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

According to the late Prof. John Galbraith, the enemy of conventional wisdom is not ideas but the march of facts, which may expose conventional wisdom as useless or dangerous.  Prof. Galbraith also suggests that conventional wisdom does not accommodate itself to the real world, but to a certain view of the world.

Indeed, the march of Middle East facts has exposed the alarming flaws of the Palestinian-oriented Western conventional wisdom, which has attempted to reshape Middle East reality in accordance with its own worldview.

For example:

*Since 1948, contrary to Western conventional wisdom, Arab countries have never flexed their military (and barely their financial and diplomatic) muscle on behalf of the Palestinian cause, as evidenced by the July 2023 war/battle between Israel and Palestinian terrorism, the previous 2021, 2014, 2012 and 2008 wars against Gaza Palestinian terrorism, as well as the 2nd (2000-2005) and 1st (1987-93) Intifada and the (1982) war against the PLO in Lebanon.

*Since 1948, Middle East reality has demonstrated that in contradiction of Western conventional wisdom, Arab national interests transcend – and often conflict with – the Palestinian issue. Therefore, no Arab-Israel war (1948/49, 1956, 1967 and 1973) erupted due to – or on behalf of – the Palestinian issue. Moreover, the six Israel-Arab peace accords with Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan were concluded because they bypassed the Palestinian issue, eliminating the Palestinian veto power, which has been enshrined by Western conventional wisdom, torpedoing all Western peace proposals.

*Moreover, no Israel-Arab peace treaty has been suspended due to Israel’s wars/battles against Palestinian terrorism. Arabs concluded peace with Israel, in order to advance their own interests, and do not sacrifice these interests on the altar of Palestinian interests.

*In contrast to Western conventional wisdom, Saudi Arabia and the six Arab partners to peace treaties with Israel are aware that the Palestinian issue is neither the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, nor a crown-jewel of Arab policy making, nor a core cause of Middle East turbulence. 

*Similarly, the central role played by Saudi Arabia in the conclusion of Israel’s peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, along with the substantial expansion of Israel-Saudi Arabia defense and commercial cooperation has proceeded irrespective of fierce Palestinian opposition.  

*In fact, the relatively-moderate pro-US Arab regimes do not subscribe to the philo-Palestinian Western conventional wisdom. They have demonstrated indifference and/or opposition to the idea of a Palestinian state.

*While Western conventional wisdom is based heavily on the pro-Palestinian Arab talk, Middle East reality is shaped by the Arab walk, which has been forged in response to the intra-Arab Palestinian rogue track record.  Hence, the critical/hostile Arab policy toward the Palestinians. Arabs are aware of the Middle East rule: one does not pay custom on words.

*Unlike the Western conventional wisdom, the Arabs – and especially Saudi Arabia and the other Arab Gulf states – base their Palestinian policy on the Palestinian intra-Arab track record, which has transformed Palestinians into a role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism, ingratitude and treachery (e.g., the collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which was their most generous Arab host; the 1970-1982 plunder of Lebanon; the 1970 civil war in Jordan; the 1960s and 1950s terrorism in Syria and Egypt). They have experienced the Palestinian tendency to brutally bite the hand that feeds them.  They are also aware of the Palestinian strategic ties with Islamic, Latin American, African, Asian and European terror/rogue entities, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran’s Ayatollahs, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba, as well as the Palestinian collaboration with Nazi Germany (Mein Kampf is a popular book in the Palestinian Authority) and the Soviet Bloc.

*Contrasting Western conventional wisdom, the relatively-moderate pro-US Arab regimes are convinced that the proposed Palestinian state cannot be different than the Palestinian rogue track record,adding fuel to the 1,400-year-old Middle East fire and yielding a tailwind to rogue elements.  

*The US economy, national and homeland security would be severely undermined by a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, which would induce the toppling of the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into a chaotic state like Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, serving as another epicenter of anti-US regional and global Islamic terrorism. Such an uncontrollable entity would be leveraged by Iran’s Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, triggering a ripple effect into the Arabian Peninsula. It would threaten every pro-US, oil-producing Arab regime, jeopardizing the supply of Persian Gulf oil (48% of the proven world reserves) and the state of global trade, increasing the price at the pump in the US, advancing the stature of Iran’s Ayatollahs, China and Russia, and causing a major setback to the US economy, national and homeland security.  

*While Western conventional wisdom professes that Palestinian terrorism is driven by despair, reality attests that it is driven by the hope to uproot the “infidel” Jewish State. This is documented by the Palestinian hate-education, which is the most authentic reflection of the Palestinian vision, and the most effective production line of terrorists, bolstered by the idolization of terrorists via public monuments and buildings, and extending monthly allowances to families of terrorists. The Palestinian vision is codified by the 1964 charter of the PLO, which supersedes the Palestinian Authority, as well as the PLO’s June 1974 Phased Plan.  These pivotal documents reveal that the Palestinians are not preoccupied with the size – but with the demise – of Israel.  

*The terroristic nature of the Palestinian leadership is also gleaned through its attitude toward Christians. Since its 1993 establishment, Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority has induced – through repression and discrimination – a Christian exodus from Bethlehem, demoting Christians to the status of Dhimmi, a tolerated second-class people. The city of Bethlehem was transformed from a Christian majority to a tiny 12% Christian minority.

In conclusion

*Will US policy makers adhere to the advice by Dr. Albert Ellis – who was one the world’s leading psychologists: “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior”?!

*Do US policy makers – who extend a red-carpet reception to Palestinian leaders – realize the reason for the shabby doormat awaiting Palestinian leaders in most Arab capitals?!

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

Support Appreciated

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
June 20, 2023

*In 1989, at the conclusion of a meeting between Prime Minister Shamir and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, George Mitchell and Bob Dole, the latter told Shamir: “The Majority Leader and I completely disagree with your policies, but immensely respect you because you are tough!”

*The legacy of the late Prime Minister Shamir (who passed away on June 30, 2012) would be useful for Israeli leaders, who face systematic pressure, by the State Department, to restrain Israel’s military response to Palestinian terrorism, forestall an independent Israeli military action against Iran’s Ayatollahs, and retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) , in order to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state.

