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The US-engineered and brokered Israel-Lebanon (Hezbollah) maritime/gas accord includes (in section 4) US guarantees. It aims to reassure both parties, especially Israel: “The United States intends to exert its best efforts working with the Parties to help establish and maintain a positive and constructive atmosphere for conducting discussions and successfully resolving any differences as rapidly as possible.”

Is that a reassuring commitment?

Section 4 of the maritime/gas accord is a classic example of four features of all US’ international guarantees, which – as logically expected – intend to subordinate the implementation of the guarantees to the interests of the US guarantor, not the interests of the guaranteed countries:

*Non-specificity;
*Non-automaticity;
*Open-ended interpretations;
*Escape routes.

*For example, the NATO Treaty – led by the US – is perceived to be the tightest commitment by all member states to the defense of an attacked NATO country.  However, article 5 of the NATO Charter highlights the aforementioned four features:

“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them… will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area…. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.”

*Furthermore, the seeds of the current devastation of Ukraine were planted in the December 5, 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances accorded to Ukraine by the US, Britain and the USSR in return for Ukraine’s giving up its nuclear arsenal, which was the 3rd largest in the world.

According to the Budapest Memorandum: “Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a specified period of time… the United States of America, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine… to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine….”

The Budapest Memorandum was exposed as a useless and misleading “screen saver” in 2014, when Russia occupied the Crimean Peninsula. Its ineffective nature was further revealed during the 2014-2022 Russia-Ukraine war in Donbas and in 2022, when Russia – again – invaded and plundered Ukraine with no implementation of the Budapest Memorandum of Security Assurances.

*Israel should be aware of the intrinsic flaws of all security guarantees, and persist in reliance only upon its own national security capabilities, rather than the mirage of international/US assurances.

*Moreover, the US constitutional balance of power stipulates that no US international commitment is binding unless ratified by a 2/3 Senate majority.

Thus, in 1999 and 2000, President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits international nuclear testing, and the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court in the Hague. However, Clinton did not submit the Rome Statute for Senate ratification (realizing that there was no support for ratification), and the Test Ban Treaty was also not ratified – it was defeated 48:51 in the Senate.  Both are yet to be ratified….

The open-ended nature of US guarantees, and the paramount role of US interests during the implementation phase, were demonstrated by the US defense treaties, which were concluded with Taiwan (1955), South Vietnam (1973) and New Zealand (1951), but terminated by the US in 1979, 1975 and 1986, in order to advance US interests, as perceived by US presidents at the time.

*Israeli reliance on US guarantees in the context of the 2022 maritime/gas accord ignores past mistakes:

*In 2000, President Clinton pledged $800mn in emergency aid to fund Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon. It was never delivered, since Congress – and not the President – possesses the Power of the Purse, and it did not agree to fund the self-defeating Israeli withdrawal (which triggered an unprecedented wave of Palestinian terrorism).

*In 1979 – when President Carter attempted to insert into the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty a reference to a future Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights – the Israeli team shared with Carter the September 1, 1975 assurance of President Ford  to Prime Minister Rabin, required to induce an Israeli withdraw from the Gulf of Suez to the Mitla’ Pass in mid-Sinai: “… [The US] will give great weight to Israel’s position that any peace agreement with Syria must be predicated on Israel remaining on the Golan Heights.”  President Carter’s correct response was that President Ford’s non-ratified executive commitment did not bind any of Ford’s successors in the White House.

*In 1967 – on the eve of the Six Day War – Israel shared with President Johnson well-documented evidence about the Egypt-Syria-Jordan planned war on Israel. Prime Minister Eshkol submitted to President Johnson the 1957 assurance (Aide Memoir) by President Eisenhower, which was a prerequisite for Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula. It implied US willingness to deploy its military in the face of Egyptian violations of commitments made to the US and Israel. President Johnson responded that Eisenhower’s non-ratified Executive Commitment did not bind Eisenhower’s successors, and “it ain’t worth a solitary dime.” He added that “I am a tall Texan, but a short president in the face of a Congress that opposes overseas military deployment.”

The bottom line

*Security agreements with the US should enhance – not reduce – Israel’s posture of deterrence and its independence of national security action.

*Security agreements with the US should advance Israel’s posture as a national security producer – which deters regional violence – rather than a national security consumer, which fuels regional violence.

*Security agreements with the US should expand Israel’s posture as a unique force-multiplier for the US – a strategic asset, not a liability.

*The 2022 maritime/gas Israel-Lebanon (Hezbollah) accord suggests that US and Israeli policy-makers are determined to learn from history by repeating – rather than avoiding – past critical mistakes, undermining their own interests.

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Irrespective of the final outcome of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it should serve as a wake-up call for Israeli and Western policy-makers and molders of public opinion.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has exposed the flawed nature of certain assumptions, which have impacted the worldview of the Western establishment – but not the worldview of most of the world – while attempting to induce/coerce Israel into adopting these assumptions.

