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Review Category : Israel

9/3/19 – Capitol Hill Policy Phone Seminar Series

LISTEN: “Iran’s Proxy War on Israel’s Northern Border” featuring Brigadier General Michael Herzog

This past weekend was a particularly hot one for Israel. Yesterday,  September 1st, the Iranian proxy, Hezbollah launched anti-tank missiles across Israel’s northern  border, directly aiming at an IDF base. Thank G-d no-one sustained injuries. However, in a decoy move, Israel staged an evacuation of soldiers with bandages and fake blood to Rambam Hospital.

Israel responded by attacking Lebanese targets and the outlying borders of Lebanese communities along the Syrian-Lebanese border There are no known casualties.

This was the first time since the Lebanese War of 2006 that there has been a significant military exchange between Hezbollah and Israel. It is felt that this skirmish might have been contained for now. However, the situation is extremely tense. And what makes it even more tense is that we all know that this is a shadow war, and the Islamic Regime is actually the puppet-master  pulling the strings of Hezbollah  and other Shiite militia groups, throughout Ira, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen , as they simultaneously  put on a gentle face to the world about the true intentions of their nuclear program.

Brigadier General Michael Herzog

Biography

Michael Herzog, a retired brigadier general in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), is the Israel-based Milton Fine International Fellow of The Washington Institute. Over the last decade General Herzog has held senior positions in the office of Israel’s minister of defense under ministers Ehud Barak, Amir Peretz, Shaul Mofaz, and Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. From September 2006 to October 2009, General Herzog served as chief of staff to Israel’s minister of defense. From November 2001 to July 2004, he served as senior military aide (“military secretary”) to the Israeli minister of defense. In that capacity, he acted as the liaison between the defense minister and the IDF, prime minister’s office, intelligence community, and Israeli defense establishment.

General Herzog was a visiting military fellow at The Washington Institute in 2004-2006. His published work at the Institute included the study, Iranian Public Opinion on the Nuclear Program: A Potential Asset for the International Community, and the influential Foreign Affairs article, “Can Hamas Be Tamed?“.

Since 1993, General Herzog has played a key role in the Arab-Israeli peace process, participating in most of Israel’s negotiations with the Palestinians, Jordanians, and Syrians, including the Wye Plantation summit, Camp David summit, the Taba negotiations, and the Annapolis summit and subsequent negotiations. From June 2009 to March 2010, he served as special emissary to Israel’s prime minister and minister of defense in the efforts to relaunch the peace process. The general’s career has included service as head of the Strategic Planning Division (1998-2001), deputy head of the Strategic Planning Division (1995-1998), member of the Intelligence Corps (1974-1994), and infantry soldier (1973 war).

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A very bitter Jerusalem bombing anniversary

After American largess and Israeli know-how, the Jordanians have been offering safe haven to a cold-blooded murderer of American citizens who has made a career out of her crime.

(August 7, 2019 / JNS)

Aug. 9 marks the 18th anniversary of a very dark day. That was the day that Ahlam Tamimi calmly picked up Izz-al-Din Shuheil al Masri from his home in al-Aqabah in Judea (the West Bank) and serenely delivered him to the Sbarro pizzeria shop in Jerusalem. That was the site Ms. Tamimi had intentionally scoped out because it was a popular eatery frequented by families, singles and Jews of all ages.

It had been a sultry day and many young students, who were off from school during the long summer recess, were looking for ways to spend their time. One of these students, Malki Roth, entered the restaurant with her best friend, Mihal Raziel. At the same time, Izz Al-Din entered the restaurant and—using a guitar case rigged with nuts, bolts and nails, together with a suicide vest rigged with 10 kilograms of explosives—detonated himself. The explosion rocked the nearby vicinity, murdering 15 people, eight of them children.

Two of the murdered were American citizens: 15-year-old Roth, and Judith Greenbaum, 31, who was five months pregnant at the time. A third American, Chana Nachenberg, lies in a permanent vegetative state.

Immediately after the bombing, Ahlam Tamimi was on a Palestinian bus back to Ramallah, and described what happened as news reached them about the mounting death toll. “As the number of dead kept increasing, the passengers were applauding. They didn’t even know that I was among them … ,” she said. “On the way back [to Ramallah], we passed a Palestinian police checkpoint, and the policemen were laughing. One of them stuck his head in and said: ‘Congratulations to us all.’ Everybody was happy.”

Herein lies the heart of the matter regarding the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, which also pertains to our treatment of the Hashemite Kingdom.

