Saturday, August 12, 2017

Our Reactionary State Department - Bruce Thornton

by Bruce Thornton

Fantasies about the Palestinians' “commitment” to peace.

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

If a reactionary is someone who stubbornly opposes change, the State Department is a prime example of an institution mired in fossilized paradigms and narratives. Unable to discard received institutional wisdom in the face of historical facts both new and old, Foggy Bottom continues to live up to its moniker, blind to the historical realities and ideologies that should be determining our foreign policy.

The State Department’s recently released, and suitably criticized, Country Report on Terrorism 2016 is filled with examples of rote adherence to exploded analytic clichés. It takes a monumental effort of willful blindness to write of Mahmoud Abbas and the PA that “explicit calls for violence against Israelis are rare and the leadership does not generally tolerate it.” You have to go back to September 1938 and Neville Chamberlain saying that Hitler “was speaking the truth” and “would not deliberately deceive a man whom he respected” to find such a preposterous misreading of plain facts.

But such myopia is endemic in the foreign policy establishment. Another example comes from a recent column by CNN talking-head and long-time Middle East hand Aaron David Miller. Writing in Politico, Miller analyzes the leaked (of course) transcript of some remarks by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, who’s been charged with working on an agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs. Miller, at least in this essay, is no knee-jerk anti-Trumpian, and treats Kushner with respect. But this makes his repetition of long-exploded “expert” comments about the conflict even more depressing than if they came from a wild-eyed partisan.

Miller, for example, gently reminds Kushner that “history and the past” matter. Indeed, they do. But rarely are the facts of history evident in the standard State Department narrative. Take this comment from Miller: “Israeli and Palestinian officials can overwhelm you with intricate stories about which patch of land belonged to whom when and who double-crossed whom in previous negotiating rounds.” As written, this remark suggests the classic “he said-he said” moral equivalence usually trotted out by those who refuse to see that one side in the conflict is the aggressor, the other the victim. Instead, two peoples are fighting over a “homeland” and its religious shrines, and just need a neutral negotiator to persuade each side to give up something to make a deal.

The facts of history plainly do not support the stereotypical “both sides have just claims” argument. The territory of Israel, including Judea and Samaria (aka the “West Bank”), was for three millennia the homeland of the Jewish people. It was never an Arab “homeland.” Arabs came as conquerors, stayed as occupiers, and multiplied through migration. World War I, and the Ottomans’ drastic blunder of allying with the Central Powers, led the new Turkish nation to dissolve the Ottoman Empire and abandon the Middle East from Turkey to Egypt. As was their rights as victors, the French and British reorganized those territories into nations, including Israel, in recognition of the Jews’ historical ties to the region, and the previous decades in which Jews had returned to that homeland and begun to develop it.

These decisions by the victors were ratified under international law by several treaties and the League of Nations. The Arabs did not accept this outcome, and continued to use violence to reverse it. In 1948 this violence culminated in the withdrawal of the British as the mandatory authority; the declaration by Israel, per a United Nations resolution, that it was an independent state; the rejection once again by the Arabs of the resolution by the UN of which they were members; and a full-scale multi-national invasion to wipe out the new-born state––a war they started but lost. Twice more the Arabs attempted to use war to change facts on the ground created by international law, and twice more they lost. Since then they have used terrorism and stirred up global opprobrium against Israel to retake the ancient homeland of the Jewish people from “the river to the sea.”

This history can be read by anybody, and it is not “intricate” or a question of “which patch of land belonged to whom.” History and international law have long answered that question. Of course, for the Arabs it was a catastrophe, but so for the Germans was the one-third of Germany lost after its wars of aggression in the 20th century, and the ten million Germans forced to leave those lands their ancestors had dwelled in for five centuries. History teaches us these are the costs of losing a war. Only in the case of Israel are we told to forget this historical truth and turn aggressors and violators of international law into victims.

Another bit of received wisdom follows from the “each side has a legitimate claim” argument. That is, only diplomacy can resolve the conflict in a way fair to each side. Miller brings up the Egypt-Israel peace agreement as a diplomatic success that should be emulated. But that worked not because Egypt accepted Israel’s right to exist, but because Anwar Sadat made a realist calculation that it could not defeat Israel with war, but would coexist in a cold peace if the U.S. continued, as it does today, to pay $2 billion a year in the foreign aid equivalent of danegeld. And don’t forget, Sadat’s assassination by jihadists sent a powerful message to other Arab leaders that settling with Israel is a capital offense against Islam.

Apart from the agreement with Egypt, the record of diplomacy in the region for half a century has been one of abject failure. Like the Oslo Accords, which merely encouraged the Arabs to pocket concessions, rake in the dollars and Euros, and then hold out for more. This is another hard lesson from history, going back to Philip II. He brilliantly used interstate diplomacy and institutions as a tactic for buying time and gulling rivals until the matter could be settled by force, as Phillip did when he ended Greek freedom at Chaeronea in 338 B.C. In our day we have seen the same failures on numerous fronts, from the phony “peace treaty” with Vietnam in 1973, to the arms control agreements that the Soviets, Russia, North Korea, and now Iran have serially violated.

Of course, diplomacy is the métier of the State Department, so they think “smart diplomacy” is the silver bullet that will end conflict and foster peace. But diplomacy works only if backed by a credible threat of force to punish violators or bring them to the table, just as Israel’s defeat of Egypt in 1972 focused Sadat’s mind and convinced him that cold, bribed coexistence was better than another humiliating defeat. But we in the West have become increasingly unwilling to use adequate force to deter violators or drive them to an agreement. The most glaring example of this failure is the decades-long violations of the 1994 Oslo Accords by the PA, a fig-leaf for the terrorist Fatah and PLO. Indeed, rather than punish the Palestinian Arabs, we have continued to finance and arm its “government,” a corrupt gang that enriches itself even as it executes its “stages” strategy for destroying Israel, one tactic of which is terrorist violence, the other negotiating in order to extract money from the West and concessions from Israel.

Miller’s final advice for Kushner encapsulates the false assumptions on which the State Department has operated for decades: “Don’t be Israel’s lawyer.” This is particularly peculiar, given the outright hostility and brow-beating of Israel that was practiced by the Obama administration, and that apparently will continue under Trump, judging by the recent State Department report. Miller’s advice again assumes that, as in most divorces, two equally aggrieved parties with equal claims require a neutral arbitrator. But there are no equal claims in the Israel-Arab conflict. Israel’s claim is based on history, tradition, and the decisions of the League of Nations and the United Nations, decisions violently rejected by the other side. Miller’s advice is akin to a divorce arbitrator considering the “claims” of a wife-beater who got shot by his injured victim to be equal to hers. This is just another iteration of the “moral equivalence” and “cycle of violence” lies that outsiders find useful for helping them to avoid moral clarity and take the side that is right.

That fact makes this comment by Miller astonishing: “But the fact is we do have to see this conflict from both sides, regardless of our special bonds with the Israelis. Unless we’re prepared to exercise independence when it comes to mediation, we won’t succeed.” We know the Israeli “side”: a free, democratic, open country that recognizes human rights and confessional tolerance, a country founded on the territory their ancestors had continually inhabited for three millennia, a country willing to live in peace with its neighbors yet has been subjected for nearly a century to war and terrorist attacks at a frequency and lethality that no other country would tolerate for five seconds.

