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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
July 19, 2023

State Department policy

*The June 2023 banning of all Israeli research and scientific entities in East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights from the mutually-beneficial US-Israel binational commercial research and development projects, such as BIRD, BARD and BSF, reflects the return of the State Department to the center stage of foreign policy making.

*This ban is consistent with the State Department’s systematically erroneous and counterproductive policy on critical Middle East issues, as documented by this video and this article.

For example:

*The State Department provided an essential tailwind to the Ayatollahs’ rise to power in Iran and the toppling of the Shah, who was “America’s policeman in the Gulf.” Foggy Bottom contended that the Ayatollahs would be moderate, anti-Soviet, pro-US, preoccupied with tractors and not with tanks, and refrain from the global exportation of the Islamic Revolution….

*The State Department considered Saddam Hussein as a potential ally (until the day of his 1990 invasion of Kuwait), worthy of an intelligence-sharing agreement, financial assistance, and the supply of advanced dual-use systems. It communicated to the ruthless despot that a military invasion of Kuwait would be treated as an intra-Arab matter.

*Foggy Bottom welcomed the 2010 turbulence on the Arab Street – which is still raging – as a “Facebook and youth revolution” and the “Arab Spring,” failing to realize that it has been an Arab Tsunami

*The State Department establishment has opposed the Abraham Accords because they bypassed the Palestinian issue, centering on Arab interests,. However, all of the State Department’s own peace initiatives have crashed on the rocks of Middle East reality, because they dwelt on the superficial assumption that the Palestinian issue was the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a crown jewel of Arab policy making and a core cause of regional turbulence.

*Since January 2021, the State Department has resumed its role as the chief foreign policy maker, as evidenced by the shift from unilateral policy making – based on an independent US national security action – to multilateral policy making, seeking a common denominator with the anti-US UN and international organizations, as well as with Europe, which has lost its will to flex a muscle against Iran’s Ayatollahs and Sunni Islamic terrorism.

*In July 2023, reflecting its multilateral policy, the US rejoined UNESCO, following the 2011 congressional suspension of the annual US contribution to the organization, and the 2018 US withdrawal from UNESCO for falsely disclaiming the 4,000-year-old Jewish roots in the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria – the cradle of Jewish history, religion, culture and language, as documented by a litany of archeological findings throughout the area.

In fact, the rejoining of UNESCO commits the US to transfer to UNESCO all its arrears, which amount to some $600mn.

Legal status of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria

The State Department claims that banning Israeli research and scientific entities in Judea and Samaria from the mutually beneficial US-Israel binational commercial research and development projects is consistent with international law. The State Department claims that international law considers Judea and Samaria an “illegal occupied” area, and that the UN Security Council Resolution 242 mandates an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.

Is it true?

*According to Prof. Eugene Rostow, a former Dean of Yale University Law School and Undersecretary of State, who co-authored the November 22, 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242: “[Under international law], Jews have the same right to settle in the West Bank as they have in Haifa…. [According to Resolution 242], Israel is required to withdraw ‘from territories,’ not from ‘the territories,’ nor from ‘all the territories,’ but from some of the territories, which included the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Desert and the Golan Heights…. Proposed 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 8-15-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….”

*Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, a former President of the International Court of Justice, Deputy Legal Advisor at the State Department and Prof. of International Law at Johns Hopkins University stated: “[The 1967] Israeli conquest of territory was defensive rather than aggressive… as indicated by Egypt’s prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, the blockade of the port of Eilat and the amassing of troops in Sinai… [and] Jordan-initiated hostilities against Israel…. Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1950 were unlawful…. Modification of the 1949 armistice lines [by Israel] were lawful….”

*The legal status of Judea and Samaria is embedded in the following binding internationally ratified documents:

<The November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, which called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people [on both sides of the Jordan River]…. Nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine….;”

<The April 24, 1920 San Remo Peace Conference of the Allied Powers Supreme Council, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration, and carved the boundaries of over 20 countries in the Middle East;

<The July 24, 1922 Mandate for Palestine, ratified by the Council of the League of Nations, and dedicated exclusively to Jewish national rights;

<The October 24, 1945 Article 80 of the UN Charter incorporated the Mandate for Palestine, which means that Jewish rights in Palestine are legal and may not be transferred;

<The November 29, 1947 General Assembly Partition Resolution was non-binding and superseded by the Mandate for Palestine.