Irrespective of the intentions of the Americans and the Israelis, or of what the final borders of a Palestinian state that they envision might look like, or of how many billions of dollars the United States wants to throw at the Palestinian Authority and any other entity that will help in the effort to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table, there will never be peace as long as this culture of hatred and incitement towards the wanton death of innocents is cultivated.

What is even more disturbing is that our own government has long had a condescending and patronizing attitude towards the Muslim and Arab world, so much so that we have let them literally get away with the murder of our own citizens and allow them to seek refuge there.

Ahlam Tamimi was initially arrested in Israel, where she was serving 16 consecutive life sentences. In 2011, she was released, together with 1,026 other Hamas terrorists with blood on their hands, in exchange for kidnapped Israel Defense Forces’ soldier Gilad Shalit.

She went to Jordan, where she was treated like a conquering hero, and where she has made an illustrious career out of her heinous crime. At one point, she was given her own Hamas-sponsored television show and even appeared on the secular Jordanian show “Carnival,” where she was received like visiting royalty.

According to American law (18 USC, 2332 b), any time an American is murdered abroad, the United States has jurisdiction and is directed to prosecute the perpetrator to the full extent of the law. There is no statute of limitations.

In March of 2017, the FBI met with Malki’s parents, Arnold and Frimet Roth, and unsealed a warrant for Tamimi’s arrest, demanding her extradition from Jordan. (Jordan signed an extradition treaty with the United States back in 1995.) Tamimi has been put on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” terrorist lists, and there is now a $5 million award leading to her arrest.

Several terrorists have been extradited from Jordan at the request of the United States, all of whom are serving out lengthy sentences in American jails.

However, in the case of Tamimi, the government of Jordan has suddenly said that no such extradition treaty exists.

The U.S. government is the single largest provider of bilateral assistance to Jordan, currently at the tune of $1.7 billion a year. The Israeli government has been working with the Jordanian government since the 1994 peace treaty was signed, helping them with agriculture, irrigation and oil projects. But the biggest peace dividend for Jordan was the initiation of trilateral Jordanian-Israeli American Qualifying Industrial Zones, which opened the door for a Jordanian-American free trade agreement. This, in turn, opened the door to the World Trade Association and the Greater Arab Free Trade Area, widening the door for Jordan to trade with the wealthy Gulf Arab states.

Yet even all of these economic benefits since signing the peace agreement with Israel have not changed the hearts and minds of the Jordanian people or its leadership. A recently released study conducted by IMPACT SE indicates that although the Jordanians say that the new textbooks teach tolerance, they have done little to alter hatred of Israel and Jews, one textbook publishes a dialogue between a Palestinian grandmother and granddaughter in which she says, “I wish that I will see Palestine liberated from the Zionist occupation.”

When King Abdullah came to the United States recently, he was asked by several members of Congress about the request for Tamimi’s extradition. According to one staffer, he dismissively responded with, “It is not going to happen.”

End of story.

After all this American largess and Israeli know-how, the Jordanians have been offering safe haven to a cold-blooded murderer of American citizens who has made a career out of her crime.

Tamimi knows this. Recently, she said, “Being in Jordan gives me strength because no extradition treaty exists with the United States.”

After American largess and Israeli know-how, the Jordanians have been offering safe haven to a cold-blooded murderer of American citizens who has made a career out of her crime.

Originally published: https://www.jns.org/opinion/a-very-bitter-jerusalem-bombing-anniversary/

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Phone Seminar: “Is a Joint US Defense Pact Actually a Good Idea?”

At EMET’s 2019 Rays of Light Dinner on June 12th, Senator Lindsey Graham announced that he aims to have a new US-Israel Defense Treaty voted on by the Senate next year.  Sen. Graham stated that the treaty would show the Islamist regime of Iran that “an existential threat against Israel is an existential threat against the United States.”  The Treaty would add Israel to the list of NATO allies which have mutual defense commitments with Israel, and its supporters suggest it would help solidify Israel and America’s relationship.

While at first blush the Treaty seems beneficial, it has within some inherent pitfalls, and would likely create more problems for the State of Israel. Please join us for a conference call with Professor Efraim Inbar on the proposed US-Israel Defense Treaty, and the number of reasons why the Treaty would, in fact, not be beneficial for the US-Israel relationship.

Listen to the recording here:

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Just Taking “No” for an Answer

Photo: BILAL HUSSEIN AP PHOTO

The late Israeli diplomat, Abba Eban, is famously quoted with saying, “The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.” Of course, at the time he said this, after the 1967 War, there was no such entity as the Palestinian people, but this adage is particularly germane to the Palestinians today.

