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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The US-Israel mutual threat of Islamic terrorism

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

For example:   

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

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

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

Israel’s war highlights Iran’s terrorist nature  

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

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

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

The Palestinian wake up call

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

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

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

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

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

The bottom line

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

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

The difference between the US’ and the Arab approach

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
October 24, 2023

Israel – a secondary target

*According to the Paris-based think tank, Fondation pour l’Innovation Politique: “…. In 1979-2019, at least 33,769 Islamist terrorist attacks took place worldwide [not counting the civil wars’ terrorism in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen]. They caused the deaths of at least 167,096 people…. 91.2% of the victims were Muslims…. In Europe, in forty years, France, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Spain, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland and Russia, have been hit [in addition to India, Bangladesh, Thailand, China, Niger, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Somalia, and other parts of Asia and Africa]….”

*11 million Muslims have been killed since 1948, of which 35,000 (0.3%) were killed during Arab-Israeli wars.  Over 90% were killed by fellow Muslims.

*The fourteencenturies-old Islamic terrorism (e.g., three of the first four caliphs were murdered in the seventh century) has not been triggered by despair, neither by the US, nor by Israel. Islamic terrorism has been triggered by the megalomaniacal aspiration to force the Western “infidel” and the Arab “apostate” to submit – unconditionally, peacefully or militarily – to Islam, the only “legitimate” religion, divinely-ordained to rule the world.

Hamas’ anti-Western priority

*According to its 1988 covenant, Hamas is a branch of the anti-Western global Islamic terrorism.

*Hamas was established by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose vision is to topple all national Muslim regimes, establish a Quran-based universal society, and bring the “infidel” West to submission, peacefully or militarily.

*Hamas is heavily assisted by Iran’s Ayatollahs, whose strategic goal is to oust all “apostate” (Sunni) Muslim regimes and defeat the “infidel” West, and especially “the Great American Satan.”  

Anti-US Islamic terrorism independent of Israel

*In recent years, Iran-affiliated terrorists in Yemen, Iraq and eastern Syria have challenged the US posture in the Persian Gulf by routine attacks on civilian, commercial and military sites, which are controlled by the US, and the pro-US (and “apostate”) Sunni Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. In addition, Iran has challenged the US posture in Central and South America by collaborating with Latin American drug barons, terrorists and anti-US regimes.

*This apocalyptic Islamic terrorism has targeted the USA – and has simultaneously plagued Muslims since the 7th century – independent of Israel and the nature of US policy.

*Thus, Islamic terrorism has afflicted the US, irrespective of President Carter’s facilitating the rise to power of Iran’s Ayatollahs, and regardless of the US’ diplomatic option, which has netted the Ayatollahs hundreds of billion dollars since 1979. It has assaulted the US, despite the mega-billion dollars of US assistance to the Islamic Mujahideen, which enabled the Mujahideen to end the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. It has plagued the US, in spite of the US bombing of Serbia, which yielded independence to the Muslim-dominated Bosnia and Kosovo. It has attacked the US, notwithstanding the generous US foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority. In fact, Islamic terrorism also haunted the US during the Obama and the Trump Administrations, as it did during the Clinton and Bush Administrations.

*Islamic terrorists view the US as the “enemy of Allah,” a “modern day Crusader” and the key obstacle in the way of Islam’s imperialistic vision to bring the “infidel” West to submission.

*According to the late Prof. Bernard Lewis of Princeton University, who was a leading expert on Islam, Islamic terrorists are convinced that they can absorb US retaliation, while the US will not be able to sustain painful terrorism abroad and on the mainland. Their aim is to erode the confidence of Americans in their government’s capability to defeat Islamic terrorism.

*Anti-Western Islamic terrorism has been energized by the dramatic Islamic penetration of Western Europe, which is losing its will to flex cultural and military muscles. It has also been adrenalized by the success of Islamic terrorism to force the 2021 US retreat from Afghanistan, following its forcing the 1989 Soviet retreat from Afghanistan, which impacted the disintegration of the USSR.

*The confidence of Islamic terrorists in their ability to defeat the “infidel” West has been bolstered by the overwhelming surge of Iran’s Ayatollahs – since their February 1979 rise to power – in the areas of global terrorism, drug trafficking and the proliferation of advanced military systems (including in Latin America), while the US sustains its 43-year-old diplomatic option toward Iran, eagerly seeking another accord with the Ayatollahs, and timidly responding to the Iranian bombing of US, Saudi and Emirati installations.  

