Is Trump Preparing to Slay the Palestinian Fairy Tale?

With rumors flying that President Trump is readying the release of his long awaiting Israel-Palestinian peace plan, obersvers have noted the non-commitment there still is to the two-state paradigm.  Trump Assistant Victoria Coates can be heard below  insisting that the administration “is not committed to the two-state formul” and explains that it means “whatever the sides want.”

So what is Trump planning to release?

Given the recent events surrounding his decertification of the Iran deal, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, the Gaza riots, as well the Palestinian Authorities response to all of this, it would seem improbable that Trump is banking on the kleptocracy and mafia of Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah to be able to commit to a peace plan.

With all of the noise in the past week there has been one country conspicuously quiet and that is Jordan. The fact is, Trump’s non-committal to a two-state paradigm appears to be setting the stage for the only real solution to the Israel-Palestinian conundrum and that is the “Jordan is Palestine” model with some tweaks.

The original Palestinian Mandate was made up what is today Israel (both pre 1967 and post 1967) and Jordan.  While the Balfour declaration said that the Jews deserved a homeland in Palestine clearly meaning both sides of the Jordan River, the British ended up splitting the Mandate in two along the Jordan River (although originally it as supposed to be 10 km East of the Jordan River).  The East side became Trans Jordan and was given to the Hashemites in 1922 as a reward for their help during World War One.  The Hashemites were originally from Mecca and were chased out by the House of Saud.

In 1922, Abdullah, the emir and soon to be King of (Trans) Jordan was placed in power over a people not his own and effectively came to rule a majority population of Palestinian Arabs. Jordan today is a shaky monarchy having need to keep the Palestinian population from gaining too much power in order to survive.  This is why the current King Abdullah often uses Israel as a scapegoat to hide his own policies.  This strategy is no longer working.

Trump’s plan appears to be in favor of some sort confederation between the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan as a Palestinian entity and an autonomous area in most of Areas A and B in Judea and Samaria. Area C would be retained by Israel.   When it comes to Jerusalem the current situation appears to be the best way to make all sides happy.  Jordan would still hold onto its custodial rights over the Muslim and Christian holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem and Israel would retain security control.

Essentially a combination of the Jordan is Palestine model and Naftali Bennett’s plan seen below. The difference being Jordan would control A and B as noted above, while Bennett leaves it in the hands of the Palestinian Authority.

Why do I think this is the plan?  Because Trump wants a deal and yet he wants a deal that works.  Relying on the Palestinian Authority to sign or even uphod a deal is pointless. Doing so would destablize both Israel and Jordan. By basing his deal on the peace deal already agreed to by Israel and Jordan, Trump would effectively be ending the Palestinian-Israel conflict simply by recognizing history and reality.

So if this plan makes sense, why hasn’t it been tried before? The answer lies with the King of Jordan.  Up until now he has always used the Palestinian issue as a distraction. The King fears that an acceptance of the “Jordan is Palestine” model would effectively doom his regime in a rapid fashion.

The Trump team appears to understand that and is perhaps readying some sort of carrot for the royal family. It remains to be seen what that is

Why Palestinian Delusions Persist

In 1974, 2nd Lt. Hiroo Onoda of the Imperial Japanese Army was still fighting for his emperor, hiding in a Philippine jungle. He had rejected many attempts to inform him of Japan’s surrender 29 years earlier. During those many years, he senselessly murdered about one Filipino and injured three others each year. Only a concerted effort by his former commander finally convinced Onoda that the emperor had accepted defeat in 1945 and therefore he too must lay down arms.

The Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza are Onoda writ large. They formally acknowledged defeat by Israel 24 years ago, when Yasser Arafat stood on the White House lawn and recognized “the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security.” Trouble was, Arafat himself did not sincerely offer this act of surrender and most Palestinians rejected it.

Accordingly, the war continues, with Palestinians emulating that grizzled, vicious Japanese soldier: They, too, battle on for a failed cause, murder senselessly, and ignore repeated calls to surrender. Just as Onoda insisted on believing in a divine emperor, Palestinians inhabit a fantasy world in which, for example, Jesus was a Palestinian, Jerusalem was always exclusively Islamic, and Israel is the new Crusader state on the verge of collapse. (In this spirit, Iranian dictator Ali Khamenei has helpfully provided the precise date of Sep. 9, 2040, when Israel will vaporize, and his acolytes built a large doomsday clock to count down the days.) Some imagine Israel already gone, with nearly every Arabic map of “Palestine” showing it replacing the Jewish state.

