Notwithstanding the split USA government following the November 2018 mid-term election, I’m bullish regarding the mutually-beneficial US-Israel cooperation.
More on the two-way-street US-Israel relations: https: https://bit.ly/2DvdCQ4
The Arena, Abba Eban Institute, IDC, November 1, 2018, https://bit.ly/2JvJbth
Trump: a coattail – or an anchor chained – President?
The November 2018 mid-term election will determine the future maneuverability of President Trump, and will shape the dominant worldview of the strongest legislature in the world, which is co-determining and co-equal to the executive branch, and Israel’s systematic and most effective ally in face of pressure by all US Presidents from Truman through Obama.
The coming mid-term election will be – once again – a referendum on the popularity of a sitting President: 49% approval rating (50% disapproval) of President Trump, according to a November 1 Rasmussen Reports; 40% (54% disapproval) according to an October 28 Gallup poll; 43.9% (53% disapproval) according to an October 31 RealClear Politics.
Will Trump be a coattail-President elevating the Republican party to mid-term election gains in the House and Senate, as has happened on rare occasions, such as the 1934 election (President Roosevelt), 1998 (President Clinton) and 2002 (President G.W. Bush)?
Or, will Trump be an anchor-chained President pulling the Republican party down to significant losses – and even to minority status in one/both Chambers – as has usually been the case: President Obama (2014 and 2010), President G.W. Bush (2006), President Clinton (1994), President G.H. Bush (1990), President Reagan (1986 and 1982), President Carter (1978), President Ford/Nixon (1974), etc.?
Since 1950, a sitting President’s party has lost an average of 24 House seats in the mid-term election, which is the minimum required for a Democratic House majority in 2019. The current balance is: 241 Republicans and 194 Democrats.
The Senate hurdle – facing the Democrats – is much higher, since the 35 Senate seats up for the coming November election consist of 9 Republicans and 26 Democrats, 10 of whom are in states won by President Trump in 2016 (only 1 Republican incumbent from a state won by Hilary Clinton in 2016), and 13 Democratic incumbents from states with a republican governor (no Republican incumbent from a state governed by a Democrat).
While sustaining the Republican majority in the House and Senate would maintain President Trump’s relative-freedom of operation, a loss of one/two Chambers would tie his hands internally and globally, commercially and militarily, due to the power of the US Legislature, which was deemed by the Founding Fathers as the “secret weapon” against a potential tyranny of the Executive.
The centrality of the US constituent and Congress
The unique power of the US Legislature – compared to all other democracies – was crafted by the 1789 US Constitution, which enshrined the concept of liberty (impacted by the Biblical concept of Jubilee, as inscribed on the Liberty Bell), by ensuring the co-equal, co-determining and independent status of the Legislature, as defined by the first article of the Constitution.
At the same time, the Constitution limits the power of the President, who – unlike other Western democracies – is not a super legislator, does not determine the legislative agenda, nor the identity of the legislators and the leaderships of the House and Senate, committees and subcommittees.
The natural ultra-ambition of the Executive branch is neutralized (in the US) by a complete separation of power among the co-equal and co-determining Legislature, Executive and Judiciary; an elaborate system of checks and balances; endowing the Legislature with the Power of the Purse and Oversight of the Executive; and the co-existence of the Federal government side-by-side with the governments of the 50 States. This transforms the American voters into the strongest constituents in the globe, directly determining the fate of their legislators, and the level of Presidential maneuverability, every two years.
Therefore, legislators are loyal, first and foremost, to their constituents, lest they follow in the footsteps of Democratic House Speaker Tom Foley (defeated in the 1994 general election) and Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (defeated in the 2014 primaries), who were substantially more engaged with national party issues, than with the concerns of their district constituents. In fact, the clout of constituents – who opposed the increase of imports – caused 2/3 and over 1/2 of the Democratic House Representatives to vote against Democratic President Clinton’s Free Trade Agreements with China (in 2000) and Canada (in 1993) respectively.
The US Constitution provides Congress with the power to limit, amend, suspend, rescind, fund/defund and investigate Presidential policies, establish and abolish government agencies (e.g., in 1947 and 2001, Congress established the CIA and the Department of Homeland Security respectively), initiate and terminate the development of military systems, confirm/reject appointments to top government positions, ratify/reject international treaties, covenants and agreements, impose/remove sanctions on foreign countries, etc.
Amending the US Constitution requires a 2/3 majority in both Chambers in addition to 3/4 of the Legislatures of the 50 States – a majority which is extremely difficult to assemble, and therefore only 27 Amendments to the Constitution have been approved so far.
Legislators prefer to focus on district and state issues – which preoccupy their constituents – rather than national security and foreign policy issues, which attract the attention of a slim percentage of the constituency. However, the Legislature can flex its awesome muscle and severely limit or overrule a President – on domestic, national security and foreign policy issue – when a President acts like a monarch, ignores the Legislature, implements a significantly failed policy, or departs sharply from the worldview of US voters.
Globalization has expanded the number of congressional districts, which depend on foreign trade and the global arena, hence the substantially expanded number of legislators involved in international-oriented legislations.
Limiting the Commander-in-Chief
While the US Constitution (Article 2, Section 2) refers to the President as the Commander-in-Chief, his maneuverability can be heavily constrained by Congress.
For example, in 1974, Congress legislated – in defiance of the Administration – the Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which facilitated the Aliyah (immigration) of one million Soviet Jews to Israel. In 1964, Congress passed the “Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,” which authorized President Johnson to launch the military involvement in Vietnam, but in 1973 – in defiance of President Nixon – the Church-Case Amendment terminated the US military involvement in Southeast Asia, as did the Clark Amendment (1976) and the Boland Amendment (1984) – in defiance Presidents Ford and Reagan respectively – to the US military involvement in Angola and Nicaragua, respectively. In 1986, Congress overrode President Reagan’s veto of the Comprehensive Apartheid Act, which paved the road to ending South Africa’s Apartheid regime. In 1999, President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, but the Senate has yet to ratify it. The 2012 Defense budget included Congressional sanctions, which halved Iran’s oil export, contrary to President Obama’s policy. In 2012, in opposition to President Obama’s stance – Congress reduced foreign aid to the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt by $450MN. In 2015, the Senate refused to ratify the Iran Nuclear Agreement (JCPOA), thus enabling President Trump to withdraw from the agreement in 2018. In 2017/2018, Congress enacted the Russian Sanctions Bill, notwithstanding President Trump’s opposition.
Congress and Israel
Being the most authentic representative of the US constituency, both Congressional chambers reflect the special attitude by the American people toward the Jewish State since the 17th century’s Early Pilgrims. According to the 2018 annual Gallup poll of country-favorability, Israel benefits from a 74% favorability (71% in 2017). Israel is perceived as a special ally, morally and strategically, in a region with is vital to the US economy, national and homeland security.
For instance, in 1891 – six years before the First Zionist Congress – 431 top US personalities, including the Chief Justice, the House Speaker, additional Congressional leaders, Governors, Mayors and businessmen, signed the (William) Blackstone Memorial, calling for the establishment of a Jewish State in the Land of Israel. In 1947/48, the State Department, Pentagon and CIA, along with the NY Times – in contradiction to public opinion and Congress – lobbied brutally against the establishment of the Jewish State. In 1957, leaders of the US Senate and House (led by then Senate Majority Leader LBJ) forced President Eisenhower to retreat from imposing sanctions on Israel (in an attempt to force an Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza), but they were “outflanked” by Israel’s full withdrawal…. During 1990-1992, Congress (led by the late Senator Daniel Inouye – D-HI) expanded US-Israel strategic cooperation unprecedentedly, notwithstanding the systematic, aggressive opposition by President G.H. Bush and Secretary of State Jim Baker. In 2014, Congress thwarted President Obama’s attempt – during the Protective Edge war in Gaza – to withhold $225MN, which were committed to Israel’s acquisition of Iron Dome’s missiles.
