Schrodinger’s Cat and Oslo’s Egg

Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger developed a thought experiment in 1935 in which he tried to explain a situation of a cat existing in a dual state – both dead and alive – as a way of explaining quantum mechanics. In the experiment, a cat in a sealed box may or may not have been exposed to a poison and killed. Only when the box is lifted, is the cat revealed to be one of the two states. The example demonstrates the divide between reality inside the box which is only known to the cat and the two possible outcomes considered by the blind observer.

The situation of the Israeli-Arab Conflict can be viewed in such a manner, particularly regarding the Oslo Accords of 1993 and 1995.

Since the League of Nations (the precursor to the United Nations) supported the re-establishment of the Jewish homeland one hundred years ago, the Arab world fought to destroy it. From riots to wars to terrorist attacks, the surrounding Arab countries and Arab residents in Palestine took upon themselves a jihad to annihilate the Jewish State.

The Oslo Accords seemed to reverse that course. On its face, the Palestinians appeared willing to lay down their arms and accept the existence of Israel subject to a variety of terms. Israel signed the agreement and handed the newly created Palestinian Authority several cities to govern. Over the next five years, despite numerous terrorist attacks, the Israelis continued to try to forge a deal together with the assistance of the United States.

Details of the negotiations were kept under wraps, much like Schrodinger’s cat. The world was hopeful that the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs would be able to conclude a lasting peace agreement. To the outside observers, there was the open reality of Arabs killing Jews and a Hamas charter which completely rejected Israel’s existence but the active involvement of the Clinton administration made people hopeful that peace would emerge at the end of the five year interim agreement in September 2000.

However, Yasser Arafat was unhappy to not get every item he desired in the negotiations and launched the deadly Second Intifada, killing and maiming thousands of civilians. President Bill Clinton told Arafat that he missed the best peace deal the Palestinians would ever see and bemoaned “I’m a colossal failure, and you made me one.

Arafat smashed the covered Israeli dove egg before it was hatched.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, U.S. President Bill Clinton and PLO Chairman Yasir Arafat at Camp David, July 2000

The Arab League tried to put Humpty Dumpty together again and save the Palestinians from the scorn of the world. It put forth the Arab Peace Initiative (API) in 2002 which basically repeated the Palestinians demands, with the promise of the full recognition of Israel by the Arab and Muslim world. While Israel rejected those specific parameters, it began to take steps to give the Palestinians additional land once it secured assurances from the U.S. George W Bush administration in 2004 that it would not have to adhere to exact terms of the API.

U.S. President Barack Obama pivoted and put significant pressure on Israel towards the API once he took office in 2009. Under Secretary of State John Kerry, Israelis and the Palestinian Authority (PA) worked under secrecy through the Spring 2014 to try to arrive at a final settlement. The world waited to see if the Second Intifada and Gaza Wars of 2008 and 2012 were going to be shadows of the past, and the imagined Obama magic would render Humpty Dumpty viable again.

But it was not to be. The PA signed a unity government with the terrorist group Hamas and Israel refused to hand over the last batch of prisoners as part of “good faith” measures as Kerry had inserted murderers on the list. Within weeks, the situation rapidly devolved into an intense war in Gaza. This time, the Obama administration blamed the failure on Israel, and ultimately allowed a United Nations resolution to pass in the waning days of its administration labeling the West Bank as “Palestinian territory” which Israel illegally occupies.

Humpty Dumpty has now observed to be shattered and dead for the second time. The only change in 2014 from 2000 was the charge of the U.S. administration as to the cause for the failure, which fanned the flames of antisemitism throughout Europe during the 2014 war with Hamas.

The Trump administration recognized the results of the various failed peace initiatives and laid out a new road map to coexistence which more closely resembled the desires of America’s ally, Israel, rather than the API which parroted Palestinian demands. The Palestinians have refused to engage with the administration and no secret talks are enabling the imagination to ponder whether the possibility of peace is alive or dead.

Today, there is no Oslo egg in Schrodinger’s box waiting to be hatched, but a single reality for everyone to recognize.


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The Best Palestinian Response to the Trump Initiative is Welcoming Jews to Palestine

US President Donald Trump put forward a new Middle East Framework called “Peace to Prosperity” (P2P). It was the first Middle East framework offered since the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 (API). The API was, not surprisingly, heavily biased towards the Palestinian Arabs’ demands and not Israeli security. It did not advance peace but rather ushered wars from Gaza in 2008, 2012 and 2014, a war from Lebanon in 2006 and a “stabbing intifada” from the West Bank in 2015.

