Tag: Mahmoud Abbas


Abbas and Netanyahu UN Speeches Signal the 30-Year Peace Process Is Dead: Ben Cohen, JNS, Oct. 4, 2018— There was one corner of New York City last Thursday where the Senate Judicial Committee hearings into the accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh went largely unnoticed…

President Trump, Tell the Palestinians: No Negotiations Without Recognition of Jewish Self-Determination: Dr. Robert P. Barnidge, Jr., BESA, Oct. 14, 2018— The great promise of the letters exchanged between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat in September 1993 was that Israel and the Palestinians (and the Arab world more generally) seemed on the cusp of peace.

The Palestinian Battle Against a Plan that Does Not Exist: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 15, 2018 — No Palestinian — or anyone else for that matter — has been made privy to US President Donald J. Trump’s long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, which has also been referred to as the “deal of the century.”

Trump Is Reinventing the U.S. Approach to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: Robert Malley & Aaron David Miller, Atlantic, Sept. 20, 2018— Recent months have seen a series of dramatic steps by the Trump administration with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…

On Topic Links

‘Trump Peace Plan Will Focus on Israel’s Security Needs’: Arutz Sheva, Aug. 10, 2018

Palestinian Leadership Threatens To Boycott United Nations Peace Envoy: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, Oct. 15, 2018

No Hope for Mideast Peace if the Palestinians Won’t Renounce Terrorism: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Sept. 25, 2018

The Fallout: Yoni Ben Menachem, Jerusalem Online, Oct. 14, 2018



                                       30-YEAR PEACE PROCESS IS DEAD

                                                          Ben Cohen

JNS, Oct. 4, 2018

There was one corner of New York City last Thursday where the Senate Judicial Committee hearings into the accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh went largely unnoticed: the United Nations building perched on the East River, where the 73rd General Assembly has been in full swing this week.

But while the proceedings in Washington were electrifying, the spectacle at the United Nations had all the feel of an annual routine. Most of all, there were the usual lengthy speeches, laden with protocol and platitudes, and delivered by world leaders of varying rank whose visits to Manhattan for the diplomatic season are of dubious value to the taxpayers who underwrite them.

And then Mahmoud Abbas and Benjamin Netanyahu came along on Thursday morning. In different ways, both their speeches ventured into territory similar to that under the spotlight in Washington, with its underlying themes of unanswered aggression and injustice, punctuated by reputational smears and factual distortions. Moreover, and again in different ways, both speeches pointed even uninformed listeners to the conclusion that the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, at least as conceived over the last 30 years, is now dead.

Abbas, in particular, sounded like a throwback to the 1970s, when the Palestine Liberation Organization was committed to a unified ”secular democratic” state stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the River Jordan. Those were also the days when the PLO, with Soviet assistance, began pushing the libel that Israel is an “apartheid” state. In his UN speech, Abbas asserted exactly that point with relish, arguing that the recently passed law designating Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people was the final seal on the inherently discriminatory character of the Jewish state.

This was the launch pad for some even more hyperbolic observations. According to Abbas, the Palestinians are the only nation on earth denied the right to self-determination — apparently, the Kurds, the Sahrawis, and the Tibetans don’t exist. Towards the end of the speech, he even questioned whether the international community, which has lavished billions of dollars on the Palestinian Authority over the last two decades, regarded the Palestinians as human beings. Moreover, Abbas continued, the Palestinians are wise to the use of humanitarian aid as a political trick and will never accept anything less than a full state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital. Getting to that point will require a definitive break with the US-led peace process, he argued, since the United States is now unambiguously in Israel’s corner. It will also require more “sacrifices” from the steadfast Palestinian people; this from a man whose mandate to govern those same Palestinians ran out 10 years ago.

Ultimately, Abbas’ speech was a plea to retain the Palestinian question as the central challenge in the Middle East. While that argument was once taken for granted, especially by the Europeans, the wars in Iraq and Syria, the rise of Sunni Islamism, and the looming Iranian threat all suggest a very different reality. So, at the same time as facing what he insists is Israeli and American duplicity, Abbas has to contend with a loss of status. And all this while Hamas in Gaza refuses to accept the PA’s rule — perhaps the most revealing of all of Abbas’ complaints, but one that was easily lost amid his verbal assaults on Israel and America.

When Netanyahu came to the podium about an hour later, his speech was the perfect illustration of why Abbas sounds so desperate. I didn’t time it exactly, but we were probably 30 minutes into the speech before he even said the word “Palestinian.” The Middle East, as presented by the Israeli prime minister, has evolved dramatically as a result of the empowerment of Iran enabled by the 2015 nuclear deal — so much so that the old divide between Israel and the Arab states over the Palestinians has been overtaken by an unprecedented spirit of unity in the face of Iran’s military interventions across the region. Preventing Iran from weaponizing its nuclear program is a goal shared by states across the Middle East, and as Netanyahu sees it, it is one whose urgency far surpasses the unresolved Palestinian question.

To expect Abbas, one of the few surviving members of the PLO’s founding generation, to adjust to this reality is a fantasy. Although the Palestinian leader has continually confounded predictions of his imminent demise, it will probably have occurred to Abbas that Thursday may well be the last time he addresses the UN. In which case, he will have deliberately left a legacy of conflict, rather than the transformative strategic thinking the Palestinians desperately require if they are to achieve the two-state solution that President Trump says he “likes.”

In the final analysis, Abbas’ speech to the UN confirmed that the Palestinian Authority and the PLO are returning to their old game of undermining Israel’s legitimacy at every turn. Netanyahu’s speech demonstrated that while Israel is aware of the Palestinian retreat into maximalism, there are bigger problems that his country is facing. Ironically, it is the prospect of renewed warfare between Fatah and Hamas, strongly hinted at by Abbas, that is more likely than anything else to drag Israel’s attention away from Tehran.                                                  Contents



                                                Dr. Robert P. Barnidge, Jr.                                                                                                                  BESA, Oct. 14, 2018

The great promise of the letters exchanged between Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Chairman Yasser Arafat in September 1993 was that Israel and the Palestinians (and the Arab world more generally) seemed on the cusp of peace. After all, Israel recognized the PLO as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. And the PLO, for its part, formally renounced violence, agreed to negotiate with Israel and accept relevant UN Security Council resolutions, and recognized the “right of the state of Israel to exist in peace and security.”

Yet, while the “peace process” has frozen the conflict, a final agreement seems unlikely for the foreseeable future. A return to first principles is needed. Rather than endlessly focus on renewing negotiations, an alternative paradigm should be applied. The onus must shift to the Palestinians to demonstrate their acceptance of Jewish self-determination. The Middle East Forum’s Israel Victory Project, which has received bipartisan support in the US Congress and both coalition and opposition support in the Israeli Knesset, is spearheading such an initiative. Its fresh perspective should be supported.

While President Donald Trump was right to reiterate the American commitment to a “future of peace and stability in the region, including peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” when he addressed the UN General Assembly on September 25, this is not enough. He should demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state and insist that the US will not press Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians unless and until that happens.

A Jewish state for the Jewish people, after all, was exactly what the General Assembly intended in November 1947 when it called for the partition of the Palestine Mandate into “the Arab State, the Jewish State, and the City of Jerusalem.” Although the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state does not stand or fall on this resolution – in declaring the independence of Israel on the eve of the Sabbath on May 14, 1948, the Jewish People’s Council also stressed the Jewish people’s natural and historic rights – it reaffirms the legitimacy of Jewish national rights in (what was to become) the state of Israel.

The Palestinians have steadfastly refused to recognize Jewish self-determination. To be clear, in recognizing Israel’s right to exist in peace and security in September 1993, the PLO was not, as might have been thought, accepting Jewish national rights. It was playing a double game. Chairman Arafat made this clear in a leaked speech delivered in a Johannesburg mosque in May 1994 when we called upon the umma, the Islamic nation, to “fight, to begin the jihad to liberate Jerusalem.”

It is not simply that the PLO supported the General Assembly’s determination in 1975, rescinded in 1991, that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” It is that that the PLO leadership continues to speak of Jews as a religious community rather than a People, and of Zionism as a colonial usurper rather than the national-liberation movement that it is.  And this is to say nothing of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, which controls the Gaza Strip.

More troubling still is that the “State of Palestine” is party to the Arab Charter on Human Rights (2004), which describes Zionism as a “violation of human rights,” a “threat to international peace and security,” and a “fundamental obstacle to the realization of the basic rights of peoples.” This treaty goes on to require its adherents to “condemn and endeavor to eliminate” Zionism. (Sadly, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights [1981] also calls for the elimination of Zionism.)

A plausible reading of the Arab human rights treaty would commit the Palestinians to the destruction of Israel. What else can be meant by calling for the condemnation and elimination of Zionism? This is unacceptable, and irreconcilable with the idea of good faith peacemaking with the Jewish state. Any peace reached between Israel and the Palestinians, as remote as it may seem, would surely be a hollow “peace in our time” without the recognition of Israel’s right to exist in peace and security as a Jewish state. The US should not expect Israel to negotiate with the Palestinians absent this recognition.

Almost more than anything else, President Trump values loyalty. He knows that Israel, often beleaguered and abused in the international arena, is one of the US’s strongest allies because Washington and Jerusalem share both strategic interests and liberal democratic values. To his credit, Trump has spoken some hard truths in defense of these shared interests and values. He has wisely withdrawn the US from the UN Human Rights Council, a bastion of anti-Israel vitriol that rivals the now defunct UN Human Rights Commission. He moved the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, cut funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, and ordered the PLO’s Washington office closed. These and other measures further the Israel Victory Project’s mission to bolster Israel on its path to victory over Palestinian rejectionism. They are a step in the right direction.

Israel without Zionism is not Israel. Israel without Zionism loses its purpose and raison d’être. Israel, with a new Basic Law describing it as the “nation state of the Jewish People, in which it realizes its natural, cultural, religious, and historical right to self-determination,” is inconceivable without Zionism. That PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas recently denounced this new law in the General Assembly as a “gross breach and real danger, both politically and legally, and reminds us of the apartheid state that existed in South Africa” and, on behalf of the “State of Palestine,” filed a lawsuit against the US in the International Court of Justice over the embassy move shows that he just does not get it. President Trump should make all of this clear to the Palestinians, Israel, and the world.



          THE PALESTINIAN BATTLE AGAINST A PLAN THAT DOES NOT EXIST                                       Khaled Abu Toameh

                                                Gatestone Institute, Oct. 15, 2018

No Palestinian — or anyone else for that matter — has been made privy to US President Donald J. Trump’s long-awaited plan for peace in the Middle East, which has also been referred to as the “deal of the century.” This minor detail however, has not prevented the Palestinians from rejecting the rumored plan, on the pretext that it is aimed at “liquidating” the Palestinian cause and national rights.

Hardly a day passes without Palestinian leaders and officials across the political spectrum behaving as if they know every detail of the “deal of the century.” The Palestinians are not even prepared to wait until the US administration actually presents a plan. The Palestinian rejection of a yet-to-be-announced peace plan should not surprise anyone. The Palestinians will never accept any plan from a US administration they consider extremely “hostile” to the Palestinians and “biased” in favor of Israel.

Even before Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017, the Palestinians had made up their minds: As Trump administration is on the side of Israel, and its policies seem mainly designed to appease and strengthen Israel, the Palestinians apparently decided that they should boycott the US administration. This boycott is unlikely to end in the foreseeable future, especially in light of continued Palestinian denunciations of the US administration and its policies towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians, it appears, have become hostage to their own vitriolic rhetoric. It is hard to see how after nearly a year of attacks on the Trump administration, any Palestinian leader would be able to accept the proposed “deal of the century,” no matter what is in it, or to have any dealings with US officials. The massive anti-US campaign that the Palestinian leaders have been waging for the past few months in the media and every available platform has made it impossible, if not dangerous, for any Palestinian leader to do business with the Trump administration.

While Palestinian hatred for Trump and his administration does not come as a surprise, what is strange is that the two Palestinians factions — Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip — are now using the President Trump’s awaited plan to throw mud at one another. The two rival Palestinian parties have been at each other’s throats for many years and are still engaged in a power struggle. Hamas and Fatah hate each other so much that they are even prepared to accuse each other of “collaborating with the enemies,” America and Israel.

President Trump is most likely unaware that he has secret Palestinian “agents” working for him in Fatah and Hamas. This is only true, of course, if one is to take seriously the mutual accusations made by Fatah and Hamas. Welcome to the Palestinians’ Theater of the Absurd, where fabrication, lies and conspiracy theories have long been part of the fabric of Palestinian culture and society. It is a sign of the times that Fatah, ruled by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, would accuse Hamas of being in collusion with an Israeli-American plot “to destroy the Palestinian national project.” In other words, Fatah is telling the world that Hamas — an Islamist movement that has killed and injured thousands of Jews and many others since its establishment three decades ago — is now working with the enemies of the Palestinians against the interests of its own people.

Consider, for example, the reaction of the Fatah and its leaders to the recent effort to solve the power shortage in the Hamas-ruled coastal enclave of Gaza. Qatar paid for the fuel needed to keep the power plant there running, while Israel facilitated the delivery of the fuel with the help of the United Nations. Outraged by the aid to the Gaza Strip, Abbas’s Fatah claimed that Hamas was “practically implementing the deal of the century.” Fatah seems convinced that Trump’s plan aims at separating the West Bank from the Gaza Strip and establishing an independent Palestinian state only in the Gaza Strip. Fatah and its leader, Abbas, claim that Hamas’s readiness to conduct indirect negotiations with Israel — about a truce and humanitarian and economic aid to the Gaza Strip — facilitates the US administration’s goal of “consolidating” the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

According to a statement issued by Fatah in Ramallah, the (unseen) “deal of the century” requires Palestinians to “give up Jerusalem and the right of return and the right for compensation for Palestinian refugees.” Trump’s plan, according to Fatah’s imagination, also envisages separating the West Bank from the Gaza Strip “to prevent the establishment of an independent and sovereign state, on the pre-1967 armistice lines, with Jerusalem as its capital.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]     Contents



Robert Malley & Aaron David Miller

Atlantic, Sept. 20, 2018

Recent months have seen a series of dramatic steps by the Trump administration with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, defunding the agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, cutting West Bank aid, shutting down the PLO mission in Washington, and persistently promising to present its own peace plan. The flurry of activity comes even as the prospects of an actual deal seem increasingly remote. The Palestinian leadership has made clear it won’t so much as glance at any U.S. proposal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suggested there would be no harm in taking more time before unveiling it, and Arab leaders whose support, or at least acquiescence, the administration deems crucial to the enterprise have voiced their own qualms and politely distanced themselves from the initiative. By now, it would be hard to find anyone serious who takes seriously the notion that the Trump administration will achieve the “ultimate deal.” Which raises the more interesting question: What, exactly, is the Trump team up to?

It being the Trump administration, the answer is not entirely straightforward. But this much is clear: Notwithstanding its repeated vows to the contrary, the primary goal of an administration that has given up on the current Palestinian leadership isn’t to encourage or pressure President Abbas to come to the table. By now, even the Trump team must know that won’t happen. Rather, the objective is to fundamentally reframe the U.S.’s understanding of, and policy toward, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, shifting the focus toward Palestinians’ material, economic concerns while downplaying their political and national ones.

There are other potential explanations for the administration’s decisions, including domestic politics, the president’s determination to live up to those of his campaign pledges that appeal to his natural base, and his team’s desire to align U.S. policies more closely with those of Netanyahu. But give the team at least this much credit: In its relentless, dogged assault against the foundations of traditional U.S. and international policy, it has shown remarkable single-mindedness and sense of purpose. Its first target has been the two-state solution itself. The essence of the approach pursued by the three prior administrations (not to mention several Israeli governments) has been to promote such an outcome, based on the 1967 borders, with territorial modifications meant to address Israeli concerns. This, the current administration has stubbornly refused to endorse. Even if it eventually does so, its reluctance will have delivered a plain message: Palestinians are not necessarily entitled to a state of their own, and Palestinian statehood ought not to be viewed as the natural or inevitable outcome of this process.

The same goes for the Trump administration’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. It has moved its embassy there. It is acknowledging Israel’s long, deep historical and religious attachment to the city. It has done nothing of the sort for the Palestinians. True, it has said that Jerusalem’s ultimate borders and questions of sovereignty are subject to negotiation. Again, however, the meaning is inescapable: In the hierarchy of claims to the holy city, one side’s is indisputable and sacred. The other’s is negotiable and worldly. Finally, there is its policy with respect to Palestinian refugees. Not content with defunding UNRWA, the organization that deals with Palestinian refugees, it has gone further, casting doubt on the salience of the refugee issue itself and claiming the number of refugees recognized by UNRWA is highly inflated. Last week, Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, went so far as to suggest that the right of return—the Palestinian aspiration that refugees and their descendants be allowed to return to their homes within the pre-1967 borders of Israel—was now off the table…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]


On Topic Links

‘Trump Peace Plan Will Focus on Israel’s Security Needs’: Arutz Sheva, Aug. 10, 2018—One of the US officials tasked with drafting a blueprint for Israel-Palestinian peace says it will strongly reflect Washington’s commitment to Israel’s security but will also address Palestinian Authority concerns.

Palestinian Leadership Threatens To Boycott United Nations Peace Envoy: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, Oct. 15, 2018—The Palestinian leadership in the West Bank has threatened to impose a boycott on United Nations peace envoy Nickolay Mladenov, over his attempts to forge a long-term cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip that could bypass Mahmoud Abbas’ government.

No Hope for Mideast Peace if the Palestinians Won’t Renounce Terrorism: Vivian Bercovici, National Post, Sept. 25, 2018—On Sunday Sept. 16, a 17-year-old Palestinian, Khalil Jabarin, from a village near Hebron, plunged a knife into the back of 45-year-old Ari Fuld at the entrance to the Kefar Etzion mall in the West Bank.

The Fallout: Yoni Ben Menachem, Jerusalem Online, Oct. 14, 2018—In the past month, tension has increased between the Palestinian Authority and Egypt following attempts by Egypt to mediate between Hamas and Israel and reach an agreement for long-term calm. Egypt has made the issue of achieving a calm a higher priority than internal Palestinian reconciliation and the possibility of restoring full control of the Gaza Strip to the Palestinian Authority.


The Speech in Which Abbas Dug His Own Grave: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, Jan. 15, 2018 — Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of  the Palestine Liberation Organization, has delivered a speech triggered by his rage at the  President of the United States  Donald Trump…

Having Missed the Boat, Palestinian Authority Is Sinking: Charles Bybelezer, The Media Line, Jan. 15, 2018— Given the turbulent political climate, one wonders whether Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has any regrets and, if so, if he would gladly roll back time a decade.

The Anti-Israel BDS Movement Seeks the Destruction of Israel, Not a Two-State Peace with Palestinians: Patrick Dunleavy, Fox News, Jan. 18, 2018— The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement pretends to be working toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but in reality many of its supporters want to destroy Israel as a Jewish state.

Middle East Studies Association (as Usual) Singles Out Israel for Attack, Excuses Palestinian Perfidy: Mitchell Bard, Algemeiner, Jan. 3, 2018 — The Middle East Studies Association gave up all pretense of being a scholarly organization when it was taken over by the followers of Edward Said in the 1980s…


On Topic Links


99 Percent of “Palestine Refugees” Are Fake: Daniel Pipes, Jewish Press, Jan. 17, 2018

How a U.S. Quaker Group That Won the Nobel Peace Prize Ended Up on Israel's BDS Blacklist: Allison Kaplan Sommer, Ha’aretz, Jan. 8, 2018

Professor Claims Antisemitism and ‘Islamophobia’ Are Equal Threats: Cinnamon Stillwell, Algemeiner, Jan. 11, 2018

Academic Freedom Goes on Trial: George F. Will, Washington Post, Dec. 29, 2017





Dr. Mordechai Kedar

Arutz Sheva, Jan. 15, 2018


Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of  the Palestine Liberation Organization, has delivered a speech triggered by his rage at the President of the United States Donald Trump, going so far as to hurl the most bitter curse in the Arabic language at the POTUS:  "May your house be destroyed." This imprecation does not merely relate to someone's present home, but to all the members of his family being thrown into the street to lead lives of destitution, humiliation and shame. Only someone familiar with Middle Eastern culture understands the real significance of this curse.


The question that naturally rises is what happened that brought Abbas to the point where he is willing to burn his bridges with the US President and deliver a speech whose import is the severing of relations with the country which serves as chief funder of UNRWA, also pushing the US president towards a negative stand on the "Palestinian Issue."


"Jerusalem, Capital of Palestine," is an idea created after the Six Day War and further developed after the Oslo Accords were signed in September 1993. Arafat turned it into a mantra, while official Israel – Shimon Peres, Yossi Beilin, Alon Liel and their cohorts – did nothing to stop him. They told us that the expression is meant for a Palestinian Arab audience, i.e. for "internal use" only. "Millions of shahids are on the march to Jerusalem!!" Arafat shouted day and night, but they told us to ignore it, that these were empty words, merely a pipe dream.


The world, led by Europe, went along with this Palestinian house of cards, financing it with billions of dollars over the years in the hopes of turning it into a real concrete structure, simply ignoring reality. Europe supported the establishment of a "Palestinian peace-loving state alongside Israel" while forgetting the fact that  the PLO ideology calls for destroying the  Jewish State and that its logo includes the map of that "Palestine" reaching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.


The world perpetuated the "Palestinian refugee problem" despite the fact that not one refugee remains of all the others who existed in the 1940s. Even Germany, which absorbed and rehabilitated the Sudetenland residents expelled from Czechoslovakia, did not demand that the Arab world do the same and absorb the "Palestinian refugees," whose problem was created as a result of the Arab armies' invasion of Israel one day after the Jewish State declared its independence. Europe saw Germany as the party responsible for the Sudeten refugee problem and its solution, but did not do the same for the Arab states and the Palestinian refugees. That double standard is what perpetuated the Palestinian Arab refugee problem, turning it into a central bargaining chip in negotiations between Israel and its neighbors, reaching the point where Ehud Barak agreed (in the Taba talks of 2001) to a "symbolic return" of tens of thousands of those refugees – and he was not the only one to agree to this idea.


The world did not recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and allowed Jerusalem to turn into another major bargaining chip in the "Peace talks" whose only purpose – at least according to the Arab side – was to weaken and shrink the State of Israel and bring it to a state of collapse that would make the Jews lose hope and leave the region for the countries they had lived in before they came to rebuild their ancient homeland.


Enter Donald Trump, a businessman who deals with construction – not houses built of cards, but the kind meant to last for generations.  He understood that the Palestinian structure is made of cards, left standing only because of the world's going along with European leadership, American liberal circles, the Arab states and a few Israelis suffering from burn-out. Trump understood that the Palestinian ideological structure is full of holes and decided to pull two foundational cards out of the ephemeral structure: the Jerusalem card and the refugee card.