We also know what the State Department thinks is the other “side”: an indigenous people driven from their land by imperialists, victims of colonialism’s depredations, “occupied” by an alien power, subjected to “settlements” and “checkpoints,” and denied their longing for “national self-determination.” A people who want only to live peacefully side-by-side with Israel.

This interpretation of the conflict has been proven false over and over again. The Arabs have made it clear in word and deed that they hate Israel and want to destroy it, not because it is a neo-colonial outpost of the West that denies Arabs a national homeland, but because Israel is inhabited by infidel Jews, the scions of “apes and pigs,” the historical impediment to Muslim expansion, and the unjust “occupiers” of an Islamic waqf, a conquered territory that becomes a perpetual “endowment” of the Muslim peoples, and the destiny of which is to be brought back under Muslim suzerainty. Thus it is the sacred duty of Muslims to restore such territories to the umma by waging “jihad, jihad, jihad,” as Yasser Arafat used to preach, or by negotiating temporary “truces” that allow the faithful time to become strong enough to defeat the enemy.

Of course, our sages in the foreign policy establishment dismiss such obvious motives as the irrational residue of confessional bias or even “racism” ––even though 14 centuries of Islamic history, scripture, doctrine, and jurisprudence consistently describe these motives for aggression evident today in the conflict with the Israelis. And this brings us to the premier reason why a government bureaucracy––which is headed by political appointees, funded with taxpayer money, and freed from accountability for failure––continues to repeat analyses and policies that fail year after year. As the great historian of the Soviet terror Robert Conquest put it, “It is easy enough to fall into the trap of thinking that others think, within reason, like ourselves. But this trap is precisely the error that must be avoided in foreign affairs.” That is, a failure of imagination, the inability to think past our own arrogant Western, modern assumptions and instead see the conflict through the eyes of the enemy.

At the end of his column Miller at least admits that these decades of failure might mean that “Maybe it just can’t work,” that no negotiated solution is possible, and that Kushner like those before him will “remain trapped in a peace-process Bermuda Triangle, wandering around between a two-state solution that’s too hard to implement and one that’s still too important to abandon.” Why is he so pessimistic? Because he’s finally realized that we’ve utterly misinterpreted the motives of the Arabs, and ignored their religious doctrines and traditional practices? That they really don’t want a “two-state-solution”? That we’ve continually practiced a moral equivalency that is in fact moral idiocy, an unwillingness to say there is a right and a wrong, a just and an unjust, set of motives on each side?

No, just at the moment when you hope Miller might think outside the foreign-policy box, he retreats into the flabby banality that “you need real leadership and commitment by the two sides.” Commitment to what? The Palestinian leadership has had “commitment” all right––to destroy Israel as a state and return the ancient homeland of the Jewish people to its divinely ordained superiors. Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas have failed to be “real” leaders in our eyes only because they won’t make the effort to commit to our alien ideals we arrogantly assume are desired by everyone.

We, on the other hand, have failed not so much because of mediocre leaders, but because guided by our State Department, we continue to shoehorn the conflict into our Western paradigm of anticolonialism, nationalist self-determination, and the desire for our goods like human rights, democracy, and individual freedom. We are repeating the same old failure of imagination, and so will end up with the same old failure of diplomacy. And the wages of that failure will continue to be the blood of Israelis.

Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, a Research Fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and a Professor of Classics and Humanities at the California State University. He is the author of nine books and numerous essays on classical culture and its influence on Western Civilization. His most recent book, Democracy's Dangers and Discontents (Hoover Institution Press), is now available for purchase.


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The reason Google is useless for conservative searches - Karin McQuillan

by Karin McQuillan

Google is quite good at listening to both their users and their customers, with one exception: when what the users want is at odds with ideological dogmas widely held at Google. In that case, users don't count. No one does.?

How many AT readers have found that they can no longer do a useful Google search on any news topic? The only hits that come up are liberal. Even the Wall Street Journal does not make it, although minor liberal papers like the Christian Science Monitor do. To find interesting commentary and reporting I trust, I have to go to my list of favorite websites and search on their pages. 

Following the firing this week of a valued employee for the thoughtcrime of questioning gender quotas, Breitbart is running a series called "Rebels of Google." Whistleblower employees are exposing the purposeful censorship by Google – not only of free thought within the company, but on the internet. 

Political intimidation within the company is a daily barrage of SJW postings mixed in with company business, so they cannot be deleted or ignored. Those who answer back are threatened, sent to H.R. for indoctrination and thought-policing, fired, and also blacklisted. 

Here is what it is like to work at Google:
[P]osts made internally by people who are very clearly proselytizing what amounts to religious dogma (of the social justice variety), and of course no one dares contradict it, because everybody knows it's a quick trip to H.R. if you dare say anything against the antisocial order.
Or sometimes you get punched. I know at least one engineer did get punched in retaliation for something he posted – I am sure he will corroborate this to you directly.
Many Google engineers who could not cope with the constant hostility and the reminders that "you are not one of us" have left the company. ...
I remember Kim Burchett (high-ranking manager with a lot of reports) posting about how she's "considering creating a list of people who make diversity difficult". ... commentary she posted on promotion committees, where she literally boos men and white people. ...
I want to stress to you that these G+ posts, while "in principle" avoidable, are – along with mailing lists – the standard way in which people communicate to each other values, principles, and sometimes work items too. So, in order to perform your duties, you *must* be exposed to at least *some* of it. Which means in practice you cannot avoid people writing odious things about you or your political ideas, and (given the climate) you are not at liberty to reply to these people, because you'd be disciplined or fired. My understanding of California labor laws leads me to believe that has legal significance.
The Breitbart interviewer, Allum Bokhari, asked if the reports were true that Google employees in the advertising department encouraged customers to pull ads from Breitbart and The Rebel Media.
A number of friends have privately confirmed this to me. I know there are efforts to demote anything non-PC, anti-Communist and anti-Islamic terror from search results. ... If you remember the YouTube "heroes" program, as well as the wave of demonetizations and age restrictions that hit popular anti-PC YouTubers (all of whom ended up having to move to Patreon), I think that speaks for itself. Now we have the owner of the well-known JihadWatch site, complaining that his ranking in Google Search has dropped enormously. These are all facts that can be verified by any third-party, so it's not a matter of "he said she said".
Bokhari's next question was chilling:
YouTube is going to artificially promote progressive content, and manipulate search results using the "Jigsaw Redirect Method" to minimize the reach of potentially problematic videos, in addition to other new censorship techniques. For users of Google and its related services, is political censorship about to become the norm? How much of this is the result of internal pressure (from politicized employees) and how much of it is external (governments, advertisers)?
The answer?
[M]any people are leaving Google. And many of these ex-Googlers are people who were tired of having to cope with these corrupt ideologies and the people who proselytize them, support them, and punish people who disagree with them.
That means Google is leaking people with integrity. Let's ask ourselves: who remains in charge, after that slow but certain evaporative cooling of beliefs? You do the math.
Unless the culture changes, I am afraid the answer to your question is: only a matter of time.
Bokhari asks if Google will listen to user outrage about P.C. censorship. The whistleblower's reply:
Google is quite good at listening to both their users and their customers, with one exception: when what the users want is at odds with ideological dogmas widely held at Google. In that case, users don't count. No one does.
Read the whole thing.

