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De-Linking the Iran-Palestinian Linkage

With the advent of the Washington Nuclear Summit, it is incumbent upon Prime Minister Netanyahu to refute the notion that a linkage exists, supposedly, between the campaign to deny Iran nuclear capabilities on one hand and the Palestinian issue on the other hand.


Some Israeli politicians and commentators accord legitimacy to the “Linkage Theory.” They contend that further Israeli concessions on the Palestinian front would facilitate President Obama’s efforts to establish an anti-Iran coalition and to toughen his policy on Iran.


President Obama’s advisors promote the linkage/conditionality between progress on the Iranian and the Palestinian fronts. They consider such a linkage – and the April 12, 2010 Nuclear Summit – effective instruments to intensify psychological pressure on Netanyahu to depart sharply from his world view and to be transformed into a locomotive of Palestinian aspirations.


However, the “Linkage Theory” is detached from the Middle East context, plays into Iran’s hands, radicalizes Arab expectations, policy and terrorism, undermines US national security concerns and erodes the prospects of peace.


The idea that Israel’s policy-making could transform the cohesive world view of President Obama inflates dramatically the significance of Israel and the Palestinian issue. It undermines the depth of Obama’s ideological conviction. Thus, no additional Israeli concession would change Obama’s position on Iran from engagement to confrontation. No extra Israeli gesture would change Obama’s position that the US is a power-in-retreat, devoid of moral, economic and military exceptionalism, adopting multilateral and not unilateral initiatives.


Even a “Meretz”-led Israeli government would not stir Obama and his advisors away from their conviction that “Islam has always been part of America’s story,” that there is no global Islamic terrorism, that “Jihad means to purify oneself or to wage a holy struggle for a moral goal,” that terrorism is a challenge for law enforcement authorities more than for the military and that Mary Robinson – who led the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-US 2001 “Durbin Conference” – is worthy of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which she received on August 12, 2009.


Even a “Kadima”-led Israeli government could not budge Obama and his advisors from their assessments that Israel does not constitute a unique ally (and possibly a burden), that the US has been too attentive to Israel and insufficiently sensitive to Arab concerns, that Israel is part of the ostensibly exploiting West and the Arabs belong to the supposedly exploited Third World, that Israel’s moral foundation is the Holocaust and not a 4,000 year history and that the prescription for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict includes a withdrawal to the 1949 ceasefire lines, repartitioning of Jerusalem, uprooting of Jewish communities in the Golan Heights, Judea and Samaria, partial return of the 1948 Arab refugees and exchange of land.


Obama’s advisors claim that, supposedly, a linkage exists between the effort to prevent Iran’s nuclearization and the resolution of the Palestinian issue. They assume that, supposedly, the Palestinian issue is the strategic crown-jewel of the Arabs. They believe that, supposedly, there is a need to establish a coalition with Arab regimes in order to stop Iran. Therefore, they conclude that it is, supposedly, incumbent to advance the resolution of the Palestinian issue in order to get the Arabs on board of the anti-Iran coalition. Really?!


Iran’s nuclear drive aims at attaining a mega-goal, which has guided Iran since the 7th century – domination of the Persian Gulf. The role of nuclear capability would be to deter and harm mega-obstacles to the mega-goal: the USA and NATO, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The tenacious pursuit of their nuclear effort is independent of Israel – which is not an actor in the Persian Gulf arena – and of the Palestinian issue. Is it possible that a less than 100 year old (Arab-Israeli) conflict be a root cause of a 1,400 year old goal?! Iran would have pursued nuclearization with the same determination even if there were no Jewish State in the eastern flank of the Mediterranean!


In order to demolish Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, the US does not require a coalition with Arab regimes, as was evidenced in the 1991 US-Iraq War. President Bush 41st invested many resources to establish such a coalition, but the Arab military forces did not contribute anything to the war effort. Saddam Hussein was not defeated by a diplomatic coalition, but by the US armed forces.


Moreover, the Arabs have demonstrated – as recently as the March 26, 2010 Arab League-organized “Jerusalem Conference” – that they do not consider the Palestinian issue a strategic crown jewel, but a low priority issue and a potential force of domestic subversion. A number of Arab leaders abstained, signaling that inter-Arab squabbles supersede Arab concern for Jerusalem and for the Palestinians. The cold shoulder directed at Abu Mazen, and the refusal by some to attend his speech, reflect the inferior role played by the Palestinian issue in Arab circles. Saudi, Kuwaiti and other Gulf leaders demonstrated that they neither forget nor forgive the PLO/PA’s systematic treachery, culminated by its key role in Saddam Hussein’s 1990 invasion and plunder of Kuwait. In addition, they are aware that the “Linkage Theory” subordinates the battle against Iran – which constitutes a clear and present lethal danger – to the highly complicated long-term Palestinian issue.


The “Linkage Theory” – which aims at escalating psychological pressure on Israel – is detached from reality, subordinates the anti-Iran campaign to the volatile Palestinian issue, rewards Iran with additional time to develop its nuclear capabilities, enhances the domestic posture of Iran’s rogue regime and denies the Free World the preventive military option, while dooming the globe to experience the devastation of the retaliatory option.


Will Prime Minister Netanyahu advance the aforementioned messages, refuting the self-destruct “Linkage Theory,” or will he join the politically-correct “Linkage Choir,” in order to avoid a clash with President Obama?


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President Biden’s pressure and Israel’s Judiciary Reform

Israel’s proposed Judiciary Reform ranks very low on President Biden’s order of priorities, far below scores of pressing domestic, foreign and national security threats and challenges.

