Jordan and contribute to regional stability, is detached from the 70-year-old Palestinian intra-Arab track record, the 85-year-old interaction with enemies and rivals of the US (Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Ayatollah Khomeini, Latin American and global terrorism, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, China, the Moslem Brotherhood, etc.), and the 100-year-old anti-Jewish Palestinian terrorism.

*Contrary to Secretary Blinken, who is preoccupied with positive, convenient and speculative future scenarios and with Palestinian talk (with Western movers and shakers), all pro-US Arab leaders are preoccupied with the well-documented Palestinian intra-Arab rogue track record, which has transformed Palestinians into the role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism, ingratitude and treachery.

*Arab leaders are aware that the Palestinian track record means that the proposed Palestinian state would add fuel – not water – to the Middle East fire. In fact, Egypt does not welcome Palestinian migration from Gaza to Sinai, due to many years of Palestinian collaboration with Islamic and global terrorism, as well as the precedent of the 1950s, when Egypt-hosted-Palestinians collaborated with the Moslem Brotherhood, terrorizing their host government.

*Arab leaders are aware that the combination of the Palestinian track record, Jordan’s domestic predicament, and the intensifying Iranian subversion in Jordan, would transform a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River into the terminator of the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River.  This would mutate Jordan into a major platform of anti-US Islamic terrorism, yielding ripple effects into the Arabian Peninsula and the Sinai Desert, threatening the survival of every pro-US Arab oil producing regime, as well as Egypt. This would yield a strategic bonanza to Iran’s Ayatollahs, Moslem Brotherhood terrorists, Russia and China, while causing a critical setback to all pro-US Arab regimes, and the US’ economy, national and homeland security.  

*Contrary to Secretary Blinken, Arab policy-makers are driven by Palestinian walk, not talk. They know that, in the Middle East, on words one does not pay custom. Furthermore, Arab policy toward the proposed Palestinian state is not reflected by the Arab talk – which has warmly embraced the Palestinians since 1948 – but by the Arab walk, which has refrained – since 1948 – from any tangible initiative to advance the cause of a Palestinian state. For example, all six Israel-Arab peace accords (Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and South Sudan), and Israel’s ground-breaking cooperation with Saudi Arabia, were not preconditioned upon the establishment of a Palestinian state. In addition, the November 2024 joint summit of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation rejected a proposed resolution – by Iran, Algeria and the Palestinian Authority – to suspend all diplomatic, economic, touristic and defense cooperation with Israel. Arabs do not subordinate their own national interests on the Palestinian altar.

*US national and homeland security require a US policy in the Middle East, which is a derivative of the frustrating, violent, intolerant and unpredictable Middle East reality, not a convenient, optimistic alternate reality; a policy which seeks long term security, not short term convenience; avoiding and not repeating past critical mistakes.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
April 10, 2024

The State Department has adhered to the diplomatic option toward Iran, rewarding the Ayatollahs with a financial and diplomatic bonanza, waiving and softening economic sanctions. However, FBI Director Chris Wray has concluded that Iran and its Islamic terrorist proxies are set to hit the US mainland. Iran is leveraging its cooperation with US criminal organizations and with Latin American drug cartels in the areas of terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking and money laundering.

Addressing cadets at the West Point US Military Academy, Wray stated: “The ongoing war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans inside the US to a whole another level…. Although we cannot discount the possibility of another coordinated 9/11-style attack by a foreign terrorist organization, our most immediate concern has been that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home….”

In his testimony at the House Committee on Homeland Security, Director Wray stated: “As the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, the Iranians [who collaborate with all Latin American drug cartels] have directly, or by hiring criminals, mounted assassination attempts against dissidents and high ranking current and former US officials, including right here on American soil…. Hezbollah, Iran’s primary strategic partner, has tried to seed operatives, establish infrastructure and engage in spying here domestically… planning future operations in the US….

“In a year when the terrorism threat was already elevated, the ongoing [Israel-Hamas] war has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the US to a whole other level…. Since October 7, we’ve seen a rogue gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against Americans and our allies. Hezbollah [which trains Latin American drug traffickers in the areas of car bombing and IEDs] threatened to attack US interests in the Middle East. Al-Qaeda issued its most specific call to attack the US….

“Our most immediate concern is that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home. That includes homegrown violent extremists inspired by a foreign terrorist organization…. We cannot discount the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization may exploit the current conflict to conduct attacks here, on our own soil….”

In his testimony at the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Wray highlighted the central role of Iran’s Ayatollahs in the intensified anti-US Islamic terrorism: “Nations such as the PRC, Russia and Iran are becoming more aggressive and more capable than ever before. These nations seek to undermine our core democratic, economic and scientific institutions….[They] conduct sophisticated intelligence operations using coercion, subversion, malign influence, cyber and economic espionage, traditional spying and non-traditional human intelligence collection.  They pose a continuous threat to US national security and our economy by targeting strategic technologies, industries, sectors and critical infrastructure…. [Iran’s collaboration with US criminal organizations] should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with both the scope of Iran’s penetration of the Western hemisphere and its association with TCOs (Transnational Criminal Organizations) at every level.  Understanding both the nature of this new combination requires some knowledge of TCOs, the security apparatus of the Iranian state and their links….”

Col. (ret.) Robert Killebrew of the Center for a New American Security sheds light on the connection between Iran’s Ayatollahs, Hezbollah and Latin American anti-US terrorism and drug trafficking: “That Iran has relationships with TCOs [e.g., MS-13] with deep ties inside the US is a fact…. Hostility toward the US is fundamental to the ideological outlook of Iran’s ruling theocracy, which considers itself at war with the US…. The Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas [aimed to undermine the US posture in Latin America], which includes states like Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua, has forged close military ties with Iran…. Along with senior members of the Venezuelan government, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard is involved in the illicit narcotics trade… training of local forces and in illicit drug trade that weakens the US at home….

“Reports of Iranian activity in South and Central America continue to roll in, along with Hezbollah’s hefty fund-raising and training activities in South America…. The coordinated US response to the growing presence of Iranian agents in Central and South America has been tepid at best…. Despite the presence of the armed forces of a hostile state (Iran) to our south, and clear evidence that those forces will use TCOs to attack targets inside the US, the possibility of converted action against the cartels and, by implication, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard, remains elusive….”

The bottom line:

*There is a direct connection between the US homeland security, on the one hand, and Iran’s Ayatollahs’ anti-US fanatic and imperialistic ideology, their oppression of women and ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, and their role as the leading regional and global epicenter of anti-US terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and proliferation of advance weaponry, on the other hand.