For example:

*The illusion that most of the world subscribes to the Western worldview of a new world (and new Middle East) order, which is supposedly more stable, predictable, tolerant and trending toward peaceful-coexistence, focusing on butter rather than guns;

*The ostensible end to the era of major wars and massive ground force invasions;

*The self-destruct notion that a military posture of deterrence can be effectively-replaced by peace accords, security guarantees and generous financial and diplomatic packages. Thus, the seeds of the current predicament of Ukraine were planted in the reckless December 1994 Budapest security assurances, which were extended to Ukraine by the USA, Britain and Russia in return for Ukraine’s surrender of its most-deterring nuclear stockpile (3rd largest in the world). In 2022, these assurances are exposed in their futility.

*Ignoring the tenuous, unreliable, unpredictable, non-committal and open-ended nature of all security guarantees, even article 5 of the NATO Charter, which is supposed to be the tightest security commitment. But, article 5 states that all NATO members shall assist an attacked member “as [they] deem necessary, including the use of armed force….” As they deem necessary….

*The delusion that peace and security agreements are more important (for national security) than military capabilities and geography/topography-driven posture of deterrence.  This delusion ignores the fact that while peace accords and security guarantees are tenuous, topographic dominance (e.g., the Golan Heights and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) and geographic depth are everlasting.

*Overlooking the fact that a gradual reduction of defense budget is interpreted by most of the globe as erosion of deterrence in a stormy world (and volatile Middle East), undermining stability and crippling national security, and therefore inducing terrorism and wars;

*The presumed superiority of the diplomatic option as a more effective negotiation tool than the military option in settling conflicts with rogue regimes, which have systematically revealed themselves as bad-faith negotiators (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs since assuming power in February, 1979);

*The alleged subordination of national ideologies and strategic visions to a cosmopolitan/universal peaceful-coexistence state of mind;

*Preferring the speculative assessments of the future track records of rogue regimes over their realistic historical track record, which highlights the centrality of rogue history in shaping their radical national vision, policy-making, school curriculum, religious sermons and media.

*The illusion that rogue conduct (e.g., subversion, terrorism and wars) is despair-driven, rather than ideology-driven.

Western policy makers have attempted to induce/coerce Israel into a withdrawal from the topographically dominant mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – in return for a peace accord and security guarantees.  However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the false sense of security, which is generated by security guarantees, which replace geographic depth and dominant topography in the highly volatile, violent, intolerant and unpredictable Middle East. The global experience has reaffirmed the centrality of the military-driven posture of deterrence in the shaping of national security.

Moreover, unlike Ukraine (the 2nd largest European country), Israel’s lack of geographic depth (a 7-15 miles sliver from the Mediterranean to the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) provides for an extremely small margin of error. Thus, if the 1973 surprise Arab military offensive were launched against a pre-1967 Israel (without the dominant topography of the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria and the strategic depth of the Sinai Peninsula), the Arabs would be able to annihilate the Jewish State.

Support Appreciated

 

recent posts

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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The US-engineered and brokered Israel-Lebanon (Hezbollah) maritime/gas accord includes (in section 4) US guarantees. It aims to reassure both parties, especially Israel: “The United States intends to exert its best efforts working with the Parties to help establish and maintain a positive and constructive atmosphere for conducting discussions and successfully resolving any differences as rapidly as possible.”

Is that a reassuring commitment?

Section 4 of the maritime/gas accord is a classic example of four features of all US’ international guarantees, which – as logically expected – intend to subordinate the implementation of the guarantees to the interests of the US guarantor, not the interests of the guaranteed countries:

*Non-specificity;
*Non-automaticity;
*Open-ended interpretations;
*Escape routes.

*For example, the NATO Treaty – led by the US – is perceived to be the tightest commitment by all member states to the defense of an attacked NATO country.  However, article 5 of the NATO Charter highlights the aforementioned four features:

“The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them… will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area…. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security.”

*Furthermore, the seeds of the current devastation of Ukraine were planted in the December 5, 1994 Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances accorded to Ukraine by the US, Britain and the USSR in return for Ukraine’s giving up its nuclear arsenal, which was the 3rd largest in the world.

According to the Budapest Memorandum: “Taking into account the commitment of Ukraine to eliminate all nuclear weapons from its territory within a specified period of time… the United States of America, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, reaffirm their commitment to Ukraine… to respect the independence and sovereignty and the existing borders of Ukraine….”

The Budapest Memorandum was exposed as a useless and misleading “screen saver” in 2014, when Russia occupied the Crimean Peninsula. Its ineffective nature was further revealed during the 2014-2022 Russia-Ukraine war in Donbas and in 2022, when Russia – again – invaded and plundered Ukraine with no implementation of the Budapest Memorandum of Security Assurances.

*Israel should be aware of the intrinsic flaws of all security guarantees, and persist in reliance only upon its own national security capabilities, rather than the mirage of international/US assurances.

