Gaza War Diary 1 Sun-Mon. Feb. 12-13, 2017 Day 1254-1255 1 4am
Dear Family & Friends,
I was there at the Women-in-Green’s 4th SOVEREIGNTY CONFERENCE Sunday, Feb. 12th. It seemed like over 1000 attendees. It was heartwarming & glorious to hear concepts of SOVEREIGNTY NOW proclaimed by so many MKs, government officials & brilliant experts express their opinions so vigorously. It’s time. It’s past time to proclaim SOVEREIGNTY NOW. As was said often last night, we cannot be occupiers in our own ancestral Lands – as we are the longest-lived indigenous civilization now back in our own Homeland.
Today Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu & his valiant wife, Sara, flew to America to meet with the new American President Donald J. Trump.
As Mark Zell said last Friday at Women-in-Green’s other creation: Oz VeGaon, the Memorial Park for our 3 kidnapped boys, sited above the Gush Etzion Junction: President Trump’s government is waiting to hear what Netanyahu & the Jewish State of Israel Wants.
The honest opinions of last night’s audience swept the air, refreshing it
after having been so stifled by irreverent denial of our reality lo’ these too many eight years of a hostile American Administration, an ever hostile US State Department & a very hostile United Nations of the world.
Now let us hope & pray that our very well-spoken Prime Minister can speak words of mighty wisdom to a very valiant new American President & ignite the flames of holy freedom so President Trump & PM Netanyahu can resist the world’s hostility & shame-facedness at denying our People of the Book, the Land G-d gave us to carry out His Commandments. For doing that Israel needs to declare SOVEREIGNTY NOW in order to protect our Land, our People & our Book. All the very best – under a full moon, Gail/Geula/Savta/Savta Raba x 2/Mom
7.Another shattered dream? By Victor Sharpe 8.Trojan Horses in Women’s Movement by Khadija Khan
9.Can Israel rely on foreign peacekeepers & security guarantees? 10.On Defining Religion by Nonie Darwish
1.“President Trump’s government is waiting to hear what Netanyahu wants”. By Mark Zell From Women-In-Green: Dear Friends,
Sunday night, Thanks to G-d, was our 4th Sovereignty Conference. The response was overwhelming & we had a registration of over 750 people.
These are crucial & historical days. When we first planned the conference, many months ago, we did not know it would be so close to PM Netanyahu’s trip to meet President Donald Trump.
Hashem turned things around & there we were 3 days before this crucial meeting between PM Netanyahu & President Trump. As Attorney Marc Zell said (see article below) at our weekly Friday lecture in Oz veGaon last Friday: “President Trump’s government is waiting to hear what
Netanyahu wants”. https://youtu.be/9-WXLXVWy98
We must make sure PM Netanyahu will say No to the creation of a PA state in Israel’s Biblical heartland & will represent what the people really want: FULL ISRAELI SOVEREIGNTY NOW OVER JUDEA, SAMARIA, THE JORDAN VALLEY & ALL OF JERUSALEM.
Women in Green has pasted hundreds of signs on the billboards around all of Judea & Samaria. Posters call on Netanyahu to Return from US with Sovereignty http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/224799
Here below is a summary by Arutz 7 of of Atty Marc Zell’s important lecture in Oz veGaon:
For a link to the lecture with simultaneous translation to English: https://youtu.be/9-WXLXVWy98
Yehudit Katsover & Nadia Matar www.womeningreen.org www.ribonut.co.il
‘Trump’s government is waiting to see what Netanyahu wants’
Co-chair of Republicans Overseas Israel speaks about upcoming test of Trump’s promises, says “Trump waiting to see what Israel wants”. by Shimon Cohen Feb. 12, 2017
At an event in Gush Etzion’s Oz Vegaon, Co-chairman of Republicans Overseas Israel Marc Zell spoke about steps US President Donald Trump is taking to change the US policy towards Israel, the Middle East &the Arab-Israeli conflict. He also spoke about Trump’s pre-election promises.
Zell opened his speech by speaking about the night of Nov. 8, 2016, when Trump won an unexpected victory after all the polls showed he would lose to Hillary Clinton.
“It was a real miracle, a landslide victory,” Zell said, describing how he was called in the middle of the night to speak to the media. He also said the Democrats seemed to be mourning Clinton’s loss, & would remain angry & in denial “until they accept the reality. It takes time & apparently for Democrats it takes even more time.”
J Street lobbies Senate to reject Friedman’s nomination as Ambassador to Israel, ‘accuses’ him of being friend of settlement movement. By Hillel Fendel Arutz Sheva 12/02/17
Ambassador David Friedman – Reuters
J Street has begun a campaign to have the US Senate reject the nomination of David Friedman as the next U.S. Ambassador to Israel.
The Senate is scheduled to hold a hearing on Friedman’s appointment by U.S. President Donald Trump this coming Thursday. As J Street says in its anti-Friedman campaign, “Friedman is a friend of the settlement movement who backs unlimited settlement expansion” in Judea and Samaria.
J Street, which states that it is a pro-Israel organization, has circulated a sample letter among its members that it recommends be sent to their Senators. The members are asked to “strongly urge” their Senators to “reject Donald Trump’s choice to be the next US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman.”
J Street states that Mr. Friedman is “hostile” to the two-state solution, which it terms the “only way to ensure Israel’s future as the democratic homeland of the Jewish people.”
In fact, however, many politicians and thinkers on both sides of the Israeli spectrum have declared the two-state plan unworkable. Author A. B. Yehoshua, considered an “intellectual giant” of Israel’s left-wing, recently said, “I have believed in dividing the land for 50 years, and now I see that it cannot happen. 450,000 Jews in Area A [Judea and Samaria] can simply not be uprooted. Can Jerusalem ever be divided, realistically? We have to start thinking differently.”
J Street further accused Friedman of being a “friend of the settlement movement,” and even of having “made the case for Israel’s annexation of the West Bank.” Being a “friend of the settlement movement” is apparently a crime in J Street’s book.
Friedman supports the move of the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, and has said that he looks forward to working for peace in the Middle East “from the US embassy in Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem” – even before an official relocation of the embassy takes place.
J Street explains that it does not support BDS unconditionally, but does not oppose initiatives to boycott, divest from, or impose sanctions on Israel if these aid the progress towards a two-state solution, recognize Israel’s right to exist, and focus only on “occupied territory” beyond the Green Line.
Moshe Zar says that leftists who do not believe the land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people should pick up & leave. By Benny Tucker, Arutz Sheva 11/02/17 22:27
Moshe Zar – Flash 90
Moshe Zar, one of the founding fathers of the movement to settle Judea and Samaria, called on leftist activists & those who file anti-settler suits in the courts because they do not believe in the Biblical promise that Israel belongs to the Jewish people, to leave the country.