The bottom line

*Islamic terrorism – which has been a Middle East fixture since the seventh century – is neither driven by the 18th-century-established US, nor by the 20th-century-established Israel. It has been driven by a 1,400-year-old fanatic, religious, imperialistic non-compromising vision.

*Islamic terrorists consider Israel a Western beachhead in “the abode of Islam,” which constrains the maneuverability of anti-Western Islamic entities. They view Israel as the role model of counter terrorism and a critical line of defense for Western societies.  An Israeli failure to defeat Islamic terrorists would provide a critical tailwind to their assault of the “infidel” West.

*In order to defeat Islamic terrorism, Western democracies – led by the US – must acknowledge its inherently apocalyptic, non-compromising vision/aspiration, which is not despair-driven, but driven by violence, intolerance, and the quest for submission and suppression.

*The assault of Islamic terrorism on the Western culture is another edition of the clash of civilizations, which is leveraged by Russia and China, in order to advance their own global aspirations.

*As such, Islamic terrorism must be confronted militarily, not diplomatically, recognizing the role of hate-education and mosque incitement (in Muslim countries as well as in Europe and the US) as a most effective production line of Islamic terrorists.

*An effective war on Islamic terrorism must be offensive rather than defensive, preemptive in the terrorists’ own trenches rather than reactive in Western trenches.

*Counter-terrorism authorities should implement an American football principle: The closer you get to your opponent’s “end zone,” the closer you are to scoring a touchdown. But, the closer you get to your own “end zone,” the closer is your opponent to scoring a touchdown.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
October 16, 2023

Hamas’ anti-Western strategy

*Hamas was established in 1988, as a spin-off of the Muslim Brotherhood, as were ISIS, Al Qaeda, the Islamic Jihad, Boko Haram and scores of additional terror entities. The Muslim Brotherhood is the largest Sunni terror organization, haunting all pro-US Arab regimes, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Africa, Europe and the USA. Its strategic goal is to topple all national Muslim regimes, bring the Western “infidel” to submission, and establish a universal Muslim society.  

*Hamas, just like the Muslim Brotherhood, considers Israel as “an infidel” entity in “the abode of Islam,” a US beachhead in the Middle East and a deterring ally of all pro-US Arab regimes.

*The 1988 Hamas charter highlights the Quran as its constitution, Jihad as its path, and martyrdom as its loftiest tactic.  It urges the “believers” to kill Jews, as specified in Article 7 of the charter, quoting one of the Prophet Muhammad’s Hadiths (verbal teachings): “When the Jew will hide behind stones and trees, the stones and trees will say: O Muslims, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him….”

*Hamas is assisted, militarily and financially, by Iran’s Ayatollahs (as well as by Qatar and Turkey), who – just like the Muslim Brotherhood – perceive the war against the “illegitimate” Jewish State as a preview of their war on “the apostate” pro-US Arab regimes and “the infidel” West, with a focus on “the Great American Satan.”

*Hamas and other Islamic and Palestinian terrorist organizations have collaborated with enemies and rivals of the US and the West, such as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Iran’s Ayatollahs, North Korea, Venezuela, Cuba and terror organizations in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America.

Western attitude toward Hamas

*The more constrained is Israel’s posture of deterrence and war on Hamas, the more emboldened is anti-Western terrorism. On the other hand, the more robust is Israel’s posture of deterrence and its war on Hamas terrorism, the more deterred are Islamic terrorism to assault the West.

*Furthermore, it was Israel’s sturdy posture of deterrence, which induced six Arab countries to conclude peace accords with Jerusalem and enticed Saudi Arabia to substantially expand defense and commercial cooperation with Israel.

*While the rogue, anti-US conduct of Iran’s Ayatollahs has intensified dramatically since their ascension to power in February 1979, and the posture of Muslim Brotherhood-related organizations has been dramatically enhanced in Europe and the USA, government in the West have taken lightly the fanatic vision and the apocalyptic nature of Islamic terrorism, deluding itself that these terrorists are driven by despair, not by deeply-entrenched ideology.

