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The Mutually-Beneficial Bottom-Up US-Israel Relations

 

THE BOTTOM-UP US-ISRAEL RELATIONS


The enthusiastic reception – by Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, doves and hawks – to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s May 24, 2011 speech before a joint session of the US Congress reflected the unique relationship between the United States and Israel. The ties between the US and Israel resemble a triple-braided cord, which is not easily broken, consisting of shared values and mutually-beneficial economic and security interests.

The US affinity towards the Jewish State is exceptional in the international relations arena.  It is based upon a bottom-up structure, deriving its potency from the American people more than from American politicians. 

Most Americans identify the Jewish State with cardinal US domestic values – not just with foreign policy – that reflect the Judeo-Christian roots of American democracy, liberty, morality, justice and the federalist system.  Such sentiments have produced systemic and solid support for Jewish sovereignty in Zion, dating back to the 17th century Pilgrims and the 18th century American Founding Fathers.  These sentiments are currently echoed by the representatives of the American people in the legislatures of the 50 states and in the US House of Representatives and Senate in Washington, DC.  While American presidents play a critical role in shaping US-Israel relations, the American people and their representatives set the foundations, direction and tone, as well as the content of the bilateral relations, sometimes overruling or redirecting White House policies.

The 390 year old infrastructure of shared values between the US and the vision of a Jewish State – since the sermons of William Bradford on the “Mayflower” in 1620AD – has been buttressed in recent years by Israel’s significant contribution to US national security in the face of mutual threats and in the pursuit of joint interests. In addition, Israeli cutting-edge technologies have stimulated the US economy.  Moreover, Israel’s role as the only reliable and capable Middle Eastern ally of the US is highlighted by the recent seismic developments destabilizing every Arab country.

Thus, the unique popular affinity towards Israel has produced a robust relationship, benefitting both countries, while facilitating quick healing of occasional tensions and crises between American and Israeli leaders.


THE FOUNDATIONS OF SHARED VALUES


Prime Minister Netanyahu received the longest standing ovations, from House Representatives and Senators, when he referred to the return of the Jewish People to the Land of Israel, to the Jewish deed over Judea and Samaria and to the indivisibility of Jerusalem. 

The enthusiastic legislators of 2011 adhere to the legacy of the authors of the 1787 US Constitution.  The latter were inspired by the Jewish Bible, by the Exodus from Egypt and by the political structure of the 12 Jewish tribes, which were governed by Moses the Executive, Aaron, the tribal governors and the legislature of 70 elders.  The US Founding Fathers regarded themselves as “the modern-day People of the Covenant.”  Hence, the term “Federalism,” a derivative of the Latin word for “Covenant” – Foedus. 

Therefore, a marble replica of Moses – who is perceived by Americans as the chief law giver – is featured, prominently, at the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill, facing the seat of the Speaker of the House, the chief legislator.  Two sculptures of Moses welcome visitors at the entrance to the Supreme Court and above the bench of the US Supreme Court Justices.  Another sculpture of Moses is displayed in the rotunda of the Library of Congress.  The inscription on the Liberty Bell, a corner stone of the American ethos is from the book of Leviticus 25:10: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.” It inspired the anti-slavery movement, in general, and Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, in particular.

The Ten Commandments proliferate in US government buildings, under the assumption that they have deeply impacted American civil laws. A granite rock, shaped like the Two Tablets, welcomes visitors to the Texas State Capitol in Austin, and the official seal of Yale University features the Hebrew words, “Urim and Thummim,” which were the power of the High Priest during the Exodus.  Furthermore, the map of the US features thousands of sites bearing biblical names, such as Salem (JeruSalem), Zion, Beth El, Bethlehem, Dothan, Ephrata, Hebron, Jericho, Canaan, Pisgah, Carmel, Gilboa, Rehoboth, etc.

American leaders often quote from the Bible, since the US is the most religious Western society, believing in God and in Judeo-Christian values (90% and 80% respectively), with 42% of Christians frequenting Sunday church services.  For example, at the conclusion of the 2009 Senate debate on President Obama’s health reform, the very liberal Democratic Senator, Tom Harkin, congratulated the Majority Leader for “displaying the patience of Job, the endurance of Samson and the wisdom of Solomon.”  In January 2001, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell introduced President Bush at a nation-wide televised Senate luncheon: “We trust that you shall lead us in the best tradition of Joshua and Caleb.”  David’s lamentation featured prominently during the eulogies for Presidents Washington and Lincoln, and President Bush was compared to King David during the 2001 inaugural prayer services at the Washington National Cathedral.