The bottom line

*The State Department’s determination that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria constitutes “illegal occupation” has been based on mistaken and misleading interpretation of international law. This determination has yielded false expectations among rogue elements in the Middle East (e.g., Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorists and Iran’s rogue Ayatollahs), which has undermined the attempts to minimize regional instability and advance the cause of peaceful coexistence.

*The decision to punish Israel, by blackballing research institutions in Judea and Samaria – while courting the rogue Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood and the hate-education Palestinian Authority – is interpreted as an erosion of US’ regional stature by pro-US Arab regimes, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. These regimes have expanded their defense and commercial cooperation with Israel irrespective of the Palestinian issue. In additon, they have also been subjected to US pressure; they oppose the US diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs, and they are concerned about the lack of a determined US response to Iran’s aggression (which has pushed them closer to China and Russia).

Support Appreciate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

recent posts

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

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support Appreciated

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
July 19, 2023

State Department policy

*The June 2023 banning of all Israeli research and scientific entities in East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights from the mutually-beneficial US-Israel binational commercial research and development projects, such as BIRD, BARD and BSF, reflects the return of the State Department to the center stage of foreign policy making.

*This ban is consistent with the State Department’s systematically erroneous and counterproductive policy on critical Middle East issues, as documented by this video and this article.

For example:

*The State Department provided an essential tailwind to the Ayatollahs’ rise to power in Iran and the toppling of the Shah, who was “America’s policeman in the Gulf.” Foggy Bottom contended that the Ayatollahs would be moderate, anti-Soviet, pro-US, preoccupied with tractors and not with tanks, and refrain from the global exportation of the Islamic Revolution….

*The State Department considered Saddam Hussein as a potential ally (until the day of his 1990 invasion of Kuwait), worthy of an intelligence-sharing agreement, financial assistance, and the supply of advanced dual-use systems. It communicated to the ruthless despot that a military invasion of Kuwait would be treated as an intra-Arab matter.

*Foggy Bottom welcomed the 2010 turbulence on the Arab Street – which is still raging – as a “Facebook and youth revolution” and the “Arab Spring,” failing to realize that it has been an Arab Tsunami

*The State Department establishment has opposed the Abraham Accords because they bypassed the Palestinian issue, centering on Arab interests,. However, all of the State Department’s own peace initiatives have crashed on the rocks of Middle East reality, because they dwelt on the superficial assumption that the Palestinian issue was the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a crown jewel of Arab policy making and a core cause of regional turbulence.

*Since January 2021, the State Department has resumed its role as the chief foreign policy maker, as evidenced by the shift from unilateral policy making – based on an independent US national security action – to multilateral policy making, seeking a common denominator with the anti-US UN and international organizations, as well as with Europe, which has lost its will to flex a muscle against Iran’s Ayatollahs and Sunni Islamic terrorism.

*In July 2023, reflecting its multilateral policy, the US rejoined UNESCO, following the 2011 congressional suspension of the annual US contribution to the organization, and the 2018 US withdrawal from UNESCO for falsely disclaiming the 4,000-year-old Jewish roots in the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria – the cradle of Jewish history, religion, culture and language, as documented by a litany of archeological findings throughout the area.

In fact, the rejoining of UNESCO commits the US to transfer to UNESCO all its arrears, which amount to some $600mn.

Legal status of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria

The State Department claims that banning Israeli research and scientific entities in Judea and Samaria from the mutually beneficial US-Israel binational commercial research and development projects is consistent with international law. The State Department claims that international law considers Judea and Samaria an “illegal occupied” area, and that the UN Security Council Resolution 242 mandates an Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.

Is it true?

*According to Prof. Eugene Rostow, a former Dean of Yale University Law School and Undersecretary of State, who co-authored the November 22, 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242: “[Under international law], Jews have the same right to settle in the West Bank as they have in Haifa…. [According to Resolution 242], Israel is required to withdraw ‘from territories,’ not from ‘the territories,’ nor from ‘all the territories,’ but from some of the territories, which included the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Desert and the Golan Heights…. Proposed 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 8-15-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….”

*Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, a former President of the International Court of Justice, Deputy Legal Advisor at the State Department and Prof. of International Law at Johns Hopkins University stated: “[The 1967] Israeli conquest of territory was defensive rather than aggressive… as indicated by Egypt’s prior closure of the Straits of Tiran, the blockade of the port of Eilat and the amassing of troops in Sinai… [and] Jordan-initiated hostilities against Israel…. Jordan’s annexation of the West Bank and the Old City of Jerusalem in the 1950 were unlawful…. Modification of the 1949 armistice lines [by Israel] were lawful….”

