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Prime Minister Barak’s Fear of – and Susceptibility to – Pressure

Contrary to all his predecessors – who served until the1993 Oslo Accords – Prime Minister Barak has been extremely susceptible to US Administration pressure.  Unlike the leaders of Egypt, Turkey Germany and Italy, who have demonstrated tenacity in combating terrorism, and in contrast with his own outstanding service as the commander of special operations, Barak has been apprehensive of a resolute military battle against terrorism.  


More than all his predecessors since 1993, and unlike the pre-1993 Israeli Prime Ministers, Barak has deluded the People of Israel that excessive concessions, rather than the power of deterrence, would distance war and bring peace closer in the Mideast, which has been ridden with inter-Muslim bloody conflicts since the seventh century.


More than all his predecessors since 1993, and in contrast to those serving before 1993, Barak has resorted to scare tactics, in order to coax the People of Israel into supporting sweeping and unprecedented concessions, which endanger the survival of Israel.  Just like all his predecessors, since 1993, Barak has actively pursued an accord with a terror organization, which has systematically violated all agreements with Arab states and with Israel, has always stabbed the backs of those feeding it (Syria in 1966, Jordan in 1970, Lebanon in 1975, Kuwait in 1990 and Israel since 1993) and has institutionalized Hate Education among Palestinians against Jews, Israel and the USA.


Under Barak’s leadership – and in defiance of its unprecedented military and economic vigor – Israel has been transformed from a role-model of combating terrorism and defying the security odds at any price, to a role-model of peace-at-any-price, while succumbing to pressure and giving-in to terrorism, unnecessarily, hastily and shamefully.


Unlike Barak, Prime Minister Ben-Gurion declared independence in 1948 in defiance of a brutal pressure by the US Administration, of an invasion by the surrounding Arab countries, of a US embargo, in spite of the absence of an effective lobby and a supportive Congress in Washington DC, while having only 600,000 Jews and a $20MN annual GNP (compared with over 5MN Jews and a $110BN annual GNP in Israel in 2001!).


In a non-Barak manner, Prime Minister Eshkol launched the 1967 preemptive Six Day War, ignoring harsh threats by the US Administration and by Western Europe and the UN, discarding doomsday assessments by Israel’s military intelligence, and overlooking public weariness and the critical dependency on foreign aid (only less than 3% of GNP in 2001!).


Prime Minister Begin bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 in spite of severe pressure and intimidation by the US Administration, and despite the opposition expressed by both the Mossad and the Military Intelligence.


Prime Minister Shamir fought against the absorption of Soviet Jewry in the US and for their direct flight from Moscow to Israel, defying the US Administration, the Jewish establishment in the US and Israel’s best friends in Congress. 


Succumbing to pressure, exerted by the US Administration on these former Prime Ministers, could have doomed the future of the Jewish State.  The principle-driven steadfastness displayed by them, in defiance of pressure, has been the chief cause for the growth of Israel.


These leaders realized that withstanding such pressure, in the battle for Israel’s survival, could cause a short-term political tension, but in the process it would nurture a long-term strategic respect for the Jewish State.  They understood that the willingness to employ the military option would enhance Israel’s stature as a strategic ally of the US.  Hence, the Six Day War and the deployment of the IDF – in response to a US request – in order to rollback Syrian invasion of Jordan, upgraded Israel’s strategic posture in the US from a mere democratic ally into a strategic ally.  Also, the most comprehensive US-Israel strategic agreement was concluded in 1988, at the height of the Intifada and the resulting Israel-bashing campaign by the US Administration and media.  The preceding strategic accord was signed in 1983, in the aftermath of the controversial war against the PLO in Lebanon, which caused another confrontation between Israel and the US Administration.  In addition, the four leaders were aware of the centrality of US public opinion and Congress (which possesses the Power of the Purse) in the battle against an adversarial Administration.  Unlike Barak, they were not enchanted by the US Administration.


Barak, on the other hand, has made the fear of US pressure, and the apprehension of using military power, a critical feature of his national security policy.  He has transformed restraint from an exceptional tactic into an ideology. He has, therefore, severely eroded Israel’s posture of deterrence, undermining the strategic cooperation with the US, encouraging Arab belligerency and terrorism, radicalizing Arab expectations and demands, increasing the blood toll of both Jews and Arabs, setting peace farther and bringing a costly war closer and under worse conditions.




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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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