Author Topic: Israel, and its neighbors  (Read 711818 times)



Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
Partner in Peace 2.0
« Reply #2452 on: February 10, 2019, 08:50:17 AM »

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
Jews who become like Arabs
« Reply #2453 on: March 01, 2019, 07:50:25 AM »


https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/01/opinion/politics/israel-spies-founding-fathers.html

Israel’s Secret Founding Fathers

Everyone knows the name David Ben-Gurion. Why don’t we know about the spy Jamil Cohen?

Jamil (Gamliel) Cohen and Shimon Horesh in Beirut in 1948.CreditCreditPalmach Museum, Tel Aviv
Matti Friedman

By Matti Friedman

Mr. Friedman is the author of “Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel.”

    March 1, 2019

JERUSALEM — Late on the night of Nov. 11, Hamas soldiers in southern Gaza stopped a van near the town of Khan Yunis. Inside were a group of Arabic-speaking men and women who said they were aid workers. The soldiers were suspicious. When the passengers understood that they couldn’t talk their way out, they dropped the pretense and drew guns. In the ensuing firefight, seven Hamas men and one of the passengers died before the intruders were extracted by an Israeli rescue force.

The van’s passengers were undercover agents, but in Hebrew their profession has a unique name: They were mista’arvim, which translates as “ones who become like Arabs.” The work of the mista’arvim, who serve in Israel’s Army and police and are meant to move around Palestinian areas undetected, has gained some international renown recently thanks to the success of the TV series “Fauda,” a fictionalized version of their exploits.

But the odd term has roots older than Israel — and deeper than the world of spies. Its origins have much to tell us, not just about the history of covert operations here, but also about the complicated identity of this country.

Advertisement

Israel tends to tell a European story about itself — Theodor Herzl, socialism, the Holocaust — and many Israelis and many of our enemies like to imagine that this country doesn’t quite belong where it exists. But even if we set aside the one-fifth of Israel’s citizens who are Arab Muslims, half of the Jewish population here has roots in the Islamic world. They’re the children and grandchildren of people like Jamil Cohen.


Who is Jamil Cohen? He isn’t famous, and his name was new to me when I began researching a book about Israel’s first spies. But his story is a window onto some crucial and forgotten Israeli history.

Cohen was born in 1922 in Damascus, Syria, and grew up in the alleys of that city’s ancient Jewish Quarter. The existence of such a quarter seems unimaginable today, with the Arab world’s old ethnic mosaic largely destroyed by state persecution, religious violence and civil war. But when Cohen was growing up, there were about one million Jews native to Islamic countries, most of them Arabic speakers. Baghdad, the Iraqi capital, was one-third Jewish in those days.

At 21, facing an uncertain future amid the Muslim majority, Cohen decided to run away to join the Zionist pioneers forging a new Jewish future in the country next door: British Mandate for Palestine. He crossed the border on foot and joined a group of idealistic young people working the land at a kibbutz. It was the beginning of 1944, with World War II still raging and the creation of the state of Israel still four years away.

In oral testimony recorded in the 1990s, Cohen remembered what the experience was like. He was exhilarated by the comradeship and ideology of pioneer life. On the other hand, he was different from the others and found the difference hard to escape. Although Palestine had an old community of Jews who spoke Arabic, the native tongue of most Jews in the country at the time was Yiddish: They had come to the Middle East fleeing abject poverty and oppression in Poland and Russia.

To the kibbutz pioneers, Jamil Cohen was mystifying. He seemed Arab — in his appearance, in his Hebrew accent, in the music he loved, like that of the Egyptian diva Oum Kalthoum. He stopped using the Arabic name of his childhood, Jamil, and instead used his Hebrew name, Gamliel, but that didn’t resolve the problem. Cohen made friends but didn’t talk about his old life in Damascus; they weren’t interested. “Because I was the one who wanted to join them, and not the other way around,” he remembered much later on, “I was the one who was worn down, who had to round his edges to fit the machine that spins around, sparing no one.” The ability to “round your edges” is useful for a spy, as he’d soon find out.

The course of his life was changed the following year when someone came looking for him. Not for Gamliel, but for his earlier incarnation — Jamil. It turned out that the Arab identity he was trying to escape was precisely what the Zionist movement needed.


Understanding that the Jews in Palestine would shortly face a war for survival against the combined might of the Arab world, a few officers in the Jewish military underground were running an ad hoc intelligence unit called the “Arab Section.” Its members were tasked with collecting information in Arab areas: How big was the local militia? What were the imams saying in the mosques? They needed people who could pass.

The people who could do this did not want to be called “spies” or “agents,” names which were seen as dishonorable. Another term was needed to describe their service, and one was found in the long history of the Jews of the Arab world. In Aleppo, Syria, for example, there had always been two Jewish communities: One was the Sephardim, who had been expelled from Spain after 1492, and the second consisted of people who had been in the metropolis since before Christianity or Islam, and who had adopted Arabic after the arrival of Arab conquerors in the seventh century A.D. Those Jews called themselves, in Arabic, musta’arabin — “ones who become like Arabs.” The word in Hebrew is nearly identical.

The mastermind of the mista’arvim endeavor in the embryonic Israeli intelligence services was an educated Jew from Baghdad who went by the Arabic name Saman. (His Hebrew name was Shimon Somech, but no one used it.) The ideal recruit to the Arab section, he once explained, “isn’t just a young man with dark skin and a mustache who knows how to speak Arabic.” A successful candidate, he wrote, “must be a talented actor playing the part twenty-four hours a day, a role that comes at a cost of constant mental tension, and which is nerve-racking to the point of insanity.”

With that in mind, Saman set off at the end of the war to recruit young arrivals from the Arab world. One of the recruits was Cohen, who would operate as a Palestinian Muslim with the name Yussef el-Hamed.
Sign up for Frank Bruni's newsletter

Get a more personal, less conventional take on political developments, newsmakers, cultural milestones and more with Frank Bruni’s exclusive commentary every week.
Jamil Cohen (left) with two other spies, Beirut, summer 1949.CreditPalmach Museum, Tel Aviv
Image
Jamil Cohen (left) with two other spies, Beirut, summer 1949.CreditPalmach Museum, Tel Aviv

The scope of their adventures has preoccupied me for much of the last seven years: their dramatic, overlooked role in the 1948 war; their creation of Israel’s first foreign intelligence station in Beirut; how some evaded capture and lived, and how others were exposed and killed; how those Jewish refugees from Arab countries experienced Israel’s birth while pretending to be Arab refugees from a Jewish country; how they witnessed the violent collapse of their world, the Jewish world in Arab lands; and then the flood of those newcomers into the new state, which wasn’t expecting them, and which was transformed by them into a place different than its founders had planned.

The members of the Arab section were one part of what later became the Mossad. When Cohen died in 2002, having spent much of his life under an assumed identity, he was described by a military historian as one of Israel’s most successful agents: “We never heard of him because he was never caught.” Saman, the mastermind, eventually ran Eli Cohen, Israel’s most famous spy, who penetrated the Syrian regime as the businessman Kamal Amin Thabet before he was exposed and hanged in 1965. But the point I’d like to make here is not about what they did, but instead about who they were and what it says about the country they helped create.

Advertisement

Were they the “ones who become like Arabs”? Or was that identity real?