“We have Jews here who only pretend to be Jews. Their fathers’ fathers arrived in Israel because they believed this is their homeland, but today, their grandchildren have reached the conclusion that this is the land of the Palestinian Arabs,” Zar said. “They do not believe what the Bible says, they do not believe that G-d gave us this land. So please, let them pack their things & return to Germany.”
“The Bible is not just the birthplace of our culture. It’s the birthplace of our faith, it’s our certificate of ownership, it’s G-d’s eternal promise to the Jewish people that He will watch over Israel’s borders. It’s not something primitive. The leftists who talk about human rights have no roots, no founding principles.
“If they feel that this is not their homeland, let them leave.
“The Arabs need to know that even if they were here for a few hundred years, they only kept watch over the land. These lands are ours because that is what is written in the Bible. Today, they want compensation: we should give them compensation only for the fact that they kept watch over the land.”
Feb. 8, 2017
President Donald J. Trump (AP/Alex Brandom)
Trump is waiting to speak with Netanyahu before announcing his official policy on Israel’s presence in Judea & Samaria.
Washington has remained silent on the Knesset’s historic passage of the Regulation bill into law late Monday night.
The new law legalizes some 4,000 Israeli homes in Judea & Samaria, protecting them from ownership claims by ‘alleged’ Palestinian landowners.
The White House responded to the Knesset vote by referring to its statement from last week, following Israel’s announcement that it had approved the construction of thousands of new homes in Jerusalem, Judea & Samaria. According to the statement, the Trump administration does not view “the existence of settlements as an impediment to peace,” although construction of new settlements “may not be helpful” to the Israel-Palestinian diplomatic process.
A State Department official said that “the administration needs to have the chance to fully consult with all parties on the way forward.”
“At this point, indications are that this legislation is likely to be reviewed by the relevant Israeli courts & the Trump administration will withhold comment on the legislation until the relevant court ruling,” the anonymous official told AFP.
Many analysts expect that Israel’s High Court will deem the law unconstitutional & strike it down, thus sparing the White House a possible showdown with Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is scheduled to meet with President Donald Trump in Washington next week. The issue of Israeli construction in Judea and Samaria is among the topics to be discussed.
When asked about the Knesset vote during a media briefing on Tuesday, Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he does not “want to get too far ahead of this, but Prime Minister Netanyahu will be here on the 15th. I think that will be obviously a topic of discussion right now. I don’t want to get ahead of that.”
Meanwhile, the international community and Arab leaders slammed the law, with the Palestinians calling it an attempt to “legalize theft” of Palestinian land.
By: Aryeh Savir, World Israel News
February 10, 2017
“Next week can be the beginning of a new era in Israel’s relations with the US. But to make the most of this unprecedented opportunity, Israel needs to recognize its role as America’s ally.”
Less than a week after he was inaugurated into office, President Donald Trump announced that he had repaired the US’s fractured ties with Israel. “It got repaired as soon as I took the oath of office,” he said.
Not only does Israel now enjoy warm relations with the White House. When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives in the US capital next week, he will be greeted by the most supportive political climate Israel has ever seen in Washington.
It is true that dangers to Israel’s ties with America lurk in the background. The radical Left is taking control of the Democratic Party.
But the forces now hijacking the party on a whole host of issues have yet to transform their hatred of Israel into the position of most Democratic lawmakers in Congress.
Democrats in both houses of Congress joined with their Republican counterparts in condemning UN Security Council Resolution 2334 that criminalized Israel. A significant number of Democratic lawmakers support Trump’s decision to slap new sanctions on Iran.
Similarly, radical Jewish groups have been unsuccessful in rallying the more moderate Leftist Jewish leadership to their cause. Case in point is the widespread support Trump’s appointment of David Friedman to serve as his Ambassador to Israel is receiving from the community.
Whereas J Street & T’ruah are circulating a petition calling for people to oppose his Senate confirmation, sources close to the issue in Washington say that AIPAC supports it.
Given this political climate, Netanyahu must use his meeting with Trump to develop a working alliance to secure Israel’s long-term strategic interests both on issues of joint concern & on issues that concern Israel alone.
The first issue on the agenda must be Iran.
Since taking office, Trump has signaled that unlike his predecessors, he is willing to lead a campaign against Iran. Trump has placed Iran on notice that its continued aggression will not go unanswered & he has harshly criticized Obama’s nuclear deal with the mullahs.
In the lead-up to his meeting with Trump, Netanyahu has said that he will present the new president with 5 options for scaling back Tehran’s nuclear program. No time can be wasted in addressing this problem.
Iran continues spinning its advanced centrifuges.
The mullahs are still on schedule to field the means to deploy nuclear warheads at will within a decade. Netanyahu’s task is to work with Trump to significantly set back Iran’s nuclear program as quickly as possible.
Then there is Syria. And Russia.
On Sunday, Trump restated his desire to develop ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Netanyahu must present Trump with a viable plan to reconstitute US-Russian ties in exchange for Russian abandonment of its alliance with Tehran & its cooperation with Iran & Hezb’Allah in Syria.
Here, too, time is of the essence.
According to news reports this week, President Bashar Assad is redeploying his forces to the Syrian border with Israel. Almost since the outset of the war in Syria six years ago, Assad’s forces have been under Iranian and Hezbollah control. If Syrian forces deploy to the border, then Iran and Hezbollah will control the border.
Israel cannot permit such a development. It’s not just that such a deployment greatly expands the risk of war. As long as Russia is acting in strategic alliance with Iran and Hezb’Allah in Syria, the deployment of Iranian-controlled forces to the border raises the real possibility that Israel will find itself at war with Russia in Syria.
Then there are the Sunnis. For the past 6 years, Netanyahu successfully withstood Obama’s pressure by developing an informal alliance with Sunni regimes that share its opposition to Iran & to the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to sources aware of the Trump administration’s strategic plans, the administration wishes to integrate Israel more strongly into Washington’s alliance structure with Sunni regimes. Israel, of course, has good reason to support this plan, particularly if it involves extending the US military’s Central Command to include Israel.
There are, however, significant limitations on the potential of Israel’s ties to Sunni regimes. First, there is the fact that all of these regimes are threatened by Islamist forces operating in their territory and on their borders.
As Israel Air Force commander Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel warned this week, Israel is concerned that in the event any of these regimes is overthrown, the advanced US weapons it fields will fall under the control of Islamist forces.
Then there is the fact that in exchange for taking their relations with Israel out of the proverbial closet, the Arabs will demand that Israel make concessions to the PLO.
This then brings us to the only subject the media is discussing in relation to Netanyahu’s upcoming meeting with Trump: Will Trump push Israel to make concessions to the PLO or won’t he? The short answer is that it doesn’t appear that Trump has the slightest intention of doing so.
Over the past week, the administration has made three statements about the Palestinians.
First, of course, was the White House’s statement about the so-called Israeli settlements that came out last Thursday.