Karin McQuillan


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Dina Habib Powell: McMaster’s Huma Abedin - Daniel Greenfield

by Daniel Greenfield

This is what the swamp looks like.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

The media dubbed her the Republican Huma Abedin. She’s been one of the most powerful women in two Republican administrations. She’s friends with Valerie Jarrett. And you’ve never heard her name.

Flash back to the spring of this year.

Cameras flashed as Aya Hijazi sat next to President Trump. Media reports described her as an imprisoned rescue worker who had been released from Egypt after administration intervention.

Aya Hijazi was also the photogenic face of a campaign against the post-Brotherhood Egyptian government. If you believed the stories, Hijazi had learned French and Spanish while in prison. Photos showed her reading Maya Angelou's ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’ behind bars. Snaps from that calculated photoshoot would be used to illustrate countless media sob stories about her plight in prison.

Mohamed Hassanein, her husband, received far less attention. As did the other arrested members of the Belady Foundation which had been accused of using street children in Muslim Brotherhood riots.

Aya’s cause was quickly taken up by all the usual suspects.

Hillary Clinton had met with President Sisi and called for Hijazi’s release. Rep. Gerry Connolly, the go-to guy for Muslim Brotherhood front groups, had blustered, "The Egyptian government mistakes American resolve.” Avril Haines, the former indie bookstore owner who had been appointed by Obama as Deputy Director of the CIA and Deputy National Security Advisor, despite having no relevant experience, met with Hijazi’s family and issued a statement demanding her release.

None of this meant that Hassanein and Hijazi were guilty of the charges. Politically they appeared to be closer to the left than to the Islamists. Hijazi hasn’t worn a hijab outside of her imprisonment.

But the larger question is whose interests were being served by bringing her to the White House?

In a PBS interview, Aya Hijazi challenged President Trump’s praise for Egypt’s leader. She accused him of keeping “thousands of wrongly imprisoned people” in prison. “It’s not just for fighting terrorism,” she insisted. And she made a point of correcting President Trump on the Muslim Brotherhood.

"It seemed like he had this idea that... it was at the time of the Muslim Brotherhood," Hijazi said. "So, he was like, 'So was your arrest — be at the time of the Brotherhood?' And I said, no. And then he said, 'Oh, it was at the time of Sisi.' And he was taken aback. It seemed, like, different to what he had in mind."

The media had agitated for Hijazi because it served its agenda of opposing Sisi and supporting the Brotherhood. Bringing Hijazi to the White House appeared to serve the same agenda. She was meant as an object lesson to Trump that the real bad guys weren’t the Brotherhood, but the Egyptian military.

Hijazi was escorted back from Egypt by Dina Habib Powell. And Habib Powell was there sitting opposite Ivanka and Jared at the meeting with President Trump. In the media, Powell is often associated with Ivanka. And indeed, Ivanka posed with Hijazi in a widely circulated photo. But she is also so much more.

Dina Habib Powell was an influential figure in the Bush administration. The Egyptian-American immigrant had served as a gatekeeper for George W. Bush. If you wanted a job, you went through her. Barely 30, Habib Powell had more power than many of the big Bush era names you do know.

Then she took on the mission of promoting America to the Muslim world at the State Department. There were cultural exchanges with Iran and money for Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. Afterward it was off to make millions through philanthropy at the Goldman Sachs Foundation.

When President Trump took office, Avril Haines was replaced by K. T. McFarland at the National Security Council. McFarland had worked at the Pentagon under Reagan and her views on Islamic terror were forthright.  "Global Islamist jihad is at war with all of Western Civilization," she said after the Charlie Hebdo attacks. She called for profiling terrorists and an end to the big lie of political correctness.

"They have launched a guerrilla war against us in our own neighborhoods. They shout 'Allahu Akbar, The Prophet is Avenged.' We’re still calling it 'workplace violence,' 'senseless killings' or 'man-caused disasters.' Our leaders insist these are criminal acts, not acts of war."

Of the Muslim Brotherhood, McFarland correctly pointed out that, “The Muslim Brotherhood was the godfather of al-Qaeda. The number 2 guy in al-Qaeda was Muslim Brotherhood.”

When Flynn was forced out and McMaster took over, there was no room for her views at the NSC.

At an NSC meeting, H.R. McMaster insisted that Islamic terror had nothing to do with Islam. The use of “radical Islamic terrorism” was a mistake. McFarland was in attendance.

Before long, McMaster had pushed out McFarland and replaced her with Dina Habib Powell.

Habib Powell had all the right friends. Like Valerie Jarrett. Arianna Huffington praised the White House for bringing her in. Her ex-husband heads up Teneo Strategy: the organization created by the same man who made the Clinton Foundation happen and which employed Huma Abedin. 

You could see her posing next to Huma, Arianna and a Saudi princess. You can see her photographed at the American Task Force of Palestine gala. The ATFP was originally Rashid Khalidi’s American Committee on Jerusalem. Khalidi was the former PLO spokesman at the center of the Obama tape scandal. And Habib Powell was there as a presenter at the Middle East Institute after a speech by the PLO’s Hanan Ashrawi.

Unlike McFarland, Habib Powell had no national security background. But though her parents were Christians, she had the “right” views on Islam. In Egypt, she had described how Bush after September 11 had, “visited a mosque, took off his shoes and paid his respects.” "I see the president talk of Islam as a religion of peace, I see him host an iftar every year.” Habib Powell had attended such an iftar dinner.

While President Trump fights to restrict Muslim immigration, back in the Bush era, Habib Powell had bragged on CNN, “Over 90% of student visas are now issued in under a week, and that is in the Middle East.”

Habib Powell has been described as the Republican Huma Abedin. And she was quoted as saying that Abedin “feels a deep responsibility to encourage more mutual understanding between her beliefs and culture and American culture.”

Within a short time, Habib Powell became the Senior Counselor for Economic Initiatives, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy and was being put forward as Chief of Staff. If Kelly doesn’t work out, the effort to move her up will resume. And then the gatekeeper will be back at the gate.

Dina Habib Powell is a deep part of the Republican establishment. Her top role at the NSC represents McMaster’s vision for our approach to Islam. And it’s an echo of the failed approach of the Bush years. Flynn made the NSC into a tool that matched Trump’s vision. McMaster is remaking it to match Jeb Bush’s vision.

The Hijazi stunt was the public manifestation of an effort to pull Trump away from President Sisi and guide him into the same old swamp of pushing democracy and political change in Egypt. There is worse taking place behind the scenes. The NSC purge of personnel who understand the threat of Islamic terrorism is not a mere political power struggle, it’s policy. McMaster is just the public face of it.

The swamp is deeper than most understand or imagine. When you come to the city of government buildings and lobbyists, it’s all around you. And if you take a wrong step, it sucks you in. The real power doesn’t belong to the politicians you elect, but to bureaucrats and staffers, to the people who, like Huma Abedin or Dina Habib Powell, are talented at knowing the right people.

 When we talk about the swamp, it’s not an organization. It’s a way of life. If you’re not fighting the swamp all the time, if you don’t wake up resisting it and go to bed fighting free of it, you will drown in it.

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.


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Palestinians Escalate War on Journalists - Bassam Tawil

by Bassam Tawil

Today, it is safe to say that the situation of the freedom of the media under the PA and Hamas is not much different than that under Bashar Assad's Syria or even North Korea.