Therefore, he has not studied the various articles of the reform, but leverages the explosive Israeli domestic controversy as a means to intensify pressure on Israel, in order to:

*Gradually, force Israel back to the 1967 ceasefire lines;
*End Jewish construction and proliferate Arab construction in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank);
*Advance the establishment of a Palestinian state on the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which overpower the coastal sliver of pre-1967 Israel;
*Re-divide Jerusalem;
*Prevent game-changing Israeli military actions against Palestinian terrorists and Iran’s Ayatollahs.

Israel’s Judiciary Reform and US democracy

If the President and his advisors had studied the proposed reform, they would have noticed the Israeli attempt to adopt key features of the US democratic system, which would end the current situation of Israel’s Judiciary as Israel’s supreme branch of government. The reform aims to provide Israel’s Legislature and Executive branches with the effective authority (currently infringed by the Judiciary) to exercise the responsibility accorded to them by the constituency.

For example:

*Israeli Supreme Court Justices should not be appointed – as they are today – by a committee, which is controlled by Justices (who possess a veto power) and lawyers, but rather by a committee, dominated by legislators;

*The Attorney General and the Legal Advisors of Cabinet Departments should be appointed (and fired) by – and subordinated to – the Executive, not the Judiciary. Their role should be to advise, and not to approve or veto policy matters, as it is today. Their advice should not be binding, as it is today.

*Supreme Court Justices should not be empowered to overturn Basic Laws (Israel’s mini-Constitution).

*Supreme Court Justices should have a limited power to nullify and overturn legislation.

*Supreme Court Justices should decide cases according to the Basic Laws and existing legislation, and not resort to the reasonableness of the legislation (which is utterly subjective), as is the case today.

*The Supreme Court should not be able to overturn legislation by three – out of fifteen – Justices, as is the case today.

*The Supreme Court should be supreme to lower level courts, not to the Legislature and Executive, as it is today.

President Biden’s pressuring Israel

*President Biden’s pressuring Israel reflects the return of the US State Department to the center-stage of policy-making. The State Department opposed Israel’s establishment in 1948, has been a systematic critic of Israel since then, and has been consistently wrong on crucial Middle East issues.

*This pressure on Israel represents the multilateral and cosmopolitan worldview of the State Department establishment, in general, and Secretary Blinken and National Security Advisor Sullivan, in particular. This worldview espouses a common ideological and strategic denominator with the UN, International Organizations and Europe, rather than the unilateral US action of foreign policy and US national security. It examines the Middle East through Western lenses, assuming that dramatic financial and diplomatic gestures would convince Iran’s Ayatollahs and Palestinian terrorists to abandon deeply-rooted, fanatic ideologies in favor of peaceful-coexistence, enhanced standard of living and good-faith negotiation.  Middle East reality has proven such assumptions to be wrong.

*President Biden’s pressure mirrors the routine of presidential pressure on Israel since 1948 (except 2017-2020), which has always resulted in short-term tension/friction and occasional punishment, such as a suspension of delivery of military systems and not vetoing UN condemnations of Israel.

*However, since 1948, simultaneously with presidential pressure on Israel, there has been a dramatic enhancement of mutually-beneficial defense and commercial cooperation, as determined by vital US interests, recognizing Israel’s unique technological and military capabilities and growing role as a leading force and dollar multiplier for the US. Israel’s unique contribution to the US defense and aerospace industries, high tech sector, armed forces and intelligence has transcended US foreign aid to Israel, and has eclipsed US-Israel friction over less critical issues (e.g., the Palestinian issue).

*The current bilateral friction is very moderate compared to prior frictions, such as the Obama-Netanyahu tension over the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran; the US’ brutal opposition to Israel’s bombing of Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors; the US’ ferocious resentment of Israel’s application of its law to the Golan Heights; the US’ determined opposition to the reunification of Jerusalem, and the renewal of Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and Greater Jerusalem; and the US’ strong-handed pressure for Israel to withdraw to the suicidal 1947 Partition lines; etc.

*In hindsight, the US pressure on Israel was based on erroneous assumptions, which could have undermined vital US interests, if not for Israel’s defiance of pressure.  For example, Israel’s refraining from bombing Iraq’s and Syria’s nuclear reactors in 1981 and 2007 would have confronted the US and the world at-large with a potential nuclear confrontation in 1991 and a potential Syrian nuclearized civil war since 2011.

*Rogue Middle East regimes consider US pressure on Israel as an erosion of Israel’s posture of deterrence, and therefore an inducement to the intensified threat of terrorism and war, which gravely destabilize the region and undermine US interests (while advancing the interests of China, Russia and Iran’s Ayatollahs), threatening the survival of pro-US vulnerable oil-producing Arab regimes.

*Most Israeli Prime Ministers – especially from Ben Gurion through Shamir – defied presidential pressure, which yielded short-term friction and erosion in popularity, but accorded Israel long-term enhanced strategic respect. On a rainy day, the US prefers allies, which stand up to pressure, and are driven by clear principles and national security requirements.

*Succumbing to – and accommodating – US presidential pressure ignores precedents, overlooks Israel’s base of support in the co-equal, co-determining US Legislature, undermines Israel’s posture of deterrence, whets the appetite of anti-US and anti-Israel rogue regimes, and adds fuel to the Middle East fire at the expense of Israel’s and US’ national security and economic interests.

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The post-1967 turning point of US-Israel cooperation

Israeli benefits to the US taxpayer exceed US foreign aid to Israel

Iran - A Clear And Present Danger To The USA

Exposing the myth of the Arab demographic time bomb