Although nearly all media reports on the statement claimed it aligned Trump with his predecessors in opposition to Israel’s civilian presence in Judea & Samaria, the fact is that the statement was the most supportive statement any US administration has ever made about those communities.
Obama, of course rejected Israel’s right to any civilian presence beyond the 1949 armistice lines, including in Jerusalem. In his final weeks in office, Obama joined the international mob in falsely castigating Israeli communities in these areas as illegal.
George W. Bush for his part, made a distinction between so-called settlement blocs & more isolated Israeli villages in Judea & Samaria. He gave grudging & limited support for Israel’s right to respect the property rights of Jews in the former. He rejected Jewish property rights in the latter.
Trump repudiated both of these positions.
In its statement on Thursday, the administration made no distinction between Jewish property rights in any of the areas. Moreover, the statement did not even reject the construction of new Israeli communities.
According to the text of the statement, “the construction of new settlements or the expansion of existing settlements beyond their current borders may not be helpful in achieving” the goal of peace.
But, then again, they may be helpful. Then again, they may have no impact whatsoever on the chance of achieving peace.
Not only did the administration’s statement not reject Israel’s right to build new communities, it rejected completely the position of Trump’s predecessors that Israeli communities are an obstacle to peace.
In the administration’s words, “We don’t believe the existence of settlements is an impediment to peace.”
After renouncing the positions of its predecessors on Israeli communities in Judea & Samaria, the administration refused to say whether its vision for peace includes a Palestinian state.
In line with the Republican Party’s platform that makes no mention of support for Palestinian statehood, the Trump administration continues to question the rationale for supporting a policy that has failed for the past 95 years.
Finally, the administration said it had no comment on the regulations law this week regarding Jewish construction rights in Judea & Samaria.
All White House spokesman Sean Spicer would say was that it would be discussed in Trump’s meeting with Netanyahu.
This brings us back to that meeting & how Netanyahu should broach the Palestinian issue.
Both from statements by administration sources since the election & from the administration’s refusal to speak with Palestinian Authority officials since Trump’s electoral victory, Trump & his top advisers have made clear that they see no upside to US support for the PLO.
They do not want to support the PLO & they do not want to be dragged into fruitless discussions between Israel & the PLO. For the past 24 years, US mediation of those discussions has weakened America’s position in the region, has weakened Israel & has empowered the PLO & anti-American forces worldwide.
According to sources with knowledge of the administration’s position, Trump views the Israeli- Palestinian conflict as an internal Israeli issue.
He expects Israel to deal with it & do so in a way that stabilizes the region & keeps the Palestinians out of the headlines, to the extent possible.
In this vein, sources with knowledge of administration considerations claim that last Thursday’s White House statement on Israeli communities in Judea & Samaria was in part the result of exasperation with Israel’s inability to keep quiet on the issue. Had Netanyahu & Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman not announced that they were issuing permits for thousands of building starts in Judea & Samaria, the White House wouldn’t have felt compelled to issue a statement on the matter.
The administration’s desire to disengage from the PLO is well aligned with Israel’s strategic interests. No good has ever come to Israel from US support for the PLO. Moreover, Israel has achieved its greatest strategic successes in relation to determining its borders when it has kept its moves as low key as possible.
For instance, in 1981, when then-prime minister Menachem Begin applied Israeli law to the Golan Heights, he did so with no fanfare. Rather than loudly announcing Israel’s right to sovereignty over the area, Begin insisted that the move was done to satisfy administrative imperatives and that Israel would be willing to consider border corrections in the event that Syria became serious about peace at some later date.
Begin’s example should inform Netanyahu’s preparations for his meeting with Trump.
Unfortunately, Netanyahu does not seem to realize the implications of Trump’s lack of interest in following in his predecessors’ footsteps in relation to the PLO.
Over the past few weeks, Netanyahu has insisted that he wishes to coordinate his positions on the Palestinians with the administration. While he should take any concerns Trump voices to him on the issue into consideration, he should also make clear that the administration’s belief that no good has come to the US from its support for the PLO is well-founded. He should also explain Israel’s need to control Area C in perpetuity & the problem with maintaining military administration of the area. Finally, he should assure Trump that Israel intends to secure its interests in Judea & Samaria in a way than does not impinge on US priorities.
February 10, 2017
Less than a week before D.C. trip, it’s unclear what Netanyahu will tell Trump on Palestinian issue. Bennett, meanwhile, is pushing him to drop 2-state-solution from the agenda. By Barak Ravid, Haaretz
The security cabinet is expected to meet on Sunday to discuss policies Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will present at his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump at their first meeting next Wednesday.
The cabinet meeting will take place less than a day before Netanyahu departs for Washington. Education Minister and Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett is urging Netanyahu to present a policy that does not include the establishment of a Palestinian state.
Bennett, along with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and other security cabinet members, asked Netanyahu right after Trump’s November 8 victory to convene the cabinet and formulate an updated policy on the Palestinian issue for presentation to Trump. Bennett and Shaked argued that Trump’s victory had opened a window of opportunity for removing the two-state solution from the international community’s agenda, or at least for removing it from the policies of the American administration.
Over the last few weeks, and in recent days particularly, Bennett has been pressuring Netanyahu through different channels to disengage from his Bar-Ilan University speech in June 2009, in which he first expressed his willingness to allow a demilitarized Palestine state to be established, conditional on its recognizing Israel as the state of the Jewish people. Officials in Habayit Hayehudi say Bennett will insist that the policy presented to Trump include two main principles. One is an objection to any limitations on construction in West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem, and the other is an objection to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
It is unclear what Netanyahu’s approach is to the policies he will present to Trump on the Palestinian issue. A few days after Trump’s election, Netanyahu told CBS’s “60 Minutes” that he wants to work with Trump to promote a two-state solution. Since then Netanyahu changed direction and in recent weeks has not expressed support for such a solution, not publicly and not in private diplomatic conversations.
At a meeting of Likud ministers three weeks ago, Netanyahu said he was willing to grant the Palestinians a truncated state. He noted then and in several other public statements since then that he would demand that the IDF have complete operational freedom in the West Bank, so that if a Palestinian state were established it would not have full sovereign authority. Netanyahu underscored that the Palestinians do not agree to this.
In his meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May last Monday, Netanyahu refused to give his commitment to a two-state solution and only repeated his commitment to seeking peace. In a briefing to correspondents after that meeting, Netanyahu was asked repeatedly if he still supports the establishment of a Palestinian state, but he was evasive, giving general, non-binding answers. “I told Theresa May my position on what was realistic and what was unrealistic at this point,” he said. “One can constantly think of an imaginary reality,” he added.