*The legal status of Judea and Samaria is embedded in the following binding internationally ratified documents:

<The November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, which called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people [on both sides of the Jordan River]…. Nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine….;”

<The April 24, 1920 San Remo Peace Conference of the Allied Powers Supreme Council, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration, and carved the boundaries of over 20 countries in the Middle East;

<The July 24, 1922 Mandate for Palestine, ratified by the Council of the League of Nations, and dedicated exclusively to Jewish national rights;

<The October 24, 1945 Article 80 of the UN Charter incorporated the Mandate for Palestine, which means that Jewish rights in Palestine are legal and may not be transferred;

<The November 29, 1947 General Assembly Partition Resolution was non-binding and superseded by the Mandate for Palestine.

The bottom line

*The State Department’s determination that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria constitutes “illegal occupation” has been based on mistaken and misleading interpretation of international law. This determination has yielded false expectations among rogue elements in the Middle East (e.g., Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorists and Iran’s rogue Ayatollahs), which has undermined the attempts to minimize regional instability and advance the cause of peaceful coexistence.

*The decision to punish Israel, by blackballing research institutions in Judea and Samaria – while courting the rogue Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood and the hate-education Palestinian Authority – is interpreted as an erosion of US’ regional stature by pro-US Arab regimes, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt. These regimes have expanded their defense and commercial cooperation with Israel irrespective of the Palestinian issue. In additon, they have also been subjected to US pressure; they oppose the US diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs, and they are concerned about the lack of a determined US response to Iran’s aggression (which has pushed them closer to China and Russia).

Support Appreciate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Please watch – and consider recommending/sharing – my online video seminar (forty 6-minute-videos) on the following topics:
1. US-Israel ties
Israel’s contributions, 400-year-old foundations, Congress – the co-equal ally, State Dep’t blunders) and more;
2.Jewish-Arab Demographics
3. The Palestinian issue
Core causeof turbulence? Arab crown-jewel?Terrorism root cause? Cruxof conflict? And more;
4. Palestinian terrorism
6.Palestinian refugees
7. Jewish refugees
8. Christian repression
10. Anti-US terrorism
11. Iran’s Ayatollas
12. Israeli settlements
13. Israel’s economy
14. The real Middle East
15. Israel’s pre-1967 borders
The precariousness of Israel’s pre-1967 borders;
16. International and US security guarantees

Can Israel rely on US/international security guaranteesand/or peacekeepers?

President Obama’s collaboration with the December 23, 2016 UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2334, which condemns Israel’s settlements policy, has defied history and reality, injuring the peace process and US national security.
While President Obama greets the Jewish people upon Chanukah, which commemorates the victory of the Maccabees in a series of heroic battles in the crux of the Land of Israel, the mountain ridges of Judea and Southern Samaria – Beth El, Beth Horon, Hadashah, Beth Zur, Ma’aleh Levona, Adora’yim, Elazar, Beit Zachariya and Ba’al Hatzor – he contends that these are “occupied lands.” When Shimon the Maccabee (who succeeded Judah and Jonathan) was confronted with such a contention, he responded: “We have not occupied a foreign land; we have not ruled a foreign land; we have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation.”
President Obama’s and the State Department’s support of UNSCR 2334 undermines the peace process and US national security interests in the following manner:
1. It provides a tailwind to the UN demand to halt Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria, while encouraging the thirty-time-larger Arab construction there; an attempt to prejudge and force – not negotiate – a solution.
2. It dis-incentivizes Arabs to negotiate, since they expect further global pressure on Israel. Thus it undermines direct negotiation, which is the most effective way to advance peace, as documented by the Israel-Egypt and Israel-Jordan peace accords.  On the other hand, the litany of US and international peace initiatives failed due to attempts to force a solution and by-pass direct negotiation.
3. Just like previous US and international initiatives, this too radicalizes the Arabs, forcing them to outflank the US and the globe from the maximalist side, escalating their expectations and demands; thus, further reducing prospects of resolving the highly-complicated peace process.
4. Experience proves that placating and appeasing the Palestinians – as highlighted by the 1993 Oslo Accord and the 2005 uprooting of all Jewish settlements from Gaza – has intensified terrorism, hate-education and violation of agreements, in addition to three wars erupting from Gaza.
5. Peaceful coexistence, on the one hand, and the uprooting of Jewish, or Arab, communities, on the other hand, constitute an oxymoron.  If 450,000 Jews, among 1.8MN Arabs in Judea and Samaria, constitute an obstacle to peace, are the 1.75MN Arabs, among 6.6MN Jews, within pre-1967 Israel, an insurmountable impediment to peace?!  The belligerent rejection of Jewish presence/settlements (since the 1920s!) reflects the chief Palestinian concern: the existence, not the size, of the Jewish State.
6. Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria are legal under International Law. UNSCR 2334 violates the 1993 Oslo Accord and the 1967 UNSCR 242, which do not prohibit Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria. In fact, 242 requires Israeli withdrawal “from territories,” not “from all the territories.” In 1979, Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula; 90% of “the territories.”  Moreover, in the 1948 and 1967 wars, Israel acted defensively in the face of Arab aggression, possessing a valid title over the land west of the Jordan River, which was allotted to the Jewish State by Article 80 of the UN Charter, incorporating the 1922 Mandate for Palestine into the UN Charter, and entrusting Britain to establish a Jewish state in the entire area west of the Jordan River: “[to] encourage… close settlement by Jewson the land….” According to Article 80 of the UN Charter – which supersedes the 1947 UN General Assembly recommended Partition Plan – the 1967 war of self-defense returned Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to its legal owner, the Jewish state.  The 1949 Jordanian belligerent occupation of Judea and Samaria violated the Mandate for Palestine, and was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan.
7. Are the Jewish settlements an obstacle to peace? Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria were erected after the 1967, 1956 and 1948 wars, the 1964 establishment of the PLO, the 1929 decimation of Hebron’s Jewish community, and the uprooting of the Jewish communities of Gush Etzion, in Judea and Samaria, in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s.