The 400 year old roots of the special American attitude toward the Jewish State; the track record of Israel as a uniquely unconditional, reliable, effective ally, militarily, economically, scientifically and morally; as well as Israel’s role/potential in face of the mounting challenges and threats to the US and the Free World, provide for the sustained Congressional support of enhanced US-Israel strategic cooperation, in spite of the retirement of a relatively-large number of pro-Israel legislators, and the expected election of a few potentially-hostile new legislators.
The US public, in general, and the 2019 incoming Congress, in particular, will approach Israel, by and large, in accordance with Israel’s proven and potential contribution – to the US – in facing the threats of the anti-US Iran’s Ayatollahs; Sunni and Shite terrorism (from the Middle East to Latin America); and the need to bolster the pro-US Arab regimes, which have the Ayatollahs’ machete at their throats.
The incoming Congress will become, increasingly, aware of Israel’s proven capabilities (already benefitting the US and the pro-US Arab regimes) in the areas of intelligence, counter-terrorism, conventional warfare, counter-Cyber warfare, upgrading and developing military systems, groundbreaking hi-tech innovations, irrigation, agriculture, etc.
The November 2018 midterm election will produce the 116th Congress, which will determine the domestic and international maneuverability of President Trump, including US-Israel relations, which have been transformed from a one-way street to a mutually-beneficial, two-way street relations, increasingly benefitting the US militarily and economically.
The October 27, 2018 massacre at the Tree of Life Synagogue, in Pittsburgh, PA, was an egregious reminder that since the early 17th century, anti-Semitism has been a systematic feature of – yet an abhorrent aberration in – the US. At the same time, the US society has demonstrated 400 years of respect for Judaism, Judeo-Christian values and the Jewish State.
For instance, Peter Stuyvesant, the first Dutch Governor of New York/New Netherland (1647-1664), failed in his attempt to block the immigration of Jews to the colony, but prohibited them from constructing a synagogue and serving in the local militia. Moreover, he confiscated Jewish property and levied a special tax solely on Jews, claiming that they were “deceitful and enemies of Jesus Christ.”
The state of the Jewish community improved in the aftermath of the 1664 British conquest of New York and the introduction of a series of civil covenants in the various colonies (e.g., the 1641 Massachusetts Body of Liberties). It was further improved as a result of the 1789 ratification of the US Constitution, which enhanced civil liberties – in a drastic departure from the state of mind of the European Churches and monarchies – also inspired by the Five Books of Moses, and especially by the concept of the Jubilee (Leviticus, 25:10).
Still, European-imported anti-Semitism established itself in the US, although as a significantly lower profile in the newly-created society and governance. The latter have expanded liberty over and beyond the European standards, while severely restricting the playing field of potential anti-Semitism.
For example, in December 1862, General Ulysses Grant issued the infamous General Order No. 11, ordering the expulsion of all Jews from Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi, stating: “The Jews, as a class, violate every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department….” However, in January 1863, President Lincoln – known for his deep respect of Judaism – ordered Grant to revoke the Order. Moreover, in the aftermath of the Civil War, General Grant contended that he signed the Order without studying it….
In the early 1920s, Henry Ford – the only American mentioned favorably in Hitler’s Mein Kampf and praised by Heinrich Himmler – wrote: “If fans wish to know the trouble with American baseball, they have it in three words – too much Jew.” However, in January, 1921, 119 distinguished Americans, such as President Woodrow Wilson, former President William Taft and the poet Robert Frost, signed a petition, denouncing Ford’s anti-Semitism, including his dissemination of the 1903 anti-Semitic Russian-fabricated “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.” In 1927, Ford apologized for his anti-Semitic conduct.
During the 1920s and the 1930s, Father Charles Coughlin leveraged his weekly anti-Semitic radio program to praise Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Japan’s Emperor Hirohito. However, upon the 1939 outbreak of the Second World War, he lost most of his listeners and followers.
An accurate depiction of most Americans’ stance on anti-Semitism was exposed, in December 1993, by the reaction of most of the 80,000 residents of Billings, Montana to a paving stone hurled – by a white supremacist – through a window of a Jewish home displaying a Chanukah candelabra and a Star of David. The hate-crime was followed by the Billings Gazette’s full-page color image of a Chanukah candelabra, along with the recommendation to display it on home windows in solidarity with the Jewish community. In addition, some residents took to the street, holding Chanukah candelabras, demonstrating a city-wide determination to stand up against the bullying tactics of white supremacists. Furthermore, solidarity with the Jewish community has become, almost, an annual event attended by top Billings and Montana officials.
The most authentic representation of the American state of mind is the 435 members of the House of Representatives – along with the 100 Senators – who are elected directly by US constituents, in order to represent them faithfully, or else (“we shall remember in November”)…. Therefore, most legislators – just like their constituents – have been systematic and determined allies of Judeo-Christian values, the Jewish people and the Jewish State.
While the destructive and lethal potential of anti-Semitism must not be underestimated, countries should not be judged by the eruption of such an abomination, but by the way they prosecute it. The 400-year-old Judeo-Christian foundations – and the track record – of the US assure that anti-Semitism shall be constrained, prosecuted and punished most decisively.
President Trump is well-advised to examine track record of all past US peace initiatives before submitting his own initiative. All US, and international, peace initiatives failed, despite the goodwill behind them. US initiatives force Arabs to outflank the US from the maximalist-radical side, erecting another hurdel on the rocky road to peace. Any initiative which involves multinational, or international, structure plays into the hands of radical regimes, turning into anti-American process, as displayed at the UN and other international organizations. The only two successful peace initiatives were bilaterally-conducted between Israel and Egypt and Israel and Jordan. The US played a key role in concluding – not initiating – these two peace agreements.
The UN Human Rights Council (HRC), on the one hand, and human rights, on the other hand, constitute a classic oxymoron, as underlined by the country-membership of the Council.
Moreover, since its establishment in 2006, and just like its predecessor, the UN Commission on Human Rights, the HRC has been dominated by non-democratic regimes, which have been hostile to the US.
For example, the anti-US, pro-Ayatollahs member-state Venezuela has robbed its opposition-led legislature of any effective power, jailing political opponents and prosecuting civilians in military courts. The Democratic Republic of Congo is ruled by a ruthless president who is holding on to power beyond the constitutionally mandated two-term limit, repressing, silencing and murdering opponents. Pakistan features a proliferation of military courts with death sentences for members of the opposition, unaccountability for human rights violations, the absence of a free press, no tolerance of religious minorities and women’s rights and is fertile ground for anti-US Islamic terrorism. In Afghanistan, neither the government nor the Taliban opposition adheres to human rights, which has resulted in a massive toll of murders and executions, many of them carried out by government-supported illegal gangs. Another member of the HRC, Burundi, which has been accused by the HRC, itself, of crimes against humanity and refuses to cooperate with the HRC investigation. Burundi is ruled by a president, whose term has been extended beyond constitutional limits, and whose security organs have followed a routine of kidnapping, torture, arbitrary arrests, executions and the “disappearance” of citizens. The repressive Cuban regime has sustained arbitrary arrests of opposition leaders, human rights leaders and free press activists.
Other member-states of the HRC – despite their non-democratic regimes and questionable-to-horrendous track records on human rights – are Rwanda, Senegal, Togo, Ivory Coast, Angola, Iraq, Ethiopia, Ecuador, Tunisia, Qatar, China, etc.