Thursday night, in advance of the security cabinet meeting and less than a week before Netanyahu arrives for his first meeting with Trump, the premier’s patron and the owner of the daily Israel Hayom, American Jewish billionaire Sheldon Adelson was expected to attend a dinner at the White House, the Washington Post reported. Adelson contributed $20 million to Trump’s election campaign. An associate of Adelson told the Axios website that the casino magnate would discuss Trump’s promise to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, as well as stressing that the two-state solution is not feasible and should be abandoned.
During his campaign Trump promised that if he were elected he would transfer the embassy to Jerusalem. He expressed great support for construction in the settlements and made no mention of a Palestinian state. The positions expressed by Trump and his advisers during the campaign caused optimism among many on Israel’s right wing and among the pro-settler faction in the Knesset and government.
However, since his victory, and even more so since he assumed office, Trump has been following a more cautious policy with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The new president has distanced himself from several declarations he made during the election campaign, such as the promise to transfer the embassy. After decisions by Netanyahu on a flurry of new construction projects in the settlements, the White House leaked to the Jerusalem Post that this had not been coordinated with Trump and that he was opposed to these moves.
A short time later the White House came out with a softer version of the statement that construction in the settlements would hamper attempts to promote peace. This announcement surprised Netanyahu and greatly worried him. In a meeting with the heads of his coalition partners last Sunday, he presented the White House’s attitude to the settlements as a reason to postpone voting on the Palestinian land expropriation bill until after his meeting with the American president.
In the first three weeks of the new administration’s tenure, there were no contacts with Palestinian Authority officials. However, on Thursday Majid Faraj, the PA’s intelligence chief, came to the White House and met some of Trump’s advisers. He presented them with the Palestinian perspective several days before Trump’s meeting with Netanyahu.
Much of Trump’s increasing moderation stemmed from messages he received from several Arab leaders, mainly from Jordan’s King Abdullah, who arrived in Washington uninvited but managed to arrange a meeting with the president. Netanyahu, who had hoped to meet a president starting off with a clean slate, will now meet an American president who is closer to traditional U.S. administration positions, held since 1967.
Is Trump going to be another land for “peace” advocate? 12/02/17 07:51
Victor Sharpe is a prolific freelance writer with many published articles in leading national and international conservative websites and magazines. Born and educated in England, he has been a broadcaster and has authored several books including a collection of short stories under the title The Blue Hour. His three-volume set of in-depth studies on the threats from resurgent Islam to Israel, the West and to Judeo-Christian civilization is titled, Politicide: The Attempted Murder of the Jewish State. www.amazon.com
If the words of President Trump, taken from his interview on Israel, mean what he says: “I am not someone who believes that advancing the ‘settlements’ is good for peace,” then I fear President Trump may not know realize what he is implying.
In parroting the hoary old nonsense about Jewish villages and towns being impediments to peace (pejoratively described by him as ‘settlements’), he may be, wittingly or unwittingly, perpetuating the failed ‘Two-State-Solution.’
Equally, the president may be breathing life again into that other stinking corpse known as “Land for Peace” in which Israel gives away its ancestral and biblical lands but in return never receives peace – just endless war, terror and death.
The president’s words and apparent shallow knowledge of the relentless Islamic and Koranic hatred towards Jews and to the re-constituted Jewish state – which can never truly end so long as Israel’s Arab neighbors embrace Islam – is indeed bad news for any hope of real Jewish sovereignty existing in its biblical and ancestral heartland of Judea and Samaria.
By apparently condemning the creation of new and/or the re-creation of earlier Jewish villages beyond the existing communities (again pejoratively described by him as ‘settlements’), he is giving an unwitting nod to continuing & encroaching Arab occupation throughout the ancestral & biblical Jewish heartland; leading to its incalculable loss in spiritual, historic & strategic importance.
Equally by attempting yet again, like so many previous American presidents, to bring the duplicitous, corrupt and monstrous PA into peace negotiations with Israel, he is guaranteeing decades more horror and misery for the Jewish state. Haven’t the last 50 years of Arab perfidy since the Six Day War been proof enough, let alone what preceded it?
President Trump may be receiving very bad advice and for those of us who know the reality of the conflict, his words may bode ill for Israel.
Is the dream and hope of Jewish sovereignty in our biblical and ancestral heartland of Judea and Samaria perhaps being shattered again by an American president?
Let us hope and pray not.
8.Trojan Horses in Women’s Movement by Khadija Khan
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9913/islamists-womens-movement Feb. 11, 2017 5:00 am
Why do women who believe in equal rights for women, pick as their spokesperson someone who one minute boasts of her supposed dissent as “patriotism” while the next minute advocating chopping off other womens’ genitals? It is like choosing a hangman to campaign against the death penalty or the head of ISIS to campaign for same sex marriages.
The principles of “dissent,” of which they claim to be so proud, and to have borrowed from religious sources, are actually the modern world’s liberal values and human rights — just those rights values they seem to be trying to destroy.
From the other side of their mouths, however, they are trying to impose Islamic sharia law on the West. Unfortunately, sharia is openly antagonistic to Western values and human rights.
How can cults that believe in dominating others call themselves progressive, when their entire message runs counter to the spirit of tolerance and social coexistence?
The champions of Sharia have always said they wish to establish a “righteous” form of government, made by divine law, and presumably to that end, they implant their set of rules — such as allowing no debate or criticism on their beliefs, or such as segregating sexes — to destroy modern democracies.
It must be so convenient, while marching on Washington DC, to advocate that other women — far away — be genitally mutilated, married off in childhood, and domestically beaten and violated — and all the while, in the safe confines of Washington, to stay silent on issues of truly massive abuse: floggings; acid burnings; chopping off limbs or heads, or burning, drowning or burying people alive.
These women in hijabs marching on Washington DC do not have to live in this “Utopia”. They are comfortably living in the “infidel West’, protected from such barbarity.
The values they are enjoying here are the values of the enlightened world and have nothing to do with the culture they are trying to impose on others.
The culture that is allowing women such as Linda Sarsour to shout into microphones is not even necessarily the culture these women believe in; it is often just the culture they are using to promote totalitarian ideas such as anti-Semitism, religious intolerance and the imposition of theocratic beliefs through infiltration or force.
The culture to which Sarsour says she aspires, allows mutilating women but does not allow women to speak in a loud tone, let alone speaking through microphones. Hence, she owes her current privileges to her American identity.
Muslim activist Linda Sarsour one minute boasts of her supposed dissent as “patriotism,” while the next minute advocates chopping off other womens’ genitals. (Image source: Seriously.TV video screenshot)
Sarsour stated in a tweet on May 13, 2015: “You’ll know when you’re living under Sharia Law if suddenly all your loans & credit cards become interest free. Sound nice, doesn’t it?”
Then she wrote on an April 29, 2014 tweet: “@RobertWildiris I don’t drink alcohol, don’t eat pork, I follow Islamic way of living. That’s all Sharia law is.”
It would be nice if the only requirements of sharia were avoiding alcohol or pork were; there happens, however, to be an ocean of dos and don’ts that fall into the category of “I follow Islamic way of living.”