*The late Prime Minister Shamir was very short in size (5 feet tall), but a giant of a statesman and a geo-political game-changer in the areas of Aliya (Jewish immigration to Israel), economy, US-Israel strategic cooperation and defiance of odds and pressure.

*Former Secretary of State George Schultz was a systematic critic of Shamir’s policy on the Palestinian issue, but rarely failed to express his utmost respect for Shamir’s integrity and perseverance, which transformed Shamir into a most reliably effective ally on a rainy day. 

*While the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment opened the doors of the USSR and Russia for emigration, Shamir’s pro-active Aliya policy was chiefly responsible for the arrival of over 1.25 million Olim (Jewish immigrants) from the former USSR to Israel, rather than to the US, Germany, Canada and Australia. Former US Assistant Secretary of State, Dick Schifter, experienced Shamir’s relentless and aggressive lobbying of Secretaries of State, Schultz and Baker, to stop issuing refugee certificates to Soviet Jews, and facilitate their relocation to Israel.  According to Shamir: “Jews are not refugees, since they have a home – the Jewish State!” In addition, Shamir initiated an appeal to the US Senate to send a letter, instructing Russia to direct all Jewish emigrants to fly directly to Israel, and not to Rome or Vienna. All 100 Senators signed the letter, which transformed an 80% dropout rate (until 1990) to an almost 100% arrival of Soviet Jews to Israel.  

*Shamir orchestrated the absorption of over one million Soviet Jews and 60,000 Ethiopian Jews, by less than five million Israelis (in 1990) – an unprecedented human accomplishment.  He considered Aliya to be the raison d’etre and the destiny of the Jewish State, its moral compass, top priority and its turbo growth engine of demography, science, technology, economy and medicine.  He was aware that Aliyah determined Israel’s posture of deterrence, which is the most critical element of national security and peace.

*During the 1990s, Shamir projected a future Aliya wave from France, resulting from anti-Semitism and Islamic migration.  

*President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State Jim Baker, who were among the crudest detractors of Shamir’s policies, respected Shamir’s ironclad commitment to deeply-rooted ideology and Israel’s national security, irrespective of their brutal opposition to Shamir’s view of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria as the cradle of Jewish history, religion and culture, as well as a prerequisite for Israel’s national security and survival in the ruthlessly unpredictable Middle East. Therefore, they considered Shamir a trustworthy – although non-subservient – ally of the USA. 

*Shamir was consistently guided by principles, values and history-steered vision/ideology; he was not herded – zigzagging – by pollsters and public opinion consultants. 

*In 1991, at the height of the bitter conflict between Prime Minster Shamir and Republican President George H.W. Bush, then Republican House Whip, Newt Gingrich, shared with me: “How can anyone expect smooth communications between Bush the aristocrat, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and given the presidency, as well as the CIA and the UN ambassadorship, on a golden platter, and Shamir the freedom fighter, who has demonstrated willingness to sacrifice his life on the altar of his principles?!”

*In 1991, Shamir preconditioned participation in the Madrid Conference upon a US commitment to avoid any reference to Land-for-Peace in the context of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, and to veto PLO participation. The US stood by its commitments.

*Shamir’s defiance of US pressure – when it came to Jewish roots in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria and Israel’s fundamental security requirements – eroded his popularity, but earned him substantial long term strategic respect.  His image as a strategic partner was upgraded by his dismissal of international guarantees of Israel’s security and any proposition to station foreign troops on Israel’s borders. On a rainy day, the US is not looking for a “punching bag,” but for a reliable, capable, democratic, unconditional, can-do ally, which is willing to defy even the US.

*In 1992, the Republican Whip, Senator Alan Simpson from Wyoming, who was critical of Prime Minister Shamir’s policies, told me: “How can I like Prime Minister Shamir when he resembles a roaring tiger?  However, how can I but respect a roaring tiger?!”

*The late Prime Minister Shamir was a role model of Jewish patriotism, modesty, tenacity, optimism, principle-driven and security-based statesmanship, reliability, independence and endurance in the face of brutal pressure.

*Shamir laid down the foundations (in the mid-1980s) for the resurgence of Israel’s economy from a potential meltdown to one of the most fiscally responsible economies in the world.  His composure in the face of lethal pressures, marathon-like (rather than sprint-like) style of leadership, strategic thinking and willingness to lead through delegation of authority to experts, paved the road to the stabilization of Israel’s Shekel, the dramatic restraint of inflation, interest and unemployment rates and the drastic reduction of budget deficit.

*Shamir’s seven years at the helm were characterized by unprecedented expansion of US-Israel strategic cooperation – despite severe disagreements with the US Administration over the Palestinian issue – from the April 1988 Memorandum of Understanding through the 1990-1991 unprecedented enhancement of strategic cooperation, including bolstered defense industrial cooperation, joint exercises, intelligence and counter-terrorism cooperation, prepositioning of US military hardware in Israel, the upgrading of the port of Haifa facilities for the Sixth Fleet, etc.

*Most of these joint projects were initiated by Congressional amendments to the Appropriations Defense Bill in defiance of brutal opposition by the White House and the State Department. Shamir recognized the co-equal stature of the US Legislature, and considered Congress as a co-driver, rather than a backseat driver in the bolstering of the mutually beneficial US-Israel cooperation.

*In the face of mutual homeland and national security threats, as well as commercial and defense technology challenges, Israeli and US leaders would do well to follow in the footsteps of Prime Minister Shamir’s legacy – a role model of principle-driven and defiance of odds leadership.

Support Appreciated

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

According to the late Prof. John Galbraith, the enemy of conventional wisdom is not ideas but the march of facts, which may expose conventional wisdom as useless or dangerous.  Prof. Galbraith also suggests that conventional wisdom does not accommodate itself to the real world, but to a certain view of the world.

Indeed, the march of Middle East facts has exposed the alarming flaws of the Palestinian-oriented Western conventional wisdom, which has attempted to reshape Middle East reality in accordance with its own worldview.