MUTUAL-THREATS AND JOINT INTERESTS


Unlike European Parliamentarians, US legislators did not hold their breath, expecting Netanyahu to announce further concessions to the Palestinians. In fact, the vast majority of US legislators – just like their constituents – do not trust the Palestinians.  Netanyahu should not have focused on the Palestinian issue, and certainly should not have offered further concessions. He should have focused on the larger context of US-Israel relations, which benefits America on the federal, state and district levels. He should have proposed specific job-creating, export-increasing and security-enhancing bilateral programs, similar to the mutually-beneficial existing programs.  He should have offered the US expanded access to the ports of Haifa and Ashdod, and to dramatically enlarge and diversify the prepositioning of American military systems in Israel, for use by the US upon regional emergencies.

The larger context of the US-Israel relationship extends beyond the foundations of shared-values and transcends the Arab-Israeli conflict. It leverages Israel’s unique capabilities in order to advance both regional and global American interests. It is not a one-way-street relationship – with the US giving and Israel receiving; it is a mutually-beneficial two-way-street.

For example, Senator Daniel Inouye, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense, and former Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, contends that “Israel’s contribution to US military intelligence is greater than all NATO countries combined.”  General Keegan, former chief of US Air Force Intelligence, asserted that “the scope of intelligence gained by the US from Israel is equal to five CIAs.”

Currently, US special operations forces are trained in Israel, on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan, leveraging Israeli battle tactics and counter-terrorism experience in the face of improvised explosive devices (IEDs), car bombs, booby-traps, suicide bombers and anti-tank missiles.  According to Brig. General Michael Vane, Deputy Chief of Staff at the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Israeli experience played a role in defeating terrorists in Iraq’s “Sunni Triangle.”

In September 2007, Israel demolished a nuclear plant in Syria, dealing a blow to the anti-Western Syria-Iran-North Korea axis, while upgrading the posture of deterrence and the joint interests of the US and Israel.

In 1982, Israel devastated 23 most advanced Soviet surface-to-air missile batteries, employed by Syria and considered impregnable. Israel’s battle tactics and electronic warfare were shared with the US, thus tilting the global balance of power in favor of the US and delivering to the US defense industries sensitive and rare knowhow.

In 1981, Israel decimated Iraq’s nuclear reactor, in defiance of US and international pressure. This provided the US with the conventional option during the 1991 war against Iraq, sparing the US a traumatic nuclear confrontation.

In 1970, Syria, invaded Jordan, aiming to topple the Hashemite regime and activate a pro-Soviet domino scenario into the Gulf States.  US forces were over-stretched in Vietnam, but Israel mobilized its military, forcing Syria into a swift evacuation of Jordan, thus avoiding a dramatic setback to US national security and economy.  Israel’s capability of snatching roasting chestnuts out of the fire – without US involvement – vindicated enhanced US-Israel strategic cooperation, irrespective of severe US-Israel disagreements over the Arab-Israeli conflict. The US is determined to avoid cutting off its nose to spite its face.

Israel’s unique contribution to US national security was summed up by the late General Alexander Haig, who was the Supreme Commander of NATO and US Secretary of State: “Israel is the largest, most battle-tested and cost-effective US aircraft carrier, which does not require even one American soldier, cannot be sunk and is located in a critical region for American national security and economic interests.  If Israel did not exist – the US would have to deploy a few additional aircraft carriers to the Mediterranean, along with tens of thousands of military personnel, costing the US taxpayers $20BN annually and dragging the US into additional regional and international confrontations.”

Israel constitutes a bonanza for the US defense industries, advancing US national security, employment, research & development and exports. In addition, Israel is a battle-proven laboratory, which has upgraded and refurbished hundreds of US military systems and technologies. It shares with the US most of these improvements, enhancing the competitive edge of the US defense industries, thus saving many US lives and mega billions of dollars in terms of new jobs, research and development. For instance, the current generation of the F-16 includes over 600 modifications introduced by Israel.  Also, during the Cold War, Israel transferred to the US captured Soviet combat aircraft, radar and other military systems, which afforded the US a crucial advantage over the USSR, operationally and industrially.