The ocean Sarsour never bothered to mention, but that the world witnesses every day, exists from the Saudi palaces to the caves of Afghanistan & Raqqa.
The culture that Sarsour desires to impose on the world — along with promises to waive interest on loans — does not allow women to interact with unrelated men, drive cars, ride bicycles, attend sports events, leave the house without permission, or wear makeup and clothes that reveal their body parts, let alone address a crowd.
Women would also need 4 male witnesses to prove a rape, or risk being stoned to death for “adultery”.
Does Sarsour really think that people have gone so mad that they will give up all of their civil liberties and freedom that their ancestors earned through the centuries, merely for interest free loans?
The hypocrisy is that her bold lifestyle in the US portrays that deep down, she herself loathes the suppressing conditions that she likes promoting for the poor women of the Muslim world who actually have to live with them.
How would these women in hijabs like to spend a few weeks under the totalitarian regimes about which they love to brag?
3 British girls who followed the call of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi slipped into Syria to join the jihad, only to be desperate over the mistake they had made; one is believed dead.
Kadiza Sultana, Shamima Begum and Amira Abase, intoxicated by ISIS propaganda, entered Syria to join the holy mission and be ISIS brides.
Sultana reportedly was killed in a Russian airstrike while too scared to try an escape from ISIS, fearing extreme torture and public execution if caught.
The whereabouts of the other two are still unknown, apart from rare contact reported between them and their families.
Sophie Kasiki, a French girl who also managed to break away from the ISIS stronghold in Raqqa with her four-year-old son, said she risked death if caught to try to save her son. She defined the ordeal of being with ISIS as “a journey into a hell from which there seemed no return.”
Samra Kesinovic, a 17 year old Austrian girl, was reportedly beaten to death by ISIS fighters when she was caught trying to flee, after being “gifted” by her partner to another ISIS fighter as a sex slave.
The irony is that Linda Sarsour and her followers say they love Hamas and caliphates like the one established by Abu Bakar al-Baghdadi, or Saudi and Iranian regimes — but of course they do not live in them.
Sarsour has doubtless been put forward by men to promote their soft image as they themselves cannot boast about the rights they are giving to their women.
Coming from a conservative Muslim society, I know the culture she yearns for would never allow her to launch such activism without permission from her “guardian” men.
How come she forgot to mention that in Saudi Arabia and many other Muslim states, her kind of activism would cost a woman her family, her honour and probably her life.
A court in the state of Washington suspended the ban on travelers from 7 mainly Muslim countries imposed by the President Trump last week.
Would any judge or influential person dare refute the order of, say, the Saudi King, a Sharia council of Iran, a member of a royal family from a Middle Eastern country, a military dictator or the Hamas leaders Sarsour apparently so admires?
You cannot even imagine in your worst nightmares dissenting in those Sharia-compliant territories, but yes, dissent is allowed in the US and the West, where people are freely allowed to speak their thoughts.
These are not the values of the alien land she professes to admire; these were fought for and earned by the people of the West with their blood.
The progressives’ one-sided love affair with extremists will never serve the purpose of promoting equality.
In fact, it could be counterproductive. In Egypt, the conservative men used women as protestors to overthrow Hosni Mubarak’s regime, but once the Muslim Brotherhood, which spearheaded the Morsi regime, took control, the whole world watched in shock as they imposed Sharia on everyone — most of all on those women. The Morsi regime later punished women who protested the Iranian-style Sharia that it was imposing.
The same imams who were the moving spirits behind Egypt’s revolution were then delivering fatwas [religious opinions] to rape the same women who had been marching in the streets for their rights. According to al Arabiyya: “An Egyptian Salafi preacher, said raping & sexually harassing women protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square is justified, calling them “crusaders” who “have no shame, no fear and not even feminism…. Abu Islam added that these women activists are going to Tahrir Square not to protest but to be sexually abused because they had wanted to be raped…And by the way, 90% of them are crusaders and the remaining 10% are widows who have no one to control them.”
Around 80 women were molested in one night alone, when the Morsi government was ousted and people came out to celebrate his departure.
Those are the views Sarsour is trying to sell.
The same men these liberals and progressives are trying to empower, once enthroned, would declare them apostates & inflict the worst imaginable punishments on them for the “crimes” they are committing by promoting the set of values they think bring harmony in the world.
The dissenting voices of the oppressed are fighting on two fronts. They are being crushed by their own totalitarian regimes and at the same time by apologists for these tyrants whom the marchers are empowering — probably without even realizing what massive harm they are doing.
Khadija Khan is a Pakistan-based journalist and commentator.
Palestinian and other Arab leaders threatened violence in response to President Trump’s pledge to move the U.S. embassy from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. While Bill Clinton and George W. Bush such a move as candidates, each backed off.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership it controls to focus their religious sermons on the embassy relocation. Worse still, the PA a lifetime, $760-per-month stipend for her husband’s “martyrdom for Allah.”
Arab reactions to Trump’s embassy plans are more heated than they were to those of candidates Bush and Clinton perhaps because of Trump’s as Israel’s capital and relocate the embassy there from Tel Aviv, not only as a candidate (including during his address ) but also as president-elect, issuing . Trump even as a candidate, although the visit never materialized and – as president – he to discuss moving the U.S. Embassy.
Nevertheless, Palestinian and Arab leaders have warned that moving the embassy could lead to unrest and violence. Influential Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr “a declaration of war against Islam.” PA President Mahmoud Abbas said he could revoke the PLO’s recognition of Israel, while his Fatah party warned the move “would open the gates of hell.”
Such declarations by political and religious leaders give a green light to Palestinians to react violently, as the Jerusalem terrorist truck attack shows.Palestinian leaders, including the “more moderate” Palestinian Authority, regularly deny that Jews have any historical or religious connection to the Temple Mount.
PA Jerusalem Affairs Minister Adnan al-Husseini Sunday after United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said it was “completely clear that the Temple that the Romans destroyed in Jerusalem was a Jewish temple.” The statement “violated all legal, diplomatic and humanitarian customs and overstepped his role as secretary general,” al-Husseini said.
This is not the first time that the Palestinians, including the “more moderate” Palestinian Authority, manipulated Jerusalem into an incendiary trigger for terror.
As , Abbas led calls in 2015 for Palestinians to act violently to “defend” Muslim holy sites. He blessed “every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem” and presented violence in “defense” of holy sites and against the Jews’ “filthy feet” as a religious imperative.
Indeed, the “stabbing intifidah” was launched in 2015 by false rumors that Israel was trying to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
“Arabs are convinced that Israel is set on destroying, desecrating or ‘Judaizing’ Haram al-Sharif, the Jerusalem compound that includes al-Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest site,” in the Such incitement persists, Avni noted, even though “Israel points out that the arrangements that have existed since 1967, when it seized control of the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, are intact, and will remain so: A Jordanian trust, the Waqf, maintains the Mount. Jews can visit, but not pray there.”