Unlike the API, Trump’s P2P plan was focused on Israel’s security (and Palestinians’ prosperity), and the Palestinian Authority considered it a non-starter before they even saw it. The acting-President of the PA Mahmoud Abbas has refused to even entertain discussing it.

That is a mistake.

The underlying issue of Israel’s security manifests itself in the plan in a few ways, most notably, that all Palestinian border crossings must be managed by Israel and that a future State of Palestine must be demilitarized. If the PA were to refuse to accept those two principles, there is indeed nothing to discuss regarding any of the other key items for Palestinians such as land, refugees and Jerusalem.

However, if Abbas accedes to those two Israeli security points, he will likely be able to gain much on the other issues that matter to him and to the Palestinians.

Consider the land.

The P2P plan has Israel assuming sections of the West Bank including the entirety of the Jordan Valley. It leaves the Palestinian territory as a patchwork of parcels, with the towns in which Jews reside being annexed by Israel dotted, in between.

However, the Palestinians might be able to obtain almost the entirety of the West Bank if it grants Palestinian citizenship to all of the inhabitants of the Jewish towns. This action would be much like the Jewish State’s in 1948 when it granted Israeli citizenship to all of the Arabs. The Jews would make up a much smaller percentage of Palestine than Arabs’ in Israel today.

As the border would be controlled by Israel, only a sliver of land between Palestine and Jordan would be required to be Israeli instead of the whole Jordan Valley, much like the plan assumes Israel having a thin sliver of land buffering Palestinian territory in the Negev and Egypt. The net result would be the Palestinians gaining almost the entirety of the West Bank other than a sliver along the Jordan River.

The willingness to accept Jewish citizens into Palestine might also open a window for Israel to accept many Arab refugees into Israel, rather than just giving them compensation as mapped under the P2P plan. A new Arab spirit of coexistence might stimulate Israel to take as many as 50,000 Arab refugees per year for a number of years, with the balance receiving compensation and settling in a new Palestinian State.

The capital of a Palestinian State could also become more dynamic, with Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem becoming parts of a Palestinian capital.

In short, Palestinians can gain a lot on all of their key negotiating points by working off of the Trump peace initiative if they endorse coexistence and welcome Jews into a new state. In contrast, the current path of continued demonization of Israel and the denial of Jewish history and rights will only further cement the stagnation for Palestinians in regards to both peace and prosperity.

Palestinians should call the Israeli bluff, and see if hundreds of thousands of Jews are willing to live as a minority in Palestine. If the Israelis balk, then the BDS movement will likely advance globally. However, if the Israelis endorse the principle, Israel will be blocked from annexing any land (pro-Arab), while United Nations Resolution 2334 will be deemed moot and the global BDS movement will come to an end (pro-Israel).


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Is Trump Seeing Mid-East Countries to Combat Religious Extremism, or Visiting Religious Sites to Promote Coexistence?

Palestinian Arabs De-Registering from UNRWA

Israel was never a British Colony; Judea and Samaria are not Israeli Colonies

Palestineism is Toxic Racism

The Parameters of Palestinian Dignity

Considering Carter’s 1978 Letter Claiming Settlements Are Illegal

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American Leaders Always Planned on Israel Absorbing Much of the West Bank

