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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support Appreciated

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
February 2, 2024

*For the last 45 years, the US has attempted to pacify the anti-US Iran’s Ayatollahs, via dramatic financial and diplomatic gestures, to advance the cause of human rights and democracy in Iran, and to promote peaceful coexistence between Iran and its Sunni Arab neighbors. In fact, the 45-year-old US diplomatic option toward the Ayatollahs, has downplayed the centrality of the Ayatollahs’ ideology and their track record, assuming that “money talks.”  The US expected that dramatic financial and diplomatic gestures would induce the Ayatollahs to abandon their 1,400-year-old fanatical vision and become a constructive member of the global community.

However, as expected, Iran’s Ayatollahs would not allow financial and diplomatic temptations to transcend their imperialistic violent ideology. Moreover, they have leveraged the lavish US gestures, intensifying domestic oppression and persecution, and boosting their determination to humiliate and defeat “the Great American Satan,” expanding anti-US global terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and the proliferation of advanced weaponry, increasingly in Latin America from Chile’ to the US-Mexico border.

Furthermore, the US’ eagerness to conclude another agreement with the anti-US Iran, the courting of the anti-US Moslem Brotherhood (the largest Sunni terror organization), and delisting the anti-US Houthis from the terror list, while pressuring the pro-US Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt, has pushed these countries closer to China and Russia, militarily and commercially.

*In 2024, the US State Department promotes the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, contending that it would peacefully coexist with Israel.

However, all pro-US Arab regimes have systematically limited their support of the proposed Palestinian state to an embracing talk, while displaying a lukewarm-to-negative walk.    

Furthermore, the State Department has downplayed the Palestinian track record and ideology, basing its policy on subjective and speculative future scenarios and diplomatic Palestinian statements.  But, the pro-US Arab regimes have focused on the subversive and terroristic intra-Arab Palestinian track record in Egypt (1950s), Syria (1960s), Jordan (1968-70), Lebanon (1970-1982) and Kuwait (1990).  These pro-US Arab regimes recognize the despotic, corrupt and terroristic nature of the Palestinian leadership, and its global track record (e.g., collaboration with Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Iran’s Ayatollahs, No. Korea and Venezuela and training international terrorists).

These Arab regimes have concluded that such a rogue track record would shape the nature of the proposed Palestinian state, which would further destabilize the region, providing Iran, Russia and China with an expanded foothold in the Middle East.  

Unlike the State Department, they are aware that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into major platform of Islamic terrorism, threatening every pro-US, oil-producing Arab regime, which would yield a bonanza to Iran, Russia and China and a major blow to global trade and the US economy and national security.

*In 2011, Secretary Blinken (then, National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden) and National Security Advisor Sullivan (then Director of the State Department Policy Planning) played a key role in the US-led NATO military offensive against Qadhafi, aiming to halt severe violations of human rights.

As expected, the US initiative yielded volcanic turbulence in Libya, which has traumatized the region since 2011, fueling Islamic terrorism in Europe, Egypt, North and Central Africa and throughout the Middle East, transforming Libya – the soft underbelly of Europe – into a blustery platform of global Islamic terrorism, drug trafficking, egregious violations of human rights, and a series of civil wars with the participation of Turkey, Qatar, Italy, Russia, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and France.

*Led by noble intentions, the State Department has systematically attempted to subordinate the 1,400-year-old tempestuous, unpredictable, violently intolerant, non-democratic, highly fragmented, shifty and non-peaceful inter-Moslem and inter-Arab relations to Western values, such as peaceful-coexistence, democracy and human rights. The creation of an alternative, new Middle East has been underscored by Foggy Bottom’s reference to the ongoing turbulence on the Arab Street as “The Arab Spring,” rather than “The Arab Tsunami,” which is still raging from Northwest Africa to Iran (e.g., 10 million refugees since 2011; 11 million Muslims killed since 1948, of which 35,000  – 0.3% – were related to the Arab-Israel wars).

*Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan may consider the following advise by Prof. P.J. Vatikiotis, who was a leading Middle East historian at the School of Oriental and African studies, University of London (Arab and Regional Politics in the Middle East):

“For the foreseeable future, inter-Arab differences and conflicts will continue…. This is a feature of the area that will remain more or less a constant. The question of American options is one that must first of all be resolved on the basis of this fundamental reality: inter-Arab relations cannot be placed on a spectrum of linear development, moving from hell to paradise or vice versa.  Rather, their course is partly cyclical, partly jerkily spiral, and always resting occasionally at some grey area…. Arrangements are still made with rulers and regimes open to sedition and coups.  This condition in itself renders relations between Arab states, as well as between them and external powers, especially difficult….(ibid, pp. 77-115)”

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

The Gaza theatre!

*The track record of the Gaza Strip reveals that it lends itself to terrorism, as contended by the June 29, 1967 memorandum submitted by General Earl Wheeler, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, to Defense Secretary Robert McNamara.

*Gaza is contiguous to the largely lawless Sinai Peninsula, which has been a platform for anti-US ISIS-supported and Iran-supported Palestinian, Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan, Egyptian terrorists and drug traffickers.