How do Palestinians ignore reality and persist in these illusions? Due to three main factors: Islamic doctrine, international succor, and the wariness of the Israeli security services. (The Israeli Left was once a major factor but it barely counts anymore.)

First, Islam carries the expectation that a land once under Muslim control (Dar al-Islam) is an endowment (waqf) that inevitably must revert to Muslim rule. Bernard Lewis notes that Muslims historically responded to the loss of territories in Europe with the expectation that these were “Islamic lands, wrongfully taken from Islam and destined ultimately to be restored.” This assumption of righteousness and inevitability has abiding power as shown by such aggressions as Turkey’s in Cyprus and Syria’s in Lebanon.

Jerusalem especially arouses intense Islamic sentiments. First exploited at a pan-Islamic conference in 1931 hosted by the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, many others since then – including Yasser Arafat, Ruhollah Khomeini, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan – have picked up this rallying cry. July’s Temple Mount fracas over metal detectors revealed the city’s atavistic power, prompting such varied powers as Muslim Brotherhood theorist Yusuf al-Qaradawi, Jordan’s monarch, the Arab League, and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation loudly to support the Palestinian position, no questions asked, as though it were still the 1950s with its shriek of unthinking rhetoric.

Second, assorted governments, leftists, do-gooders, and other internationals encourage Palestinians to sustain the reverie of victory through a combination of obsessive anti-Zionism and the pretense that a “Palestine” exists. Athletes have represented the sham state of “Palestine” at the Olympics since 1996. Israel maintains diplomatic missions in just 78 countries compared to 95 for the Palestinian Authority. With a solitary exception in 2013, every critical UNESCO country-specific resolution in recent years has focused on Israel. This international support encourages Palestinian delusion.

Third, despite recent polling that shows how a large majority of Israelis want to push Palestinians into recognizing that the conflict is over and Israel won, no Israeli government since 1993 has taken such steps. Why this persistent discrepancy? Because Israel’s security services, which usually have the last word on policy, resist any steps that could possibly provoke Palestinian violence. “Things now are about as good as possible,” they imply, “so please stay away with any hare-brained ideas about our getting tougher.”

This reluctance explains why Jerusalem tolerates massive illegal housing, releases murderers from prison, provides water and electricity to Palestinians at advantageous terms, and urges international donors not just to subsidize the Palestinian Authority but to fund megaprojects of Israeli devising (such as an artificial island off Gaza). Contrarily, Israel’s wizened security types nix any initiative that deprives the Palestinians of funds, punishes them more severely, or infringes on their existing prerogatives (such as control of the Temple Mount).

Palestinian delusion results, then, from a toxic mix of Islamic doctrine, international succor, and Israeli timidity.

Daniel Pipes (, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum.

Originally Published in ISRAEL HAYOM

Israel Moves to Annexation as the Ultimate Solution

The Israeli Cabinet is set to approve the landmark Greater Jerusalem Bill next week, in a move that will officially see 19 communities in Judea and Samaria that surround Jerusalem become part of the Jerusalem municipality in what critics say amounts to annexation.

The fact is, Israel has been quietly moving towards annexation over the past year. Of course there are levels of annexation and the strategy has been to apply Israeli law when possible to communities in Judea and Samaria. Without fanfare or public announcements, the Israeli government has been quietly using laws available to them to create a defacto change on the ground within communities beyond the “green line.”

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked has already proposed new legislation making Israeli law even for Israelis living beyond the Green Line.  Although slammed as “creeping annexation” by critics, former military advocate general Maj. Gen. (res) Danny Efroni, not seen as a right-wing champion, has come out in support of such legislation due to the practical management of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria and the needs of everyday living.

“The challenge,” says Efroni, “is maintaining the status quo while guarding the interests of civilians in the area.”

This seems to be the strategy that Israel is now taking, which is a blend of unilateralism and practical development in a stretvh of land now under Israeli rule for 50 years.  Prime Minister Netanyahu is said to love the Status Quo, but seeing a chance to create irreversible facts on the ground has made moves to create defacto annexation without any big announcements.