*As documented since their February 1979 rise to power, Iran’s Ayatollahs’ fanatic, religious and imperialistic vision – which aims to bring “The Great American Satan” to submission – transcends any financial and diplomatic bonanza extended by the US.

*While Hamas and Hezbollah constitute a threat to all pro-US Arab regimes, intensify the volcanic nature of the Middle East, and undermine the national and homeland security of the US, it is Iran which is the generator of these terror organizations. Disabling the Iranian generator is a prerequisite for minimizing the wrath of Islamic terrorism.

*The 45-year-old track record of the US diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs – which has bolstered the anti-US capabilities of the Ayatollahs, while undermining US interests – requires a reassessment and a shift to the regime-change option.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
May 22, 2024

*Secretary of State Antony Blinken is a true believer in the diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs. He rules out regime-change and military options, irrespective of the Ayatollahs’ 45-year-old track record of anti-US terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and proliferation of advanced military systems.  

*Currently, Blinken is pressuring Israel to negotiate another ceasefire with Hamas, disregarding the litany of previous ceasefires, which bolstered Hamas’ terror capabilities. He leans on Israel to shift from the military option to the diplomatic option, snatching Hamas from the jaws of obliteration. Such a shift would be perceived by all Middle East entities as a dramatic victory for Hamas and a major defeat for Israel, fueling more terrorism and war against Israel and all pro-US Arab countries, which already have the machetes of Islamic terrorism at their throats. It will also reduce the Arab/Moslem interest to conclude additional peace treaties with Israel, and inspire Islamic terrorism on US soil, as stated by FBI Director, Chris Wray.

According to AP: “In a pair of TV interviews, Secretary Blinken underscored that the United States believes Israeli forces should ‘get out of Gaza…,’ reiterating the longstanding U.S. opposition to the growing Israeli offensive in Rafah.…”  According to PBS: “US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Israeli leaders in his push for a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas…. ‘We are determined to get a ceasefire…. There is a proposal on the table, and as we have said: no delays, no excuses, the time is now….’ The proposal would put a full Israeli withdrawal from Gaza up for discussion….”

*Secretary of State, Antony Blinken is genuinely determined to advance the cause of peace and stability in the Middle East, but he is driven by a speculative future scenario, which is a derivative of an alternate reality, detached from Middle East reality.

*Blinken underestimates the role of the larger context of Hamas’ and Hezbollah’s terrorism, which is critically financed, supplied and trained by Iran’s Ayatollahs, who support and collaborate with anti-US regimes in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, including Latin American drug cartels in Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil.

*Irrespective of the systematically rogue anti-US track record of the Ayatollahs – since toppling the Shah of Iran in February 1979 – Blinken sticks to the diplomatic/negotiation option, which has been a bonanza for Iran’s anti-US strategy.  He refuses to recognize that the Ayatollahs are not partners for peaceful coexistence and good-faith negotiation, but a target for regime-change, which would liberate the oppressed majority of Iran, eliminate the chief threat to the survival of every pro-US Arab regime, eradicate a major hurdle on the way of more Israel-Arab peace accords, and would deprive anti-US global Islamic terrorism of its leading epicenter. A regime change would generate a robust tailwind to regional and global stability and peaceful coexistence.

*Blinken takes lightly the 17-year-long track record of Israel-Hamas confrontations, which documents that ceasefire agreements are leveraged by Hamas to bolster its Moslem Brotherhood directed terror machine.

*Blinken underrates the fact that any policy toward the Israel-Hamas war should be a derivative of the 1,400-year-old intrinsic features of Middle East reality. For instance, the absence of intra-Moslem and intra-Arab peaceful coexistence; the violent intolerance towards “infidels,” “apostates” as well as “believers”; the absence of democracy, human rights and long term compliance with agreements; shifty and unpredictable policies and violence; the tenuous nature of all Arab regimes, which ascend to – and lose – power via the “bullet” (violence), and not via the ballot; the tenuous nature of  these regimes’ policies and accords; the centrality of fanatic ideology, which transcends the Western notion of “money talks;” etc.

*In this frustrating volcanic reality of the Middle East – unlike the much more convenient and predictable State Department’s alternate reality – the most critical component of national security is posture of deterrence, rather than negotiation and peace accords, which are as tenuous as the regimes that conduct them. 

*While a bolstered posture of deterrence minimizes war and terrorism, an eroded posture of deterrence whets the appetite of rogue entities; thus, intensifying war and terrorism, regionally and globally.

*Israel’s posture of deterrence was demolished by its own October 7 debacle(!), and its military strategy since then has aimed to restore it, in order to rebound and avoid eventual destruction.

*Secretary Blinken underrates the centrality of fanatical visions and ideologies in the Middle East, and therefore assumes that constructive negotiation may take place among all parties. He ignores the fact that constructive negotiation may take place between entities, whose vision does not require the elimination of one another. Thus, peace accords were successfully negotiated between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and South Sudan, and Israel-Saudi cooperation has been exceptionally productive.

*None of these agreements were preconditioned upon the establishment of a Palestinian state! Arabs consider the Palestinians as a role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism and treachery, and therefore shower the Palestinian with embracing talk, while the actual walk ranges from indifferent-to-negative.

*These Arab countries would prefer a Middle East devoid of “an infidel” Jewish sovereignty, but the fulfillment of their national visions is not predicated upon the elimination of Israel. In fact, they consider Israel as an effective national security ally in the face of Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Moslem Brotherhood.  

*On the other hand, constructive negotiation cannot take place between Israel and Hamas, since the fulfillment of Hamas’ fanatical vision – as stipulated in the 1988 Hamas charter, its hate-education and mosque-incitement and Hamas’ terrorism – is preconditioned upon the elimination of the “infidel” Jewish State. The same applies to the Palestinian Authority, whose annihilationist vision is stated by the 1964 and 1959 charters of the PLO and Fatah terror organizations – 3 and 8 years before the 1967 War – which are embedded in the PA’s hate education, mosque incitement, the idolization of terrorists and systematic terrorism – calling for the elimination of Israel.

*The US State Department is advised to pay more attention to the reality of the Middle East, and abandon its systematically failing alternate reality.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
May 7, 2024

On April 29, 2024, Secretary of State, Blinken, expressed his hopeful vision: “We continue to work… on a plan to build a just and lasting peace, a pathway to a state of the Palestinians with guarantees for Israel’s security as part of a more integrated and a more secure region… greater stability in this region and to prevent conflict from spreading….”