  • They said they did not know what "sensitive information" Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority (PA) were trying to hide.
  • Today, it is safe to say that the situation of the freedom of the media under the PA and Hamas is not much different than that under Bashar Assad's Syria or even North Korea.
  • Palestinian journalists' hateful obsession with Israel brings them no dividends. Rather, such venomous bias diverts attention from the true challenges and threats they face from the PA and Hamas. By expending their efforts in this twisted fashion, the journalists aid and abet their leaders in building dictatorial regimes that suppress public freedoms.

As part of its overarching effort to silence critics, President Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority (PA) has resumed its war against Palestinian journalists who refuse toe the line or are suspected of being insufficiently loyal to their leaders in Ramallah.

But this is nothing new: Abbas and his team have long been notoriously intolerant of news stories that reflect negatively on them in particular and on Palestinians in general.

In the past few days, PA security forces arrested six Palestinian journalists from Bethlehem, Nablus and Hebron. The journalists -- Mamdouh Hamamreh, Qutaiba Kassem, Tarek Abu Zeid, Amer Abu Arafeh, Thaer Al-Fakhouri and Ahmed Al-Halaykeh -- are suspected of "leaking sensitive information to hostile parties." 

This is the first time that Abbas's PA has made such a ridiculous charge against Palestinian journalists. In an attempt to justify the latest crackdown on freedom of the media, Abbas's news agency, Wafa, published a statement by an unnamed "senior security source" who said that the detained journalists were being interrogated about their role in "leaking sensitive information to hostile parties." The detained journalists, meanwhile, have gone on hunger strike to protest their incarceration.

Upon hearing about the baseless charge, many Palestinian journalists said they did not know whether to laugh or cry. They said they did not know what "sensitive information" Abbas and the PA were trying to hide.

"We don't have nuclear facilities," remarked a Palestinian journalist from east Jerusalem sarcastically. "It's clear that the Palestinian Authority leadership is using the security issue as an excuse to justify its punitive measures against journalists."

Another Palestinian journalist from Ramallah scoffed at the charge against his colleagues. "This is the most ridiculous claim I've heard in years," he commented. "It reminds us of Arab dictators who accuse their opponents and critics of revealing state secrets and consuming narcotics."

That the PA leadership has refused to provide further details about the nature of the offense committed by the suspected journalists has only reinforced the belief that they were targeted as part of an ongoing campaign by Abbas and his lieutenants to silence critics and deter other journalists from doing their job or reporting any story that could reflect negatively on the Palestinian leaders.

Some Palestinian journalists take a different view of the matter. These reporters trace the arrest of the six journalists to a desire to pressure Hamas to release two journalists it is holding in the Gaza Strip: Amer Abu Shabab and Fuad Jaradeh.

In other words, the PA security forces are holding the six journalists hostage until Hamas frees the two newsmen it is holding. The journalists detained by the PA work for Hamas-affiliated media outlets in the West Bank.

Notably, the two Palestinian regimes - the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip -- have hardly championed freedom of speech and freedom of the media. In fact, the two parties share the same values when it comes to silencing all forms of criticism. Dozens of Palestinian journalists have been targeted over the past two decades by both the PA and Hamas.

These regimes have their own special way of defining freedom of the press. That is, the press is utterly free to blacken the name of Israel. The name of Hamas or the PA, however, is sacrosanct: criticism of either would land a Palestinian reporter behind bars or in an interrogation room.

Hamas and the PA prefer that the press pound Israel. Short of that, they tolerate journalistic critique of municipal services or the shortage of medicine in hospitals.

Today, it is safe to say that the situation of the freedom of the media under the PA and Hamas is not much different than that under Bashar Assad's Syria or even North Korea. The failure to achieve a free media for the Palestinians is yet another sign of the Palestinian failure to build proper and transparent state institutions.

The Palestinians have no functioning parliament, no open debate and no free media. In the West Bank, the media is controlled, directly and indirectly, by Abbas and his loyalists. In the Gaza Strip, the only "media" is that which is controlled by Hamas -- again, directly and indirectly.

But there is an interesting twist to the latest story of Palestinian Authority and Hamas assaults on freedom of the media. Sadly, many Palestinian journalists do not seem to care much about the harassment and suppression of their colleagues at the hands of their leaders in Ramallah and the Gaza Strip.

Instead of organizing widespread protests to demand the release of their colleagues who are being tortured by PA and Hamas interrogators, Palestinian journalists are still scapegoating Israel. Incredibly, they continue to incite against Israel despite the fact that they are being detained and tortured by the PA and Hamas.

Instead of demanding the release of their six colleagues from PA prison, some Palestinian journalists are protesting because some Israeli (Jewish) journalists came to Ramallah last week to cover the visit of Jordan's King Abdullah II.

The presence of the Israeli reporters in Ramallah enraged several Palestinian journalists, who took to social media to condemn the Palestinian Authority leadership that gave them permission to come and cover the monarch's visit.

The presence of Israeli reporters in Ramallah last week, to cover the visit of Jordan's King Abdullah II, enraged several Palestinian journalists, who took to social media to condemn the Palestinian Authority leadership that gave them permission to cover the visit. (Image source: Palestinian President's Office)

In this cartoon by Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh, an Israeli journalist, carrying a microphone dripping with blood, is interviewing a dog.

Such incitement was easy to find on Palestinian social media websites this week. The presence of several Israeli Arab journalists seemed to roll right over the racist, raging Palestinian journalists -- it is the presence of Jewish journalists that they cannot stand.

This attack on Israeli journalists has been backed by the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS), a Fatah-affiliated group headed by Nasser Abu Baker, a correspondent of the evidently unprofessional Agence France-Press: Baker has also run for election in the Fatah Revolutionary Council.

In a statement published in Ramallah, the PJS strongly condemned the presence of Israeli (Jewish) journalists in Ramallah and urged Abbas to hold accountable whoever gave the Israeli journalists permission to come to the city to cover the Jordanian king's visit.

It seems that for the PJS, the presence of Israeli (Jewish) reporters in Ramallah is more disturbing than the arrest of Palestinian journalists by the PA and Hamas.

For the record, in recent years the PJS has served as a mouthpiece for Abbas's office; instead of defending the rights of Palestinian journalists, it devotes more than 95% of its words and actions to denouncing Israel and whipping up rage against Israeli journalists.

Palestinian journalists' hateful obsession with Israel brings them no dividends. Rather, such venomous bias diverts attention from the true challenges and threats they face from the PA and Hamas. By expending their efforts in this twisted fashion, the reporters aid and abet their leaders in building dictatorial regimes that suppress public freedoms.

Bassam Tawil, an Arab Muslim, is based in the Middle East.


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America's Strategic Paralysis - Caroline Glick

by Caroline Glick

It is obvious Trump seeks a clean break with Obama’s policies. But will the swamp let him?