8. UNSCR 2334 enhances the profile of the UN – which is inherently anti-US, irrespective of the $2.4BN annual US funding of 22% of the UN budget– thus undermining US national security. For example, 95% of the UN member states that receive US foreign aid, vote against the US most of the time.9. The 1967 UNSCR 242 – which was unanimously adopted in the aftermath of the Six Day War – does not refer to a “two state solution.”  Is it in the US interest to establish another Palestinian state (in addition to Gaza), against the backdrop of the performance of Gaza; the tectonic Arab Tsunami and the well-documented Palestinian track record from collaboration with Nazi Germany, the USSR, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, China and Russia; through the Palestinian subversion in Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Lebanon; the active collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait; and the institutionalized K-12 hate education, incitement, terrorism, repression, corruption and the persecution of Christians (e.g., the 1950 86% Christian majority in Bethlehem has been transformed into a 12% minority in 2016!)?

10. Is it in the US interest to reduce Israel to a 9-15-mile-wide sliver along the Mediterranean – should Israel concede the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – which would transform Israel from a national security producer, extending the strategic arm of the US, to a national security consumer; from a strategic asset to a strategic liability/burden; from the largest US aircraft carrier with no US boot on board to a light boat?
11. Are the national security of the US, and Middle East stability, well-served by focusing on Jewish settlements and the Palestinian issue – which is not the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Arab policy making and Middle East turbulence – while all pro-US Arab regimes are facing lethal threats (and benefiting from Israel’s posture of deterrence), and the Middle East is burning, featuring unprecedented number of fatalities and refugees, due to factors, which are totally unrelated to the Palestinian issue and settlements: the megalomaniacal Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Arab Tsunami, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Islamic terrorism, etc.?

In 1977, Prime Minister Begin replied to a request by President Carter to freeze Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria: “Why is it permitted for a Jew to settle in Bethel or Shiloh in the USA, towns named after places in Judea and Samaria, but forbidden to build in the original Shiloh or Beth El?”

US national security and the peace process will be well-served by avoiding gross misperceptions and misrepresentations, as reflected by the current US policy and the State Department bureaucracy, which enabled UN Security Council Resolution 2334.

