Nikki Haley Channels Robert Aumann at the UN Security Council

On February 20, 2018, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley addressed the UN Security Council about the situation in the Middle East. Her remarks showed negotiating skills that were woefully absent during the eight years of ineptitude under the Obama administration. It was as stark as if Haley had been advised by masters of negotiation rather than community organizers. And I am not referring to President Donald Trump, author of “Art of the Deal” compared to Barack Obama. I write of Robert Aumann.

2005 Nobel Prize winner in economics, Robert J. Aumann

Aumann on the Middle East Conflict

Noted Israeli Robert J. Aumann won the Nobel Prize in economics in 2005 for his lifetime of remarkable work in “game theory,” also known as interactive decision theory. Aumann studied how people make decisions under different scenarios, such as encounters between strangers compared to negotiations between parties that will deal with each other many times in the future. According to Aumann, in a situation in which parties will only encounter each other a single time, there is pressure to make a deal and maximize gains. If the two parties know that they will be encountering each other for a long time, then the dynamics of the negotiations are completely different.

On December 8, 2005, as Aumann was accepting his Nobel prize, he said the following about war and peace (32:40):

“You must not be too eager for immediate results. The present, the now, must not be too important for you. If you want peace now, you may well never get peace. But if you have time, if you can wait, that changes the whole picture. Then, you may get peace now. If you don’t want it, you may get it. It is one of those paradoxical upside-down insights of game theory, and indeed, in much of science…. Wanting peace now may prevent peace now. Wanting peace now may prevent you from ever getting it, not now and not in the future. But if you can wait, maybe you can get it now.”

Aumann added that the dynamic in negotiations needed to be coupled with the concept of punishment; that the actions of the two participating players would be met with responses not just from the counter-party, but outside forces (like the rule of law). However, if the intensity of the punishment was too great, the parties could conceivably view a long-term situation as a one-shot deal. Balanced pressure is the key for parties to avoid taking absolute positions and make compromises.

Aumann’s comments were both general in nature and directly related to the Middle East conflict. He made that perfectly clear in an article he wrote for about The Blackmailer Paradox, which is worth reading in full. Here is an excerpt:

“The political relationship between Israel and Arab countries is also conducted according to the principles of this paradox. The Arabs present rigid and unreasonable opening positions at every negotiation. They convey confidence and assurance in their demands, and make certain to make absolutely clear to Israel that they will never give up on any of these requirements.

Absent an alternative, Israel is forced to yield to blackmail due to the perception that it will leave the negotiating room with nothing if it is inflexible. The most prominent example of this is the negotiations with the Syrians that have been conducted already for a number of years under various auspices. The Syrians made certain to clarify in advance that they will never yield even an inch of the Golan Heights.

The Israeli side, which so desperately seek a peace agreement with Syria, accept Syria’s position, and today, in the public discourse in Israel, it is clear that the starting point for future negotiations with Syria must include a full withdrawal from the Golan Heights, despite the critical strategic importance of the Golan Heights to ensure clear boundaries that protect Israel.”

Aumann goes on to argue that for peace to be achieved, Israel must make three basic changes to its position: 1) a willingness to renounce agreements; 2) a consideration of repeated games; and 3) faith in its positions. Conviction coupled with seriousness and the understanding that the parties will continue to deal with each other is the pathway to an enduring solution.

Obama on the Middle East Conflict

The United Nations has a long history of abusing the State of Israel. President Obama joined that global abuse as the US took many steps to distance itself from the Jewish State as well. But Obama took no such actions against the Palestinian Authority.

Free of any external pressure, the Palestinian Authority took the messages of Aumann to heart and held fast to the three tenants above. They were given a wide berth and global absolution for their crimes against humanity and their failures to advance the peace process. Without even subtle external pressure, the intransigence set in and the PA scuttled any peace talks.

Meanwhile, Israel collapsed under Obama on all three points. It was compelled to publicly state its support for a two state solution which may-or-may-not be the best outcome for an enduring peace. It was repeatedly pushed for “good will gestures” that showed that Israel would take immediate action and would not walk away from the table. And far-left wing organizations such as J Street and the New Israel Fund actively undermined the faith and conviction that Jews have a basic human right to live in homes that they legally purchase.