If there had been an Israel-like nation in the Persian Gulf, there would not be a need to dispatch hundreds of thousands of US military personnel to the region!

THE IMPACT OF THE MIDDLE EAST UPHEAVAL

The upheaval in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Oman, Bahrain, Syria and other Arab countries highlight Israel’s unique qualities as an ally of the US.  The 2011 turmoil has removed “the Middle East screensaver,” exposing the real Arab Street: No “Arab Spring,” but the exacerbation of tribal-ethnic-religious-geographic-ideological rivalries, animosities, splits and power struggles; the intensification of domestic and intra-Arab fragmentation; the escalation of intolerance, violence and hate-culture; the absence of stability and the deepening of uncertainty, which exposes the tenuous nature of Arab regimes and their agreements and alliances; the ruthless submission of democracy-seeking elements and the perpetuation of atrocious tyrannies.

Egypt – a beneficiary of billions of dollars and state of the art US military systems – maintains close ties with North Korea, Russia and China, agitates the Horn of Africa and Sudan, consistently votes against the US in the UN, collaborates with Hamas’ smuggling of missiles and explosives into Gaza and institutionalizes hate-education. 

Iran had access to the most advanced US military systems when the Shah was at the helm.  However, the Shah was toppled, and Iran was transformed from a staunch US ally into the most anti-US regime in the world. 

Libya granted the US, in 1954, the use of Wheelus Air Base, which became the largest US Air Force base outside the USA. In 1969, Colonel Qaddafi overthrew King Idris and Wheelus serviced the Soviet Air Force. Libya became a terrorist state, responsible for the murder of 270 people during the 1988 PanAm-103 bombing, as well as for the 1986 LaBelle Discotheque bombing.

Iraq was pro-Western until the1958 anti-Western coup.  Saddam Hussein – who ruled Iraq since 1979 – gained the confidence of the US and benefitted from a shared-intelligence agreement, the transfer of sensitive dual-use American technologies and $5BN loan guarantees until his 1990 invasion of Kuwait.  The US evacuation of Iraq could trigger a volcanic-like eruption, which could consume Iraq itself, as well as neighboring countries.

Saudi Arabia depends on the US for its survival in the face of lethal regional threats.  The 1991 and 2003 US Gulf Wars were largely induced by the concern for a Saddam takeover of Saudi Arabia. However, Riyad bankrolls the operations of anti-US Islamic organizations in the US and anti-US Islamic terrorists worldwide. 

Israel’s strategic added-value is underlined by the gathering conventional and non-conventional Arab storms, by the increasing vulnerability of pro-US Arab regimes, by the intensified threats of Islamic terrorism and Iran’s nuclearization, by the deepening penetration of the Arab Middle East by Russia and China, by the recent erosion of the US posture of deterrence and by the expected US evacuation of Iraq and Afghanistan.  Israel’s reliability, capability, credibility, stability, democracy and unconditional alliance with the USA are anomalous in the Middle East.

US-Israel cooperation, in defiance of mutual threats, should not be undermined by US-Israel disagreements over the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue.  Recent Arab havoc has reaffirmed that the Palestinian issue has never been the root cause of Middle East turbulence or the crown jewel of Arab policy-making.  In fact, regional turbulence is unrelated to the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Palestinian issue, Israel’s policies or Israel’s existence.

THE US PUBLIC SUPPORTS ISRAEL

In February, 2011, Gallup poll ranked Israel (68%) among the seven most popular countries in the USA, which include Canada, Britain, Germany, Japan, India and France,

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Demography

2024 artificially inflated Palestinian demography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Iran

US-Israel vs. Iran: acumen

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
April 24, 2024

*Israel is grateful to the US and its Arab allies for their support in the face of Iran’s ballistic offensive against Israel.

*At the same time, Israel’s war against the Ayatollahs – who constitute a clear and present lethal threat to the pro-US Arab regimes, as well as a potent threat to the US’ homeland security – enhances the national security and homeland security of the US and its Arab allies.

*In fact, FBI Director, Chris Wray, highlighted the Iranian threat during his hearings at the House and Senate Committees on Homeland Security. Wray stated that the October 7, 2023 horrific Hamas terrorism is inspiring Iran-supported anti-US Islamic terrorists to attack US targets throughout the globe, including on the US homeland.