From the minute Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital the Palestinians – both Hamas and the PLO – began engaging in frenzied activities, disturbances on the ground and political maneuvering in international corridors. They understood that Jerusalem as Israel's capital is an insurance policy of sorts for the Jewish state.  To the Jews, Jerusalem is real, backed up by history and the Jewish religion, while it is nothing but "fake news" for the Arab and Muslim world. Jerusalem, however, is still not the capital of a non-established "Palestine" and remains a theoretical bone of contention, so that it could be  pulled out of the Palestinian house  of cards without Abbas burning his bridges with the United States.


And then Trump pulled the refugee card from the house of cards by announcing that he would cease to fund, support and perpetuate it. That act is a thousand times worse than recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, because the refugee issue has been capitalized on for seventy years, with billions of dollars poured into it, all going to waste. UNRWA operates a massive system of wage-earners, schools and aid services running on American money, whose cessation is sure to limit the organizations' ability to breathe life into the "refugee problem". Without adequate funding, the "refugees" are liable to spread out and be absorbed in the areas to which they move on, within the Arab world and outside it. The "refugee problem" and its threat to Israel might even disappear…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    




Charles Bybelezer

The Media Line, Jan. 15, 2018


Given the turbulent political climate, one wonders whether Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has any regrets and, if so, if he would gladly roll back time a decade. In 2008, the PA boss was firmly entrenched in Ramallah despite a year earlier having been unceremoniously—that is, violently—ejected by Hamas from Gaza in an internecine war. Nevertheless, the world was seemingly at Abbas’ doorstep, his Muqata compound the address where kings, heads of state and a never-ending parade of diplomats flocked to with a view to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, considered at the time by many as the central malaise plaguing the Middle East.


It was within this context that then-Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert offered Abbas a fully comprehensive peace deal that would have created a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with only minor land swaps, and with east Jerusalem as its capital. A limited—read: symbolic—number of Palestinian refugees would have been allowed to “return” to Israel. But when Olmert, after a score of meetings, urged Abbas to sign on the dotted line, the PA leader said he needed to consult with other officials but never got back to the Israeli premier.


Sometime later, Abbas was the first of his colleagues to receive a phone call from newly-inaugurated U.S. President Barack Obama, who vowed to put “daylight” between Washington and Jerusalem. This manifested in pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to implement an unprecedented ten-month construction freeze in Jewish communities located in the West Bank. But Abbas still refused to negotiate for the first nine months of the building suspension and, when he finally did, demanded that the policy be renewed indefinitely. It was an untenable political situation for Netanyahu precluding the possibility of talks getting off the ground. This pattern repeated itself during Obama’s second term, when a new initiative, spearheaded by then-secretary of state John Kerry, forced Netanyahu to release, in four tranches, more than 100 terrorists from Israeli jails. But once again Abbas found a pretext to walk away from the peace process.


By then, the Middle East had descended into total chaos in the wake of the so-called Arab Spring, while Shiite Iran was flexing its muscles throughout the region. The outbreak of wars in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and beyond had little to do with Israel or solving Palestinian “problem,” effectively marginalizing the conflict. This confluence of events, in turn, stimulated a rapprochement between Sunni Muslim nations and the Jewish state, which share a desire both to curb Tehran’s expansionism and potential nuclearization and counter the threat posed by terrorist groups such as the Islamic State. As the geopolitical situation slowly changed, countries that previously supported the Palestinians unconditionally no longer viewed matters in shades of black and white, but, rather, increasingly in blue and white; this, prompted by a growing acknowledgment that Israel, as opposed to the PA, has much to offer to regimes that likewise view the Islamic Republic as an existential threat.


Enter U.S. President Donald Trump, who is perhaps the least ideological—and unpredictable—American leader in history. While his White House has invested political capital into jump-starting the peace process, President Trump is not to be beholden to any preconceived notions nor does he appear willing to pander to Palestinian sensibilities. This was made stark by his recognition in December of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, to which the Palestinians reacted with unhinged fury. Instead of accepting the new playing field and adapting, the PA adopted a scorched-earth policy, effectively boycotting Washington and threatening to withdraw recognition of Israel, thereby abrogating the Oslo Accords. This, notwithstanding the apparent tacit acceptance by Arab states of President Trump’s Jerusalem declaration, and while the U.S. Congress moves to cut-off aid to the PA over its “pay-for-slay” policy of disbursing salaries to Palestinian prisoners.


Domestically, the situation is not much better, with a recent survey showing that some seventy percent of Palestinians want Abbas to resign. Under his rule, the PA has lost legitimacy within the eyes of its people, who near-uniformly view the leadership as a corrupt kleptocracy unable to advance their interests. Specifically, the West Bank economy is completely underdeveloped and the territory lacks almost all of the basic infrastructure of a functioning state despite the tens of billions of dollars in foreign aid that have flooded into the PA’s coffers. Moreover, the Palestinians remain divided between the West Bank and Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, with the latest attempts to forge national unity, like those before them, having thus far amounted to nothing.


According to Maj. Gen. (ret.) Amos Gilead, formerly the director of policy and political-military affairs at the Israeli Ministry of Defense, the PA leader does not believe that his positions are being adequately considered, leading to increased inflexibility as his days become numbered. “This may be the last call, as Abbas is very old and has said he may not be here next year. So it looks like there is no hope for the peace process. “Abbas may not take any concrete steps moving forward,” Gilead expounded, “but he does not have to. He is telling us what his legacy will be. As such, Israel should reconsider its positions and try to find way to forge a peace agreement with him or it may need to abandon the process entirely. Nobody knows who or what will come after Abbas and whether they will have the legitimacy to deal with Israel. It is bad news that it appears as though he will be leaving no options for peace.” Abbas has found himself stuck between a rock and a hard place, and while European nations, along with Russia and China, may agree to step in and fill part of the vacuum left by the U.S., without the firm backing of Sunni countries, who are closely aligned with Washington, there appears little chance for the PA to secure a soft landing.


“Abbas appears to be desperate,” Dr. Anat Kurz, Director of Research at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies and a former member of track-II Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, told The Media Line. “He is shooting in all directions and acting as if there is nothing to lose with the American administration or in terms of resuming talks with Israel. The Palestinians feel as though they have lost the ability to influence the course of developments,” she elaborated, “not only because it appears the international community is exhausted after years of failed efforts to forge a settlement, but also because of what has happened in the region, mainly the ongoing tensions between the Sunni Gulf monarchies and Shiite Iran. “There are also the wars going on throughout the Middle East,” Kurz concluded, “which has lessened the importance of the Palestinian issue. Given all of these elements, Abbas does not know who to turn to or how to proceed.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    






Patrick Dunleavy

Fox News, Jan. 18, 2018


The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) Movement pretends to be working toward peace between Israel and the Palestinians, but in reality many of its supporters want to destroy Israel as a Jewish state. For this reason, BDS has attracted support from terrorists, convicted killers and anti-Semites in the U.S. and abroad. In fact, at many of BDS demonstrations – like ones filmed by the Investigative Project on Terrorism – demonstrators make no secret of their aims. “And the people of Palestine will wipe the Zionist entity (Israel) off all the world maps” one demonstration leader shouts on the IPT-recorded video.


On the same video demonstrators chant: “We don’t want no two-state, we want 48,” referring to 1948, before Israel was created from the British colony of Palestine. And for good measure, they chant: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” meaning a new Palestinian state will go from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea and swallow up all of Israel. And yet other chants: “Death to the peace accords,” “smash the settler Zionist state,” and “there is only one solution, intifada revolution.”


Law enforcement officials in the U.S. should keep a close eye on demonstrators like these, knowing that inflammatory anti-Semitic and anti-Israel rhetoric often leads to violence. The New York City Police Department and other law enforcement agencies have investigated a number of plots directed specifically at Jewish citizens and institutions. BDS seeks to isolate Israel from world, ostensibly to protest Israel’s presence in the West Bank and to call for creation of a Palestinian state. BDS seeks: a worldwide boycott against Israeli products, universities and cultural institutions; divestment from companies that provide equipment to the Israeli military; and international economic sanctions against Israel.


The willingness of young leaders of many BDS-supporting groups, such as the Blacks for Palestine, to look to violent terrorists for support exposes BDS’s claim of a commitment to nonviolence as a fraud. Several U.S. domestic terrorists who are now serving life prison sentences for killing law enforcement officers have announced their support for BDS with the goal of destroying Israel. Inmates such as Herman Bell, Anthony Bottom, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and Clark Edward Squire – who were members of the Black Liberation Army – as well as the Weather Underground’s David Gilbert, have posted statements calling for the end of “US/Zionist Imperialism in Palestine.” They also have encouraged the use of any means necessary – including violence – to achieve the goal of “driving the Zionist oppressors out of your land.”


Gilbert, incarcerated for killing two police officers and a Brinks security guard in 1981, has received visits from several advocates for the Palestinian Solidarity Movement, now known as the International Solidarity Movement. While the movement states that it is nonviolent, it goes on to say: “our nonviolent approach does not mean that we have the right to dictate to Palestinians how to resist military occupation and apartheid.” In other words, we don’t condone violence. But if you use it we’re OK with it. Another of Gilbert’s prison visitors is a leader in the Syracuse Peace Council, which has advocated for the BDS movement’s campaign to isolate Israel economically and politically…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    






Mitchell Bard

Algemeiner, Jan. 3, 2018


The Middle East Studies Association gave up all pretense of being a scholarly organization when it was taken over by the followers of Edward Said in the 1980s, and began propagating Orwellian interpretations of Middle East history and politics to advance a political agenda that promotes or rationalizes Islamism, parrots Palestinian propaganda, and engages in unbridled attacks on Israel’s legitimacy and the West. Nowhere was this more evident than last month’s annual conference of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) in Washington, DC, at the overflow panel, “Thinking Palestine Intersectionally,” featuring Sherene Seikaly, Noura Erekat, Samera Esmeir, Judith Butler and Angela Davis.


I don’t recall hearing the word “scholar” in the introductions and discussion, but the word “activist” was repeatedly used to describe the participants and their work. The panel was organized by Seikaly, a historian from UC Santa Barbara, who is a co-founder and co-editor of Jadaliyya, “an independent ezine produced by the Arab Studies Institute.” If you visit the site, you will be invited to sign up for a newsletter and will be requested to choose your country. It appears that every country in the world is listed except one — Israel. One country that does not exist — Palestine — is listed.


Noura Erekat, a co-editor of Jadaliyya, is a law professor who admits that she is an activist. A gifted speaker, Erekat rattled off the standard leftist clichés about Israeli occupation, militarism, racism and settler colonialism. She displayed her ignorance of basic history by claiming armed groups took control of the PLO in 1968.Erekat denounced Israeli actions in Gaza, omitting any reference to the Hamas rocket bombardment that precipitated the IDF operations, lauded convicted liar and terrorist Rasmea Odeh as a freedom fighter who empowered Arab women, and defended the virulent Israel-hater Linda Sarsour. Perhaps the best example of her extremism was repeating the big lie that Israel murdered Yasser Arafat.


Before getting to the predictable bashing of the Trump administration, Erekat labeled US support for Israel “emblematic of everything that is wrong with the United States.” She praised the Black Lives Matter movement for doubling down on support for Palestinians because of their shared opposition to “structural racialized violence.” The audience laughed when she ridiculed a feminist whose New York Times op-ed expressed concern that “my support for Israel will bar me from the feminist movement” because, inter alia, the International Women’s Strike platform called for the “decolonization of Palestine” as part of “the beating heart of this new feminist movement.” Erekat bragged that the Palestinian cause is rising, while support for Israel declines. As evidence, she cited a Pew survey revealing Democrats as less sympathetic to Israel and more supportive of Palestinians than Republicans. But one poll is hardly a trend and, as I’ve written elsewhere, Democratic support for Israel is actually at the same level that it was in the 1970s.


Panelist Judith Butler, whose field is comparative literature rather than Middle East studies, might be more aptly called a specialist in contortion studies, given her effort to redefine antisemitism to exclude BDS. Butler claimed that critics of Israel are not antisemitic, but Zionists could be antisemitic if they support Israel. Angered that people she finds abhorrent, such as Steve Bannon, would be lauded as pro-Israel, she was nostalgic for the day when the UN voted to equate Zionism with racism, and was unhappy with its 1991 repudiation.  As part of her jujitsu interpretation of BDS, Butler maintained that BDS advocates, as supporters of social justice, must oppose antisemitism, as if there is no contradiction in supporting a campaign denying Jews the right to self-determination in their homeland while condemning antisemitism. Her explanation? One should oppose racism and colonialism, but the boycott targets only Israeli “institutions,” not Jews or Israelis. Setting aside her ignorance of “colonialism,” and Zionism’s historic opposition to it, who does she imagine that BDS will harm other than the Jews and Israelis who staff these “institutions”?…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!




On Topic Links


99 Percent of “Palestine Refugees” Are Fake: Daniel Pipes, Jewish Press, Jan. 17, 2018—In the words of a veteran Washington hand, the problem of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main UN agency dealing with Palestinians, is always important but never urgent.

How a U.S. Quaker Group That Won the Nobel Peace Prize Ended Up on Israel's BDS Blacklist: Allison Kaplan Sommer, Ha’aretz, Jan. 8, 2018—A Quaker organization that received the 1947 Nobel Peace Prize for its work assisting and rescuing victims of the Nazis is among the blacklisted groups whose senior activists have been barred from entering Israel. Peace activists in Israel who have worked with the group expressed surprise at the decision.

Professor Claims Antisemitism and ‘Islamophobia’ Are Equal Threats: Cinnamon Stillwell, Algemeiner, Jan. 11, 2018—Are “Islamophobia” and antisemitism comparable? Reza Zia-Ebrahimi, a senior lecturer in history at King’s College London, maintains that the answer is yes.

Academic Freedom Goes on Trial: George F. Will, Washington Post, Dec. 29, 2017—Wisconsin’s Supreme Court can soon right a flagrant wrong stemming from events set in motion in 2014 at Milwaukee’s Marquette University by Cheryl Abbate. Although just a graduate student, she already had a precocious aptitude for academic nastiness.





Time for a Peace Process Paradigm Change: Jonathan S. Tobin, Algemeiner, Nov. 20, 2017 — What are the details of the Middle East peace plan that President Donald Trump will use to craft what he hopes is the “ultimate deal?”

A Palestinian Arab State – Enhancing or Eroding US National Security?: Amb. (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, BESA, Nov. 18, 2017— The choice of business and social partners should be based – objectively – on a proven track record, not – subjectively – on unproven hopes and speculation.

Belief in Palestinian Openness to Two-State Solution Amounts to Insanity: Efraim Karsh, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 21, 2017— I never thought I would concur with anything written by veteran Israeli “peace” activist Uri Avnery…

Why Palestinian Delusions Persist: Daniel Pipes, Israel Hayom, Nov. 13, 2017— In 1974, Second Lt. Hiroo Onoda of the Imperial Japanese Army was still fighting for his emperor, hiding in a Philippine jungle.


On Topic Links


US, Israeli Lawmakers Issue Joint Declaration ahead of Trump Mideast Initiative: Middle East Forum, Nov. 16, 2017

Back to Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations? – Some Basic Truths: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Nov. 14, 2017

Palestinians: If You Do Not Give Us Everything, We Cannot Trust You: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 21, 2017

Before Any Talks, the Palestinians Must Move From Rejection to Recognition: Avraham Neguise, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2017



AS WE GO TO PRESS: AT LEAST 235 KILLED IN EGYPT ATTACK — Egypt is reeling from the bloodiest terror attack in its history after suspected I.S. fighters slaughtered at least 235 people during prayers by detonating explosives inside a Sinai mosque and then killing the worshippers in a hail of gunfire. The terrorists struck a mosque in the town of Bir al-Abed in northern Sinai where hundreds of people had gathered for prayers on Friday. The attack began with a powerful explosion at the al-Rawdah mosque and gunmen leapt out of vehicles to kill people as they fled. More than 100 were wounded. No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack but suspicion fell on the I.S. affiliate in the Sinai desert, which has waged a bloody insurgency against the Egyptian military and the country’s Christian minority. (Telegraph, Nov. 24, 2017)   





Jonathan S. Tobin

Algemeiner, Nov. 20, 2017


What are the details of the Middle East peace plan that President Donald Trump will use to craft what he hopes is the “ultimate deal?” Sometime in the next few months, they will be unveiled as part of an effort to revive the dead-in-the-water peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Though we’ll have to wait and see what exactly is in the proposal being cooked up by a team led by presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and chief negotiator Jason Greenblatt, the only two things that seem certain are that it is likely to be acceptable to Saudi Arabia and that it will have zero chance of success.


That’s why instead of merely repeating the mistakes of its predecessors, the Trump team should try a paradigm shift that will predicate peace on a simple concept: the Palestinians have to admit they’ve lost their war on Zionism. Avoiding this admission in order to mollify them or their supporters or concentrating, as every US administration has done, on pressuring Israel to make concessions, merely makes it impossible for the Palestinians to accept the sea change in their political culture that is the only thing that will make peace on any terms possible.


It was this idea that brought two members of the Knesset — representing a larger group of legislators that come from six different parties that are in and outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government — to Washington to meet with several like-minded members of Congress to promote the concept of an Israeli victory in the long conflict rather than a self-defeating compromise. The launch of a joint #IsraelVictory caucus at the Capitol Hill gathering is a small step and, as of yet, hasn’t influenced the administration’s thinking. But the gathering, which was sponsored by the Middle East Forum think tank, is a long overdue effort to promote a concept Kushner and company ought to be thinking about.


Trump’s team is likely to embrace an “outside-in” strategy in which Arab states, principally the Saudis, will use their influence and money to pressure the Palestinians into finally accepting a two-state solution. In return, the US would get the Netanyahu government to agree to terms that are likely to largely resemble past plans floated by the Obama, Bush and Clinton administrations. Trump may think the missing ingredient for peace has been the absence of a master dealmaker, but this scheme has no more chance of working than the efforts of his predecessors.


The reason is that the essential element for peace is still missing. The Palestinians are still stuck in a mindset that rejects Israel’s legitimacy. The Palestinian Authority (PA) won’t accept a deal that ends the conflict for all time no matter where Kushner, Greenblatt and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman draw the borders between the two states, how much of Jerusalem the Palestinians receive, how many descendants of the 1948 refugees are allowed to “return” to Israel or even how much money is thrown at them. That’s because the Palestinians’ national identity as a people is still inextricably bound up in a futile century-old war on Zionism that its people have been taught to think they will eventually win.


At various times, the PA has declared a willingness to accept peace. Yet every such gesture has been undermined by its cradle-to-grave incitement that promotes a culture of hatred for Israel and Jews, and makes new rounds of bloodshed inevitable. The history of the last 24 years of negotiations since the Oslo Accords shows that peace is impossible so long as the Palestinians still hold onto hope of eventually winning this war. As with every other conflict, this one will only be settled when one side admits defeat and that is something no one, not even a Trump team that appears to be more realistic about Palestinian behavior and intentions than past administrations, seems willing to force them to do.


Critics of the #IsraelVictory idea mock its simplicity. But generations of would-be peacemakers have forgotten that it really is that simple. Once the Palestinians concede the war is lost rather than being paused and put aside their dreams of a world without a Jewish state, compromise would be possible. But if the compromises precede acknowledgement of an Israeli victory, then all the Jewish state will be doing is trading land for more terror, not peace. The Trump team may not be listening to the #IsraelVictory caucus as it hatches its plans. But if the White House ignores the basic truths the caucus proclaims, it will be wasting its time and making the next round of violence more, rather than less likely.






Amb. (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

Arutz Sheva, Nov. 18, 2017


The choice of business and social partners should be based – objectively – on a proven track record, not – subjectively – on unproven hopes and speculation. Similarly, the assessment of the potential impact of the proposed Palestinian state on US national security should be based – objectively – on documented, systematic, consistent Palestinian walk (track record) since the 1930s, not – subjectively – on Palestinian talk and speculative scenarios. Furthermore, an appraisal of the Arab attitude toward a proposed Palestinian state should be based – objectively – on the documented, systematic and consistent Arab walk since the mid-1950s, not – subjectively – on the Arab talk.


Since the 1993 Oslo Accord, the documented track record of the Palestinian political, religious and media establishment has featured K-12 hate-education and religious incitement. This constitutes the most authoritative reflection of the worldview, state-of-mind and strategic goals of the proposed Palestinian state. Moreover, since the 1930s, the Palestinian track record has highlighted close ties with the enemies and adversaries of the US and the Free World.


For example, the Palestinian Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, whose memory and legacy are revered by the Palestinian Authority, embraced Nazi Germany, urging Muslims to join the Nazi military during World War II.  Moreover, in 2017, Hitler is still glorified by Palestinian officials and media, and Hitler’s Mein Kampf is a best-seller in the Palestinian Authority. During and following the end of WW2, the Palestinian leadership collaborated with the Muslim Brotherhood – the largest intra-Muslim terror organization – which also aligned itself with Nazi Germany.  In fact, Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas were key leaders of the Palestinian cell of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo.


Throughout the Cold War, Palestinian leaders aligned themselves with the USSR and the rogue East European regimes. Thus, Mahmoud Abbas acquired fluent Russian and his Ph.D. at Moscow’s Patrice Lumumba University, publishing a thesis on “the myth of the Jewish Holocaust.”  Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO, and other Palestinian organizations, were trained by top Soviet Bloc experts on terrorism, subversion, intelligence, staff and command. It resulted – during the 1970s and early 1980s – in a series of PLO camps in Lebanon, training anti-US Asian, African, European, South American and Muslim terrorists and hijackers.


The PLO – which is legally superior to the Palestinian Authority – was an early supporter of the Ayatollahs, following their toppling of the pro-US Shah of Iran. At the same time, three PLO battalions participated in Saddam Hussein’s invasion and plunder of Kuwait, which triggered the First Gulf War. Since 1966, the Palestinian leadership has maintained close ties with North Korea, benefiting from military, economic and diplomatic support, and maintaining one – of only 25 – embassies in Pyongyang. The Palestinian Authority also sustains close ties with Cuba, Venezuela, China, Russia and Iran.


While the Palestinian issue is pivotal in the Arab-Western talk, it is marginal in the intra-Arab walk. Pro-US Arab leaders are preoccupied with their primary, survival concerns – the lethal Arab Tsunami and the Ayatollahs’ machete at their throats – which are not related directly, or indirectly, to the Palestinian issue. While Western leaders are impressed with the generous pro-Palestinian Arab talk, they have ignored the harsh Arab walk, and the meager Arab financial assistance to the Palestinians (10% of the Saudi aid to the anti-Soviet Mujahidin in Afghanistan). Pro-US Arab leaders do not forget, nor forgive, the persistent Palestinian subversion and terrorism in Egypt (1950s), Syria (1960s), Jordan (1970), Lebanon (1970-1983) and Kuwait (1990)…


The aforementioned, Palestinian systematic rogue track record – against the backdrop of the rocky Hashemite-Palestinian relations – suggests that a Palestinian state could be the straw, which could break the Hashemite back. A Palestinian state west of the Jordan River and the Hashemite regime constitutes a classic oxymoron. It could transform Jordan into another platform of intra-Islamic terrorist warfare, establishing another anti-US Arab regime, which could be subservient to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ayatollahs (in neighboring Iraq) or ISIS, with lethal ripple effects into neighboring Saudi Arabia, all other pro-US Arab entities and the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea – a dramatic financial, national security and homeland security threat to the US and the globe.