The US withdrawal from the HRC exposed the reality of the latter, which leveraged the US participation to legitimize anti-US regimes, undermining US interests throughout the globe, while advancing the interests of US rivals and enemies.
The US withdrawal has sent a message to the UN, and other entities which have benefitted from US commercial and military support. They realize that US participation in – and support of – global initiatives should not be taken for granted, but will be preconditioned upon pro-US conduct.
Such a policy is consistent with the US departure from the non-ratified 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Nuclear Agreement), which rewarded the anti-US Ayatollahs with immediate, tangible, sweeping benefits in return for verbal, intangible gestures, while the Ayatollahs’ machete is at the throat of Saudi Arabia and all other pro-US Arab regimes, entrenching their foothold in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen. The US departure from the 2015 Nuclear Agreement and the HRC bolsters confidence among US allies and deters rogue regimes, thus reducing the scope of global instability and violence.
US policy toward the HRC – which has been an authentic reflection of the UN at large – sends a message to the UN, raising somber doubts about the future of US financial support for that organization, unless the UN deviates from its modus operandi, which has provided tailwinds to anti-US rogue regimes and organizations, while benefitting from the hospitality and financial generosity of the US. Thus, the UN may forfeit part, or all, US foreign aid, which amounts to 20% of its annual budget, including 25% of UNRWA’s budget, which has funded visceral hate-education and glorification of terrorists.
In 2008, the HRC reflected the deeply-rooted worldview of its key members, by appointing Richard Falk – known for his systematic contempt for US policy – to a 6-year term as a Special Rapporteur. The appointment was approved by a consensus of the 47 members of the HRC. In 2008, Falk accused the US government of a cover-up concerning 9/11, including the supposed implication of neoconservatives in the attack. In 2013, in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon terrorism, Falk wrote in the Foreign Policy Journal: “Those to whom evil is done, do evil in return…. How many canaries will have to die before we awaken from our geopolitical fantasy of global domination?”
The track record of the Human Rights Council, on the one hand, and the national security and homeland security of the US, on the other hand, constitute an oxymoron. Hence, quitting the HRC enhances the interests of the US and the Free World.
The geo-strategic ripple effects of the 2018 US nuclear negotiation with North Korea and the 1994 US nuclear agreement with Pyongyang have been closely scrutinized by Iran’s Ayatollahs. Similarly, North Korea has studied the geo-strategic consequences of the 2015 US-led nuclear accord with the Ayatollahs (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action).
The track record of the nuclear negotiations with the Ayatollahs and North Korea verifies a clear and direct interconnection between the two processes. Moreover, the nuclear agreements with both the Ayatollahs and North Korea were largely shaped by the State Department establishment, in general, and Wendy Sherman, the former Chief Negotiator and Acting Deputy Secretary of State, in particular.
Furthermore, the overall conduct of both rogue regimes – as far as abandoning or advancing nuclearization, ending or expanding terrorism, subversion and ballistic capabilities – has been immensely impacted by the US negotiation posture. Thus, the less assertive and more eager is the US, and the more reluctant it is to use the military option, the less deterred and the more radicalized are Iran and North Korea.
They consider concessions made by the US and other Western democracies to be a sign of weakness, especially when the concessions are tangible and immediate – in return for future reciprocity – ignoring the tenuous, violent, unreliable and lawless track record of the two rogue regimes.
For example, according to the 1994 Agreed (nuclear) Framework and subsequent agreements (negotiated until 2001), North Korea was supposed to dismantle its nuclear program and to refrain from developing, testing, producing and selling ballistic missiles (hardware and technology), which exceed a 300-mile range. In defiance of those agreements, North Korea has dramatically enhanced its non-conventional capabilities, sharing some of its nuclear technologies with Iran and Syria. It led to the erection of a nuclear reactor in Syria, which was destroyed by Israel in 2007.
On October 18, 1994, President Clinton stated: “…This agreement will help to achieve a longstanding and vital America objective: an end to the threat of nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula. This agreement is good for the US, for our allies and for the safety of the entire world….” However, in 2006, North Korea conducted its first nuclear test. The US response – in an attempt to salvage the nuclear (supposedly disarmament) accord – featured additional concessions, such as the removal of North Korea from the State Department list of state sponsors of terrorism. This further eroded the US posture of deterrence, intensified Pyongyang’s intransigence and infuriated and undermined the national security of Japan and other allies of the US.
Since the July 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran Nuclear Agreement), the Ayatollahs have radicalized and intensified their military involvement in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, as well as their subversive and terrorist operations, aiming to topple all pro-US Arab regimes in the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Peninsula (primarily Saudi Arabia and Bahrain), Jordan and Egypt, as well as multitude of pro-Western regimes in Asia and Africa, and entrenching their anti-US presence in Latin America.
Since July 2015, The Shia’ Ayatollahs have escalated their subversive efforts to annex the Saudi-supported island of Bahrain, which they consider an Iranian province, where a 70% Shia’ majority is ruled by the Sunni House of Khalifa. In the process, Teheran has smuggled military systems to its terrorist network in Bahrain.
Since July 2015, the Ayatollahs have bolstered their military assistance to the anti-Saudi Houthi (mostly Shia’) rebels in Yemen. They consider Yemen – Saudi Arabia’s southern neighbor – a platform to launch missiles into Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to destabilize and topple the House of Saud. Simultaneously, the Ayatollahs have expanded their incitement of – and subversive initiatives in – the oil-rich, Shia’-dominated regions of Al Hassa’ and Qatif in the eastern part of Saudi Arabia.
Will President Trump avoid – or repeat – the critical errors committed by his predecessors in dealing with North Korea and the Ayatollahs?
Has President Trump recognized the well-documented rogue, unreliable, violent and lawless track record of the Ayatollahs and North Korea, which requires a drastic and tangible transformation, ideologically and geo-strategically, domestically, regionally and globally?
Does President Trump realize that bolstering the US’ posture of deterrence – including a viable military option – is a critical prerequisite to a constructive agreement with rogue regimes?
Has President Trump concluded that flawed agreements with rogue regimes are dramatically worse than no agreements?
Is President Trump aware of the interconnection between agreements concluded with North Korea and the Ayatollahs, on the one hand, and the global US posture of deterrence and the homeland security and national security of the US and its allies, on the other hand?
The US decision to comply with the law of the land – the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act – recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and relocating the US Embassy there, enhances the US posture of deterrence, in defiance of threats and pressure, while walking against the grain.
The relocation of the US Embassy will implement the 1995 legislation, which has enjoyed much support on, and off, Capitol Hill, but was sacrificed – until January 2017 – by the US Administration on the altar of false/faulty national security considerations. A waiver was introduced into the language of the law, as a result of pressure by then President Clinton, which was seconded by the late Prime Minister Rabin. In July, 1999, a veto-override majority of 84 Senators supported proposed legislation, which would force implementation of the legislation by eliminating the presidential waiver. But, a coalition of President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak convinced the Senators to shelve it, contending that the cause of peace must not be sacrificed on the altar of Jerusalem.However, reality has documented that they sacrificed reality and Jerusalem on the altar of wishful-thinking and a failed peace process, which collapsed during Prime Minister Barak’s tenure, accompanied by an unprecedented wave of Palestinian terrorism.
Another reminder that appeasement of rogue elements intensifies violence.
Israel’s unique contribution to US’ national security and US defense industries was reaffirmed on February 10, 2018, by Israel’s effective military operation against Syrian-based Iranian-Syrian surface-to-air missile batteries, early-warning radar stations, a launching-base of unmanned aerial vehicles and a command-control bunker.