For example:

*Since 1948, contrary to Western conventional wisdom, Arab countries have never flexed their military (and barely their financial and diplomatic) muscle on behalf of the Palestinian cause, as evidenced by the July 2023 war/battle between Israel and Palestinian terrorism, the previous 2021, 2014, 2012 and 2008 wars against Gaza Palestinian terrorism, as well as the 2nd (2000-2005) and 1st (1987-93) Intifada and the (1982) war against the PLO in Lebanon.

*Since 1948, Middle East reality has demonstrated that in contradiction of Western conventional wisdom, Arab national interests transcend – and often conflict with – the Palestinian issue. Therefore, no Arab-Israel war (1948/49, 1956, 1967 and 1973) erupted due to – or on behalf of – the Palestinian issue. Moreover, the six Israel-Arab peace accords with Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan were concluded because they bypassed the Palestinian issue, eliminating the Palestinian veto power, which has been enshrined by Western conventional wisdom, torpedoing all Western peace proposals.

*Moreover, no Israel-Arab peace treaty has been suspended due to Israel’s wars/battles against Palestinian terrorism. Arabs concluded peace with Israel, in order to advance their own interests, and do not sacrifice these interests on the altar of Palestinian interests.

*In contrast to Western conventional wisdom, Saudi Arabia and the six Arab partners to peace treaties with Israel are aware that the Palestinian issue is neither the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, nor a crown-jewel of Arab policy making, nor a core cause of Middle East turbulence. 

*Similarly, the central role played by Saudi Arabia in the conclusion of Israel’s peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, along with the substantial expansion of Israel-Saudi Arabia defense and commercial cooperation has proceeded irrespective of fierce Palestinian opposition.  

*In fact, the relatively-moderate pro-US Arab regimes do not subscribe to the philo-Palestinian Western conventional wisdom. They have demonstrated indifference and/or opposition to the idea of a Palestinian state.

*While Western conventional wisdom is based heavily on the pro-Palestinian Arab talk, Middle East reality is shaped by the Arab walk, which has been forged in response to the intra-Arab Palestinian rogue track record.  Hence, the critical/hostile Arab policy toward the Palestinians. Arabs are aware of the Middle East rule: one does not pay custom on words.

*Unlike the Western conventional wisdom, the Arabs – and especially Saudi Arabia and the other Arab Gulf states – base their Palestinian policy on the Palestinian intra-Arab track record, which has transformed Palestinians into a role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism, ingratitude and treachery (e.g., the collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which was their most generous Arab host; the 1970-1982 plunder of Lebanon; the 1970 civil war in Jordan; the 1960s and 1950s terrorism in Syria and Egypt). They have experienced the Palestinian tendency to brutally bite the hand that feeds them.  They are also aware of the Palestinian strategic ties with Islamic, Latin American, African, Asian and European terror/rogue entities, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran’s Ayatollahs, North Korea, Venezuela and Cuba, as well as the Palestinian collaboration with Nazi Germany (Mein Kampf is a popular book in the Palestinian Authority) and the Soviet Bloc.

*Contrasting Western conventional wisdom, the relatively-moderate pro-US Arab regimes are convinced that the proposed Palestinian state cannot be different than the Palestinian rogue track record,adding fuel to the 1,400-year-old Middle East fire and yielding a tailwind to rogue elements.  

*The US economy, national and homeland security would be severely undermined by a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, which would induce the toppling of the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into a chaotic state like Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen, serving as another epicenter of anti-US regional and global Islamic terrorism. Such an uncontrollable entity would be leveraged by Iran’s Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, triggering a ripple effect into the Arabian Peninsula. It would threaten every pro-US, oil-producing Arab regime, jeopardizing the supply of Persian Gulf oil (48% of the proven world reserves) and the state of global trade, increasing the price at the pump in the US, advancing the stature of Iran’s Ayatollahs, China and Russia, and causing a major setback to the US economy, national and homeland security.  

*While Western conventional wisdom professes that Palestinian terrorism is driven by despair, reality attests that it is driven by the hope to uproot the “infidel” Jewish State. This is documented by the Palestinian hate-education, which is the most authentic reflection of the Palestinian vision, and the most effective production line of terrorists, bolstered by the idolization of terrorists via public monuments and buildings, and extending monthly allowances to families of terrorists. The Palestinian vision is codified by the 1964 charter of the PLO, which supersedes the Palestinian Authority, as well as the PLO’s June 1974 Phased Plan.  These pivotal documents reveal that the Palestinians are not preoccupied with the size – but with the demise – of Israel.  

*The terroristic nature of the Palestinian leadership is also gleaned through its attitude toward Christians. Since its 1993 establishment, Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority has induced – through repression and discrimination – a Christian exodus from Bethlehem, demoting Christians to the status of Dhimmi, a tolerated second-class people. The city of Bethlehem was transformed from a Christian majority to a tiny 12% Christian minority.

In conclusion

*Will US policy makers adhere to the advice by Dr. Albert Ellis – who was one the world’s leading psychologists: “The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior”?!

*Do US policy makers – who extend a red-carpet reception to Palestinian leaders – realize the reason for the shabby doormat awaiting Palestinian leaders in most Arab capitals?!

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

Support Appreciated

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
June 20, 2023

*In 1989, at the conclusion of a meeting between Prime Minister Shamir and Senate Majority and Minority Leaders, George Mitchell and Bob Dole, the latter told Shamir: “The Majority Leader and I completely disagree with your policies, but immensely respect you because you are tough!”

*The legacy of the late Prime Minister Shamir (who passed away on June 30, 2012) would be useful for Israeli leaders, who face systematic pressure, by the State Department, to restrain Israel’s military response to Palestinian terrorism, forestall an independent Israeli military action against Iran’s Ayatollahs, and retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) , in order to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state.

*The late Prime Minister Shamir was very short in size (5 feet tall), but a giant of a statesman and a geo-political game-changer in the areas of Aliya (Jewish immigration to Israel), economy, US-Israel strategic cooperation and defiance of odds and pressure.

*Former Secretary of State George Schultz was a systematic critic of Shamir’s policy on the Palestinian issue, but rarely failed to express his utmost respect for Shamir’s integrity and perseverance, which transformed Shamir into a most reliably effective ally on a rainy day. 