*Moreover, the US constitutional balance of power stipulates that no US international commitment is binding unless ratified by a 2/3 Senate majority.

Thus, in 1999 and 2000, President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits international nuclear testing, and the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court in the Hague. However, Clinton did not submit the Rome Statute for Senate ratification (realizing that there was no support for ratification), and the Test Ban Treaty was also not ratified – it was defeated 48:51 in the Senate.  Both are yet to be ratified….

The open-ended nature of US guarantees, and the paramount role of US interests during the implementation phase, were demonstrated by the US defense treaties, which were concluded with Taiwan (1955), South Vietnam (1973) and New Zealand (1951), but terminated by the US in 1979, 1975 and 1986, in order to advance US interests, as perceived by US presidents at the time.

*Israeli reliance on US guarantees in the context of the 2022 maritime/gas accord ignores past mistakes:

*In 2000, President Clinton pledged $800mn in emergency aid to fund Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon. It was never delivered, since Congress – and not the President – possesses the Power of the Purse, and it did not agree to fund the self-defeating Israeli withdrawal (which triggered an unprecedented wave of Palestinian terrorism).

*In 1979 – when President Carter attempted to insert into the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty a reference to a future Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights – the Israeli team shared with Carter the September 1, 1975 assurance of President Ford  to Prime Minister Rabin, required to induce an Israeli withdraw from the Gulf of Suez to the Mitla’ Pass in mid-Sinai: “… [The US] will give great weight to Israel’s position that any peace agreement with Syria must be predicated on Israel remaining on the Golan Heights.”  President Carter’s correct response was that President Ford’s non-ratified executive commitment did not bind any of Ford’s successors in the White House.

*In 1967 – on the eve of the Six Day War – Israel shared with President Johnson well-documented evidence about the Egypt-Syria-Jordan planned war on Israel. Prime Minister Eshkol submitted to President Johnson the 1957 assurance (Aide Memoir) by President Eisenhower, which was a prerequisite for Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula. It implied US willingness to deploy its military in the face of Egyptian violations of commitments made to the US and Israel. President Johnson responded that Eisenhower’s non-ratified Executive Commitment did not bind Eisenhower’s successors, and “it ain’t worth a solitary dime.” He added that “I am a tall Texan, but a short president in the face of a Congress that opposes overseas military deployment.”

The bottom line

*Security agreements with the US should enhance – not reduce – Israel’s posture of deterrence and its independence of national security action.

*Security agreements with the US should advance Israel’s posture as a national security producer – which deters regional violence – rather than a national security consumer, which fuels regional violence.

*Security agreements with the US should expand Israel’s posture as a unique force-multiplier for the US – a strategic asset, not a liability.

*The 2022 maritime/gas Israel-Lebanon (Hezbollah) accord suggests that US and Israeli policy-makers are determined to learn from history by repeating – rather than avoiding – past critical mistakes, undermining their own interests.

Support Appreciated

 

 

Irrespective of the final outcome of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it should serve as a wake-up call for Israeli and Western policy-makers and molders of public opinion.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has exposed the flawed nature of certain assumptions, which have impacted the worldview of the Western establishment – but not the worldview of most of the world – while attempting to induce/coerce Israel into adopting these assumptions.

For example:

*The illusion that most of the world subscribes to the Western worldview of a new world (and new Middle East) order, which is supposedly more stable, predictable, tolerant and trending toward peaceful-coexistence, focusing on butter rather than guns;

*The ostensible end to the era of major wars and massive ground force invasions;

*The self-destruct notion that a military posture of deterrence can be effectively-replaced by peace accords, security guarantees and generous financial and diplomatic packages. Thus, the seeds of the current predicament of Ukraine were planted in the reckless December 1994 Budapest security assurances, which were extended to Ukraine by the USA, Britain and Russia in return for Ukraine’s surrender of its most-deterring nuclear stockpile (3rd largest in the world). In 2022, these assurances are exposed in their futility.

*Ignoring the tenuous, unreliable, unpredictable, non-committal and open-ended nature of all security guarantees, even article 5 of the NATO Charter, which is supposed to be the tightest security commitment. But, article 5 states that all NATO members shall assist an attacked member “as [they] deem necessary, including the use of armed force….” As they deem necessary….

*The delusion that peace and security agreements are more important (for national security) than military capabilities and geography/topography-driven posture of deterrence.  This delusion ignores the fact that while peace accords and security guarantees are tenuous, topographic dominance (e.g., the Golan Heights and the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) and geographic depth are everlasting.

*Overlooking the fact that a gradual reduction of defense budget is interpreted by most of the globe as erosion of deterrence in a stormy world (and volatile Middle East), undermining stability and crippling national security, and therefore inducing terrorism and wars;

*The presumed superiority of the diplomatic option as a more effective negotiation tool than the military option in settling conflicts with rogue regimes, which have systematically revealed themselves as bad-faith negotiators (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs since assuming power in February, 1979);

*The alleged subordination of national ideologies and strategic visions to a cosmopolitan/universal peaceful-coexistence state of mind;

*Preferring the speculative assessments of the future track records of rogue regimes over their realistic historical track record, which highlights the centrality of rogue history in shaping their radical national vision, policy-making, school curriculum, religious sermons and media.