Writing about the 2015 “Stabbing Intifida,” journalist that it was “prompted in good part by the same set of manipulated emotions that sparked the anti-Jewish riots of the 1920s: a deeply felt desire on the part of Palestinians to ‘protect’ the Temple Mount from Jews.”
In the , Arabs killed more than 130 Jews, and nearly as many Arabs died when British police responded. Among the findings of a subsequent investigation by the was that “the Mufti was influenced by the twofold desire to confront the Jews and to mobilise Moslem opinion on the issue of the Wailing Wall” (in Jerusalem) and that one of the chief causes of the riots was “Propaganda among the less-educated Arab people of a character calculated to incite them.”
Arab incitement against Jews happens regularly, often without the explosive element of Jerusalem. In a sermon broadcast on Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV in early January, a Hamas leader name of sending “AIDS-infected girls to fornicate with Muslim youths.” He also claimed that Israel was allowing drugs to be smuggled through tunnels into Gaza, while blocking the entry of essential goods. “Their state is about to disappear,” Abu Ras said. “…My brothers, know that people, stones, and trees all hate [the Jews]. Everyone on Earth hates this filthy nation, a nation extrinsic to Mankind. This fact was elucidated by the Quran and the Sunna.”
But adding Jerusalem to Arab incitement against Israelis can make the resulting violence even more explosive.
Qanta Ahmed, a pro-Israel Muslim reformer who visited both the Jewish and Muslim holy sites at the Temple Mount, the Islamist thinking that enables the weaponization of Jerusalem: “Forbidding worshippers from entering holy sites in Islam, including non-conforming or pluralist Muslims who reject both the ideology and accouterments of Islamism is an impassioned pastime of fervent Islamists who foolishly believe only they are the keepers of our Maker…”
Unfortunately, Jerusalem has a long and bloody history of being manipulated by Muslim leaders into an explosive tool of incitement. But if Islam truly is a religion of peace, its leading practitioners should stop turning religious holy sites into weapons of war, and instead embrace Doctor Ahmed’s tolerance.
12.The Islamic Jihad & Peace with Jews by Bassam Tawil
https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/9891/islamic-jihad-jews Feb. 9, 2017 at 5:00 am
Muslim scholars have feverishly citing chapter & verse from the Quran & the hadith, the words of the Prophet Mohammed, in their efforts to encourage Arabs & Muslims to avoid normalization with Jews.
The Quran & hadith have also been leveraged to promote boycotts against Israel & Jews — thereby refuting claims by anti-Israel activists that their campaigns are just about politics.
Palestinians have long maintained that their campaign to ban normalization with Israel is mainly directed against the Israeli “occupation” of the West Bank, Gaza Strip & East Jerusalem. The Palestinian anti-normalization movement, which continues to target Israeli & Palestinian peace activists who hold — horrors! — public meetings, has recently gained momentum, largely thanks to ongoing anti-Israel campaigns of incitement & indoctrination in the Palestinian media & mosques.
In recent years, Palestinian anti-normalization activists have managed to foil several meetings between Israelis & Palestinians, under the pretext that such encounters cause damage to the Palestinians. The activists justify their disruption by citing what they see as Israeli practices against Palestinians & violently object to any meetings with Israelis, including those who wholeheartedly support the Palestinians & oppose the policies of the Israeli government.
The most recent incident occurred at the Ambassador Hotel in East Jerusalem, where Israeli & Palestinian activists gathered to talk about peace & coexistence. Shortly after the meeting began, a number of anti-normalization activists stormed the conference hall to protest the meeting.
“Meeting with Zionists is an act of treason,” one of the protesters shouted. “There are no solutions. Palestinian must be freed, from the (Jordan) River to the (Mediterranean) Sea. Shame on you!” The protesters claimed that they were opposed to the meeting because Israel was “demolishing Arab houses & killing Palestinians.”
Palestinian “anti-normalization” activists disrupt an unofficial Israeli-Palestinian peace conference Jerusalem’s Ambassador Hotel, in 2104.
Hind Khoury, a Christian woman who has previously served as Palestinian Authority ambassador to France, received the brunt of their anger. Khoury’s attempts to persuade the protesters that the meeting was not about normalization, but about achieving a just & comprehensive peace, fell on deaf ears. Ironically, it was the intervention of the Israeli Police that allowed Israeli & Palestinian activists to proceed with their conference.
Such scenes have become commonplace at the East Jerusalem hotel, a preferred site for unofficial peace conferences organized by Israelis & Palestinians. Anti-normalization activists raid the conference hall several times a year in their attempts to disrupt such gatherings.
The anti-normalization activists have also been vocal in Ramallah & other Palestinian cities. The Palestinian newspaper Al Quds, which recently published an interview with Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, has also come under attack. For these Palestinians, conducting an interview with an Israeli government official is engaging in “media normalization”.
“The newspaper must apologize to the Palestinians”, the protesters demanded.
On the face of it, the anti-normalization campaign appears driven by political motivations. However, it turns out that there is also a powerful Islamic angle to this campaign of hate, which is aimed at delegitimizing Israel & demonizing Jews. The Palestinian anti-normalization “enforcers” do their utmost to conceal the Islamic aspect of their campaign. They are not eager for the world to know that Islam supplies much of the ideology & justification for their anti-Israel activities.
Fatwas (Islamic religious decrees) & statements issued by leading Muslim scholars & clerics have long warned Muslims against normalization with the “Zionist entity”. Such normalization, they have made it clear, is considered an “unforgivable crime”.
The authors of these hate messages are not opposed to normalization with Israel because of settlements or house demolitions, but rather because they believe Jews have no rights at all to any of the land.
“Normalization with the Zionist enemy means turning the presence of Jews in Palestine to something normal”, explained one scholar, Adnan Adwan. “Normalization means accepting the right of the Zionist entity to Arab lands & Palestine”.
In response to an inquiry from Palestinians about the perspective of Islam regarding peace & normalization with Jews, a group of leading Muslim scholars issued a fatwa stating that this was completely haram (forbidden). They even went farther by ruling that any form of peace with Jews was also haram, despite the fact that Prophet Mohammed signed a treaty, known as the Constitution of Medina, with Jews & other non-Muslims shortly after his arrival at Medina from Mecca in 622 CE.
In their fatwa, the Muslim scholars wrote: “It is true that Prophet Mohammed signed a treaty with the infidels, including the Quraysh tribe and the Jews, but he did not make concessions that are contrary to Islam”. They pointed out that Prophet Mohammed did not strike the deal with the infidels in order to allow them to stay in their homes permanently. Nor did the prophet promise to abandon Jihad (holy war) as a result of this treaty, they added in their fatwa. “There is no evidence whatsoever that the Prophet or any of his successors had made peace with infidels controlling Islamic lands”, the fatwa clarified.