President Trump’s first State of the Union aimed at bolstering the US posture of deterrence, reassuring allies and putting enemies and adversaries on notice.
The more reinforced the US posture of deterrence, the more restrained is the offensive conduct of Iran’s Ayatollahs and Islamic terror organizations – as well as the global activism of Russia and China – and the more secure are US allies, such as Israel, the Arab Gulf States, Jordan and Egypt.
The post-Reagan years have yielded a systematic erosion of the US posture of deterrence, adrenalizing the megalomaniacal veins of the rogue Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, whose machetes are at the throat of every US ally in the Middle East.
President Trump’s critical and urgent challenge is to reconnect the US national and homeland security policy with the 1,400-year-old unpredictable, violent, treacherous and threatening Middle East reality, and disconnect from former President Obama’s worldview, which window-dressed the volcanic, anti-Western Middle East reality to accord the principles of peaceful-coexistence and the struggle for human rights and economic prosperity.
The confidence of US allies in the Middle East – facing lethal threats internally and externally – was undermined by President Obama’s worldview, which subordinated the US independence of unilateral military action to multilateralism; accorded the UN and Europe central roles in shaping the international arena; considered any war as immoral, and aspired to advance peace at, almost, any price; assessed Islam as a religion of peace, not a threat; viewed Islamic terrorism as “workplace violence and the horrific outburst of violence” (as erupted in Ft. Hood, Texas in November 2009); determined that the triggers of terrorism were poverty, despair, erroneous US policy and US troops on Muslim lands; assumed that the means of combatting terrorism were law-enforcement, diplomacy, economic support, reasoning with rogue regimes and a very limited military commitment; embraced the worldview of the State Department, which opposed the establishment of Israel in 1948, and perceives the Jewish State a strategic liability in 2018.
The confidence of US allies in the Middle East has been enhanced by President Trump’s State of the Union, which highlighted the drive to advance US global leadership, economically, militarily and morally; the need to substantially expand the US defense budget and modernize its nuclear arsenal as a means of deterrence; defining terrorists as unlawful combatants; introducing less restrictive rules of engagements; awareness that concession to rogue elements fuels aggression; no US foreign aid to hostile regimes and organizations; the commitment to annul the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement; highlighting Iran’s Ayatollahs, Sunni Islamic terrorism and North Korea as the primary threats to be defeated, not partners to be satisfied; reiterating the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which reflects the role of Israel as a major strategic ally in the face of threats, which are mutual to the US, its Arab allies and Israel.
Trump’s State of the Union increases the strategic reliability of the US in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which have recently negotiated arms deals with Russia, as an expression of their depreciated trust of the US as an effective “life insurance agent” in face of clear, present and lethal threats.
The upgrading of President Trump’s speech, from the level of “talk” to the practical level of “walk” is essential, in order to restore the US posture of deterrence, which has been the most critical engine of the tailwind to US allies and a headwind to US foes and adversaries.
President Trump’s national security strategy – as enunciated on December 18, 2017 – reflects a realistic assessment of clear and present threats to the US, rejecting the politically-correct worldview of the foreign policy establishment, which has been crashed, repeatedly, against the rocks of reality. It provides a prescription for the enhancement of the flourishing, mutually-beneficial US-Israel relationship.
Contrary to the US and West European government, academic and media foreign policy establishment – which are highly critical of Israel and top heavy on wishful-thinking concerning the supposed Arab Spring, ostensible democratization and peaceful coexistence of the Arab World – Trump recognizes the complex and inherently brutal reality of the Middle East. Trump is aware of the lethal threats posed by Shiite (Ayatollahs) and Sunni terrorism and the threats posed by the 2015 Iran Nuclear Agreement.
Apparently, Trump does not embrace the myth of the Palestinian issue as – supposedly – a core cause of regional instability, a crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers, nor the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
According to Trump, apologies, appeasement and multilateralism have been replaced by America-first patriotism, the independence of unilateral US military action, the resurgence of the US posture of deterrence, an expanded defense budget and peace-through-strength.
Will Israel leverage these principles in its own battle against Islamic/Arab terrorism and its public relation posture in the US?
Trump underlined US national goals, which already benefit from Israel’s own experience and knowhow, harboring a much greater, mutually-beneficial potential:
1. Improving ballistic missile defense and cyber technologies feature Israel as a top partner with the US in the area of groundbreaking research, development and production;
2. Operational and technological homeland security and counter-terrorism highlight Israel’s unique experience as a game-changing contributor to the US’ intelligence, training and operations;
3. The stress on innovation underscores Israel as a platform of cutting-edge technologies for over 200 US hightech giants, as well as the leading battle-tested laboratory of the US defense industries, upgrading the latter’s research and development, global competitiveness, exports and employment-base.
Moreover, Israel has been “the largest US aircraft carrier” – as suggested by the late General Alexander Haig – which does not require US soldiers, deployed in a most critical region for US national security, sparing the necessity for the US to deploy a few more real aircraft carriers and additional divisions to the area between the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean (at an annual cost of $15BN-$20BN).
The President announced that allies of the US, which benefit from US protection – in the form of US military bases and personnel – “should reimburse the United States for the cost of defending them.” However, unlike Germany (70,000 US troops), South Korea and Japan (40,000 troops each), etc., Israel does not require US military bases and/or personnel, on its soil, for its defense.
In fact, Israel constitutes a most effective, reliable, battle-tested and uniquely unconditional US beachhead, stretching the strategic arm of the US in a most critical region for the American homeland and national security.
Will President Trump’s realistic national security talk be matched by effective walk?
Official Palestinian demographic numbers are highly-inflated, as documented by a study, which has audited the Palestinian data since 2004:
*500,000 overseas residents, who have been away for over a year, are included in the Palestinian census, contrary to international regulations. 325,000 were included in the 1997 census, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, and 400,000 in 2005, according to the Palestinian Election Commission. The number grows steadily due to births.
*350,000 East Jerusalem Arabs are doubly-counted – by Israel and by the Palestinian Authority. The number grows daily due to births.
*Over 150,000 Arabs, who married Israeli Arabs are similarly doubly-counted. The number expands daily due to births.
*A 390,000 Arab net-emigration from Judea & Samaria is excluded from the Palestinian census, notwithstanding the annual net-emigration since 1950. For example, 15,466 in 2022, 26,357 – 2019, 15,173 – 2017 and 24,244 – 2014, as documented by Israel’s Population and Migration Authority (exits and entries) in all the land, air and sea international passages.
*A 32% artificial inflation of Palestinian births was documented by the World Bank (page 8, item 6) in a 2006 audit.
*The Judea & Samaria Arab fertility rate has been westernized: from 9 births per woman in the 1960s to 3.02 births in 2021, as documented by the CIA World Factbook. It reflects the sweeping urbanization, growing enrollment of women in higher education, rising marriage age and the use of contraceptives.
*The number of Arab deaths in Judea & Samaria has been under-reported (since the days of the British Mandate) for political and financial reasons.
*The aforementioned data documents 1.4 million Arabs in Judea and Samaria, when deducting the aforementioned documented-data from the official Palestinian number (3 million).
In 2023: a 69% Jewish majority in the combined area of Judea, Samaria and pre-1967 Israel. In 1947 and 1897: a 39% and 9% Jewish minority. In 2023, a 69% Jewish majority benefiting from fertility tailwind and net-immigration. Arab fertility is Westernized, and Arab net-emigration from Judea and Samaria. No Arab demographic time bomb. A Jewish demographic momentum.
More data in this article and this short video.