This is an important question beyond the particular case of these spies. The divide between Jews from Christian countries (known as Ashkenazim) and from Muslim countries (generally called Mizrahim) has always been the key fault line in Israeli society, with the former clearly on top. But in recent years it has become more acceptable to admit or even celebrate the Middle Eastern component of Israel’s Jewish identity. The Hebrew pop style known as Mizrahi, long scorned, now rules the airwaves. The dominance of the political right in recent years comes far less from the settler movement, as foreign observers tend to think, than from the collective memory of Israelis who remember how vulnerable they were as a minority among Muslims and grasp what this part of the world does to the weak. In the country’s official view of itself, it might still seem as if the Jews of the Islamic world, by coming to Israel after the founding of the state, joined the story of the Jews of Europe. But in 2019 it’s quite clear that what happened was closer to the opposite.
Jamil in Beirut in the spring of 1950.CreditPalmach Museum, Tel Aviv
Image
Jamil in Beirut in the spring of 1950.CreditPalmach Museum, Tel Aviv

As the young Jamil Cohen found when he was recruited in the 1940s, the world of military intelligence is, ironically, one corner of Israeli society where Arab identity has always been respected. The Israeli scholar Yehouda Shenhav opens his 2006 book “The Arab Jews” with an anecdote about his father, who came to Israel from Iraq and found his way into the secret services. Looking at a photograph of his young father on a beach with friends from those early days, the author is forced to consider his father’s tenuous position in Israeli society and his utility as a spy: His appearance, Mr. Shenhav wrote, “confronted me with my complex location within what is often represented as an ancient, insurmountable conflict between Arabs (who are not Jews) and Jews (who are not Arabs).”

To an Israeli viewer, that ethnic blurriness runs clearly beneath the surface of “Fauda,” the popular Netflix thriller. In the second season it’s embodied in the character of Amos Kabilio, who confuses us when he first appears on screen — he’s speaking Arabic and it’s not clear which side he’s from, until we realize that he’s the father of Doron, the Israeli agent who’s the main character. Amos is a Jew from Iraq, and when he speaks to his son, the Israeli spy, it’s partly in his mother tongue, Arabic. We’re meant to grasp that when Doron “becomes like an Arab” as part of his mission, it’s not entirely artificial.

“Espionage,” John le Carré once observed, “is the secret theater of our society.” Countries also have cover stories and hidden selves. The identity of Israel’s spies teaches us who Israel has to spy on, of course. But it also has much to say about what Israel is — and how that country differs from the country we know from stories.

Matti Friedman (@MattiFriedman), a contributing opinion writer, is the author of the forthcoming “Spies of No Country: Secret Lives at the Birth of Israel,” from which this essay is adapted.

The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.

Follow The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram.


Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
GPF: US deploying THAAD
« Reply #2454 on: March 04, 2019, 09:47:45 AM »
Missile defense in Israel. Israel Defense Forces announced today that the U.S. is deploying Terminal High Altitude Area Defense in Israel as part of an “exercise deployment.” THAAD boasts larger missiles that can travel greater distances than Israel’s Iron Dome system. The only threat that justifies this kind of hardware is Iran, so in that sense the “exercise deployment” is a dry run for defending Israel from Iranian missiles. It’s unclear how well they fared – and how long the system will remain in Israel.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile


DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 12689
    • View Profile
Re: What do Palestinians want?
« Reply #2457 on: March 12, 2019, 11:43:32 AM »
https://mosaicmagazine.com/essay/2015/11/what-do-palestinians-want/
They want death.

Death to Israel.  And death to countries who support Israel, wasn't this a core principle of Osama bin Laden.

Taught to children as early as the Arabic alphabet.

" a PSR survey that appeared after the August 2014 ceasefire ending the latest war between Israel and Hamas. It reported, among other findings, that fully 79 percent of Palestinians believed Hamas had won the war and only 3 percent saw Israel as the victor. So convinced were respondents of their side’s strength that nine in ten favored continued rocket fire at Israel’s cities unless the blockade of Gaza were lifted, 64 percent declared their support for “armed attacks against Israeli civilians inside Israel” (meaning, among other things, suicide bombings in Israeli population centers), and 54 percent applauded the event that in large measure had precipitated the 50-day war: the abduction and murder by Hamas operatives of three Israeli teenage boys hitchhiking home from school."

Good news is that we have to go no farther than Minneapolis, Detroit, Queens and the House of Representatives in Washington to find out the demands of their most ardent supporters.

[Note the piece is dated 2015.]

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
How US benefits from Israel
« Reply #2459 on: March 23, 2019, 02:37:05 PM »

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
GPF: Hezbollah missile factory
« Reply #2460 on: April 03, 2019, 09:38:50 AM »


More precision-guided missiles for Hezbollah. According to Israel’s Channel 13, intelligence reports indicate Iran helped Hezbollah construct a new missile facility in Beirut. The report said the factory could include the capability to produce precision-guided missiles. It also claimed that Israeli intelligence shared the information with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who then warned Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri about the facility’s location. Hezbollah is believed to have precision-guided missile storage sites in Beirut near major civilian infrastructure, including an airport and a football stadium

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
GPF: Russia kibbitzing on Israel-Palestinian process
« Reply #2461 on: April 16, 2019, 09:51:02 AM »
Russia’s vision for Middle East peace. It seems Moscow is interested in playing a role in Israeli-Palestinian peace. Russia’s Sputnik News is reporting that Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyah Maliki said PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is ready to sit down with newly re-elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – if Russian President Vladimir Putin hosts. (Maliki’s remarks have not been confirmed by other outlets.) In addition, Moscow is currently hosting the fifth Russian-Arab Cooperation Forum, where the Israel-Palestine question tops the agenda. The forum gives Moscow an opportunity to reply to the Arab League’s recent call for an international response to Netanyahu’s campaign promise that he will annex Israeli settlements in the West Bank. It’s also a chance for Moscow to offer an alternative vision to the peace plan that Washington plans to release in coming weeks – a plan the Palestinian Authority has already rejected.



Also see

https://foreignbrief.com/daily-news/russia-hosts-arab-league-in-moscow-to-discuss-latest-israeli-sovereignty-moves/?utm_source=GPF+-+Paid+Newsletter&utm_campaign=aded94d2ab-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_04_16_03_37&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_72b76c0285-aded94d2ab-247660329




ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 10813
    • View Profile
American Jews and Israel
« Reply #2465 on: June 03, 2019, 08:28:50 AM »

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile


Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
PM Netanyahu on denying Tlaib and Omar
« Reply #2468 on: August 15, 2019, 12:47:47 PM »
https://www.facebook.com/IsraeliPM/?hc_ref=ARR28Rr2kIkoyQTsLfwHOXX7r35wuGhDsNIpXC8E6PEKrHfxPLEwLPQ1KBVSqkKqnkA&fref=nf&__tn__=kC-R

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

No country in the world respects America and the American Congress more than the State of Israel.

As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel, as do other democracies that prohibit the entry of people who seek to harm the country. In fact, in the past the US did this to an Israeli member of Knesset, as well as to other public figures from around the world.

Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress. Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy. For instance: they listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel, and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Israel, they did not request to meet any Israeli officials, either from the government or the opposition.

A week ago, Israel warmly welcomed some 70 Democratic and Republican members of Congress, who expressed broad bipartisan support for Israel, which was also demonstrated a month ago in a resounding bipartisan vote against BDS in Congress.

However, the itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.

In addition, the organization that is funding their trip is Miftah, which is an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel.

Therefore, the minister of interior has decided not to allow their visit, and I, as prime minister, support his decision.

Nonetheless, if Congresswoman Tlaib submits a humanitarian request to visit her relatives, the minister of interior has announced that he will consider her request on the condition that she pledges not to act to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit.

G M

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18060
    • View Profile
Re: PM Netanyahu on denying Tlaib and Omar
« Reply #2469 on: August 15, 2019, 07:19:15 PM »
They shouldn't be allowed in the US or Israel.


https://www.facebook.com/IsraeliPM/?hc_ref=ARR28Rr2kIkoyQTsLfwHOXX7r35wuGhDsNIpXC8E6PEKrHfxPLEwLPQ1KBVSqkKqnkA&fref=nf&__tn__=kC-R

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:

No country in the world respects America and the American Congress more than the State of Israel.

As a free and vibrant democracy, Israel is open to critics and criticism, with one exception: Israeli law prohibits the entry into Israel of those who call for and work to impose boycotts on Israel, as do other democracies that prohibit the entry of people who seek to harm the country. In fact, in the past the US did this to an Israeli member of Knesset, as well as to other public figures from around the world.

Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar are leading activists in promoting the legislation of boycotts against Israel in the American Congress. Only a few days ago, we received their itinerary for their visit in Israel, which revealed that they planned a visit whose sole objective is to strengthen the boycott against us and deny Israel’s legitimacy. For instance: they listed the destination of their trip as Palestine and not Israel, and unlike all Democratic and Republican members of Congress who have visited Israel, they did not request to meet any Israeli officials, either from the government or the opposition.

A week ago, Israel warmly welcomed some 70 Democratic and Republican members of Congress, who expressed broad bipartisan support for Israel, which was also demonstrated a month ago in a resounding bipartisan vote against BDS in Congress.

However, the itinerary of the two Congresswomen reveals that the sole purpose of their visit is to harm Israel and increase incitement against it.

In addition, the organization that is funding their trip is Miftah, which is an avid supporter of BDS, and among whose members are those who have expressed support for terrorism against Israel.

Therefore, the minister of interior has decided not to allow their visit, and I, as prime minister, support his decision.

Nonetheless, if Congresswoman Tlaib submits a humanitarian request to visit her relatives, the minister of interior has announced that he will consider her request on the condition that she pledges not to act to promote boycotts against Israel during her visit.



Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile


ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 10813
    • View Profile
rumors of spying device outside WH
« Reply #2474 on: September 14, 2019, 02:15:03 PM »
 a hit job against Bibi?


https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/was-israel-spying-or-was-the-stingray-story-an-anti-bibi-sting

So now two questions?
  who did plant it?  (Obmam?)
  who made the false (?) rumor?


G M

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 18060
    • View Profile
Re: rumors of spying device outside WH
« Reply #2475 on: September 14, 2019, 07:08:48 PM »
Israel spies on us. We spy on Israel. Every country does, both friends and enemies. Mystery Stingray sites popup all over, and it could be various state and non-state actors.

a hit job against Bibi?


https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/was-israel-spying-or-was-the-stingray-story-an-anti-bibi-sting

So now two questions?
  who did plant it?  (Obmam?)
  who made the false (?) rumor?


ccp

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 10813
    • View Profile


Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
« Reply #2479 on: October 08, 2019, 07:38:56 AM »
Israel reaches out. Israeli is working on developing non-aggression treaties with several Arab countries in the Gulf, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz has confirmed. Katz added that he laid out his plan to several Arab countries on the sidelines of the recent United Nations General Assembly meeting. The draft of the proposed agreement reportedly calls on signatories to prevent hostilities against each other, abstain from entering security alliances with other parties that could harm each other, cooperate in the fight against terror, and advance economic interests. Katz acknowledged talking to U.S. officials about the project but did not specify which Arab countries he spoke with at the UNGA (though he has recently held meetings with officials from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman). The initiative is part of Israel’s diplomatic efforts to form an anti-Iran coalition in the region.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
Stratfor: For Israel, it is open skies over Syria and Iraq
« Reply #2480 on: October 14, 2019, 06:42:16 AM »
For Israel, It's Open Skies Over Syria and Iraq
7 MINS READOct 14, 2019 | 10:00 GMT
This picture taken on Aug. 25, 2019, from a tourist lookout point at an Israeli army outpost on Mount Bental in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows a directional sign for Damascus.
(JALAA MAREY/AFP/Getty Images)

Syria and Iraq, struggling to cope with Israel's aerial might, want to bolster their air deterrent, but that could come with some unintended consequences.
Highlights

    Syria and Iraq's inability to secure their airspaces from Israeli airstrikes will lead them to try and acquire better air defense systems.
    New equipment, particularly from Russia, could increase the deterrent against Israeli strikes, but it won't provide a foolproof solution.
    But even if Syria and Iraq gain more control over their airspace, their ability to shoot down Israeli aircraft could ignite new conflicts.

Syria and Iraq are facing a common conundrum in their respective skies: a persistent Israeli air campaign that has targeted Iranian and Iran-linked assets. Because of both countries' limited air defense capabilities, Israel has had free range to conduct its campaign. Now, however, the pair may be trying to rectify this disadvantage amid recent reports that Russia is considering the sale of high-end radar systems to unidentified Middle Eastern countries. If they made such a purchase, however, it could cause unexpected problems for Damascus and Baghdad: The systems won't be enough to completely halt the Israeli campaign, but they would pose a significant enough challenge to Israel's jets that their use could touch off a new round of conflict in the area.
The Big Picture

Throughout the Syrian civil war and the battle against the Islamic State, Iran has expanded the presence of its asymmetrical capabilities across the region. In response, Israel has launched an air campaign in Syria that has recently expanded into Iraq and Lebanon as well.
See Israel's Survival Strategy
A Weak Defense

Israel has been conducting a daring air campaign in Syria since 2013. Initially, its warplanes targeted specific Iranian arms shipments bound for Hezbollah, but over time, it has expanded the offensive to include Iranian assets in Syria that could support attacks against Israel or sustain the logistical supply line to, and cooperation with, the Lebanese militant group. The overall intent of the campaign goes beyond the tactical interdiction of arms transfers, as Israeli leaders seek to stop Iran from permanently embedding itself in a territory so close to Israel itself.

In July and August, Israel expanded this campaign into Iraq and Lebanon. In Iraq, Israel has largely targeted stockpiles of weapons belonging to Iran-linked Popular Mobilization Units (PMU). In Lebanon, it took aim at the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — General Command, a group that has fought alongside Hezbollah and Syrian government forces in Syria. The intensity of the strikes in Iraq and Lebanon has by no means reached the levels of Syria, but Israel's ability to easily conduct attacks there highlights just how accessible regional airspace is to Israeli operations.
This map shows the location of Israeli airstrikes in Syria and Iraq since January 2017.

Israel's impunity stems primarily from Syria and Iraq's limited air defense capabilities. Their weak defenses not only allow Israel to conduct air operations over these countries with virtually no losses (so far, Syria has managed to down only one Israeli F-16 aircraft, in February 2018), they also allow the country to maintain plausible deniability. Both Syria and Iraq operate mostly outdated, Cold War-era air defense systems that have deteriorated even further over the course of previous conflicts.

With Russia's support, Syria has tried to rebuild its air defense capabilities during the civil war, acquiring a number of Russian systems such as the Pantsir-S1 point-defense systems, Buk-M2 midrange air defense systems and a limited number of wider-ranging S-300 batteries. While these systems constitute the components of a somewhat layered air defense, the number of systems in operation in Syria is ultimately insufficient to provide coverage beyond isolated, hardened bubbles. On top of that, the crews manning these more advanced systems have performed poorly, as demonstrated by their accidental downing of a Russian aircraft in September 2018 as they sought to fire on Israeli jets. In other cases, Syrian crews have fired missiles at Israeli planes long after the latter have made their strikes. In short, Syria's attempts to upgrade its system have fallen short of posing a real deterrent to Israel.

Iraq, meanwhile, has entertained more ambitious plans, including a U.S. offer of an integrated air defense system. The delivery of such systems has been on indefinite hold, however, due to Baghdad's battle against the Islamic State. Iraq, however, has merely received eight Avenger systems (a U.S. system based on a Humvee platform that fires Stinger missiles and a .50-caliber gun for point defense), yet they can protect only individual military units rather than guard a wider area. More important elements of the package, such as surveillance radars and command-and-control systems, never arrived. What's more, even the F-16s that Iraq received can fire only air-to-air missiles with a relatively short range, limiting their capabilities in aerial combat. As a result of these weaknesses, Iraq has acquired Pantsir-S1 air defense systems from Russia, but their coverage is spotty at best.
The Paradox of Better Protection

Clearly, even the most modern elements of these limited air defense capabilities have failed to deter the Israeli air campaign. Both Syria and Iraq continue to look toward Russia for additional capabilities in their struggle to regain control of their airspace. Rumors abound of additional deliveries of S-300 and even S-400 systems, but none have appeared yet. More recently, Russia did announce that several Middle Eastern countries had signed contracts for the delivery of Resonance-NE radar systems; Syria and Iraq would be prime candidates to receive such systems due to their current shortcomings and their past purchases from Moscow. The Resonance-NE is essentially a large static radar, but it offers great range (up to 1,100 kilometers, or around 688 miles) and even some ability to detect more difficult targets like stealth aircraft or cruise missiles. Such a radar could help Syria and Iraq monitor their airspace more effectively — but that's not the same as actually giving the countries the ability to shoot down what's coming. For such a radar to be most effective, Syria and Iraq would still require more integrated air defense systems, as well as modern surface-to-air missile systems.