*The illusion that rogue conduct (e.g., subversion, terrorism and wars) is despair-driven, rather than ideology-driven.

Western policy makers have attempted to induce/coerce Israel into a withdrawal from the topographically dominant mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – in return for a peace accord and security guarantees.  However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has highlighted the false sense of security, which is generated by security guarantees, which replace geographic depth and dominant topography in the highly volatile, violent, intolerant and unpredictable Middle East. The global experience has reaffirmed the centrality of the military-driven posture of deterrence in the shaping of national security.

Moreover, unlike Ukraine (the 2nd largest European country), Israel’s lack of geographic depth (a 7-15 miles sliver from the Mediterranean to the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria) provides for an extremely small margin of error. Thus, if the 1973 surprise Arab military offensive were launched against a pre-1967 Israel (without the dominant topography of the Golan Heights and Judea and Samaria and the strategic depth of the Sinai Peninsula), the Arabs would be able to annihilate the Jewish State.

Support Appreciated

 

MIDA” magazine, https://bit.ly/2NridWA

Do commitments made by a US president bind his successors? History proves that these commitments do not even bind the president who signed them.

Even when the US commitments are driven by the purest of intentions, one should recognize certain features – a derivative of the US Constitution and the power struggle between the Legislature and the Executive – which have characterized all US international agreements, pacts, memoranda of understandings and guarantees since 1776 (thoroughly researched by Hebrew University Prof. Michla Pomerance).  These inherent features are designed to subordinate the implementation (or non-implementation) of all US international commitments to the overriding US interests, as defined by the implementing president, not necessarily the president who signed the commitments.

Take for example, the feature of vagueness and non-specificity, as demonstrated by “the Deal of the Century.”  The Deal stipulates Israeli security control in the entire area from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. But, who defines “control?”  Will it be President Trump and his team, or the more pro-Palestinian team of President Biden? Obviously, each team will have a different interpretation, reflecting their different worldviews and ideology, minimizing or maximizing the scope of “control,” which could render Israeli “control” highly-constrained and quite ineffective.

What constitutes “interpretation” for the promisor (USA), may be perceived as “breach” and “evasion” by the promisee (Israel).

Moreover, the list of preconditions for the establishment of a Palestinian state is subject to contradictory, subjective interpretations of the preconditions and related-compliance set by President Trump or President Biden?  The strict school of thought may insist that the Palestinians will have to become Canadians in order to comply with the preconditions (Trump), while the lenient school of thoughts may be satisfied with Palestinians remaining Palestinians (Biden).  Thus, in 1993, Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, supposedly, accepted a list of preconditions, in order to establish the Palestinian Authority in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Notwithstanding their systematic and egregious violation of the preconditions, Arafat became the most-frequent-visitor to President Clinton’s White House and was awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize for Peace. Furthermore, President Clinton, President Obama, and all Israeli Prime Ministers since 1993, vouched for the good behavior (compliance) of Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas. This facilitated the handover of Hebron to the Palestinian Authority (1997), and the transfer of the $400MN annual US foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority, notwithstanding the unprecedented wave of Palestinian hate-education and terrorism.

Then, there is the feature of non-automaticity, which stipulates that the implementation of all US agreements and guarantees is in the hands of a sitting US president, depending on the president’s worldview and assessment of US interests.

The bottom line – and the third feature of US international commitments – is that they are deliberately open-ended, in order to preserve US interests, irrespective of other interpretations and reservations by the other parties to the agreement.

Anyone who assumes that a US international commitment is carved in stone should examine the very important, yet non-specific, non-automatic and open-ended NATO treaty (article 5): “…The Parties agree than an armed attack against one or more of them shall be considered an attack against them all….Each of them… will assist the Party of Parties so attacked by taking…such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force….”

Another feature of US international commitments involves the balance of power between the US Legislature and the US Executive. Thus, the ratification of an agreement requires a 2/3 Senate majority (at least 67 Senators), which is currently an impossibility under the political climate on Capitol Hill: a 53:47 Republican Senate majority and a vehemently anti-Trump Democratic party.

As an example, in 1999 and 2000, President Clinton signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, prohibiting international nuclear testing, and the Rome Statute, which established the International Criminal Court in the Hague. However, he did not submit the Rome Statute for Senate ratification (realizing that there was no support for ratification), and the Test Ban Treaty was also not ratified – it was defeated 48:51 in the Senate.

The open-ended nature of US international commitments, and the paramount role of US interests during the implementation phase, were demonstrated in the US defense treaty signed with New Zealand (in 1951), which was suspended in 1986 due to US considerations.  Likewise with the 1955 US-Taiwan Defense Pact, which was terminated in 1979, when President Carter decided that enhancing ties with China was much more important than abiding by a prior treaty with Taiwan.