*The Gaza reality is impacted by the unpredictably volcanic Middle East, especially by Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamic terror entities.  

*A postwar plan for the Gaza Strip must be based on exclusive Israeli military control, not on well-intentioned US guarantees and defense pacts, and not on non-Israeli peacekeepers, who would not be limited to observing compliance, but mostly to combatting terrorists. However, non-Israeli peacekeepers should not be expected to sacrifice their lives on the altar of Israel’s security.

*In 1983, Hezbollah terrorists car-bombed the US Marine barracks and US Embassy in Beirut, killing 260 Americans, prompting the withdrawal of US soldiers – who participated in the Multinational (peacekeeping) Force – from Lebanon.

US guarantees and defense pacts?

*According to Prof. Michla  Pomerance, Hebrew University, international relations, US guarantees and defense pacts (dating back to the early 19th century) feature escape routes – highlighting the dominance of US interests over the interests of the guaranteed party – facilitating delay, suspension and non-implementation:
<Non-specificity;
<Non-automaticity;
<Non-implementation;
<Subordination to the US Constitution, which limits presidential power.

*In fact, the inherent ambiguity, non-durability and tentative nature of US guarantees and defense pacts have unintentionally tended to fuel conflicts. 

For example:

<On December 5, 1994, the US, Britain, and Russia signed the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances, guaranteeing the territorial integrity of Ukraine.  It prohibited Russia from using military force or economic coercion against Ukraine, except in self-defense. It required Ukraine to give up its nuclear arsenal, which was at the time the 3rd largest in the world. Donald Blinken, the US Ambassador to Hungary and father of Secretary Tony Blinken, was in attendance.

The undeterred 2014 Russian occupation of Crimea and Donbas in eastern Ukraine and the 2022 invasion of other parts of Ukraine, and the resulting destruction of Ukraine, attest to the mirage-like significance of US and British guarantees, which were not ratified by the US Senate.

<In 1954, President Eisenhower signed a defense treaty pact with Taiwan, but in 1979 – when China sided with the US against the USSR – President Carter annulled the treaty unilaterally with the support of Congress, acknowledging the “one China position” with “Taiwan is part of China….” The US Supreme Court refrained from action, declaring it “non-justiciable.”  The defense treaty was substituted with the 1979 non-diplomatic and militarily non-committal congressional Taiwan Relations Act.

The predominance of the US Constitution in the shaping of US domestic and foreign policy attests that US defense pacts are not iron clad.

<In November 1956, President Eisenhower issued a memorandum, compensating Israel for its full withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula: “No nation has the right to forcibly prevent free and innocent passage in the Gulf [of Suez] and through the Straits [of Tiran, leading to Eilat]…. The United States… is prepared to exercise the right of free passage and to join with others to secure general recognition of this right.” Israel was led to believe that the US would use all means to prevent Egyptian violations of demilitarized Sinai, blocking Israeli passage in the Suez Canal and blockading the access to the port of Eilat. However, in 1967, when the documentation of Egyptian violations were presented to President Johnson, he (rightly) claimed that the memorandum was not ratified by the US Senate, that there was no congressional support for military intervention, and “I’m a tall Texan, but without Congress, I’m a short President…. It ain’t worth a solitary dime.”

The Egyptian violations, the withdrawal of the UN Emergency Force, and the imminent Egypt-Syria-Jordan military offensive, along with the intrinsic unreliability of US guarantees, led to the preemptive 1967 Six Day War.

<US military guarantees are not carved in stone as demonstrated by the open-ended NATO treaty (article 5): “…The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them shall be considered an attack against them all….Each of them… will assist the party or parties so attacked by taking…such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force….”

International peacekeepers?

*International peacekeeping forces are ineffective, not durable, nor politically and militarily sustainable. Just like US guarantees, it creates a false sense of security, eroding Israel’s posture of deterrence, yielding a tailwind to anti-US and anti-Israel Islamic terrorists and a headwind to Israel and the US. Non-Israeli peacekeepers would be targeted by Gaza and Sinai-based Islamic terrorists, which would severely undermine the relations with Israel and fuel anti-Semitism. Furthermore, the stationing of foreign peacekeepers on Israel’s borders would cripple Israel’s defense capabilities, requiring Israel to seek prior approval in preempting or countering terrorism, which would damage Israel’s ties with the peacekeepers, transforming Israel’s image from a unique force-multiplier for – to a burden upon – the US. 

For example:

<On March 19, 1978, the US-funded UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was established, in order to restore peace and security in the aftermath of Israel’s war against southern Lebanon-based Palestinian terrorists. In 2006, UNIFIL was expanded to 10,000 soldiers, aiming to facilitate Lebanon’s effective authority in southern Lebanon, “free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons, other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL…. To ensure that its area of operations is not utilized for hostile activities of any kind….”

The inherent ineptness of international peacekeepers facilitated the Iran-supported Hezbollah’s takeover of Lebanon – especially southern Lebanon – and its systematic raining down upon Israeli civilians with rockets and missiles; thus, paving the road to the 2024 Israel war against Hezbollah terrorists.

<In 2007, when Hamas assumed full control of the Gaza Strip, the European Union observers fled the (Egypt-Gaza) Rafah Border Crossing, which exponentially expanded the smuggling of advanced military systems to Gaza.