*While the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment opened the doors of the USSR and Russia for emigration, Shamir’s pro-active Aliya policy was chiefly responsible for the arrival of over 1.25 million Olim (Jewish immigrants) from the former USSR to Israel, rather than to the US, Germany, Canada and Australia. Former US Assistant Secretary of State, Dick Schifter, experienced Shamir’s relentless and aggressive lobbying of Secretaries of State, Schultz and Baker, to stop issuing refugee certificates to Soviet Jews, and facilitate their relocation to Israel.  According to Shamir: “Jews are not refugees, since they have a home – the Jewish State!” In addition, Shamir initiated an appeal to the US Senate to send a letter, instructing Russia to direct all Jewish emigrants to fly directly to Israel, and not to Rome or Vienna. All 100 Senators signed the letter, which transformed an 80% dropout rate (until 1990) to an almost 100% arrival of Soviet Jews to Israel.  

*Shamir orchestrated the absorption of over one million Soviet Jews and 60,000 Ethiopian Jews, by less than five million Israelis (in 1990) – an unprecedented human accomplishment.  He considered Aliya to be the raison d’etre and the destiny of the Jewish State, its moral compass, top priority and its turbo growth engine of demography, science, technology, economy and medicine.  He was aware that Aliyah determined Israel’s posture of deterrence, which is the most critical element of national security and peace.

*During the 1990s, Shamir projected a future Aliya wave from France, resulting from anti-Semitism and Islamic migration.  

*President George H.W. Bush and Secretary of State Jim Baker, who were among the crudest detractors of Shamir’s policies, respected Shamir’s ironclad commitment to deeply-rooted ideology and Israel’s national security, irrespective of their brutal opposition to Shamir’s view of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria as the cradle of Jewish history, religion and culture, as well as a prerequisite for Israel’s national security and survival in the ruthlessly unpredictable Middle East. Therefore, they considered Shamir a trustworthy – although non-subservient – ally of the USA. 

*Shamir was consistently guided by principles, values and history-steered vision/ideology; he was not herded – zigzagging – by pollsters and public opinion consultants. 

*In 1991, at the height of the bitter conflict between Prime Minster Shamir and Republican President George H.W. Bush, then Republican House Whip, Newt Gingrich, shared with me: “How can anyone expect smooth communications between Bush the aristocrat, who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and given the presidency, as well as the CIA and the UN ambassadorship, on a golden platter, and Shamir the freedom fighter, who has demonstrated willingness to sacrifice his life on the altar of his principles?!”

*In 1991, Shamir preconditioned participation in the Madrid Conference upon a US commitment to avoid any reference to Land-for-Peace in the context of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, and to veto PLO participation. The US stood by its commitments.

*Shamir’s defiance of US pressure – when it came to Jewish roots in the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria and Israel’s fundamental security requirements – eroded his popularity, but earned him substantial long term strategic respect.  His image as a strategic partner was upgraded by his dismissal of international guarantees of Israel’s security and any proposition to station foreign troops on Israel’s borders. On a rainy day, the US is not looking for a “punching bag,” but for a reliable, capable, democratic, unconditional, can-do ally, which is willing to defy even the US.

*In 1992, the Republican Whip, Senator Alan Simpson from Wyoming, who was critical of Prime Minister Shamir’s policies, told me: “How can I like Prime Minister Shamir when he resembles a roaring tiger?  However, how can I but respect a roaring tiger?!”

*The late Prime Minister Shamir was a role model of Jewish patriotism, modesty, tenacity, optimism, principle-driven and security-based statesmanship, reliability, independence and endurance in the face of brutal pressure.

*Shamir laid down the foundations (in the mid-1980s) for the resurgence of Israel’s economy from a potential meltdown to one of the most fiscally responsible economies in the world.  His composure in the face of lethal pressures, marathon-like (rather than sprint-like) style of leadership, strategic thinking and willingness to lead through delegation of authority to experts, paved the road to the stabilization of Israel’s Shekel, the dramatic restraint of inflation, interest and unemployment rates and the drastic reduction of budget deficit.

*Shamir’s seven years at the helm were characterized by unprecedented expansion of US-Israel strategic cooperation – despite severe disagreements with the US Administration over the Palestinian issue – from the April 1988 Memorandum of Understanding through the 1990-1991 unprecedented enhancement of strategic cooperation, including bolstered defense industrial cooperation, joint exercises, intelligence and counter-terrorism cooperation, prepositioning of US military hardware in Israel, the upgrading of the port of Haifa facilities for the Sixth Fleet, etc.

*Most of these joint projects were initiated by Congressional amendments to the Appropriations Defense Bill in defiance of brutal opposition by the White House and the State Department. Shamir recognized the co-equal stature of the US Legislature, and considered Congress as a co-driver, rather than a backseat driver in the bolstering of the mutually beneficial US-Israel cooperation.

*In the face of mutual homeland and national security threats, as well as commercial and defense technology challenges, Israeli and US leaders would do well to follow in the footsteps of Prime Minister Shamir’s legacy – a role model of principle-driven and defiance of odds leadership.

Support Appreciated

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.

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan believe that the expansion of the Abraham Accords, the enhancement of Israel-Saudi defense and commercial cooperation and the conclusion of an Israel-Saudi Arabia peace accord are preconditioned upon major Israeli concessions to the Palestinian Authority.

Is such a belief consistent with Middle East reality?

Arab interests

*The signing of the Abraham Accords, and the role played by Saudi Arabia as a critical engine of the accords, were driven by the national security, economic and diplomatic interests of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan.

*The Arab interest in peace accords with Israel was not triggered by the realization that the Jewish State was genuinely seeking peaceful-coexistence, nor by a departure from the fundamental tenets of Islam. It was motivated by the assessment that critical concerns of the respective Arab countries would be effectively-served by Israel’s advanced military (Qualitative Military Edge), technological and diplomatic capabilities in the face of mutual and lethal enemies, such as Iran’s Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood terrorism.

*Saudi Arabia and the six Arab peace partners of Israel (including Egypt and Jordan) are aware that the Middle East resembles a volcano, which occasionally releases explosive lava – domestically and/or regionally – in an unpredictable manner, as evidenced by the 1,400-year-old stormy intra-Arab/Muslim relations, and recently demonstrated by the Arab Tsunami, which erupted in 2011 and still rages.