Video#25: http://bit.ly/2exsm52; entire video-seminar: http://bit.ly/1ze66dS
1.  “Fidelity to law is the essence of peace” opined Prof. Eugene Rostow, former Dean of Yale University Law School, Undersecretary of State and a co-author of the November 22, 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242. Rostow resolved that under international law: “Jews have the same right to settle in the West Bank as they have in Haifa.”
2.  Prof. Rostow determined that according to Resolution 242, which he co-authored: “Israel is required to withdraw ‘from territories’, not ‘the’ territories, nor from ‘all’ the territories, but ‘some’ of the territories, which included the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Desert and the Golan Heights.”  Moreover, “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….”
3. Former President of the International Court of Justice, Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, stated: “[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…. 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, including the whole of Jerusalem…. It follows that modifications of the 1949 armistice lines among those States within former Palestinian territory are lawful….”
4.  The legal status of Judea and Samaria is embedded in the following authoritative, binding, internationally-ratified documents, which recognize the area for what it has been: the cradle of Jewish history, culture, aspirations and religion.
(I) The November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, issued by Britain, calling for “the establishment in Palestine 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 Mandate for Palestine, for the establishment of a Jewish state: “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 most boundaries in the Middle East.
(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 is dedicated exclusively to Jewish national rights. 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.
5. 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 1950-67 Jordanian occupation of Judea and Samaria violated international law and was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan.
6.  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.
7. 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 illegal.
8. The 1993 Oslo Accord and the 1995 Interim Agreement stipulate that the issue will be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations, enabling each party to plan, zone and build in the areas under its control. If Israeli construction prejudges negotiation, then Arab construction – which is dramatically larger – dramatically prejudges negotiation.
9.  Finally, the term “Palestine” was 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 the Greek Aegian islands.
10. The campaign against Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria is based on gross misperceptions and misrepresentations, fueling infidelity to law, which undermines the pursuit of peace.
11.  The next video will highlight the growth of Israel’s economy.
 Video#24: http://bit.ly/2fBPI6G; entire video-seminar: http://bit.ly/1ze66dS
1. Jewish settlements have existed since Biblical time in the mountain ridges of Judea & Samaria, the cradle of Jewish history, religion, culture, holidays, ethos, language and yearnings.Judea (Yehudah in Hebrew) is the origin of the term “Jew” (Yehudi in Hebrew). From time immemorial, the real name of the region has been Judea & Samaria, renamed “the West Bank” following its illegal April 1950 annexation by Jordan.
2. The term “Jewish settlements” was coined in the Bible, the Book of Numbers , Chapter 34, verse 4, commanding Jews to inherit and settle the Land of Israel. In fact, the preamble and articles 6 and 11 of the 1920 British Mandate for Palestine stipulated: “….In favor of the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people….The Administration of Palestine [on both sides of the Jordan River] shall facilitate Jewish immigration… and shall encourage close settlement by Jews on the land…. The desirability of promoting the close settlement and intensive cultivation of the land….”
3.Following the 1967 War – triggered by a mobilized intra-Arab military force, threatening Israel with destruction – modern day Jewish settlements were established on the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which over-tower Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Israel’s only international airport and 80% of Israel’s population and infrastructure in the 9-15-mile-wide sliver along the Mediterranean, which was the bulk of pre-1967 Israel.
4. The post-1967 settlements reestablished Jewish communities which were eradicated by Arabs during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.  For instance, the Gush Etzion Bloc and Hebron, the 2nd holiest Jewish city – mentioned 62 times in the Bible – was King David’s capital city, the home of Caleb, and the burial site of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs, including Jacob, whose second name was Israel.
5.  Are the Jewish settlements an obstacle to peace? Jewish communities in Judea & Samaria were erected after the 1967, 1956 and 1948 wars, the 1964 establishment of the PLO, the August 24, 1929 decimation of Hebron’s Jewish community, and the uprooting of the Jewish communities of Gush Etzion in the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s.
6. The Palestinians are not concerned with the size – but with the existence – of the Jewish state. It is reflected in their education system, which defines the “infidel” Jewish presence in pre-1967 Israel as an “illegal settlement” to be uprooted, as specified in the 1964 Covenant of Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO and the August, 2009 6th Convention of Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah urging “to eradicate the Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.”
7. Would the uprooting of Jewish settlements in Judea & Samaria moderate the Arab-Israeli conflict? In September 2005, Israel uprooted 25 Jewish communities from Gaza and Samaria. Gaza became Judenrein (“clean of Jews” in Nazi terminology), in order to, ostensibly, promote peace and security. However, the dismantling of the Jewish communities was perceived by Arabs as an erosion of Jewish tenacity, escalating Palestinian hate-education, terrorism, the shelling of Jewish communities all the way to Tel Aviv, paving the road to the 2009, 2012 and 2014 Israel-Hamas wars, and the rise of Hamas’ intra-Muslim stature.
8. Every square inch of land ceded by Israel has been transformed into a platform of hate-education and terrorism.