The liberal press is counting on people’s terrible memory and fondness for their cherished presidents Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama to convey a false history of the Middle East. It boldly lies that American politicians have always viewed the contours of Israel to be roughly along the 1949 Armistice Lines, commonly referred to as the Green Line and that Israel would uproot its’ civilian population in the West Bank much as it did in Gaza. Consider The New York Times’ article “What’s in a Peace Plan: Settlements and a Goal of a Palestinian State” on January 30, 2020. The article was full of distortions including: “The United States has long voiced support for the creation of a Palestinian state with only slight adjustments to the Israeli boundaries that existed before the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, when Israel wrested the West Bank from Jordan, and Gaza from Egypt.”
The New York Times January 30, 2020 Page A8
That is total nonsense, meant to make Donald Trump’s plan look like a complete break with the past (a past which must be noted never produced a peace deal). To describe reality, read the letter that President George W Bush wrote to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on April 14, 2004, after Sharon announced that he was going to withdraw all Israelis from Gaza: “In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.” That is the essence of the Trump plan – reflecting the reality of over half a million Israelis living in communities in the West Bank. This position of Israel incorporating Israeli population centers in the West Bank was reflected in the Democratic party as well, until Obama pivoted away from Israel towards the Muslim world in the hope of creating a “new beginning.” Look at the 2008 Democratic platform’s point on Israel: “All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949.” The Democrats-of-old also agreed with the Trump initiative recommendation that Jerusalem remain a unified city and the capital of Israel. The 2008 Democrats stated: “Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.” But the current contenders for the president from the Democratic Party (other than Mike Bloomberg) have run from Israel and the notion that Jerusalem should remain the unified capital of Israel. They are the one’s who have turned on long-standing American policy, not Trump. But the liberal media will lie, distort history and tell you #AlternativeFacts like “Israel wrested the West Bank from Jordan” without adding that Jordan attacked Israel in 1967 and Israel took the territory – which Jordan had illegally annexed in 1950 – in a defensive war. The Times article likewise wrote that “[p]revious American proposals spoke of uprooting tens of thousands of Israelis from the settlements to return those areas to Palestinians.” As seen above, that’s a lie. Further, there could be no “return… to Palestinians” as the Israelis would have had to return the land to Jordanians who illegally occupied the land, not Palestinians who never controlled the area. Do not be swayed by the #FakeNews that the Trump peace plan is a radical change of American policy. It just appears that way after eight years of Obama distancing himself from Israel and the current anti-Zionist edge infecting the left-wing media and politicians. Before Obama, Israel truly was a bipartisan cause in which the contours of the Trump peace plan would have been endorsed by all.
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The Peace Proposal Monologues

The Trump administration put forward a new Middle East Peace Plan as the latest installment of a series of frameworks over the years to try to find an enduring peace between the Israelis and Palestinians. Like every proposal before it, it was declared dead on arrival.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 28: U.S. President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu participate in a joint statement in the East Room of the White House on January 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. The news conference was held to announce the Trump administration’s plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images/AFP

The Israelis had made numerous direct overtures for peace through the years, from its founding in 1948, post the 1967 war and in 2008, when Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert presented a plan that met nearly every desire of the Palestinian Authority. But in the end, the Arabs rejected every Israeli effort to find peace.

So third parties took a stab at putting forward their versions of a workable peace. The last serious attempt was advanced by the Arab League in 2002, known as the Arab Peace Initiative (API) which was advanced by Saudi Arabia. The API, not surprisingly, was heavily biased towards the Palestinian Arabs. The Obama Administration worked off of the API in trying to strike a peace agreement, and secured small adjustments from the Arab League to make it more palatable for Israel to accept, such as the notion of including “comparable and mutual agreed minor swap of the land” in 2013.

But the plan did not meet Israel’s basic security needs, and no peace agreement was advanced, particularly after Hamas’ 2014 war against Israel and the Palestinian Authority fomenting the “stabbing intifada” in 2015.

President Trump, in concert with his pro-Israel advisers including Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt, realized that a new paradigm needed to be advanced.

Trump’s team spent years developing a new framework based on a long-term vision for the region, rather than simply trying to get Israel to accept the API which would have left it very vulnerable in a tumultuous region. This new initiative recognized several inherent flaws of the Obama-approved API, including lies which had become mainstreamed, or as US founding father Thomas Paine once said “A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom.

  • “East Jerusalem.” There is no place called East Jerusalem any more than there is a place called East Berlin. That name existed for only 18 years of the city’s 4,000 year history and was an artifice of war that ended in 1967.
  • “Occupied East Jerusalem.” Jerusalem was NEVER slated to be under Arab control in international agreements including the San Remo Agreement, the Mandate of Palestine or the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan. To call it “occupied Palestinian territory” is a complete lie.
  • Refugees. Refugees are people who left a COUNTRY, not a mandate territory or a specific town. To extend the farce of calling for a return of “refugees” when the mandate was later advocated to be split for two peoples is against the very nature of the goal. To continue the charade for several generations entrenches resentment and has long been an obstacle to peaceful coexistence.
  • “Inalienable rights.” The United Nations has pushed forward the notion that Palestinian Arabs have “inalienable rights” of sovereignty. That would make them the only people with such rights – do Hispanic people who lived in New York City in the 1970’s have inalienable rights to their own country? People only have inalienable rights to self-determination.