*The Middle East considers Israel as the US’ main beachhead and force-multiplier, and as a role-model of countering-terrorism in a region, which is critical to global trade and to the supply of oil and natural gas, as well as a global epicenter of anti-US terrorism and drug trafficking. Anti-US rogue entities assume that hitting Israel injures the US strategic posture in the Middle East and beyond.

*Since the early 1980s, Iran and Hezbollah have operated in Latin America – which they view as the soft underbelly of the US – along with the drug cartels of Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador and Brazil, Latin American terror organizations and all anti-US Latin American governments. Moreover, they’ve intensified their presence along the US-Mexico border and on US soil, in order to advance the vision of Iran’s Ayatollahs: bringing “The Great American Satan” to submission.

*The Ayatollahs are also determined to topple the pro-US Sunni Arab regimes in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco. 

*Recently, the Ayatollahs have intensified their attempts to topple Jordan’s pro-US Hashemite regime, which would complete the encircling of Saudi Arabia by Iran and its proxies (in Yemen, Iraq and Syria), and radically aggravate lethal threats to Israel. The Ayatollahs activate their terror-proxies in Jordan-bordering Iraq and Syria, as well as the terror potential among the 2 million Syrian refugees in northern Jordan.  In addition, the Ayatollahs have forged ties with the subversive infrastructure of the Jordan-based Moslem Brotherhood, and leverage the fragmentation among Jordan’s Bedouin tribes, and the history of confrontations between the Hashemite regime and its Palestinian majority. 

*The dramatic catapulting of Iran’s Ayatollahs to a dramatic regional and global prominence – since their February ascension to power – has been largely a derivative of the US State Department’s policy.  This policy has adhered to the diplomatic option, opposing the regime-change option, irrespective of the Ayatollahs’ systematic anti-US track record of regional and global terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and proliferation of advanced military technologies. It is based on an alternate reality, whereby a financial and diplomatic bonanza could induce the Ayatollahs to accept peaceful coexistence, become good faith negotiators and abandon their 1,400-year-old vision.

*While the US attempts to deter Iran’s Ayatollahs (“Don’t”), the State Department has waived and softened economic sanctions on Iran, which has rewarded Tehran with well over $100bn, which have been mostly channeled to the Ayatollahs’ anti-US policy.

*Simultaneously, the State Department is pressuring Israel to limit its independent military actions against Iran, to replace the military option toward Hamas with the diplomatic option, and to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state. The State Department aims to impose on Israel its own alternate reality, ignoring the volcanic, violently unpredictable Middle East reality; thus, eroding Israel’s posture of deterrence, which would yield a robust tailwind to terrorism and wars, posing a Iranian-Palestinian death sentence to the pro-US Hashemite regime in Jordan, transforming Jordan into a platform of Islamic terrorism, which would constitute a lethal threat to Saudi Arabia and all other pro-US Arab regimes.

*In the face of pressure Israel should prefer long-term national security over short-term convenience.

*For instance, during the several Israel-Hamas wars of the last 17 years, effective US pressure snatched Hamas from the jaws of defeat. It dramatically bolstered Hamas capabilities, facilitating the October 7, 2024 massacre of 1,200 Israeli civilians (equal to 40,000 American civilians). On the other hand, Israel’s repelling of the 1981 US brutal pressure, and bombing Iraq’s nuclear reactor, in defiance of US (realized) threats to withhold the supply of combat aircraft and suspend defense cooperation agreements, freed pro-US Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman from a lethal Iraqi nuclear threat, and spared the US in 1991 a potential nuclear confrontation with Iraq.

*Since 1948, Israel fended off a series of US pressures, which would have corroded Israel’s posture of deterrence, denying the US the largest American aircraft carrier, which does not require a single American on board.

For example:

*Spurning US pressure to refrain from the 1967 preemptive war, which decimated the Egyptian military, when the pro-Soviet Egypt was about to topple the pro-US, oil-producing Arab regimes of the Arabian Peninsula (at a time when the US was heavily dependent on Gulf oil).

*Fending off US pressure to rescind the 1981 application of the Israeli law to – and retreat from – the Golan Heights, which has bolstered Israel’s capabilities to constrain the military maneuverability of Iran and Syria and emerge as an effective line of defense of Jordan’s pro-US Hashemite regime and the Arab Gulf States.

*Rebuffing US pressure to end the 1949 ”occupation” of West Jerusalem, the Western Galilee and major parts of the coastal plain and the Negev, which would have transformed Israel into a strategic burden, fully dependent upon active US military personnel for protection.