Even if Damascus and Baghdad managed to acquire top-of-the-line Russian defense systems, both would still face many challenges in truly interdicting Israeli airstrikes.

Of course, the acquisition of such systems from Russia would come at a cost, particularly for Iraq, which has maintained a close security relationship with the United States since 2003. The United States has actively tried to dissuade countries from buying Russian military equipment through the threat of sanctions (such as the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act - CAATSA), and through the existing secondary effects of sanctions imposed on Rosoboronexport (Russia's state-owned arms sales enterprise). Washington has previously leveraged these threats against countries like Turkey and India, suggesting that such a course of action could upset the cooperative nature of the U.S.-Iraqi relationship.

But even if Damascus and Baghdad managed to acquire top-of-the-line Russian defense systems, both would still face many challenges in truly interdicting Israeli airstrikes. For one, Syria and Iraq could struggle to distinguish between Israeli and U.S. aircraft given that the latter two fly a number of similar platforms. Any doubt could lead either to inaction, and thus exposure to Israeli strikes, or a dangerous miscalculation. Moreover, Israel can effectively jam enemy radar systems and air defenses. At the same time, it also boasts a significant standoff capability, which allows it to strike targets far beyond the limits imposed by air defenses through the use of air-launched cruise missiles or other long-range munitions. Israel has frequently resorted to such methods in its strikes in Syria, occasionally even launching munitions from aircraft flying over the Mediterranean Sea, west of Lebanon.

Beyond that, there's also a paradox facing Syria and Iraq: Significantly improving their respective air defense capabilities might not be entirely desirable. If Damascus or Baghdad were able to shoot down Israeli fighter aircraft, this could rapidly escalate hostilities, prompting Israel to retaliate directly against Syria or Iraq rather than the Iranian-linked assets they host. That's why Syria and Iraq are likely to proceed carefully as they weigh whether acquiring a lot more deterrence will actually make them more of a target in the long run.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
Stratfor: The Israeli dilemma
« Reply #2481 on: October 28, 2019, 05:49:01 AM »

Israel's Pursuit of National Purity Risks Alienating Everyone Else
8 MINS READOct 24, 2019 | 09:30 GMT
Palestinians gather during a demonstration at the Israel-Gaza border on Oct. 4, 2019.

Palestinian protesters wave flags near the Israel-Gaza border on Oct. 4. Israel’s push to annex the West Bank could leave many Palestinians under Israeli control without political rights.

Highlights

    Israeli foreign policy is increasingly dominated by centrist and right-wing nationalists who want to take formal control of the West Bank.
    These same nationalists will not want to risk Israel's Jewish character by giving citizenship to the Palestinians living in the West Bank, and will also be hard-pressed to find homes for them elsewhere.
    Israel is thus most likely to leave Palestinians in annexed territory without political rights, which risks isolating its regional relationships and empowering anti-Israel forces in the West.

Israel's two latest elections have left it without a government and, for the first time, any major party committed to a two-state solution with the Palestinians. For Israel's remaining right-wing and nationalist factions, the path has never been clearer to accomplish their long-sought goal of steadily annexing territory in the West Bank. But doing so will require a permanent policy for the millions of Palestinians who live there.

Growing nationalist sentiment at home indicates Israel won't make them citizens. And the state of global migration means it won't find new homes for them elsewhere either. Instead, Israel will most likely opt to relegate Palestinians to a second-class existence. Seizing control of the West Bank without giving its Arab residents political rights, however, will risk not only irking its key allies but emboldening the political and social forces around the world that seek to isolate Israel from the international community.
The Big Picture

While Israel's right-wing political leaders disagree sharply on domestic issues, they seem to be coalescing around the idea that Israel, sooner or later, will annex much of the West Bank. Such a significant strategic shift in Israel's foreign policy, however, will invite challenges to its national identity, ideological character and, subsequently, its diplomatic relations.
See Israel's Survival Strategy
A New Nationalist Context

Israel's venerable left-wing Labor Party is one of the few major Israeli parties still committed to a formal two-state solution, which would offer Palestinians territory in exchange for peace. But the party has largely collapsed since the Sept. 17 election, as have most of Israel's smaller leftist factions. In their place have emerged more centrist parties, including the Resilience Party, which supports maintaining some kind of dominance in the West Bank to deter the creation of a Palestinian state. Meanwhile, the right-wing parties that favor annexation, such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud, have grown stronger as well. With this political shift at home, Israel will be increasingly pressured to move toward taking further control of the West Bank. But in doing so, its leaders won't be able to rely on its old strategies of migration, expulsion and immigration.

Varying tactics have been used over the decades to maintain Israel's Jewish character. In the early years, Jewish immigration brought people in, while Palestinian migration and expulsion, especially after the 1948 war, sent non-Jewish people out. High Jewish birthrates in Israel initially kept the population growing as well. After the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel took military control of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and Arabs. But to preserve Israel's Jewish character and limit the influence of remaining Arabs in the country, the Israeli government committed to the principle of "land for peace" — that is, surrendering conquered territory in exchange for regional acceptance and peace treaties from otherwise hostile nations.
This map shows population changes in the Palestinian Territories From 2007 to 2017.

But the demographic factors that once justified this strategy are waning. The last great wave of Jewish immigration was in the 1990s, which brought 1 million people from the collapsed Soviet Union to Israel. And Jewish immigration to the country has since dramatically slowed, as have secular Jewish birthrates.
Stuck in the West Bank

Meanwhile, today's more nationalistic global communities have left Israel with fewer historically friendly places to encourage Palestinians to migrate to. Neighboring states like Lebanon and Jordan already have large Palestinian refugee populations dating back to the 1948 war. And their cash-strapped governments are unwilling to take more migrants for fear of upsetting their own delicate demographic balances. Syria — still in the midst of civil war — remains an unattractive destination, while Egypt struggles to provide enough jobs for its own people let alone more Palestinian youth. Despite its political support of the Palestinian cause, Turkey is also grappling with its own economic woes, as well as anti-Arab sentiment caused in large part by its Syrian refugee burden.

Gulf Arab states have traditionally served as sponges for Palestinian labor, but are also often quick to target and expel foreign workers to create jobs for their own people. In preparing their traditionally oil-dependent economies for a post-hydrocarbon world, countries such as the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are in the midst of structural economic reforms, including policies designed to encourage their own citizens to go to work. And as a result, the demand for expatriate labor in the region, including for Palestinians, is shrinking.

Further abroad, Europe (and in particular, Western Europe) has historically been a common destination for Palestinians. But after the Syrian refugee crisis of 2015-16, few European states have the political ability (or will) to embrace new migrants, while the eurozone's wider economic slowdown dims the Continent's allure as well.

In the past, many Palestinians have also found refuge in Latin American countries such as Honduras, Mexico and Brazil. But these countries are facing economic and security problems in addition to their own rising tides of anti-migrant sentiment, which will make them wary to add to their already large Palesentian diaspora populations. North America provides little solace either as the United States tightens its requirements for both asylum and immigration.

Other, more far-off Asian countries such as Japan and India have traditionally weak relationships with the Palestinians. Some, like China, are building up ties with Israel to access the country's vibrant tech and educational sectors. Those ties could theoretically become strong enough for Israel to broach the subject of increased Palestinian migration to their countries, but likely not anytime soon.
Three charts showing population changes, net migration and birthrates for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
A De Facto Solution?