Beyond the outright lies which have permeated discourse in the Arab-Israel conflict, there has been a denial of facts:

  • Return of “territories.” Israel has already complied with UN resolutions to return territories won in the 1967 War: it returned the Sinai to Egypt and handed Gaza to the Palestinians, the first time Palestinians ever had self-rule of a territory.
  • War from Palestinian territories. Since the Palestinians have ruled Gaza, they launched thousands of rockets into Israeli civilian neighborhoods.
  • Inability to Compromise. The two Palestinians factions have not even been able to negotiate between themselves, so how realistic can it be that they will ever agree to peace with Israel.
  • Rights. Only under Israel has there been freedom of access and freedom to worship for all religions, as opposed to the Arabs from 1949 to 1967 which barred Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem and Hebron.
  • Growth. The Arab population in the West Bank has grown significantly more than the Arab populations in all of the neighboring countries from 1967 until now, demonstrating the positive and stable environment of Israel for all of its inhabitants.

The Trump peace plan takes reality into account as it seriously addresses the security risks of the region. It is a constructive document to counter-balance the flawed Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and will hopefully enable the parties to chart a course towards an enduring peace.

Like Eve Ensler’s “The Vagina Monologues” play which included a series of skits meant to address violence against women, the Middle East Peace Monologues now has a new installment to address the violence against and isolation of Israel. The question is whether this latest addition will break the impasse to become a dialogue.


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Trump Reverses the Carter and Obama Anti-Israel UN Resolutions

The United Nations is a group of 193 countries of various sizes, races, religions and political philosophies. From the time the UN was created in 1945 as an outgrowth of the League of Nations until today, the total number of member countries has swelled, mostly with monarchies, dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. As such, votes in the UN General Assembly are often at odds with decency and freedom, such as the 1975 “Zionism is Racism” resolution.

To counteract the world circus, the UN established the UN Security Council which was chaired by world powers to “lead” in matters of security. Regrettably, the makeup of the council’s five permanent representatives from the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom already included two non-Democratic countries. Depending on the makeup of the additional five rotating members in the UNSC, it was often left for the United States to be the sole voice of logic, reason and empathy.

Those voices of reason and decency were absent when the two most left-wing US presidents sat in office: Jimmy Carter (1977-1981) and Barack Obama (2009-2017).

Anti-Jewish Jerusalem Resolutions Under Carter

While anti-rational anti-Israel UNGA resolutions started soon after Israel took lands in its defensive war in June 1967, the anti-Jewish nature of the UNSC resolutions gained credibility and momentum in 1980 under the watch of President Carter.

As Israel prepared to annex the eastern part of Jerusalem which had been illegally annexed by Jordan in 1950, and declare the city Israel’s undivided capital on July 30, 1980, the UN Security Council began to pass resolutions attacking the move in harsh language.

The March 1, 1980 UNSC Resolution 465 stated (incorrectly) that:

  • the Fourth Geneva Convention related to Israelis moving into Jerusalem. It was nothing of the sort. Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem since the 1860’s and were expelled from the eastern part of the city by the invading Jordanians. Jerusalem was designated by the UN in 1947 to be an internationally-administered city, a “corpus separatum,” not part of another country to which the Geneva Convention applies.
  • As noted above, Jerusalem was neither a Palestinian nor Arab territory as “deplored” in the UNSC resolution.
  • The comment that the UN cared about Jerusalem’s “need for protection and preservation of the unique spiritual and religious dimension of the Holy Places in the city,” when it did nothing about the Jordanian expulsion of the Jews, annexation of the city and refusal to allow Jews to enter, pray or live in the city was insulting, disgusting and reeked of Jew-hatred.
  • Further calling for all Jews to be evicted from Jerusalem to reestablish the “demographic composition” of the purely Arab Old City which the Jordanians had created and enforced, blessed the Muslim antisemitism.

And the United States under Carter let such vile resolution pass, as it did a few months later on June 30 when the UNSC passed Resolution 476 which called on the entire world to join in on the antisemitic edict as it sought to enforce its ban on Jews in the city.

On December 6, 2017 President Trump marked the United States objection to and rejection of the UNSC resolutions and recognized the fact that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and soon moved the US embassy to the city.

Anti-Jewish Judea and Samaria Resolution Under Obama

In the waning days of the Obama administration, the anti-Israel voices inside the White House and the United Nations pulled together anti-fact anti-Israel UN Security Resolution 2334.