The power of the President to suspend international treaties was reaffirmed in a November 15, 2001 Memorandum submitted by the US Justice Department: “The President has broad constitutional powers with respect to treaties, including the powers to terminate and suspend them…”

When it comes to Israel:

*In 2000, President Clinton pledged to Prime Minister Barak $800MN in emergency aid to fund Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon. However, it was never delivered, since Congress – which possesses the Power of the Purse – did not agree to fund the self-defeating withdrawal (which triggered an unprecedented wave of Palestinian terrorism).

*In 1967 – on the eve of the Six Day War – Israel became increasingly besieged by Egyptian violations of the demilitarization of the Sinai Peninsula, blockading the port of Eilat and forming the joint Egypt-Syria-Jordan anti-Israel military command.  Therefore, Prime Minister Eshkol submitted to President Johnson the assurance (Aide Memoir) from President Eisenhower, which was issued in 1957, in order to entice Israel to withdraw from the Sinai Peninsula. The Eisenhower assurance implied – but did not specify – a US willingness to deploy its military in face of Egyptian violations.  The pro-Israel President Johnson invoked constitutional and congressional non-compliance, stating that Eisenhower’s Executive Commitment did not bind Eisenhower’s successors, and “it ain’t worth a solitary dime.” He added that “Israel will not be alone unless it decides to go alone,” and concluded by stating:  “I am a tall Texan, but a short president in the face of a Congress that opposes overseas military deployment.”

*In 1979 – during the final stages of the Israel-Egypt peace talks, when President Carter attempted to insert a reference to a future Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights – the Israeli team shared with Carter the September 1, 1975 assurance of President Ford  to Prime Minister Rabin, geared to induce an Israeli withdraw from the Gulf of Suez to the Mitla’ Pass in mid-Sinai: “… [The US] will give great weight to Israel’s position that any peace agreement with Syria must be predicated on Israel remaining on the Golan Heights.”  President Carter’s correct response was that President Ford’s executive commitment did not bind any of Ford’s successors in the White House.

 

The aforementioned comments do not constitute a criticism of the US, but is advice to Israeli policy-makers to study precedents, and to realize the substantial vagueness and other limitations of any US presidential commitment, guarantee or assurance, and avoid – rather than repeat – past critical mistakes.

Moreover, Israel’s national security must be based on the worst – not the best – case scenario, especially in the increasingly unpredictable, turbulent political climate in the Middle East and the world at-large, including the USA.

Finally, Israel must retain the independence of national security action, including the application of its laws to the Jordan Valley, Judea and Samaria, rather than await a “green light” from Washington, DC.  This critical feature of leadership was demonstrated – in defiance of brutal US and international pressure – by Prime Ministers Ben Gurion (expanding Israel’s area by some 30% during the 1948/49 War), Eshkol (preempting an Arab war on Israel, reuniting Jerusalem and establishing the initial Israeli neighborhoods beyond the “Green Line”), Golda Meir (expanding Jewish presence beyond the “Green Line”), Begin (applying Israel’s law to the Golan Heights and bombing Iraq’s nuclear reactor) and Shamir (bolstering Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria).

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Constructive Defense Pact

A constructive US-Israel defense pact should be based on shared values and shared strategic interests, expanding the two-way-street, win-win US-Israel strategic cooperation.

An effective US-Israel defense pact should enhance Israel’s self-reliance and independence, rather than Israel’s dependence upon the US.

A useful US-Israel defense pact should bolster and leverage Israel’s posture of deterrence at the geographic junction of the Mediterranean-Europe-Africa-Asia, which is a focal point of global terrorism, the proliferation of ballistic and nuclear technologies and unpredictable tectonic military eruptions. Israel’s role is doubly critical at a time when Europe’s posture of deterrence is rapidly collapsing.

A beneficial US-Israel defense pact should further extend the strategic hand of the US – through Israel’s proven capabilities – without additional US aircraft carriers and troops in the Middle East.

A worthwhile US-Israel defense pact should underscore the role of Israel as the most cost-effective, battle-tested laboratory of US defense industries, upgrading US military performance, research and development, production, export and employment. The unique Israeli battle experience has benefitted US military operations by enhancing the formulation of US battle tactics and maneuverability.

The primary aim of a constructive US-Israel defense pact is not to defend Israel, but to face mutual threats and challenges such as the conventional and non-conventional threats of Iran’s Ayatollahs, global Islamic Sunni terrorism, the emergence of additional rogue regimes in the Middle East, lethal threats to every pro-US Arab regime, the violent unpredictability and unreliability of the Middle East, the need to maintain a military and commercial technological edge, etc.