*The track record of US pressure demonstrates that succumbing to pressure injures Israel’s national security, while defying pressure safeguards Israel’s national security and advances vital US interests.

*During the 1991 First Gulf War, the US pressured Israel to avoid reacting to Iraq’s Scud missiles. Prime Minister Shamir acceded, because it was, primarily, a US war against Saddam Hussein and for the liberation of Kuwait. In 2024, the US pressures Israel to avoid a significant military preemption against Iran’s Ayatollahs, despite the fact that – unlike 1991 – this is, primarily, Israel’s war against Iran’s Ayatollahs.

The bottom line

*Middle East reality, in particular, and military precedents, in general, behoove Israel to shun military reaction, containment and surgical offensive, and preempt enemies (irrespective of US pressure), which are driven by deeply-rooted fanatic ideologies, that focus on the existencenot the size – of the Jewish State.

*Moreover, the cost of today’s preemption would be dwarfed by the cost of reacting to a significantly-upgraded, and possibly nuclear, Iran.

*A precondition for cooling off the regional and global impact of the volcanic Middle East reality, and for reducing the threat of Islamic terrorism on the US soil, and for ending oppression of women and ethnic and religious minorities in Iran is changing – not negotiating with – the regime in Iran.

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Judea & Samaria

Secretary Blinken on settlements – vindicated by facts?

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

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

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

For instance:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jerusalem

United Jerusalem – a shared US-Israel legacy and interest

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

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

United Jerusalem and the US law

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Jerusalem and the legacy of the Founding Fathers

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

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

The Jerusalem reality and US interests

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

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

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

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

Jerusalem and Israel’s defiance of US pressure

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jewish Holidays

Passover Guide for the Perplexed 2024

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, “Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
April 18, 2024

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1. Passover (April 22-30, 2024) is a Jewish national liberation holiday, highlighting the Exodus, the Parting of the Sea, the Ten Commandments, the 40-year-wandering in the desert, and the reentry to the Land of Israel 3,600 years ago.

2. The Abolitionist and human rights movements were spurred by the Passover Exodus. For example,  in 1850, Harriet Tubman, who was one of the leaders of the “Underground Railroad” – an Exodus of Afro-American slaves to freedom – was known as “Mama Moses.” Moreover, on December 11, 1964, upon accepting the Nobel Prize, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said: “The Bible tells the thrilling story of how Moses stood in Pharaoh’s court centuries ago and cried, ‘Let my people go!’” Furthermore, Paul Robeson and Louis Armstrong leveraged the liberty theme of Passover through the lyrics: “When Israel was in Egypt’s land, let my people go! Oppressed so hard they could not stand, let my people go! Go down Moses, way down in Egypt’s land; tell old Pharaoh to let my people go….!” 

3. The US Founding Fathers were inspired by the Exodus, in particular, and the Mosaic legacy, in general, shaping the Federalist system, including the concepts of (anti-monarchy) limited government, separation of powers among three co-equal branches of government, featuring Congress, as the most powerful legislature in the world. Thomas Paine’s Common Sense – “the cement of the 1776 Revolution” – referred to King George III as “the hardened, sullen-tempered Pharaoh of England.” And, the Early Pilgrims considered their 10-week-sail in the Atlantic ocean as “the modern day Parting of the Sea,” and their destination as “the modern day Promised Land” and “the New Israel.”  

4. The US Founding Fathers deemed it appropriate to engrave the essence of the Biblical role model of liberty (the Passover-related Jubilee) on the Liberty Bell: “Proclaim liberty throughout all the land, unto all the inhabitants thereof (Leviticus, 25:10).”    The Jubilee is commemorated every 50 years, and the Liberty Bell was installed in 1751 upon the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s Charter of Privileges.  