Jewish Policy Center’s inFOCUS, Spring, 2023
Saudi-Iranian diplomatic relations
*Riyadh does not allow the resumption of the Saudi-Iranian diplomatic ties to befog the reality of the tenuous and shifty Middle East regimes, policies and agreements, and the inherently subversive, terroristic, anti-Sunni and imperialistic track record of Iran’s Ayatollahs.
*Saudi Arabia is cognizant of the 1,400-year-old fanatic, religious vision of the Ayatollahs, including their most critical strategic goal – since their February 1979 violent ascension to power – of exporting the Shiite Revolution and toppling all “apostate” Sunni Arab regimes, especially the House of Saud. They are aware that neither diplomatic, nor financial, short term benefits transcend the deeply-rooted, long term Ayatollahs’ anti-Sunni vision.
*Irrespective of its recent agreement with Iran – and the accompanying moderate diplomatic rhetoric – Saudi Arabia does not subscribe to the “New Middle East” and “end of interstate wars” Pollyannaish state of mind. The Saudis adhere to the 1,400-year-old reality of the unpredictably intolerant and violent inter-Arab/Muslim reality (as well as the Russia-Ukraine reality).
*This is not the first resumption of Saudi-Iranian diplomatic ties, which were previously severed in 1988 and 2016 and followed by the Ayatollahs-induced domestic and regional violence.
*The China-brokered March 2023 resumption of diplomatic ties is a derivative of Saudi Arabia’s national security interests, and its growing frustration with the US’ eroded posture as a reliable diplomatic and military protector against lethal threats.
*The resumption of Saudi-Iranian diplomatic relations constitute a major geo-strategic gain for China and a major setback for the US in a region which, until recently, was perceived as a US domain.
*The US posture of deterrence has been severely undermined by the 2015 nuclear accord (the JCPOA), the 2021 withdrawal/flight from Afghanistan, the systematic courting of three real, clear and lethal threats to the Saudi regime – Iran’s Ayatollahs, the “Muslim Brotherhood” and Yemen’s Houthi terrorists –- while exerting diplomatic and military pressure on the pro-US Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Egypt.
*US policy has driven Saudi Arabia (as well as the UAE and Egypt) closer to China and Russia, commercially and militarily, including the potential Chinese construction of civilian nuclear power plants and a hard rock uranium mill in Saudi Arabia, which would advance Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030.”
Saudi “Vision 2030”
*Effective Israel-Saudi Arabia cooperation is a derivative of Saudi Arabia’s national security and economic interests, most notably “Vision 2030.”
*The unprecedented Saudi-Israeli security, technological and commercial cooperation, and the central role played by Saudi Arabia in inducing the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan to conclude peace treaties with Israel, are driven by the Saudi assessment that Israel is an essential ally in the face of real, clear, lethal security threats, as well as a vital partner in the pursuit of economic, technological and diplomatic goals.
*The Saudi-Israel cooperation constitutes a win-win proposition.
*The Saudi-Israel cooperation is driven by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman’ (MBS’) “Vision 2030.” He aspires to catapult the kingdom to a regional and global powerhouse of trade and investment, leveraging its geo-strategic position along crucial naval routes between the Far East and Europe (the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Arab Sea and the Red Sea).
*”Vision 2030″ has introduced ground-breaking cultural, social, economic, diplomatic and national security reforms and upgrades, leveraging the unique added-value of Israel’s technological and military capabilities.
*Saudi Arabia, just like the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, are preoccupied with the challenge of economic diversification, realizing that they are overly-reliant on oil and natural gas, which are exposed to price-volatility, depletion and could be replaced by emerging cleaner and more cost-effective energy. They consider Israel’s ground-breaking technologies as a most effective vehicle to diversify their economy, create more jobs in non-energy sectors, and establish a base for alternative sources of national income, while bolstering homeland and national security.
*”Vision 2030″ defies traditional Saudi religious, cultural and social norms. Its future, as well as the future of Saudi-Israel cooperation, depend on Saudi domestic stability and the legitimacy of MBS. The latter is determined to overcome and de-sanctify the fundamentalist Wahhabis in central and southwestern Saudi Arabia, who were perceived until recently as the Islamic authority in Saudi Arabia, and an essential ally of the House of Saud since 1744.
“Vision 2030”, the Middle East and Israel’s added-value
*MBS’ ambitious strategy is preconditioned upon reducing regional instability and minimizing domestic and regional threats. These threats include the Ayatollahs regime of Iran, “Muslim Brotherhood” terrorists, Iran-supported domestic Shiite subversion (in the oil-rich Eastern Province), Iran-based Al Qaeda, Iran-supported Houthis in Yemen, Iran-supported Hezbollah, the proposed Palestinian state (which features a rogue intra-Arab track record), and Erdogan’ aspirations to resurrect the Ottoman Empire, which controlled large parts of the Arabian Peninsula. Currently, Erdogan maintains close security and political ties with the “Muslim Brotherhood” and the pro-Iran and pro-“Muslim Brotherhood” Qatar, while confronting Saudi Arabia in Libya, where they are both involved in a series of civil wars.
*Notwithstanding the March 2023 resumption of diplomatic ties with Iran, Saudi Arabia is aware that the Middle East resembles a volcano, which frequently releases explosive lava – domestically and regionally – in an unpredictable manner, as evidenced by the Arab Tsunami, which erupted in 2010 and is still raging on the Arab Street.
*The survival of the Saudi regime, and the implementation of “Vision 2030,” depend upon Riyadh’s ability to form an effective coalition against rogue regimes. However, Saudi Arabia is frustrated by the recent erosion of the US’ posture of deterrence, as demonstrated by the 43-year-old US addiction to the diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs; the US’ limited reaction to Iranian aggression against US and Saudi targets; the US’ embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood; and the US’ appeasement of the Ayatollahs-backed Houthi terrorists. In addition, the Saudis are alarmed by the ineffectiveness of NATO (No Action Talk Only?), European vacillation in the face of Islamic terrorism, and the vulnerability of the Arab regimes. This geo-strategic reality has driven the Saudis (reluctantly) closer to China and Russia, militarily and commercially.
*Against this regional and global backdrop, Israel stands out as the most reliable “life insurance agent” and an essential strategic ally, irrespective of past conflicts and the Palestinian issue. The latter is considered by the Saudi Crown Prince as a secondary or tertiary issue.
*In addition, the Saudis face economic and diplomatic challenges – which could benefit from Israel’s cooperation and can-do mentality – such as economic diversification, innovative technology, agriculture, irrigation and enhanced access to advanced US military systems, which may be advanced via Israel’s stature on Capitol Hill.
*The Saudi interest in expanding military, training, intelligence, counter-terrorism and commercial cooperation with Israel has been a byproduct of its high regard for Israel’s posture of deterrence and muscle-flexing in the face of Iran’s Ayatollahs (in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran itself); and Israel’s systematic war on Palestinian and Islamic terrorism. Furthermore, the Saudis respect Israel’s occasional defiance of US pressure, including Israel’s high-profiled opposition to the 2015 JCPOA and Israel’s 1981 and 2007 bombing of Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors, which spared the Saudis (and the US) the devastating wrath of a nuclear Saddam Hussein and a nuclear Assad.
*A deterring and defiant Israel is a cardinal force-multiplier for Saudi Arabia (as it is for the US). On the other hand, an appeasing and retreating Israel would be irrelevant to Saudi Arabia’s national security (as it would be for the US).
*On a rainy day, MBS (just like the US) prefers a deterring and defiant Israel on his side.
Saudi interests and the Palestinian issue
*As documented by the aforementioned data, Saudi Arabia’s top national security priorities transcend – and are independent of – the Palestinian issue.