By simply applying Israeli laws evenly to Israeli communities regardless of location as well as expanding the jurisdictional control of Jerusalem to those communities closes to the capital, the question of sovereignty can be set aside for a more feasible annexation that seems to keep all sides at the table.

Then again the PLO, despite their intractability has rightly said that the Greater Jerusalem Bill will destroy the 2-State Solution, which makes the passage of the bill a potential a trigger to a broad Arab uprising. Or does it?

Recognizing the Reality

Netanyahu’s game plan has always been about allowing reality to take hold and eventually when reality took hold, the imaginary dreams of the “Palestinian” Arabs would vanish.  The utilization of the status quo as a concept in securing confidence in the Israeli body politic while all the time creating a situation where Jewish life can actually flourish in Judea and Samaria by merely making jurisdictional and bureaucratic changes may seem overly cautious to many on the right, but this strategy is now clearly the best and most balanced approach to ensuring Judea and Samaria remains in Jewish hands.

The cabinet is not altering Oslo (which is long dead), but carefully applying sovereignty within the confines of previously agreed powers. Afterall, the PLO  can complain, but they signed away their rights to what is now Area C the moment Arafat shook Rabin’s hand on the White House lawn.  No where in that agreement, does Oslo prevent Israel from applying its own rules to communities found within Area C.

Why is this point importan?  Because no one can claim Israel is doing anything out-of-bounds since the “Palestinian” Arabs agreed to give Israel those rights.  Let’s remember Area C is between 60% and 70% of Judea and Samaria.

While not annexing the land directly, applying Israeli law and reorganizing the Gush Etzion regional council as well as Givat Ze’ev, Maale Adumim, and others into a Greater Jerusalem block paves a careful path forward in creating normalization without breaking any previous agreements. This cleverly corners the PLO within its own unhinged rhetoric.

Furthermore, the approach now being taken by Israel, recognizes that Jewish communal life is an unquestioning reality in Judea and Samaria. That reality coupled with a “Palestinian” leadership unable to accept basic facts and a willingness to discuss a practical solution means that a new careful approach is necessary.

The Greater Jerusalem Bill, Shaked’s Israeli Law legislation, and other quality of life developments like approving housing for thousands of Jews in Judea and Samaria form the most intelligent approach to legal annexation now on the table.  Is it perfect?  Not at all, but the move are practical and leaves the PLO cornered and on borrowed time.

The “Jordan-is-Palestine” Conference-Why I agreed to participate

Of all the “Right-wing” alternatives for the two-state formula, the “Jordan-is-Palestine” concept is the only one not inconsistent with the underlying principles of the “Humanitarian Paradigm”

Palestine and Transjordan are one, for Palestine is the coastline and Transjordan is the hinterland of the same countryKing Abdullah, Cairo, April 12, 1948.

Jordanians and Palestinians are considered by the PLO as one people -Farouk Kaddoumi, Head of the PLO Political Department, Newsweek, March 14, 1977.

Palestine is Jordan and Jordan is Palestine…Prince Hassan, Jordanian National Assembly, February 2, 1970.

The truth is that Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan -King Hussein of Jordan, Amman, 1981.

Let us not forget the East Bank of the Jordan [River] where seventy percent of the inhabitants belong to the Palestinian nation.  George Habash, leader of the PFLP of the PLO, February 1970.

Next Tuesday (Oct 17), a well-publicized conference on the “Jordan-is-Palestine”  idea, as the preferred resolution for the Israel-Palestine conflict, will be held at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center  in Jerusalem, organized by Ted Belman, editor, the well-known news blog, Israpundit  and  Mudar Zahran, Secretary-General of the Jordan Opposition Coalition.

Unfortunate and uncalled-for acrimony

In many ways, this is a welcome initiative—for, clearly, the future of the country on Israel’s eastern (and longest) border is a matter of vital strategic interest, especially in the current era of turmoil and tumult. Accordingly, debate on prospective scenarios for change in the prevailing conditions in Jordan is undeniably imperative.