*Notwithstanding the systematically anti-Western rogue track record of Hamas and Iran’s Ayatollahs since 1988 and 1979, the West has gone through suspension of disbelief. The West has assumed that grand financial and diplomatic gestures could induce these rogue entities to abandon their 1,400-year-old violently intolerant Islamic vision and embrace good-faith negotiation and peaceful-coexistence. However, there is ample documentation that terrorist Muslim regimes do not sacrifice their fanatical vision on the altar of their own enrichment and improved standard of living of their population.

*Western policy makers and public opinion molders brush off the well-documented fact that Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran’s Ayatollahs and other Islamic terrorists consider the following precepts of Islam as their own pillar of fire:

<Islam is the only legitimate religion, divinely ordained to rule;
<The abode of the “infidel” must submit itself to the abode of the “believers” unconditionally, peacefully, or militarily;
<Jihad must be conducted on behalf of Allah, guaranteeing each warrior 72 virgins in paradise;
<Terrorism aims to terrify the “infidel,” causing submission to Islam;
<Accords with “infidels” are non-binding and constitute a temporary ceasefire (Hudna), to be abrogated once the “believers” regain sufficient fire power;
<Double-speak and dissimulation (Taqiyyah) are legitimate tactics aimed at misleading and overcoming the “infidel.”

*Anti-US and anti-Israel Islamic terrorism is not driven by US or Israeli policy. In fact, Islamic terrorism has been an intrinsic feature of the Middle East since the 7th century, murdering many more Muslims than non-Muslims. Islamic terrorism has been driven by the existence of the “infidel” US and Israel, irrespective of their policy. For example, anti-US Islamic terrorism afflicted the US during the Administrations of President Obama (e.g., the November 9, 2009 Ft. Hood massacre and the December 2, 2015 San Bernardino massacre) and President Trump (e.g., the October 31, 2017 NYC massacre and the December 6, 2019 Pensacola massacre).

*Western policy makers have been in denial of the fact that terrorists bite the hand that feeds them, interpreting Western gestures as weakness.  This was demonstrated by the “9/11” terrorism (irrespective of the US’ assisting the Mujahideen’s war against Soviet occupation of Afghanistan), as well as by the November 1979 takeover of the US Embassy in Tehran and the 50 Americans who were held hostage for 444 days (irrespective of the US’ game-changing tailwind to the Ayatollahs rise to power). It was also evidenced by the 258 US fatalities in the 1983 car-bombing of the US Embassy and Marines Headquarters in Beirut (irrespective of the rough US pressure on Israel during its war on the PLO) and the 1998 car-bombing of the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (irrespective of President Clinton’s brutal pressure of Israel and warm embrace of Arafat), etc.

*Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran’s Ayatollahs derive much energy by the fact that some Western policy makers and media outlets have applied the immoral moral equivalence to Hamas terrorists – who systematically and deliberately hit civilians, sometime killing soldiers – and Israeli soldiers, who systematically and deliberately target only Hamas terrorists, sometimes unintentionally killing Gaza civilians, who are held hostage by Hamas terrorists and abused as human shields.

*Constraining Israel’s war on Hamas amounts to ignoring the aforementioned facts. It would amount to repeating, rather than avoiding past costly mistakes, which would add fuel to the Middle East fire at the expense of Israel, pro-US Arab regimes, the US and other Western democracies.

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Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
September 15, 2023, https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/377022

*The platform of an Israel-Saudi accord is the volcanic, violent and unpredictably tenuous Middle East, not Western Europe or No. America;

*Saudi Arabia is driven by Saudi – not Palestinian – interests;

*Unlike the State Department, Saudi Arabia accords much weight to the rogue Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab arena, and therefore limits its support of the proposed Palestinian state to (mostly) talk, not to walk; *An accord with Saudi Arabia – in the shifty, tenuous Middle East – is not a major component of Israel’s national security. On the other hand, Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea & Samaria is a prerequisite for Israel’s survival in the inherently turbulent, intolerantly violent Middle East, which features tenuous regimes, and therefore tenuous policies and accords.

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
September 6, 2023

Oslo Accord’s writing on the wall

In January 1979, President Carter facilitated the Ayatollahs’ rise to power in Iran, assuming that they would be “preoccupied with tractors, not with tanks.” In September 1993, Prime Minister Rabin embraced the Oslo Accord, assuming that Arafat would be “preoccupied with domestic issues of the newly-established Palestinian Authority, not with terrorism.”