A Palestinian state could provide docking and landing rights, and possibly a land-base, to Russia, and possibly China and/or Iran, which would destabilize the region, challenging the US military presence in the Mediterranean and Middle East. The aforementioned track record would result in an additional anti-US vote in the UN, and in the flight of the dwindling Christian community, which was a majority in Bethlehem before the 1993 Oslo Accord; now, reduced to a 15% minority and still declining in 2017. While Western conventional wisdom assumes that the Palestinian issue is a core-cause of Middle East turbulence, a crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers and the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the increasingly volatile Middle East reality pulls the rug from under such assumptions, documenting the Palestinian issue as a red herring, which diverts attention away from the clear and present, lethal threats to all pro-US Arab regimes…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    





Efraim Karsh

Jerusalem Post, Nov. 21, 2017


I never thought I would concur with anything written by veteran Israeli “peace” activist Uri Avnery, but I find myself in full agreement with his recent prognosis that “sheer stupidity plays a major role in the history of nations” and that the longstanding rejection of the two-state solution has been nothing short of grand idiocy.


But it is here that our consensus ends. For rather than look at the historical record of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and draw the self-evident conclusions, Avnery retreats into the counterfactual fantasyland in which he has been living for decades. “When I pointed this out [i.e., the two-state solution], right after the 1948 war,” he writes, “I was more or less alone. Now this is a worldwide consensus, everywhere except in Israel.”


Ignoring the vainglorious (mis)appropriation of the two-state solution by the then 25-year-old Avnery, this assertion is not only unfounded but the inverse of the truth. Far from being averse to the idea, the Zionist leadership accepted the two-state solution as early as 1937 when it was first raised by a British commission of inquiry headed by Lord Peel. And while this acceptance was somewhat half-hearted given that the proposed Jewish state occupied a mere 15% of the mandate territory west of the Jordan river, it was the Zionist leadership that 10 years later spearheaded the international campaign for the two-state solution that culminated in the UN partition resolution of November 1947.


Likewise, since the onset of the Oslo process in September 1993, five successive Israeli prime ministers – Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu – have openly and unequivocally endorsed the two-state solution. Paradoxically it was Yitzhak Rabin, posthumously glorified as a tireless “soldier of peace,” who envisaged a Palestinian “entity short of a state that will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its control,” while Netanyahu, whom Avnery berates for rejecting the two-state solution, has repeatedly proclaimed his support for the idea, including in a high-profile 2011 address to both houses of the US Congress.


By contrast, the Palestinian Arab leadership, as well the neighboring Arab states have invariably rejected the two-state solution from the start. The July 1937 Peel Committee report led to the intensification of mass violence, begun the previous year and curtailed for the duration of the commission’s deliberations, while the November 1947 partition resolution triggered an immediate outburst of Palestinian-Arab violence, followed six months later by an all-Arab attempt to destroy the newly proclaimed State of Israel. Nor was the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), established in 1964 at the initiative of Egypt’s president Gamal Abdel Nasser and designated by the Arab League in 1974 as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinian people, more receptive to the idea. Its hallowed founding document, the Palestinian Covenant, adopted upon its formation and revised four years later to reflect the organization’s growing militancy, has far less to say about Palestinian statehood than about the need to destroy Israel.


In June 1974, the PLO diversified the means used to this end by adopting the “phased strategy,” which authorized it to seize whatever territory Israel was prepared or compelled to cede and use it as a springboard for further territorial gains until achieving, in its phrase, the “complete liberation of Palestine.” Five years later, when president Carter attempted to bring the Palestinians into the Egyptian-Israeli peace negotiations, he ran into the brick wall of rejectionism. “This is a lousy deal,” PLO chairman Yasser Arafat told the American Edward Said, who had passed him the administration’s offer. “We want Palestine. We’re not interested in bits of Palestine. We don’t want to negotiate with the Israelis. We’re going to fight.” Even as he shook prime minister Rabin’s hand on the White House lawn on September 13, 1993, Arafat was assuring the Palestinians in a pre-recorded Arabic-language message that the agreement was merely an implementation of the PLO’s phased strategy.


During the next 11 years, until his death in November 2004, Arafat played an intricate game of Jekyll and Hyde, speaking the language of peace to Israeli and Western audiences while depicting the Oslo accords to his subjects as transient arrangements required by the needs of the moment. He made constant allusions to the phased strategy and the Treaty of Hudaibiya – signed by Muhammad with the people of Mecca in 628 CE, only to be disavowed a couple of years later when the situation shifted in the prophet’s favor…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                




Daniel Pipes

Israel Hayom, Nov. 13, 2017


In 1974, Second Lt. Hiroo Onoda of the Imperial Japanese Army was still fighting for his emperor, hiding in a Philippine jungle. He had rejected many attempts to inform him of Japan's surrender 29 years earlier. During those long years, he senselessly murdered about one Filipino and injured three others per year. Only a concerted effort by his former commander finally convinced Onoda that the emperor had accepted defeat in 1945 and therefore he too must lay down arms. The Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza are Onoda writ large. They formally acknowledged defeat by Israel 24 years ago, when Yasir Arafat stood on the White House lawn and recognized "the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security." Trouble was, Arafat himself did not sincerely offer this act of surrender and most Palestinians rejected it.


Accordingly, the war continues, with Palestinians emulating that grizzled, vicious Japanese soldier: they too battle on for a failed cause, murder senselessly, and ignore repeated calls to surrender. Just as Onoda insisted on believing in a divine emperor, Palestinians inhabit a fantasy world in which, for example, Jesus was a Palestinian, Jerusalem was always exclusively Islamic, and Israel is the new Crusader state on the verge of collapse. (In this spirit, Iranian dictator Ali Khamene'i has helpfully provided the precise date of Sep. 9, 2040, when Israel will vaporize, and his acolytes built a large doomsday clock to count down the days.) Some imagine Israel already gone, with nearly every Arabic map of "Palestine" showing it replacing the Jewish state.


How do Palestinians ignore reality and persist in these illusions? Due to three main factors: Islamic doctrine, international succor, and the wariness of the Israeli security services. (The Israeli Left was once a major factor but it barely counts anymore.) First, Islam carries the expectation that a land once under Muslim control (Dar al-Islam) is an endowment (waqf) that inevitably must revert to Muslim rule. Bernard Lewis notes that Muslims historically responded to the loss of territories in Europe with the expectation that these were "Islamic lands, wrongfully taken from Islam and destined ultimately to be restored." This assumption of righteousness and inevitability has abiding power as shown by such aggressions as Turkey's in Cyprus and Syria's in Lebanon.


Jerusalem especially arouses intense Islamic sentiments. First exploited at a pan-Islamic conference in 1931 hosted by the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, many others since then – including Yasir Arafat, Ayatollah Khomeini, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – have picked up this rallying cry. July's Temple Mount fracas over metal detectors revealed the city's atavistic power, prompting such varied powers as Muslim Brotherhood theorist Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Jordan's monarch, the Arab League, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation loudly to support the Palestinian position, no questions asked, as though it were still the 1950s with its shriek of unthinking rhetoric.


Second, assorted governments, Leftists, do-gooders, and other internationals encourage Palestinians to sustain the reverie of victory through a combination of obsessive anti-Zionism and the pretense that a "Palestine" exists. Athletes have represented the sham state of "Palestine" at the Olympics since 1996. Israel maintains diplomatic missions in just 78 countries compared to 95 for the Palestinian Authority. With a solitary exception in 2013, every critical UNESCO country-specific resolution in recent years has focused on Israel. This international support encourages Palestinian delusion. Third, despite recent polling that shows how a large majority of Israelis want to push Palestinians into recognizing that the conflict is over and Israel won, no Israeli government since 1993 has taken such steps. Why this persistent discrepancy? Because Israel's security services, which usually have the last word on policy, resist any steps that could possibly provoke Palestinian violence. "Things now are about as good as possible," they imply, "so please stay away with any hare-brained ideas about our getting tougher."


This reluctance explains why Jerusalem tolerates massive illegal housing, releases murderers from prison, provides water and electricity to Palestinians at advantageous terms, and urges international donors not just to subsidize the Palestinian Authority but to fund mega-projects of Israeli devising (such as an artificial island off Gaza). Contrarily, Israel's wizened security types nix any initiative that deprives the Palestinians of funds, punishes them more severely, or infringes on their existing prerogatives (such as control of the Temple Mount). Palestinian delusion results, then, from a toxic mix of Islamic doctrine, international succor, and Israeli timidity.


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!



On Topic Links


US, Israeli Lawmakers Issue Joint Declaration ahead of Trump Mideast Initiative: Middle East Forum, Nov. 16, 2017—Washington, DC – November 16, 2017 – An unprecedented joint declaration by members of Congress and Israel's Knesset has laid the core principles of a bold new approach to ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict ahead of an expected new push for Middle East peace by President Trump.

Back to Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations? – Some Basic Truths: Amb. Alan Baker, JCPA, Nov. 14, 2017—The buzz and expectation in anticipation of the soon-to-materialize American plan1 for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians obviously should not be underestimated. “We’re working very hard on it,” U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said of the Middle East peace plan on November 13, 2017.

Palestinians: If You Do Not Give Us Everything, We Cannot Trust You: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 21, 2017—The Palestinians are once again angry — this time because the Trump administration does not seem to have endorsed their position regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Palestinians are also angry because they believe that the Trump administration does not want to force Israel to comply with all their demands.

Before Any Talks, the Palestinians Must Move From Rejection to Recognition: Avraham Neguise, Jerusalem Post, Nov. 23, 2017—In 2014, at the height of the Obama administration’s attempts to revive peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Mahmoud Abbas scuttled any remaining hopes for progress by proclaiming his complete and utter rejection of recognizing Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish people at a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo.





Postmortem of a Disastrous Month: Isi Leibler, Israel Hayom, Aug. 9, 2017 — The dramatic setbacks of the past month have been somewhat destabilizing in contrast to the almost euphoric atmosphere which prevailed.

Recurring Patterns: The Temple Mount Riots: Manfred Gerstenfeld, BESA, Aug. 6, 2017— On July 14, two Israeli police officers were murdered in Jerusalem.

What are Trump's Next Steps to Help Forge Peace?: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 7, 2017 — Last week the world was exposed to some of the Trump administration’s internal thinking with regard to the way it views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Even Kushner Knows Negotiation Can't Solve the Palestinian Conflict: Gregg Roman, The Hill, Aug. 4, 2017— In a recently leaked off-the-record speech to a group of congressional interns, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner said that the administration is committed to working "with the parties very quietly to see if there's a solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


On Topic Links


Rejection of Peace in the Israeli-Arab Process: Stephen Hughes, Jerusalem Online, Aug. 14, 2017

The Terrible Timing of the Newest American Peace Delegation: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Aug. 13, 2017

Recognizing a Palestinian State Before a Peace Agreement with Israel Undermines the International Rule of Law: Peter Wertheim, JCPA, Aug. 7, 2017

Is China Intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?: Roie Yellinek, BESA, Aug. 13, 2017





Isi Leibler

Israel Hayom, Aug. 9, 2017


The dramatic setbacks of the past month have been somewhat destabilizing in contrast to the almost euphoric atmosphere which prevailed. It is an awesome burden of responsibility to serve as a leader, obliged to make decisions that affect the future of the Jewish people, in both Israel and the Diaspora. Over these last few weeks, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has probably been under the greatest pressure he has ever encountered. Barbaric acts of Arab terrorism and intensified incitement, problems with the Trump administration, excessive demands/blackmail from the haredim creating tensions with American Jewry, constant pressure and criticism from ministers in his own government and above all, the campaign to indict him personally on a myriad of alleged acts of corruption, have taken their toll and destabilized him.


In hindsight, the installation of metal detectors on the Temple Mount following the bloody terrorist murders there was a major blunder. Under any normal circumstances, it would have been an absolutely legitimate reaction, but having regard to the frenzied religious fanaticism endemic among Palestinians, Netanyahu should have anticipated that this would be exploited by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and the Islamists to incite hysteria. He also should have realized that this would create major domestic problems for our more moderate neighbors who face enormous pressure from their own citizens when swept by the hysteric accusation that Al-Aqsa mosque is being defiled by the Jews.


Had Netanyahu remained firm and resisted the demand to remove the detectors, Israeli public opinion would have supported him. But he considered the broader picture, recognizing that if he refused, he would risk a violent new intifada that would cost many more lives and would probably set back his emerging covert alliance with the more moderate Arab states. Any responsible Israeli leader weighing up the issues would have been obliged to act in a similar manner.


The issue was compounded by the inept way in which Netanyahu handled the Jordanian crisis. There appears to be no doubt that the security guard acted in self-defense. But Netanyahu’s parading him as a hero was a grossly inappropriate, given our delicate relationship with King Abdullah, who is under pressure from the powerful Palestinian and Muslim Brotherhood elements to sever diplomatic relations with Israel. And the government should have instituted a legal review of what happened even though it would have exonerated him. Besides, an apparently innocent bystander was accidentally killed, which probably merited at the least an apology and restitution.


To add to our discomfort, the international community reverted to its classical posture with the U.S. State Department issuing statements applying moral equivalence to both parties which seemed like a throwback to the Obama era. President Donald Trump, admittedly facing his own domestic problems, remained silent. This was certainly grounds for considerable disappointment as one would surely have anticipated this administration to deal with reality and condemn the bogus Palestinian hysteria instead of understating it and indulging in appeasement. To top it off, Netanyahu faced a barrage of demagogic criticisms of the government policies from both factions, including ministers from his coalition and even from within the Likud.


We should ensure that we learn from our mistakes. Clearly, the Palestinians are emboldened and believe that they have humiliated Israel and won a major battle. But we should not exaggerate the negative repercussions of what transpired, nor engage in masochism and allow these events to blur reality. Setting aside the status quo originating from Moshe Dayan’s blunder in 1967 when he handed control of the Temple Mount to the Wakf, whatever rage and frustration the Palestinians may express, Israel remains firmly in control.


But we must face reality. A substantial proportion of the Palestinians and, alas, as was recently demonstrated, also a highly vociferous minority of Israeli Arabs, are vicious barbarians who would slaughter us at any opportunity. They behave like savages as evidenced by the murder of the Israeli policemen at the Temple Mount and the butchering of the Salomon family at their Shabbat table in Halamish. The spontaneous street celebrations after the murders and adoring mass of 10,000 Israeli Arabs in the Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm led by the head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah, and other senior members of the outlawed organization, who at the funerals of their murderous kinsmen, chanted “you are the shahids of Al-Aqsa,” speak volumes. They were hailed by the PA as well as Hamas as heroes and their families were financially rewarded. The murderer of the Salomon family will receive a massive pension despite his anticipated incarceration.


Almost $345 million per annum is allocated to families of “martyrs” and those in prison—representing almost half the annual foreign aid provided to the PA. This despicable practice of paying pensions to murderers may now belatedly be dealt with by Congress.  But it must continue to be highlighted as a central policy issue and we should not equivocate because Abbas threatens to terminate cooperation with Palestinian security forces.


If one thing has been reaffirmed over the past month, it is that the Palestinian leaders and the bulk of their followers are unwilling to reach any peace agreement and are determined to fight on for their ultimate objective—the obliteration of Jewish sovereignty in the region. Besides, with the impending retirement of Abbas, there is every likelihood that chaos will prevail and the Palestinian security forces could well turn their weapons against Israel. We are strong but must be well prepared for this eventuality…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    





Manfred Gerstenfeld

BESA, Aug. 6, 2017


On July 14, two Israeli police officers were murdered in Jerusalem. They were members of the Druze community, a religious and ethnic minority. The three Muslim murderers came from the town of Umm al-Fahm in the north of Israel. They had hidden their weapons on the Temple Mount, where the al-Aqsa Mosque, which is managed by the Waqf, a Muslim religious trust, stands.  The three terrorists were killed by Israeli police. The day before the killings, one of the perpetrators published a selfie in which he stands before al-Aqsa. The photo is accompanied by the text, “Tomorrow’s smile will be more beautiful, God willing.”


Israel reacted to the murders by increasing security measures through the installation of metal detectors. The alternative would have been to wait passively until the next contingent of terrorists arrived, ready to employ the proven formula of bringing in weapons and hiding them at that place of worship. The installation of metal detectors led Palestinian preachers to call upon the worshipers to pray publicly outside the mosque on the morning of Friday, July 21. Riots followed during which three Palestinians were killed and a number wounded. On the same day, a Palestinian terrorist murdered a Jewish father, seriously injured his wife, and killed their two adult children in the village of Halamish during their Shabbat meal.


It is estimated that this terrorist’s family will receive more than $3000 per month from the Palestinian Authority for many years to come. These payments are co-financed by Western countries. In the meantime, the metal detectors have been removed. Due to the riots, Israel has opted instead to install more expensive and technologically advanced tools to detect weapons from entering the holy site in the future. Despite the removal of the detectors, Palestinian riots in Jerusalem have continued.


When we examine the reactions of the actors in this saga, it becomes possible to discern recurring patterns. In the past, the PLO-dominated Palestinian Authority was able to control riots. A typical case in point was the “al-Aqsa Intifada,” which began in late September 2000. Though presented as a spontaneous response to Ariel Sharon’s Temple Mount visit, several PLO/PA officials (including Marwan Barghouthi and Minister of Communications Imad Faloudji) were to admit that the violence had been planned well in advance by Yasser Arafat. All that was required was a handy pretext to start it.


Since then, the stature in the western world of the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas has steadily increased. In 2016, many members of the European Parliament gave Abbas a standing ovation after a speech in which he made the vile anti-Semitic accusation that an Israeli rabbi had urged Israelis to poison the water of the Palestinians. Two days later, Abbas had to admit that his libel was a complete falsehood.


In contrast to his glowing image among Europeans, Abbas is seen by most Palestinians as very weak. His Fatah movement supports the riots, partly because it fears losing even more influence if it does not. He is playing a dangerous game, however. If the riots continue, Abbas may lose control over them. If it is true that he has canceled the PA’s security collaboration with Israel, he might find himself in immediate danger. If he is without the protection of the Israeli security services, it will be much easier for Hamas sympathizers to target him.


Another recurrent pattern is the abuse of holy or protected places. During Israel’s military campaigns against Hamas, the terrorist group often hid weapons in mosques, universities, and schools. This included schools of the UN agency UNRWA. During the December 2008-January 2009 exchange, several Hamas leaders hid in a Gaza hospital because they knew Israel would not target it. Hamas also uses civilians as human shields.


Yet another recurrent pattern is the behavior of foreign governments and leaders. Many excuse and condone Palestinian terror, incitement, and violence. Others feel the need to step in with condemnations or recommendations. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, for example, is a staunch supporter of Hamas, using any available opportunity to condemn Israel. This time, he said:  “By occupying the al-Aqsa Mosque, Israel has exceeded the boundaries.” France issued an anodyne statement mainly to create the illusion that it is still an important international player while it struggles with critical domestic issues. Still another recurrent pattern is the behavior of foreign media, which habitually turns aggressors into victims and vice versa. The media watch organization Honest Reporting Canada created a detailed list of many such distortions in the Canadian media alone during the first days of the riots.


In view of these recurrent patterns, a peace agreement is likely to be useless. The Palestinians may one day sign such an agreement, and indeed maintain quiet for a while – but they will ultimately resort once again to riots, violence, and murder, as they invariably have in the past. The Temple Mount riots created a perfect model for such a pattern. Commit a crime against Israel related to al-Aqsa. If Israel reacts with enhanced security measures, incite rioting by declaring the mosque to be in danger. Israel cannot undo the concessions it makes for “peace.” Those concessions are likely to include the removal of isolated West Bank settlements and an exchange of land in return for the larger settlement blocs. The Temple Mount riots provide tangible evidence that as matters stand now, a peace agreement is not a credible option.




                                                Jerusalem Post, Aug. 7, 2017


Last week the world was exposed to some of the Trump administration’s internal thinking with regard to the way it views the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A recording of a briefing Jared Kushner gave White House interns made its way to Wired Magazine, which then shared it with the world. In it, Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, gave a sober review of the last 40 years of Middle East peacemaking and the chances that a deal can be reached to end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the near future.


“What do we offer that’s unique? I don’t know,” said Kushner. “I’m sure everyone that’s tried this has been unique in some ways, but again we’re trying to follow very logically. We’re thinking about what the right endstate is. And we’re trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there’s a solution.” He continued: “There may be no solution, but it’s one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on,” he added. “So, we’re going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future.”


There were three big takeaways from Kushner’s remarks. The first was that, seven months after taking office, the Trump administration does not yet have any new ideas for how to advance the peace process. Its thinking seems to be no different than that of previous administrations: Push for negotiations between the parties, mediate between them and try to hammer out an agreement.


The second takeaway is that there seems to be a growing assessment within the White House that a deal might not even be possible. The third is just as interesting and has to do with the motivation for why Kushner and Deputy Assistant to the President Jason Greenblatt are even working on a deal to begin with. The president, Kushner revealed, had asked them. Kushner made his remarks before news broke in Israel that Ari Harow, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s former chief of staff, had turned state’s witness and is going to provide the police with key evidence in two investigations being conducted of the prime minister.


This is relevant, since from now forward, any step Netanyahu takes will need to be looked at through the prism of the investigations of his conduct. If he breaks Left – like Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon respectively did as prime ministers under investigation – he will be perceived as doing so to save himself from indictment. If he turns further Right – as it seems he will – it will be seen as an attempt to shore up his support among right-wing voters ahead of elections. What this means is that real progress will likely not be made in the near future. The criminal cloud over Netanyahu’s head will prevent him from taking any real steps toward peace, which Kushner anyhow doesn’t appear to have much faith in the chances of achieving.


If this is the case, what can be done? Now would be a good time to invest in grassroot initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life for all residents of the West Bank, Israeli and Palestinian. This could include several major undertakings: improving infrastructure like roads and electricity plans, building more industrial zones to create employment, setting up hi-tech incubators for Palestinians and Israelis and improving the import-export process for Palestinian businesses seeking to expand their reach overseas. Israel is often referred to as the Start-Up Nation. There is no reason it should not be working to share its culture of innovation with its Palestinian neighbors and help to advance them in a more positive direction.