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

On Thursday morning, for the second time in so many days, North Korea threatened to attack the US territory of Guam with nuclear weapons. Taken together with Pyongyang’s two intercontinental ballistic missile tests last month, and the US’s Defense Intelligence Agency’s acknowledgment this week that North Korea has the capacity to miniaturize nuclear bombs and so launch them as warheads on missiles, these threats propelled the US and the world into a nuclear crisis.
To understand what must be done, it is critical we recognize how we reached this point. We have arrived at the point where an arguably undeterrable regime has achieved the capacity to attack the US with nuclear weapons due to the policy failure of three successive US administrations.
The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations all opted not to take concerted action against North Korea, instead embracing the easy road of appeasement. All three let the threat grow as they kicked the North Korean nuclear can down the road. They engaged in nuclear talks with Pyongyang that North Korea exploited to develop nuclear weapons and missile systems.
North Korea’s threats and capabilities tell us that the can has reached the end of the road. It can be kicked no further.
Unfortunately, neither the State Department nor the US media seem to have noticed. Rather than consider the implications of North Korea’s threats and its nuclear capabilities, the major US media outlets and Donald Trump’s political opponents on both sides of the political aisle have opted instead to attack Trump.
The media and Trump’s opponents all focused their responses to North Korea’s nuclear brinkmanship on Trump’s response to the threat. They stood as one in condemning Trump for responding to the ballooning threat by threatening on Tuesday to unleash “fire and fury like the world as never seen” against North Korea if it continues to threaten the US.
TV hosts and commentators bemoaned Trump’s dangerous trigger finger. Democratic Sen. Diane Feinstein said, “Isolating the North Koreans has not halted their pursuit of nuclear weapons. And President Trump is not helping the situation with his bombastic comments.”
Sen. John McCain, one of Trump’s Republican nemeses, similarly attacked Trump and intimated that the US lacks the capacity to follow through on his threats.
“I take exception to the president’s comments, because you gotta be able to do what you say you’re gonna do. I don’t think that’s a way you attack an issue and a challenge like this,” McCain said.
For his part, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told the media on Wednesday that Trump’s statement was not a threat to use force, per se. It was, rather, an attempt to speak to North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in a language he can understand, “since he doesn’t seem to understand diplomatic language.”
Tillerson then said that the administration’s policy remains the policy of its predecessors. The US seeks to renew nuclear talks with North Korea if it will just step back from the brink. Last week Tillerson said that the US is not seeking to overthrow the Kim regime. This was an extraordinary unilateral concession to a regime that is developing the means to conduct nuclear strikes against US cities.
What Tillerson’s statement along with the response of the media and Trump’s political opponents all make clear is that at a moment when the US is in critical need of a serious strategic discussion about North Korea, no such discussion is taking place.
And North Korea is not the only threat that the foreign policy elite in Washington – both in and out of government – is failing to address realistically or responsibly.
The absence of serious strategic discourse in the US is just as striking in everything related to Trump’s handling of the Iranian threat.
Over the past several weeks, Israeli officials have expressed dismay at the terms of the July 7 Syrian cease-fire agreement the Trump administration concluded with Russia. As Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kupperwasser of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs explained in a pointed critique of the deal, the cease-fire “tacitly gave legitimacy to the prolonged presence of Iranian and Iranian-backed forces throughout the regions of Syria nominally controlled by the Assad regime.”
Two weeks after concluding the pro-Iranian cease-fire deal, Trump met with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri at the White House. Ignoring the fact that Hezbollah and Iran control the Lebanese government, and that Hariri, consequently, serves at the pleasure of both, Trump embraced Lebanon as an ally. He pledged continued US support for the Lebanese Armed Forces despite the fact that the LAF is subordinate to Hezbollah. And he extolled Lebanon’s war “against terror.”
Last week Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah announced in a televised speech that the LAF in coordination with Hezbollah would be carrying out a strike against ISIS forces along the Syrian- Lebanese border. The LAF would attack from the Lebanese side. Hezbollah and Assad regime forces would attack from the Syrian side of the border.
Nasrallah did not mention that US special forces were fighting alongside the LAF troops. But they were. The Pentagon released photos of US special forces operating from an LAF base. And news agencies reported that US forces were accompanying Lebanese forces into battle.
In other words, the Trump administration has embraced the Obama administration’s policy of viewing Iran and Hezbollah as allies in a common war against ISIS.
One of the lone voices who opposed this policy was Col. Derek Harvey. Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster fired Harvey from his position of Middle East director on the National Security Council last month.
According to a senior US national security source familiar with the issue, Harvey advocated that the administration recognize and act on the growing threat to US allies Israel and Jordan posed by Iran and Hezbollah in Syria.
This week it was reported that both Israel and Jordan briefed US officials involved in cease-fire negotiations and set out their objections to continued deployment of Iranian and Hezbollah forces in the country.
Harvey, the source explains, objected to the Pentagon’s insistence on limiting its discussion of US operations in Syria to the campaign against ISIS. He said that Hezbollah and Iran must also be addressed.
Rather than consider his position, Harvey, the source says, was shot down by his colleagues from the Pentagon who accused him of being a warmonger.
And as a consequence, with US forces fighting side by side with Hezbollah in Syria, and so advancing Iranian control over Syria, the Trump administration’s policy in the country has become substantively identical to that of its predecessor.
As to Iran’s nuclear program, last month Trump again certified that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA nuclear deal. He did this despite the fact that he opposed recertification. Trump was allegedly was blindsided by his national security team McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Tillerson, who reportedly insisted that the US has no alternative at this time to maintaining its commitment to the deal that guarantees Iran will be in North Korea’s position within 13 years.
National security sources in Washington dispute this claim. One source reveals that between Trump’s electoral victory and his firing last month, Harvey developed a detailed plan for withdrawing the US from the nuclear deal but that McMaster prevented him from presenting his plan to Trump.
Whatever the case may be, the fact is that at least for the next 90 days, the Trump administration remains committed to Obama’s Iranian nuclear deal.
Unfortunately, if the US does not act swiftly to forge and implement a strategy for denuclearizing North Korea, it may well face the specter of a nuclear-armed Iran in possession of ICBMs in much less than 13 years.
This is the case for two reasons. First, nothing happens in isolation.
If the US does not attach Trump’s threat to attack North Korea to a credible strategy for removing North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, then Iran will draw the appropriate lessons.
The second reason Trump’s response to the North Korean nuclear crisis will directly impact the burgeoning nuclear threat of Iran is that there is strong circumstantial evidence that the two programs are connected. Indeed, they may be the same program.
Last week, after the UN Security Council passed a new sanctions resolution against North Korea, the regime’s No. 2 official, parliament chairman Kim Yong Nam, arrived in Tehran for a 10-day visit.
In the past, CIA officials have claimed that Iranian observers have been present at North Korean nuclear tests. Iran also reportedly financed the Korean-built nuclear reactor in Syria that Israel reportedly destroyed in 2007.
Iran’s Shihab-3 and Shihab-4 intermediate range ballistic missiles are based on North Korean designs. Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton recently revealed that during North Korea’s 1999-2006 missile testing moratorium, Iran conducted missile tests for North Korea.
If the circumstantial evidence linking the two nuclear programs is correct, then whatever North Korea has will be possessed by Iran in short order.
It is certainly possible that there is more happening behind the scenes in Washington than anyone can possibly know. Far from the television cameras, US national security officials may be configuring strategic goals and programs that will enable Trump to abandon Obama’s failed policies in relation to North Korea, Syria and Iran and move the US – and the world – in a safer and more secure direction.
Unfortunately, in light of Tillerson’s claim that the US seeks to return to the negotiating table with North Korea, and given the administration’s decision to continue to implement Obama’s pro-Iran and pro-Hezbollah policy in Syria and Trump’s second certification of Iranian compliance with Obama’s nuclear deal, it is certainly easy to conclude that this is not the case.
As Kupperwasser noted in his essay on the dangers the US-Russian Syrian cease-fire deal pose to Israel and Jordan, Trump’s abidance by Obama’s pro-Iranian policies in Syria “worries Israel... because it casts doubt over the depth of American commitment, the ability of the Americans to deliver, or the relevance of the ‘Art of the Deal’ to the Middle East and international politics.”
It is obvious that Trump continues to seek a clean break with Obama’s policies. But as his critics’ piling on against him following his threat to North Korea and the State Department’s determination to maintain Obama’s failed policy of appeasement toward Pyongyang both make clear, more than anything else, Trump needs advisers who are capable of helping him achieve this goal. He needs advisers willing to stand up to the pressure and the inertial force of the foreign policy bureaucracy and capable of having a serious strategic discussion about how to proceed in an international environment that grows more daunting every day.