Regrettably, however, for reasons not entirely clear to me, the conference generated some inappropriate and uncalled-for ad hominem acrimony between its organizers/initiators and other opponents of the two-state paradigm—which a good number of potential “Jordan-is-Palestine” supporters found both distasteful and perplexing, and which did little to bestow credit on the event itself.  

Indeed, I should like to distance myself from this lamentable and largely internecine “dustup” and urge opponents of two-statism to focus their energies on discrediting this perilous and pernicious prescription, and/or on the substantive defects they may identify in some of the alternatives proffered to replace it.

It is true that, in the past, I have myself expressed severe criticisms of some of the alternatives formulated by several “Right-wing” pundits.  However, I have tried—and, hopefully, succeeded—in confining my censure to what I considered to be material flaws in their proposed policy recommendations, rather than personally denigrating their proponents.  If my past critiques have been otherwise interpreted, this was never my intention.  

Several raised eyebrows

Several followers of my work have raised a surprised eyebrow on learning of my participation in the “Jordan-is-Palestine” conference.

Their surprise is understandable. After all, I have never been a strident advocate of the “Jordan-is-Palestine” doctrine, on the one hand; on the other, I have advanced—rigorously, regularly and resolutely—an ostensibly different policy prescription, which I have designated the “Humanitarian Paradigm”, entailing generously funded relocation and resettlement of the Palestinian-Arabs in third party countries.

My adoption of the Humanitarian Paradigm is not motivated by a flare of ideological fervor. Rather it is the necessary culmination of a rigorously deductive—indeed, almost mathematical— analytical process.   

The point of departure for this deductive analysis is the realization that for Israel to endure as the nation-state of the Jewish people, it must contend effectively with the twin imperatives of geography and demography. Indeed, this is virtually a self-evident truth, for as I have repeatedly noted, if Israel fails to address either its Geographic or Demographic Imperatives adequately, it will become untenable as the Jewish nation-state—either geographically or demographically…or both.

Moreover—as I have argued frequently in the past—to effectively address the Geographic Imperative, Israel must retain sovereignty over all the territories across the pre-1967 lines (or at least, over a sufficiently large portion of them to make any prospect of a Palestinian state unfeasible).  

Likewise, to address the Demographic Imperative, Israel must drastically reduce the non-Jewish presence within the territory under its sovereign rule. This is true even if the optimistic demographic estimates are correct and were Israel to annex all the territories of Judea-Samaria, there would still be—initially—a Jewish majority of 60-65% (and conversely, a Muslim minority of 35-40%).

Raised eyebrows (continued)  

In this regard—i.e. in addressing Israel’s twin imperatives—the “Jordan-is-Palestine” option is qualitatively different from virtually all other policy blueprints advanced by “Right-wing” opponents of “two-statism”.

For if the “Jordan-is-Palestine” option advocates: (a) the relocation/rehabilitation of the Arab residents of Judea-Samaria in territory that currently comprises the Hashemite monarchy; and (b) Israeli sovereign control of all the territory west of the Jordan; then this is merely a special case of the Humanitarian Paradigm.

After all, if the general principle underlying the Humanitarian Paradigm is that the Arab residents should be relocated/rehabilitated in third party countries, leaving the choice of destination to the recipients of the relocation/rehabilitation funds, there is nothing that precludes Jordan from being such a potential destination.  

Accordingly, at the conceptual level, there is no substantive contradiction between the geographic and demographic outcomes that the Humanitarian Paradigm prescribes, and those that the “Jordan-is-Palestine” option is designed to produce.

This clearly cannot be said of the other alternative “Right-wing” proposals for the two-state formula, which, without exception, do not propose any measures for diminishing the Arab presence west of the Jordan River. Indeed, if anything, they all prescribe mechanisms for perpetuating a growing permanent Arab population—either under direct Israel sovereignty or in emaciated and disconnected enclaves, with limited self-rule for little more than municipal activities.

Other options ominous

So, setting aside the matter of practical feasibility, I would not, in principle, oppose the implementation of the “Jordan-is-Palestine” option, entailing the relocation/rehabilitation of the Arab residents of Judea-Samaria in present day Jordan.

This, however, is not the case for other proffered alternatives formulated by leading “Right-wing” figures—to whose implementation I would be vigorously opposed—both in principle and in practice.