This week, the “Peace to Prosperity Workshop” convened in Bahrain. The Trump administration’s long-awaited peace plan for the Palestinians was rolled out this week. Ahead of the conference, the Trump administration released a 40-page document describing a 50 billion dollar investment plan in the region, more than half going directly to the Palestinians, and the other half going to Egypt, Lebanon and Jordan.

Senior White House advisor, Jared Kushner, opened up the conference by calling the plan “the deal of the century” that the Palestinians should take advantage of, “What we have developed” he said, “is the most comprehensive economic plan ever created specifically for the Palestinians and the broader Middle East. We can turn this region from a victim of past conflicts into a model for commerce and advancement throughout the world.”

Unfortunately, once again, the Palestinian leadership chose victimhood, rather than prosperity for their people. Rather than taking responsibility for their own fate, they continue to play the “victim card.”

This has been the response of the Palestinians ever since the Peel Commission Plan of 1937, then of the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947, the Rogers Plan of 1969, the exceedingly generous Clinton plan presented at Camp David in August of 2000, and the even more generous Ehud Olmert Peace offer of 2008.

The most recent plan put forward by Ehud Olmert offered the Palestinian leader Ehud Barak 98% of the land they wanted, (with land swaps around the Jerusalem corridor for the Negev), a division of Jerusalem and a “right of return” of approximately 150,000 refugees into Israel.

How did Mahmoud Abbas react to this? By initiating a renewed intifada.

The Trump administration had decided to “think outside the box” and rather than go back to that same, tired old refrain of “land or peace” they focused on trying a different route, the economic route, of “peace through prosperity”. However, I am sorry to say that their understanding of the Palestinian leadership is profoundly flawed. The premise underlying the Trump plan is that peace can be bought through economic prosperity.

However, as John F. Kennedy had said, “Peace does not depend on signed documents and charters alone, but in the hearts and minds of the People.” As long as the hearts and minds of the Palestinians have been so inebriated with a culture of hatred, they will prefer for their people to starve, rather than accepting living a peaceful life alongside Israel.

The response from the Palestinian leader has been an indignant one. “We Palestinians cannot be bought off.” The leadership of the Palestinian Authority refused to show up at the conference. And as I write this, there are hordes of Palestinians in the streets of Gaza and Judea and Samaria burning pictures of President Trump in effigy.

There comes a time when we in the West will have to realize that we have got to take “no” for an answer.

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Defending Israel in the Era of “Apartheid Walls”

When my father was a little boy growing up in Poland, there were signs that read, “Jews: Get out of Europe. Go back to Palestine.” On today’s college campuses there are shouts of “Jews: Out of Palestine. Go back to Europe.”

These past two weeks have been difficult ones for American Jewish college students. It  has been Israel Apartheid Week, and across many American college campuses, most of our Jewish students are confronted with “mock die ins”, with student actors dressed as menacing Israel soldiers “brutalizing” other student actors dressed as hapless, “innocent” Palestinian civilians, and  “apartheid walls”.  Jewish students at Emory University have had “mock eviction notices” placed in residence halls, that say “Palestinian homes are destroyed as part of the state’s ongoing attempt to ethnically cleanse the region of its Arab inhabitants”. At Columbia University, Students for Justice in Palestine created a poster of an IDF soldier with horns. At Harvard University, one of the speakers for Israel Apartheid Week, Omar Barghouti, supports the “euthanasia of Zionism.”

Many Jewish students do not have the knowledge to be able to respond to these horrific distortions. The few who have both the knowledge and the backbone to fight back, do. However, most put their heads down in shame. It is no wonder that Natan Sharansky has called American Jewish college students, “The new Jews of silence”.

The problem is that many university professors have used their desks for one-sided political propaganda rather than giving them a solid education about the region. A tenured professor at Columbia, Hamid Dabishi, for example has tweeted that “Every dirty, treacherous, ugly and pernicious act happening in the world just wait a few days and the ugly name Israel will pup.” (sic). Marc Lamont Hill, a tenured professor at Temple University in Philadelphia called for a “free Palestine from the river to the sea.”  Unfortunately, these statements are no longer the outliers, but have become very much the norm in many classrooms that study the Middle East.