*However, policy-making should not be based on hope, but on reality. It should be a derivative of Middle East reality, where Iranian, Hezbollah and Palestinian (PLO and Hamas) terrorists are driven by fanatic visions and by an unwavering commitment to bring their enemies to submission. They are not driven by despair, neither by peaceful coexistence with their enemies, nor by life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In the Middle East, deeply-rooted zealot ideologies transcend “money talks.”

*Moreover, reality has documented that terrorists bite the hands that feed them, as demonstrated by Iran’s Ayatollahs (whose rise to power was critically assisted by the US), Afghanistan’s Mujahideen (whose victory over the USSR was enabled by the US), Libya’s Islamic terrorists (who gained power due to a US-led NATO military offensive against Qadhafi), the Palestinian Authority (which was imported by Israel into Judea and Samaria), Hamas (which owes much of its terrorist maneuverability to Israel’s disengagement from Gaza), etc.

*Hence, the failure of all State Department’s Israel-Arab peace proposals, which centered on Palestinian interests, contrary to the successful conclusion of six Israel-Arab peace accords, which centered on Arab national interests, denying Palestinians a veto power over the peace process.

*Secretary Blinken’s hope-based vision of a Palestinian state, which would peacefully-coexist with Israel and Jordan and contribute to regional stability, is detached from the 70-year-old Palestinian intra-Arab track record, the 85-year-old interaction with enemies and rivals of the US (Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Ayatollah Khomeini, Latin American and global terrorism, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, China, the Moslem Brotherhood, etc.), and the 100-year-old anti-Jewish Palestinian terrorism.

*Contrary to Secretary Blinken, who is preoccupied with positive, convenient and speculative future scenarios and with Palestinian talk (with Western movers and shakers), all pro-US Arab leaders are preoccupied with the well-documented Palestinian intra-Arab rogue track record, which has transformed Palestinians into the role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism, ingratitude and treachery.

*Arab leaders are aware that the Palestinian track record means that the proposed Palestinian state would add fuel – not water – to the Middle East fire. In fact, Egypt does not welcome Palestinian migration from Gaza to Sinai, due to many years of Palestinian collaboration with Islamic and global terrorism, as well as the precedent of the 1950s, when Egypt-hosted-Palestinians collaborated with the Moslem Brotherhood, terrorizing their host government.

*Arab leaders are aware that the combination of the Palestinian track record, Jordan’s domestic predicament, and the intensifying Iranian subversion in Jordan, would transform a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River into the terminator of the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River.  This would mutate Jordan into a major platform of anti-US Islamic terrorism, yielding ripple effects into the Arabian Peninsula and the Sinai Desert, threatening the survival of every pro-US Arab oil producing regime, as well as Egypt. This would yield a strategic bonanza to Iran’s Ayatollahs, Moslem Brotherhood terrorists, Russia and China, while causing a critical setback to all pro-US Arab regimes, and the US’ economy, national and homeland security.  

*Contrary to Secretary Blinken, Arab policy-makers are driven by Palestinian walk, not talk. They know that, in the Middle East, on words one does not pay custom. Furthermore, Arab policy toward the proposed Palestinian state is not reflected by the Arab talk – which has warmly embraced the Palestinians since 1948 – but by the Arab walk, which has refrained – since 1948 – from any tangible initiative to advance the cause of a Palestinian state. For example, all six Israel-Arab peace accords (Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and South Sudan), and Israel’s ground-breaking cooperation with Saudi Arabia, were not preconditioned upon the establishment of a Palestinian state. In addition, the November 2024 joint summit of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation rejected a proposed resolution – by Iran, Algeria and the Palestinian Authority – to suspend all diplomatic, economic, touristic and defense cooperation with Israel. Arabs do not subordinate their own national interests on the Palestinian altar.

*US national and homeland security require a US policy in the Middle East, which is a derivative of the frustrating, violent, intolerant and unpredictable Middle East reality, not a convenient, optimistic alternate reality; a policy which seeks long term security, not short term convenience; avoiding and not repeating past critical mistakes.

Support Appreciated

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
April 10, 2024

The State Department has adhered to the diplomatic option toward Iran, rewarding the Ayatollahs with a financial and diplomatic bonanza, waiving and softening economic sanctions. However, FBI Director Chris Wray has concluded that Iran and its Islamic terrorist proxies are set to hit the US mainland. Iran is leveraging its cooperation with US criminal organizations and with Latin American drug cartels in the areas of terrorism, drug trafficking, human trafficking and money laundering.

Addressing cadets at the West Point US Military Academy, Wray stated: “The ongoing war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans inside the US to a whole another level…. Although we cannot discount the possibility of another coordinated 9/11-style attack by a foreign terrorist organization, our most immediate concern has been that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home….”

In his testimony at the House Committee on Homeland Security, Director Wray stated: “As the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, the Iranians [who collaborate with all Latin American drug cartels] have directly, or by hiring criminals, mounted assassination attempts against dissidents and high ranking current and former US officials, including right here on American soil…. Hezbollah, Iran’s primary strategic partner, has tried to seed operatives, establish infrastructure and engage in spying here domestically… planning future operations in the US….

“In a year when the terrorism threat was already elevated, the ongoing [Israel-Hamas] war has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the US to a whole other level…. Since October 7, we’ve seen a rogue gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against Americans and our allies. Hezbollah [which trains Latin American drug traffickers in the areas of car bombing and IEDs] threatened to attack US interests in the Middle East. Al-Qaeda issued its most specific call to attack the US….

“Our most immediate concern is that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home. That includes homegrown violent extremists inspired by a foreign terrorist organization…. We cannot discount the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization may exploit the current conflict to conduct attacks here, on our own soil….”

In his testimony at the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Wray highlighted the central role of Iran’s Ayatollahs in the intensified anti-US Islamic terrorism: “Nations such as the PRC, Russia and Iran are becoming more aggressive and more capable than ever before. These nations seek to undermine our core democratic, economic and scientific institutions….[They] conduct sophisticated intelligence operations using coercion, subversion, malign influence, cyber and economic espionage, traditional spying and non-traditional human intelligence collection.  They pose a continuous threat to US national security and our economy by targeting strategic technologies, industries, sectors and critical infrastructure…. [Iran’s collaboration with US criminal organizations] should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with both the scope of Iran’s penetration of the Western hemisphere and its association with TCOs (Transnational Criminal Organizations) at every level.  Understanding both the nature of this new combination requires some knowledge of TCOs, the security apparatus of the Iranian state and their links….”