This is true for proposals such as those of Caroline Glick, which call for annexation of all of Judea-Samaria and the incorporation of its Arab residents into the permanent population of Israel, with a possible path to full citizenship. It is also true for proposals such as Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s partial annexation of Judea-Samaria and Dr. Mordechai Kedar’s semi-autonomous city-state idea. It is likewise true for the proposal advanced by former Tourism Minister, the late Benny Elon, which envisions giving the current Jordanian regime authority for administering municipal affairs and maintaining law and order for the Arab population in Judea-Samaria.  

I have set out elsewhere the  detailed arguments for my rejection of these proposals, which in many ways, I see as being more dangerous and detrimental than the two-state proposition itself, that they were designed to replace—see for example To my colleague Caroline, a caveat ; Sovereignty? Yes, but look before you leap;  Islamizing Israel – When the radical Left and hard Right concur ; Annexing Area C: An open letter to Naftali Bennett;  Sovereignty? Yes, But beware of annexing Area C.

I will, therefore, refrain from repeating them here and move on to discuss other aspects of the “Jordan-is-Palestine” proposal – including caveats and reservations as to practical feasibility and tactical desirability.

A contrived construct

Of course, one does not have to be a “radical Right-wing extremist” to embrace the “Jordan-is-Palestine” concept.

To the contrary, as the introductory excerpts clearly show, it has been embraced for decades by leading political figures—both Jordanian and Palestinian. Indeed, both admit that a separate “Palestinian national identity” is no more than a contrived construct to undermine Jewish claims to sovereignty over the Land of Israel.

Thus, in 1987, while still claiming all of Judea-Samaria as part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, King Hussein declared “The appearance of the Palestinian national personality comes as an answer to Israel’s claim that Palestine is Jewish.” Clearly, this necessarily implies that, had there been no Jewish national claims, no Palestinian national claims would have been raised. Accordingly, we are compelled to conclude that the “Palestinian national personality” is devoid of any independent existence, and merely a fictional derivative, fabricated to counteract Jewish territorial claims.

Significantly, precisely this position was expressed ten years earlier by PLO executive council member, Zuhir Muhsein, in an oft-cited, but never rebuffed, 1977 interview: “[It is] just for political reasons [that]we carefully underwrite our Palestinian identity. Because it is of national interest for the Arabs to advocate the existence of Palestinians to balance Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons. The establishment of a Palestinian state is a new tool to continue the fight against Israel and for Arab unity.”

Jordan is indeed Palestine

Indeed, even in their “National Covenant” the Palestinian-Arabs not only affirm that their national demands are bogus, but that they are merely a temporary instrumental ruse to further a wider pan-Arab cause.

In it (Article 12), they declare: “The Palestinian people are a part of the Arab Nation… [H]owever, they must, at the present stage of their struggle, safeguard their Palestinian identity and develop their consciousness of that identity...”

So again, we are compelled to ask: What other nation declares that its national identity is merely a temporary ploy to be “safeguarded” and “developed” for the “present stage” alone? Does any other nation view their national identity as so ephemeral and instrumental? The Italians? The Brazilians? The Turks? The Greeks? The Japanese? Of course none of them do.

But apart from the manifestly fictitious nature of the claims for a separate Palestinian national identity, the claim that “Jordan is Palestine” has much to support it, historically, geographically and demographically.

After all, historically, Jordan did in fact comprise the greater portion of Mandatory Palestine, geographically covering almost 80% of its territory, while demographically, a clear majority of its current population are ethnically Palestinian-Arabs. Moreover, until summarily, and arguably, illegally, stripped of their citizenship by King Hussein in 1988, all the Arab residents of the “West Bank” were Jordanian citizens.

Indeed, this abrupt measure was tersely described by Anis Kassim, a prominent Palestinian legal expert, as follows: “… more than 1.5 million Palestinians went to bed on 31 July 1988 as Jordanian citizens, and woke up on 1 August 1988 as stateless persons.”

Not much room for ambiguity there.

“Jordan is Palestine”: The Feasibility, desirability & inevitability?

However, although a strong case can be made for the claim that, in principle, Jordan is (or at least, should be) Palestine, serious questions can be raised as to the practical feasibility of the idea as a realistic and desirable policy prescription—which brings me back to the upcoming conference and my decision to participate.