I long to equip our students with some basic facts, if I could only teach them for one semester. I would teach them about how the Palestinian Liberation Organization, whose membership is the same as the Palestinian Authority,(PA) was established in 1964, 3 full years before the 1967 War, and before there was any “occupation” to resist. I would teach them about the Oslo Accords, and how Yitzchak Rabin had reluctantly agreed to negotiate with Yassir Arafat on the one condition that he give up terrorism. I would tell them that after the Accords were signed there was a sharp rise in Israeli civilian victims of Palestinian terrorism, which is now over 1,000 fatalities.

I would tell them how Israel withdrew from all the major Palestinian population centers, putting 90% of the Palestinian population under the PA’s control. I would tell them about the enormous offer Prime Minister Ehud Barak had made to Chairman Arafat in July of 2000, which would eventually have given the Palestinians 91% of the West Bank, Gaza and shared sovereignty of Jerusalem, yet Arafat walked away from the offer and launched an intifada. I would tell them that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, an even more generous offer in November 2008, including making all of Jerusalem an internationally controlled city. And yet again, this Palestinian interlocutor walked away from the negotiating table, launching a renewed intifada.

I would tell them about the Gaza withdrawal in 2005, and how the Israelis trained their soldiers not to feel pain as they uprooted Jewish residents from their homes. And about how Israelis had left the greenhouses to give the nascent Palestinian state some sort of economic infrastructure, and the synagogues to be turned into mosques. And how these greenhouses and synagogues, along with every remnant of a Jewish life had been destroyed in a frenzied atmosphere of chaos and hatred. I would tell them how now Gaza has become a simmering sea of hatred which is unleashed every Friday when mobs try to penetrate the fence and kill as many Israeli civilians as possible. 

I would tell them about the innocent looking balloon bouquets and kites, meant to attract young Israeli children, launched with incendiary devices attached to them, that have destroyed thousands of acres of Israeli agricultural land near Gaza and have created an ecological disaster. I would tell them that over 1,000 missiles have been launched from Gaza, giving neighboring Israeli men women and children just 15 seconds to run for shelter.

Before anyone casts blame on the democratically elected government of Israel, I would ask them to walk a mile in their shoes. 

I know they will not, however. Because anti-Zionism is just the 21stcentury form of ant-Semitism. And as Jean Paul Sartre had said, “The anti-Semite has chosen hate because hate is a faith.” Anti-Semitism is hatred, and hatred is an emotion, and one, unfortunately cannot reason with an emotion.

A version of this recently appeared in the Washington Jewish Week.

Photo: Uriel Heilman

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Blog Post: The Duplicitous Double Standard of the United Nations Regarding the Golan Heights

By Sarah N. Stern

“There are 194 nations in the world. Out of those, precisely 193 acquired their territory through the use of military force. That is how borders have traditionally been drawn. Most of these campaigns were offensive. I have asked many military experts, historians and scholars about this, and they have, to a person, told me that there is only one nation in the world who gained territory through the use of force that has been sued, time and time again to relinquish that territory. You guessed it: the state of Israel.”

Read the full post here.

Photo: Jalaa Marey/AFP/Getty Images

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Phone Seminar: “The Thin Line Between Legitimate Criticism of Israel and Anti-Semitism”

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

Anti-Semitism on our nation’s college campuses, in the international arena, and even within the halls of the US Congress is on the rise. While criticism of Israeli policies is completely legitimate, it is important to note when such criticism crosses the line and becomes anti-Semitic. The definition of anti-Semitism used by the U.S. State Department includes examples of the ways in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regards to the State of Israel, including: the demonization of Israel, applying a double standard on Israel, and the delegitimization of Israel.

The Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which demonizes and delegitimizes Israel, and opposes Israel’s right to exist, is essentially an anti-Semitic movement that masks itself under the guise of anti-Zionism. BDS activity on college campuses, including anti-Israel divestment resolutions, and painting Israel as a “Nazi-like” State, is also contributing to the rise of anti-Semitic activity on campuses, reports show. The radical student group Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), which has more than 100 chapters across the U.S., is the most active voice in support of the BDS movement on campuses. SJP regularly introduces resolutions within student governments that call for a divestment from companies that “profit from” the “apartheid” State of Israel. In 2016, Congressional Testimony detailed SJP’s and the BDS movement’s ties to the terrorist organization Hamas.

What tools can be employed to identify when criticism of Israel has crossed the line into anti-Semitism? What can Universities and student groups do to combat the radical SJP movement and BDS activity? And what should the US Congress do to combat the BDS movement? Listen in as Dan Diker from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, explores these questions, and discusses his new policy book, “Students for Justice in Palestine Unmasked.”

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