All of these initiatives can be carried out without connection to the top-down approach needed to reach a political resolution to the conflict. They are not affected by politics or dependent on the lack of leadership in Jerusalem or Ramallah. These are measures that will create a better atmosphere for peace and will be conducive to later attempts at reaching a long-term, final-status agreement when and if the political conditions make that possible. Kushner should be applauded for his honesty. He articulated what a lot of people already believe regarding the chances for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.But that doesn’t mean that he or the administration should give up. Moreover, it doesn’t mean that Israelis and Palestinians should give up. A lot can still be achieved.         





Gregg Roman                                                                                  

The Hill, Aug. 4, 2017


In a recently leaked off-the-record speech to a group of congressional interns, White House senior advisor Jared Kushner said that the administration is committed to working "with the parties very quietly to see if there's a solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He followed this up with what seemed like a throw-away line that's actually very significant: "There may be no solution, but it's one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on. So we're going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future."


Even for those who agree with that statement, hearing a senior White House official admit that the conflict may not have a solution is remarkable, especially since president after president has made achieving peace such a priority. Still, the United States is not out of options, nor should we read Kushner's words as an indication that the White House intends to abandon hope or forgo attempts to make progress towards peace.


Admitting that the conflict may not have a solution presents an opportunity to try something different. In fact, this could present an opportunity to try something different, to fly in the face of the so-called conventional thinking that has ended in a resounding failure for the past 24 years. In order to hasten the end of this conflict and create conditions for peace, security and prosperity for both Israelis and Palestinians, American policy must be changed in five key areas.


First, Palestinian terror organizations like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad must be defeated. The Trump administration has made significant progress in isolating and targeting Hezbollah in Lebanon, and they should use that success as a model to cut off funding and root out the structures that support terrorism in the Palestinian territories. Second, we must use diplomacy — no small feat for this administration — to convince our allies in Turkey and Qatar to end their support for these groups. For too long, Turkey and Qatar have provided funding and, perhaps more importantly, safe haven for the leadership of Hamas. The United States must use every tool available to convince these nations that supporting terrorism, even tacitly, will be costly.


Third, the United States should use economic leverage to prop up those in the Palestinian territories who oppose terror and to punish those who support it. The Taylor Force Act aims to force the Palestinian Authority (PA) to end salaries for the families of terrorists. While this law would help end this abhorrent practice, it would do little direct harm to terrorist groups or those who support them. Instead, all economic assistance and benefits provided by the United States — through qualified industrial zones, favorable trade agreements and direct assistance should be tailored to incentivize the Palestinian Authority to get serious about coming to the table for the kind of negotiations with Israel that they have been unwilling to enter for decades.


Fourth, security cooperation between the United States and the Palestinians must be reimagined so that Washington is no longer agnostic on the question of whether the PA forces cooperate with Israel. In fact, Palestinian-Israeli security coordination is frequently halted when it is needed most, like at the beginning of the latest furor surrounding security on the Temple Mount.  The State Department's Office of the U.S. Security Coordinator should make funding and training for the PA forces conditional. If they meet targets to cooperate with Israeli forces — both security and political conditions — then we provide support, if not, like PA President Abbas announced recently, then they're on their own.


Finally, the United States should give serious consideration to the messages that reach the Palestinian people. The U.S. Board of Broadcasting Governors should adopt an anti-rejectionism platform and cease funding any media that calls for Israel's destruction, instead offering support to the minority of voices in the region that encourage cooperation and peace. Generations of Palestinian leaders have made entire careers out of rejecting Israel while perpetuating this conflict. If we are smart about how we engage in the region, the United States can make it very costly to continue this strategy.


The time for the U.S. to act as an 'honest broker' has come to an end. The time for the U.S. to act as a neutral convener — an "honest broker" — has come to an end. In order to move forward in a way that advances our interests and supports the safety and security of our closest ally in the Middle East, we must stop allowing the Palestinians to perpetuate this conflict, which is what is driving many to assume there is no hope towards its end. They must accept they have been defeated so they can come to the table with an eye toward building their society into one that can move past the seventy-year old war they're still fighting.



On Topic Links


Rejection of Peace in the Israeli-Arab Process: Stephen Hughes, Jerusalem Online, Aug. 14, 2017—There is nothing in the Islamic religion or doctrine that prohibits the placement of security features before the entrances of Mosques and related holy sites.

The Terrible Timing of the Newest American Peace Delegation: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Aug. 13, 2017—There’s no reason to envy Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Dina Powell, US President Donald Trump’s point-people on Middle East peace who will soon be arriving in Israel and the Palestinian Authority to “restart the peace process.”

Recognizing a Palestinian State Before a Peace Agreement with Israel Undermines the International Rule of Law: Peter Wertheim, JCPA, Aug. 7, 2017—According to the Palestinian Authority, 136 (70.5 percent) of the 193 member states of the United Nations and two non-member states have officially recognized a State of Palestine.

Is China Intervening in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?: Roie Yellinek, BESA, Aug. 13, 2017—On July 18, 2017, PA President Mahmoud Abbas met for the fourth time with Chinese President Xi Jinping in China. The meeting was apparently good, judging by the declarations of continued cooperation between the sides.








The Temple Mount Crisis — Far From Over, it’s Really Just Beginning: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, July 26, 2017— Although for a moment it seemed that the metal detector crisis had ended Monday night, with the removal of the electronic gates and cameras from the entrances to the Temple Mount…

Palestinians: Metal Detectors or Lie Detectors – Who Is Violating What?: Bassam Tawil, Gatestone Institute, July 27, 2017— The metal detectors that were supposed to prevent Muslims from smuggling weapons into the Temple Mount compound, and which were removed by the Israeli authorities this week, have a more accurate name: "lie detectors."

Caving in Cravenly to Terror, Acting Stupidly Towards Jordan: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, July 27, 2017— Israel's security cabinet decided to remove all the metal detectors and cameras at the Temple Mount entrances…

Victory Requires Patience: Efraim Inbar, Israel Hayom, July 19, 2017— The Knesset has launched an Israel Victory Caucus, co-chaired by Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer and Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri, following the establishment of a similar caucus in the U.S. Congress.


On Topic Links


Clashes Erupt at Temple Mount as Muslim Worshipers Return to Site: Dov Lieber, Times of Israel, July 27, 2017

Israel’s Embassy in Jordan May Stay Closed: Jewish Press, July 27, 2017

In Unprecedented Attack, Israel Hayom Pans ‘Helpless,’ ‘Feeble’ Netanyahu: Times of Israel, July 26, 2017

Beyond the Debate Over Metal Detectors (Video): Amb. Dore Gold, JCPA, July 27, 2017




FAR FROM OVER, IT’S REALLY JUST BEGINNING                                                                      

Avi Issacharoff

Times of Israel, July 26, 2017


Although for a moment it seemed that the metal detector crisis had ended Monday night, with the removal of the electronic gates and cameras from the entrances to the Temple Mount, we are evidently still in the midst of an impasse that may last for quite some time. Both sides, and especially the two leaderships, each for their own political reasons, appear to be exacerbating the situation, looking for confrontation rather than calm.


On the one side, there is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who, along with his Fatah movement, explicitly called Tuesday for an escalation of the struggle and for large-scale demonstrations against Israel on Friday. This seems to be an attempt to extricate the PA leader from the depths of irrelevance.


On the other is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who seemed to be profoundly impacted by the results of Tuesday’s Channel 2 survey, which indicated deep public dissatisfaction with his response to the Temple Mount crisis. Hours after the poll’s publication, he ordered the Defense Ministry not to evacuate some 120 settlers who illegally occupied a contested home in Hebron, in addition to instructing police to individually check every worshiper ascending to pray at the Temple Mount — a decision perceived by the Palestinian public as a declaration of war.


Both sides continue their gallop toward a deeper, bloodier confrontation, and there is no responsible adult in the room to stop the deterioration. Anyone who may have expected Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to intervene in the police’s war against the security establishment, or perhaps speak out against Netanyahu’s decisions of late, has quickly learned that a country long acclimated to operating without a foreign minister has also functioned for the past two weeks without a defense chief. The man simply does not exist.


The indications that the crisis is far from over are evident on several levels. First, Tuesday’s demonstrations by Muslim worshipers, which spiraled into violence outside the entrances to the Temple Mount, involved thousands of demonstrators refusing to enter the Al-Aqsa compound despite all of their demands being met. Asked what exactly they were protesting at that point, their responses were as absurd as something you might hear on a TV sitcom.


The problem here is that the statements made by demonstrators, Muslim religious leaders and the Palestinian leadership are not funny. And the person most responsible for setting the tone at this stage is the mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, who of all the Jordanian Waqf members is the furthest from being a representative of Amman. Hussein, who receives his salary from the Palestinian Authority, announced early Tuesday afternoon that Muslim prayer would continue to be held outside the Temple Mount. When asked why, he explained that only when the situation was restored to the way it was before July 14 would the worshipers return to the Haram al-Sharif.


The fact that there are no longer any metal detectors or security cameras did not prevent him and his followers from conjuring a list of new demands: “removing invisible cameras,” removing cameras overlooking the Temple Mount, removing barricades still lying around the Old City, the planting of trees on the Al-Aqsa compound, etc. It is as if “someone” is trying to invent demands in order to exacerbate the situation, and is unfortunately succeeding in doing so.


The second indication relates to Abbas. On Tuesday, the PA president gathered the leadership of the Jerusalem branch of Fatah’s militant Tanzim faction at his office in Ramallah. He understood that Israel had pulled the rug from underneath him when it removed the metal detectors and that he and his Fatah movement were accordingly in extreme political distress. If in the past Abbas was considered weak, now many in the Palestinian public consider him to be simply irrelevant. He was not part of the erupting crisis on the Temple Mount, nor was he involved in efforts to solve it. The Jordanians, according to a senior Palestinian source, did not even update the PA leadership regarding the arrangement it had reached with Israel to remove the metal detectors and cameras.


Consequently, it seems that the Palestinian leadership’s decision to escalate the struggle is intended to convey a message not only to Israel but also to Jordan: Anyone who tries to ignore us or erase our role with regard to the Temple Mount will receive an intifada in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. What we are therefore now seeing is a struggle for survival by Abbas and his Fatah movement. Abbas has given a green light to the Tanzim faction to organize demonstrations and rallies this Friday, but no one knows how they will end. This quite easily could lead to shooting battles with IDF soldiers, casualties, deaths and even a scenario, mentioned more than once in recent years, which includes all the ingredients necessary for an intifada. It certainly won’t end well…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                






Bassam Tawil

Gatestone Institute, July 27, 2017


The metal detectors that were supposed to prevent Muslims from smuggling weapons into the Temple Mount compound, and which were removed by the Israeli authorities this week, have a more accurate name: "lie detectors." They have exposed Palestinian lies and the real reason behind Palestinian anger. Israel apparently removed the metal detectors from the gates of the Temple Mount as part of a deal to end an unexpected crisis with Jordan over the killing of two Jordanian men by an Israeli embassy security officer in Amman. The security officer says he was acting in self-defense after being attacked by one of the Jordanians with a screwdriver.


The crisis erupted when the Jordanian authorities insisted on interrogating the officer — a request that was rejected by Israel because the officer enjoys diplomatic immunity. US intervention and a phone call between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah helped end the crisis peacefully and quickly, and the officer and the rest of the Israeli embassy staff were permitted to leave Jordan and head back to Israel.


Shortly after the embassy staff returned to Israel, the Israeli authorities started removing the metal detectors that were installed at the entrances to the Temple Mount after terrorists murdered two Israeli police officers on July 14. The move sparked a wave of rumors and speculation, according to which the Jordanians allowed the embassy staff to return home in exchange for the removal of the metal detectors. Israel and Jordan have denied any link between the shooting incident in Amman and the removal of the metal detectors.


The crisis that erupted between Israel and Jordan over the killing of the two Jordanians was solved in less than 48 hours — much to the dismay of the Palestinians. The Palestinians were hoping to exploit the crisis to exacerbate tensions between Amman and Jerusalem. Their ultimate goal: to cause the Jordanians to scrap their peace treaty with Israel and return to the state of war with the "Zionist enemy." The Palestinians were also hoping to exploit the crisis to incite Jordanians against Israel and the Hashemite monarchy.


Fortunately, the Jordanian authorities did not fall into the Palestinian trap. They realized that it is in their own interest to resolve the crisis swiftly and peacefully. King Abdullah was wise enough not to allow the Palestinians to drag him into a confrontation with Israel.


Since the installation of the metal detectors at the Temple Mount, the Palestinians have been waging yet another campaign of fabrications and distortions against Israel. This Palestinian blood libel claims that Israel is seeking to "change the status quo" at the Temple Mount by introducing new security measures such as metal detectors and surveillance cameras at the gates to the holy site. Yet if anyone has violated the status quo it is the Palestinians themselves. Status Quo Violation Number One: For the past two years, the Palestinians have been trying to prevent Jews from touring the Temple Mount — a practice that has been allowed since 1967.


Status Quo Violation Number Two: The Palestinians and their supporters have long turned the Temple Mount into a battlefield for clashing with Israeli policemen and Jewish visitors. In an ongoing arrangement that ought to interest the international community, they pay Muslim men and women salaries to come to the compound and harass policemen and Jewish visitors by hurling insults at them and throwing stones and petrol bombs. These individuals belong to an outlawed group known as the Murabitun. This is a group of Muslim fanatics who receive money from the Palestinian Authority, Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel to do their utmost to stop Jews from entering the Temple Mount.


Status Quo Violation Number Three: Over the past two decades, the Waqf (Islamic Trust) that manages the affairs of the mosques on the Temple Mount, and other parties, have been carrying out illegal excavation and construction work at the site in a bid to create irreversible facts on the ground. The Waqf and the Palestinian Authority claim that the excavation work is aimed at refuting Jewish claims to the Temple Mount and showing the world that Jews have no historical, religious or emotional attachment to Jerusalem.


Status Quo Violation Number Four: The Palestinians and their supporters have been using the Temple Mount compound as a platform for spewing anti-Semitism and calls to murder Jews and all "infidels." This abuse of the holy site as a podium for spreading Palestinian poison is far from a new practice. Palestinians and other Muslims have been doing this at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and other mosques around the world for decades. Take, for example, when the imam at Al-Aqsa Mosque predicted that the "White House would turn black, with the help of God." This prayer, attended by thousands of Muslim worshippers, came only a few weeks before the 9/11 terror attacks. Last week, another imam prayed to God that Israeli policemen guarding the Temple Mount would be widowed and orphaned. These are only a handful of the countless examples of how mosques are being used to indoctrinate the hearts and minds of Muslims with hate.


Status Quo Violation Number Five: The murder of two policemen on July 14 is the mother of all status quo violations. Until the murder, Muslims had resorted to less deadly weapons such as stones and petrol bombs to attack Jews and policemen. July 14 represents the first time that Muslims used firearms at the Temple Mount. While it is not unusual to see Muslims blowing up mosques and committing atrocities against fellow Muslims in many Arab and Islamic countries, the shooting attack at the Temple Mount was still unprecedented.


Smuggling weapons into the Temple Mount is a grave desecration of the holy site. Murdering two police officers, who were stationed there to safeguard the site and protect Muslim worshippers, takes the level of violation and desecration to new lows. It is worth noting that the two police officers were not murdered during a confrontation or a violent incident. One of them was shot in the back while he was standing at one of the entrances to the Temple Mount.


After the July 14 murder, Palestinians began waging daily protests by refusing to enter the Temple Mount through metal detectors installed by the Israeli authorities to prevent weapons smuggling for the safety of the Muslim worshippers themselves. Instead, Palestinians gather every evening at the entrances to the Temple Mount, where they complete their prayers with a volley of stones and petrol bombs lodged at police officers. Crucially, and contrary to Palestinian claims, there has been no Israeli decision to ban Muslims from entering the Temple Mount…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                





ACTING STUPIDLY TOWARDS JORDAN                                             

Dr. Mordechai Kedar

          Arutz Sheva, July 27, 2017


Israel's security cabinet decided to remove all the metal detectors and cameras at the Temple Mount entrances, and perhaps even the cameras at the Lion's Gate and the other gates that lead into the Old City of Jerusalem, placed there just a few days ago after the cold-blooded murder of two Druze Border Police officers by Israeli Arab terrorists. The decision was linked to Jordan's freeing the security guard in the Israeli Consulate there, although the guard has diplomatic immunity, having been sent by the Shabak chief on a mission to Jordan and engaging in negotiations with colleagues in the Hashemite Kingdom.


The Cabinet decision talks about developing "smart checks" for the astronomical cost of 100 million IS to take the place of the detectors and cameras. I am willing to bet – you name the amount – that nothing of significance will be developed in the near future and the talk of "smart checks" is meant to mislead the public, deluding the man in the street into thinking that Israel has found a way to be sovereign in the Old City and the Temple Mount. In addition, even if a miracle occurs and new technology is developed, there is zero chance that it will be put in place without riots. For Israel-hating Muslims, there is  no difference between metal detectors, cameras and any other technology, because putting anything there means Jewish Sovereignty, contradicting basic Islamic tenets mandating that Jews have to live as dhimmis under the protection of the ruler but subject to his whims, and that they must pay the humiliating Koranic jyzia head tax.


Without doubt, the Israeli government caved and retreated from its decision to operate security apparatus at the entrances to the Temple Mount. From today on, only Jews and tourists will be expected to undergo a humiliating search to be sure they are not carrying phylacteries or prayer books when they ascend the Mount. Muslims, who proved their terrorist proclivities on the 14th of July this year, will continue to enter the holy site without being searched or supervised and will be able to smuggle weapons on to  the Mount. Pressure was exerted on the Israeli government from every direction: Israeli Arabs, PA Arabs, Arab and Muslim countries, Europe and the USA.


Israel's capitulation when faced with these pressures is of grave significance. The first failure is the fact that Israel's government did not coordinate its steps with the US government, particularly Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special envoy to the Middle East. The government did not expect the crashing wave of Islamic opposition to the move and did not obtain American support for the security measures beforehand. After all, every American understands the necessity of these measures in light of the terrorist reality in which the enlightened world finds itself.


Muslim haters of Israel have received enormous encouragement from this affair. Their future demands will be much greater, in just the way one's appetite grows at the sight of food. Terror, it seems, does pay, and the state of Israel looks for easy, immediate and temporary solutions to problems instead of dealing forthrightly with challenges and emerging the victor over those who wish to harm us. The Jewish people will pay a high price for this questionable "achievement" of "defusing tensions on the ground," a result that is far from proven.


Removing the security apparatus proved that the Muslims have scored another victory over the Jews. Once again it has been made clear that Israel's government has melted down the steadfast sticking-to-our-guns mentality that characterized the Jewish people when the state was established in 1948 and during the wars that have since accompanied life on our ancestral lands. No declaration, no matter how bombastic, whether proclaimed by the president, prime minister, ministers, officials, IDF commanders or  police can hide the bitter and humiliating truth that terrorists forced the Israeli government  to cave in and retreat from its correct and completely justified – original – decision.


How will the government be able to look the families of the two Border Police officers in the eye?  What  will all those irresponsible ministers say to  the families hit by the terror that will unquestionably increase thanks to their weak and scandalous decision to remove the security apparatus guarding the capital of Israel? How will the Israeli Police deal with the wave of terror that this government's stupidity will bring about, without being provided with the means necessary to accomplish their mission? What nation with the will to live caves in to terror this way?..

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    






Efraim Inbar       

                                                Israel Hayom, July 19, 2017


The Knesset has launched an Israel Victory Caucus, co-chaired by Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer and Yesh Atid MK Yaakov Peri, following the establishment of a similar caucus in the U.S. Congress. The caucus hopes to sensitize the Israeli public, as well as politicians in Israel and abroad, to the need to attain a decisive victory over the Palestinians. Professor Daniel Pipes, the scholar behind this project, argues convincingly that a peace settlement will only be possible after the Palestinians realize that the 100 years of struggle against Zionism has failed.


To date, the Palestinians (not only Hamas) still entertain hopes that the Zionist enterprise can be dismantled. Israel's victories on the battlefield against Arab armies, its success in containing terrorism and the prosperity of the Jewish state have not yet cemented a sense of defeat among the Palestinians. Therefore, the Palestinian Authority continues the campaign to delegitimize Israel. Elements in Palestinian society even believe that Jewish society will inevitably crumble under the pressure of terrorist attacks and internal tensions.


The view that Israel will eventually disappear, just like the Crusaders in the 12th century, is widespread. The Palestinians are encouraged by the indiscriminate financial and diplomatic support they get from abroad and are pleased with the enhanced regional influence of Iran, which pledges the destruction of Israel. The assumption that their desire for a state leads to concessions needed for a peace settlement with Israel remains to be proven. Taking into consideration the nature of the "peace partner," the protracted struggle is likely to continue unless a new pragmatic leadership emerges. Alas, such a leadership is not in the offing, leaving Israel no choice but to wage a limited war on the PA in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.


Indeed, Israel is in a state of war, not in a peace process. This truth is not palatable to the international community that emphasizes diplomacy and wants to believe that the Palestinians are interested in peace. This predicament constrains Israel's military freedom of action in the pursuit of victory. Its ability to inflict pain on the Palestinians — which is what war is about — is limited. It is often accused of exercising excessive force by a liberal press that is inherently averse to any use of force.

Moreover, Israel is torn by a permanent dilemma. On the one hand, it tries to buy calm, and time, by providing economic means to sustain the weak Palestinian economy. Jerusalem understands that hungry neighbors attract international criticism of Israel and could turn into a security problem. On the other hand, it needs to punish the violent Palestinians to create deterrence, and to affect their behavior and aspirations. It is not easy to balance the first effort, basically a short-term consideration, with the attempt to deliver a costly defeat to the Palestinians that might bring an end to the conflict faster.


The Palestinian reluctance to adopt realistic foreign policy goals and Israel's hesitation to use its military superiority to exact a much higher cost from the Palestinians are the defining features of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict…                                                                                                                                           

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




On Topic Links


Clashes Erupt at Temple Mount as Muslim Worshipers Return to Site: Dov Lieber, Times of Israel, July 27, 2017—Thousands of Muslim worshipers entered the Temple Mount on Thursday for the first time in nearly two weeks, many shouting in delight as they did so, and violent clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli security forces at the compound.

Israel’s Embassy in Jordan May Stay Closed: Jewish Press, July 27, 2017—While Israel wants Ambassador to Jordan Einat Schlein and her staff to return as soon as possible to the Israeli embassy in Jordan, that probably won’t be happening.

In Unprecedented Attack, Israel Hayom Pans ‘Helpless,’ ‘Feeble’ Netanyahu: Times of Israel, July 26, 2017—After years of backing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the free daily Israel Hayom castigated the premier’s “display of feebleness” and his “helpless” response to the Temple Mount crisis on its front page on Wednesday, in a large above-the-fold headline.