9.  The 2000-2002 unprecedented Palestinian terrorism (Intifada’) was ignited by Prime Minister Barak’s hasty withdrawal from Lebanon, and his unprecedented proposal of full withdrawal to the 1967 lines, including the re-division of Jerusalem. It was perceived as submission to pressure, especially in the inherently intolerant, violent Arab Middle East, which respects posture-of-deterrence, but not concession-driven entities and initiatives, and certainly not an “infidel” Jewish State in the supposedly abode-of-Islam.

10.  Peaceful coexistence on the one hand and the uprooting of Jewish, or Arab, communities on the other hand constitute an oxymoron.  If 400,000 Jews, among 1.75MN Arabs in Judea and Samaria, constitute an obstacle to peace, are the 1.75MN Arabs, among 6.6MN Jews, within pre-1967 Israel, an insurmountable boulder to peace?!  The 1.75MN Israeli Arabs among 6.5MN Jews have reflected peaceful coexistence, as should be considered the 400,000 Jews among 1.75MN Arabs in Judea & Samaria. The rejection of Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria reflects the Palestinian/Arab counter-peaceful strategic goal.  Opposition to the presence of 1.75mn Arabs in pre-1967 Israel must not be tolerated, but the opposition to the presence of 400,000 Jews in Judea and Samaria should be? Israel’s legal system prohibits the expulsion of Arabs or the expropriation of private Arab land.

11.  The 1993 Israel-Palestinian Oslo Accord does not prohibit Jewish or Arab settlements in Judea & Samaria. Singling out Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria – while ignoring the much more extensive Palestinian construction – emboldens Arab terrorism, prejudges the outcome of negotiations and forces Arabs to be more radical than the West.  It is perceived, by Arabs, as an appease – not a peace – process.
12. The next video will highlight international legal aspects of Jewish settlements.
For more data on Jewish settlements:

The misperceptions, misrepresentations and ignorance surrounding the general attitude toward the legal status of Jewish settlements in the disputed area of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), reflects the general attitude toward the unique phenomenon of the reconstruction of the Jewish national home in the Land of Israel.

“Fidelity to law is the essence of peace” opined Prof. Eugene Rostow, a former Dean of Yale University Law School, Undersecretary of State and a co-author of the November 22, 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242. Rostow resolved that under international law: “Jews have the same right to settle in the West Bank as they have in Haifa.”
Prof. Rostow determined that according to Resolution 242, which he co-authored: “Israel is required to withdraw ‘from territories’, not ‘the’ territories, nor from ‘all’ the territories, but ‘some’ of the territories, which included the West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Desert and the Golan Heights.”  Moreover, “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: “[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…. 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, including the whole of Jerusalem…. It follows that modifications of the 1949 armistice lines among those States within former Palestinian territory are lawful….”
The legal status of Judea and Samaria is embedded in the following authoritative, binding, internationally-ratified treaties, which recognized that the area has been the cradle of Jewish history, culture, aspirations and religion:
(I) The November 2, 1917 Balfour Declaration, issued by Britain, called for “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people….”
(II) The April 24, 1920 resolution, adopted by the post-First World War San Remo Peace Conference of the Allied Powers Supreme Council, incorporated the Balfour Declaration, entrusting both sides of the Jordan River to the Mandate for Palestine: “the Mandatory will be responsible for putting into effect the [Balfour] declaration… 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 most boundaries in the Middle East.
(III) The Mandate for Palestine, ratified on July 24, 1922 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 article 6: “[to] encourage… close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands….” The Mandate is dedicated exclusively to Jewish national rights.
(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.
The November 29, 1947 UN General Assembly Partition Resolution 181 was a non-binding recommendation – as are all General Assembly resolutions – superseded by the binding Mandate for Palestine. The 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbors delineated the pre-1967 ceasefire – non-ratified – boundaries.

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 to Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, since the area is not “foreign territory,” and Jordan did not have a legitimate title over the area in 1967. Also, the rules of “belligerent occupation” do not apply in view of the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty.While the 1949 4th Geneva Convention prohibits the forced transfer of populations to areas previously occupied by a legitimate sovereign power, Israel has not forced Jews to settle in Judea and Samaria, and Jordan was not recognized, internationally, as its legitimate sovereign power.

Furthermore, the 1993 Oslo Accord and the 1995 Israel-Palestinian Authority Interim Agreement do not prohibit Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, stipulating that the issue will be negotiated during the permanent status negotiations, enabling each party to plan, zone and build in areas under its control. If Israeli construction prejudges negotiation, then Arab construction – which is dramatically larger – dramatically prejudges negotiation.
Finally, the term “Palestine” was 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 the Greek Aegian islands.
The campaign against legal Jewish settlements in the disputed – rather than occupied – area of Judea and Samaria is based on gross misrepresentations, fueling infidelity to law, which undermines the pursuit of peace.