  • The UN resolution’s use of the term “Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967” is interesting nomenclature. The UN does not recognize Palestine as an official country. Does the resolution refer to Armistice Lines that Israel agreed to with Jordan (not Palestine)? Does it refer to incremental land that Israel took beyond the 1947 Partition Plan up to those Armistice Lines?
  • The resolution again “condemned” the shift in the “demographic composition” of that “Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem.” Too many Jews. Too many Jews. Too many Jews. Too cynical? Do you think that the resolution was concerned that the Arab population grew four-fold from 1967 to 2017? I don’t think so.
  • The presence of those Jews was deemed a threat to “the viability of the two-State solution based on the 1967 lines.” While past resolutions were only concerned about arriving at a peace agreement, now the contours of the peace agreement which was theoretically to be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinian Arabs themselves, now had a predetermined outcome. So why negotiate at all?
  • If the presence of Jews threatened the existence of an Palestinian state, does the presence of Arabs threaten Israel? If so, the UN’s declaration that Palestinian refugees should be moved into Israel is a direct threat to the viability and existence of a member state of the UN, a war crime.
  • The resolution declared definitively that any place in which an Israeli Jew lives beyond the June 4, 1967 lines has “no legal validity
  • Significantly called on the entire world to actively “distinguish, in their relevant dealings, between the territory of the State of Israel and the territories occupied since 1967” in a move not seen in any disputed territory around the world.

This last statement enabled the UN to compile a “blacklist” of companies operating in the Israeli territory of Area C (which was agreed to by the Palestinian Authority in the Oslo Accords). So on November 12, 2019, the European Union declared that labeling products made in Area C had to have a distinct label than items produced in Israel.

Not a week later, it was time for the Trump Administration to respond in kind.

On November 18, 2019 the Trump Administration marked the United States objection to UNSC Resolution 2334 and stated that Israeli civilian settlements are NOT illegal and do NOT hamper peace.

President Trump has sought to reverse the terrible damage done by the Carter and Obama administrations at the United Nations with its overtly anti-Jewish resolutions, by standing proudly and defending the Jewish State. Hopefully other countries will follow.


President Trump visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem,
the first sitting U.S. president to visit the site, in May 2017


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President Herod

There once was a mad king who lived in Judea in the first century BCE who was one of the greatest builders in the holy land. His second coming may be here.

U.S. President Donald Trump has never been shy about taking claim for accomplishments. In his remarks about the trade war with China, he referred to himself as “the chosen one,” which many people thought was akin to anointing himself as the Messiah, as the Jews are commonly known as “the chosen people.” A more apt comparison might be to a particular king in Judea from 2,000 years ago.

Like King Herod (73 – 4 BCE), Trump is an accomplished builder. Herod built the expanded Temple Mount to enable better flow of thousands of Jews to the Second Temple in Jerusalem, aqueducts in Caesarea, the large edifice atop the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron and many other buildings across the holy land. For his part, Trump has built numerous buildings in New York City and around the world. In addition to those buildings which he financed, there are many others which bear his name.

In addition to their real estate bona fides and reaching political stardom, both Herod and Trump have been characterized as paranoid madmen. Herod had many people close to him killed, including his wife and her sons; Trump has preferred to off people on Twitter who do not show complete loyalty.

But more than anything else, Donald Trump may earn the title of President Herod for continuing to fortify Jewish permanence in their holy land.

Just as Herod was able to secure more lands for Judea from his patrons in Rome, Trump has recognized Israel’s capital in Jerusalem, its rule in the Golan Heights, and on November 18, 2019, the natural and acceptable existence of Jewish homes throughout Judea and Samaria, in contrast to the United Nations which labeled them as illegal (with the tacit nod from former President Obama).


President Trump visiting the Western Wall in Jerusalem,
the first sitting U.S. president to visit the site, in May 2017

For those people excited about the various efforts of Trump on behalf of the Jewish State, history shows that celebrations can be short-lived. The Jewish Temple was destroyed in 70 CE, only seven years after the Temple Mount complex was completed. Just sixty-five years later after the failed Bar Kochba revolt, the Romans expelled the Jews and renamed Judea as Syria Palestina, thoroughly weakening the Jewish people and their presence in their homeland. Herod’s glorious buildings remained, but were assumed by pagan and Arab interlopers over the following centuries.

Donald Trump knows that to make an enduring mark in history, he can forge a peace agreement in Israel when so many others have failed, and/or he can further help build the Jewish State. While he hopes to achieve both, he is not waiting on the latter and is actively supporting America’s ally.

Trump may have picked the “chosen one” moniker for himself, but others may begin to refer to him as President Donald Herod.


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Republicans Do Not Believe There is Any “Occupation”

The terminology used by the United Nations that Israel is “illegally occupying Palestinian Land” has angered Israelis for a long time. The Israelis do not believe that the land is “Palestinian,” that they are “occupying it” or that living in and controlling such land is “illegal.”