The architects of the 1993 Oslo Accord subordinated the 1,400-year-old violent and shifty Middle East reality to their eagerness to achieve “peace now.”  They refused to read the following 72-size-font writing on the wall:

*The September 1993 Oslo Accord salvaged the PLO from the abyss – at a time when it was abandoned by the Arabs – paving the road to an unprecedent wave of terrorism.

*The Accord transferred PLO terrorist headquarters from Tunisia, Yemen and Sudan to Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and Gaza, which are contiguous to the key target of Palestinian terrorism: Israeli population centers.

*The relocation of the PLO headquarters (currently, the Palestinian Authority) was openly defined by PLO leadership as a “Trojan Horse.”  It expanded the potential of PLO terrorism, by facilitating direct control over the Arab population of Gaza, Judea and Samaria, significantly radicalizing the neighboring Israeli Arabs.

*The Oslo Accord provided a tailwind to the 1974 PLO’s “Phased Plan,” which determined that – irrespective of diplomatic agreements – every land ceded by the “Zionist entity” would become a springboard for ending the “1948 occupation” (pre-1967 Israel). This view of the Oslo Accord was articulated by Arafat in a September 13, 1993 statement made on Jordanian television, while the Accord was signed on the White House lawn…

*As expected, the Oslo Accord yielded a corrupt, ruthless, terrorist Palestinian Authority, and a wave of unprecedent terrorism – including thousands of missiles launched at Israeli civilians – fueled by hate education, mosque incitement, idolization of arch terrorists and generous monthly allowances to families of terrorists. The stated goal has been to traumatize Israel’s Jewish population into emigration.

Tom Friedman ignored the writing on the wall

In September 1993, Tom Friedman described the Oslo Accord as “a triumph of hope over history,” describing Arafat as a reformed-terrorist transformed into a peace-pursuing statesman. This was consistent with his reference to Arafat as a “teflon guerrilla”, “gipper” and a rock star, while serving in Lebanon as the New York Times Bureau Chief (1984-1988).  

In July 2000, he posed the question: “Who is Arafat? Is he Nelson Mandela or Willie Nelson?” In fact, based on Arafat’s track record, T.F. should have asked: Who is Arafat? Is he Jack the Ripper or the Boston Strangler?

Contrary to T.F. and the architects of the Oslo Accord, Arab leaders are aware of the Palestinian inter-Arab track record of subversion, terrorism, ingratitude and treachery. Therefore, they limit their support of the proposed Palestinian state to talk, not walk

Shimon Peres dismissed the writing on the wall

The late Shimon Peres, the chief architect of the Oslo Accord, published a book – The New Middle East – which highlights the underlying assumptions of the Oslo Accord.  It is a blueprint for ignoring the crystal-clear writing on the wall.  It underscores the triumph of a virtual and convenient Middle East over the frustrating and inconvenient Middle East reality, which has not experienced inter-Muslim peaceful coexistence since the 7th century. 

For example:

“The international political setting is no longer conducive to war (p. 80) …

“We must focus on this new Middle East reality, with its new dimensions and different nature of security, and not wander among memories of victories in long-gone wars – wars that will never be fought again (p. 85) …

“The Trojan horse of war is obsolete (p. 51) … All things considered, any war entered into now will be an unnecessary one (p. 52) … We continue to learn war, but we no longer do so in order to declare war.  We do so to keep the peace and thwart aggression (p. 69) …

“After hundreds of years of brutal hostilities, the Middle East must be fully aware of the significance of peace… We must awaken to this revolutionary significance of peace (p. 77) …  

“Strategic depth may no longer have the same meaning when peaceful relations and reciprocal control systems are in effect… We must revise our general concept of war as a tool of international relations (p. 78) …

“At the threshold of the twenty-first century… soft borders means that armies do not have to be stationed right next to the border (p. 174) …

“We must strive for fewer weapons and more faith.  Soft, open political boundaries will make it easier to reach an agreement, and will help it withstand stormy times (p. 173) …”

The Oslo Accord acumen

*The Oslo Accord assessed the Palestinian issue via Western lenses, sacrificing Middle East reality on the altar of wishful thinking, which dooms the pursuit of peace and fuels terrorism.