Alan Baker, Attorney, Ambassador (ret’)

P.O.B. 182, Har Adar, Israel 90836

Tel: +972-54-3322643

E-mail: ambassador.alan@gmail.com

The Hon. John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State,

The State Department,

Washington D.C.

November 8, 2013

Dear Secretary Kerry,

 

After listening to you declare repeatedly over the past weeks that “Israel’s settlements are illegitimate”, I respectfully wish to state, unequivocally, that you are mistaken and ill advised, both in law and in fact.

Pursuant to the “Oslo Accords”, and specifically the Israel-Palestinian Interim Agreement (1995), the “issue of settlements” is one of subjects to be negotiated in the permanent status negotiations. President Bill Clinton on behalf of the US, is signatory as witness to that agreement, together with the leaders of the EU, Russia, Egypt, Jordan and Norway.

Your statements serve to not only to prejudge this negotiating issue, but also to undermine the integrity of that agreement, as well as the very negotiations that you so enthusiastically advocate.

Your determination that Israel’s settlements are illegitimate cannot be legally substantiated. The oft-quoted prohibition on transferring population into occupied territory (Art. 49 of the 4th Geneva Convention) was, according to the International Committee Red Cross’s own official commentary of that convention, drafted in 1949 to prevent the forced, mass transfer of populations carried out by the Nazis in the Second World War. It was never intended to apply to Israel’s settlement activity. Attempts by the international community to attribute this article to Israel emanate from clear partisan motives, with which you, and the US are now identifying.

The formal applicability of that convention to the disputed territories cannot be claimed since they were not occupied from a prior, legitimate sovereign power.

The territories cannot be defined as “Palestinian territories” or, as you yourself frequently state, as “Palestine”. No such entity exists, and the whole purpose of the permanent status negotiation is to determine, by agreement, the status of the territory, to which Israel has a legitimate claim, backed by international legal and historic rights. How can you presume to undermine this negotiation?

There is no requirement in any of the signed agreements between Israel and the Palestinians that Israel cease, or freeze settlement activity. The opposite is in fact the case. The above-noted 1995 interim agreement enables each party to plan, zone and build in the areas under its respective control.

Israel’s settlement policy neither prejudices the outcome of the negotiations nor does it involve displacement of local Palestinian residents from their private property.  Israel is indeed duly committed to negotiate the issue of settlements, and thus there is no room for any predetermination by you intended to prejudge the outcome of that negotiation.

By your repeating this ill-advised determination that Israel’s settlements are illegitimate, and by your threatening Israel with a “third Palestinian intifada” and international isolation and delegitimization, you are in fact buying into, and even fueling the Palestinian propaganda narrative, and exerting unfair pressure on Israel. This is equally the case with your insistence on a false and unrealistic time limit to the negotiation.

As such you are taking sides, thereby prejudicing your own personal credibility, as well as that of the US.

With a view to restoring your own and the US’s credibility, and to come with clean hands to the negotiation, you are respectfully requested to publicly and formally retract your determination as to the illegitimate nature of Israel’s settlements and to cease your pressure on Israel.

Respectfully,

Alan Baker, Attorney, Ambassador (ret’),

Former legal counsel of Israel’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs,

Former ambassador of Israel to Canada,

Director, Institute for Contemporary Affairs, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs,

Director, International Action Division, The Legal Forum for Israel

Copy:

H.E. Daniel B. Shapiro, US Ambassador to Israel,

71 Hayarkon Street

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SCHEDULE LECTURES & INTERVIEWS

Demography

2024 artificially inflated Palestinian demography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Iran

FBI Director Chris Wray defies the State Department on Iran

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel initiative”
June 17, 2024

FBI Director Chris Wray’s position on Islamic terrorism/Iran

FBI Director, Chris Wray reiterated – during his June 4, 2024 Senate testimony and April 11, 2024 House testimony – his warning of an October 7-like terrorism on the US soil:

“We have seen the threat from foreign terrorists rise to a whole another level after the October 7 [Hamas terrorism]….Increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the [US] homeland, akin to the ISIS attack we saw at the Russia Concert Hall in March, 2024 [137 murdered, 180 wounded]…. 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….

“We are in an environment where the threats from international terrorism, domestic terrorism and state sponsored terrorism are all simultaneously elevated…. We are paying heightened attention to how the events abroad could directly affect and inspire people to commit violence here in the homeland….