Beyond the Debate Over Metal Detectors (Video): Amb. Dore Gold, JCPA, July 27, 2017—It’s extremely important to remember where exactly the current crisis about metal detectors on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem came from – to recall it all started when guns were smuggled onto the Temple Mount and actually used against two Israeli policemen.  Officers Haiel Sitawe and Kamil Shnaan were killed as a result of these illegal firearms that were brought in to a holy site.









Cause and Effect: Editorial, Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2017— Is there a cause and effect relationship between the new security arrangements instituted by Israel on the Temple Mount and the horrific murder of Yosef Salomon, 70, and his children Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36?  

The Argument Is About Jews, Not Metal Detectors: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, July 21, 2017— To an objective observer, the crisis that erupted in the aftermath of a bloody terror attack near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount makes no sense.

As Temple Mount Tensions Persist, Where’s Donald Trump?: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, July 23, 2017— With violence between Israelis and Palestinians threatening to spiral out of control, and amid many calls for restraint from the international community, one person has remained conspicuously silent: Donald Trump.

The Rami Hamdallah Compliment: IDF Policy Towards the Palestinians Proves Its Value: Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman, BESA, July 23, 2017— Within the last two weeks, interactions between Israel and the PA at the ministerial level have offered proof of the value of current Israeli strategy towards the Palestinian population.


On Topic Links


Grief and Defiance as Israel Lays 3 Members of Salomon Family, Murdered by Palestinian Terrorist, to Rest: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, July 23, 2017

Palestinians’ Dilemma on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount: Opposing Israel or Each Other?: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, July 19, 2017

How Jerusalem's Top Cop Keeps the Peace: Judith Miller, Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2017

A Time for Jewish Rage: Francis Nataf, Times of Israel, July 23, 2017





                                                  Jerusalem Post, July 23, 2017


Is there a cause and effect relationship between the new security arrangements instituted by Israel on the Temple Mount and the horrific murder of Yosef Salomon, 70, and his children Chaya, 46, and Elad, 36? There is according to 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, who massacred the three and seriously wounded Yosef’s wife, Tova, 69. Before leaving his home in Kobar on Friday night to carry out his attack in the neighboring settlement Halamish (Neveh Tzuf) in Samaria, he posted a message on his Facebook page: “They are desecrating the Aksa Mosque and we are sleeping, it is an embarrassment that we sit and do nothing…all I have is a sharpened knife, and it will answer the call of al-Aksa.” He signed off with emojis including hearts.


But there is no connection. What Abed did is what people have been doing to Jews for millennia, refusing to recognize Jewish nationality, rights, statehood and connection to this land. This has nothing to do with metal detectors. It is about hatred and radical ideology, fueled by lies and incitement. Connecting between the two like Abed did is a convenient way of thinking. It absolves him of responsibility for his actions and shifts the blame to the victim.


In Abed’s case, the despicable act of murdering an elderly man, seriously wounding his wife and killing two of his children can be transformed into a heroic act that is part of the Islamist struggle for control over al-Aksa, or as retribution for perceived grievances said to have been perpetrated by Jews who have no right to political autonomy in this land, let alone on the Temple Mount. If a cause-and-effect relationship exists at all in this story it is the connection between the cold-blooded murder of two Israeli Druse police officers adjacent to the Temple Mount and the decision by Israel to place metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount to prevent similar attacks in the future.


In a world governed by reason, ensuring the Temple Mount remains safe and gun-free would be seen first and foremost as a Muslim interest, since Muslims make up the vast majority of people who pray at the site and do not want to see it desecrated by acts of murder. The three Arabs with Israeli citizenship who smuggled guns into the Temple Mount exploited the atmosphere of trust and reverence that enabled lax security arrangements. Perhaps it was naive to think that this sort of attack could not take place. But our government does not want to repeat its mistake.


Now, Netanyahu is being asked to cave in to the demands of the Islamists. A campaign in Israel is being led by Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the Islamic Movement, and by Hamas, and is receiving the backing of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Jordan and North Africa. The governments of Turkey and Qatar are also supporting the struggle.


More “moderate” Arab leaders such as Jordan’s King Abdullah and Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi are gradually being forced to fall in line with the Islamists. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who initially denounced the murder of the Druse officers, has since changed course, suspending ties with Israel in protest against the metal detectors. The “Arab Spring” proved the power of the masses to bring about regime change. And its memory is still fresh in the minds of men like Sisi and Abdullah.


In retrospect, Netanyahu should have foreseen all this. He has extensive experience with the explosive potential of the Temple Mount. The decision to place metal detectors on the Temple Mount seems not to have taken into consideration all the potential ramifications. Did Netanyahu ask himself whether the security benefits gained by introducing the metal detectors outweighs the price paid in the form of unrest, rioting and a renewed wave of terrorism? Sometimes it is better to be smart than right.


At the same time, no amount of concessions will satisfy people like Abed, Sheikh Salah or the Muslim Brotherhood. Removing the metal detectors will not be the end of it. There will be new grievances, new “causes” for Muslim violence. Extracting concessions under threat of violence is one of the objectives of terrorism. The question is where do we draw the line. Perhaps we should have been “smart” when it comes to metal detectors. Ultimately, however, appeasing Islamists does not lead to real peace. When violence is rewarded it tends to become an incentive for more violence.






Jonathan S. Tobin

JNS, July 21, 2017


To an objective observer, the crisis that erupted in the aftermath of a bloody terror attack near Jerusalem’s Temple Mount makes no sense. Three Arab terrorists used guns they had smuggled up to the compound July 14 to kill two Israeli policemen, both of whom happened to be Druze rather than Jewish. In response, Israeli authorities set up metal detectors to prevent a recurrence of the crime. The response to this from Palestinians was general outrage, violence and a promise of mass riots if the offending machines were not immediately removed. Upon Friday afternoon prayers July 21, with Israel facing the prospect of even more violence that might get out of control, the metal detectors remained in place.


How could putting metal detectors to protect a holy site be considered a casus belli for what might, if the conflict escalated in the way the Muslim rioters promised, lead to a new holy war? The answer is that this isn’t about metal detectors. It’s about something much bigger: the right of Jews to be in Jerusalem.


What happened near the Temple Mount wasn’t about metal detectors. Nor was it another variation on the usual theme sounded from Israel’s critics about the infringement of Palestinian rights. To the contrary, Israel didn’t change the status quo at the Temple Mount, which denies Jews the right to pray at the holiest place in Judaism. The Islamic Waqf was left in charge of Jerusalem’s mosques, including the Temple Mount’s Al-Aqsa, inviolate.


Nor was the new security measure discriminatory. Any Jew or non-Jew who wishes to enter the Western Wall plaza below the Temple Mount compound must also pass through security, including metal detectors. The same is true for Muslims who wish to enter the holy places in Mecca during their annual pilgrimages.


So what exactly is this all about? For a century, Palestinian Arab leaders have been playing the “Al-Aqsa is in danger” card. The cries that Jews were seeking to destroy the mosques or in some way harm Muslim rights led to a series of pogroms against Jews, including the riots of 1929 in which Jews were massacred in Hebron. But the appeal to holy war isn’t only a vestige of the horrors of the distant past and the influence of the Nazi sympathizer Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem who incited those riots.


It was the supposedly moderate Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), whose inflammatory statements helped incite the so-called “stabbing intifada” in recent years by also claiming Jews were going to harm the mosques. It was Abbas, not just his Hamas rivals or other violent Islamists, who called on Palestinians to resist the Jewish presence in Jerusalem. It was Abbas who said “stinking Jewish feet” should not profane the holy places.


Abbas’s motives were cynical, since he was waving the bloody banner of holy war to compete with his political foes. But the impact of his statements gave the lie to the notion — so prevalent on the Jewish left — that a peace agreement could be easily reached if Israel had the will to try for one. His rhetoric sought to remind Palestinians that the conflict wasn’t over borders or settlements, but something far more basic: a religious war that mandates Arab opposition to the Jewish presence. This is why the PA goes to such trouble to foment fights at United Nations agencies like UNESCO intended to deny Jewish ties or rights to holy places, even those that are self-evidently proof of Jewish history like the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.


This is also why the new security measures are merely the latest pretext for Arab violence intended to make the point that Jews should not merely have no say over the Temple Mount, but have no right to be there at all. The demonstrations and threats of more violence are just one more power play intended to remind the world that the only solution Palestinians will ultimately accept is one in which the Jews are excluded. So long as this is their goal, it isn’t Al-Aqsa that is in danger, but any hope for peace.







Raphael Ahren                       

                                                  Times of Israel, July 23, 2017


With violence between Israelis and Palestinians threatening to spiral out of control, and amid many calls for restraint from the international community, one person has remained conspicuously silent: Donald Trump.


Two days after a terror attack in Halamish in which a grandfather and two of his children were stabbed to death, and after a week of clashes over Jerusalem’s Temple Mount that have seen several Palestinian protesters killed, the US president has yet to comment. Some of his closest confidants are said to be involved in ongoing efforts to calm the situation, but Trump himself has not yet made any public effort to help restore calm.


The White House is holding talks with Israel, Jordan, the Palestinian Authority and other regional players in a bid to quell the current wave of violence, the Haaretz newspaper reported on Saturday night, quoting Israeli and Arab officials. Trump’s senior adviser Jared Kushner, who reportedly discussed the matter last week with both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and PA President Mahmoud Abbas, is said to be leading the US effort, together with Trump’s special envoy to the peace process, Jason Greenblatt, his ambassador in Tel Aviv, David Friedman, and the US consul-general in Jerusalem, Donald Blome.


But Kushner’s team is working behind the scenes. On Wednesday, the State Department issued a statement saying the US was “very concerned about tensions” surrounding the Temple Mount, and calling on Israel and Jordan to “find a solution that assures public safety and the security of the site and maintains the status quo.”


But the statement was vague, and did not indicate how the administration viewed Israel’s decision to install metal detectors at the entrance to the Temple Mount following the July 14 attack in which three Arab Israelis shot dead two on-duty Israeli police officers there with guns they had smuggled into the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The Mount’s Waqf Muslim authority has successfully discouraged worshipers from walking through the gates, and they have instead prayed outside. Numerous Arab leaders have demanded that Israel remove the metal detectors.


On Saturday night, the Middle East Quartet released a statement strongly condemning “acts of terror,” and, noting the “particular sensitivities surrounding the holy sites in Jerusalem,” urging all sides to “demonstrate maximum restraint, refrain from provocative actions and work towards de-escalating the situation.” Though his name was not mentioned in the statement, Greenblatt represents the US in the Quartet, and would have been party to its drafting. But the vague statement carries less weight than clear US intervention would.


Trump has declared his intention to broker an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal and has invested considerable time and effort trying to bring the two sides closer together. He has established good relations with all key players in the region and potentially holds considerable influence over them. To date, in this crisis, he has chosen not to use it. It’s not as though he’s been hesitant to make his voice heard on Israeli-Palestinian issues: Trump has already spoken out on such abidingly sensitive matters as settlements and Palestinian incitement.


Trump’s advisers would likely urge him to proceed with caution, cognizant that any crisis surrounding the Temple Mount can snowball from a local affair into a religious war that sets the region ablaze. The White House would also seek to tread carefully lest it be seen as biased toward either party, thus jeopardizing its declared interest in restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.


Careful diplomacy would therefore seem wise. But careful need not mean private. The prospects of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can only recede further so long as the current Temple Mount crisis rumbles on, whereas the US president weighing in constructively might have an immediate cooling effect. Thus far, nothing is known about how the president feels about the current situation. He was likely briefed on it, but has kept his silence.


With passions so high, it is difficult to predict how a clear-cut US presidential statement assigning blame and/or defining a solution would be received by the sides. If the president were to declare flat out that it was absolutely legitimate for Israel to have installed metal detectors to secure the holy site, and that such a move does not constitute a change to the sensitive status quo there, that might alienate Arab and Muslim leaders. Or it might move the Palestinians, Egypt, Jordan and Turkey, to lower the volume of their protest, allowing it to gradually quieten down.


Were he to firmly declare the metal detectors an unnecessary infringement on worshipers’ rights, and publicly urge Israel to reinstate the status quo ante, he might infuriate Israel. Or possibly provide Netanyahu with an urgent imperative to find an alternate arrangement. A more subtle intervention, though, could reasonably be expected to be welcomed by all sides. Were the president to personally urge the various parties to seek a mutually acceptable solution, and offer American good offices to help achieve that, it is hard to imagine that anybody would reject him.


When the leader of the free world speaks, the Middle East does sometimes listen. The more so when the leader of the free world is unpredictable, and when many of the parties involved in this crisis share an interest in staying on his good side.                           





IDF POLICY TOWARDS THE PALESTINIANS PROVES ITS VALUE                                                                                            Col. (res.) Dr. Eran Lerman                                                                                                              

BESA, July 23, 2017


Within the last two weeks, interactions between Israel and the PA at the ministerial level have offered proof of the value of current Israeli strategy towards the Palestinian population. First came the positive meeting between PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, during which the former offered uncharacteristic praise of Israel’s measured response to the wave of violence that began in October 2015. Then came the July 10 inauguration in Jenin of the power plant project, jointly launched by Hamdallah and Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, which indicates once again the utility of Israel’s gas exports as a tool of regional policy.


Palestinian praise for Israeli policies – amid a regular pattern of abuse, defamation, absurd UN resolutions aimed at denying the Jewish presence in the Land of Israel, and intermittent violence by Palestinian attackers who win moral and material support from the PA leadership – sounds like a “man bites dog” story the media should love. But little attention was paid to the highly unusual comments made by Hamdallah during his meeting with Kahlon. Side-by-side with a wide-ranging discussion of economic arrangements, Hamdallah felt obliged to take note – in public! – of Israel’s moderate and well-calibrated response to the violence that erupted late in 2015.


It is true that perpetrators and would-be perpetrators are apprehended and sometimes killed. But the attitude towards the population at large, and towards the economy of the West Bank, is deliberately geared to avoid collective punishment and give the peaceful majority a stake in stability.


This approach, as well as other major decisions (such as building permits in area C), reflects a consistent set of policies that are based, to some extent, on American lessons learned in the realm of counterinsurgency as well as on Israel’s own extensive experience on the ground. They do not insure against further violence – in fact, a major clash erupted in Jenin just a day after the power plant ceremony. But they do serve three key purposes. They create a stake in stability for a growing segment of Palestinian society; they reduce a potential point of friction between Israel and her key Arab neighbors and partners in the region-wide struggle against Iranian ambitions and Islamist totalitarians in their various forms; and they play a role in creating an atmosphere conducive to Israel’s recent burst of successful foreign policy activities.


The approach makes it easier for the Palestinian security forces, despite brutal criticism from Hamas and others, to sustain its security cooperation with Israel, which ultimately not only saves lives but also reduces the level of direct friction between the IDF and the population (not to zero, as was demonstrated on July 11 in Jenin). Israeli commanders in the field instruct their officers and soldiers to deal courteously with civilians whom they meet in the daily conduct of life at checkpoints and on patrol.


Many of the senior officers are themselves veterans – as younger officers – of the intensive clashes of 2000-04 (mistakenly referred to by many as “the second intifada,” though this was not a popular uprising but a campaign of violence conducted from above – “Mister Arafat’s War,” as Tom Friedman called it back then). They well remember the lessons learned during that period. Some have also internalized aspects of American field manuals on counterinsurgency, which bear the marks of what David Petraeus and others learned in Afghanistan and Iraq.


These policies towards the Palestinians, which are enhanced at the national level by a more generous policy on finances, trade, and infrastructure, are not universally popular. It is difficult, after all, to advocate for them while the PA continues to nurture the families of “martyrs” and jailed murderers. While some on the left see the policies as insufficiently lenient, many on the right see them as signs that the IDF has lost its edge. It now panders to the Palestinians and strives for international approval, they claim, when it should be striking hard at those who hate us. But a balanced response is not a matter of political preference, submission to international pressure, or naïve notions of who we are up against. Considerations of public image, both domestic and international, may play a secondary role, as does the long shadow of the ICC. But the choices made by the IDF and the Cabinet are rooted in Israel’s national security interests.


At the Palestinian level, these attitudes reduce tensions and offer incentives for the uninvolved to stay that way. The ideologically committed elements are relatively well-mapped in terms of intelligence coverage and are dealt with much less leniently, with impressive statistical results. Moreover, this approach enables the PA Security Services under Majid Faraj to sustain their cooperation with the IDF and the Shin Bet, which greatly reduces the load on our forces and the level of friction with the local population. This is not to say that the Palestinian security forces can now fend for themselves. They are at best half-ready, and if left to their own devices would be swept away by Hamas (as happened in Gaza in 2007). Still, the mutual support is a win-win, and it cannot be sustained in a more confrontational atmosphere.


Moreover, at the regional level, the careful management of the conflict, and the measures taken to avoid escalation, make it easier for Israel to husband the broad and robust set of relationships it has with its two peace partners: Jordan, whose stability is vital and could easily be threatened if things go wrong on the other side of the river; and Egypt, which looks upon itself as a custodian of basic Palestinian rights. The same is true, to a large extent, for other, less overt friends in the region, who share Israel’s view of the Iranian threat. For all these countries (or, rather, for their leaders), the Palestinian cause as such is not of primary importance. They cannot, however, do much business with Israel if the Arab media is flooded by visuals of clashes and casualties…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




On Topic Links


Grief and Defiance as Israel Lays 3 Members of Salomon Family, Murdered by Palestinian Terrorist, to Rest: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, July 23, 2017—Thousands of mourners gathered in the central Israeli town of Modi’in on Sunday afternoon to attend the funerals of the three members of the Salomon family murdered on Friday night by a Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank community of Halamish.

Palestinians’ Dilemma on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount: Opposing Israel or Each Other?: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, July 19, 2017—I spoke to several Fatah sources in east Jerusalem on July 17, 2017, as the “metal detector” crisis began to build, and their bottom-line is that they feel they are left alone to defend Jerusalem. They fear they may lose control of the situation; some individuals may take action on their own with serious consequences.

How Jerusalem's Top Cop Keeps the Peace: Judith Miller, Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2017—Three Arab Israelis opened fire last Friday on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, a holy site for Jews, Muslims and Christians alike. Two Israeli policemen were killed, as were the attackers.

A Time for Jewish Rage: Francis Nataf, Times of Israel, July 23, 2017—Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a moderate when it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict. I still believe in a two-state solution and I have gone so far as publicly advocating dialogue with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. I understand that along with much of the hype and irrationality, there are legitimate grievances on the other side and that it is in everyone’s best interest to think more creatively about ways to come to some sort of political solution.






Why Won't Abbas Accept "Two States for Two Peoples"?: Alan M. Dershowitz, Gatestone Institute, June 12, 2017— There is a widespread but false belief that Mahmoud Abbas is finally prepared to accept the two-state solution proposed by the U.N. in November 1947 when it divided mandatory Palestine into two areas: one for the Jewish People; the other for the Arab People.

Why Trump’s Delaying, But Won’t Forget, His Israeli Embassy Promise: Lawrence Solomon, National Post, June 5, 2017 — President Trump prevented the U.S. embassy in Israel from moving to Jerusalem last Thursday, his deadline for doing so under a U.S. law that every six months gives the president the right to thwart Congress’s desire to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Ehud Barak: Blatantly Ignoring Danger: Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen, BESA, May 31, 2017 — US President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel seems to have triggered a new campaign over the future of the Jewish people in the land of its forefathers, and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak has joined the ranks of those whose hopes for Israeli concessions in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem have been rekindled.

Six Days and 50 Years of War: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, June 2, 2017— In June 1967 Arab leaders declared their intention to annihilate the Jewish state, and the Jews decided they wouldn’t sit still for it.


On Topic Links


Ex-UN Envoy Bolton: Trump has no Chance at Ultimate Peace Deal: Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, May 29, 2017

Precursor for Victory – A Diplomatic “Iron-Dome”: Dr. Martin Sherman, Arutz Sheva, May 12, 2017

Could Israel’s Bennett Become Next Leader of the Right?: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, Apr. 28, 2017

Cutting Abbas Down to Size: Ruthie Blum, Jerusalem Post, June 11, 2017





Alan M. Dershowitz

Gatestone Institute, June 12, 2017


There is a widespread but false belief that Mahmoud Abbas is finally prepared to accept the two-state solution proposed by the U.N. in November 1947 when it divided mandatory Palestine into two areas: one for the Jewish People; the other for the Arab People. The Jews of Palestine accepted the compromise division and declared a nation state for the Jewish people to be called by its historic name: Israel. The Arabs of Palestine, on the other hand, rejected the division and declared that they would never accept a state for the Jewish people and statehood for the Palestinian people. They wanted for there not to be a state for the Jewish people more than for there to be a state for their own people.


Accordingly, they joined the surrounding Arab armies in trying to destroy Israel and drive its Jewish residents into the sea. They failed back then, but over the years, and to the current day, they continue to want no state for the Jewish people more than they want a state for Palestinian Arabs. That is why Abbas refuses to say that he would ever accept the U.N. principle of two states for two peoples. I know, because I have personally asked him on several occasions.


In a few months, Israel will be celebrating the 70th anniversary of the historic U.N. compromise, but the leaders of the Palestinian Authority still refuse to accept the principle of that resolution: two states for two peoples. President Trump, for his part, has expressed an eagerness to make "the ultimate deal" between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This has propelled discussions about the dormant peace-process back into the spotlight. Shortly before travelling to the Middle East – where he met with Prime Minister Netanyahu in Israel and President Abbas in Bethlehem – Trump invited the Palestinian leader to the White House. Abbas was last at the White House in March 2014 shortly before the Obama administration's shuttle diplomacy efforts –led by Secretary of State John Kerry – fell apart.


Leading up to his meeting with President Trump in Washington, Abbas said to a German publication: "We're ready to collaborate with him and meet the Israeli prime minister under his [Trump's] auspices to build peace." He then went on to voice his support for a two-state solution, saying, "It's high time to work on the requirements for it." This was interpreted as a willingness on Abbas' part to accept the idea of a state for the Jewish people. Generally speaking, the international community supports the idea of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with two-states for two-peoples: a state for the Jewish people alongside a state for the Palestinians. Yet presenting Mahmoud Abbas as a supporter of the two-states for two people formulation is to deny truth. The general idea of a two-state solution – which Abbas has nominally supported – does not specify that one state would be for the Jewish people and the other one for the Arabs. Over the years President Abbas has expressed a commitment to a two-state solution – stating that he supports an Arab state along the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital – but has so far refused to accept the legitimacy of a nation state for the Jews existing by its side.


Consider President Abbas' own words. In a 2003 interview he said: "I've said it before, and I'll say it again: I will never recognize the Jewishness of the state, or a 'Jewish state.'" When asked about Israel being the nation state of the Jewish people (in the context of Ehud Olmert's generous peace proposal in 2008) the PA leader said: "From a historical perspective, there are two states: Israel and Palestine. In Israel, there are Jews and others living there. This we are willing to recognize, nothing else." And in a later interview with the Al-Quds newspaper Abbas reiterated this refusal to recognize that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people: "We're not talking about a Jewish state and we won't talk about one. For us, there is the state of Israel and we won't recognize Israel as a Jewish state. I told them that this is their business and that they are free to call themselves whatever they want. But [I told them] you can't expect us to accept this."