*The expanding Saudi-Israel cooperation, and the key role played by Riyadh in accomplishing the Abraham Accords, have contradicted the Western conventional wisdom. The latter assumes that the Palestinian issue is central to Arab policy makers, and that the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict is preconditioned upon substantial Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, including the establishment of a Palestinian state.
*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, MBS is aware that the Palestinian issue is not the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, neither a crown-jewel of Arab policy-making, nor a core cause of regional turbulence.
*Independent of the pro-Palestinian Saudi talk, Riyadh (just like the Arabs in general) has demonstrated an indifferent-to-negative walk toward the Palestinians. Arabs know that – in the Middle East – one does not pay custom on words. Therefore, the Arabs have never flexed a military (and barely financial and diplomatic) muscle on behalf of the Palestinians. They have acted in accordance with their own – not Palestinian – interests, and certainly not in accordance with Western misperceptions of the Middle East.
*Unlike the Western establishment, MBS accords critical weight to the Palestinian intra-Arab track record, which is top heavy on subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude. For instance, the Saudis don’t forget and don’t forgive the Palestinian collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which was the most generous Arab host for Palestinians. The Saudis are also cognizant of the deeply-rooted Palestinian collaboration with Islamic, Asian, African, European and Latin American terror organizations, including “Muslim Brotherhood” terrorists and Iran’s Ayatollahs (whose machetes are at the throat of the House of Saud), North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela. The Saudis are convinced that the proposed Palestinian state cannot be different than the Palestinian rogue track record, which would add fuel to the Middle East fire, threatening the relatively-moderate Arab regimes.
Saudi Arabia and the Abraham Accords
*Saudi Arabia has served as the primary engine behind Israel’s peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan, and has forged unprecedented defense and commercial cooperation with Israel, consistent with the Saudi order of national priorities.
*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, the Saudis do not sacrifice Middle East reality and their national security interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue.
*The success of the Saudi-supported Abraham Accords was a result of avoiding the systematic mistakes committed by Western policy makers, which produced a litany of failed Israeli-Arab peace proposals, centered on the Palestinian issue. Learning from prior mistakes, the Abraham accords focused on Arab interests, bypassing the Palestinian issue, avoiding a Palestinian veto.
*Therefore, the durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the interests of the respective Arab countries, and not on the Palestinian issue, which is not a top priority for any Arab country.
*The durability of the Abraham Accords depends on the stability of Saudi Arabia and the Arab countries which signed the Abraham Accords. Their stability is threatened by the volcanic nature of the unstable, highly-fragmented, unpredictable, violently intolerant, non-democratic and tenuous Middle East.
*The tenuous nature of most Arab/Muslim regimes in the Middle East yields tenuous policies and tenuous accords. For example, in addition to the Arab Tsunami of 2010 (which is still raging on the Arab Street), non-ballot regime-change occurred (with a dramatic change of policy) in Egypt (2013, 2012, 1952), Iran (1979, 1953), Iraq (2003, 1968, 1963-twice, 1958), Libya (2011, 1969) and Yemen (a civil war since the ’90s, 1990, 1962), etc.
*Bearing in mind the intra-Arab Palestinian track record, regional instability, the national security of Saudi Arabia, the Abraham Accords and US interests would be severely undermined by the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. It would topple the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River; transform Jordan into a chaotic state in the vein of the uncontrollable Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; and produce another platform of regional and global Islamic terrorism, which would be leveraged by Iran’s Ayatollahs, in order to tighten their encirclement of Saudi Arabia. This would trigger a domino scenario, which would threaten every pro-US Arab oil-producing country in the Arabian Peninsula, jeopardizing the supply of Persian Gulf oil; threaten global trade; and yield a robust tailwind to Iran’s Ayatollahs, Russia and China and a major headwind to the US and its Arab Sunni allies, headed by Saudi Arabia.
*Why would Saudi Arabia and the Arab regimes of the Abraham Accords precondition their critical ties with Israel upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, which they view as a rogue element? Why would they sacrifice their national security and economic interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue? Why would they cut off their noses to spite their faces?
The well-documented fact that Arabs have never flexed a military muscle (and hardly a significant financial and diplomatic muscles) on behalf of the Palestinians, provides a resounding answer!
Israel-Saudi cooperation and Israel’s national security interests
*Notwithstanding the importance of Israel’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia, it takes a back seat to Israel’s critical need to safeguard/control the geographic cradle of its history, religion and culture, which coincides with its minimal security requirements in the volcanic Middle East: the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (West Bank), which dominate the 8-15-mile-sliver of pre-1967 Israel.
*The tenuously unpredictable Middle East reality defines peace accords as variable components of national security, unlike topography and geography (e.g., the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights) which are fixed components of Israel’s minimal security requirements in the non-Western-like Middle East. Israel’s fixed components of national security have dramatically enhanced its posture of deterrence. They transformed the Jewish State into a unique force and dollar multiplier for the US.
*An Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty would be rendered impractical if it required Israel to concede the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which would relegate Israel from a terror and war-deterring force multiplier for the US to a terror and war-inducing burden upon the US.
*Contrary to the Western (mis)perception of Israel-Arab peace treaties as pillars of national security, the unpredictably-violent Middle East features a 1,400-year-old reality of transient (non-democratic, one-bullet, not one-ballot) Arab regimes, policies and accords. Thus, as desirable as Israel-Arab peace treaties are, they must not entail the sacrifice of Israel’s most critical national security feature: the permanent topography of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which dominate 80% of Israel’s population and infrastructure.
*In June and December of 1981, Israel bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor and applied its law to the Golan Heights, in defiance of the Western foreign policy establishment. The latter warned that such actions would force Egypt to abandon its 1979 peace treaty with Israel. However, Egypt adhered to its national security priorities, sustaining the peace treaty. Routinely, Western policy makers warn that construction in Jerusalem (beyond the “Green Line”) and in Judea and Samaria would trigger a terroristic volcano and push the Arabs away from their peace treaties with Israel.
*None of the warnings materialized, since Arabs act in accordance with their own interests; not in accordance with Western misperceptions and the rogue Palestinian agenda.
US departure from the recognition of a United Jerusalem as the exclusive capital of the Jewish State, and the site of the US Embassy to Israel, would be consistent with the track record of the State Department, which has been systematically wrong on Middle East issues, such as its opposition to the establishment of the Jewish State; stabbing the back of the pro-US Shah of Iran and Mubarak of Egypt, and pressuring the pro-US Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, while courting the anti-US Ayatollahs of Iran, Saddam Hussein, Arafat, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and the Houthis of Yemen; transforming Libya into a platform of global Islamic terrorism and civil wars; etc..
However, such departure would violate US law, defy a 3,000 year old reality – documented by a litany of archeological sites and a multitude of documents from Biblical time until today – spurn US history and geography, and undermine US national and homeland security.
United Jerusalem and the US law
Establishing a US Consulate General in Jerusalem – which would be a de facto US Embassy to the Palestinian Authority – would violate the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which became US law on November 8, 1995 with substantially more than a veto-override majority on Capitol Hill.
According to the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which enjoys massive support among the US population and, therefore, in both chambers of Congress:
“Jerusalem should remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….
“Jerusalem should be recognized as the capital of the state of Israel; and the United States Embassy in Israel should be established in Jerusalem….
“In 1990, Congress unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 106, which declares that Congress ‘strongly believes that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city in which the rights of every ethnic and religious group are protected….’
“In 1992, the United States Senate and House of Representatives unanimously adopted Senate Concurrent Resolution 113… to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem, and reaffirming Congressional sentiment that Jerusalem must remain an undivided city….