Caroline Glick is the Director of the David Horowitz Freedom Center's Israel Security Project and the Senior Contributing Editor of The Jerusalem Post. For more information on Ms. Glick's work, visit


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In France, a curious fact emerges: Only the insane murder Jews - Giulio Meotti

by Giulio Meotti

Killing a Jew is the way to be classified as a lunatic. But oddly, when Muslims harm non-Jewish Frenchmen, they are called terrorists.

A Muslim suspect rammed six police officers with his car in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret. Two French officers sustained severe injuries. The French media and authorities had no doubt. “Terror returned to Paris”. “A voluntary act”. Nobody questioned the motive of the Algerian terrorist who tried to shed the policemen's blood. No one called him a lunatic.

“What do you think, should this insane person be put in a psych ward while we contemplate the reasons for his actions?” the Crif, the central organization of French Jewry, posted on Facebook about the attacker in Levallois-Perret. It was a provocative but brave reference to the French establishment for its dealing with the slaying of a Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, by a Muslim man, Kobili Traore, who was sent to observation as per his insanity plea even though he has no record of mental illness. He shouted “Allah Akbar” while killing Halimi and throwing her from the window. The judiciary’s omission of the aggravated element of a hate crime caused by anti-Semitism, according with CRIF President Francis Kalifat, is a “cover up” of the anti-Semitic character of the crime.

The French media only covered Halimi’s death two months after it happened.

We have seen this mechanism before with another Halimi, Ilan, a beautiful Jewish boy kidnapped at the outskirts of Paris, held prisoner for 24 days, tortured to death just because he was a Jew. The brave French journalist Guy Millière wrote that “Ilan 's screams were heard by neighbors because they were especially atrocious: the killers disfigured the flesh of the young man, broke his fingers, burned him with acid and eventually with fire”.

As in the case of Sarah Halimi, anti-Semitism was denied by the political authorities, the police and the media in the death of Ilan. As Francis Szpiner, the lawyer for the family of this boy, said, "the silence killed Ilan Halimi and justice has helped to perpetuate this conspiracy of silence, because the public was not told why he was killed”.

It seems that in France, as in the rest of Europe, a lunatic is especially lunatic if he strikes the Jews. I see the same conspiracy of silence from the European élites when the Palestinian terrorists strike the Israelis living in Judea and Samaria. The double stigma of “settler” and “Jew” makes them unwhorthy of headlines and truth.

Have the European Jews become themselves “settlers”, unworthy of attention, compassion and justice?

Giulio Meotti, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror victims, published by Encounter and of "J'Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel" published by Mantua Books.. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary.


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UK: Still Welcoming Jihadis - Douglas Murray

by Douglas Murray

-- what are the excuses for letting them in? Are there any?

  • What excuse is there in a country which has now seen and suffered the effects of Islamist terror so many times, a country that the Prime Minister has claimed has had "enough" of this terror, for precisely the same two clerics to return to the UK for another tour?
  • On their visit to the UK last summer, the two clerics were allowed to talk at mosques up and down the UK, including in Prime Minister Theresa May's own constituency. By way of explanation, as the imam of the Madina Mosque and Islamic Centre in Oldham, Zahoor Chishti, said of the two clerics, "They have got hundreds of thousands of followers in the UK." For his part, the son of the murdered Punjab Province Governor Salman Taseer, Shahbaz Taseer, criticised the UK authorities for letting people who praised the murderer of his father into the UK.
  • Last year, members of the British government could have claimed to have been ignorant of the views of these two clerics. They could have pretended that they did not know that they were allowing into the UK two men principally known for encouraging the murder of apostates. They could have pretended to have been ignorant of the beliefs of two men who like to whip up crowds to praise murderers. But they cannot be unaware this year. So what are the excuses for letting them in? Are there any?
The British Prime Minister's June declaration, that when it came to terrorism in the UK, "enough is enough", already looks like little more than rhetoric. If members of the British government want to move on from rhetoric to action, however, they need to do more than just work out what new things are going wrong in British counter-extremism policy. They will need to identify the mistakes they keep on making, and perhaps try to avoid making them yet again. Bewilderingly, a remarkable opportunity to learn a lesson appears to have been missed yet again.

At almost precisely this time last year, two clerics from Pakistan toured the UK. Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman and Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman are well-known clerics in their native country. Not the least of the reasons for their fame -- or notoriety -- is that they took a particularly strong line on the issue of Mumtaz Qadri. He is the man who in 2011 murdered Salman Taseer, the governor of the Punjab province in Pakistan. Taseer had gained attention for taking a brave public stance in opposition to his country's strict blasphemy laws -- often used as a pretext to persecute religious minorities, including Muslim religious minorities, in Pakistan. Such laws have recently been used against a Christian, Asia Bibi, who has now been imprisoned under a death sentence for seven years because of allegations made against her by a Muslim woman: that she drank from the same water as Muslims. The case of Asia Bibi was one of the injustices which Taseer had highlighted. Because of Taseer's vocal opposition to such laws, Mumtaz Qadri (who had been employed to act as one of the governor's bodyguards) evidently decided that Taseer was an apostate. In January 2011, Qadri murdered the man he was employed to look after.

Qadri's action were hugely divisive both in Pakistan and in the global Pakistani diaspora. After a trial that same year, Qadri was found guilty of the murder and sentenced to death -- a sentence that was carried out in February 2016.

That event brings us back to the two clerics, Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman and Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman. After Qadri's conviction, on at least one occasion Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman delivered a hysterical speech supporting the murder of Taseer, while his fellow cleric, Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman, looked on approvingly from the platform. The video of this occasion has now been removed from YouTube, where it had previously been hosted.

While his fellow Pakistani cleric, Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman, delivered a hysterical speech supporting the murder of Salman Taseer, governor of Punjab province, Muhammad Naqib ur Rehman (pictured above at an unrelated event in 2011) looked on approvingly from the platform. (Image source: US Embassy Pakistan)

Meanwhile, here is Hassan Haseeb ur Rehman after the funeral of the murderer Mumtaz Qadri in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, whipping up a vast crowd of mourners. During the speech, he repeatedly refers to Qadri as a shaheed [martyr]. This was after tens of thousands of people attended Qadri's funeral, and afterwards rioted, chanting slogans such as "Qadri, your blood will bring the revolution" and "the punishment for a blasphemer is beheading" -- and then murdered the human rights attorney who had defended Taseer.