Col. (ret.) Robert Killebrew of the Center for a New American Security sheds light on the connection between Iran’s Ayatollahs, Hezbollah and Latin American anti-US terrorism and drug trafficking: “That Iran has relationships with TCOs [e.g., MS-13] with deep ties inside the US is a fact…. Hostility toward the US is fundamental to the ideological outlook of Iran’s ruling theocracy, which considers itself at war with the US…. The Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas [aimed to undermine the US posture in Latin America], which includes states like Cuba, Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua, has forged close military ties with Iran…. Along with senior members of the Venezuelan government, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard is involved in the illicit narcotics trade… training of local forces and in illicit drug trade that weakens the US at home….

“Reports of Iranian activity in South and Central America continue to roll in, along with Hezbollah’s hefty fund-raising and training activities in South America…. The coordinated US response to the growing presence of Iranian agents in Central and South America has been tepid at best…. Despite the presence of the armed forces of a hostile state (Iran) to our south, and clear evidence that those forces will use TCOs to attack targets inside the US, the possibility of converted action against the cartels and, by implication, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard, remains elusive….”

The bottom line:

*There is a direct connection between the US homeland security, on the one hand, and Iran’s Ayatollahs’ anti-US fanatic and imperialistic ideology, their oppression of women and ethnic and religious minorities in Iran, and their role as the leading regional and global epicenter of anti-US terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and proliferation of advance weaponry, on the other hand.

*As documented since their February 1979 rise to power, Iran’s Ayatollahs’ fanatic, religious and imperialistic vision – which aims to bring “The Great American Satan” to submission – transcends any financial and diplomatic bonanza extended by the US.

*While Hamas and Hezbollah constitute a threat to all pro-US Arab regimes, intensify the volcanic nature of the Middle East, and undermine the national and homeland security of the US, it is Iran which is the generator of these terror organizations. Disabling the Iranian generator is a prerequisite for minimizing the wrath of Islamic terrorism.

*The 45-year-old track record of the US diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs – which has bolstered the anti-US capabilities of the Ayatollahs, while undermining US interests – requires a reassessment and a shift to the regime-change option.

Support Appreciated

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
April 3, 2024

State Department confronts Middle East reality

*Since 1978/79, notwithstanding Iran’s anti-US terrorism, drug trafficking and proliferation of advanced military systems, the State Department has persisted in its suspension of disbelief, as reflected by the diplomatic option, which has bolstered Iran’s anti-US rogue operations, increasingly in Latin America. The diplomatic option assumes that the Ayatollahs are amenable to good faith negotiation and peaceful coexistence. It dismisses the regime-change option, and resists the option of a viable military option hovering above the head of Iran’s rogue Ayatollahs. The State Department’s detachment from Middle East reality has been underscored by the suspension of economic (and especially oil export) sanctions, which has yielded to the Ayatollahs’ anti-US rogue machine more than $100BN since February 2021.

*In 2024, the State Department pressures Israel brutally to adopts its own self-destructive policy, aborting the military option – hence the opposition to Israel’s military offensive in Rafah – and replacing it with a diplomatic option toward Hamas, which is a branch of the Moslem Brotherhood (the largest Sunni terror organization, whose vision is to bring the “infidel” West to submission) and a proxy of Iran’s Ayatollahs (whose vision is to bring “The Great American Satan” to submission).

*Since 2010, the State Department has referred to the turbulence on the Arab Street – which is still raging – as “The Arab Spring” and “March of democracy,” failing to grasp the fanatic ideologies feeding the turbulence, which has been an “Arab Tsunami,” that has been a fixture in the volcanic, intolerant, despotic, shifty, tenuous and violently unpredictable Middle East since the 7th century.

*In 2024, the State Department ignores the centrality of the 1,400-year-old fanatical, religious ideologies which are the core of the state of mind, vision, education, policy-making and terrorism of Hamas, the PLO (the Palestinian Authority) and Hezbollah, deluding itself that terrorists are driven by despair, and seek freedom and enhanced standard of living, and therefore should be dealt with by dramatic financial gestures and negotiation, and rewarded by a Palestinian state.

*Thus, the State Department ignores the 1,400-year-old Middle East reality, where terrorists bite the hand that feeds them (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Mujahideen, Saddam Hussein, the PLO, Hamas). 

*Moreover, Middle East reality – contrary to “Middle East alternate reality” – has demonstrated that gestures, concessions and appeasement are perceived as weakness, whetting terrorists’ appetites and intensify terrorism.

*The State Department has ignored the fact that the PLO (the Palestinian Authority) and Hamas share a fanatic vision (as reflected in their charters, school curriculum, mosque sermons, official media, idolization of terrorists, monthly allowances to families of terrorists and actual terrorism), which stipulates the uprooting of the “infidel” Jewish sovereignty from the “abode of Islam,” irrespective of its size, precluding a genuine peace accord with Israel.  On the other hand, Israel has been able to expand commercial and defense ties with Saudi Arabia, and conclude peace accords with Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and the Southern Sudan, since these countries are driven by non-fanatic visions, that do not require the destruction of the Jewish State.

*The State Department’s two-state-solution has played down the PLO’s and Hamas’ annihilationist vision, as well as the rogue intra-Arab track record of the Palestinian leadership. It dwells upon a speculative scenario of peaceful-coexistence – which contradicts the Palestinian track record – whereas in reality no intra-Arab and intra-Moslem peaceful-coexistence has been achieved since the 7th century.

The October 7 debacle and awakening

*The pre-October 7, 2023 Israeli policy embraced the State Department’s diplomatic option and “money talks” policy, offering Hamas generous financial and political gestures. It was seasoned by a series of ceasefires with – rather than the obliteration of – Hamas, as well as defense and retaliation, rather than offense and preemption. Just like the State Department, Israel ignored the dominance of Hamas’ deeply-entrenched ideology over financial and diplomatic benefits.

*Israel’s pre-October 7, 2023 State Department-like detachment from Middle East reality dramatically bolstered Hamas capabilities, which (on October 7) demolished Israel’s posture of deterrence, in a region where posture of deterrence is the most critical component of national security and survival.

*Since October 7, 2023, Israel has attempted – so far successfully – to restore much of its posture of deterrence.  A restoration of Israel’s posture of deterrence – in the volcanic Middle East – mandates the obliteration of Hamas, militarily and politically. Hence, the military operation in Rafah.