An effective US-Israel defense pact must not constrain Israel’s freedom of unilateral, self-defense military action against clear and present threats, which has bolstered Israel’s posture of deterrence, and therefore transformed the Jewish State into a most reliable beachhead of the US. Tying Israel’s military hands would erode Israel’s posture of deterrence; thus shrinking its contribution to US interests.

For instance, the 1981 and the 2007 Israeli bombings of Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors – in defiance of US opposition – saved the globe from the wrath of nuclearized Saddam Hussein and Assad, sparing the US a nuclear confrontation in the 1991 Gulf War. Israel’s 1967 preemptive war against a unified Arab offensive was opposed by the US, but devastated the pro-Soviet Egyptian leader, Nasser, who strove to topple the pro-US Arab Gulf regimes. It deprived the USSR of a rare bonanza, while sparing the US a devastating blow, at a time when the US was largely dependent upon Persian Gulf oil.

Defense pacts do not stifle unilateral military actions, as documented by the NATO Treaty which stipulates (Article 4): “The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.”

The aim of a valuable US-Israel defense pact is to confront threats and challenges in the larger regional and global context, not the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue, which have never been core causes of regional turbulence, and – irrespective of the Arab talk – have never been a top priority of the Arab walk.

The aim of a compelling US-Israel defense pact must never involve US troops on Israel’s borders, nor determination of Israel’s future borders, nor any reference to Israeli withdrawals from the strategic high-ground of the Judea and Samaria mountain ridges (the cradle of Jewish history). Such a retreat would downgrade Israel from a strategic asset to a strategic liability.

A mutually-beneficial US-Israel defense pact should focus on:

*A substantial enhancement – qualitatively and quantitatively – of the prepositioned US military stockpiles in Israel (expediting deployment to conflict areas; benefitting from Israeli security and maintenance; and available to – and replenished by – Israel upon eruption of wars);
*Upgrading intelligence-sharing, benefitting from Israel’s unique network of intelligence;
*Boosting counter-terrorism and special operation cooperation;
*Expanding joint military exercises;
*Providing Israel with access to more sophisticated military systems, in order to test them under battle conditions, while sustaining Israel’s qualitative military edge.
*Improving the Haifa and Ashdod port facilities in order to accommodate the US 6th Fleet and its aircraft carrier. They are closer than European ports to conflict areas, providing the US navy with a more effective platform of maneuvers, maintenance and repair;
*The establishment of a series of bilateral funds in the mode of the successful bilateral BIRD Foundation, which is limited to non-defense industries. They will stimulate the joint development and manufacturing of advanced military systems by compatible US and Israeli defense contractors and startups (leveraging Israel’s do-or-die state of mind and ground-breaking innovations) in the areas of space and space satellites, aerospace, missile defense, cyber defense, artificial intelligence, command-control-communications-computers, unmanned systems and robotics, electro-optics.

Open-ended aspects of Defense Pacts

Productive US-Israel relations – and Israel’s own national security – behoove Israel to reject the deployment of US troops on its borders.

Moreover, no treaty should be perceived as automatic US military involvement on behalf of Israel.  All US treaties are open-ended, subject to the US Constitution, which endows US presidents with the authority to avoid full implementation of treaties/guarantees.

For example, a November 15, 2001 Department of Justice memo to the White House determined that the US President has the Constitutional discretionary authority to terminate, or suspend, unilaterally, fully or partly, the 1972 USA-USSR ABM Treaty without seeking coordination with Congress, whenever the president determines that it is in the national interest to do so.

In 1985 and 1986, President Reagan unilaterally suspended security commitments to New Zealand, and terminated the Treaty of Friendship with Nicaragua.  In 1979, President Carter unilaterally terminated the mutual defense treaty with Taiwan upon the establishment of diplomatic relations with China.

Escape routes are also provided by Article 5 of NATO Treaty: “The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them shall be considered an attack against them all…. Each of them…shall assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith…such action as it deems necessary [my emphasis], including the use of armed forces [an option, but not mandatory….].”

According to Hebrew University Prof. Michla Pomerance; “A treaty can never entail more than a contingent and tentative promise to use force in the future…. American defense commitments… are generally characterized by vagueness, non-specificity and the explicit denial of any automatic obligation to use force… to keep the US options open and its absolute discretion intact in deciding whether, and how, to redeem its promise…. What constitutes ‘interpretation’ for the promisor may well be seen as ‘breach’ by the promise…. A president’s decision to execute – or not to execute – an international commitment depends on his own – not the promisee’s – assessment…. Every US international commitment allows for future non-implementation, consistent with US interests and the US Constitution….”

In conclusion, a constructive US-Israel defense pact should be dedicated to the enhancement of mutually-beneficial, win-win, two-way-street cooperation in the face of regional and global mutual threats, not by the reintroduction of one-way-street relations.  Moreover, it should not include any reference to Israel’s withdrawal from critical high ground – which is irreversible – in return for a US military commitment, which is – by definition – reversible.