To support their argument, the scholars quote verses from the Quran which — they maintain — prohibit Muslims from making peace or ever placing their confidence in Jews. One verse which they claim refers to Jews is taken from Surah Al-Anfal (The Spoils of War): “If they intend to deceive you, then verily, Allah is All-Sufficient for you. He it is Who has supported you with His Help & with the believers”. (62) According to the fatwa, this verse from the Quran refers specifically to Jews.
The scholars continue with another verse from the same Surah Al-Anfal to explain why Muslims must continue to fight against Jews:
“O Prophet (Mohammed)! Urge the believers to fight. If there are twenty steadfast persons amongst you, they will overcome a two hundred & if there be a hundred steadfast persons they will overcome a thousand of those who disbelieve, because they (the disbelievers) are people who do not understand”. (65)
Yet a further verse from the Quran is then cited to substantiate their ideology of war against the Jews — verse 7 from Surah At-Taubah (The Repentance):
“How can there be a covenant with Allah & with His Messenger for the Mushrikin (polytheists, idolaters, pagans, disbelievers in the Oneness of Allah) expect those with whom you made a covenant near Al-Masjid al-Haram (at Makkah)? So long, as they are true to you, stand you true to them. Verily, Allah loves Al-Muttaqun (the pious)”.
According to the fatwa, the “treacherous” Jews have since failed to “repent” (presumably, convert to Islam) & that is why it is forbidden to make peace with them.
The Muslim scholars also point to several fatwas prohibiting peace & normalization with Jews issued in the past century. The ban dates back to 1935, when a group of Muslim scholars & clerics ruled during a conference in Jerusalem that it was forbidden for Muslims to sell Arab-owned lands to Jews. A year later, scholars from Egypt’s Al-Azhar University, one of the first Islamic universities in the Arab world, ruled that it was the duty of all Muslims to engage in jihad “to salvage Palestine”. In 1989, more than 60 eminent Muslim scholars from 18 countries ruled that it was forbidden for Muslims to give up any part of Palestine.
Other Muslim scholars have referred to another verse in the Quran to justify banning normalization with Jews. In Surah Al-Mumtahinah (The Woman to be examined), verse 1 states: “O you who believe! Take not My enemies and your enemies as friends, showing affection towards them, while they have disbelieved in what has come to you of the truth.” They also quote the following hadith (a saying attributed to Prophet Mohammed) to support their claim against making peace with Jews: “Those who side with the unjust to assist them in their injustice, while knowing that they are unjust, walk out of Islam.”
The vicious campaigns to boycott Israel & Jews, while political in dress, are in fact deeply rooted in Islamic ideology.
The anti-normalization activists & those promoting boycotts, divestment & sanctions (BDS) against Israel perceive Jews as the enemies of Allah & the Prophet Mohammed. These campaigns are patently not a legitimate protest. They are not even part of an effort to boycott Israeli products or politicians & academics. The real goal of the campaigns is revealed in the words of the Muslim leaders: that Jews have no rights whatsoever to the land & must be targeted through jihad as infidels & enemies of all Muslims & Arabs.
Muslim scholars have left no room for doubt about their view of the true nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Settlements & checkpoints & fences are irrelevant; Muslim scholars want Jews off what they define as sacred Muslim land. BDS & anti-normalization movement supporters might do well to consider this fact. Failing to do so is tantamount to aiding & abetting Muslims to destroy Israel & kill as many Jews as possible in the process.
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.
President Barack Obama eroded the U.S.’s superpower status and is leaving behind a far more dangerous world than the one he inherited • A Trump administration gives Israel reason to be optimistic, although we must remember he is a very shrewd businessman.
We cannot help but admire the American public, which eight years ago elected Barack Obama as the United States’ first African-American president. The elation in the streets in New York City, where I was when he was sworn in, reflected the change American society had undergone, and the joy there was genuine.
Obama assumed office with a very solid worldview. He believed many of the challenges the U.S. was facing globally stemmed from its forceful conduct and its ability to impose its will on other nations, and that many of the failures the U.S. had experienced in the international theater stemmed from the fact that it did not try to improve ties with its adversaries.
This drove him to visit the Middle East — though he skipped Israel — in 2009 and give his famous Cairo speech. He believed addressing the people from the heart would be met in kind. This was also the logic that drove his attempt to promote a new rapport with Russia.
8 years later, it’s hard to say the world has repaid Obama in kind. The world is not a better, more democratic place, nor does it favor the U.S. in any way. This is especially true in the Middle East, but the sentiment is shared elsewhere as well. Moreover, the U.S. rollback on its role in different regions had only made its allies wary of their aggressive neighbors. So much so, that in some countries, there has been talk of replacing the dwindling American nuclear umbrella — by which the US, as a nuclear power, guarantees the protection of its non-nuclear allies — with independent atomic abilities. Should that become reality, it would spell a horrific nuclear race.
Obama is leaving behind a world far more dangerous than the one with which he was entrusted as the leader of the most powerful country in the world — a title he managed to seriously compromise.
A bumpy road
As far as Israel-U.S. relations go, the eight-year Obama administration has painted a complex picture.
On the one hand, Israel enjoyed a sympathetic ear with regard to its security needs. The landmark, $38 billion defense aid package signed with the U.S., and the fact that Israel, of all nations, was the first to receive the state of the art F-35 fighter jet, speaks to the American commitment to the Jewish state’s security for decades to come.
The relationship between the Israeli and American intelligence agencies are excellent, and given the system of government in the U.S. that would not be possible without direction from the White House. Israel has also received vital US backing in the international arena more than once.
Still, Washington & Jerusalem were at odds on four important issues:
The first issue was nuclear nonproliferation: In 2010, the administration failed to keep its promise to Israel & gave in to Arab demands for supervision of Israel’s alleged nuclear capabilities. This was done as part of the US’s efforts to maintain a consensus in that year’s nuclear nonproliferation conference in Vienna.
The Americans may not have explicitly admitted that they broke a promise to Israel with this regard, but they understood it was perceived that way by Israel & the world. Judging from limited foreign reports on the issue, Israel’s complaints were justified.
Later on, the US acted to help Israel overcome the difficulties incurred as a result of that mistake, but the “dent” left by that blatant breach of promise has left its mark on Israeli consciousness, even if its overall effect had dimmed over time.
The second issue is the settlement enterprise: The outgoing administration turned settlement construction in Judea & Samaria into the key issue with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process — nothing less than an obsession & the issue by which any progress will rise or fall.
Washington refrained from pressuring Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in any way, even when he failed to agree to the 2014 U.S. framework to reignite the talks. The U.S. deemed Abbas too politically weak to pressure, while any Israeli construction, in Judea & Samaria or Jerusalem, was denounced as an obstacle to peace. This is why the administration probably lost an opportunity of historic proportions to advance the peace talks, while the Israeli government — a Likud government — was more willing than ever to promote it.