<On May 18, 1967, the UN Emergency Force withdrew from Sinai and Gaza, in compliance with Egypt’s demand, and irrespective of the Egyptian violation of Sinai’s demilitarization and additional commitments made to the US and Israel, in return for Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula.

*The bottom line

There is no substitute for Israel’s exclusive military control of the Gaza Strip. Moreover, intangible, tenuous, open-ended and reversible security guarantees and an international peacekeeping force – whose implementation is not determined by Israel – would engender a false sense of security, compromising Israel’s existence.  As stated by Prof. Alan Dowty, Notre Dame University: “The effectiveness of a guarantee depends upon the willingness of the guarantor to react to a threat, and upon his ability to react with sufficient force…. Fear of disrupting US relations with Arab states was a factor in the 1967 US decision not to force open the Red Sea Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships…. The effectiveness of a commitment depends on the underlying interests and capabilities of the guarantor [not the guaranteed!]…. Guarantees are not unambiguous blessings….”

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
December 28, 2023

*The Western attempt to distinguish between Hamas terrorists and the majority of Gaza Arabs defies Middle East reality, which documents that Hamas terrorists and most Gaza Arabs are interwoven with each other, socially, educationally, culturally, ideologically, and religiously.

*Moreover, Middle East reality highlights Hamas as a terror state (Gaza and potentially the West Bank), not as merely a terror organization.

*Therefore, most of the Arabs in Gaza enthusiastically celebrated the October 7, 2023 Hamas ISIS-like slaughter, rape, torture and mutilation of (mostly) civilians, heralding it as role model of sacrifice and heroism in the service of a Holy Islamic War and a demonstration of national liberation fortitude.

*The fact that the Arab population of Gaza lends itself to terrorism was underscored by a June 29, 1967 memorandum, submitted to the US Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara by General Earle G. Wheeler, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff. The memorandum presented a map of Israel’s minimal security requirements, including Gaza, which “serves as a salient for introduction of Arab subversion and terrorism, and its retention would be to Israel’s military advantage…. It has served as a training area for [Palestinian terrorists]…. Occupation of the Gaza Strip by Israel would reduce the hostile border by a factor of five and eliminate a source for raids and training of [terrorists]….”   

*The terroristic potential of the population of Gaza has been leveraged since 1947 by the Muslim Brotherhood – the largest Sunni terror organization, which established Hamas in 1988 – when it established Gaza as one of its five centers in British Mandate Palestine (Haifa, Jaffa, Nablus, Jerusalem and Gaza). The Gaza branch collaborated closely with the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt, the birth place of the Muslim Brotherhood. Initially, Hamas’ popularity was limited to the Gaza middle class, such as the religious establishment, lawyers and businessmen. However, since the 1990s, Hamas has increasingly evolved into a focal point of social, ideological and religious cohesion with the Gaza population at-large.

*The appeal of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Gaza branch, Hamas, has surged dramatically since 1993, through the K-12 hate-education system, Friday incitement in the mosques and the official and public idolization of terrorism, which were instituted by Mahmoud Abbas through the Oslo Accord. Initially, it benefitted the Palestinian Authority – headed by Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas – but rapidly catapulted Hamas into unprecedented popularity, as an integral element of the Gaza culture, a role model for the Gaza youth.

*Realizing the high-level identification of Gaza Arabs with Hamas – and the evolution of Hamas from a terror organization into a terror state – the Palestinian Authority has refrained from holding election since 2005, in order to avoid a Hamas landslide victory. Furthermore, after the October 7 massacre Hamas has surged to its highest popularity among Arabs in Judea and Samaria (West Bank).

*The Western attempt to subordinate the complex, frustrating, costly and inconvenient Middle East reality to its own alternative and convenient Middle East, has led to the assumption that Hamas terrorists and the majority of Gaza Arabs are disjointed culturally and ideologically.

*However, Middle East reality features Hamas as an entity, which is consistent with the worldview, values, education and ideology of most Gazan parents, who send their children to Hamas run schools, participate in Friday services in Hamas run mosques, and enthusiastically cheer Hamas’ ISIS-like terroristic operations.

*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, Hamas is not a terror organization in the mold of Peru’s Shining Path, Italy’s Red Brigade, France’s Action Direct and multitude of other terror organizations, which represent a fringe of their societies, terrorizing the government and its educational, cultural and religious institutions.  Hamas is the terrorist state of Gaza, representing Gaza’s educational, cultural and religious institutions, enjoying the moral support of most Gazans.  In many respects, Hamas benefits from more popular support than enjoyed by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Syria’s Bashar Assad and Iran’s Ayatollahs.

*Western policy based on the erroneous assumption that Hamas and Gaza Arabs are disjointed from one another, inadvertently plays into the hands of Hamas, yielding a robust tailwind to terrorism and a powerful headwind to counter-terrorism. 

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

*The US State Department’s diplomatic option has facilitated the transformation of Iran from “the American policeman of the Gulf” to “the largest anti-American venomous octopus in the world,” stretching its rogue arms from the Persian Gulf through Africa to Latin America and the US-Mexico border, which it perceives as the soft underbelly of the US.