The list of such pronouncements from the man at the head of the Palestinian Authority goes on and on. Not only has Abbas refused to accept the formulation "Jewish state," he adamantly refuses to accept the more descriptive formulation "nation state of the Jewish people." Abbas is of course committed to Palestine being a Muslim state under Sharia Law, despite the reality that Christian Palestinians constitute a significant (if forcibly shrinking) percentage of Palestinian Arabs…


Writing for the New York Times on the advent of the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War, Israel's former Ambassador to Israel, Michael Oren said: "The conflict is not about the territory Israel captured in 1967. It is about whether a Jewish state has a right to exist in the Middle East in the first place. As Mr. Abbas has publicly stated, 'I will never accept a Jewish state.'" Oren argues that until Abbas and other Palestinian leaders can say the words "two states for two peoples," no reasonable resolution will be reached…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]







Lawrence Solomon

National Post, June 5, 2017


President Trump prevented the U.S. embassy in Israel from moving to Jerusalem last Thursday, his deadline for doing so under a U.S. law that every six months gives the president the right to thwart Congress’s desire to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In denying the move, Trump lost an opportunity to determine the true intentions of the Palestinians toward Israel.


Are Palestinians willing to share Jerusalem with the Jews, as they have privately assured Trump and previous U.S. presidents? Or do they want Jerusalem entirely in Palestinian hands, and Israel wiped off the map, as they tell their people publicly in Arabic and as they depict in Palestinian schoolbooks? If Palestinians truly believe in the two-state solution — an Israeli and a Palestinian state living side by side in peace, with each having its capital in different parts of Jerusalem — they would have no principled reason to resent a U.S. embassy in an Israeli neighbourhood of Jerusalem.


Although Trump lost this opportunity to flush out the Palestinians’ true negotiating position, and in the process to please his base by fulfilling his campaign promise to move the embassy, he wisely did not do so on Thursday. Thursday was the day Trump fulfilled another campaign promise, one that is also highly important to his base and one that couldn’t wait: ripping up the Paris climate accord, which interferes with Trump’s desire to deregulate the U.S. economy. Had Trump fulfilled both promises in close proximity to each other, he would have muddled his messaging and failed to maximize the political credit that would come of honouring both. Much better to keep the Jerusalem asset in his vest pocket, and pull it out at a time and place that provides maximum political effect…


Trump sees the embassy decision, and Jerusalem’s status, as major bargaining chips in negotiating a final settlement in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He gained an additional negotiating advantage when he angrily confronted Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem with evidence that Abbas had been inciting hated against Israel, contrary to what Abbas had told Trump in their earlier meeting in Washington, D.C. “You tricked me in D.C.! You talked there about your commitment to peace, but the Israelis showed me your involvement in incitement,” Trump reportedly shouted during their meeting, stunning Abbas into silence for several minutes before he recovered his composure. Abbas’s attempt at explanations didn’t wash. Banging his fist on the table, Trump irritatedly added: “You can talk about how much you want peace, but that’s empty (rhetoric).”


Trump’s upper hand was strengthened last week when he learned how much Palestinian terrorists in Israeli jails and their families had received as incentives to attack Jews — more than US$1 billion over the last four years, paid mostly by Western aid. When the two met in Washington, Trump had specifically told Abbas to “resolve this issue,” likely having no idea of the scale of payments involved. One good reason to move the embassy soon — to determine the Palestinians’ true intentions — may no longer be necessary. Given Abbas’s duplicity towards him, and the Palestinians’ billion-dollar commitment to terrorism, Trump may feel he already knows the deal to be struck won’t come of an honest negotiation, but of an imposed settlement.


In announcing the delay in moving the embassy, the White House explained that “President Trump made this decision to maximize the chances of successfully negotiating a deal between Israel and the Palestinians, fulfilling his solemn obligation to defend America’s national security interests. But, as he has repeatedly stated his intention to move the embassy, the question is not if that move happens, but only when.”


The most logical “when” is at least a year from now, probably two or even three. First, Trump must give Abbas every opportunity to live up to the commitments to peace he has given Trump, no matter how improbable they may now seem. But Abbas will know that the clock is ticking. To win re-election and remain in power, Trump will again need the evangelical vote, for whom the embassy move is paramount. Well before the end of his first term as president, whether or not the Palestinians have proven themselves desirous of living in peace with the Jews, Trump will be able to make his move in good conscience.






Maj. Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen

BESA, May 31, 2017


US President Donald Trump’s visit to Israel seems to have triggered a new campaign over the future of the Jewish people in the land of its forefathers, and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak has joined the ranks of those whose hopes for Israeli concessions in Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem have been rekindled. In a piece published in Haaretz last week that sharply criticized author Micah Goodman’s book Catch 67: The Ideologies behind the Disagreements Tearing Israel Apart, Barak sought to weigh in on the question of whether Israel can properly defend itself in the event it withdraws from Judea and Samaria.


Barak’s answer was decisive: Israel’s refusal to separate from the Palestinians and withdraw to the 1967 lines – with certain exceptions for the big settlement blocs – is “a definite threat to the future of the Zionist project,” while the threats that may arise following a withdrawal are “military technical risks.” He was dismissive of the Right’s premise that such territorial concessions are potentially extremely dangerous, arguing that “Israel is the strongest country in the region militarily, strategically and economically and – if we craft our relations with the United States skillfully – also diplomatically.” According to Barak, if Israel succeeds in navigating the moves it is expected to pursue, it would be able to deal with any military threat that may rear its head.


But history has proven that even superpowers can fail. One needs to look no further than the Russians and the Americans in Afghanistan. Since the 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip, Israel has a clear point of reference as to the nature of the potential threat a Palestinian state may constitute. By similar logic, one can argue that what happened in the Gaza Strip – i.e., the terrorist threat it poses to the border-adjacent communities – could happen in Judea and Samaria, only this time, it would be the majority of the cities in Israel’s center and coastal plain that would be targeted.


Barak and his supporters promise that the future Palestinian state will be demilitarized. It is worth exploring whether this objective is attainable and to what extent, especially in an age when global arms proliferation is available to the highest bidder, as seen by the unabated arms smuggling to Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, and given both groups’ increasing domestic weapons production capabilities. The other approach, which Barak utterly dismisses as an unfounded right-wing view, argues that establishing and maintaining Palestinian demilitarization is essential if Israel is to maintain its ongoing security efforts and a thriving civilian presence throughout Judea and Samaria.


Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that rightists have a mixed set of ideologies, as Barak claims. That does not change the fact that the need for strategic depth on Israel’s narrow coastline was not the Right’s brainchild. In his 1978 book And Now Tomorrow, then-Labor party leader Shimon Peres wrote, “If a separate Palestinian state is established, it will be armed to the teeth. It will also have bases for the most extreme terrorist forces and they will be equipped with anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles that will endanger not only passersby but every plane and helicopter flying in Israel’s skies and every vehicle traveling on the main highways of the coastal plain. … The main problem is not agreeing on demilitarization, but upholding such an agreement in practice.”


Like many of those supporting the notion of withdrawal, Barak has based his arguments on the fact that many in the defense establishment share his views. While the numbers may be in his favor, what does it really mean? Galileo taught us that progress depends on open and critical scientific thinking. Arguing that one’s view is akin to scientific truth simply because it is the majority opinion belongs in a church or the rabbinical establishment. Neither Albert Einstein nor Nobel laureate Dan Shechtman had the support of the scientific community in the early days of their research.


We now have the opportunity to validate the expertise professed by these defense officials when they address strategic questions. Early in the 1948 War of Independence, during a situation assessment with the IDF’s General Staff, then-Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion stated that “we will adhere to the experts’ advice on the technical issues, but the experts will not have the final say on everything – that is up to the people’s representatives. It is not up to the experts to decide whether to wage war or not, and whether to defend the Negev or not.”


The same is true of the question of Israel’s future in Judea and Samaria. Experts are welcome to express their opinion, but one must remember that when it comes to this issue they are not politically impartial professionals, and unlike on technical matters, the experts are not familiar with the ins and outs of strategic issues…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    




Bret Stephens

              New York Times, June 2, 2017


In June 1967 Arab leaders declared their intention to annihilate the Jewish state, and the Jews decided they wouldn’t sit still for it. For the crime of self-preservation, Israel remains a nation unforgiven. Unforgiven, Israel’s milder critics say, because the Six-Day War, even if justified at the time, does not justify 50 years of occupation. They argue, also, that Israel can rely on its own strength as well as international guarantees to take risks for peace. This is ahistoric nonsense.


On June 4, 1967, the day before the war, Israel faced the fact that United Nations peacekeepers in Sinai, intended as a buffer with Egypt, had been withdrawn at Cairo’s insistence; that France, hitherto Israel’s ally, had imposed an arms embargo on it; and that Lyndon Johnson had failed to deliver on previous American assurances to break any Egyptian blockade of the Israeli port of Eilat. On June 5, the first day of the war, the Israeli government used three separate diplomatic channels to warn Jordan — then occupying the West Bank — not to initiate hostilities. The Jordanians ignored the warning and opened fire with planes and artillery. Some 6,000 shells landed on the western side of Jerusalem alone.


On June 19, 1967 — nine days after the end of the war — the Israeli cabinet decided it would offer the return of territories conquered from Egypt and Syria in exchange for peace, security and recognition. The Arab League categorically rejected peace with Israel at its summit in Khartoum later that year. In 1973 Egypt and Syria unleashed a devastating surprise attack on Israel, puncturing the myth of Israeli invulnerability.


It took a decade after 1967 for the Egyptian government of Anwar Sadat finally to accept Israel’s legitimacy. When he did he recovered every inch of Sinai — from Menachem Begin, Israel’s right-wing prime minister. Syria remains unreconciled.


It took another decade for Yasir Arafat’s Palestine Liberation Organization to recognize Israel and formally forswear terrorism. But its pledges were insincere. Only after the Soviet Union’s collapse and Arafat’s disastrous support for Saddam Hussein in the gulf war did the P.L.O. finally seem to get serious. It led to the Oslo Accords of 1993 and further Israeli withdrawals. In 2000, at Camp David, Israel offered Arafat a state. He rejected it. “I regret that in 2000 he missed the opportunity to bring that nation” — Palestine — “into being,” was Bill Clinton’s bitter verdict on the summit’s outcome. Within two years Arafat was calling on a million “martyrs” to march on Jerusalem.


In 2005, another right-wing Israeli government removed its soldiers, settlers and settlements from the Gaza Strip. Two years later Hamas seized control of the territory and used it to start three wars in seven years. In 2008, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered a Palestinian state in Gaza and 93 percent of the West Bank. The Palestinians rejected the proposal out of hand. This is a truncated history. Israel is not a nation of saints and has made its mistakes. The most serious of those is proliferation of West Bank settlements beyond those in historically recognized blocs. But before we fall prey to the lazy trope of “50 years of occupation,” inevitably used to indict Israel, let’s note the following:


There would have been no occupation, and no settlements, if Egypt and its allies hadn’t recklessly provoked a war. Or if the “international community” hadn’t fecklessly abandoned Israel in its desperate hours. Or if Jordan hadn’t foolishly ignored Israel’s warnings to stay out of it. Or if the Arab League hadn’t arrogantly rejected the possibility of peace. A Palestinian state would most likely exist if Arafat hadn’t adopted terrorism as the calling card of Palestinian aspirations. Or if he hadn’t rejected the offer of a state 17 years ago. Or if he hadn’t renounced his renunciation of terror.


A Palestinian state would also most likely exist if Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas — now in the 13th year of his elected four-year term — hadn’t rejected it again nine years ago, and if Gazans hadn’t turned their territory into a terrifying model of Palestinian statehood, and if the United Nations didn’t treat Hamas’s attacks on Israel as a nuisance but Israel’s self-defense as a crime against humanity.


The cover of a recent issue of The Economist purports to answer the question “Why Israel Needs a Palestinian State.” The argument isn’t wrong. It just isn’t wise. Israel needs a Palestinian state to safeguard its democratic future — in the long term. But the character of such a state matters at least as much as its mere existence. The Middle East doesn’t need another failed state in its midst. Israel doesn’t need another Hamastan on its border. Palestinians in the West Bank don’t need it over their heads. In 1967 Israel was forced into a war against enemies who then begrudged it the peace. Egypt, at least, found its Sadat. The drama of the Six-Day War will close when Palestinians find theirs.



On Topic Links


Ex-UN Envoy Bolton: Trump has no Chance at Ultimate Peace Deal: Yonah Jeremy Bob, Jerusalem Post, May 29, 2017 —There is no chance President Donald Trump will secure a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

Precursor for Victory – A Diplomatic “Iron-Dome”: Dr. Martin Sherman, Arutz Sheva, May 12, 2017—Wars usually end when failure causes one side to despair when that side has…accepted defeat, and when that defeat has exhausted its will to fight – Daniel Pipes, A New Strategy for Israeli Victory, Commentary, December 14, 2016.

Could Israel’s Bennett Become Next Leader of the Right?: Mazal Mualem, Al-Monitor, Apr. 28, 2017—When the chairman of HaBayit HaYehudi, Minister of Education Naftali Bennett, entered the polling station on the morning of April 27, he was greeted by his supporters who shouted, "Who's there? The next prime minister!"

Cutting Abbas Down to Size: Ruthie Blum, Jerusalem Post, June 11, 2017—On Thursday, Bloomberg quoted a Palestinian Authority official saying that PA President Mahmoud Abbas is willing to forgo his usual preconditions for negotiations with Israel – such as a freeze on all settlement construction – in order to give the administration in Washington “a chance to deliver.”










Celebrating Yom Haatzmaut in a World of Turmoil: Isi Leibler, Algemeiner, Apr. 30, 2017 — Israel Independence Day symbolizes the empowerment of all Jews in the wake of the most successful renaissance of a nation after two thousand years of exile.

Israel’s Birthday, Abbas and Balfour: Ruthie Blum, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017 — While Israel gears up to celebrate its 69th birthday, the Palestinian Authority is as busy as ever bemoaning the existence of the Jewish state.

The Fight for Zion: Asaf Romirowsky, BESA, Apr. 4, 2017 — For American Jews, Zionism has become a source of debate, controversy, embarrassment, and guilt as they try to come to terms with the activities of the Jewish state and its elected officials.

A Return to Israel from Egypt: More Than Geography: Allan Levine, CIJR, Apr. 27, 2017 — As our bus crossed the Gaza border back into lsrael at Rafiach after spending eight days in Egypt


On Topic Links


The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel: Jewish Virtual Library

UNESCO’s Anti-Israel Resolution Gets Least Votes Ever: UNWatch, May 2, 2017

Ex-Canadian PM Harper: Popularity of My Support for Israel Among Electorate Makes It Difficult for Trudeau to Go in Different Direction: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, May 1, 2017

Moments in History: What Led up to the Declaration of Israel: Hillel Fendel, Arutz Sheva, May 1, 2017


Isi Leibler                                          

Algemeiner, Apr. 30, 2017


Israel Independence Day symbolizes the empowerment of all Jews in the wake of the most successful renaissance of a nation after two thousand years of exile. It highlights the dramatic contrast between our status today and that of our powerless kinsmen facing doom on the eve of the Holocaust. It is not a celebration exclusively for Israelis but for Jews throughout the world. But as we celebrate, we should be under no illusions. Our remarkable status is due to our independent power and the fact that we do not rely on the goodwill of others for our survival.


The world has not changed or learnt from the tragic consequences of appeasement in the 1930’s which led to Nazi aggression and the Holocaust. Today we witness again a state of global turmoil, confronted by an evil Islamist menace which threatens to undermine the Judeo-Christian moral structures of our civilization.


Europe is in a state of near anarchy. The decision by Chancellor Merkel to open Europe to “refugees,” most of whom are anti-democratic and fiercely antisemitic, has created massive demographic and social upheaval. Conventional political parties are disintegrating and populist and radical right wing parties are on the upsurge, with governments obliged to restrict civil liberties to strengthen security.


In the US, the liberal left has still not come to terms with the fact that the populist Donald Trump was elected as their president. But he has astounded them by showing that despite his America First policy, he was not reticent in employing force to bring vicious war criminals like Assad to heel and sending a clear message to the North Koreans and Iranians that the days of Obama groveling were over.


What is the status of Jews in this insane world? Jews who remain in the diaspora have forfeited the privilege of being part of the greatest miracle of the last 2000 years: the ultimate realization of the most sacred Jewish prayers, faith and hope during endless years of exile and persecution. And today, the high cost of remaining in the diaspora is becoming all too clear. Antisemitism is at an all-time high with Jews in most European countries treated like pariahs, facing constant terror threats and in many cases requiring security forces to guard them at their synagogues and their children in their schools.


In the United States madness prevails with far left “liberal” Jews spearheading “Jewish religious” campaigns against Trump. Even mainstream groups like the ADL and sectors of the Reform movement sought to accuse Trump and his administration of either supporting or harboring antisemites. The problem with many of these Jews is that they are utterly ignorant of their Jewish heritage and view Israel through the far-left prism in which regarding it as a colonialist implant is a critical component of their DNA.


But despite this dismal picture of Diaspora Jewry, most Jews are reassured that with the existence of an empowered Jewish state always ready and willing to accept them, they will never face the horror that their ancestors experienced in Europe in the 1930’s when no country would grant them haven. But at the end of the day, it is inevitable that it will be a struggle for Jews outside of Israel to retain their identity, whether because of antisemitism or assimilation, and as their commitment to Israel diminishes, so too will their connection to the Jewish people and Judaism. Yom Haatzmaut should be more than a holiday and barbecues. We should focus on the spiritual aspects and seek to convey to younger generations that the rebirth of their nation – which so many seem to take for granted – is truly miraculous.


We need only remind ourselves of the incredible devastation that took place 75 years ago following 2000 years of wretched dispersion, persecution, expulsion and murder and climaxing with the Holocaust. We should view this in the light of our resurrected nation which has grown from 600,000 Jews in 1948 to over 6 million Jews today. We should remind ourselves that our vibrant nation state revived the sacred tongue of our ancestors and molded broken refugees and survivors from all corners of the globe into a thriving national culture. Despite being one of the smallest states in the world, Israel has created one of the most powerful global military forces which has defeated superior forces seeking its destruction and today deters its enemies.


Israel is an economic miracle with one of the most successful economies in the world, creating more startups in the technological and medical arena per capita than any other country. Over recent years, Israel has discovered vast gas fields which will make it an exporter rather than an importer of energy. And it has produced the most efficient desalinization program in the world which enabled it to overcome the water shortage and provide assistance to other nations.


Never in their wildest dreams could those who survived the Holocaust ever have imagined the miraculous success of the recreated nation state based primarily on refugees from Eastern European pogroms, Nazism or Arab persecution. It was a wise decision, reflecting compassion and insight, to directly precede Yom Haatzmaut with Yom Hazikaron, a day to commemorate those who sacrificed their lives in defense of our homeland. Above all, as we celebrate we should pledge to ensure that as a nation we must continue strengthening ourselves militarily, economically and socially. The reason for our extraordinary success in nation-building flows from our inner strength and determination.


Israel today has been blessed with an American leader who is deeply sensitive to Jews and has displayed unprecedented support for Israel. We should seek to continue improving our relationship with the Trump administration and cooperate with his efforts to renew peace negotiations. We can hopefully progress toward reaching an accommodation on the settlements, annexing the Golan and have Washington formally recognize Jerusalem as our capital by relocating its embassy.


Where appropriate, we should continue building both covert and open alliances even with countries traditionally hostile towards us who share the common threat facing the region from the Iranian terror state. Despite living in a region where barbarism is rampant and facing threats from religious fanatics pledged to our destruction, Israel has never been as strong and secure as it is today. We have every reason to count our blessings, rejoice and give thanks to the Almighty. Chag Sameach.    





Ruthie Blum       

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 30, 2017


While Israel gears up to celebrate its 69th birthday, the Palestinian Authority is as busy as ever bemoaning the existence of the Jewish state. PA President Mahmoud Abbas does not admit to this, however, particularly when speaking to members of the administration in Washington. The last thing he wants at this moment is to have his invitation to the White House rescinded. He also hopes to continue to manipulate the US State Department into playing the shuttle diplomacy game as a means of keeping himself relevant and blaming Israel for any lack of progress on the peace front.


But even his upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump, scheduled for May 3, did not deter the aging rejectionist from reiterating his threat to sue Britain for the Balfour Declaration, the November 2, 1917, letter sent by British foreign secretary Arthur Balfour to Jewish community leader Walter Rothschild, stating, “His Majesty’s government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.” This week, the PA received written confirmation from the British government that no apology for the “historic” Balfour Declaration would be issued. “We are proud of our role in creating the State of Israel,” it declared. “The task now is to encourage moves towards peace.”


The Palestinian campaign to criminalize the Balfour Declaration was launched last summer, with Abbas announcing plans to engage in an international campaign against the United Kingdom. At the end of June, PA Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki attended the Arab League summit in Mauritania – in place of Abbas, whose brother had just died in Qatar – and conveyed his bereaved boss’s message to the Muslim-Arab honchos gathered in Nouakchott: the PA intended to file a lawsuit against Britain for the Balfour Declaration and wanted to enlist the support and assistance of their brethren in this endeavor. A few months later, in September, Abbas demanded an apology for the document in his address to the UN General Assembly, as the UK and Israel began preparations to mark its centennial in 2017.


In a piece in The Washington Post in October, chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat called the Balfour Declaration the “symbolic beginning of the denial of our rights.” He failed to mention that it is actually the leaders in the West Bank and Gaza who have ever denied the Arabs of the PA their rights. Well before the Six Day War, when the term “Palestinian people” was coined, Arabs rejected the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine – the original “two-state solution.” They have been refusing to reach any peaceful arrangement with Israel since then.


The end result is on display for all to see. Israel has spent nearly seven decades building a booming democratic country, while the Arabs of Palestine have frittered away the time by engaging in acts of destruction. Yes, as the Jewish state marks 69 years since its establishment, 50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem and 100 years since the Balfour Declaration, the PA is threatening to take Britain to court. Let Trump be reminded of this before hosting Abbas in the Oval Office and listening to his lies. The rest of us should take a break from discussions of war and peace to toast Balfour – and Israel’s success in a region otherwise characterized by failure.            






Asaf Romirowsky                                                          

BESA, Apr. 4, 2017


For American Jews, Zionism has become a source of debate, controversy, embarrassment, and guilt as they try to come to terms with the activities of the Jewish state and its elected officials. Consequently, many seek to detach themselves from what used to embody the core of Jewish identity. A case in point is Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), a pro-BDS Jewish group that uses its “Jewishness” to validate its cause.