The peace process was left in shambles.

The Trump Administration on the Middle East Conflict

The Trump administration has taken a decidedly different tack on the Middle East conflict. It has removed the heavy hand pressuring Israel and has begun to apply some pressure on the Palestinian Authority, including withholding some direct and indirect funds.

At the UN Security Council, Haley also sought to set the stage for a lasting peace, by reminding the parties that this is not a one-shot deal, and that America is willing to wait for the parties to be serious about peace negotiations.

“I sit here today offering the outstretched hand of the United States to the Palestinian people in the cause of peace. We are fully prepared to look to a future of prosperity and co-existence. We welcome you as the leader of the Palestinian people here today.

But I will decline the advice I was recently given by your top negotiator, Saeb Erekat. I will not shut up. Rather, I will respectfully speak some hard truths.

The Palestinian leadership has a choice to make between two different paths. There is the path of absolutist demands, hateful rhetoric, and incitement to violence. That path has led, and will continue to lead, to nothing but hardship for the Palestinian people.

Or, there is the path of negotiation and compromise. History has shown that path to be successful for Egypt and Jordan, including the transfer of territory. That path remains open to the Palestinian leadership, if only it is courageous enough to take it…

Putting forward old talking points and entrenched and undeveloped concepts achieves nothing. That approach has been tried many times, and has always failed. After so many decades, we welcome new thinking.

As I mentioned in this meeting last month, the United States stands ready to work with the Palestinian leadership.

Our negotiators are sitting right behind me, ready to talk. But we will not chase after you. The choice, Mr. President, is yours.”

Nikki Haley with Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt at the United Nations
February 20, 2018

Haley understood that the pathway to an enduring peace lies with balanced pressure coupled with the ability to take a patient long-term approach, just as Robert Aumann’s lifetime of research demonstrated.

Hopefully, the new tactics will yield success.

Related First.One.Through articles:

Enduring Peace versus Peace Now

John Kerry: The Declaration and Observations of a Failure

Failures of the Obama Doctrine and the Obama Rationale

Failing Negotiation 101: The United States

Failing Negotiation 102: Europe

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Hamas Thanks Israel Bashers Who Post and Blog

On January 21, 2018, a Hamas journalist wrote that it was time to take advantage of the sympathy that has been building for the “resistance” against the existence of Israel from online pro-Palestinian “activists,” by beginning to attack Israel in new ways and locations, including abroad.

‘Imad Al-‘Afana (photo:
As reported by MEMRI, Imad Al-‘Afana, a journalist and former secretary general of Hamas’s faction in the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), wrote that attacks from the West Bank and the Gaza border against Israel had become ineffective, and it was time to launch a new wave of attacks:

“The resistance must take advantage of the public climate that is supportive of it and of the Palestinian rights… [to head] in new directions, in addition to the non-violent demonstrations and the [soliciting of] sympathy in the virtual realm [i.e., on the Internet], and this in order to convey powerful messages that will halt the efforts of various elements in the region to [promote] normalization and recognition of Israel. We must deliver painful blows to the enemy’s vulnerable underbelly, that is, target its interests, its investments, its diaspora and its representations around the world.

Here was a member of Hamas appreciating the efforts of groups and individuals that advanced the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel, as well as others who called on their governments to halt the normalization and recognition of Israel around the world. The terrorist argued that the softening of support for Israel would make it easier to attack Israel’s “vulnerable underbelly,… its investments, its diaspora and its representations around the world.

  • Jewish Voice for Peace and Code Pink, you will be held responsible for terrorism against Israelis in the United States.
  • The UK Labour Party and Oxfam, you will bear partial responsibility for terrorism in the United Kingdom against Israelis.
  • Norge Palestinakomitee (The Palestine Committee of Norway) and Palestinagrupperna i Sverige (PGS-Palestine Solidarity Association of Sweden), you will be held liable for terrorism against Israelis in Scandinavia

Hamas has long been labeled a terrorist group by the United States, Israel and many other countries. Its 1988 Charter is one of the most anti-Semitic political documents ever drafted, on par with Nazi Germany.