*The diplomatic option – including a frail US response to sustained Iranian attacks on US installations in the Persian Gulf region – has aggravated Middle East instability, threatening the survival of every pro-US Arab regime, and is inducing anti-US global Islamic terrorism.  This is severely eroding US posture of deterrence, benefitting Russia, China and mostly Iran, while undermining US national and homeland security. 

*The diplomatic option has suspended most economic sanctions – without Congressional consent – surging Iran’s oil export from 500,000 barrels per day to 2-3 million barrels per day, increasing Iran’s national income by some $100bn, mostly dedicated to bolster Iran’s anti-US rogue operations, increasingly in Latin America, the US’ backyard.

*The diplomatic option has consistently overlooked the decisive power of the Ayatollahs’ imperialistic ideology, and its determination to export the anti-US Islamic Shiite Revolution. Consequently, the State Department has deluded itself into believing that an astounding financial and diplomatic bonanza would induce Iran’s Ayatollahs to accept peaceful coexistence with their pro-US Arab Sunni neighbors, become good-faith negotiators, and abandon their 1,400-year-old religious, fanatic vision, which is enshrined in their Constitution, K-12 school curriculum, Friday mosque sermons and official media.

*However, as expected, the mega-billion-dollar bonanza yielded by the diplomatic option (e.g., the 2015 JCPOA and the current suspension of economic sanctions) has bolstered its global terroristic network, advancing its vision to topple all pro-US Sunni regimes, and bring the “infidel” West to submission, especially the “The Great American Satan,” while egregiously oppressing and suppressing Iranian women and religious and ethnic minorities.  

*The State Department’s diplomatic option was initiated in 1978/1979, stabbing in the back the pro-US Shah of Iran, and contending that Ayatollah Khomeini was anti-Communist and therefore potentially pro-Western and a stabilizing element geopolitically, “…holding a Gandhi-like positionpreoccupied with tractors, not tanks….”

*Has the diplomatic option dumped the Monroe Doctrine?! In 2023, Iran’s Ayatollahs invest mega billions of dollars in fueling civil wars, terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering throughout the Middle East, Africa and especially in Latin America. There, they collaborate – along with Hezbollah terrorists – with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, and train terror organizations. They cooperate with all anti-US governments (especially Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Bolivia), testing ballistic missiles, and supplying predator drones, attack boats, anti-ship missiles, and equipment for the construction of underground tunnels along the US-Mexico border, which smuggle drugs and illegal Middle East terrorists into the US.

*The bottom line is: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me!  After 44 years of being fooled by the Ayatollahs, critically undermining the strategic posture of the US and its allies, it is time to reassess the diplomatic option, and consider other options, such as regime-change and a credible military threat hovering above the head of the Ayatollahs.  

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
December 5, 2023

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

The US-Israel mutual threat of Islamic terrorism

Israel’s war against Hezbollah and Hamas is a wakeup call, highlighting the shared US-Israel war against Islamic terrorism. The latter considers Israel a US geo-strategic beachhead in the Middle East, that should be uprooted as a critical step toward the defeat of the Western “infidel.”

For example:   

*Hezbollah and Hamas are critical proxies of Iran, which funds, trains and supplies advanced ballistic and engineering hardware, aiming to realize its 1,400-year-old vision of toppling all “apostate” (Sunni) regimes, export the Islamic Shiite Revolution globally, and bring “the Great American Satan” to submission.

*Hamas was established in 1988 by the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been dedicated since 1928 to the toppling of all national Islamic regimes, replacing them with a universal Islamic society, establishing Islam as the only, divinely-ordained, legitimate religion on earth, defeating the “infidel” Western culture and bringing down “the Great American Satan.”

*Securing a boon, rather than a bane, requires the uprooting of Hamas’ terroristic, political and educational infrastructure, which would deter anti-US Islamic terrorism. On the other hand, the survival of Hamas would adrenalize the veins of anti-US Islamic terrorists in the Middle East and beyond, afflicting the US with a bane.

Israel’s war highlights Iran’s terrorist nature  

*Heeding the October 7, 2023 wakeup call should trigger a US reassessment of its 44-year-old diplomatic option toward Iran, which has facilitated Iran’s lead role – operationally and financially – in the transformation of Hezbollah and Hamas (as well as a multitude of additional Islamic and non-Islamic terror organizations) into a most effective anti-US global terrorist network. The US diplomatic option has also bolstered the evolution of Iran into the leading regional and global epicenter of anti-US terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and proliferation of advanced military systems.

*An effective wake up call, requires experience-based rather than wishful thinking-based policy making, reassessing the impact of lifted sanctions – especially Iranian oil export – on the supply of advanced Iranian missiles and other military systems to Hezbollah and Hamas.  Thus, Iranian oil exports surged from 500,000 barrels per day (under the sanctions) to 2.5-3 million barrels per day, which has provided the Ayatollahs with some $100bn in additional income, that was dedicated, mostly, to anti-US rogue activities in the Persian Gulf, the Middle East, North, East and Central Africa and Latin America. 