“Our top concern stems from lone offenders inspired by the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, as they pose the most likely threat to Americans.  In recent years, there have been several events in the US that were purportedly motivated, at least in part, by the Israel-Hamas conflict….

Iran and its global proxies and partners, including Iraqi Shia militant groups, attack and plot against the US and our allies throughout the Middle East.  Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force has also provided support to terrorist organizations. And, Iran has supported Lebanese Hezbollah and other terrorist groups. Hezbollah has sent operatives to build terrorist infrastructure worldwide [including in Latin America all the way to the US-Mexico border]. The arrests of individuals in the US allegedly linked to Hezbollah’s main overseas terrorist arm, and their intelligence-collection and procurement efforts, demonstrate Hezbollah’s interest in long-term contingency planning activities here in the homeland….

“We continue to see the drug cartels [which intensely collaborate with Iran’s Ayatollahs and Hezbollah, that supply them predator unmanned aerial vehicles and tunnel construction equipment] push fentanyl and other dangerous drugs into every corner of the country, claiming countless American lives….

“Since October 7, we have seen a rogue gallery of foreign terrorist organizations call for attacks against Americans and our allies…. Our most immediate concern has been that [terrorists] will draw twisted inspiration from the events in the Middle East to carry out attacks here at home….”

The FBI Director Wray’s April 11 and June 4 testimonies followed his alarming testimonies on October 31, 2023 and on November 15, 2023, in the Senate and House Homeland Security Committees.

FBI Director Wray vs. Secretary of State Blinken

*FBI Director Chris Wray recognizes that the October 7, 2023 Hamas terrorism is relevant to the US homeland security, and that Israel’s war on Hamas supports the US’ war on Islamic terrorism. Unlike Director Wray, Secretary of State Blinken has assumed the role of an “honest broker,” ignoring the US-allied role of Israel and the US-enemy role of Hamas, a proxy of Iran’s Ayatollahs and a branch of the Moslem Brotherhood, the largest anti-US Sunni terrorist organization.

*FBI Director Wray considers Iran’s Ayatollahs and their Islamic terror proxies, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, as a clear and present threat to the US homeland security. He is aware of their intensified collaboration with the drug cartels in Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, as well as with Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and all other anti-US governments in Latin America, the US’ soft underbelly. In contrast, Secretary of State Blinken – true to his multilateralist UN-oriented worldview – has approached Iran’s Ayatollahs as a diplomatic challenge, opposing the options of regime change, and refraining from establishing a potent military threat hovering above the head of the Ayatollahs.

*FBI Director Wray realizes that Iran’s Ayatollahs are the chief epicenter of Hamas, Hezbollah and other components of the global anti-US Islamic terrorism, in addition to the Ayatollahs’ role as the main anti-US drug trafficker, money launderer and proliferator of advanced military systems. However, irrespective of the Ayatollahs’ rogue anti-US track record, Secretary Blinken refrains from defining Iran as a terrorist-state, viewing the Ayatollahs as partners in good-faith negotiations.

*FBI Director Chris Wray is aware that Iran’s Ayatollahs, and other anti-US Islamic terrorists, are driven by a 1,400-year-old fanatical and imperialistic ideology, which aims to bring the “infidel US” to submission. He is convinced that Islamic terrorism should be addressed by national security means, and not via gestures and concessions, which are perceived by terrorists as terror-inducing weakness. On the other hand, Secretary Blinken believes that Islamic terrorism is despair-driven, and therefore, should be addressed via substantial diplomatic and financial gestures, notwithstanding the fact that terrorists bite the hands that feed them (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs terrorize the US, which facilitated their rise to power; the Mujahideen’s terrorize the US, which helped them expel the Soviet military from Afghanistan; Libyan Islamic terrorists lynched US diplomats, notwithstanding the US-led NATO military offensive, which helped them topple Gadhafi; etc.).   

*Will the mounting threat of anti-US Islamic terrorism, and the volcanic Middle East reality, cause Secretary Blinken to reassess his position on Iran’s Ayatollahs, Hamas and other forms of Islamic terrorism, by avoiding rather than continuing to repeat critical mistakes, which have undermined the national security and homeland security of the US?

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Judea & Samaria

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

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

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jerusalem

United Jerusalem – a shared US-Israel legacy and interest

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

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

United Jerusalem and the US law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers

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

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

The Jerusalem reality and US interests

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

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

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

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

Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jewish Holidays

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

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

More on Jewish holidays: Smashwords, Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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