And a spokesperson for this anti-Semitic terrorist group has publicly thanked the online anti-Zionist propagandists for preparing their countries for the next wave of terrorism targeting Israelis and Jews.

The Noble Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel noted the importance of words for both good and evil, warning and encouraging people of the world to be careful and deliberate with their voices and opinions. Terrorists have now noted and reminded us of the same.

Related First.One.Through articles:

The UN is Watering the Seeds of Anti-Jewish Hate Speech for Future Massacres

The Three Camps of Ethnic Cleansing in the BDS Movement

J Street: Going Bigger and Bolder than BDS

Extreme and Mainstream. Germany 1933; West Bank & Gaza Today

The Palestinians aren’t “Resorting to Violence”; They are Murdering and Waging War

Abbas’ European Audience for His Rantings

The War Preferred

Names and Narrative: Genocide / Intifada

Palestinians of Today and the Holocaust

What do you Recognize in the Palestinians?

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Removing the Next Issue – The Return of 20,000 Palestinian Arabs

When US President Donald Trump announced that the United States was recognizing the reality of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, many people argued that the move was much more than it was: the anti-Israel camp stated that it gave Israel something for nothing, while the pro-Israel camp celebrated the end of Jerusalem as a negotiating point in the Arab-Israel conflict.

Both points of view were incorrect.

US President Donald Trump recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
December 6, 2017

The US decision was a simple matter of realizing the reality that Jerusalem has held all of the key government functions of the State of Israel since its founding. The Trump administration clarified that its decision to relocate the US embassy to Jerusalem did nothing to preordain the borders or status of Jerusalem in a mutually-agreed upon peace between the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority.

But maybe it is time to take some actions that take a critical issue off of the table, namely the “Right of Return” of Palestinian “refugees.”

On December 11, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly passed Resolution 194 which included a clause which Palestinian Arabs hold as a sacred truth in Article 11:

“Resolves that the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbours should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date, and that compensation should be paid for the property of those choosing not to return and for loss of or damage to property which, under principles of international law or in equity, should be made good by the Governments or authorities responsible;

“Instructs the Conciliation Commission to facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social rehabilitation of the refugees and the payment of compensation, and to maintain close relations with the Director of the United Nations Relief for Palestine Refugees and, through him, with the appropriate organs and agencies of the United Nations;”

As of this time, there are fewer than 30,000 refugees related to UNGA resolution 194 that remain alive, nearly 70 years after the resolution’s passing. UNRWA, the UN agency tasked with providing services to the 1948 refugees (and later on, their descendants) was established one year later, on December 8, 1949. That UN agency ultimately created a completely unique distorted definition of a “refugee” to allow UNRWA to survive past its mandate and grow to accommodate the descendants of refugees.

But the bizarre abuse of the English language for UNRWA did nothing to alter the actual meaning of UN Resolution 194.

As a matter of moving the peace process forward, Israel should coordinate with the United Nations to assess which of the 1948 Palestinian Arab refugees seek to return to cities in Israel and live in peace with their Israeli neighbors, and which ones would prefer to receive compensation. As Israel does so, it need not ask anything of the Palestinian Authority in return.

Concluding one of the key agenda items of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the UN can hasten the dismantling of UNRWA and fold its functions into the global refugee agency, the UNHRC. The schools and hospitals of UNRWA would be transferred initially to UNHRC and then to the Palestinian Authority.  The refugee “camps” run by UNRWA would be dissolved into regular local neighborhoods.

The Trump administration has begun to take actions against the Palestinian Authority, including withholding funds to UNRWA. Israeli actions on the “right of return” can begin the process of ending the funding – and the UN agency – completely.