*Heeding the wakeup call should alert the US to the 40-year-old collaboration of Iran’s Ayatollahs and Hezbollah with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, Latin American terror organizations, and every anti-US government in South and Central America (up to the US-Mexico border), which is the US’ geo-strategic soft underbelly. This collaboration includes the training of terrorists and the supply of predator unmanned aerial vehicles and tunnel construction equipment. 

The Palestinian wake up call

*The October 7 wake up call should lead to a reassessment of the US State Department policy on the Palestinian issue, subordinating conventional wisdom to the march of facts. Hence, while the State Department has been eager to establish a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), pro-US Arabs have showered the Palestinians with embracing talk, but indifferent-to-negative walk, refraining from tangible steps toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.

*While Foggy Bottom’s policy has been driven by a moderate Palestinian diplomatic talk and future, subjective and speculative State Department  scenarios of Palestinian compliance and peaceful coexistence, the policy of the pro-US Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan and Oman has been driven by the rogue Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab and global context.

*For instance, the systematic Palestinian betrayal of – and violence against – their Arab hosts, such as Egypt (1950s), Syria (1960s), Jordan (1968-70), Lebanon (1970-1982) and Kuwait (1990). Also, Palestinian collaboration with rogue entities, such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Ayatollah Khomeini, Saddam Hussein, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and Palestinian training camps – in Lebanon, Sudan and Yemen – for terror organizations from Latin America, Europe, Africa and Asia.  

*Contrary to Foggy Bottom, the pro-US Arab regimes have concluded that the rogue Palestinian track record (in addition to the Palestinian hate education, mosque incitement and monthly allowances to families of terrorists) suggests that a rogue Palestinian state would add fuel to the Middle East fire, threatening to consume the Hashemite regime in Jordan and other all pro-US Arab regimes.

*The October 7 wakeup call should clarify to the State Department the reason that the pro-US Arabs extend a shabby-doormat-welcome to Palestinian leaders, contrary to the red-carpet-welcome extended by Foggy Bottom.

The bottom line

Whether the aforementioned October 7, 2023 wakeup call shall be a boon or a bane depends on the US State Department’s own decision. Will its policy remain driven by agreeable conventional wisdom, or will it shift to an experience-based policy, irrespective of the disagreeable, violent, shattering, and frustrating reality?

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
November 14, 2023

The difference between the US’ and the Arab approach

*President Joe Biden’s and Secretary of State Tony Blinken’s enthusiasm for a Palestinian state reflects the traditional worldview of the State Department, which has been systematically wrong on key Middle East issues.

*Upon learning of the emerging 1993 Oslo Accord, Jordan’s King Hussein told the Head of Israel’s Mossad, Shabtai Shavit: “Establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank would be tantamount to death-sentencing the [pro-US] Hashemite regime.” Jordan’s top military command reiterated King Hussein’s warning to their Israeli colleagues during the October 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty ceremony.

*Moreover, the Arab attitude toward the Palestinians was documented by the November 11, 2023, Saudi-hosted joint summit of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. The pro-Western Muslim countries (led by Saudi Arabia and the six Arab countries, which concluded peace treaties with Israel) torpedoed a Palestinian-Iranian resolution, which aimed to suspend diplomatic, economic, touristic and military ties with Israel.

*Unlike US policy makers, Arab leaders approach Palestinians with an embracing talk, but with an indifferent-to-negative walk, refraining from taking tangible steps toward the establishment of a Palestinian state.

*While US policy makers extend a red-carpet reception to Palestinian officials, Arab leaders welcome them with a shabby-doormat.

Why don’t Arabs share the US’ eagerness for a Palestinian state?  

*Contrary to US policy makers, Arabs leaders base their attitude toward the Palestinians on the rogue Palestinian intra-Arab track record – not on a speculative future track record – which demonstrates that the Palestinians bite the hands that feed them.

<In the early 1950s, the Palestinian leadership collaborated with the Muslim Brotherhood, terrorizing Egypt, their host country.

<In the mid-1960s, the Palestinian leadership once again terrorized Syria, their host country.

<In 1968-70, the Palestinian leadership triggered a civil war in Jordan, attempting to topple their host Hashemite regime.

<In 1970-82, the Palestinian leadership instigated a series of civil wars in Lebanon, aiming to take over their host country.

<In 1990, the Palestinian leadership collaborated with Saddam Hussein’s invasion and plunder of Kuwait, which was for decades the most generous Arab host of 400,000 Palestinians.

*Arab reservations about the Palestinians are reinforced by the systematic Palestinian collaboration with radical entities, such as Nazi Germany (Mein Kampf is still a best seller in the Palestinian Authority), the Soviet Bloc, Iran’s Ayatollahs, Saddam Hussein, Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and terror organizations in the Middle East, Africa, Europe and Latin America.

*According to the late Dr. Albert Ellis, who was a world renowned  psychologist: “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior.”

*Arab leaders consider the Palestinians as a role model of subversion, terror and treachery, viewing the proposed Palestinian state as a clear and present threat to regional stability and their own regime.

*Would US policy makers buy a used car from anyone with such a rogue track record?!