The Trump Administration agrees with this approach.

The 2016 Republican platform discussed Israel in several sections, including the B.D.S. (boycott, divestment and sanctions) movement which it labeled antisemitic, in prioritizing the security needs of allies like Israel over foes, and in moving the U.S. embassy to Israel’s capital city, Jerusalem. It also clearly mentioned Israel’s control over disputed land:

“We reject the false notion that Israel is an occupier”

The logic behind such attitude has been voiced by Israel and Israeli advocates for a long time, although it gets no air in the left-wing media. In short:

  • International law in 1920 and 1922 specifically called for Jews to reestablish their homeland throughout Palestine, covering all of the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River;
  • The “Green Line” or “1967 border,” is no border at all, but simply the armistice lines of 1949 which were deliberately and specifically not called borders but temporary lines too be negotiated for final settlement;
  • Jordan illegally evicted all the Jews from the area between the Green Line and the Jordan River (an area which later became known as the “West Bank”) and annexed the land in a move which was not recognized by almost the entire world;
  • Jordan broke the Jordanian-Israeli Armistice Agreement by attacking Israel in June 1967;
  • Israel took the “West Bank” in a defensive war, which makes the situation completely distinct from laws regarding taking land in an offensive war, especially when such land was not part of a sovereign nation, and was designated to be part of the acquiring country in any event

In summary, Israel took the “West Bank” back from a country which had illegally evicted all Jews, illegally annexed the land and illegally attacked it (the “Three Illegal Actions”).

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration sided with the United Nations, a group dominated by over 50 Arab and Muslim countries, the majority of which do not recognize Israel in any form. The United States, as part of the “Middle East Quartet,” co-signed a joint statement in September 2016, the final declaration before the Trump Administration took over which included the following:

“The Quartet reiterated its call on the parties to implement the recommendations of the Quartet Report of 1 July 2016, and create the conditions for the resumption of meaningful negotiations that will end the occupation that began in 1967 and resolve all final status issues.”

“The Quartet stressed the growing urgency of taking affirmative steps to reverse these trends in order to prevent entrenching a one-state reality of perpetual occupation and conflict that is incompatible with realizing the national aspirations of both peoples.”

The Obama Administration followed this up in December 2016 when it allowed UN Security Council Resolution 2334 to pass which stated:

“the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;”

The Republican and the Democratic Party/UN could not be further apart on this issue.

Since the Trump Administration has taken office, it has followed through on its position on this matter:

  • It has curtailed the announcements made by the Quartet, and none of them refer to an “occupation” of “Palestinian territory” being “illegal”;
  • In June 2019, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said that “Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,“; and
  • U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt also stated in June that “We might get there [to peace] if people stop pretending settlements, or what I prefer to call ‘neighborhoods and cities,’ are the reason for the lack of peace.

US Envoy Jason Greenblatt speaks at the Israel Hayom forum in Jerusalem on June 27, 2019. (photo: Gideon Markovitz)


While the two positions seem incompatible, they need not be.

The Republican position is completely logical. Further, how can there really be an enduring peace assuming the Democratic position of blessing an Arab Jew-free state? How can “progressives” support the antisemitic notion that Jews should be banned from living somewhere, let alone, in parts of their homeland?

The Democratic position also has logic. The Palestinian Arabs and the broader Arab world are insistent on Palestinian sovereignty. While sovereignty is NOT an “inalienable right” which the biased United Nations bestowed upon the Palestinians uniquely (only self-determination is an inalienable right of all people), it might not be a bad solution to the current impasse. Should the Palestinian Arabs obtain sovereignty, they will require defined borders. However, such new state of Palestine need not – and should not – be based on the antisemitic notion that Jews cannot live there.

The blend of the positions might be that Palestinians obtain sovereignty over a portion of the land, say in Gaza and land east of the security barrier which Israel built to stem the waves of Palestinian terrorists. It is consistent with both the Democrats and Republicans stated positions of caring about Israel’s security, while acknowledging the substance of the Republican position that the “1967 borders” are arbitrary and not borders, and the Democratic position that a two-state solution is the best path towards a peaceful settlement.

The Trump administration has not yet revealed the political portion of its Middle East plan and may not do so until after the Israeli elections scheduled for September 17. It might call for a new independent Palestinian State on the lines above, or it might suggest some sort of confederation with Jordan, which poses its own issues for Jordan’s King Abdullah.