Without any willing volunteers to welcome Palestinians, Israel can attempt forced expulsion. But the high political, diplomatic and military risks of such a move will make it highly unpalatable and thus unlikely, at least in the near term. This leaves the Palestinians largely stuck where they are, even as Israel steadily takes more control away from the Palestinian Authority. Israel thus must decide whether it will nationalize these citizens or simply leave them under Israeli control without the rights granted to Israelis living in the pre-1967 borders.

Given voters' increasingly nationalist sentiment, however, it is unlikely an Israeli government will last long if it attempts to nationalize any number of Palestinians. Right-wing parties are already alarmed by the increasingly organized Arab electorate in Israel, with the Arab-dominated Joint List party now having the third-largest number of seats in the Knesset after its unexpectedly strong performance in the Sept. 17 ballot. Israel's left-wing parties have never had the political will to nationalize Palestinians in Israel either; the Labor Party has always argued that Israel's Jewish majority is paramount, too. Therefore, there's a strong possibility that Palestinians in the West Bank will increasingly end up living under a de facto permanent occupation without political rights.
The Price of Purity

Leaving Palestinians in this diplomatic limbo, however, is not without consequences, as it risks alarming many otherwise friendly states. In recent years, Gulf Arab states have sought to strengthen their ties with Israel to fend off their common foe of Iran. But with the prospect of a Palestinian state ever more distant, these countries will be forced to recalibrate their warming relations. Even those that have publicly stated their desire for closer ties with Israel, such as Oman and Bahrain, will be unable to risk the domestic backlash of cozying up to a government that refuses to give political rights to the Palestinians.

Neighboring states like Egypt and Jordan, both of whom have peace treaties with Israel, will also feel intense domestic pressure to take action against this more right-wing Israel. This could include cutting cooperation or more overtly joining international condemnation and isolation campaigns against Israel.

The more liberal governments in Europe and the Americas, meanwhile, will be granted more ammunition for their criticism of Israel. Left-wing activists and organizations in these countries will also gain political capital and greater public backing as the situation on the ground in Israel and the West Bank confirms their more strident accusations against Israeli policy. This includes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, which will be even more empowered to target companies and governments still doing business with Israeli entities in its effort to isolate the country and change its policies.

Mounting nationalist sentiment will press Israel to steadily annex more Palestinian territory, even if it means jeopardizing the diplomatic relationships critical to its peace and prosperity.

Friendly governments in the United States and the United Kingdom will stick with Israel in the short term. But when current U.S. President Donald Trump and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson inevitably move from power, these emboldened anti-Israel forces may have substantial say in future arms transfer and aid deals between Israel and its Western partners.

By annexing more of the West Bank and relegating the Palestinians living there to second-class citizens, Israel's right-wing may finally achieve its goal of protecting the country's cherished Jewish character. But doing so will come at the cost of its good standing with much of the international community, and could stymie Israel's ability to carry out more overt economic, political and diplomatic activities with the rest of the world for decades to come.

DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 12689
    • View Profile
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
« Reply #2482 on: October 30, 2019, 05:40:16 AM »
Conclusion:  Israel needs to keep investing and modernizing too.  Hard to do that with no government.

https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Is-Israel-equipped-to-win-a-war-against-Iran-606182
A comparison between Iran and Israel shows that while Iran had significantly larger naval assets than Israel (398 versus 65), while Israel had far greater tank strength (2,760 versus 1,634) and has some 6,541 armored fighting vehicles, compared to Iran’s 2,345. According to the site, the total amount of aircraft between the two countries is close, with Israel having 595 versus Iran’s 509.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
GPF: Lebanese AA missiles, Iran planning attack from Yemen?
« Reply #2483 on: October 31, 2019, 10:49:11 AM »
Israel on alert. The Israel Defense Forces said Thursday that an anti-aircraft missile was fired from southern Lebanon at an Israeli unmanned aerial vehicle. Israel claimed the missile missed its target, while Lebanese media claimed that the drone was indeed downed. Either way, the incident is likely to shed light on speculation that Hezbollah has recently obtained more sophisticated anti-aircraft systems. This comes a day after Israel’s air force chief said all of the country’s air defense systems have been put on alert – the latest of several hints in recent weeks that Israel is expecting some sort of response from Iran or its proxies to a surge in Israeli airstrikes over the past year. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Iran intended to attack Israel from Yemen. This would pose a challenge to Israel’s multitiered air defense network, which is geared primarily toward intercepting projectiles fired from Lebanon or Syria, as well as rockets fired from Gaza.

DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 12689
    • View Profile
Re: Israel, Netanyahu indictment, fraud?
« Reply #2484 on: November 23, 2019, 08:03:42 AM »
I've been looking for coverage on Netanyahu's side of this.  Comments?

https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2019/11/netanyahus-indictment-is-a-fraud.php

https://mosaicmagazine.com/picks/israel-zionism/2019/10/the-real-threat-to-israels-democracy-comes-from-the-office-of-its-attorney-general/

Caroline Glick:  The Israeli establishment has long sought to destroy Netanyahu, the only political leader in Israeli history who was never a member of their club and never sought their approval. They haven’t been able to defeat him at the ballot box and now they have placed their hopes in the politicized state prosecution. If Mandelblit chooses to make their dream a reality, he will not merely get rid of Netanyahu. He will criminalize routine politics and so end Israeli democracy while replacing our political leaders with unelected prosecutors who have richly demonstrated their lack of objectivity and contempt for the public.
http://carolineglick.com/netanyahu-the-media-and-the-fate-of-israeli-democracy/

Netanyahu:  “I deeply respect the justice system in Israel. But you have to be blind not to see that something bad is happening to police investigators and the prosecution. We’re seeing an attempted coup by the police with false accusations” against him, he accused.
***
Netanyahu listed a litany of complaints about the conduct of the investigation, charging: “These facts emphasize how much this process is tainted. It’s meant to topple a right-wing prime minister, me. I, who unlike the left and the slanted media, want to institute a free market, not only in the economy but also a free market of ideas, who wants to see a strong country, not a weak, shrunken, bowed country.”

The “tainted investigation process, including inventing new crimes, has reached its apex today. It horrifies not only me, but masses of citizens in Israel, and not only on the right… This tainted process raises questions among the public about the police’s investigations and the prosecution. The public has lost trust in these institutions. It’s a process that’s taken place over many years. This is selective enforcement on steroids. It’s enforcement just for me.”

He called to establish an independent commission to investigate the conduct of investigators in his cases.
https://www.timesofisrael.com/an-impassioned-netanyahu-rails-at-attempted-coup-by-police-prosecutors/

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
George Friedman: Israel and the emerging crisis of the secular and the religious
« Reply #2485 on: November 29, 2019, 11:51:56 AM »
Israel and the Emerging Crisis of the Secular and the Religious
By George Friedman
Nov. 26, 2019
Open as PDF

Elections normally don’t interest us at Geopolitical Futures. The passage of personalities who preside over the realities of a nation does not usually affect our work. But there are times when electoral politics reveals something of the underlying reality of a nation. That is the case in Israel now. It is at a juncture where the nation is so divided on issues so fundamental to the nature of Israel that the normal political process has frozen and a crisis that can affect the entire region is being revealed.

The crisis revolves around two questions: What does it mean to live in Israel, and what does it mean to be an Israeli? Such questions are common in nations, particularly invented ones, like the United States or Israel. The American regime was invented by the founders, and inevitably, it failed to answer crucial questions, particularly around the issue of whether the states were governed by the federal government or were self-governing. This was tied to the question of whether the principles of the Declaration of Independence, particularly the claim that all men are created equal, are fundamental to American life. Even this was a flawed settlement that haunts the United States to this day. The debate was settled at Gettysburg and other small towns during the Civil War, which left over 600,000 dead.

In Israel’s case, it could claim continuity for 2,000 years, and it could claim that Israel was at the center of Jewish life. But the Israel that was created by its founders was invented. Between ancient Israel and the state that was created in 1948, vast swathes of history took place, and the Jews, scattered among many nations, were part of that sweep. The Israel that was founded in the 20th century was a republic, not a kingdom ruled by the line of David. It was a Jewish republic, but that in itself was an invention.