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

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

Video#36:http://bit.ly/2mpQc6g; Entire mini-seminar: http://bit.ly/1ze66dS

1. US-Israel defense cooperation should be driven by the enhancement of the mutually-beneficial, win-win, two-way-street ties, not by the re-introduction of one-way-street relations, which would burden the US and increasing the dependency of Israel upon the US. The proposal to extend, to Israel, US security guarantees – including a defense pact and a peacekeeping force – in exchange for Israel’s retreat from the historically and militarily critical, dominant mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, ignores the inherently ineffective track record of such (open-ended) US guarantees, the provisions of the US Constitution, which enables US presidents to avoid full implementation of the guarantees, and the US public opposition – especially since the military involvement in Vietnam and then Iraq and Afghanistan – to the stationing of US troops abroad.

2. According to a November 15, 2001 Department of Justice memo to the White House National Security Council, irrespective of international law and consistent with the US Constitution, the President has the constitutional, discretionary authority to terminate, or suspend, unilaterally, fully or partly, the 1972 USA-USSR ABM Treaty – the  limitation of anti-ballistic missile systems – without seeking coordination with Congress, and certainly not with the USSR, whenever the President determines that it is in the national interest to do so.

3. In 1979, President Carter unilaterally terminated/abrogated the Mutual Defense Treaty with Taiwan, upon the establishment of diplomatic relations with China. Such a presidential prerogative was also asserted by Presidents Madison, McKinley, Wilson, Coolidge, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and recently by Carter and Reagan.  Thus, in 1986, Reagan suspended the ANZUS (Australia, New Zealand, US) Pact security obligations to New Zealand, and in 1985, he terminated the Treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation with Nicaragua.

4. The London Economist wrote on March 9, 2015: “Article 5 [of the NATO Treaty] stipulates that the response [to aggression against a member state] may include armed force, but it does not mandate it. All that NATO actually promises is to take ‘such action as it deems necessary’ to restore and maintain security. That could be anything from nuclear war to a stiff diplomatic protest…. The Baltics argue that an attack on them would mean an all-out East-West confrontation…. But Article 5 does not specify such a response…. Many eastern NATO members worry, since it is hard to imagine a US president risking nuclear war to defend a tiny country half a world away…. What might count locally as an intolerable assault on the Baltic States’ sovereignty may not be seen in NATO headquarters as an ‘armed attack’…. All the strength of the world’s mightiest military alliance will not amount to much if its members cannot agree when an aggressor has actually stepped over the line….” 

5.
According to Hebrew University Prof. of international relations, Michla Pomerance: “A treaty can never entail more than a contingent and tentative promise to use force in the future; execution of the promise requires further specific authorization by Congress.  Otherwise, the treaty-makers – the President and 2/3 of the Senate – would be unconstitutionally usurping the war-making powers of Congress (the 1973 War Powers Act, which passed over a presidential veto)…. Past American defense commitments… are generally characterized by vagueness, non-specificity and the explicit denial of any automatic obligation to use force… to keep the US options open and its absolute discretion intact in deciding whether, and how, to redeem its promise….

6. In 1967, President Johnson invoked constitutional and congressional non-compliance with the 1957 Eisenhower’s-Dulles’ assurances to Israel, in response to Egyptian violations of the ceasefire and demilitarization accords.  Johnson said: “I’m a tall Texan, but without Congress, I’m a short president.”

7.  “Any commitment must be interpreted and applied by the President. And, the line between interpretation and breach, evasion and non-execution may be thin indeed.  What constitutes ‘interpretation’ for the promisor may well be seen as ‘breach’ by the promisee. Evasion by means of interpretation would not be a difficult task.  Recent legislative restrictions on presidential war-making could readily be cited as additional justification for non-execution or evasion…. The violation of international law by the US president is not proscribed by the Constitution…. A president’s decision to execute – or not to execute – an international commitment depends on his own – not the promisee’s – assessment of the domestic and international political and military environment. Every US international commitment allows for future non-implementation, consistent with US interests and the US Constitution.”
8. Against the backdrop of the US Constitution and past US security guarantees and defense pacts, it is clear that US security guarantees, with or without troops on Israel’s borders – in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from the dominant mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – would create a short-term false sense of peace and security, while dramatically eroding Israel’s posture of deterrence in the Middle East, transforming Israel’s image in the US from a role-model of strategic ally to a feeble dependent, undermining US-Israel relations, injuring US reliability and power-projection, and therefore fueling Middle East turbulence, damaging US interests and causing another setback to the cause of peace. 

9. The next video will highlight the systematic blunders of the Department of State, Foggy Bottom.

 

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel initiative”
YouTube 6-minute-video on-line seminar on US-Israel and the Mideast

Video#35 https://bit.ly/2LJXyO9; Entire mini-seminar: http://bit.ly/1ze66dS

1. US and/or international guarantees – including peacekeeping forces on Israel’s borders with Arab entities – have been proposed as a means to convince Israel to retreat from the historically and militarily critical and irreplaceable mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, contending that Israel’s national security would be guaranteed by US and/or international guarantees and forces on its border in the most violently intolerant and unpredictable region in the world.