Either way, the Republicans have clearly broken with the notion endorsed by the Unsavory UN and the Democratic Party that Israel illegally occupies Palestinian Land, and will advance a peace proposal on such basis.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Obama’s “Palestinian Land”

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

Marking November 29 as The International Day of Solidarity with Jews Living East of the Green Line

The Israeli Peace Process versus the Palestinian Divorce Proceedings

“Settlements” Crossing the Line

Anti-“Settlements” is Anti-Semitism

Names and Narrative: It is Called ‘Area C’

The New York Times Major anti-Netanyahu Propaganda Piece

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Israel Has Much Higher Claims to The West Bank Than Golan Heights

On March 21, 2019, US President Donald Trump said that it was time to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The nature of the timing was viewed by cynics as a nod to help Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu win the election happening in a couple of weeks. For people who understand the nature of the strategic security need for the Golan, the timing had much more to do with the ending of the eight-year civil war in Syria and the rapidly expanding deployment of Iranian forces into Syria. An Iranian-Syrian axis in the Golan Heights would certainly lead to a war with Israel which would kill tens of thousands of people, conservatively.

While there was certainly some benefit politically to Netanyahu for the gesture, the rationale for Israel’s control of the plateau is definitely about security. But the arguments applied to the Golan are relatively weak compared to all of the reasons Israel should have sovereignty over the “West Bank.”

History

Jews lived in the Golan Heights for thousands of years. The ancient Kingdom of Israel occupied most of southern Lebanon and Syria and dozens of synagogues over 1000 years old can be found in the area. But most Jews did not live in that area, certainly compared to the West Bank, over the past 100 years.

Religion

There are no particularly important religious sites for Jews in the Golan. However, almost all of the sacred sites for Jews are located in the “West Bank,” which the Jordanians seized in 1949 including Jerusalem, the Cave of the Jewish Patriarchs in Hebron, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus/Shechem.

Legal

When the global powers opted to divide the Ottoman Empire after World War I, they set some arbitrary lines. The French took the mandates of Lebanon and Syria and the British took Palestine. While the Syrians wanted control of all of Palestine, the global powers allotted Syria the Golan Heights, and Syria controlled the area until Israel attacked it in a preemptive defensive war in 1967.

The situation could not be more different regarding the “West Bank.” That area has always been a core part of the Jewish holy land for thousands of years. It was set as an integral part of the Jewish Homeland in international law in 1920 and 1922, specifically stating that no person should be denied the right to live there based on their religion.

The Jordanian army seized the land of Palestine and annexed it in 1949, contrary to all international laws, and evicted all of the Jewish inhabitants. The Jordanians then attacked Israel again in 1967 and lost the land for which they never had any rights.

Security

The security situation in the Golan is extraordinary, due both to the height and reach of the area which can cover all of northern Israel, as well as the military operation of an Iranian-Syrian pact.

But the security situation from the West Bank is also severe. The spine of the western West Bank is very high and overlooks all of Israel’s major population centers and airport. The miles of borders dwarf the size of borders in the Golan and Gaza.


The contrast between the Golan Heights and the West Bank is striking:

  • Original rights: Syria was allotted the Golan Heights roughly 100 years ago, while the West Bank was allotted to the Jewish homeland at the same time.
  • Rights of holder: Israel took the Golan from Syria which had rights to the land, while Israel took the West Bank from Jordan which had NO RIGHTS to the land.
  • Method of acquisition: Israel took the Golan in a preemptive attack, and took the West Bank in a DEFENSIVE ATTACK.
  • History/connection: While Israel has a connection to the Golan Heights, it pales compared to the eternal connection to the “West Bank” and Jerusalem.

It was President Barack Obama who saw the Israeli-Arab Conflict as one based purely on security. If he were president today and saw Iran embedding itself into Syria, he might have sought to help secure Israel’s rights and defenses in the Golan, just as Trump announced.

But Trump sees the Jewish State from more than just a security or political standpoint. As he appreciates the long history, deep religious connection and legal rights of Israel to the West Bank, one must foresee Trump embracing Israel’s annexation of that region as well.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

The Many Lies of Jimmy Carter

Obama’s “Palestinian Land”

Israel was never a British Colony; Judea and Samaria are not Israeli Colonies

Maybe Truman Should Not Have Recognized Israel

The US Recognizes Israel’s Reality

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Maybe Truman Should Not Have Recognized Israel

On May 14, 2018, the United States of America moved its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. The choice of May 14 was chosen to coincide with the 70th anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence. Just as President Harry Truman chose to have the United States of America be the first country to officially recognize the Jewish State in 1948, President Donald Trump elected to have the USA be first to formally recognize Israel’s capital in the modern day.