*Arab leaders are aware of the ripple effects of the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River:

>Toppling the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the Jordan River;
>Transforming Jordan into an uncontrollable state, an epicenter of anti-US regional and global Islamic terrorism in the vein of Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, which would be leveraged by Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood, and possibly ISIS, intensifying the threat to the neighboring Saudi Arabia;
>A domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula, threatening every pro-US, oil-producing Arab country, which would adversely impact global trade and the supply/price of oil (Persian Gulf oil – 48% of proven oil reserves);
>A bonanza for Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Muslim Brotherhood, Russia and China and a severe setback to the US economy, homeland and national security.

*Unlike US policy makers, Arab leaders are aware that Palestinian terrorism is not driven by despair, but by a fanatic vision, whose attainment is preconditioned upon the uprooting of the Jewish state (“Western Palestine”) and the Hashemite regime (“Eastern Palestine”).

*Contrary to US policy makers – who believe that an enhanced standard of living, an extended life expectancy and peaceful coexistence transcend ideology – Arab leaders are aware of the dominant role played by historic, religious, ethnic and sometimes apocalyptic vision/aspiration in the conduct of radical Middle East entities, such as Iran’s Ayatollahs, Hezbollah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, as evidenced by their school curriculum and daily conduct. 

*During the current Israel war against Hamas’ Islamic terrorism – just like all previous Israeli wars against Palestinian terrorism – no Arab country flexed its military and financial muscles on behalf of the Palestinians.

*Contrary to the State Department, which assumes that the proposed Palestinian state would advance the cause of peace, Arab leaders do not subordinate reality to wishful-thinking, and do not sacrifice their interests on the altar of Palestinian interests. Theyare convinced that a Palestinian state would pose a lethal threat to their own regimes and to the US economy, homeland and national security.

*The proposed Palestinian state, on the one hand, and US values and national security interests, on the other hand, constitute a classic oxymoron.

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Demography

Demographic optimism IN, demographic pessimism OUT

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
October 2, 2023

The suggestion that Israel should retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) is based, partly, on the assumption that the Jewish majority is exposed to an “Arab demographic time bomb,” which would explode if Israel were to apply its law to Judea and Samaria.

However, Israel’s Jewish majority is not vulnerable to an “Arab demographic time bomb,” but benefits from demographic momentum, fertility-wise and migration-wise.

Arab demography artificially inflated

This erroneous assumption is based on the official Palestinian numbers, which are embraced and reverberated by the global community – with no due-diligence auditing – ignoring a 1.6-million-person artificial inflation of the reported number of Arabs in Judea and Samaria.

For instance:

*The official Palestinian census includes 500,000 residents, who have been away for over a year, while international standards require their elimination from the census (until they return for, at least, 90 days).  This number was documented by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (325,000 in 1997), Election Commission (400,000 in 2005) and the Ministry of Interior, increasing systematically through births.

*The Palestinian census ignores the net-emigration of 390,000 since the first 1997 census, as documented by Israel’s Population and Immigration Authority, which supervises Israel’s international passages.

*375,000 Jerusalem Arabs and more than 150,000 (mostly) Judea and Samaria Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs are doubly-counted (by Israel and the Palestinian Authority). This number increases systematically through births.

*A September 2006 World Bank report documented a 32% artificial inflation of the number of births.  At the same time, death has been substantially underreported as evidenced by the 2007 Palestinian census, which included Arabs born in 1845….   

*The aforementioned data indicates an artificial inflation of 1.6 million in the Palestinian census of Judea and Samria Arabs: 1.4 million – not 3 million – Arabs.

Arab demography Westernized

Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, Arab demography has been westernized dramatically in recent years, from a fertility rate of 9 births per woman west of the Jordan River during the 1960s to 2.85 births in 2021 in pre-1967 Israel and 3.02 in Judea and Samaria.

The westernization of Arab demography has been a result of sweeping urbanization. From a 70%-rural-population in Judea and Samaria in 1967, to a 77%-urban-population in 2022.  In addition, almost all girls complete high school, resulting in the expanded integration of women in employment and academia, as well as an increase in wedding age (from 15 to 24-year-old).  Moreover, there has been an expansion of the use of contraceptives (70% of women in the Palestinian Authority) and a shorter fertility cycle (25 through 45 in 2022 compared to 16 through 55 during the 1960s).

Demographic westernization has occurred in the entire Moslem World, other than the Sub-Saharah countries: In 2022, Jordan – 2.9 births per woman, Iran – 1.9, Saudi Arabia – 1.9, Morocco – 2.27, Iraq – 3.17, Egypt 2.76, Yemen – 2.91, the UAE – 1.62, etc.

Jewish demographic momentum

Israel’s Jewish demography features a fertility momentum – especially in the secular sector – simultaneously with a moderate decline in the ultra-orthodox sector. In fact, Jewish fertility (3.13 births per woman) is higher than any Arab country, other than Iraq’s (3.17). The OECD’s average fertility rate is 1.61 births per woman.

In 2022, the number of Jewish births (137,566) was 71% higher than in 1995 (80,400), while the number of Arab births (43,417) was 19% higher than in 1995 (36,500).