“In 1996, the state of Israel will celebrate the 3,000th anniversary of the Jewish presence in Jerusalem since King David’s entry….
“The term ‘United States Embassy’ means the offices of the United States diplomatic mission and the residence of the United States chief of mission.”
United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers
The US Early Pilgrims and Founding Fathers were inspired – in their unification of the 13 colonies – by King David’s unification of the 12 Jewish tribes into a united political entity, and establishing Jerusalem as the capital city, which did not belong to any of the tribes (hence, Washington, DC does not belong to any state). King David entered Jerusalem 3,000 years before modern day US presidents entered the White House and 2,755 years before the US gained its independence.
The impact of Jerusalem on the US founders of the Federalist Papers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist system and overall civic life is reflected by the existence, in the US, of 18 Jerusalems (4 in Maryland; 2 in Vermont, Georgia and New York; and 1 in Ohio, Michigan, Arkansas, North Carolina, Alabama, Utah, Rhode Island and Tennessee), 32 Salems (the original Biblical name of Jerusalem) and many Zions (a Biblical synonym for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel). Moreover, in the US there are thousands of cities, towns, mountains, cliffs, deserts, national parks and streets bearing Biblical names.
The Jerusalem reality and US interests
Recognizing the Jerusalem reality and adherence to the 1995 Jerusalem Embassy Act – and the subsequent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the site of the US Embassy to Israel – bolstered the US posture of deterrence in defiance of Arab/Islamic pressure and threats.
Contrary to the doomsday assessments by the State Department and the “elite” US media – which have been wrong on most Middle East issues – the May 2018 implementation of the 1995 law did not intensify Palestinian, Arab and Islamic terrorism. State Department “wise men” were equally wrong when they warned that Israel’s 1967 reunification of Jerusalem would ignite a worldwide anti-Israel and anti-US Islamic volcanic eruption.
Adherence to the 1995 law distinguishes the US President, Congress and most Americans from the state of mind of rogue regimes and terror organizations, the anti-US UN, the vacillating Europe, and the cosmopolitan worldview of the State Department, which has systematically played-down the US’ unilateral, independent and (sometimes) defiant national security action.
On the other hand, US procrastination on the implementation of the 1995 law – by Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama – eroded the US posture of deterrence, since it was rightly perceived by the world as appeasement in the face of pressure and threats from Arab/Muslim regimes and terrorists. As expected, it radicalized Arab expectations and demands, failed to advance the cause of Israel-Arab peace, fueled Islamic terrorism, and severely undermined US national and homeland security. For example, blowing up the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and murdering 224 persons in August 1998; blowing up the USS Cole destroyer in the port of Aden and murdering 17 US sailors in October 2000; the 9/11 Twin Towers massacre, etc.
Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure
In 1949, President Truman followed Secretary of State Marshall’s policy, pressuring Israel to refrain from annexing West Jerusalem and to accept the internationalization of the ancient capital of the Jewish people.
in 1950, in defiance of brutal US and global pressure to internationalize Jerusalem, Prime Minister David Ben Gurion reacted constructively by proclaiming Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish State, relocating government agencies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and settling tens of thousands of Olim (Jewish immigrants to Israel) in Jerusalem. He upgraded the transportation infrastructure to Jerusalem, erected new Jewish neighborhoods along the 1949 cease fire lines in Jerusalem, and provided the city land reserves for long-term growth.
In 1953, Ben Gurion rebuffed President Eisenhower’s pressure – inspired by Secretary of State Dulles – to refrain from relocating Israel’s Foreign Ministry from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
In 1967, President Johnson followed the advice of Secretary of State Rusk – who opposed Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence – highlighting the international status of Jerusalem, and warned Israel against the reunification of Jerusalem and construction in its eastern section. Prime Minister Levi Eshkol adopted Ben Gurion’s statesmanship, fended off the US pressure, reunited Jerusalem, built the first Jerusalem neighborhood beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines, Ramat Eshkol, in addition to the first wave of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights.
In 1970, President Nixon collaborated with Secretary of State Rogers, attempting to repartition Jerusalem, pressuring Israel to relinquish control of Jerusalem’s Holy Basin, and to stop Israel’s plans to construct additional neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem. However, Prime Minister Golda Meir refused to rescind the reunification of Jerusalem, and proceeded to lay the foundation for additional Jerusalem neighborhoods beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines: Gilo, Ramot Alon, French Hill and Neve’ Yaakov, currently home to 150,000 people.
In 1977-1992, Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir defied US and global pressure, expanding construction in Jerusalem, sending a clear message: “Jerusalem is the exclusive and non-negotiable capital of Israel!”
“[In 1978], at the very end of [Prime Minister Begin’s] successful Camp David talks with President Jimmy Carter and President Anwar Sadat, literally minutes before the signing ceremony, the American president had approached [Begin] with ‘Just one final formal item.’ Sadat, said the president, was asking that Begin put his signature to a simple letter committing him to place Jerusalem on the negotiating table of the final peace accord. ‘I refused to accept the letter, let alone sign it,’ rumbled Begin. ‘If I forgot thee O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget its cunning,’ said [Begin] to the president of the United States of America, ‘and may my tongue cleave to my mouth’ (The Prime Ministers – An Intimate Portrait of Leaders of Israel, 2010)”
In 2021, Prime Minister Bennett should follow in the footsteps of Israel’s Founding Father, Ben Gurion, who stated: “Jerusalem is equal to the whole of the Land of Israel. Jerusalem is not just a central Jewish settlement. Jerusalem is an invaluable global historical symbol. The Jewish People and the entire world shall judge us in accordance with our steadfastness on Jerusalem (“We and Our Neighbors,” p. 175. 1929).”
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The goal of Passover’s liberty was not the subjugation of the Egyptian people, but the defeat of the tyrannical Pharaoh and the veneration of liberty throughout the globe, including in Egypt.
Moses received the Torah – which includes 50 gates of wisdom – 50 days following the Exodus, as celebrated by the Shavou’ot/Pentecost Holiday, 50 days following Passover. Moreover, there are 50 States in the United States, whose Hebrew name is “The States of the Covenant” (Artzot Habreet -ארצות הברית).
Passover aims at coalescing the fabrics of the Jewish family and the Jewish people, commemorating and strengthening Jewish roots, and refreshing and enhancing core values such as faith, humility, education, optimism, defiance of odds and can-do mentality, which are prerequisites to a free and vibrant society.
Passover is an annual reminder that liberty must not be taken for granted.
Jerusalem has been the exclusive capital of the Jewish people since King David established it as his capital, 3,000 years ago.
More: Jewish Holidays Guide for the Perplexed – Amazon, Smashwords
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*Israel’s control of the topographically-dominant mountain ridges of the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria has enhanced Israel’s posture of deterrence, constraining regional violence, transforming Israel into a unique force-multiplier for the US.
*Top Jordanian military officers warned that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into a non-controllable terrorist heaven, generating an anti-US domino scenario in the Arabian Peninsula.
*Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria has eliminated much of the threat (to Jordan) of Judea and Samaria-based Palestinian terrorism.
*Israel’s posture of deterrence emboldens Jordan in the face of domestic and regional threats, sparing the US the need to deploy its own troops, in order to avoid an economic and national security setback.
*The proposed Palestinian state would become the Palestinian straw that would break the pro-US Hashemite back.
*The Palestinian track record of the last 100 years suggests that the proposed Palestinian state would be a rogue entity, adding fuel to the Middle East fire, undermining US interests.