Related First.One.Through articles:

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

UNRWA Is Not Just Making “Refugees,” It Creates Palestinians

UNRWA’s Munchausen Disease

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

Stabbing the Palestinian “Right of Return”

Losing Rights

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Time to Dissolve Key Principles of the “Inalienable Rights of Palestinians”

UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants September 2016

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UNRWA Is Not Just Making “Refugees,” It’s Creating Palestinians

It has been often reviewed how the United Nations has manufactured Palestinian Arab “refugees.” The fabrication done at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has been via:

  • calling someone a “refugee” when they left a home or town, rather than a country which is the actual definition of a refugee;
  • allowing the descendants of those Palestinian Arab “refugees” to claim such status, even though no such status is conferred to other refugees;
  • Telling those refugees that they will return to homes that grandparents left decades ago, even when such homes no longer exist and not a goal of relief agencies;
  • Still calling such people “refugees,” even when they live in the same country that they claim to be refugees of, in the case of Palestinian Arabs living in Gaza and the West Bank

However, the NUMBER of Palestinian Arabs has not been reviewed, and particularly, how UNRWA has increased the number of Palestinian Arabs through its actions.

Fertility Rates in Undeveloped Areas

The UN has completed studies that show how more developed countries witness a much lower rate of birth and older population compared to less developed countries.

Development Stage:         Advanced           Less              Least
Annual rate of
population change                0.3%                1.4%              2.4%

Population age 0-14               16%                28%                40%

Maternal Mortality                0.01%            0.24%             0.44%

Undeveloped countries like Yemen and Sudan have very high birth rates, averaging over 4 children per mother. They similarly have a high maternal and infant mortality rates, as the level of healthcare in those countries is quite poor.

Not so for the healthcare of Palestinian Arabs, thanks to UNRWA.

UNRWA deploys billions of dollars every year to give the Palestinian Arabs the best healthcare in almost the entire world. As a result, despite the high birth rates in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, the mortality rates are a fraction witnessed throughout the region.

fertility vs mortality

Most of the mothers in the Middle East average between 1.5 and 3.0 children. Societies in Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Iran and Qatar average just below two children per mother according to the World Health Organization. The incidents of children under five years old dying was low in those countries, at roughly 1.0 to 1.5%. On the other end of the spectrum were countries under severe distress, including Sudan and Yemen. These countries with over four children on average per mother saw an expected rate of death for children under five years old of 6.0%, five times the rate of the more stable and advanced regions.

But the Palestinian Arabs are an anomaly. While Palestinian mothers average 4.1 children, according to the WHO, the probability of the children dying was the same as experienced in advanced Turkey or Saudi Arabia, at under 1.5%. Applying 2014 data of 121,330 Palestinian Arab births in Gaza and the West Bank, would suggest that 1,808 of these children will die before age 5, but the theoretical number without UNRWA intervention would be closer to that 6.0% percentage of Sudan and Yemen, or 7,280 deaths. That means that because of UNRWA, there will be 5,472 more Palestinian Arab children alive from the class of 2014.

Further adding the 0.2% improved rate of maternal mortality represents approximately 240 mothers each year that do not pass away due to UNRWA’s efforts. In total, considering that UNRWA has been operating for close to 70 years through multiple generations, the number of incremental Palestinian Arabs living in Gaza and the West Bank because of UNRWA is close to 1 million.

Future Action: Jobs versus Contraception

The United Nations created a document together with the Palestinian Authority called “Palestine 2030 – Demographic Change” which told an interesting narrative and plan for the Palestinian demographic boom.

The opening lines of the report bemoaned the slow rate of the population growth: “Palestine’s demographic transition particularly its fertility component, continues to lag behind that of many Asia countries, including Arab countries… Fertility, which was extremely high in the 1970s has been cut in half.” A shocking statement compared to the statistics listed above.

The report continued to discuss the connection between fertility rates and education and income. “Very universal marriage, early marriage, and a low contraceptive rate, especially for modern methods of contraception (used by 44%), are the main proximate determinants of the present level of fertility. Household wealth also plays a role. But it is mainly education, particularly female education that determines the fertility rate.

The report estimates that the Palestinian Arab population in Gaza and the West Bank will grow from 4.7 million in 2015, to 6.9 million in 2030 and 9.5 million in 2050. The doubling of the Palestinian population between 2015 and 2050 compares to a global growth rate of just 36%. The high Palestinian rate of growth is only anticipated in the large poor African countries like Chad, Uganda and Tanzania. Consider further that the number of “refugees” in the GS/WB areas is forecast to grow from roughly 2 million today to 3 million in 2030 and 4.5 million in 2050 (+125% for refugees and +85% for non-refugees). UNRWA clearly impacts the population growth, with estimates of “creating” an additional 800,000 Palestinian Arabs by 2050.