Some protests – particularly from the Muslim, Arab and far-left world – have been loud and furious. This group (and yes, they are coalescing into a single mass) argue that recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel without having a similar declaration for Palestinians is unfair. They note that Trump’s action will make the Arab world angry and provoke violence, leading to deaths on both sides of the conflict. Further, such a move does nothing to advance the cause of peace and is therefore a terrible mistake.

I will not argue that they are not entitled to their opinion. I will instead consider their arguments as though it was 1948.


Front page of the New York Times, May 15, 1948

Consider:

  • Zionists declared an independent country in 1948, even though the local Arab population did not. Was it wrong for the US to recognize the Jewish State even though there was not a corresponding local Arab state?
  • The Arab world was furious with the declaration of the Jews and the US response. The armies of five Arab armies (Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan and Egypt) invaded Israel in a war that claimed thousands of lives.
  • No peace has come to the region. Now, over 70 years later, the Israelis have only been able to forge a peace agreement with two Arab countries, Egypt and Jordan.

The arguments of 1948 and 2018 seemingly remain the same. The US recognition was and is unbalanced, foments violence and harms peace efforts. One would therefore conclude that Truman was as wrong as Trump, and for many in the Arab/Muslim/alt-left camp (let’s call them “AMAL” for short, which means “hope” in Arabic), that is very true. (Note: Hebrew, which is read right-to-left would call these people “LAMA” which means “why?”)

But to do so is to contort cause-and-effect, actual history-with-“my truth” philosophy, and equality-with-fairness.

The AMAL legions believe that Israel is a foreign transplant in Arab land. They did not recognize the rights of Jews to live in and have sovereignty in the region in 1922 (as encouraged in international law in the Mandate of Palestine), in 1948 (at Israel’s declaration of independence) and do not recognize it now (as the US embassy moved to Jerusalem). They want Jerusalem for a capital today just as they wanted Haifa as part-and-parcel of Arab Palestine in 1948. They have fought tooth-and-nail against these events for 100 years.

For AMAL, accepting a foreigner stealing your home and land is a negation of one’s narrative and one’s dignity, and there can be no peace without dignity.

The alt-left has joined the anti-Zionist AMAL army in greater numbers as they have embraced and advanced the notion of “my truth” broadly. While the “progressives” may occasionally become offended at the vile anti-Semitism spewed by Palestinian Arabs, the Arab rejection of thousands of years of Jewish history in the holy land and the centrality of the land of Israel in Judaism, the alt-left have nevertheless adopted the underdog. They have redefined the conflict as a matter between Israel and the stateless Palestinians rather than the 100-year old Israel-Arab conflict. The alt-left sees a powerful Israel both economically and militarily on one side against a stateless impoverished people. They therefore see complete lack of equality in the actors, as they narrow the scope past the 20+ Arab and 50+ Muslim countries that dwarf the population of Jews in Israel by 100-to-1, to a scenario where Israel is the Goliath.

With such a mindset, the AMAL army contends that Trump added fuel to the fire of an unfair dynamic, just as when Truman blessed the theft of Arab land in 1948. The action continues to move the parties away from their perceived only pathway to peace which includes a bi-national Israel and a purely Arab Palestine.

The pro-Zionist camp sees the world very differently. It celebrates Truman’s recognition of Israel as part of the restoration of the Jewish people in their homeland. They know that if the Jewish State had been reestablished a decade earlier in the 1930s, tens of thousands of Jews would have been saved from the Holocaust. And they admire the thriving stable democracy which Israel has become, in the middle of a vicious and violent Arab Middle East. Recognition and partnership have been beneficial to both the USA and Israel.

But the soldiers of AMAL deny any recognition of Israel’s reality, whether Jerusalem as its capital, its flag in Judo tournaments, the research of its professors and the goods from the country. Thirty countries in AMAL still do not recognize the State of Israel. Their belief that the United States continues to be wrong from Truman to Trump runs deep.

The lines in the conflict continue to cut deeper. Do not simply consider whether the United States’ recognition of the capital of Israel was right or wrong because it is likely clouded by personal perceptions of Donald Trump. Ask yourself if you think president Truman was right in recognizing Israel 70 years ago to understand whether you are part of the AMAL horde or stand proudly with Israel.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Cancer in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

The Palestinian State I Oppose

I call BS: You Never Recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Israel’s Peers and Neighbors

The Impossible Liberal Standard

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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.


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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

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