After Qadri's execution, Haseeb ur Rehman also declared on social media that "'Every person who loves Islam and Prophet is in grief for the martyrdom of Mumtaz Qadri."

So, these are two clerics whom the British government thought appropriate to let into the UK. The British government has previously made it clear that entry to the UK is not a right of absolutely everyone in the world, and that under certain conditions (especially if the individuals may be thought to contribute to a breach of the peace) the government can bar people from entry. Nevertheless, on their visit to the UK last summer, the two clerics were allowed to talk at mosques up and down the UK, including in Prime Minister Theresa May's own constituency. By way of explanation, as the imam of the Madina Mosque and Islamic Centre in Oldham, Zahoor Chishti, said of the two clerics, "They have got hundreds of thousands of followers in the UK."

For his part, the son of the murdered Governor Salman Taseer, Shahbaz Taseer, criticised the UK authorities for letting people who praised the murderer of his father into the UK:
"These people teach murder and hate. For me personally I find it sad that a country like England would allow cowards like these men in. It's countries like the UK and the US that claim they are leading the way in the war against terror [and] setting a standard. Why are they allowing people [in] that give fuel to the fire they are fighting against?"
On that occasion it was perhaps possible to claim that the UK government were ignorant about whom they were allowing into the UK. If so, they could not claim to be once the men were in the country. Here at Gatestone, among other places, the government was warned about the two clerics and informed about their extremism.

What excuse is there in a country which has now seen and suffered the effects of Islamist terror so many times, a country that the Prime Minister has claimed has had "enough" of this terror, for precisely the same two clerics to return to the UK for another tour? And not just to return but to take part in a meeting of faith leaders in Oldham which claimed to be organised with an intention to "bring communities together and address terrorism"? That engagement (which took place at the end of last month) turns out to have been just one more meeting in another tour of the UK and Europe -- this one lasting up until August 27.

Last year, members of the British government could have claimed to have been ignorant of the views of these two clerics. They could have pretended that they did not know that they were allowing into the UK two men principally known for encouraging the murder of apostates. They could have pretended to have been ignorant of the beliefs of two men who like to whip up crowds to praise murderers. They could have been unaware that such people were going to speak to thousands of UK Muslims. But they cannot be unaware this year. So what are the excuses for letting them in? Are there any? Or are the words of elected officials in Britain just words today?

Douglas Murray, British author, commentator and public affairs analyst, is based in London, England.


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INTO THE FRAY: The Humanitarian Paradigm (Part II) - Dr. Martin Sherman

by Dr. Martin Sherman

Hobson’s choice for Israel. By rigorous process of elimination, we are left with the Humanitarian Paradigm, as the only possible policy prescription able to adequately address the imperatives needed to preserve Israel as the nation state of Jews.

O, who can hold a fire in his hand; By thinking on the frosty Caucasus?
Or cloy the hungry edge of appetite; By bare imagination of a feast?
Or wallow naked in December snow; By thinking on fantastic summer's heat?

- William Shakespeare,  in Richard II, Act1 Scene 3, on the futility of self-deception

There is nothing more deceptive than an obvious fact.– Sherlock Holmes, “The Boscombe Valley Mystery”

[Read  Part I here]

Last week I began  a two-part analysis of the policy paradigms that have emerged in the public discourse for dealing with the more-than-century old dispute between Jews and Arabs over control of the Holy Land as the conflict approaches its third post-Oslo decade.

In it, I identified four such archetypical paradigms for its resolution—and one for its “management” (a.k.a. its perpetuation). Moreover, I undertook to demonstrate that only one of these alternatives, the Humanitarian Paradigm, advocating funded emigration of the Arab residents of Judea-Samaria (and eventually Gaza)—is consistent with the long-term survival of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews. Accordingly, for those dedicated to the preservation of the Zionist ideal, it is nothing less than “Hobson’s choice”. 

To recap briefly

Readers will recall that I confined the analysis last week to those policy proposals that eschew full or partial Israeli annexation of territory, deferring analysis of those that endorse such annexation for this week’s discussion. 

To recap briefly: In the aforementioned prior analysis I dealt with the (a) idea of “managing the conflict” and (b) the two-state formula. 

As for the former, it was shown to reflect disregard for the fact that, without appropriate decisive proactive initiatives, Israel is facing a growing threat and decreasing freedom to deal with it.   Accordingly, “managing the conflict” is little more than a pretext for backing away from confrontations in which Israel can prevail, while backing into a confrontation in which Israel might not prevail—or do so only at ruinous cost. 

As for the latter, it has shown to be a fatally flawed formula, devoid of any sound theoretical foundation or empirical evidence on which to base its naïve prognoses for resolving the conflict by means of Palestinian statehood. Indeed, given the past precedents, there is little reason to believe—and  two-state proponents have never provided one—that any future Palestinian state will not rapidly become a mega-Gaza on the fringes of Greater Tel Aviv, precipitating all the harrowing realities, wrought on the hapless residents of the South on those of the coastal megalopolis.

So having dealt with the policy paradigms that eschew annexation-- whether full or partial--it is now time to assess those that endorse it. 

One-state: Lebanonization of Israeli society

Some pundits on the Israeli “Right”, keenly aware of the infeasibility of the two-state paradigm, have in large measure adopted—albeit for very different reasons—a prescription very similar to that touted by their radical Left-wing adversaries—that of a single state stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.

According to this proposal, Israel should extend its sovereignty over the entire area of Judea-Samaria and offer immediate permanent residency to all its Palestinian-Arab residents, as well as the right to apply for citizenship at some undefined date, via some undefined process to ascertain loyalty—or at least the absence of disloyalty—to Israel as the Jewish nation state.  

The rationale, allegedly underpinning this ill-conceived proposal, is the new, optimistic demographic assessments suggesting that even if Israel were to enfranchise the Muslim population of Judea-Samaria, it would still retain a more than 60% Jewish majority.Even conceding that this may be true, such a measure is likely to herald disaster for the Zionist enterprise and the future of Israel as the nation-state of the Jews. For the initial electoral arithmetic is hardly the defining factor in assessing the prudence of this approach, but rather the devastating effect it will have on the socio-economic fabric of the country and the impact this will have on preserving Israel as a desired/desirable place of residence for Jews inside and outside the country. 

It would take considerable—and unsubstantiated—faith to entertain the belief that Israel could sustain itself as a Jewish nation-state with a massive Muslim minority of almost 40% – as the societal havoc that far smaller proportions have wrought in Europe indicate.

Indeed this is a clear recipe for the Lebanonization of Israeli society with all the inter-ethnic strife that tore Israel’s unfortunate northern neighbor apart.

Lebanonization of Israel (cont.)

Any forlorn hope that life under Israeli sovereignty will somehow “domesticate” the Palestinian-Arabs into reconciling themselves to life in the Jewish nation-state should have been well and truly dashed by the behavior of Israel’s Arab citizens. 

After all, despite living (and prospering) for seven decades under Israeli sovereignty—and more than  a half-century after military rule over the Arab population was abolished—they not only voted, almost en-bloc, for the vehemently anti-Zionist “Joint List” in the 2015 elections, but displayed great empathy in a mass funeral for the terrorists, from the Israeli town of Um-al Fahm, who murdered two Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount.