*Reality determines that – just like a forest fire – Hamas must be fully obliterated, lest it re-bursts in a most lethal wave of terrorism.  Middle East reality is aware that enabling Hamas to escape obliteration – as aspired by the State Department – would inspire more terrorism on the part of Hamas, Hezbollah, the PLO (the Palestinian Authority) and radical Israeli Arabs. In addition, Hamas’ survival would generate a tailwind to Islamic terrorism against every pro-US Arab regime, as well as against US installations throughout the globe and (as stated by FBI Director, Chris Wray, in the US homeland by “home grown American terrorists.”

*Also, Saudi Arabia and the six countries, which concluded peace accords with Israel, have been induced into defense and commercial ties with Israel, mostly, by Israel’s posture of deterrence in the face of Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Moslem Brotherhood whose machetes are at their throats. Therefore, the full restoration of Israel’s posture of deterrence is a prerequisite for the maintenance and expansion of the Israel-Arab peace process.

*Furthermore, the restoration of Israel’s posture of deterrence, which hinges on Israel’s qualitative military edge (QME), has advanced US interests by allowing the US to minimize its military presence in the region, constraining wars and terrorism, deterring anti-US regional and global entities, minimizing regional instability, and serving as a unique force-multiplier and a battle-tested laboratory for the US armed forces and defense and aerospace industries.

The bottom line

*US and Israeli national security interests behoove both countries to avoid – rather than repeat – past critical mistakes. This would be best-served by a credible military option and adherence to Middle East reality, not to alternate reality, irrespective of how convenient, peaceful and tempting alternate reality may be.

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

*The March 25, 2024 UN Security Council resolution 2728 came in the aftermath of the murder – by Hamas – of 1,300 Israelis on October 7, which is equal to 40,000 Americans murdered on a single day!

*A US abstention facilitated the passage of resolution 2728, which aims to snatch Hamas Palestinian terrorists from the jaws of obliteration, while establishing a Palestinian state. Therefore, it was enthusiastically welcome by Iran’s Ayatollahs, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

*The US abstention reflects the dominance of the cosmopolitan worldview of the State Department in the shaping of US foreign policy and national security policy, subordinating unilateral US national security action to multilateral cooperation with the inherently anti-US UN and the vacillating and terrorist-appeasing Europe.

*The State Department worldview ignores Hamas’ role as the core cause of the current war, an inspiration for Iran, al-Qaeda and ISIS-supported Islamic terrorists, who are planning Hamas-like terror assaults against all Arab regimes, the West, and especially the US, increasingly from Central America.

*The military and political survival of Hamas – compliment of resolution 2728 – would be, rightly, interpreted in the Middle East as a major victory for Islamic terrorism,  and a severe blow to Israel’s posture of deterrence, which would yield an Iran-led terrorist tsunami against Israel and all pro-US Arab countries (e.g., a repeaet of the October 7 horrific terrorism, Hezbollah, Intifada’ # 3 in Judea and Samaria which could reach Tel Aviv, radical Israeli Arabs, and a domestic upheaval in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Morocco). Moreover, an erosion of Israel’s posture of deterrence would injure the peace process with Saudi Arabia, which has been induced by Israel’s viable posture of deterrence in the face of the mutual threats of Iran and the Moslem Brotherhood.  

*According to Blinken, a key component of Security Council resolution 2728 – in addition to “a ceasefire, hostage release and increased humanitarian aid” –  is the establishment of “a clear pathway toward a Palestinian state with security guarantees for Israel… long-term peace and security….”

*However, Blinken’s scenario of a peacefully-coexisting Palestinian state is based on moderate Palestinian diplomatic and media talk and speculative futurePalestinian behavior. But, Middle East reality documents a rogue Palestinian walk (especially vs. Arab countries), which stipulates that the proposed Palestinian state would add fuel, not water, to the Middle East fire. It would undermine the interests of the US and all its Arab allies, while advancing the interests of all US’ rivals and enemies.

*Contrary to Blinken’s eagerness to establish a Palestinian state, all pro-US Arab countries’ walk reflects their view of the Palestinians as a role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism and treachery.

*Blinken’s addiction to the proposed Palestinian state as a venue to peaceful coexistence overlooks the volcanic ramifications of a Palestinian state contiguous to Jordan’s explosive domestic scene: a stormy relations – including a civil war – between the pro-US Hashemite regime and the Palestinian majority; a deeply entrenched Moslem Brotherhood; 2 million Syrian refugees in northern Jordan; intensified Iranian subversion through Iraq and Syria; and deeply fragmented Bedouin community. Thus, a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into an arena of rival terrorist organizations, posing a lethal threat to all pro-US oil-producing Arab regimes in the Arabian Peninsula, jeopardizing the exportation of Persian Gulf oil and global trade, rendering a bonanza to Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Moslem Brotherhood, Russia, China and North Korea, and dealing a blow to the US economy, national and homeland security.

*Secretary Blinken, who is a role model of the State Department worldview, assumes that terrorism should be confronted diplomatically, not militarily, since it is supposedly driven by despair and not by a fanatic ideology. Notwithstanding the 1,400-year-old violently unpredictable, shifty and anti “infidel” Middle East reality (which has yet to experience intra-Moslem peaceful coexistence, and irrespective of the rogue, anti-US track record of the Ayatollahs’ and Palestinian terrorism, Blinken is convinced that dramatic diplomatic and financial gestures (“money talks”) could induce terror regimes to abandon their ideology, accept peaceful-coexistence and good-faith negotiation.

*Secretary Blinken attempts – once again – to appease rogue Middle Eastern entities, by ignoring Middle East precedents, which have documented that terrorists bite the hand that feeds them, as demonstrated by Iran’s Ayatollahs, Afghanistan’s Mujahideen, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Libya’s Islamic terrorists, Palestinian terrorism, etc.

*In defiance of Middle East reality and the Moslem Brotherhood charter and track record since 1928, the State Department refuses to recognize its terroristic nature. Thus, Hamas is a branch of the Moslem Brotherhood, whose vision is to topple all national Moslem regimes, establish a universal Islamic society, with Islam as the only divinely-ordained legitimate religion, and to bring the “infidel” West to submission. Hamas is also a proxy of Iran’s Ayatollahs, whose 1,400-year-old vision mandates the destruction of “the Great American Satan.” Also, the Moslem Brotherhood and Iran’s Ayatollahs have their machetes at the throat of every pro-US Arab regime.

The bottom line

*Will the State Department’s conventional wisdom keep ignoring – or recognize – the march of facts, which has exposed the costly detachment of Foggy Bottom from Middle East reality?

*Will the State Department persists in preferring the multilateral cooperation with the UN and Europe over an independent, unilateral US national security action?