Those are staggering figures for a small territory.

And yet the report claims that the solution to the population boom is not population control, but more jobs and education for women.

If the United Nations is on the front lines of health services in the Palestinian territories, why is the use of contraception only at 44%, when it stands at 64% in the rest of the world where women have to obtain, purchase and manage their health on their own? Why isn’t UNRWA doing more education about family planning and making more contraceptives available?  It is estimated that 7.0% and 5.0% of Palestinians use the pill and condoms, respectively. Shouldn’t the rate be double or triple, more in line with Lebanon (15.1% pill) and Turkey (15.9% condoms)? Overall contraceptive use should be targeted at 75%, in line with the Islamic Republic of Iran at 76.6%.

The UN General Assembly made a global goal of comprehensive family planning in its 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in which it set out “universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes.” With thousands of feet on the ground in Gaza and the West Bank, the UN is in prime position to take an aggressive stance.

Palestinian Arabs have extremely high fertility rates similar to third world countries but receive first-class healthcare from the United Nations. In doing so, UNRWA has helped the Palestinian Arab population balloon by an incremental one million people, or 25%. Will the UN advance its own global family planning goals for Palestinian Arabs, or does it prefer to create a demographic army to confront Israel?

Related First.One.Through articles:

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

UNRWA’s Ongoing War against Israel and Jews

How the US and UN can Restart Relations with Israel

Delivery of the Fictional Palestinian Keys

Time to Dissolve Key Principles of the “Inalienable Rights of Palestinians”

An Inconvenient Truth: Population Statistics in Israel/Palestine

Mad World of Palestinian Quality of Life Statistics

Arabs in Jerusalem

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The Middle East with American Leaders that Back Friends and Punish Enemies

On February 2, 2011, US President Obama gave the Middle East a clear unambiguous message: the United States will no longer back its allies.

Arab countries had hoped that the only US ally that Obama was going to abuse was Israel, as witnessed by the callous and abusive treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for the first two years of Obama’s presidency.

However, on that February day, Obama pulled the carpet out from Hosni Mubarak, the long-time ruler of Egypt and loyal US ally.

“We’ve borne witness to the beginning of a new chapter in the history of a great country and a long-time partner of the United States,… [the transition] must be meaningful, it must be peaceful and it must begin now.

Obama made clear that the future was in the hands of the people of Egypt, not its leader and long-time US partner Mubarak.

The rest of the Arab world was appalled by Obama’s actions. The leaders of American ally Saudi Arabia felt that Obama had no clue how things worked in the Middle East. You backed allies, not enemies.

In Syria, the regime of Bashar al-Assad bombarded his own people with missiles and chemical weapons, but Obama set down fake “red lines” without ramifications.

Enemies got a pass in the brutalization of its people. Friends were scorned, thrown out of office and arrested.

Seven years later, on January 30, 2018, the Trump Administration’s ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley made clear this administration’s break with Obama’s foreign policy after Donald Trump’s State of the Union address:

“For the first time in a long time, our friends know that they can count on the United States to have their backs, and our enemies know that we will no longer give them passes when they threaten American interests.”

It is still early too tell if the Middle East will be better suited under the model of protecting one’s allies. But it is all too apparent that enabling one’s enemies as under Obama, was a catastrophic failure.

Related First.One.Through articles:

Remembering the Terrible First Obama-Netanyahu Meeting

John Kerry: The Declaration and Observations of a Failure

Failures of the Obama Doctrine and the Obama Rationale

Obama’s Friendly Pass to Turkey’s Erdogan

Obama and the Saudis

Israel & the United States Repel the Force of the World

Trump’s Take on Obama’s “Evil Ideology”

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy on Israel is like the United Nations

Nikki Haley Will Not Equivocate on the Ecosystem of Violence

Comparing Nikki Haley’s and Samantha Power’s Speeches after UN Votes on Israel

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