A Nation Like Any Other?

The question of what Israel was and what it meant to be an Israeli has never been settled. Even the question of who can claim to be a Jew is in dispute. Whether someone can become a Jew and then claim the right of return and the right to be an Israeli citizen is a battlefield in Israeli politics. One faction, the Orthodox, claim the sole authority to conversion – but there are several schools of Judaism, so the Orthodox claim creates inevitable friction with other groups.

The Orthodox argue that Israel should not be an ordinary liberal democracy built around secularism, and that it must draw its laws from traditional sources: the Torah, Talmud, Midrash and others. These books are not only complex but subject to controversy, even among the Orthodox, who have had several millennia in which to debate the issues. But the Orthodox argue that Israel today is the Israel that fell to the Romans, resurrected. That Israel was governed by the laws of the book and the learned who interpreted its meaning.

Israel’s founders, however, were not Orthodox; they were deeply secular, and their political debates revolved around the issues of their time: socialism, liberalism and so on. Their dream was to be a nation like any other, to be the Jewish incarnation of the French Revolution. Vladimir Jabotinsky, the intellectual father of Menachem Begin and Benjamin Netanyahu, once said that he dreamt of a day when Jewish criminals were arrested by Jewish policemen. It is a banal statement, but it reveals the heart of the Zionist project. Unlike the Orthodox, who saw themselves as a light unto the nations, the Zionists, David Ben-Gurion and Begin saw something that was far more precious to them than the Orthodox vision. They wanted a place where Jews could be safe and govern themselves, to be criminals or policemen as they willed, one nation among many. For them, modern Jewishness was forged by the oppression of the diaspora, and redemption was a place they could simply be men and women.

These were two radically different visions of Israel. Initially, the most extreme of the Orthodox Jews opposed the creation of Israel, claiming that it could be resurrected only by the coming of the Messiah and that any attempt to do so by ordinary men and women was apostasy. This was of course an extreme view and did not represent a broad spectrum, but the idea that Orthodoxy ought to define what Israel was became an ever-present theme. For example, whereas all Israelis are subject to military service, students at yeshivas are exempted because of the Orthodox claim that the study of the sacred texts is a duty essential to the state of Israel. But the Orthodox made more claims – including, for example, that certain activities should be limited on the Sabbath – as the faithful in all religions do, dictating what was proper and improper behavior and attempting to make it a matter of law.

Benjamin Netanyahu comes from the tendency in Zionism that was as secular as the socialists but that was inclined to support relatively free markets and, above all, a vigorous and, if necessary, aggressive treatment of Israel’s enemies. The difference was that the left assumed that there could be a political settlement with neighboring states, while the right assumed that this was unlikely and could be attained only through a crushing defeat. Both shared the idea of Israel as a state at or near war, but one thought this condition permanent, and the other was trying to craft a solution.
 
(click to enlarge)

The Orthodox had political power. The Israeli political system encouraged the formation of small and idiosyncratic parties, which meant that no one party could win a majority in parliament and all governments were formed through negotiation. The result was that the religious parties, of which there were several, were uniquely positioned when it was time to form a government. They always had some role in coalitions, but with Netanyahu becoming more assertive and alienating other parties, the religious became a majority.

The Wild Card

All of this was complicated by the decline and fall of the Soviet Union. In the 1980s, a trickle of Jews arriving in Israel from Russia turned into a torrent. The Russian Jews were almost completely secular. They were Jews because the Soviet regime treated them as a separate nationality. They became the wild card in the Israeli system. For a long time, they did not settle in, but they were a massive force and they took two positions. First, they readily accepted that the Arabs posed a danger and supported an aggressive policy against them. At the same time, they were by nature secular and had little respect for the Orthodox Jews.

The Russians and the Orthodox became over time the foundation of Netanyahu’s coalition. But the tension between the Orthodox parties and parties dominated by the Russians grew intense. The Orthodox were far more interested in their issues than in a range of other issues confronting Israel. They felt, of course, unease with the Palestinian presence in Israel, as well as the secular presence. But what they prioritized most was extending Jewish traditional law to all aspects of society. The Russians were also hostile to the Palestinians, but they wanted to be left alone by the Orthodox.

This led to a second identity crisis. The Israeli parliament had Palestinian members. Israel had from the beginning considered itself the Jewish homeland, but Netanyahu hoped to appease the Russians and the Orthodox by formalizing this concept and effectively making Judaism the official religion. That raised a question: What would then be the status of Israeli Palestinians, some of whom were Muslim and some of whom were Christian? Secularism meant accepting the idea of religious diversity, even though Israel was regarded as a Jewish homeland. This problem had been finessed by arguing that Israel was a place where all Jews and people of other faiths were welcomed. The proposal to formally render non-Jews outsiders was in a way logical, but subtly changed the meaning of Israel.

Two intense cross-currents, always present but contained, tore through the system. The question of the relationship between secularism and Orthodoxy was brought to a head by the Russians, who were not the only opponents of Orthodox Jews’ power, but gave these opponents electoral weight. At the same time, the logic of Orthodoxy and the exclusion of non-Jews from full membership in the country compounded a problem that had been evaded at Israel’s founding. What precisely was Israel? Was it simply another liberal democracy that happened to have a large number of Jews living there? Or was it the homeland of the Jews, inherently religious and therefore something that ought to be governed by Jewish religious law. This long-simmering identity crisis has now led to an urgent political crisis in which the electorate is so fragmented that forming a government after two elections has proved impossible.

Religion as a Private Matter?

It is easy to dismiss this as an idiosyncratic Israeli problem, but it is one that faces all countries. Europe is filled with Christian Democratic parties, including one governing Germany. What exactly does that term mean? In some parts of the United States, there is a serious argument that the country derived its principles from Protestantism, and that the separation of church and state falsifies American history and runs counter to the American intent.

The secularism that arose in Euro-American civilization made religion a private matter. It also made national self-determination a fundamental principle. What happens when the cross-currents of religion as a private matter and the right of citizens to determine the nation’s fate collide? Constitutions are meant to be bulwarks against this but constitutions can be interpreted in many ways.

In the Islamic world, the claims of the religious over the secular are powerful, as they are in some parts of the United States. In other parts, the power of secularism is overwhelming. The case of Israel is worth noting because both the secular and religious are powerful, and when the modern Israeli state was invented, they left the question ambiguous. The matter has not been settled, and it is in different ways the fault line of the Euro-American and Islamic worlds. Israel as a new state, one that left open what it meant to be a Jewish state, is experiencing this new wave of tensions.   


objectivist1

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1035
    • View Profile
Excellent review of Robert Spencer's latest book...
« Reply #2487 on: December 15, 2019, 03:46:00 AM »
The Palestinian Delusion - The Catastrophic History of the Middle East Peace Process
get it today at Amazon.com

https://www.jihadwatch.org/2019/12/the-palestinian-delusion-refutes-the-myth-that-todays-palestinians-descend-from-indigenous-inhabitants-of-israel
"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.

objectivist1

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1035
    • View Profile
"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.

objectivist1

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 1035
    • View Profile
"You have enemies?  Good.  That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
« Reply #2490 on: December 28, 2019, 08:25:10 AM »

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
Stratfor: Israel lets US take the lead against Iran
« Reply #2491 on: January 14, 2020, 05:21:16 PM »
Israel Lets the U.S. Take the Lead Against Iran
Ryan Bohl
Ryan Bohl
Middle East and North Africa Analyst, Stratfor
6 MINS READ
Jan 14, 2020 | 10:30 GMT

HIGHLIGHTS

The increased threat of a potential U.S.-Iran war has prompted Israel to temporarily step back from being the region's most aggressive anti-Iran state.

But that state of affairs depends on the United States continuing to address Israel's main areas of concern with Iran: its proxy militia networks and developing nuclear program.