*“Those who experience wake up calls usually discover, in hindsight, that they had received plenty of warning before the poop hit the propeller, but they chose to disregard it…. Whether a wake-up call becomes a boon, or a bane, depends on what you’re willing to learn from it, and whether you’re willing to be moved by experience.” (Greg Levoy, a psychologist and an author).

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
March 5, 2024

Demographic reality contradicts conventional wisdom

*The number of annual Jewish births in Israel surged by 69% from 1995 (80,400) to 2023 (135,639), compared to a 17% increase of annual Arab births in Israel during the same period (from 36,500 to 42,815), as reported by the February 2024 Monthly Bulletin of Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS).

*The 2023 Jewish births (135,639) were 76% of total births (178,454), compared to 69% in 1995.

*In 2024 (based on the 2022 data), the Jewish fertility rate (3.03 births per woman) is higher than the Arab fertility rate (2.75), as it has been since 2016. It is higher than the fertility rates in all Muslim countries other than Iraq and the sub-Sahara Muslim countries.

*In 1969, Israel’s and Judea and Samaria’s (West Bank’s) Arab fertility rate was 6 births higher than the Jewish fertility rate. In 2015, both fertility rates were at 3.13 births per woman, reflecting the dramatic Westernization of Arab demography in Judea and Samaria and pre-1967 Israel, triggered by Arab modernity, urbanization, the enhanced social status of Arab women, older wedding age (24), expanded participation of Arab women in higher-education and the job market, a shorter reproductive time (25-45 rather than 16-55) and the increased use of contraceptives. 

*In 2023, there were 43,353 Israeli Jewish deaths, compared to 31,575 in 1996, a 37% increase, compared to a 43% increase in 2022 (while the size of the population almost doubled!), which reflects a society growing younger. In 2023, there were 6,108 Israeli Arab deaths, compared to 3,089 in 1996, a 98% increase, which reflects a society growing older.  

*In 2023, the number of Israeli Jewish deaths was 32% of Jewish births, compared to 40% in 1995 – an expression of a society growing younger. In 2023, the number of Israeli Arab deaths was 14.3% of Arab births, compared to 8% in 1995 – a symptom of a society growing older.

*Israel’s robust Jewish fertility rate is attributed to high-level optimism, patriotism, attachment to Jewish roots, frontier mentality, communal solidarity, high regard for raising children, and a declining number of abortions (34% decline since 1990, while the policy on abortion is liberal).

*In 2024, there is a potential wave of Aliyah (Jewish immigration) of some 500,000 Olim (Jewish immigrants) from the Ukraine, Russia, other former Soviet republics, West Europe, Argentina, the USA, etc., awaiting the Israeli government recognition of Aliyah as a top national priority (as it was until 1992), resuming a pro-active Aliyah policy. 

*Contrary to conventional wisdom, Israel’s Jewish emigration has declined since 1990, where there was an addition of 14,200 to the number of Israelis staying outside Israel for over a year. In recent years, the annual addition of emigrants has declined to an average of 7,000, while the overall population of Israel doubled itself from almost 5 million to almost 10 million. Thus, in 2020, there was an unusually high addition of 10,800 (probably due to  COVID-19 related travel restrictions), and in 2021 there was an addition of merely 1,400 (due to COVID-19).

*In 2024, contrary to conventional wisdom, Israel’s Jewish demographic momentum since the 1990s is due largely to the rise of fertility in the secular sector, while the ultra-orthodox sector (which has the highest fertility rate) has experienced a moderate decline in fertility rate (since the 1990s due to a gradual integration into the job market and academia), and the modern orthodox’ fertility rate has been stable. Israeli Jewish women are unique in experiencing a direct correlation between a rise of fertility rate, on the one hand, and a rise in urbanization, education and level of income, on the other hand.

*In 2024, Israel is the only Western democracy endowed with a relatively high fertility rate (almost twice as high as in the OECD), that facilitates further economic growth, which is not dependent upon migrant labor.  Moreover, Israel’s thriving demography provides for bolstered national security (larger classes of military recruits), economy, technology and a more confident foreign policy.

*In 2024, the Western establishment persists in reverberating official Palestinian demographic numbers without due-diligence (auditing), ignoring the 100% artificial inflation: inclusion of overseas residents, double-counting of Jerusalem Arabs and Israeli Arabs married to Judea and Samaria Arabs, ignoring the significant net-emigration, inflated births – and deflated deaths – data (as documented below).

Westernization of Arab demography

*A dramatic Westernization of the Arab fertility rate in Israel and in Judea and Samaria features a shift from 9 births per woman in the 1960s to 3 births in 2022 (2.75 in pre-1967 Israel). It reflects the shift from a 70% rural Arab society in 1967 to a 77% urban society in 2024, in general, and the rising status of women, their wedding age (from 15 years old to 24), the substantial use of contraceptives (70% of Arab women in Judea and Samaria) and the shrinking of the reproductive period (from 16-55 to 24-45).

*The median age of Judea and Samaria Arabs is 22 years old, compared to 18 years old in 2005.

*The Westernization of fertility rates has characterized all Muslim countries, other than the sub-Sahara region: Jordan (which is usually similar to Judea and Samaria Arabs) – 2.9 births per woman, Iran – 1.9, Saudi Arabia – 1.89, Morocco – 2.27, Iraq – 3.17, Egypt – 2.76, Yemen – 2.91, United Arab Emirates – 1.62, etc.

*The number of Arab deaths in Judea and Samaria has been systematically under-reported (for political power of clans and financial reasons), as documented by various studies since the British Mandate. For example, a recent Palestinian population census included Arabs who were born in 1845….

*The demographic and policy-making establishment of Israel and the West refrains from auditing the official Palestinian data, and therefore it does not report the following well-documented Palestinian departure from a credible census:

<500,000 overseas residents, who have been away for over a year, are included in the Palestinian population census. However, internationally accepted procedures stipulate only a de-facto count. It was 325,000, as stated by the Head of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in the aftermath of the first Palestinian census of 1997; increasing to 400,000 in 2005, as documented by the Palestinian Election Commission. The number grows daily due to overseas births.

<375,000 East Jerusalem Arabs, who possess Israeli ID cards, are doubly-counted. They are included in the Israeli census as well as in the Palestinian census. The number grows daily due to births.

<Over 150,000 Arabs from Gaza and (mostly) from Judea and Samaria, who married Israeli Arabs and received Israeli ID cards, are doubly-counted counted by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority. The number expands daily because of births.