With regard to Jordan, one thing ought to be beyond dispute: The working assumption of Israel’s long-term national strategic policy-makers should—indeed, must—be that the current Hashemite regime does not have an indefinite “shelf-life”. In fact, prudence dictates that it should be assumed to be shorter rather than longer—for reasons which are largely beyond Israel’s control. Accordingly, Israel must prepare for the tangible prospect of regime-change.

In this respect, the conference organizers urge a proactive approach, seeking to persuade the US administration that the current regime should be induced to fall and be replaced by a regime led by Zahran, which would represent the Palestinian majority, purportedly be secular (or at least, non-Islamist) and favorably disposed towards Israel.

I have no way to evaluate Zahran’s credentials or political clout, should a successor to the current regime become a tangible prospect. Consequently, my participation should not be construed as an endorsement of his “candidacy” for such a role, although I have little doubt that he would be far more palatable to Israel than some Muslim Brotherhood affiliate at the helm of a new regime. That said however, I am not sure I would wager on his victory should a clash for power arise between his faction and rival Islamist antagonists.

Feasibility, desirability & inevitability (cont.)  

The other question to be asked is: Should Israel and/or the US endeavor to underpin, or to overthrow the ruling Hashemite dynasty? Indeed, whether they should try to extend the rule of the “devil we know” or risk the advent of a “the devil we don’t” is a legitimate debate.

However, as recent events in the Mid-East have shown, regime-change in the Arab world is typically unexpected and often independent of what outside powers do—or don’t do. Accordingly, by forcing debate on such a contingency in Jordan, the conference is providing a valuable service.

This—together with the fact that the “Jordan-is-Palestine” prescription does not substantively contradict my preferred “Humanitarian Paradigm”—comprises the reasons that I agreed to participate.

Hamas Has Lost A Big Battle, But Not The War

While everyone in Israel and the Arab world was shocked with the sudden reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, we have been aware of this being worked on since February. It was very expected by all insiders.  Nonetheless, journalists may sometimes build their analysis on what they see on the outside, and some second hand inside information they get, and therefore may end up with faulty conclusions.

In fact, we have seen some writers concluding that Hamas had “won”. Some went as far as suggesting that Hamas now has a freehand to fight Israel while Abbas gets the blame as Gaza’s ruler.  While these concerns may be justified when taking matters by their face value, realities on the ground maybe very different.

The first question everyone should ask is: why did Hamas hand Gaza to Abbas without him firing a shot? Didn’t Hamas take Gaza over by a bloody coup against the man in 2006?

The answer to that begins at the White House.  Our Arab sources confirmed to us that the Trump Administration made it clear, at the very beginning, that it was not going to tolerate any “nonsense” or “attacks on Israel” from either Hamas, Abbas or the Arab regimes supporting them, be those Qatar’s or Jordan’s. The presidential message was clear and reportedly conveyed by the head of the CIA himself: Any more provocation on Israel, a third Intifada for example, would bring severe punishment from the US to all of those involved.

The White House’s warnings were concurrent with direct cooperation with one of the very moderate regimes in our region, President Sisi’s. The Egyptian intelligence began communicating with Hamas early this year. Egypt convinced Hamas leaders that if they continue their pathway of doom, the US will not restrain Israel from destroying Hamas to fullest. In reality, and since 2008, each time Israel came close to annihilating Hamas, Obama openly stepped in to stop it and save Hamas at the last moment.  Operation Protective Edge was a good example of that; when an inside source in Gaza told me “most of Hamas tunnels have been destroyed”, and “Hamas won’t take one more month of this”, Obama’s administration suddenly stepped in and enforced a ceasefire.  Well, this will not happen under President Trump.

Also, this so-called reconciliation could have never happened was it not for pressure exerted on Hamas’ Arab supporters. Before neutralizing Hamas, the US administration made sure to cut its lifelines first. Qatar was put under political and economic siege by Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and a few other Arab countries. Qatar has been financing Hamas for more than a decade and has harbored its leaders.  

Neutralizing Qatar was the first step in castrating Hamas. This did not stop with Qatar though, Hamas leadership and control is actually in Jordan, not in either Gaza or Qatar; Hamas is  officially “The Muslim Brotherhood Palestine Chapter”, all of Hamas leaders fall under Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood.  