They wish to minimize the impact of rogue regimes, and therefore are apprehensive about the nature of the proposed Palestinian state, in view of the rogue Palestinian inter-Arab track record, which has transformed Palestinians into an intra-Arab role model of subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude.

*They are anxious about the erosion of the US posture of deterrence, which is their most critical component of national security, and alarmed about the 43-year-old US diplomatic option toward Iran’s Ayatollahs, which has bolstered the Ayatollahs’ terroristic, drug trafficking and ballistic capabilities. They are also concerned about the US’ embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood, which is the largest Sunni terrorist entity with religious, educational, welfare and political branches. And, they are aware of the ineffectiveness of NATO (No Action Talk Only?), the European vacillation, and the vulnerability of all other Arab countries.

Israel’s role

*Saudi Arabia and the Arab partners to peace accords with Israel feel the machetes of the Ayatollahs and the Moslem Brotherhood at their throats. They consider Israel as the most reliable “life insurance agent” in the region.  They view Israel as the most effective US force-multiplier in the Middle East, and appreciate Israel’s proven posture of deterrence; flexing its military muscles against Iran’s Ayatollahs in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Iran itself and against Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorism. They respect Israel’s unique counter-terrorism intelligence and training capabilities, and its game-changing military and counter-terrorism battle tactics and technologies.

*The Arab view of Israel as a reliable partner on “a rainy day” has been bolstered by Israel’s willingness to defy US pressure, when it comes to Israel’s most critical national security and historic credos (e.g., Iran, Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria).  In addition, Saudi Arabia and Israel’s peace-partners aim to leverage Israel’s good-standing among most Americans – and therefore among most Senators and House Representatives – as a venue to enhance their military, commercial and diplomatic ties with the US.

*Saudi Arabia, 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.

Thus, 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.

*The Abraham Accords – as well as Israel’s peace accords with Egypt and Jordan – and the unprecedented expansion of defense and commercial cooperation between Saudi Arabia and Israel, demonstrate that critical Arab national security interests may supersede fundamental tenets of Islam, such as the 1,400-year-old rejection of any “infidel” sovereignty in “the abode of Islam.”  Moreover, critical national security interests may lead to a dramatic moderation of the (Arab) education system, which is the most authentic reflection of one’s vision and policies.

Thus, contrary to the Palestinian Authority, the United Arab Emirates has uprooted hate-education curriculum, replacing it with pro-Israel/Jewish curriculum.

Abraham Accords’ durability

*The success of the Abraham Accords was a result of avoiding the systematic mistakes committed by the US State Department. The latter has produced a litany of failed peace proposals, centered on the Palestinian issue, while the Abraham accords bypassed the Palestinian issue, avoiding a Palestinian veto, and focusing on Arab interests. 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 the individual Arab countries and the Middle East at-large.

*The Abraham Accord have yielded initial and unprecedented signs of moderation, modernity and peaceful coexistence, which requires the US to support the respective pro-US Arab regimes, rather than pressuring them (e.g., Saudi Arabia and the UAE).

*However, one should not ignore the grave threats to the durability of the accords, posed by the volcanic nature of the unstable, highly-fragmented, unpredictable, violently intolerant, non-democratic and tenuous Middle East (as related to intra-Arab relations!).  These inherent threats would be dramatically alleviated by a resolute US support.

*A major threat to the Abraham Accord is the tenuous nature of most Arab regimes in the Middle East, which 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), Yemen (a civil war since the ’90s, 1990, 1962), etc.

*Regional stability, the Abraham Accords and US interests would be undermined by the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River (bearing in mind the intra-Arab Palestinian track record). It would topple the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River; transforming Jordan into another platform of regional and global Islamic terrorism, similar to Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; triggering a domino scenario, which would threaten every pro-US Arab oil-producing country in the Arabian Peninsula; yielding a robust tailwind to Iran’s Ayatollahs, Russia and China and a major headwind to the US.

*While Middle East reality defines policies and accords as variable components of national security, the topography and geography of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights are fixed components of Israel’s minimal security requirements in the reality of the non-Western Middle East. Israel’s fixed components of national security have secured its survival, and have dramatically enhanced its posture of deterrence. They transformed the Jewish State into a unique force and dollar multiplier for the US.

*The more durable the Abraham Accords and the more robust Israel’s posture of deterrence, the more stable the pro-US Arab regimes and the Middle East at-large; the more deterred are anti-US rogue regimes; the less potent are Middle Eastern epicenters of anti-US terrorism and drug trafficking; the more bolstered is the US global posture and the weaker is the posture of the US’ enemies and adversaries.

*Would 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? Would they sacrifice their national security and economic interests on the altar of the Palestinian issue? Would they cut off their nose to spite their face?

The fact that these Arab regimes concluded the Abraham Accords without preconditioning it upon Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, and that they limit their support of the Palestinians to talk, rather than walk, provides an answer to these three questions.

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Secretary Blinken’s January 29-31, 2023 visit to Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority was another one of his milestones, well-intentioned – but erroneous – Middle East legacies. It has backfired on vital US interests, in general, and the pursuit of regional stability and peace, in particular.

Secretary Blinken in Egypt

*A major issue raised by President El-Sisi, during his meeting with Secretary Blinken, was the volcanic turbulence in Libya, which has traumatized the region since 2011, fueling Muslim Brotherhood terrorism in Egypt and overall Islamic terrorism in Africa and Europe.

*This turbulence was triggered by a US-led NATO military offensive against the Gaddafi regime, and was masterminded, largely, by key policy-makers in the Obama-Biden Administration. They included Antony Blinken, then National Security Advisor to Vice President Biden, and were led by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her close advisor and Director of Policy Planning Jake Sullivan, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Special Assistant to President Obama Samantha Power.

*The offensive was motivated by noble values of human rights, but went astray due to an intrinsic misreading of the Middle East, in general, and Libya, in particular, where Gaddafi was not fighting innocent bystanders, but anti-US Islamic terrorists. In fact, these terrorists murdered the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, following their US-facilitated victory over Gaddafi.