Once the Arab population of Judea-Samaria becomes incorporated into Israel’s permanent population, at least two crucial elements of national life are almost certain to be dramatically—and in Zionist-compliant terms, negatively –impacted.  The one is the distribution of national resources; the other is population flows into, and out of, the country. With regard to the former, clearly once the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria—whether enfranchised or not—become incorporated into the country’s permanent population, Israel will not be able to afford the kind of socio-economic disparities that prevail between the pre- and post-annexation segments of the population.

Accordingly, huge budget resources will have to be diverted to reduce these disparities – siphoning off funds currently spent on the Jewish population (and Israeli Arabs) in terms of welfare, medical care, infrastructure, education and so on.

Indeed, if enfranchisement (eventual or immediate) is envisaged, the electoral potential of the Arab sector is liable to be elevated from its current 13-15 seats in parliament to 25-30.  This will not only hugely bolster its ability to demand enhanced budgetary allotments, but also make it virtually impossible to form a governing coalition without their endorsement.

Moreover, collaboration   on various ad hoc parliamentary initiatives with radical Jewish left-wing factions is likely to nullify any formal calculations of an ostensible “Jewish majority”, and lead to legislative enterprises that ultra-Zionist proponents of annexation would strongly oppose – in an ironic manifestation of unintended consequences.

Partial Annexation: The Balkanization of Israel

Thus, while full annexation of Judea-Samaria will almost inevitably result in the Lebanonization of Israel—i.e.  create a single society, so fractured by interethnic strife that it would be untenable as the nation- state of the Jewish people; proposals for the partial annexation of Judea-Samaria will result in the Balkanization of Israel -  (i.e. dividing the territory up into disconnected autonomous enclaves, which will be recalcitrant, rivalrous and rejectionist, creating an ungovernable reality for Israel.)

Proposals for partial annexation appear to be fueled by (a) concern that total annexation would be too drastic a step for the international community to “swallow”, and (b) a sense that some semblance of self-rule must be facilitated for the Arabs resident in Judea and Samaria. As will be shown, partial annexation will address neither of these issues effectively. Indeed quite the opposite is true. 

Proposals for partial annexation are commonly of two types:  Those that prescribe including  selected areas of Judea-Samaria under Israeli sovereignty   (such as Area C as advanced by Education Minister Naftali Bennett) ; and those that prescribe excluding certain selected areas from Israeli sovereignty such as the large urban centers in  Judea-Samaria (such as advanced by Dr. Mordechai Kedar in his “Emirates” plan) 

Sadly, neither of these paradigms will solve any of the diplomatic or security problems Israel faces today, and will in fact exacerbate many. 

The Balkanization of Israel (cont) 

It is hardly necessary to go into the intricate details of the individual proposals for partial annexation to grasp how impractical they really are.

For whatever the configuration of the un-annexed areas left to Arab administration –whether the disconnected enclaves of Areas A and B, or the micro-mini “city states”—they will leave the sovereign territory of Israel with dauntingly long and contorted frontiers, making it almost impossible to delineate and secure. Clearly if one cannot effectively demarcate and secure one’s sovereign territory, there is little meaning to one’s sovereign authority over that territory.  

Although Haaretz is not my preferred source of reference, I find it difficult to disagree with the following assessment of Bennett’s plan for annexing Area C: 

 “… Bennett’s plan is groundless from the security, diplomatic, legal and, especially, physical angles. It’s easy to discern that, contrary to what was presented in a video produced by Bennett’s…party recently, Areas A and B in the West Bank are not contiguous blocs, spreading over 40 percent of the West Bank. Instead, they consist of no less than 169 Palestinian blocs and communities, cut off from one another by innumerable Israeli corridors and unused IDF firing zones that are together defined as Area C”.

It correctly pointed out: “… in fact, Bennett is proposing to increase the length of the Israeli border from 313 kilometers to 1,800 kilometers (194 to 1,118 miles). If [one] believe[s] Bennett, he will doubtless back the dismantling of the security barrier that Israel has built to the tune of 15 billion shekels ($3.9 billion), but [one] will have to accept that annexing Area C means Israel will have to build a barrier along the new border at the cost of 27 billion shekels and allocate another 4 billion shekels per year for maintenance purposes.”

Partial Annexation: Full political price

Similar criticism can be leveled at Kedar’s proposal for setting up an array of up to eight micro-mini “emirates” or city states.  It is not difficult to envisage the problems of future expansion beyond the highly constricted confines of disconnected enclaves, and of the need to severely curtail the authority of the local administration to deal with cross border issues such as pollution (particularly the carcinogenic emissions of the wide spread charcoal industry), sewage, pollution  from  industrial effluents, agricultural run-off, transmissible diseases and so on.   

Of course, any hopes that partial annexation, which entails extending Israeli sovereignty over about 65-75% of the territory, leaving the Palestinian-Arabs with an emasculated  25-30%, in a quilted patchwork of disconnected enclaves and corridors, will in any way diminish  international censure, are utterly unfounded. The political “pain” involved in such schemes would be no less than annexing 100% of the territory—without having to deal with the attendant chronic problems associated with partial annexation (as detailed above).   

Fanciful suggestions  that Nablus and Hebron might flourish into entities like Monaco and Luxembourg are as risible as those which, in the heady days of Oslo, predicted that Gaza would become the Hong Kong of the Mid East—and would be rightfully rejected as such.

Humanitarian Paradigm: Hobson’s choice

Even from the far-from-exhaustive analysis conducted over the last two weeks, it should be clear that an indisputable picture emerges as to the Zionist-compliant feasibility of the various policy paradigms proposed for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


- The attempt to manage the conflict is little more than a formula for backing away from confrontations in which Israel can prevail, while backing into a confrontation in which Israel might not prevail—or may do so only at ruinous cost.

- The two-state paradigm will almost inevitably result in the establishment of a yet another homophobic, misogynistic, Muslim-majority tyranny, which will rapidly become a mega-Gaza on the fringes of Greater Tel Aviv, menacing the socio-economic routine in the commercial hub of the country.

-Full annexation of Judea-Samaria together with the Arab population will result in the Lebanonization of Israeli society and thrust the country into ruinous inter-ethnic strife that will imperil it status as the nation-state of the Jewish people.

- Partial annexation of Judea-Samaria will result in the Balkanization of Israel, dividing the territory up into disconnected, rivalrous, recalcitrant and unsustainable autonomous enclaves, which will create an ungovernable reality for Israel.

Thus, by a rigorous process of deductive elimination we are left with the Humanitarian Paradigm, advocating funded emigration for non-belligerent Palestinian-Arabs to third party countries, as the only possible paradigm that can adequately address both the geographic and demographic imperatives needed to preserve Israel as the nation state of Jews. As such, for Zionists, it is Hobson’s choice. Anything else is self-deception

Dr. Martin Sherman served for seven years in operational capacities in the Israeli Defense establishment, was ministerial adviser to Yitzhak Shamir's government and lectured for 20 years at Tel Aviv University in Political Science, International Relations and Strategic Studies. He has a B.Sc. (Physics and Geology), MBA (Finance), and PhD in political science and international relations, was the first academic director of the Herzliya Conference and is the author of two books and numerous articles and policy papers on a wide range of political, diplomatic and security issues. He is founder and executive director of the Israel Institute for Strategic Studies ( Born in South Africa,he has lived in Israel since 1971.


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