The dissonance in the administration’s responses was so jarring that it eroded the effectiveness of UScondemnation, as the majority of the Israeli public & some around the world, perceived it to be one-sided, unjust & unwise. Moreover, the way in which the Obama administration handled the issue of settlements made Abbas climb up a very tall tree, from which it would be hard for him to climb down toward future negotiations.
U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334 denouncing the settlement enterprise, passed in the last month of Obama’s presidency, has only made things worse & it is likely to stall negotiations further. It seems as if the outgoing president decided to hinder his successor as much as possible, even at the expense of an interest he allegedly wanted to promote. For those seeking to promote the peace talks, Resolution 2334 is counterproductive. If anything, it will be remembered as a low point, the “revenge” of an administration purporting to be analytical & calculated.
Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry’s Middle East vision speech, warning that Israel’s settlement policies placed the two-state solution in “serious jeopardy,” only exacerbated the feeling that the administration’s obsession with the issue has lost all proportion, to the point of clouding common sense.
The third issue of discord between Jerusalem & Washington was the Iranian nuclear program. Some would say this disagreement culminated in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to Congress in March 2015 — perceived as an affront to Obama on his own turf — but truth be told, the crisis was of the administration’s making.
Contrary to how things are handled between allies, the White House made a conscious choice to deceive Israel & conceal the fact it was holding intensive nuclear negotiations with Iran — an issue directly speaking to the very existence of the State of Israel.
This move was especially grating as it involved a dramatic shift in US policy, which resulted in a very bad deal. Even those who believe the deal is solid have a hard time justifying the winding road walked by the US administration to reach it — even more so when some top officials within the administration itself thought it was wrong to hide the talks from Israel.
Choosing this path cost the US Israel’s trust, good will &, to an extent, the professional assistance Israel could have offered, which in turn could have reduced the scope of error inherent in the agreement. The American claim that things were kept a secret for fear of a leak on the Israeli side does not hold water, as nothing had been linked from the intimate Israel-US talks on the issue prior to the US’s deviation off course.
The new reality presented by the administration required Netanyahu to outline Israel’s position in the clearest possible way, especially before the American public, which is Israel’s most important friend. Israel’s existence allows for issues pertaining to the fate of the Jewish people to be stated out loud & doing so in the most prominent seats of power is the right thing to do. As Kerry himself said, friends must tell each other the truth.
Netanyahu had to consider that the bad deal inked between world powers & Iran may one day require Israel to use force to stop the Islamic republic’s nuclear program from developing possible military dimensions & he had to lay the moral groundwork that would justify such potential extreme measures.
This need stemmed from change in US policy, which went from demanding Iran relinquish any nuclear ability, to deferring the development of such abilities by 15 years at most & allowing Iran to continue developing the next generation of centrifuges & missiles uninterrupted.
Top US officials stress that the quality of defense ties is proof of the Obama administration’s strong support of Israel, but to the president’s opponents, this sounds more like an effort to justify undercutting Israel on the Palestinian issue & Iran’s nuclear program.
The fourth issue at odds is the chaos in the Middle East: This was particularly evident after the 2011 ousting of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, when the Obama administration favored the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammed Morsi as the representative of authentic sentiments among the Egyptian people, over the military’s countercoup.
Israel preferred Egypt not be ruled by the radical ideology propagated by the Muslim Brotherhood, even of the alternative was Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who as president maintains an iron grip on Egypt. So here, the lack of consensus between Washington & Jerusalem over the dangers of political Islam was at the heart of the dispute between the two.
The American approach is ideological & it basically refuses to recognize radical Islam is one of the authentic sides of Islam. This is why even the term “Islamic terrorism” has been stricken from politically correct vocabulary used by Washington during Obama’s administration.
Pursue a breakthrough
As far as one is able to understand the new administration’s positions on these issues, it is clear that with regard to settlement construction & Iran’s nuclear program, Israel is likely to find a far more sympathetic ear.
Many of Trump’s advisers understand it is not the settlement enterprise that prevented Abbas from resuming negotiations with Israel, and therefore there is no point in locking horns over an issue of little practical importance. Instead, efforts should focus on whatever measures could reignite the peace talks — if that is even possible. As they see it, Abbas will have to walk the walk, not just talk the talk & he will have to take concrete steps, from halting the Palestinian Authority’s financial support of terrorists’ families, to eliminating incitement encouraged by Ramallah.
In this context, it is very important that Trump fulfills his campaign promise to move the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. This would be a clear signal of the US commitment to Israel by recognition of Jerusalem — or its west side at least — as its Capital. After the outgoing administration’s stunt at the Security Council & Kerry’s settlement speech, the decision to move the US Embassy to the Israeli Capital carries even greater importance.
As for Iran, it seems many in the incoming administration believe the nuclear deal is as bad for the United States as it is for Israel, so it is expected to pursue three paths of action: 1.Exhausting measures outside the framework of the agreement, such as imposing sanctions on the Iranian missile program & over the fact that it supports terrorism; 2. Holding Tehran to the letter of the agreement far more adamantly than before; & 3. Collaborating with Israel on exploring options by which Iran would be unable to pursue nuclear weapons even after the deal elapses, even if that means reopening the deal.
For the sake of Israel-US relations, it is not up to Israel to push for annulment of the poor Iran deal the outgoing president committed to — the US must do so to serve its own interests.
Moreover, Iran is a dynamic force in the Middle East, one in the midst of the process of cultivating its hegmonic control over an axis stretching from Tehran to Baghdad, Damascus & Beirut. Unless it is stopped, most of the Arab nations in the region, east of the Mediterranean Sea, will fall under Iran’s influence in one way or another.
This would be a historic change that would seriously undermine the U.S.’s traditional allies, pushing many Sunnis into Islamic State-style radicalism. This is another issue where collaboration between the U.S. and Israel would be key, and it could involve the Sunni Arab states seeking regional stability. It may even be possible to pursue a more far-reaching move that would see the Palestinians enter negotiations as well.
As a guiding principle, ties between Israel and the new US administration will have to be based on Israel-US relations dating back decades, and the two will have to think and devise what new areas of collaboration would prove most beneficial for both.
Understandings would have to be reached to bring about a breakthrough in the ties between the two countries, and the cyber sphere is likely to one area in which such understandings are reached. This will not be the only area, of course, but Israel should focus its efforts on improving the issues most important to it & refrain from scattering its interests.
It is generally believed that once in office, Trump will break the rules, abandon politically correct practices & act from his gut, in stark contrast to his predecessor. Last month demonstrated that the outgoing president was not about following emotion rather than logic. For now — although it is too soon to judge — the incoming president’s instincts seem more Israel-friendly, but we would be wise to remember that he is also a shrewd businessman.