*While the aim of the offensive was to prevent a massive slaughter of non-combatant Libyans by Gaddafi, the outcome of the offensive has doomed Libya to decades of chaos, plagued by an ongoing slaughter house, which has dwarfed the worst casualty assessments made by Clinton and Blinken.

*The ill-advised offensive has transformed Libya – the soft underbelly of Europe – into one of the world’s largest platforms of anti-Western Islamic terrorists, drugs and arms traffickers.  It energized a global resurgence of Islamic terrorism, and became a home base for scores of terrorist militias and an arena of civil wars with the participation of Turkey, Qatar, Italy, Russia, Egypt, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and France.

*Secretary Blinken’s well-intentioned, but misguided, human rights-driven policy has ignored the only choice facing the US in the Middle East, where human rights have not been complied by Arab regimes: a choice between pro-US human rights violating Arab regimes, or anti-US human rights violating Arab regimes.

*The refusal to accept that reality has also led to US military, financial and diplomatic pressure on the pro-US President Sisi – as well as the pro-US Saudi Crown Prince MBS and the pro-US UAE Crown Prince MBZ – to desist from the rough-handling of Muslim Brotherhood terrorists and the Iran-supported Houthi Yemenite terrorists, which the State Department establishment considers legitimate political, religious and social entities.

*This US policy – highlighted by the eagerness to conclude another accord with Iran’s Ayatollahs, who threaten the survival of every pro-US Arab Sunni regime – has pushed Egypt, Saudi Arabia. the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain closer to China and Russia.

Secretary Blinken in Israel and the Palestinian Authority

*As frustrated as Secretary Blinken is with the rogue conduct of Iran’s Ayatollahs, and notwithstanding the recently expanded US-Israel military drills, Blinken still opposes Israel’s determination that the 43-year-old diplomatic option has dramatically failed, while significantly bolstering the Ayatollahs anti-US global rogue strategy in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

*Blinken rejects the Israeli suggestion (shared by all pro-US Arab regimes) that a credible threat to resort to regime-change and military options is the only way to abort the regional and global terroristic, conventional, ballistic and nuclear Ayatollah threats. He still assumes that the apocalyptic Ayatollahs could be induced – via a generous financial and diplomatic package – into good faith negotiation, peaceful-coexistence and to abandon their 1,400-year-old fanatic, religious and megalomaniacal vision.

*Blinken’s policy toward Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Muslim Brotherhood – which pose a lethal threat to all Sunni Arab regimes – has eroded the US strategic credibility in pro-US Arab capitals, and has pushed Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – reluctantly – closer to China and Russia, militarily and commercially.

*According to the State Department spokesperson: “The Secretary will underscore the urgent need for the parties [Israel and the Palestinians] to take steps to deescalate tensions… [and] put an end to the cycle of violence that has claimed too many innocent lives….”

*Once again, Secretary Blinken resorts to the immoral moral-equivalence, failing to distinguish between PA-incited Palestinian terrorists (killed by Israel) and Israeli civilians (murdered by Palestinian terrorists). Inadvertently, moral equivalence energizes Palestinian terrorism, while aiming to constrain Israel’s counter-terrorist efforts.

*Secretary Blinken’s visit to Ramallah enhanced legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority, while the latter has enshrined, since 1993, K-12 hate-education, which has brainwashed Palestinian youth against the existence of the “infidel” Jewish State. This rogue education system has been the most authentic reflection of the Palestinian vision/aspiration – consistent with the 1959 and 1964 charters of Fatah and the PLO, which focus on the annihilation of the pre-1967 “Zionist entity.”  The PA education system has become the most effective hot house and production-line of terrorists and suicide-bombers.

*Blinken has accorded more weight to Palestinian diplomatictalk than to the Palestinian hate-walk and its induced terrorism.  He has ignored the fact that a prerequisite to meaningful negotiation and peace is the uprooting of hate-education, mosque incitement, generous monthly allowances to terrorists’ families, and the glorification of terrorists through public monuments, schools and other institutions.

*Secretary Blinken attempts to convince Israel that the establishment of a Palestinian state is a prerequisite for bolstering Middle East stability and concluding an Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty. However, such a proposal should be assessed against the backdrop of the systematic failure of all State Department’s proposals to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.  They failed because they ignored the Palestinian track record, the non-central role of the Palestinian issue in the Middle East, and due to the preoccupation with the Palestinian issue, which yielded a Palestinian veto power.

*In fact, Israel’s peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan were successfully concluded by bypassing the Palestinian issue, and focusing on Arab – not Palestinian – interests, which are increasingly served by enhanced defense and commercial cooperation with Israel. Arabs do not cut off their noses to spite their faces.

*Blinken ignores Middle East reality, which highlights the non-centrality of the Palestinian issue (no Arab-Israel war has erupted due to the Palestinian issue) and Arab order of priorities (no Arab country has flexed its military – and hardly its financial – muscle on behalf of the Palestinians), unless one assumes that the Palestinian-embracing Arab talk supersedes the indifferent/negative Arab walk.

*Unlike Secretary Blinken, the pro-US Arab Sunni regimes are aware of the despotic, corrupt and terroristic nature of the Palestinian Authority, and the rogue nature of the proposed Palestinian state, as evidenced by the Palestinian intra-Arab track record.  Arabs perceive the Palestinians as an intra-Arab role model of subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude, who bite the hands that feed them (Egypt – in the 1950s, Syria – 1960s, Jordan – 1968-1970, Lebanon – 1970-1982 and Kuwait – in 1990).

*The Arabs are also aware of the systematic Palestinian collaboration with anti-Western rogue entities, such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Iran’s Ayatollahs, Saddam Hussein, Latin American and other international terrorist organizations, Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua and North Korea.

*The bottom line is that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would topple the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the river, transforming Jordan into another platform of Islamic terrorism (just like Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen), and triggering a domino scenario into the Arabian Peninsula.  It would topple the pro-US Arab oil-producing regimes, undermine regional and global stability and economy and erode the US economy and geo-strategic posture, while advancing the fortunes of Russia, China, Iran’s Ayatollahs and anti-US Islamic Sunni terrorism.