Contrary to most global societies, Israel enjoys a positive correlation between the level of fertility, on the one hand, and the level of education, income, urbanization and (the rise of) wedding age on the other hand.

The growth of Jewish fertility reflects a high level of patriotism, optimism, attachment to roots, communal responsibility, frontier mentality, high regard for raising children and the decline in the number of abortions.

The Jewish population is growing younger, while the Arab population is growing older.

Until the 1990s, there was a demographic race between Arab births and Jewish immigration.  Since the 1990s, the race is between Jewish and Arab births, while net-migration provides a robust boost to Jewish demography.

The Jewish demographic momentum has been bolstered by an annual Aliyah (Jewish immigration) – which has been the most critical engine of Israel’s economic, educational, technological and military growth – simultaneously with the declining scope of annual emigration.  From an additional 14,200 emigrants in 1990 to 10,800 in 2020, while the overall population has doubled itself since 1990. A substantial decline in emigration has taken place since the 2007/2008 global economic meltdown, which has underscored the relative stability and growth of Israel’s economy.

In 2023, there has been an increase in Aliyah. This highlights a potential of 500,000 Olim (Jewish immigrants) in five years – from Europe, the former USSR, Latin and North America – should the Israeli government resurrect the pro-active Aliyah policy, which defined Israel from 1948-1992.

The bottom line

In 1897, upon convening the First Zionist Congress, there was a 9% Jewish minority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel.

In 1948, upon the establishment of the Jewish State, there was a 39% Jewish minority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel.

In 2022, there was a 69% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel (7.5 million Jews, 2 million Arabs in pre-1967 Israel and 1.4 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria), benefiting from a tailwind of fertility and net-migration.

Those who claim that the Jewish majority – in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel – is threatened by an Arab demographic time bomb are either dramatically mistaken, or outrageously misleading.

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Iran

Diplomatic option toward Iran is self-destructive

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

*The US State Department’s diplomatic option has facilitated the transformation of Iran from “the American policeman of the Gulf” to “the largest anti-American venomous octopus in the world,” stretching its rogue arms from the Persian Gulf through Africa to Latin America and the US-Mexico border, which it perceives as the soft underbelly of the US.

*The diplomatic option – including a frail US response to sustained Iranian attacks on US installations in the Persian Gulf region – has aggravated Middle East instability, threatening the survival of every pro-US Arab regime, and is inducing anti-US global Islamic terrorism.  This is severely eroding US posture of deterrence, benefitting Russia, China and mostly Iran, while undermining US national and homeland security. 

*The diplomatic option has suspended most economic sanctions – without Congressional consent – surging Iran’s oil export from 500,000 barrels per day to 2-3 million barrels per day, increasing Iran’s national income by some $100bn, mostly dedicated to bolster Iran’s anti-US rogue operations, increasingly in Latin America, the US’ backyard.

*The diplomatic option has consistently overlooked the decisive power of the Ayatollahs’ imperialistic ideology, and its determination to export the anti-US Islamic Shiite Revolution. Consequently, the State Department has deluded itself into believing that an astounding financial and diplomatic bonanza would induce Iran’s Ayatollahs to accept peaceful coexistence with their pro-US Arab Sunni neighbors, become good-faith negotiators, and abandon their 1,400-year-old religious, fanatic vision, which is enshrined in their Constitution, K-12 school curriculum, Friday mosque sermons and official media.

*However, as expected, the mega-billion-dollar bonanza yielded by the diplomatic option (e.g., the 2015 JCPOA and the current suspension of economic sanctions) has bolstered its global terroristic network, advancing its vision to topple all pro-US Sunni regimes, and bring the “infidel” West to submission, especially the “The Great American Satan,” while egregiously oppressing and suppressing Iranian women and religious and ethnic minorities.  

*The State Department’s diplomatic option was initiated in 1978/1979, stabbing in the back the pro-US Shah of Iran, and contending that Ayatollah Khomeini was anti-Communist and therefore potentially pro-Western and a stabilizing element geopolitically, “…holding a Gandhi-like positionpreoccupied with tractors, not tanks….”

*Has the diplomatic option dumped the Monroe Doctrine?! In 2023, Iran’s Ayatollahs invest mega billions of dollars in fueling civil wars, terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering throughout the Middle East, Africa and especially in Latin America. There, they collaborate – along with Hezbollah terrorists – with the drug cartels of Mexico, Columbia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, and train terror organizations. They cooperate with all anti-US governments (especially Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Bolivia), testing ballistic missiles, and supplying predator drones, attack boats, anti-ship missiles, and equipment for the construction of underground tunnels along the US-Mexico border, which smuggle drugs and illegal Middle East terrorists into the US.

*The bottom line is: Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me!  After 44 years of being fooled by the Ayatollahs, critically undermining the strategic posture of the US and its allies, it is time to reassess the diplomatic option, and consider other options, such as regime-change and a credible military threat hovering above the head of the Ayatollahs.  