2. While Israel’s retreat is Israeli-controlled, precise, certain and irreversible, the political and military viability of these guarantees and their potential benefits are top-heavy on escape routes, uncontrolled by Israel, imprecise, uncertain, open to various interpretations, doubtful, reversible and subject to multitude of changing circumstances, which are sometimes uncontrollable by the guarantor.

3. Notre Dame University Prof. of international relations, Alan Dowty, conducted a thorough study of “the role of great power guarantees in international peace agreements,”  concluding that: “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…. [For instance,] fear of disrupting American 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 [contrary to the US commitment in 1957, in return for a full Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai Peninsula]…. The effectiveness of a commitment depends on the underlying interests and capabilities of the guarantor, [not the guaranteed!]….”

4. According to Prof. Dowty, “Great Powers’ guarantees are generally effective only when their own dominant or strategic position is involved.  In general, the credibility of their promises and commitments is continuously vitiated by inadequate power, lack of means or sustained interest, multiple and conflicting interests, changes in relative might, changes in international alignments, rapprochement between former rivals, the breakup of guaranteeing coalitions, or by changes of government in the guaranteeing state.  No international guarantee is more stable than the international and internal combinations that produced it…. Guarantees are by no means universally reliable even after they have been promulgated by formal or informal means [guarantees, alliances, defense pacts and peace accords]….The frequency with which weak states reject offers of protection is striking and shows that guarantees are not unambiguous blessings….”

5.  Prof. Dowty concludes that “in the past, nations seeking to evade their commitments to support another state’s independence and territorial integrity have never failed to find the means of doing so. Either commitment had changed, or the commitment was reinterpreted, or the failure of others to act was cited as excuse, or prior commitments were invoked, or failure of the guaranteed state to heed the guarantor’s advice was held to release the latter from its commitment.  Or, the commitment was simply ignored. The question of who will guarantee the guarantor remains unresolved.”

6. US peacekeepers would be targeted by terrorists – such as Hezbollah, which murdered 300 Marines in 1983 in Beirut – who are proxies of anti-US rogue regimes – such as Iran – intimidating Washington, constraining the US capability to respond to provocations elsewhere (e.g., the Persian Gulf), and extort political concessions by targeting US servicemen, while preserving the element of deniability. 

7. Against the backdrop of the US public reaction to US military involvement in Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Lebanon, another peacekeeping undertaking would not be politically/militarily sustainable, leading to a prompt withdrawal in response to casualties and/or hostage-taking.  
8. A US peacekeeping force on Israel’s borders would, inadvertently, shield terrorists by constraining Israel’s capabilities to preempt – and react to – Arab terrorism and aggression. It would also deny the US the benefits of Israel’s military operations, which are not coordinated with the US, such as the bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, which spared the US a nuclear confrontation in 1991. 

9. The stationing of US peacekeepers on Israel’s borders would demolish Israel’s posture of deterrence and US public and congressional support of Israel, which would be transformed from a country defending itself and a strategic asset, extending the strategic hand of the US, to an American dependent and liability, relying on US soldiers. Most Americans support military aid to Israel, but not sending troops to protect Israel.  

10. A tenuous US military force on Israel’s borders – in exchange for Israel’s withdrawal from the dominant mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – would have a short life expectancy, undermining US-Israel relations, further eroding US reliability and posture of deterrence, dramatically limiting Israel’s power-projection, which would exacerbate regional instability and injure US interests, causing another setback to the cause of peace. 

11. US-Israel defense cooperation should be driven by the enhancement of the mutually-beneficial, win-win, two-way-street ties, not by the re-introduction of one-way-street relations, which would burden the US and increasing the dependency of Israel upon the US.

12. The next video will highlight the constitutional constraints on US security guarantees.

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SCHEDULE LECTURES & INTERVIEWS

Demography

2024 artificially inflated Palestinian demography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Iran

FBI Director Chris Wray defies the State Department on Iran

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

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

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

“We have seen the threat from foreign terrorists rise to a whole another level after the October 7 [Hamas terrorism]….Increasingly concerning is the potential for a coordinated attack here in the [US] homeland, akin to the ISIS attack we saw at the Russia Concert Hall in March, 2024 [137 murdered, 180 wounded]…. Nations such as the PRC, Russia and Iran are becoming more aggressive and more capable than ever before.  These nations seek to undermine our core democratic, economic and scientific institutions….

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

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

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

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

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

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

FBI Director Wray vs. Secretary of State Blinken

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

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

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

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

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

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Judea & Samaria

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

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

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jerusalem

United Jerusalem – a shared US-Israel legacy and interest

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

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

United Jerusalem and the US law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers

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

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

The Jerusalem reality and US interests

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

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

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

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

Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jewish Holidays

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

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

More on Jewish holidays: Smashwords, Amazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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