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Saudi order of priorities

*The State Department and the Western foreign policy establishment have contended that the Palestinian issue features prominently on the Saudi order of national priorities. Therefore, they have maintained that a substantial enhancement of Israel-Saudi cooperation – and certainly, the attainment of an Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty – would be preconditioned upon substantial Israeli concessions to the Palestinians, including the establishment of a Palestinian state.

*However, contrary to the State Department’s worldview, Saudi Arabia’s strong man, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), does not consider the Palestinian issue a top priority.

*Moreover, conversely to State Department assessments, 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.

*Furthermore, unlike the State Department, MBS accords critical weight to the Palestinian intra-Arab track record, which is low on moderation but, top heavy on subversion, terrorism, treachery and ingratitude (especially the Palestinian collaboration with Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait); as well as, the deeply-rooted Palestinian collaboration with international terror organizations, Muslim Brotherhood terrorists and Iran’s Ayatollahs’ regime (which constitute lethal threats to the House of Saud), North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela.

*Simultaneously, MBS is absorbed with the strategic goal of evolving Saudi Arabia into a modern regional/global superpower, by reinforcing regional stability, minimizing the threat of existing rogue entities (e.g., Iran’s Ayatollahs and Muslim Brotherhood terrorists), preventing the rise of additional rogue entities (e.g., the domestic Shiite subversion in the oil region in eastern Saudi Arabia, Yemen’s Houthis, the proposed Palestinian state and Hezbollah), and bolstering investment, infrastructure development and economic diversification (e.g., hightech).

*Irrespective of MBS’ deep Islamic beliefs, and notwithstanding the 280-year-old alliance between the House of Saud and the fundamentalist Wahhabi establishment in central and southwestern Saudi Arabia, MBS has recognized the value of Israel’s military, technological capabilities, and Israel’s special standing among most US voters and Capitol Hill legislators, as well as Israel’s reliability and effectiveness in the pursuit of MBS’ game-changing strategic goal.

*In fact, under the leadership of MBS, Saudi Arabia has forged unprecedented defense and commercial cooperation with Israel, and has served as the most critical engine behind Israel’s peace treaties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan, independent of the Palestinian issue and in the service of their own order of national priorities.

*Contrary to the State Department’s position, these countries – just like Egypt and Jordan before them – do not sacrifice Middle East reality and their national security interests on the altar of wishful-thinking, oversimplification and the Palestinian issue.

Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty?

*An effective Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty must be a derivative of the national security interests of both countries.

*The Saudi interest in expanding its defense, counter-terrorism and commercial cooperation with Israel – and possibly concluding a peace treaty – has not been a byproduct of the Saudi appreciation of Israel’s peaceful intention and concessions to the Palestinians.  It has been a byproduct of the high regard for Israel’s posture of deterrence and muscle-flexing in the face of Iran’s Ayatollahs, Israel’s determined war on Palestinian and Islamic terrorism, and its defiance of US pressure and US policy on Iran.

*On a rainy day, MBS would prefer a deterring and defiant Israel on his side.

*A deterring-Israel is a cardinal national security asset for Saudi Arabia. A retreating Israel would be irrelevant to Saudi Arabia’s national security.

*An Israel-Saudi Arabia peace treaty would be rendered impractical if it required Jerusalem to give up the most critical historic, geographic and topographic high grounds of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), facilitating the establishment of a Palestinian state. It would transform Israel from a terror and war-deterring force multiplier for the US and Saudi Arabia to a terror and war-inducing burden.

*Israeli retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria to the pre-1967 8 to 15-mile-wide sliver along the Mediterranean would emit short-term congrats from Foggy Bottom. But, it would devastate Israel’s long-term posture of deterrence, eliminate Israel’s value for Saudi Arabia, reduce Israel’s economic and defense boon for the US, and doom Israel to extinction.

*Contrary to the State Department’s view 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, Middle East reality stipulates that as desirable as Israel-Arab peace treaties are, they must not be preconditioned upon a 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 State Department warning that such actions would force Egypt to abandon its peace treaty with Israel. However, Egypt adhered to its national security requirements, sustaining the peace treaty. Routinely, the State Department warned that construction in Jerusalem (beyond the “Green Line”) and in Judea and Samaria would trigger a terroristic volcano and push Egypt away from the peace treaty.

*None of the warnings materialized, since Arabs act in accordance with their own interests; not in accordance with the rogue Palestinian agenda.

*Notwithstanding the State Department’s worldview, and independent of the pro-Palestinian Arab talk, Arabs have demonstrated an indifferent-to-negative walk toward the Palestinians. They have never flexed military (and barely financial and diplomatic) muscles on behalf of the Palestinians. They have acted in accordance with their own – not Palestinian – interests, and certainly not in accordance with the State Department misperceptions of the Middle East.

*Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will conclude a peace treaty with Israel when he deems it beneficial to his game-changing, grand vision of Saudi Arabia, and when it’s possible to overcome domestic Wahhabi opposition, regardless of the Palestinian issue.

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Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, reiterates his commitment to the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River.

*According to Western conventional wisdom, the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would promote the cause of peace, stabilize the Middle East and advance Western interests.

*However – just like its policy toward Iran’s Ayatollahs – Western conventional wisdom overlooks the rogue intra-Arab Palestinian track record in Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Kuwait, the despotic and corrupt nature of the Palestinian Authority and its abhorrent hate-education, and the impact of such a track record upon the rogue nature of the proposed Palestinian state.  The West takes lightly the adverse impact of such a rogue state upon the Middle East, the survival of pro-Western Arab regimes (e.g., Jordan and the Arabian Peninsula entities) and vital Western interests.

*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, Arabs are aware of the Palestinian track record – just as they are aware of the Ayatollahs’ track record – and are certain that the proposed Palestinian state would resemble the non-controllable, lawless and terroristic Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya much more than the moderate United Arab Emirates. Therefore, they have limited their support of Palestinians to a very positive talk, while conducting a lukewarm-to-negative walk.

*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, Arabs have never flexed their military muscle (and hardly their financial and diplomatic muscle) on behalf of Palestinians. For example, no Arab-Israel war was ever launched on behalf of Palestinians, and no Palestinian war on Israel was ever assisted by Arab military.