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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

Chanukah guide for the perplexed, 2023

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
November 29, 2023

More on Jewish holidays: SmashwordsAmazon

1. According to Israel’s Founding Father, David Ben Gurion: Chanukah commemorates “the struggle of the Maccabees, which was one of the most dramatic clashes of civilizations in human history, not merely a political-military struggle against foreign oppression…. Unlike many peoples, the meager Jewish people did not assimilate.  The Jewish people prevailed, won, sustained and enhanced their independence and unique civilization…. It was the spirit of the people, rather than the failed spirit of the establishment, which enabled the Hasmoneans to overcome one of the most magnificent spiritual, political and military challenges in Jewish history….” (Uniqueness and Destiny, pp 20-22, David Ben Gurion, IDF Publishing, 1953).

2. A Jewish national liberation holiday.  Chanukah (evening of December 7 – December 15, 2023) is the only Jewish holiday that commemorates an ancient national liberation struggle in the Land of Israel, unlike the national liberation holidays, Passover, Sukkot/Tabernacles and Shavu’ot/Pentecost, which commemorate the liberation from slavery in Egypt to independence in the land of Israel, and unlike Purim, which commemorates liberation from a Persian attempt to annihilate the Jewish people.

3. Chanukah and the Land of Israel.  When ordered by Emperor Antiochus IV Epiphanes of the Seleucid region to end the Jewish “occupation” of Jerusalem, Jaffa, Gaza, Gezer and Akron, Shimon the Maccabee responded: “We have not occupied a foreign land…. We have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation (Book of Maccabees A: 15:33).”

Chanukah highlights the centrality of the Land of Israel in the formation of Jewish history, religion, culture and language. The mountain ridges of Judea and Southern Samaria (the West Bank) were the platform for the Maccabean military battles: Mitzpah (the burial site of the Prophet Samuel, overlooking Jerusalem), Beth El (the site of the Ark of the Covenant and Judah the Maccabee’s initial headquarters), Beth Horon (Judah’s victory over Seron), Hadashah (Judah’s victory over Nicanor), Beth Zur (Judah’s victory over Lysias), Ma’aleh Levona (Judah’s victory over Apolonius), Adora’yim (a Maccabean fortress), Eleazar (named after Mattityahu’s youngest Maccabee son), Beit Zachariya (Judah’s first defeat), Ba’al Hatzor (where Judah was defeated and killed), Te’qoah, Mikhmash and Gophnah (bases of Shimon and Yonatan), the Judean Desert, etc.

4. Historical context  Chanukah is narrated in the four Books of the MaccabeesThe Scroll of Antiochus and The Wars of the Jews.

In 323 BCE, following the death of Alexander the Great (Alexander III) who held Judaism in high esteem, the Greek Empire was split into three independent and rival mini-empires: Greece, Seleucid/Syria and Ptolemaic/Egypt.

In 175 BCE, the Seleucid/Syrian Emperor Antiochus (IV) Epiphanes claimed the Land of Israel. He suspected that the Jews were allies of his Ptolemaic/Egyptian enemy.  The Seleucid emperor was known for eccentric behavior, hence his name, Epiphanes, which means “divine manifestation.”  He aimed to exterminate Judaism and convert Jews to Hellenism. In 169 BCE, he devastated Jerusalem, attempting to decimate the Jewish population, and outlaw the practice of Judaism.

In 166/7 BCE, a Jewish rebellion was led by the non-establishment Hasmonean (Maccabee) family from the rural town of Modi’in, half-way between Jerusalem and the Mediterranean.  The rebellion was headed by Mattityahu, the priest, and his five sons, Yochanan, Judah, Shimon, Yonatan and Eleazar, who fought the Seleucid occupier and restored Jewish independence.  The Hasmonean dynasty was replete with external and internal wars and lasted until 37 BCE, when Herod the Great (a proxy of Rome) defeated Antigonus II Mattathias.

5. The reputation of Jews as superb warriors was reaffirmed by the success of the Maccabees on the battlefield. In fact, they were frequently hired as mercenaries by Egypt, Syria, Carthage, Rome and other global and regional powers.

6. The significance of Chanukah. Chanukah celebrates the Maccabean-led national liberation by conducting in-house family education and lighting candles for 8 days in commemoration of the re-inauguration of Jerusalem’s Jewish Temple and its Menorah (candelabra).

The Hebrew words Chanukah (חנוכה), inauguration (חנוכ) and education ((חנוך possess the same root.

7. As was prophesized by the Prophet Hagai in 520 BCE, the re-inauguration of the Temple took place on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, which is the month of miracles, such as the post-flood appearance of Noah’s rainbow, the completion of the construction of the Holy Ark by Moses, the laying of the foundations of the Second Temple by Nehemiah, etc.

In 1777, Chanukah candles were lit during the most critical battle at Valley Forge, which solidified the victory of George Washington’s Continental Army over the British monarchy.

The 25th Hebrew word in Genesis is “light,” and the 25th stop during the Exodus was Hashmona (the same Hebrew spelling as Hasmonean-Maccabees).

The first day of Chanukah is celebrated when daylight hours are equal to darkness hours – and when moonlight is hardly noticed – ushering in brighter days.

8. Chanukah highlights the defeat of darkness, disbelief, forgetfulness and pessimism by the spirit of light, faith, commemoration and optimism over.

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Golan

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

Islamic Terrorism

US and Israel facing the mutual threat of Islamic terrorism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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