While JVP’s desire to persuade the Israeli government to change its policies is legitimate, the growing strength of the BDS movement at large makes the demise of the two-state solution ever more likely. JVP’s executive director, Rebecca Vilkomerson, is notorious for her hard leftist views, as illustrated in her Washington Post op-ed entitled “I’m Jewish, and I want people to boycott Israel.” So strong is JVP’s antipathy to Israel that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has called it “the largest and most influential Jewish anti-Zionist group” in the US. Yet the true essence of Zionism lies in its ability to encapsulate both religious and secular Jewish identities. The current challenge is to identify the component of renewal. The Zionist enterprise did not end with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Each generation must redefine Zionism as it is relevant to them.


Theodor Herzl famously wrote in his diary, “Were I to sum up the [1897] Basel Congress in a word – which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly – it would be this: ‘At Basel, I founded the Jewish State. If I said this out loud today, I would be answered by universal laughter. If not in five years, certainly in fifty, everyone will know it.’” The difference between Herzl’s generation and post-1948 generations was a first-hand understanding of what the absence of a Jewish state means for Jewish survival. The state represents the difference between autonomy and servility, indeed between life and death. But today’s millennial generation has no memory of a time when Israel did not exist or was ever on the “right side of history.”


Given the wedge that has been pushed between Zionism and Judaism, one might even suggest that were Herzl to raise the question of a Jewish homeland today, he might not receive support. The irony is that what initially led Zionist leaders to bond over the idea of a homeland was the growing threat of antisemitism. Today, even as antisemitism is on the rise around the world, anti-Zionism is often viewed as legitimate criticism.


Abba Eban dispelled this notion eloquently, stating, “There is no difference whatever between antisemitism and the denial of Israel’s statehood. Classical antisemitism denies the equal right of Jews as citizens within society. Anti-Zionism denies the equal rights of the Jewish people its lawful sovereignty within the community of nations. The common principle in the two cases is discrimination.”


But with the popularity of the BDS movement’s crusade against Israel, some American Jews on the left have placed other Jews beyond the pale, as people who cannot be debated due to their abominable views. Moreover, an insidious double standard applies: Jewish organizations like Hillel must include anti-Israel voices or be deemed intolerant or racist. Jewish intellectuals must engage in dialogue with BDS representatives or other Palestinian advocates who demand the ethnic cleansing of Israel, lest they be called cowards and be subjected to insults. And now, leading American Jewish intellectuals have adopted the rhetoric and methods of BDS, to be applied to Jews only. Perhaps the next move will be to follow the Palestinian lead and charge Israelis in international courts.


Individuals like Peter Beinart, in his book The Crisis of Zionism, purport to offer so-called “tough love,” an approach that is supposedly required to curb the alleged expansion of the “occupation.” Driven by guilt, Beinart has embraced the left’s move to distance itself from Israel and the Zionist enterprise at large. For Beinart, the answer is a “Zionist” boycott of Israeli settlements and products. Beinart, like many post-Zionists and revisionists, only opposes the “occupation,” which leads him to place all the onus for the lingering Palestinian-Israeli problem on Israel. In this distorted narrative, Israel is largely to blame for the collapse of the Oslo/Camp David process of the 1990s-2000s and for the subsequent failures to revive the peace process. But the centrality of the “settlements” is an empty issue. It deflects from the core problem that truly obstructs a negotiated settlement: the Palestinians’ century-long rejection of a sovereign Jewish state.


There is little debate that there will be a redistribution of land in the event that a peace agreement is achieved. Most of the bargaining will be about whether these exchanges will take the shape of a total phased Israeli withdrawal, or an exchange of land annexing the more populous Israeli towns to Israel for other land in the Jordan Valley or Negev Desert. But this must be left to the parties to decide, not imposed by outside powers or guilt-ridden American Jews.


Anti-Zionist American Jews have found Israeli counterparts even in the Knesset. This was on display at the AIPAC Policy Conference in late March, at which Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, whose trip to the conference had been paid by AIPAC, decided to join a protest outside the conference. At the protest, organized by the Jewish anti-establishment group IfNotNow, demonstrators held up signs reading “Reject AIPAC” and “Reject Occupation.” Zandberg justified her decision to participate by saying, “there is no greater deed of patriotism than opposing the occupation.”


Stronger Zionist anchors are needed within the Jewish community to overcome the guilt over Israel’s existence rather than its actions. Collective historical memory is absent from today’s discourse on Zionism, especially in America. While there are Zionists on the left and right who still appreciate Jewish history and believe in Jewish destiny, Zionist renewal outside Zion is needed. There is a serious need to teach and appreciate both Herzl’s Zionism and “Start-Up Zionism” if the dream is to be kept alive.




A RETURN TO ISRAEL FROM EGYPT: MORE THAN GEOGRAPHY                                                  

Allan Levine                                                                                                                    

CIJR, Apr. 27, 2017


As our bus crossed the Gaza border back into Israel at Rafiach after spending eight days in Egypt, on an Academic Study Mission of American Professors for Peace in the Middle East, I was filled with a sense of relief and joy knowing we had returned to Israel and deeply moved at the sight of "green" Israel and the realization that we were "home again" and secure. I was happy at seeing young Israeli men and women soldiers at the border and those who climbed aboard our bus to welcome us. Part of their routine was, of course, checking under our bus and under our seats and in the overhead, to be sure there were no bombs or explosives on board that might endanger us or anyone else. It was the Eve of Purim, 1985.


Young, friendly, tense, citizen soldiers.


In home spun costumes whose originality

   tells us much more than uniforms and

Absence of militarism and alone

   can convey,


They peek in and under, check our bus


Patient, pleasant

   and serious.


Knowing too well the cost of smuggled danger,

   and the daily price they pay

For fresh food and water, freedom,

    self-government and civil society.


And we applaud the flowers

   anemone, goldenrod and narcissus fields full,

Telling us

   welcome home.



Allan Levine is Professor Emeritus – Psychology, Los Angeles Valley College and

 contributor to the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research


CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Happy Yom Ha’atzmaut!





On Topic Links


The Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel: Jewish Virtual Library—On the day the British Mandate over Palestine expired – Friday, May 14, 1948 – the Jewish People's Council gathered at the Tel Aviv Museum to declare the establishment of the State of Israel. There is no record of who attended the meeting, but 350 invitations were sent out instructing the recipients to keep the information secret.

UNESCO’s Anti-Israel Resolution Gets Least Votes Ever: UNWatch, May 2, 2017—“Israel lost the vote today, but it did score a small moral victory: despite reported fears that Germany’s negotiations with the Palestinians would erode support, Israel in the end won more votes than ever before, including from major democracies like the U.S., Britain, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch.

Ex-Canadian PM Harper: Popularity of My Support for Israel Among Electorate Makes It Difficult for Trudeau to Go in Different Direction: Ben Cohen, Algemeiner, May 1, 2017—Former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Sunday that the pro-Israel stand he took while in office has made his successor, Justin Trudeau, cautious about moving in a different direction.

Moments in History: What Led up to the Declaration of Israel: Hillel Fendel, Arutz Sheva, May 1, 2017—As Israel's Independence Day arrives – its 69th edition is celebrated on Tuesday, May 2 – let's face it: Not everyone knows exactly what happened when. Ask a given millennial how Israel arose, and as likely as not, the answer will be, "Uh, we were in exile for 2,000 years and then the British left and we had a State."






















The Palestinians Don’t Want a Mandela, They Want Another Arafat: Jonathan S. Tobin, JNS, Apr. 25, 2017— Palestinian internal politics and liberal hostility to Israel came together at the New York Times this month.

Exploited by the Enemy: David M. Weinberg, Israel Hayom, Apr. 21, 2017— Two Gazan women were caught smuggling explosives into Israel for Hamas on Wednesday.

Rising Tensions in Gaza after PA Cuts Salaries: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, Apr. 12, 2017 — The State Department published a travel warning on April 11 that called on all U.S. citizens to evacuate Gaza immediately, and to be careful in the West Bank and in Israel.

Palestinians' Real Enemies: Arabs: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 17, 2017— Palestinians living in refugee camps in the Arab world are facing ethnic cleansing, displacement, and death — but their leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are too busy tearing each other to pieces to notice or even, apparently, care much.


On Topic Links


Who is Marwan Barghouti?: Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, JCPA, Apr. 19, 2017

PA Tells Israel it Will No Longer Pay for Gaza’s Electricity: Dov Lieber, Times of Israel, Apr. 27, 2017

A Palestinian State or an Islamist Tyranny?: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 26, 2017

Gaza: Let Their People Go!: Dr. Martin Sherman, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 21, 2017




THEY WANT ANOTHER ARAFAT                         

Jonathan S. Tobin                                    

                                                 JNS, Apr. 25, 2017


Palestinian internal politics and liberal hostility to Israel came together at the New York Times this month. The newspaper provoked a firestorm of criticism through its decision to publish an article on the eve of Passover authored by Marwan Barghouti, the imprisoned mastermind of a Second Intifada terror campaign, without mentioning that he is currently serving five life terms for the murder of civilians. But a more important discussion got lost amid the outrage about media bias. The question to be asked about this episode is not whether terrorism is significant enough to be worthy of mention, but why Barghouti is a likely candidate to succeed Mahmoud Abbas as head of the Palestinian Authority (PA).


Barghouti is currently leading a hunger strike by Palestinian security prisoners in Israel jails. But the real motive for this gesture is promoting Barghouti’s desire to replace the 81-year-old Abbas. Given that Israel has as little interest in releasing Barghouti as Abbas does in having a new election — the current PA leader is serving the 12th year of the four-year presidential term to which he was elected — it’s not clear how he’ll pull off that trick. But the real issue here is the reason for Barghouti’s popularity among supporters of the peace process is very different from the reason for his high standing among Palestinians.


The New York Times promoted Barghouti on its pages because editors of that newspaper have bought into the notion that he is the Palestinian Nelson Mandela. While a narrative that paints Israel as an “apartheid state” is a lie, the Mandela analogy is equally false. Mandela did support violence against the apartheid regime in South Africa, but only because all democratic and non-violent avenues to promote change were blocked. The same point applies to comparisons between Barghouti and others who were terrorists before leading countries to independence, such as Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta, and even Israel’s Menachem Begin, who commanded the pre-state Irgun Zvai Leumi underground forces before signing a peace treaty with Egypt. (The Irgun directed terror activities at the British and their facilities, not civilians as Barghouti did.)


By contrast, acting on Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat’s orders, Barghouti undertook his terror rampage that contributed to a death toll of more than 1,000 Jews years after peace had supposedly been agreed upon in the Oslo Accords. It was also an answer to former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s offer of an independent Palestinian state. Rather than an attempt to force negotiations, Barghouti’s terror was part of an effort to destroy hope for peace and coexistence.


Of course, it is possible — at least in theory — for Barghouti to become the man Jewish liberals would like him to be were he ever put in power. But the problem with that exercise in wishful thinking also collides with the reason why he is so popular among Palestinians. Part of his appeal lies in the fact that he’s been in prison for the last 15 years, while the rest of his Fatah party’s corrupt leadership has been running the West Bank like mafia chieftains. Even though there’s no reason to think a former Arafat aide like Barghouti will be different, like the equally corrupt and more fanatical Hamas rulers of Gaza, the current PA leadership is entirely discredited.


But Barghouti’s popularity rests on more than just the fact that he isn’t Abbas. Throughout the century-long Palestinian Arab war on Zionism, the political bona fides of that movement’s leaders have always rested on a resume including violence against Jews, not good government or a vision of independence and peace. Barghouti’s credentials rest solely on the fact that he is responsible for the deaths of Jewish men, women and children during the intifada. The political culture of the Palestinians — which is reinforced by a media and an education system promoting hatred of Jews and glorifying terrorism — is what makes Barghouti look good to the Arab street, not the hope he will rise above a record of wanton slaughter.


The reason why Abbas has been incapable of making peace, even if he really is a moderate, is that he understands Palestinians see any recognition of the legitimacy of a Jewish state — no matter where its borders are drawn — as a betrayal. The same factor argues that a man with Barghouti’s record will be expected to pursue more violence rather than become a Mandela. If the last quarter century has taught us anything, it is that the Palestinians don’t want a Mandela in the person of a transformed Barghouti. What they want is another Arafat.                              





David M. Weinberg                                                                

Israel Hayom, Apr. 21, 2017


Two Gazan women were caught smuggling explosives into Israel for Hamas on Wednesday. The sisters hid the material in medical supplies as they headed to Jerusalem for cancer treatment.  Last month, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan revealed that Hamas was using Gazan cancer patients to smuggle money and gold into Israel to finance terror operations.

Everyone remembers Wafa Samir Ibrahim al-Biss, the 21-year-old woman from Gaza who, in 2005, was caught with 10 kilograms of explosives in her underwear, en route to blow up Soroka Medical Center in Beersheba, where she was being treated for burns. She admitted to being recruited by the Fatah military wing Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. She admitted that she had wanted to target as many Israeli children in the hospital as possible.


Despite the security risk, Israel allows tens of thousands of Palestinians to leave the Gaza Strip every year for medical treatment in Israel (and in the West Bank and Jordan). I know this firsthand. For a decade, I served as a public affairs and development officer at the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer, the largest hospital in Israel. At any given time, a quarter of all patients in that institution's Edmond and Lily Safra Children's Hospital are Arabs from Gaza.


Treating these children from enemy Hamastan is a complex humanitarian commitment that stems from compassion ingrained in Jewish history and tradition. The doctors and administrators at Sheba (and other Israeli hospitals who offer similar care to Palestinians from the West Bank, to Syrian refugees, and, quietly, to Arabs from across the Middle East) are very proud of their efforts. But it hurts when wicked forces exploit this professionalism and good will for nefarious purposes and when they abuse our humanitarian generosity for terror.


I was an eyewitness to the following sordid tale: Several years ago, an 8-year-old Palestinian child was ill with a rare form of cancer and was clearly going to die without a bone marrow transplant. Sheba, where he was being treated, worked hard to obtain permission to enter Gaza and test the child's relatives. The doctors found an 18-year-old brother who was an almost perfect bone marrow match. The problem was that Israeli authorities didn't want to grant him entry into Israel for the operation, because he was a Hamas activist with ties to known terrorist operatives.


A number of doctors at the hospital successfully petitioned the Defense Ministry to grant special dispensation to allow him into Israel to save his little brother's life. The older brother arrived late one Friday afternoon. The doctors began the delicate procedure. They had a 24-hour window to suppress the child's immune system, harvest the bone marrow from the donor brother, and transplant. But at midnight on Friday, when it was time for the donor brother to do his part, he was nowhere to be found. Disappeared! The doctors were beside themselves. A nurse said she had seen two Shin Bet security agents come and take him away. This was a death sentence for the sick child.


What do you do in the middle of the night? The hospital director called the Prime Minister's Office (which oversees the security services), demanding to know where the donor was. Within two hours, a senior security official came on the line and admitted that the Shin Bet had taken him away. You see, the Shin Bet had taken precautions and eavesdropped on his cell phone conversations, and had heard this young Palestinian terrorist giving instructions to his Hamas handlers in Gaza on how to get past the security at Sheba Medical Center and blow the place up.


The end of the story is that, despite this outrage, the hospital director asked that the young terrorist be returned to the hospital for a few hours to save the child's life. The Shin Bet brought him back at 4 a.m. in leg irons, and the doctors indeed managed to save his young brother's life. The 18-year-old terrorist was then whisked away again.


Needless to say, this story makes the blood boil. It stings to be taken advantage of by radical Palestinians; to act with humanity and compassion, while our enemies act with inhumanity and cruelty. While we are isolated and demonized, the demons are actually those who would blow up an Israeli hospital that goes out of its way to treat Palestinians, and even Hamas family members. The story breeds Israeli indignation, rightfully and righteously so.


It also adds to our chagrin about being unappreciated by the world. Had I had told this story to a senior foreign journalist — something that wasn't possible at the time — like The New York Times' correspondent in Israel, do you think the paper would have run the story? Do you think the paper would have made such a story — sympathetic to Israel and severely unflattering to Palestinians — a front-page feature? Not likely. I can say from years of experience as a professional spokesman for Israeli medical, academic, defense and diplomatic institutions just how difficult it is to get a story into a newspaper that doesn't fit the conventional, politically correct line about Israel being the villain and the Palestinians the victim.


A direct line runs between this bias and the op-ed by Palestinian "leader and parliamentarian" Marwan Barghouti published in The New York Times this week. That paper never would have run an op-ed by a convicted Taliban or al-Qaida terrorist sitting in Guantanamo Bay, and certainly not without correctly labeling him as a convicted mass murderer. So why didn't The New York Times brand Barghouti in this way? Because doing so would be severely unflattering to the Palestinian national movement, and by inference too sympathetic to Israel.                         



RISING TENSIONS IN GAZA AFTER PA CUTS SALARIES                                                                                

Pinhas Inbari                                                                                                                  

JCPA, Apr. 12, 2017


The State Department published a travel warning on April 11 that called on all U.S. citizens to evacuate Gaza immediately, and to be careful in the West Bank and in Israel. It put special emphasis on the volatile situation in Gaza. In Gaza, there are old tensions that are under control, especially between Hamas and ISIS. Hamas does not hesitate to employ force against ISIS, while at the same time maintaining a level of cooperation in Sinai.


New developments that may trigger deterioration and that may be the reason behind the travel warning involve the on-going protest demonstrations by PA employees whose salaries have been reduced by 30% after a decision by PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah’s government in Ramallah. These are the employees that served the Palestinian Authority before Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, who were ordered to stay home by the PA in order not to recognize the Hamas regime as legal. So, they were getting salaries while staying home. The reason why Ramallah continued to pay them was to employ them in street demonstrations until Hamas falls. This did not happen because of Hamas’ notorious excess use of force to crush any demonstrations, as it proved recently in crushing the demonstrations protesting the lack of reliable electricity.


According to Fatah sources in Ramallah, when President Abbas decided to take this step, he had in mind to stir the emotions of Gazans against Hamas and in a way revive the recent electricity-shortage protests that were directed against Hamas. Senior Fatah officials in Ramallah who are of Gaza origin, such as Rawhi Fatuh, warned Abbas against taking this line of action, but were ignored. And indeed, when the PA employees in Gaza gathered for the angry protest, they did not direct their blame at Hamas but at Rami Hamdallah, the PA prime minister, whose government decreed the 1/3 salary reduction, calling for him to “go” in slogans copied from Egypt’s Tahrir Square demonstrations against Egyptian President Mubarak.


At this stage, they did not formally direct blame at Abbas because they did not want to risk the rest of their salaries, but already this demand began to appear as well. The Palestinian budget is indeed in chronic deficit, which during President Obama’s time was covered by emergency handouts including on Obama’s last day in office, but the Trump presidency has changed the U.S. attitude dramatically. The British Brexit and the PA’s quarrel with London about the Balfour Declaration caused a reduction in the transfer of British funds as well.


The British are major stakeholders in the training and support of the PA security forces and the decrease in British interest in Palestinian affairs caused Abbas to ask Pakistan to step in and perhaps replace the British in this realm. Secretary of State John Kerry, during his last visit to the Middle East, asked Saudi Arabia to fulfill its commitment to the PA budget, but Abbas’ visit to Beirut killed any possibility of Saudi Arabia considering the resumption of the steady payments of the past. So while no one can argue that austerity measures are needed, why only in Gaza? Why not also in the West Bank? The demonstrators and the PLO organizations in Gaza that sympathized with them slammed Ramallah for deepening the separation between Gaza and Ramallah. In the past when salaries were not paid on time in the West Bank, and the head of the government employees union, Bassam Zakarneh, demanded that Abbas balance PA expenditures by cutting his travel budget, he was immediately sent to jail for sabotaging the statehood project.


I visited Ramallah at that time and senior PA officials told me that Zakarneh represented the opposition to Ramallah’s rule in the city of Jenin. Jenin was and still is considered as closer to Mohamed Dahlan than Mahmoud Abbas. I saw Zakarneh in the office of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s office; Fayyad was another Dahlan ally who was deposed as prime minster by the pro-Abbas Fatah movement. The PA’s policy was to allow this kind of protest to be carried out far from Ramallah – like the teachers’ protests in Nablus. When the teachers tried to enter Ramallah, PA security forces blocked them on the roads. The reason is clear – to avoid creating the effect of Tahrir Square in Ramallah.


After a few days without any reaction from the West Bank, as an apparent sign that the West Bankers actually did not care about Gaza, NGOs in Ramallah planned to organize a large demonstration, but PA security forces intervened immediately and threatened the organizers, who agreed to conduct a limited demonstration in front of Hamdallah office. We can see the leader of the NGO community, Mustafa Barghouti, in the front line of this demonstration. The NGOs also understand the PA’s budgetary constraints, but they demanded not to cut the salaries and not to single out Gaza. They called to reduce security expenses and to abolish security coordination with the IDF.


There is a conspiracy theory circulating now in Ramallah among the NGO community that the singling out of Gaza employee was a result of the recent Arab League meeting in Jordan. According to this theory, the Arab states are pressuring Abbas to yield to Israeli demands to accept “provisional borders,” and the final separation from Gaza is only the first step. This theory corresponds with an earlier declaration by Hamas of establishing “a committee to manage Gaza affairs” which is, in practical terms, a government of Hamas, far from the “unity government” led by Hamdallah. The bottom line: both Ramallah and Gaza are practicing a policy of deepening the separation, with each side organizing its rule within its borders. Facing its budgetary problems, the PA is obliged to make cuts. They did it first in Gaza with the hope that the waves of anger would swallow Hamas, but their anger was directed toward Ramallah.         



PALESTINIANS' REAL ENEMIES: ARABS                                                                             

Khaled Abu Toameh                                                                                           

Gatestone Institute, Apr. 17, 2017


Palestinians living in refugee camps in the Arab world are facing ethnic cleansing, displacement, and death — but their leaders in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are too busy tearing each other to pieces to notice or even, apparently, care much. Between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas, it looks as if they are competing for the worst leadership, not the best. Clearly, neither regime gives a damn about the plight of their people in the Arab world. PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who is scheduled to visit Washington in the coming weeks for his first meeting with US President Donald Trump, spends most of his time abroad. There is hardly a country in the world that he has not visited since he assumed office in January 2005.


Hamas, for its part, is too occupied with hunting down Palestinians suspected of "collaboration" with Israel, and arming its members as massively as possible for war with Israel, to spend much time on the well-being of the two million people living under its thumb in the Gaza Strip. Hamas does have resources: its money is otherwise designated, however, to digging attack tunnels into Israel and smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip.


The globetrotting Abbas, treated to red-carpet receptions wherever he shows up, has no time to attend to his miserable people in the Arab countries. Abbas devotes more than 90 percent of his speeches to denunciations of Israel, uttering barely a word about the atrocities committed against his people in Syria, Lebanon, Libya and Iraq. The 82-year-old PA president is, as always, fully preoccupied with political survival. Abbas's real enemies are his critics, such as estranged Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan, and Hamas. Abbas is currently focused on undermining Dahlan and preventing Hamas from taking control of the West Bank. In the past few years, Abbas has also demonstrated an obsession with isolating and delegitimizing Israel in the international arena. For him, this mission is more sacred than saving the lives of Palestinians.