The fear of starting an unpopular war ahead of the 2020 U.S. election, however, will make Washington less willing
to gamble strong retaliation against further Iranian provocations.

In the coming months, Israel will thus be prepared to rapidly escalate and potentially even strike Iran at the first sign of enduring U.S. hesitance.

A more aggressive U.S. strategy is letting Israel dial back its own threats against Iran. Typically willing to tie U.S. and Israeli regional efforts together, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has attempted to distance his country from the recent U.S. assassination of the Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, reportedly saying that Israel was "not involved" in the event and "should not be dragged into it." And in response to Tehran's declaration that it would no longer adhere to the stipulations on uranium enrichment in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, Israel's energy minister said it was still "too early to say" if the move meant Iran was actually chasing a weapon, marking a notable break from Israel's often alarmist rhetoric on Tehran's nuclear program.

For Israel, this unusually subdued response represents a temporary tactical shift: For now, it will allow current U.S.-Iran tensions to play out while letting Washington take the brunt of the risk of regional conflict. But there's a limit to how long Israel will stand idly by. If a lack of U.S. action allows Iran to close in on building a nuclear weapon, or if it looks as if U.S. President Donald Trump may lose his reelection bid to a successor less willing to stridently back an anti-Iran strategy, Israel will quickly retake its place at the driver's seat with even more fervor to strike its regional archnemesis. As 2020 unfolds, the risk of Israel-induced regional conflict will thus largely depend on how U.S. politics shape up ahead of November's presidential election.

The Big Picture

Israel cannot tolerate an Iranian nuclear weapon or an entrenched network of Iranian influence in the Middle East. But its reaction to recent events has shown that it can temporarily move away from escalation and allow the United States to take the lead against Iran. But if Washington doesn't continue to incidentally address its security concerns, Israel will be forced to again bear the burden of fending off Iran's nearby proxies and attacking the nuclear program.

America's Pain, Israel's Gain?

Israel's attempt to distance itself from the recent events between the United States and Iran is partially a product of current domestic politics. Israel has an election on March 2, and Netanyahu does not want to stir up a conflict before then as he yet again faces a narrow path to victory. Fanning the flames of U.S.-Iranian tensions right now would also risk opening a northern front in Lebanon against Iran's capable proxy Hezbollah, which has threatened to attack Israel should Washington further escalate against Tehran.

But perhaps most important is the fact that the Trump administration's heightened focus on Tehran has created an opportunity for Israel to fulfill its anti-Iran strategy without exposing itself to as much risk as it would by doing it alone. One of Israel's primary objectives is deterring Iran's regional proxy forces and the Iranian leaders who support them. And by striking Iraqi Kataib Hezbollah and killing Solemani, one of Iran's most powerful proxy force organizers, the United States, has helped do just that. Washington's apparent willingness to take the lead against these proxy forces and leaders means that Israel can, for now, refrain from attacking Iran's proxies in Iraq as it did over the summer.

The United States' current, hard-line stance on Iran has also allowed Israel to temporarily ease off its attempts to prevent an Iranian atomic bomb. In this, Israel's primary strategy has been to get Washington, and by extension the international community, to bring back the crushing sanctions regime that would isolate Iran enough to abandon its nuclear program. And that strategy is increasingly being achieved thanks to the Trump administration, whose push to keep the U.S. sanctions regime intact has prompted Iran to continuously step away from the JCPOA, alarming Europe in the process. As a back-up plan, Israel has also long threatened to strike Iran's nuclear program itself. In addition to a direct military threat, this approach is also a diplomatic pressure strategy meant to signal that Israel is willing to trigger a regional conflict with Iran if the international community does not take strong enough action against Tehran. But with Washington now telegraphing its own intent to strike Iran, there's far less need for Israel to echo the same sentiment.

Bringing Israel Back to Escalation

The conditions allowing Israel to temporarily stand down from Iran, however, are all dependent on U.S. behavior, which will likely change ahead of the 2020 election. And for that reason, Israel will no doubt be watching closely for how the election season unfolds in the coming months, as it could not only make the United States more risk-averse but may result in a more permanent shift in U.S. policy on Iran. Given Netanyahu's close ties with the White House, Israel can expect U.S. pressure on Iran to remain strong for as long as Trump remains in office. But should Trump fail to secure a second term in November, a less hawkish successor may attempt to revert to prior U.S. policies on Iran and undermine the current isolation campaign.

However, Washington's commitment to the anti-Iran front will start to waver long before Americans head to the polls. The 2020 election is likely to be a close one, and a sudden war — especially one that involves casualties — will be a risky bet for the Trump administration. As the election season unfolds, the United States may, therefore, grow more conservative in the face of Iranian provocations, whether that's new harassment or further developments in its nuclear program. The Trump administration's preoccupation with campaign season, meanwhile, could give Iran breathing room to develop both its nuclear program and regional proxies. And to ensure such build-ups don't become permanent, Israel will be strongly incentivized to once again consider strikes in Iraq, Lebanon and elsewhere — even if it means sparking a wider regional conflict.

It's only a matter of time until a less hawkish U.S. strategy reinstates Israel as the most likely actor to strike Tehran's regional proxies and nuclear program.

Finally, just how far Iran progresses its nuclear program will also dictate how Israel behaves, with a more advanced program more likely to incur a strike. In the past, Israel has strongly hinted that 20 percent uranium enrichment would trigger an attack. But Iran's recent announcement that it would no longer adhere to the JCPOA restriction on uranium enrichment may lower that threshold, especially if the United States seems unwilling to take action.

In gauging whether Iran is an atomic threat, it is not entirely certain whether Israel will also take other factors into account, such as dual-use technologies or the development of future missiles. But what is certain is Israel's shift back to a more aggressive anti-Iran strategy, should it detect U.S. hesitance or conclude that Iran is on its way to making a bomb. Thus, it's likely only a matter of time before Israel jumps back into the fore as the most likely actor to strike Iran's nuclear program and spur a regional conflict with the potential to rope in — however begrudgingly — the United States.

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
« Reply #2493 on: January 28, 2020, 09:51:15 PM »
Trump’s Mideast Peace Plan Charts Two-State Course for Israelis, Palestinians
President says a future Palestinian state depends on a ‘firm rejection of terrorism’; Palestinian Authority repudiates the plan

President Trump’s Middle East peace plan charts a two-state course for Israelis and Palestinians. WSJ’s Gerald F. Seib highlights three pressures that could bring Palestinians to the negotiating table. Photo: Michael Reynolds/Shutterstock
By Felicia Schwartz and Michael R. Gordon
Updated Jan. 28, 2020 7:54 pm ET

WASHINGTON—The Trump administration unveiled its long-delayed Middle East peace plan, giving Israelis much of what they have long sought, including allowing for immediate expansion of territory, while providing Palestinians a path to nationhood but under conditions they instantly rejected.

“Today Israel is taking a giant step toward peace,” President Trump said Tuesday at the White House with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at his side.

Some Israeli goals, such as annexing the Jordan River Valley and permanently setting its eastern border, may advance as soon as this weekend, when Mr. Netanyahu plans to ask his cabinet for approval to move ahead.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the plan. “We say a thousand times, no, no, no to the deal of the century,” Mr. Abbas said, referring to the plan. “We rejected this deal from the start and our stance was correct.”

The Trump proposal requires many more concessions from the Palestinians than from the Israelis. Israel has agreed to a four-year freeze on expanding settlements in areas that might make up the core of a Palestinian state, while the Palestinians consider whether to accept terms set by the plan, including demilitarization and Israeli control of all security arrangements from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean.

Trump administration officials cast the design as the best the Palestinians could expect given Israel security requirements. U.S. officials are calculating that Arab pressure could eventually prompt the Palestinians to go along.