  • Moreover, there are 50 States in the United States, whose Hebrew name is “The States of the Covenant” (Artzot Habreet -ארצות הברית ). Also, the Exodus is mentioned 50 times in the Five Books of Moses; Moses received (on Mount Sinai) the Torah – which includes 50 gates of wisdom – 50 days following the Exodus, as celebrated by the Shavou’ot/Pentecost Holiday, 50 days following Passover.
  • 5. According to Heinrich Heine, the 19th century German poet, “Since the Exodus, freedom has always spoken with a Hebrew accent.”  
  • 6. According to the late Prof. Yehudah Elitzur, one of Israel’s pioneers of Biblical research, the Exodus took place in the second half of the 15th century BCE, during the reign of Egypt’s Amenhotep II. Accordingly, the 40-year-national coalescing of the Jewish people – while wandering in the desert – took place when Egypt was ruled by Thutmose IV. Then, Joshua conquered Canaan when Egypt was ruled by Amenhotep III and Amenhotep IV, who were preoccupied with domestic affairs to the extent that they refrained from expansionist ventures. Moreover, as documented by letters which were discovered in Tel el Amarna, the capital city of ancient Egypt, the 14th century BCE Pharaoh, Amenhotep IV, was informed by the rulers of Jerusalem, Samaria and other parts of Canaan, about a military offensive launched by the “Habirus” (Hebrews and other Semitic tribes), which corresponded to the timing of Joshua’s offensive against the same rulers. Amenhotep IV was a determined reformer, who introduced monotheism, possibly influenced by the ground-breaking and game-changing legacy of Moses and the Exodus.  

7. Passover aims at coalescing the fabrics of the Jewish family and the Jewish people, commemorating and strengthening Jewish roots, and enhancing core values such as faith, humility, education, defiance of odds, can-do mentality, optimism, and patriotism, which are prerequisites to a free and vibrant society.

8. Passover highlights the unique resilience, which has surged the Jewish people to new heights (for the benefit of all of humanity) following a multitude of crises such as: the 722 BCE destruction and exile of the Kingdom of Israel by Assyria, the 586 BCE destruction of the First Temple by Babylon, the 70 AD destruction of the Second Temple by Rome, the 135 crushing of the Bar Kochba’ rebellion against Rome, the 484, 1736 and 1865 pogroms of the Jews in Persia, the 627 massacre of the Jewish tribe of Quraysh by Muhammed, the 873 pogroms by Byzantine, the 1096 First Crusade’s pogroms, the 1141 pogroms in Moslem-ruled Andalusia, the 1147 Second Crusade’s pogroms, the 1189  Third Crusade, the 1198 forced Islamization of Jews in Yemen, the 1248 pogroms in Baghdad, the 1290 expulsion of England’s Jews, the 1306 expulsion of France’s Jews, the 1492 expulsion of Spain’s Jews, the 1496 expulsion of Portugal’s Jews, the 1648 pogroms of Ukraine’s Jews, the 1881 pogroms of Russia’s and Ukraine’s Jews, the 1903 pogroms in Russia, the 1919 pogroms in Ukraine, the 1929 Arab terror in Hebron, the 1938 Kristallnacht pogroms in Germany and Austria, the January 20, 1942 Wannsee Nazi Conference which presented “the Final Solution of the Jewish Question.”     

9. Passover highlights the central role of women in Jewish history.  For instance, Yocheved, Moses’ mother, hid Moses and then breastfed him at the palace of Pharaoh, posing as a nursemaid.  Miriam, Moses’ older sister, was her brother’s keeper.  Batyah, the daughter of Pharaoh, saved and adopted Moses (Numbers 2:1-10).  Shifrah and Pou’ah, two Jewish midwives, risked their lives, sparing the lives of Jewish male babies, in violation of Pharaoh’s command (Numbers 1:15-19).  Tziporah, a daughter of Jethro and Moses’ wife, saved the life of Moses and set him back on the Jewish course (Numbers, 4:24-27). They followed in the footsteps of Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel, the Matriarchs (who engineered, in many respects, the roadmap of the Patriarchs), and inspired future leaders such as Deborah (the Prophetess, Judge and military commander), Hannah (Samuel’s mother), Yael (who killed Sisera, the Canaanite General) and Queen Esther, the heroine of Purim and one of the seven Biblical Jewish Prophetesses (Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Hannah, Abigail, Huldah and Esther).

  1. 10. Passover is the first of the three Jewish pilgrimages to Jerusalem, followed by Shavou’ot (Pentecost), which commemorates the receipt of the Ten Commandments, and Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles), which was named after Sukkota – the first stop in the Exodus.
  2. 11. Jerusalem is mentioned three times in the annual story of Passover (Haggadah), which is concluded by the vow: “Next Year in the reconstructed Jerusalem!”
  3. United Jerusalem has been the exclusive capital of the Jewish people since King David established it as his capital, 3,000 years ago.

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