*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, Arabs have experienced the Palestinian trait of brutally-biting the (Arab) hand that feeds them: Egypt in the early 1950s, Syria in the 1960s, Jordan in 1968-1970, Lebanon in 1970-1982, Kuwait in 1990.

*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, which considers the Palestinian issue as a primary/central concern in the Middle East, the Arab conduct reflects the conviction (notwithstanding the pro-Palestinian Arab rhetoric) 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 Middle East turbulence.

*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom and expectations, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and the Sudan did not precondition their peace treaties with Israel upon the establishment of a Palestinian state.

*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, which assumes that the Palestinian issue is central to Arab policy-making, Israel-Arab peace accords have been based on primary Arab interests – such as the lethal threats of Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Muslim Brotherhood terrorism, the need to diversify their economies and Israel’s effective posture of deterrence – which do not include the Palestinian issue.

*Contrary to all Western peace proposals (other than the Abraham Accords), which failed due to their preoccupation with the Palestinian issue, the six successful Israel-Arab peace treaties bypassed the Palestinian issue, denied the Palestinians a veto power, and were preoccupied with primary Arab national security interests, not with the Palestinian issue.

*While Western conventional wisdom assumes that the Palestinians – as well as Iran’s Ayatollahs – are amenable to peaceful-coexistence, democracy and good faith negotiation, Arabs recognize Palestinians as a role-model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism, betrayal and ingratitude.

*Contrary to Western conventional wisdom, Arabs accord much prominence to Palestinian collaboration with rogue, despotic anti-Western entities, such as Nazi Germany, the USSR and the Soviet Bloc, Iran’s Ayatollahs, Saddam Hussein, Asian, African, European and Latin American terror organizations, the Muslim Brotherhood terrorists, Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea.

*Western conventional wisdom pressures Israel to sacrifice Middle East reality on the altar of wishful-thinking and oversimplification.

*Western conventional wisdom expects Israel to follow in the footsteps of the pro-Palestinian Arab talk, while taking lightly the Arab walk and Middle East reality.

*Western conventional wisdom urges Israel to ignore the 120-year-long anti-Jewish Palestinian terrorism, hate-education and mosque incitement, notwithstanding dramatic Israeli concessions (e.g., the 1993 Oslo Accord and the 2005 Gaza Disengagement, which were followed – as expected – by waves of terrorism and hate-education).  While the West assumes that Palestinians are preoccupied with the size of the Jewish State, the Palestinian track record has documented that they are preoccupied with the uprooting of the Jewish State from “the abode of Islam.”

*While Western governments accord Palestinian leaders Red Carpet receptions, Arabs welcome Palestinian leaders with Shabby Doormat receptions (if at all…).

*Western policy in the Middle East – as reflected by Western policy toward Iran’s Ayatollahs and the Palestinian issue – has been systematically wrong.  For example, providing a critical tailwind to the Ayatollahs’ rise to power in Iran; embracing Saddam Hussein until the 1990 invasion of Kuwait; heralding Arafat as a messenger of peace; toppling Gaddafi, which transformed Libya into a platform of anti-Western Islamic terrorism and civil wars; welcoming the volcanic eruption on the Arab Street as an “Arab Spring” and “Facebook Revolution,” etc..

*Will Western conventional wisdom adjust itself to the Middle East and Palestinian reality, or will it persist in its suspension of disbelief?  Sustaining the Western suspension of disbelief will add fuel to the Middle East fire, intensify threats to pro-Western Arab regimes, and further undermine commercial and national security Western interests.

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A new 8-minute-video: YouTube, Facebook

Synopsis:

*The State Department assumes that generous diplomatic and financial gestures could induce the violently volatile Middle East to embrace peaceful-coexistence, good-faith negotiation, democracy and human rights.  However, this policy has generated tailwinds to rogue entities and headwinds to the US and its Arab allies.

*Since 1979, the State Department has espoused the diplomatic option toward Iran, assuming that the Ayatollahs are amenable to moderation. However, the diplomatic option has bolstered the Ayatollahs’ anti-US rogue strategy, posing a lethal threat to every pro-US Arab regime, undermining the US posture in Latin America, and letting down most Iranians, who aspire for a regime-change in Tehran.  

*In 2010, the State Department welcomed the turbulence on the Arab Street as “the Arab Spring,” “Facebook and youth revolution” and a “March for peace and democracy.” However, it has been another tectonic Arab Tsunami, not an Arab Spring.

*The State Department extends to Palestinian leaders red carpet reception, contrary to the shabby doormat extended to Palestinians by all pro-US Arab leaders. Arabs are aware of the intra-Arab and anti-US rogue Palestinian track record.

*All of the State Department’s Israel-Arab peace proposals were frustrated by Middle Eastern reality, because they were Palestinian-centered. However, Middle East reality has never perceived the Palestinian issue to be the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a core cause of regional turbulence, nor a crown-jewel of Arab policy makers.

*Enjoy the video.

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latest videos

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Welcome to the rebranded EttingerReport website

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The US diplomatic option toward Iran is self-destructive

The US diplomatic option induced the transformation of Iran from “the American policeman of the Gulf” to “the largest anti-American venomous octopus in the world.”
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Palestinian state – is it consistent with US interests?

A Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would cause the demise of the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into a platform of anti-US Islamic terrorism with ripple effects into the Arabian Peninsula, threatening all pro-US, oil producing Arab regimes, a bonanza to US enemies and rivals and a setback to the US.
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Can/should Israel defy US pressure?

Israel’s defiance of US pressure has been an inherent feature of US-Israel relations since 1948. It has caused short-term frictions, while generating long-term US strategic respect toward Israel, triggering a dramatic enhancement of mutually-beneficial strategic cooperation. Israeli defiance of US pressure spared the US economic and national security setbacks, dealing major blows to enemies and rivals of the US.

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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: Iranian terrorism on US soil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The bottom line:

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

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

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

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

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Judea & Samaria

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

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

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jerusalem

United Jerusalem – a shared US-Israel legacy and interest

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

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

United Jerusalem and the US law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers

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

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

The Jerusalem reality and US interests

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

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

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

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

Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jewish Holidays

Chanukah guide for the perplexed, 2023

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

More on Jewish holidays: SmashwordsAmazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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