Ambassadors from the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain attended the rollout, and Egypt and the U.A.E. issued statements in support. “Egypt calls on the two relevant parties to undertake a careful and thorough consideration of the U.S. vision to achieve peace and open channels of dialogue, under U.S. auspices,” the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

In a cautious statement on Twitter, the Saudi Foreign Ministry said the kingdom “encourages the start of direct peace negotiation between the Palestinian and Israeli sides, under the auspices of the United States…”

Jordan, however, took aim at one of the principle elements of the Trump plan by warning against “unilateral Israeli measures such as the annexation of Palestinian lands.”

The Trump administration unveiled a plan Tuesday for a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine. The plan included ‘conceptual’ maps that set aside more land for a Palestinian state, but allows Israel to immediately begin annexing Israeli settlements and the Jordan Valley.



Notes: Palestinian areas in Trump’s proposal are approximate. The Green Line is the demarcation line between Israel and the West Bank since the 1948 Arab-Israeli war.

Sources: White House (Trump’s plan); United Nations (Oslo agreement)
Qatar hadn’t issued any statement as of Tuesday evening. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad al-Thani on Tuesday.

Important elements of the plan have now been set in motion in a way that ensures substantial Israeli territorial gains regardless of what the Palestinians say or whether the plan is approved by other world powers or the United Nations.

The Palestinian Authority cut ties with the Trump administration after the U.S. in 2017 recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but Mr. Trump called on it to engage now that the blueprint has been unveiled.

“There’s nothing tougher than this one,” Mr. Trump said, referring to brokering peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Mr. Trump has said he wants to help Palestinians economically, and the plan vows to help marshal $50 billion in economic investment over 10 years if the Palestinians agree to its terms.

The incentives, part of an economic portion of the Mideast plan released last year, aim to double the Palestinian gross domestic product, slash Palestinian unemployment rates now at almost 18% in the West Bank and 52% in Gaza, and cut the Palestinian poverty rate in half, U.S. officials assert.

The plan was criticized by some Middle East experts as a ploy to boost Messrs. Netanyahu and Trump domestically while failing to narrow the deep-seated differences between Palestinians and the Israelis. Mr. Trump faces an impeachment trial while Mr. Netanyahu has been charged with bribery.

The blueprint outlines an Israeli-U.S. consensus on the most sensitive issues of the conflict—Jerusalem, borders, security, and refugees—that had until now been left for so-called final-status negotiations.

The plan grants Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem—a move the Palestinians have long rejected—with Palestinians gaining a capital in areas east and north of a barrier that Israel constructed along the outskirts of the city during the second intifada.

Arab residents of Jerusalem could choose to become citizens of Israel or of the new Palestinian state. Alternatively, they could remain permanent residents of Israel without becoming citizens of either state.

Regarding borders, the Palestinian footprint would more than double, to include about 80% of the West Bank, U.S. officials said. Land swaps between Israel and Palestinians would be used to enlarge Gaza, which also would be connected to the West Bank by high-speed rail. The “Triangle Communities”—Arab towns inside of Israel southeast of Haifa—could become part of the future Palestinian state under the plan.

Israel would get about 30% of the West Bank, U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said, including the Jordan Valley and the Jewish settlements there.

Mr. Netanyahu pledged to act immediately to expand Israel’s borders, telling reporters Tuesday that he seek a cabinet vote on annexation Sunday.

On refugees, the plan rejects the right of return to land for Palestinians who left their homes after Israel’s creation in 1948. It says refugees can be absorbed into the Palestinian state, integrate into host countries or be resettled in regional countries who agree to take them. The plan also supports the creation of a fund to compensate some refugees.

The Palestinians must meet strict political and security conditions set by the plan to satisfy requirements for forming a state.

Most of those requirements have been rejected by Palestinians in the past. For instance, during the four-year negotiation period, the plan requires that they refrain from taking action against Israel in the International Criminal Court and dismiss their current claims.

They also must halt payments to families of Palestinians imprisoned in Israeli jails and to families of Palestinians killed while attacking Israelis or resisting Israel’s control of the Palestinian territories. Palestinian officials have argued that such funding is a social benefit that compensates for Israeli oppression and helps prevent families from radicalizing further.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
How do you think relations between the U.S. and Israel will change, if at all? Join the conversation below.

The demands made of the Palestinians are all the more difficult given the divisions in their ranks. Hamas, considered by Israel and the U.S. to be a terrorist organization, controls the Gaza Strip after multiple failed reconciliation efforts with the Palestinian Authority, which controls the Palestinian parts of the West Bank. To satisfy the terms of Mr. Trump’s blueprint, Hamas would need to yield control of Gaza, which then would be demilitarized.

In recent years, Hamas’s leadership has said it would accept the state of Israel within its pre-1967 borders—even though individual Hamas members continue to call for Israel’s destruction.

Mr. Friedman described the arrangements as a huge advancement and a “realistic two-state solution”—one that “mitigates many of the risks that were never solved in past negotiations.”

Tamara Cofman Wittes, a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, said the proposals fail to provide a foundation for lasting peace. “They are structured as a diktat,” she said. “The administration has made it clear that it plans to recognize Israeli sovereignty over all the land indicated for the Israelis in Trump’s map, whether the Palestinians accept it or not.”
« Last Edit: January 29, 2020, 01:45:11 PM by Crafty_Dog »

Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile

DougMacG

  • Power User
  • ***
  • Posts: 12689
    • View Profile
Re: Israel, and its neighbors, Key points of the Peace Plan
« Reply #2495 on: January 29, 2020, 08:22:21 AM »
https://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/The-Deal-of-the-Century-What-are-its-key-points-615680

Borders: Trump’s plan features a map of what Israel’s new borders will be, should it enact the plan fully. Israel will retain 20% of the West Bank and will lose a small amount of land in the Negev near the Gaza-Egypt border. The Palestinians will have a pathway to a state in the vast majority of territory in the West Bank, while Israel will maintain control of all borders. This is the first time a US president has provided a detailed map of this kind.
Jerusalem: The Palestinians will have a capital in east Jerusalem based on northern and eastern neighborhoods that are outside the Israeli security barrier – Kafr Akab, Abu Dis and half of Shuafat. Otherwise, Trump said Jerusalem will remain undivided as Israel’s capital.

Settlements: Israel will retain the Jordan Valley and all Israeli settlements in the West Bank in the broadest definition possible, meaning not the municipal borders of each settlement but their security perimeters. This also includes 15 isolated settlements, which will be enclaves within an eventual Palestinian state. Within those settlements Israel will not be able to build for the next four years. The IDF will have access to the isolated settlements. For the settlement part of the plan to go into effect, Israel will have to take action to apply sovereignty to the settlements, which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he plans to do at the upcoming cabinet meeting on Sunday.

Security: Israel will be in control of security from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. The IDF will not have to leave the West Bank. No change to Israel’s approach to Judea and Samaria would be needed.
Palestinian state: The plan does not include immediate recognition of a Palestinian state; rather, it expects a willingness on Israel’s part to create a pathway toward Palestinian statehood based on specific territory, which is about 70% of Judea and Samaria, including areas A and B and parts of Area C. The state will only come into existence in four years if the Palestinians accept the plan, if the Palestinian Authority stops paying terrorists and inciting terrorism and if Hamas and Islamic Jihad put down their weapons. In addition, the American plan calls on the Palestinians to give up corruption, respect human rights, freedom of religion and a free press, so that they don’t have a failed state. If those conditions are met, the US will recognize a Palestinian state and implement a massive economic plan to assist it.

Refugees: A limited number of Palestinian refugees and their descendants will be allowed into the Palestinian state. None will enter Israel.

Triangle: The plan leaves open the possibility that Israel will swap the area known as the “Triangle” – consisting of Kafr Kara, Arara, Baka al-Gharbiya, Umm el-Fahm and more – into the future Palestinian state. According to the plan, “the Vision contemplates the possibility, subject to agreement of the parties, that the borders of Israel will be redrawn such that the Triangle Communities become part of the State of Palestine.”


Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile


Crafty_Dog

  • Administrator
  • Power User
  • *****
  • Posts: 51749
    • View Profile