<413,000 Arab emigrants from Judea and Samaria – since the first 1997 Palestinian census – are not excluded from the population census of the Palestinian Authority. The latter ignores the 20,000 annual net-emigration in recent years of mostly-young-Arabs from Judea and Samaria. Net-emigration has been a systemic feature of the area, at least, since the Jordanian occupation in 1950. For example, 23,445 in 2023, 15,466 in 2022, 28,000 in 2021, 26,357 in 2019, 15,173 in 2017 and 16,393 in 2015, as documented by Israel’s Immigration and Population Authority, which records all Jewish and Arab exists and entries via all of Israel’s 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. While the Palestinian Authority claimed an 8% increase in the number of births, the World Bank detected a 24% decrease.

*The aforementioned data documents 1.55 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, when deducting the aforementioned documented-data (1.7 million) from the official Palestinian number (3.25 million).

The bottom line

*In 2024, in contrast to conventional demographic wisdom, Israel’s Jewish majority in the combined areas of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the pre-1967 Israel is not threatened by a potential “Arab demographic time bomb.” In fact, the Jewish majority in these combined areas benefits from a robust demographic tailwind of fertility rate and net-immigration.  

*The US derives substantial benefits from Israel’s demographic viability. It has enhanced Israel’s strategic capabilities and posture of deterrence, which have transformed Israel into a unique force and dollar multiplier for the US.

*In 1897, there was a 9% Jewish minority in the combined area of pre-1967 Israel, Judea and Samaria, expanding to a 39% minority in 1947. In 2024, there is a 69% Jewish majority (8mn Jews, 2mn Israeli Arabs and 1.55mn Arabs in Judea and Samaria), benefitting from a robust demographic tailwind of births and net-immigration.

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

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
February 21, 2024

*FBI Director Christopher A. Wray visited Israel on February 14, 2024, during the Israel-Hamas and Israel-Hezbollah wars, meeting with leaders of the Mossad, Israel’s Secret Service, and Israel’s National Police in order to benefit from Israel’s unique urban and tunnel warfare experience and battle tactics in the war against Islamic terrorists, who are advancing the vision of Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Moslem Brotherhood.

*Director Wray considers Israel’s as the most effective battle-tested laboratory of the US armed forces, law enforcement agencies and defense industries.

*Director Wray is aware of the Ayatollahs’ and Hezbollas’ growing entrenchment in Mexico, along the US-Mexico border and throughout Latin America. In fact, since the early 1980s, Iran’s Ayatollahs and Hezbollah have entrenched themselves in Latin America, bolstering collaboration with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, all Latin American terror organizations, and each anti-US Latin American government. They supply the drug cartels underground tunnel construction equipment, and train them in the areas of car bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices. In addition, they have leveraged the convoys of illegal aliens from Guatemala to the US-Mexico border, smuggling terrorists and drug traffickers into the US.

*Islamic terrorism has targeted the US since the early 19th century irrespective of US policy and independent of the identity of the US President.  Thus, Islamic terrorism afflicted the US during the presidencies of both Trump and Obama, G.W. Bush and Clinton, Reagan and Carter.

*Hamas is a branch of the Moslem Brotherhood – the largest Sunni terror organization with religious, educational and welfare branches – whose charter aims to topple all national Islamic regimes, establish a universal Islamic society, bring the Western “infidel” – and especially the USA – to submission, and establish Islam as the only legitimate and divinely-ordained religion.

*Hamas and Hezbollah are proxies of Iran’s Ayatollahs, whose Constitution highlights a megalomaniacal vision, which stipulates the toppling of all “apostate” (Sunni) regimes, asserting itself globally – beyond the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, all the way to Latin America – and bringing the “infidel” West, and especially “The Great American Satan” to submission.

*Since February 1979, when it toppled the Shah of Iran, the Ayatollahs’ regime has transformed Iran from “The American Policeman of the Gulf” to the leading anti-US epicenter of global terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and the proliferation of advanced military systems.

*Israel’s war against Hamas and Hezbollah terrorism has bolstered the US’ defense against Islamic terrorism.

*On November 15, 2023, Director Christopher Wray testified at the House Committee on Homeland Security:

“The war in the Middle East has raised the threat of an attack against Americans in the US to a whole other level…. Since October 7th, we’ve seen a rogue gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against Americans and our allies. Hezbollah threatened to attack US interests in the Middle East. Al-Qaida issued specific calls to attack the US. Al-Qaida called on jihadists to attack Americans and Jewish people everywhere. ISIS urged its followers to target Jewish communities in the US and Europe.

“Our most immediate concern is that individuals or small groups will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home. That includes homegrown violent extremists inspired by a foreign terrorist organization and domestic violent extremists…. We cannot discount the possibility that Hamas or another foreign terrorist organization may exploit the current conflict to conduct attacks on our own soil…. But it’s not just Hamas. As the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, Iran has directly, or by hiring criminals, mounted assassination attempts against dissidents and high-ranking current and former U.S. officials, including right here on American soil. Hezbollah, Iran’s primary strategic partner, has a history of raising money and seeking to obtain weapons here in the US…. Hezbollah has tried to seed operatives, establish infrastructure, and engage in spying here domestically, raising our concern that there may be contingency planning for future operations in the United States….”

*The bottom line is that FBI Director, Christopher Wray, is driven by Middle East reality, not by alternative, less frustrating, but self-destructive reality. Therefore, he does not subscribe to the diplomatic option in the battle against Islamic terrorism, and does not propose to negotiate with – and make financial and diplomatic concessions to – terrorists. He does not expect Iran to accept peaceful coexistence with its pro-US Sunni Arab regimes, conduct good faith negotiation, or abandon its 1,400-year-old fanatic vision. Director Wray attempts to defeat Iran-controlled Islamic terrorists. He does not expect Israel to slow down its war on Hamas, which is a proxy of Iran. Just like Saudi Arabia and all other pro-US Arab countries, Director Wray is aware that the obliteration of Hamas, militarily, politically and educationally, will bolster the posture of deterrence of both Israel and the USA, reducing terror assaults on pro-US Arab countries (e.g., Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco) and in the US mainland.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
February 8, 2024

Prof. Bernard Lewis, who was a leading authority on Islam and the Middle East, shed light on a cardinal aspect of the frustrating, complicated and inconvenient reality of the Middle East: “If the fighters in the war for Islam are fighting for God, it follows that their opponents are fighting against God…. In the classical Islamic view, the world is divided into two: the House of Islam… and the House of Unbelief, which it is the duty of Muslims ultimately to bring to Islam…. The struggle between these rival systems has now lasted for some 14 centuries…. America has become the archenemy, the incarnation of evil, the diabolic opponent of all that is good… of Islam….”