Israel’s and the US’ counter-terrorism
*Islamic and Palestinian terrorism consider Israel as a critical beachhead – and a proxy – of the US in the Middle East and a significant collaborator with the pro-US Arab regimes. They perceive the war on “the infidel Jewish State” as a preview of their more significant war on “the infidel West” and their attempts to topple all pro-US Sunni Arab regimes. Therefore, Islamic and Palestinian terrorism has been engaged in intra-Arab subversion, while systematically collaborating with enemies and rivals of the US and the West (e.g., Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Ayatollah Khomeini, Latin American, European, African and Asian terror organizations, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba). The more robust is Israel’s war on terrorism, the more deterred are the terrorists in their attempts to bring the “infidel” West to submission.
*Islamic and Palestinian terrorism has terrorized Jewish communities in the Land of Israel since the late 19th century, adhering to an annihilationist vision as detailed by the Fatah and PLO charters of 1959 and 1964 (eight and three years before 1967), as well as by the hate-education system, which was installed by Mahmoud Abbas in 1993 following the signing of the Oslo Accord.
*Israel battles Palestinian terrorism (Hamas and the Palestinian Authority) and Islamic terrorism (Iran and Hezbollah), which are not preoccupied with the size – but with the eradication – of the “infidel” Jewish State from “the abode of Islam.”
*Israel and the West fight against deeply-rooted and institutional Islamic and Palestinian terrorism, that is inspired by 1,400-year-old rogue values, which are perpetrated by K-12 hate-education, mosque incitement and official and public idolization of terrorists.
*Israel and the West combat terrorism, that has astutely employed 1,400-year-old Islamic values such the “Taqiya’ ” – which promotes double-speak and dissimulation, as a means to mislead and defeat enemies – and the “Hudna’,” which misrepresents a temporary non-binding ceasefire with “infidels” as if it were a peace treaty.
*Israel and the West confront Islamic and Palestinian terrorism, which is politically, religiously and ideologically led by despotic and rogue regimes, rejecting Western values, such as peaceful-coexistence, democracy, human rights and good-faith negotiation.
*Israel and the West face off against Palestinian and Islamic terrorism, which does not allow lavish financial and diplomatic temptations to transcend intrinsic, fanatic, rogue and annihilationist vision. Moreover, terrorists bite the hands that feed them.
*Israel and the West are not assaulted by despair-driven terrorism, but by hope-driven terrorism – the hope to bring the “infidel” to submission. The aspiration of these terrorists contradicts peaceful-coexistence.
*Israel and the West clash with terrorists, who view gestures, concessions and hesitancy as weakness, which inflames terrorism.
*Israel and the West struggle against terrorism, which is not driven by a particular Israeli or US policy, but by a fanatic vision. Thus, Islamic terrorism afflicted the US during the Clinton and Obama Democratic Administrations, as well as during the Bush and Trump Republican Administrations.
*The US State Department has embraced a “moral equivalence” between Palestinian terrorists – who systematically and deliberately hit civilians, while sometimes hitting soldiers – and Israeli soldiers, who systematically and deliberately hit terrorists, while sometimes, unintentionally, hitting civilians. It emboldens terrorism, which threatens all pro-US Arab regimes, undermining regional stability, benefiting US’ rivals and enemies, while damaging the US.
War on terrorism
*The bolstering of posture of deterrence – rather than hesitancy, restraint, containment and gestures, which inflame terrorism – is a prerequisite for defeating terrorism and advancing the peace process.
*The most effective long-term war on terrorism – operationally, diplomatically, economically and morally – is not a surgical or comprehensive reaction, but a comprehensive and disproportional preemption, targeting the gamut of terroristic infrastructures and capabilities, draining the swamp of terrorism, rather than chasing the mosquitos.
*Containment produces a short-term, false sense of security, followed by a long-term security setback. It is the terrorists’ wet dream, which does not moderate terrorism, but adrenalizes its veins, providing time to bolster its capabilities – a tailwind to terror and a headwind to counter-terrorism. It shakes the confidence in the capability to crush terrorism. Defeating terrorism mandates obliteration of capabilities, not co-existence or containment.
*Containment aims to avoid a multi-front war (Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, Hezbollah and Iran), but it erodes Israel’s posture of deterrence, which brings Israel closer to a multi-front war under much worse conditions.
*Containment erodes Israel’s posture of deterrence in the eyes of the relatively-moderate Arab countries (Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, the Sudan, Jordan and Egypt), which have dramatically enhanced cooperation with Israel due to Israel’s posture of deterrence against mutual threats, such as Iran’s Ayatollahs, the “Muslim Brotherhood” and ISIS terrorists).
*Containment is also a derivative of White House’s and the State Department’s pressure, subordinating national security to diplomatic priorities. It undermines Israel’s posture of deterrence, which plays into the hand of anti-Israel and anti-US rogue regimes. Precedents prove that Israeli defiance of US pressure yields short-term tension, but long-term strategic respect, resulting in expanded strategic cooperation. On a rainy day, the US prefers a defiant, rather than appeasing, strategic ally.
*The 2002 comprehensive counter-terrorism Israeli offensive, and the return of Israel’s Defense Forces to the headquarters of Palestinian terrorism in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) – and not defensive containment and surgical operations – resurrected Israel’s effective war on Palestinian terrorism, which substantially curtailed terrorists’ capabilities to proliferate terrorism in Israel, Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula.
*The containment option intensifies terrorists’ daring, feeds vacillation and the self-destructive “don’t rock the boat” mentality. It erodes steadfastness and confidence in the capabilities to withstand the cost of terrorism, and feeds the suicidal perpetual retreat mentality.
*The addiction to containment is one of the lethal by-products of the 1993 Oslo Accord, which has produced a uniquely effective hot house of terrorism, highlighted by the importation, arming and funding of some 100,000 Palestinian terrorists from Tunisia, the Sudan, Yemen, Lebanon and Syria to Gaza, Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem, who have unprecedentedly radicalized the Arab population of pre-1967 Israel, established a K-12 hate education system, launched an unparalleled wave of terrorism, and systematically violated agreements.
The bottom line
*The 30 years since the Oslo Accord have featured unprecedented Palestinian hate-education and wave of terrorism. It has demonstrated that a retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria has boosted terrorism; that the Palestinian Authority is not committed to a peace process, but to the destruction of the Jewish State; and that terrorism requires a military, not political, solution. A successful war on terrorism behooves a preemptive offense, not defense, containment and reaction; and that fighting in the terrorists’ own trenches is preferable to fighting in one’s own trenches. No Israeli concessions could satisfy international pressure; and diplomatic popularity is inferior to strategic respect. Avoiding a repeat of the critical post-Oslo errors requires a comprehensive, disproportional, decisive military campaign to uproot – not to coexist with – terroristic infrastructures.
*The historic and national security indispensability of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – which dominate the 8-15-mile sliver of pre-1967 Israel – and the necessity to frustrate Palestinian terrorism, behooves Israel to eliminate any sign of hesitancy and vacillation by expanding the Jewish presence in this most critical area. It will intensify US and global pressure, but as documented by all Prime Ministers from Ben Gurion, through Eshkol, Golda Meir, Begin and Shamir, defiance of pressure results in the enhancement of strategic respect and cooperation.
*The Palestinian track record during the 30 years since the 1993 Oslo Accord has highlighted the violent, unpredictable and anti-US rogue nature of the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, which would force the toppling of the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River. It would transform Jordan into an uncontrollable, chaotic state in the vein of Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, triggering a domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula (south of Jordan), which could topple the pro-US, oil-producing Arab regimes. This would reward Iran’s Ayatollahs, China and Russia, while severely undermining regional and global stability and US economic and national security interests.