*The assumption that Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) would doom Israel demographically, ignores demographic reality, which features a dramatic Westernization of Arab demography and the unprecedented Jewish (especially secular) demographic momentum.

*The Oslo state of mind is doomed by its obsession with a theoretical encouraging future Palestinian track record, taking lightly the well-documented rogue Palestinian inter-Arab track record. It ignores the fact that rogue entities bite the hand that feeds them.

*The Oslo state of mind underestimates deeply rooted Palestinian aspiration and vision to uproot the “infidel” Jewish sovereignty from “the abode of Islam,” deluding itself that dramatic gestures would induce the Palestinians into peaceful coexistence with Israel. Palestinian ideology – as documented in Palestinian hate education, the PLO and Fatah charters and the “Phased Plan” – has transcended generous financial and diplomatic benefits.

*In 2023, notwithstanding the glaring writing on the wall, the State Department still embraces the Oslo Accord, ignoring the impact of the proposed Palestinian state on US interests: toppling the pro-US Hashemite regime; transforming Jordan into a platform of Islamic terrorism; violent ripple effects into the pro-US oil-producing Arab states; rewarding Sunni terrorists, Iran, China and Russia with a strategic bonanza, while dealing a blow to the US economy, homeland and national security.

*The late Senator Daniel Inouye, who was the Chairman of the full Appropriations Committee and the Intelligence Committee, and the most supportive legislator (by far!) of enhanced US-Israel relations, read the writing on the wall.  He was concerned that the Oslo Process could evolve into a funeral procession of the Jewish State.

*Senator Inouye knew that a precondition to the realization of the Palestinian aspiration is the annihilation of the Jewish State, unlike all Arab states which can realize their aspirations simultaneously with the existence of Israel.

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Demography

Demographic optimism IN, demographic pessimism OUT

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

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

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

Arab demography artificially inflated

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

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

Arab demography Westernized

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

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

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

Jewish demographic momentum

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The bottom line

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

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

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

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

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Iran

Diplomatic option toward Iran is self-destructive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Judea & Samaria

Israel-Saudi accord and Israel’s control of Judea & Samaria (video)

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
September 15, 2023, https://www.israelnationalnews.com/news/377022

*The platform of an Israel-Saudi accord is the volcanic, violent and unpredictably tenuous Middle East, not Western Europe or No. America;

*Saudi Arabia is driven by Saudi – not Palestinian – interests;

*Unlike the State Department, Saudi Arabia accords much weight to the rogue Palestinian track record in the intra-Arab arena, and therefore limits its support of the proposed Palestinian state to (mostly) talk, not to walk; *An accord with Saudi Arabia – in the shifty, tenuous Middle East – is not a major component of Israel’s national security. On the other hand, Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea & Samaria is a prerequisite for Israel’s survival in the inherently turbulent, intolerantly violent Middle East, which features tenuous regimes, and therefore tenuous policies and accords.

Jerusalem

United Jerusalem – a shared US-Israel legacy and interest

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

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

United Jerusalem and the US law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers

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

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

The Jerusalem reality and US interests

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

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

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

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

Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jewish Holidays

Chanukah guide for the perplexed, 2023

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

More on Jewish holidays: SmashwordsAmazon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Golan

US interests and Israel’s control of Judea & Samaria (West Bank)

A new 8-minute-video: YouTube, Facebook

Synopsis:

*Israel’s control of the topographically-dominant mountain ridges of the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria has enhanced Israel’s posture of deterrence, constraining regional violence, transforming Israel into a unique force-multiplier for the US.

*Top Jordanian military officers warned that a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River would doom the pro-US Hashemite regime east of the River, transforming Jordan into a non-controllable terrorist heaven, generating an anti-US domino scenario in the Arabian Peninsula.

*Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria has eliminated much of the threat (to Jordan) of Judea and Samaria-based Palestinian terrorism.

*Israel’s posture of deterrence emboldens Jordan in the face of domestic and regional threats, sparing the US the need to deploy its own troops, in order to avoid an economic and national security setback.

*The proposed Palestinian state would become the Palestinian straw that would break the pro-US Hashemite back.

*The Palestinian track record of the last 100 years suggests that the proposed Palestinian state would be a rogue entity, adding fuel to the Middle East fire, undermining US interests.

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Islamic Terrorism

Hamas – Palestinians: disjointed or interwoven?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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