*Western conventional wisdom has been based on the assumptions that Middle East violence is despair-driven; that radical Middle East dictators can be induced to subordinate their radical ideologies to dramatic financial benefits (“money talks”); and that significant gestures and concessions could motivate rogue Middle East leaders to embrace peaceful coexistence, compliance with agreements, adoption of human rights and democracy, to depart from fanatic ideologies, and to join the “multilateral/cosmopolitan club.”

*In order to advance its well-intentioned assumptions, Western conventional wisdom has consistently overlooked the 1,400-year-old shifty, unpredictable, violent, totalitarian, intolerant, anti-“infidel” (Islam vs. the West), anti-“apostate” (Shiite vs. Sunni), fragmented, volcanic and frustrating nature of Middle East (intra-Arab and intra-Moslem) reality. It has also overlooked the supremacy of fanatical ideologies over financial benefits in shaping the policy of Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Moslem Brotherhood, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, as reflected in their (K-12) school curriculum, mosque sermons and constitutions/charters.

*Western appeasement of Shiite, Sunni and Palestinian terrorism has ignored the well-documented fact, that terrorists bite the hands that feed them, as demonstrated by the Mujahideen (who were assisted by the US to drive the USSR out of Afghanistan and proceeded to carry out 9/11), Iran’s Ayatollahs (who were critically assisted by the US to topple the Shah of Iran and proceeded to become the lead  anti-US terrorist and drug trafficker) and the Palestinian leadership (which was hosted by Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait and proceeded to subvert and terrorize them).

*In defiance of Western conventional wisdom, the inherent hostility toward the “infidel” West, and especially “the Great American Satan,” has been a dominant feature of fundamental Arab and Islamic education, culture and politics, fomenting epicenters of global anti-US terrorism.

*Notwithstanding Western conventional wisdom-driven gestures, Islamic terrorism has haunted the US since the Barbary pirates in the beginning of the 19th century, irrespective of US policy, and independent of the identity of the US President. Thus, it afflicted the US during Presidents Trump (e.g., the Hudson River Park terrorism murdering 8), Obama (e.g., the Orlando terrorism murdering 49), G.W. Bush (9/11 murdering 2,977), Clinton (e.g., the car-bombing of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania murdering 300), Reagan (e.g., the blowing-up of PanAm-103 murdering 257), etc.

*9/11 underscored the determination of Islamic terror regimes to engage the US in their battle to bring the “infidel” West to submission, irrespective of the US’ intent to disengage from Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East at-large. These rogue regimes view the US’ disengagement, isolationism and gestures as symptoms of Western battle-fatigue and the erosion of a posture of deterrence, which intensifies terrorism and shifts the battle gradually to the US mainland (e.g., Iran’s and Hezbollah’s sleeper cells in the US and collaboration with Latin American terror organizations and drug cartels).

*Islamic terrorism is not driven by despair, but rather by the imperialistic vision of Islam as the only legitimate religion, divinely-ordained to bring “apostates” and “infidels” – especially the US – to submission, peacefully or militarily.

*The following examples demonstrate the unbridgeable gap between Western conventional wisdom (WCW) and Middle East reality:

<While WCW believes in the separation of state and church and secular policy making, Islam believes in the dominance of religion in domestic and foreign policy-making, civic life, justice, law and order, education, culture, peace, war and geo-strategy.

<While WCW is preoccupied with the present and the future, the Middle East is preoccupied with the past 1,400 years as a base for future undertaking. For instance, WCW shapes its positive attitude toward the proposed Palestinian state according to future, speculative scenarios (e.g., peaceful coexistence), but the Arabs shape their indifferent-to-negative attitude toward the proposed Palestinian state according to the subversive and terroristic Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab sphere.

<While WCW underscores give-and-take, Islam is determined to bring the adversary/enemy (especially the “apostate” and “infidel”) to submission, peacefully or militarily, employing dissimulation, in order to mislead naïve opponents.

<While WCW refers to the Arab-Israeli conflict as “the Middle East conflict,” 11 million Muslims have been killed since 1948, of which 35,000 – 0.3% – were related to Arab-Israel wars.

<While WCW assumes that the Palestinian issue is the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a crown-jewel of Arab policy makers and a core cause of Middle East turbulence, no Arab-Israeli war was every triggered by the Palestinian issue.  No Arab country has ever flexed a military muscle, or a substantial financial muscle on behalf of the Palestinians.  No Israel-Palestinian war has ever expanded into a regional war, and no major Middle East turbulence has ever erupted due to the Palestinian issue.

<While WCW has focused on the Arab talk, which embraces the proposed Palestinian state, the Arab walk refrains from advancing the cause of a Palestinian state. It is consistent with Aa dominant Middle East motto: on words one does not pay custom.

<While WCW assumes that ceasefire agreements advance the cause of peace, and peace accords end hostilities and the state of war, Islam considers ceasefires (especially with “infidels”) as an opportunity to regroup for the next phase of a perpetual war until submission of the enemy.  Peace accords are viewed (especially with “infidels”) as temporary ceasefires, serving the cause of the Moslem party, to be abrogated upon amassing sufficient power to bring adversaries to submission.

*The self-destructive nature of WCW (e.g., the 45-year-old diplomatic option toward Iran in defiance of Iran’s rogue track record) is exposed by the march of Middle East facts.

*The attempt to subordinate Middle East reality to WCW, was compared by Prof. Elie Kedourie – who was a leading historian of the Middle East – to trying to make water run uphill.

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Demography

2024 artificially inflated Palestinian demography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Iran

US-Israel vs. Iran: acumen

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For example:

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

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

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

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

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

The bottom line

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

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

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

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Judea & Samaria

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

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

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jerusalem

United Jerusalem – a shared US-Israel legacy and interest

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

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

United Jerusalem and the US law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers

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

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

The Jerusalem reality and US interests

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

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

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

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

Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jewish Holidays

Passover Guide for the Perplexed 2024

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. 10. Passover is the first of the three Jewish pilgrimages to Jerusalem, followed by Shavou’ot (Pentecost), which commemorates the receipt of the Ten Commandments, and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), which was named after Sukkota – the first stop in the Exodus.
  2. 11. Jerusalem is mentioned three times in the annual story of Passover (Haggadah), which is concluded by the vow: “Next Year in the reconstructed Jerusalem!”
  3. United Jerusalem has been the exclusive capital of the Jewish people since King David established it as his capital, 3,000 years ago.

More: Jewish Holidays Guide for the Perplexed – Amazon, Smashwords

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Golan

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

Islamic Terrorism

US-Israel vs. Iran: acumen