Notably, neither Abbas's Palestinian Authority nor Hamas dares to criticize Arab countries for their mistreatment of Palestinians. In this, they are nothing if not savvy: critics in Arab states pay an extremely nasty price for forthrightness. Consider for a moment the agenda of the recent Arab League summit in Jordan. This monumental meeting was conspicuously silent on the plight of Palestinians in Arab lands. The Arab heads of state and monarchs do not like to be reminded of how badly they treat Palestinians and subject them to discriminatory and apartheid laws. Beneath the public Arab support for the Palestinians rests a ruthless policy of oppression that is largely ignored by Palestinian leaders, the international community and mainstream Western media.


This apathy has turned Palestinians in the Arab countries into easy prey. The Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, which once housed nearly one million Palestinians, stands almost empty after six years of Syria's civil war. Most of the camp's houses have been damaged or destroyed in the fighting between the Syrian army, Palestinian factions, ISIS terrorists and Syrian opposition groups. More than 3,400 Palestinians have been killed in Syria since the beginning of the civil war. Thousands of Palestinians are believed to be held in various Syrian government prisons. Another 80,000 have fled Syria to neighboring countries.


In nearby Lebanon, the conditions of Palestinians are no better. Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon, home to nearly half a million people, were long ago turned into ghettos surrounded by the Lebanese security forces. In recent years, the camps have become battlefields for rival Palestinian gangs and other terrorists, many of whom are affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIS. About 10 years ago, the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in northern Lebanon was shelled by the Lebanese army; most of its houses were destroyed. Tens of thousands of Palestinians were forced to flee the camp; hundreds were killed and wounded after a Palestinian terror leader, Shaker al-Absi, and his men launched a series of deadly attacks on Lebanese targets, and the Lebanese army assaulted the camp. Before they were attacked by the Lebanese army, Al-Absi and his men had barricaded themselves inside the camp, using civilians as human shields…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]




On Topic Links


Who is Marwan Barghouti?: Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, JCPA, Apr. 19, 2017—Marwan Barghouti is “a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian,” said the New York Times at the end of Barghouti’s op-ed on April 17th. Following the uproar that this description caused, the NYT editor added a note: “This article explained the writer’s prison sentence but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Mr. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction and legitimacy.”

PA Tells Israel it Will No Longer Pay for Gaza’s Electricity: Dov Lieber, Times of Israel, Apr. 27, 2017—The Palestinian Authority on Thursday informed Israel it would no longer pay for electricity that the Jewish state supplies to the Gaza Strip, as a power crisis in the Hamas-run enclave deepened.

A Palestinian State or an Islamist Tyranny?: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 26, 2017 —From the United Nations to the European Union and the mainstream press, it seems that the Jews living in Judea and Samaria are the obstacle for the Middle East coexistence. But have these well-known "observers" really observed what is going on in the areas self-governed by the Palestinian Authority, and that two-thirds of the world's nations want to turn into another Arab-Islamic state?

Gaza: Let Their People Go!: Dr. Martin Sherman, Arutz Sheva, Apr. 21, 2017—“If the borders opened for one hour, 100,000 young people would leave Gaza”  –  Rashid al-Najja, vice dean, Gaza’s Al-Azhar University…





















Rebooting US Foreign Policy in the Middle East: Zvi Mazel, Jerusalem Post, Apr. 2, 2017— The Obama years were a curious blend of isolationism and limited interventions.

Arab Upheaval and Trump: Prof. Eyal Zisser, Israel Hayom, Apr. 4, 2017— The Arab pilgrimage to the White House is now officially underway, following Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's meeting with U.S. President's Donald Trump in Washington on Monday.

The Coming Middle East Crisis After ISIS is Gone: Ralph Peters, New York Post, Mar. 12, 2017 — The Islamic State caliphate is dying a well-deserved death.

Israel, Escalation, and a Nuclear War in the Middle East: Louis René Beres, Israel Defense, Mar. 14, 2017 — Left to themselves, neither suitably deterred nor adequately disarmed, enemies of Israel could one day bring the Jewish State face-to-face with the measureless torments of Dante's Inferno, "Into the eternal darkness, into fire, into ice."


On Topic Links


American Re-Engagement in the Middle East 3.0: Eric R. Mandel, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 14, 2017

Will Obama’s Foreign Policy Wizards Save Trump?: Lee Smith, Tablet, Mar. 15, 2017

How Middle East Terrorism Affects India (Video): Daniel Pipes, India Foundation, Mar. 15, 2017

Know Thine Enemy: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 16, 2017



REBOOTING US FOREIGN POLICY IN THE MIDDLE EAST                                                       

Zvi Mazel                                                                                         

Jerusalem Post, Apr. 2, 2017


The Obama years were a curious blend of isolationism and limited interventions.  American troops were not pulled out of Afghanistan and there was a relentless fight against terrorist organizations in the Middle East by way of drones and bombing raids. Small groups of elite forces were dispatched to Syria and Libya for intelligence gathering and advisory purposes only. What was missing was a global strategy which could have stopped the Middle East descent into chaos. The vacuum thus created gave free rein to Iran’s both open and stealthy penetration efforts; it also brought back Russia.


Moscow has now almost regained the positions held by the Soviet Union in Syria and Egypt and is strengthening its hold on Libya. A similar lack of decisive American resolve allowed China to adopt increasingly aggressive tactics in South China Sea and enabled Russia’s annexation of Crimea and division of Ukraine. The question is whether the Trump administration is willing and able to embark on a policy of active intervention, especially in the Middle East, to defuse threats and bring a measure of stability. It might be too late, however, to dislodge well-entrenched intruders that timely measures would have kept out.


America has a long history of vacillating between isolationism and aggressive foreign policy, and yet its intervention was decisive in ensuring the triumph of democratic regimes in two world wars, as well as in the lengthy Cold War. This was not Obama’s way. He mostly shunned active intervention, often at the price of losing the American power of dissuasion. Yet during his presidency, the Middle East went through one of its most violent periods since the end of World War I and the emergence of new states following the Sykes-Picot Agreement. A revival of radical Sunni Islam rivaled Iran’s efforts to export its Shi’ite revolution and led to gradual destabilization, a process escalated by the Arab Spring in 2011.


What started as the spontaneous demand for freedom and democracy ended in the strengthening of Islamic extremism, bringing about the demise of Arab nation states that had formed the backbone of the region. Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia and, to a lesser measure, Lebanon are no longer functioning. America was strangely absent while its allies in the region were bearing the brunt of the devastating process, leading to its inability to act as an effective deterrent on the world stage and the very real risk of a rogue state or organization making use of weapons of mass destruction, such as the chemical weapons used in Syria.


Obama refused to help the Green Movement, which took to the streets throughout Iran in 2009 to protest massive fraud in the presidential election. He did nothing while the regime gained back control of the nation using extreme brutality, ultimately defeating the people, tightening its grip on the country and putting an end to any hope of change. Although Iran is busy promoting its Shi’ite revolution and threatening the stability of Sunni regimes while calling for the destruction of Israel, Obama entered into a nuclear agreement with Tehran that will not prevent the country from creating weapons after the terms of the accord expire, and it does not address the ongoing development of missiles that could be equipped with nuclear warheads.


In Egypt, Obama abandoned Mubarak, his longtime strategic ally, and called on him to resign, transferring his support to the Muslim Brotherhood, although he knew, or should have known, that they were bent on setting up an Islamic dictatorship – a goal they achieved with disastrous results that the present regime is still fighting to correct. He encouraged Europe to get rid of Muammar Gaddafi, promising to “lead from behind” and supplying weapons and ammunitions for bombing raids – and then left Europe to deal with the shambles: a civil war in Libya and a stream of refugees from Africa, as well as Russian penetration that could threaten southern Europe.


He refrained from giving his support to the Syrian uprising in 2011, though arming the moderate Sunni insurgents before Jihadi groups moved in might have toppled Assad, cutting off Iran from its Hezbollah proxy in Lebanon. Indeed, he let Assad get away with breaching a succession of so-called “redlines” – including the use of chemical weapons.


The premature withdrawal of American troops from Iraq made it possible for ISIS to establish itself while the Iraqi army crumbled. Setting up a coalition of Western and Arab countries to fight the terrorist organization by means of sending planes to bomb its forces was taking the easy way out, to avoid putting boots on the ground. It was obvious from the very beginning that it was imperative to destroy ISIS while it was still too weak to resist, and the fighting today in Mosul and Raqqa, and the toll on the civilian populations, clearly display the price to be paid by not acting in time…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]






Prof. Eyal Zisser                                                              

Israel Hayom, Apr. 4, 2017


The Arab pilgrimage to the White House is now officially underway, following Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi's meeting with U.S. President's Donald Trump in Washington on Monday. Jordan's King Abdullah will then arrive in Washington on Wednesday, followed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas later this month. One would be hard-pressed to overestimate the value in these meetings. After all, el-Sissi avoided visiting the White House during Barack Obama's presidency, or more precisely, Obama did not invite him to visit. No wonder, then, that Egypt rejoiced Monday in light of what has been described by Cairo as "Trump's sun shining anew on Egypt-U.S. relations after many years of darkness."


Thus Washington returns to playing a central role in the Middle East, as befits a world power with a significant military presence in the region that provides billions of dollar in assistance to many Arab states. This also serves to insert order and proportion to the Middle East map, which Russia has relied on Iran to help reshape. After all, Russia cannot truly compete with the U.S. for the hearts and minds of the Arab states. It does not have Washington's economic resources, nor its military power or presence. And besides, Moscow carries substantial Iranian baggage.


The Arab leaders visiting Trump this week do so immediately after attending the Arab League summit in Jordan. Following years of paralysis, the result of the Arab Spring and the collapse of a number of Arab states that ensued, the summit's greatest accomplishment was the fact that it even took place to begin with. But just because Arab leaders attended the summit does not mean they have taken a unified approach, let alone reached anything resembling a genuine agreement on the matters at hand. The Arab states disagree on the question of Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and find it difficult to formulate a unified line on Iran. As a result, conference participants preferred to pay lip service to the only subject on which they are in agreement — the Palestinian issue.


But while Abdullah spoke pompously of the Palestinian question as the central and in fact sole issue for the Arabs, he did so after making the interesting choice of hosting the talks not in the Jordanian capital of Amman, but at an isolated tourist spot on the shores of the Dead Sea. This was, of course, on account of the threat of an attack by the Islamic State group. As everyone knows, this is the central threat the Hashemite kingdom faces, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


On the eve of el-Sissi's meeting with Trump, extensive media reports indicated that the Arab leaders had decided to work together to press Trump to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, on the basis of the Arab framework for peace. But it is doubtful there is any credence to the reports. For further proof, one need only reference the official statements from the government in Cairo, which reiterated that el-Sissi was in Washington to discuss Egyptian interest, such as the war on terror, Egypt's struggling economy and Iran.


Faced with all these challenges, Israel's importance as a loyal and valued strategic partner with whom Egypt already maintains close cooperation is obvious. Both Egypt and Jordan are interested in ensuring, and even promoting and deepening, their strategic cooperation with Israel. The U.S. has an important role in establishing regional cooperation, along the lines of the strategic alliance that is slowly forming in the region over the common threats that Israel and the Arab states face. Such an alliance could help advance talks between Israel and the Palestinians, as long as they are not taken hostage by the whims of the Palestinians…                                                                                                                                                      

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]         



THE COMING MIDDLE EAST CRISIS AFTER ISIS IS GONE                                                                                      

Ralph Peters                                                                                                                                                                       

New York Post, Mar. 12, 2017


The Islamic State caliphate is dying a well-deserved death. This spring, Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in what used to be Syria will fall. Across the summer, remaining outposts will be purged of the Islamist movement’s remnants. Isolated terror attacks will continue, but the physical caliphate will be erased. And after ISIS itself, the biggest loser will be the United States.


Defeating ISIS is a worthy goal, but the rivalries of blood and faith that will poison the post-caliphate landscape are emerging. Turks alternately confront and accommodate Russia. Our most-effective combat partners, the Kurds, infuriate Turkey and worry local Arabs. Arab factions fight among themselves (as do the Kurds on occasion). Alphabet-soup minorities suffer and flee. Russians kill and watch. Iranians kill and wait. Their client, Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, has amassed a tally of war crimes that makes his survival “unthinkable.” Yet he’s likely to retain power.


With ISIS defeated, we won’t be needed. We’ll be shown the door — except, of course, for aid money. Uneasy coalitions will collapse. Iran — a k a Persia — will have a client state on the Mediterranean for the first time since the Classical Age. Turkey’s Islamist strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, dreams madly of a renewed Ottoman empire (which no Arab desires). And Vladimir Putin is set to reap a huge return on a minimal investment.


Fifty million Kurds, longing for independence and freedom, will be embattled on multiple fronts — and, perhaps, deserted by the United States to serve Foggy Bottom fantasies of preserving obsolete states (Iraq and Syria) that have outlived their old and unjust purposes. Meanwhile, our military serves our enemies by applying our power against ISIS without a practical vision for the day the caliphate falls. In the Levant and Mesopotamia, history’s the quarrelsome neighbor forever banging on the door. The Arab-populated expanse was ruled, brutally and incompetently, by the Turkish Ottomans for centuries. When that empire collapsed after World War I, control fell to British and French schemers. The British sought security for the Suez Canal, their lifeline to India. And they wanted that strategic commodity, oil.


The French wanted to keep up with the British. So the two powers split the Middle East, drawing artificial borders that ignored local demographics and old hatreds. The Brits carved out Iraq and Jordan for their puppets and acquired the Palestine Mandate (where Israel would be reborn, a rare instance of justice). The French got control of Lebanon and Syria. The Kurds were cheated, the Armenian genocide ignored and the Shia overlooked, while lesser minorities didn’t even register.


The result was the emergence of phony states that crammed together peoples and confessions that hated each other while dividing groups (such as the Kurds) who yearned for unity, freedom and independence. And when the European empires faded, only dictators could hold the unnatural states together. By committing ourselves to the maintenance of those deadly, dysfunctional borders, the United States leapt flat-footed into the quicksand. In 2003, in Iraq, we had the chance to begin dismantling those phony states in favor of justice and common sense, but inertia and short-term fears defined our diplomacy. We didn’t liberate Iraq — we perpetuated it. Now, 14 wretched years later, we continue to pretend that, magically, Iraq can achieve political health and that Syria should be preserved with a new head of state.


We have taken the side of dead empires and injustice. What should we do? Discard our preconceptions for a start. Why shouldn’t dysfunctional borders change? In fact, they’re changing themselves. How many American lives is it worth to serve the vision of dead Europeans and grisly Arab dictators? We need not act to change those borders, but we shouldn’t stand in the way.


The destruction of the ISIS caliphate won’t end terrorism, but the Islamists will suffer a powerful practical and psychological blow. The terrorists eventually will adapt, but their appeal will be weakened: Angry young men want to join a winning team, not a bunch of losers. Still, the rise of ISIS was unnecessary. Enchanted by the neocons, the George W. Bush administration made Iraq far harder than it had to be simply by not planning for the worst. Then President Barack Obama threw away our hard-won progress in Iraq and, tragically, cowered and prevaricated while the all-but-doomed Assad regime recovered its balance in Syria.


Now we face a new Iranian empire, an expansionist Russia, a treacherous Turkey, an Iraq lost to Iran and the prospect of years to come of ethnic cleansing, massacre and violent uprisings on which terrorists will again piggyback. Can the Trump administration design and execute a Middle East strategy that actually works to our benefit and makes sense? If so, it would be the first since the Truman presidency.






 Louis René Beres

Israel Defense, Mar. 14, 2017


Left to themselves, neither suitably deterred nor adequately disarmed, enemies of Israel could one day bring the Jewish State face-to-face with the measureless torments of Dante's Inferno, "Into the eternal darkness, into fire, into ice." It is essential, therefore, that Israel's strategic planners and political leadership now accelerate their basic obligation to strengthen the country's nuclear security posture, and to take all necessary steps to ensure that any conceivable failure of nuclear deterrence could not ignite a nuclear war. Significantly, any such failure would not necessarily be the result of some conspicuous "bolt-from-the-blue" enemy nuclear attack, but could also represent the unanticipated outcome of aggressive crisis escalations.


Now is the time for a detailed and precise enumeration of relevant scenarios. Accordingly, among the most plausible paths to nuclear warfighting in the Middle East are: (1) enemy nuclear first-strikes against Israel (not a present possibility, unless one were to include non-Arab Pakistan as an authentic enemy); (2) enemy non-nuclear WMD first-strikes against Israel that would elicit an Israeli nuclear reprisal, either promptly, or as an inadvertent consequence of escalation processes; (3) Israeli nuclear preemptions against pertinent hard targets in selected enemy states with manifestly recognizable nuclear assets (also not a present possibility, unless Pakistan were included as an enemy state); (4) Israeli non-nuclear preemptions against relevant hard targets in enemy states with operational nuclear assets that elicit enemy nuclear reprisals, either promptly, or incrementally via escalation (again, excluding Pakistan, not a present possibility); and (5) Israeli non-nuclear preemptions against military targets in enemy states without nuclear assets, that would elicit substantial enemy biological warfare reprisals, and, reciprocally, Israeli nuclear counter-retaliations.


Still, other more-or-less plausible paths to nuclear warfighting in the Middle East include accidental, unintentional, inadvertent, or unauthorized nuclear attacks involving Israel and certain identifiable regional foes. The very last scenario offered here – "unauthorized" enemy nuclear attacks – should bring to Israeli analytic consideration an always-possible Jihadist coup d'état in Islamic Pakistan.


Jerusalem must also bear in mind the potentially dire and starkly unpredictable prospect of a major escalation arising from any specific instance of WMD terrorism against Israel. In this connection, Israeli strategists will not only need to consider their terrorist adversaries as singular or isolated actors, but also as prospective members of possible "hybrid" combinations, ones fashioned with other sub-state terror organizations, and/or with certain likeminded states.


Already, Israel has had to deal with a distinctly unique form of nuclear terrorism in the form of enemy attacks upon its Dimona nuclear reactor. While never given any genuine public attention – most obviously, perhaps, because both attacks were actual operational failures – the significant fact remains that Dimona came under enemy missile or rocket fire in 1991, from Saddam Hussein's Iraq, and again in 2014, from Hamas. It is not at all unreasonable to expect that in the future, a more determined and capable adversary could produce some calculable breach of nuclear reactor containment, and thereby initiate a perilous spiral of potentially lethal escalation.


As long as Israel remains determined to survive at all costs, its leaders must be prepared to identify and catalog all those specific circumstances wherein the country could become enmeshed in an actual nuclear exchange, or in nuclear warfighting. These fearful circumstances will obtain as long as (a) pertinent enemy first-strikes against Israel do not destroy Israel's second-strike nuclear capability; (b) enemy retaliations for an Israeli conventional preemption do not destroy Israel's nuclear counter-retaliatory capability; (c) Israeli preemptive strikes involving nuclear weapons do not destroy enemy second-strike nuclear capabilities (not a present concern); and (d) Israeli retaliations for enemy conventional first-strikes do not destroy enemy nuclear counter-retaliatory capabilities (also, not a plausible concern at present).


From the plainly vital standpoint of Israel's nuclear security requirements, this all means that Jerusalem must now prepare to do absolutely whatever is needed to ensure the likelihood of (a) and (b) above, and also the corollary unlikelihood of (c) and (d). Among other things, Israel needs its presumptive nuclear weapons to preempt enemy nuclear attacks. This does not mean that Israeli preemptions of such obviously intolerable attacks would necessarily be nuclear themselves – more than likely, they would be entirely non-nuclear – but only that they could conceivably be nuclear. Moreover, both Israeli nuclear and non-nuclear preemptions of unconventional enemy attacks could, at least in principle (and also in the future) produce some form or other of nuclear weapons exchange.


The actual outcome here would depend, in large part, upon the effectiveness and breadth of Israeli targeting, the surviving number of enemy nuclear weapons, and the demonstrated willingness of enemy leaders to risk an Israeli nuclear counter-retaliation. Arguably, especially in reference to a still-nuclearizing Iran, the actual likelihood of some nuclear exchange would be greatest wherever Israel's relevant foe were allowed to continue its overt or covert nuclear weapons development without suffering any preemptive military interference. Still, over time, and the July 2015 Vienna Pact on Iran notwithstanding, a truly nuclear Iran is perhaps already a fait accompli. Israel, therefore, will need to figure on how best to live with a nuclear Iran.


Leaving tactical details aside, this suggests prudent Israeli preparations for long-term nuclear deterrence, buttressed by increasingly advanced forms of cyber-warfare and ballistic missile defense. Always, for Israel, recognizable preparations for strategic dissuasion must be augmented by similarly observable preparations for denial.


For Israel, the sole military alternative at this point, an eleventh-hour defensive first strike against Iranian nuclear assets, would almost certainly carry unacceptable risks, both physical and political. Moreover, at this late operational date, it would prove exceedingly difficult for Jerusalem to make the necessarily supportive jurisprudential argument that its utterly massive preemption was a proper expression of "anticipatory self-defense." All things considered, Israel will have to forego any last-minute preemption against Iran, and rely, however reluctantly, upon some still-promising forms of protracted deterrence and mutual coexistence. In the final analysis, Israel's most significant risks of a nuclear exchange or nuclear war will arise from certain predictable kinds of crisis escalation. These are "locked-in" competitions wherein Israel's core national obligation to avoid recklessness could be rapidly and irremediably overtaken by the presumed imperatives of "winning" through "escalation dominance."




On Topic Links


American Re-Engagement in the Middle East 3.0: Eric R. Mandel, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 14, 2017—Do US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson believe that the “Middle East is and will remain a region of strategic importance to the United States,” as Richard Fontaine and Michael Singh wrote in The National Interest?

Will Obama’s Foreign Policy Wizards Save Trump?: Lee Smith, Tablet, Mar. 15, 2017—After excoriating Barack Obama’s foreign policy, including his realignment in the Middle East, Trump has yet to nominate any officials below the cabinet level at the State Department or the Pentagon, which means there is no one to formulate Trump’s own foreign policy, never mind implement it.

How Middle East Terrorism Affects India (Video): Daniel Pipes, India Foundation, Mar. 15, 2017—Establishes some of the ways in which violence coming out of the Middle East (or West Asia) has a negative impact on India. The talk is 11 minutes long.

Know Thine Enemy: Caroline B. Glick, Jerusalem Post, Mar. 16, 2017—There are iron rules of warfare. One of the most basic rules is that you have to know your enemy. If you do not know your enemy, or worse, if you refuse to act on your knowledge of him, you will lose your war against him. This basic truth appears to have eluded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.