But who controls Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood?

The answer will shock many readers, but Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood is under the full control of Jordan’s king. By his own words, the words of his former Minister of Political Reform, and his former Deputy Prime Minister, “The Muslim Brotherhood is a part of the Hashemite regime”. This is a matter we have lavishly documented with evidence and our work o that is available for anyone to read and verify.

It is a fact that Jordan’s king has been using his influence over Hamas as a bargaining chip with both, the Israelis, and the Americans.  After Trump walked into the Oval Office, the king knew the administration would not tolerate nor forgive such extortion.  Our sources in Jordan, Cairo, DC and elsewhere confirm that both Abbas and Abdullah of Jordan have been warned that any stunts will result in them being personally held accountable.

With Jordan’s king and Qatar’s lines of support cut from Hamas, the US pressure was shifted to Abbas himself.  First, both Saudi Arabia and UAE had an alternative plan to save Gaza’s people and avoid any conflict, this was to introduce Abbas’ rival and archenemy, Mohammad Dahalan, as a leader of Gaza. Egypt was very supportive of this step and proposed it to Hamas as its only available bailout. Hamas agreed and its very own media began promoting the idea.  This is where Abbas felt he could end up losing the entire game.  A senior PLO member, whose late father was one of its founders, summed it up for us: “Abbas knew he was going to lose everything and be totally out of the game, therefore he approached the Israeli, the Egyptians, and Hamas, telling them: Why do you need Dahlan, I will do everything you want in Gaza”.

Nonetheless, according to the senior PLO source: “Abbas knew Hamas was not going to take him in easily, so he began pressuring it by blocking its public funds, pay for public servants in Gaza was frozen”, “He also refused to pay Gaza’s power bill, which has been causing painful outages to Gazans and a huge public backlash against Hamas”.  

All of this has resulted in Hamas giving in to Egypt and hand its entire executive powers in Gaza to Abbas. This by itself is not only a tactical defeat for Hamas, but also an ideological disaster. Hamas has always demonized Sisi, insulted him on its media, described him as the devil himself, and now, Hamas allows his photos to be displayed in public in Gaza, a sign of loyalty and even submission in Arabic political culture. Hamas has always portrayed Abbas as evil and “Anti-God”, labelled war against him and the PLO as “Godly Jihad”, how do you think the average Hamas member feels about their leader giving in to Abbas before the whole world?

It is safe to say this reconciliation has a been a publicly-humiliating, torturous and politically-devastating move for Hamas, which it would have never done was it not for the extreme pressure coming from all directions.  Whoever says Hamas has won, is wrong. Nonetheless, this story is not over yet.

Hamas has kept its guns and military ranks. Abbas’ military presence in Gaza is zilch. A PLO source inside Gaza told me: “Hamas did this because it had no other choice, Hamas has given in to Egypt’s patronage, and this shall hold for a while”, he adds: “Nonetheless, Hamas will go back to war and even kick Abbas out of Gaza again at the first minute they get a chance, but with Trump, Sisi, Saudi and UAE, this is not going to happen any time soon”.

With this reconciliation, it is safe to conclude Hamas has lost a major battle, and has been humiliated to the fullest. Sisi’s controls Hamas now, Qatar and Jordan’s regimes cannot do anything for Hamas, all sounds sababa, right? In fact not really; Hamas has lost a major battle, but not the war. Hamas could still make a very nasty comeback in the future.

The US administration would do us all good by keeping the pressure on Hamas and initiating a process by which Hamas would give up some of its firepower gradually, possibly under Egyptian management and with a generous “cash for guns”, Saudi and UAE’s patronage.


Fatah’s surrender to Hamas.

On Tuesday, a delegation of 400 Fatah officials from Ramallah, led by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, arrived in Gaza to officially surrender to Hamas.

No, the ceremony isn’t being portrayed as a Fatah surrender to Hamas. But it is. It’s also an Egyptian surrender to Hamas.

How is this the case? Ten years ago this past June, after a very brief and deadly assault by Hamas terrorists against US-trained Fatah forces in Gaza, the Fatah forces cut and ran to Israel for protection. Fatah politicians also headed for the border and then scurried into Fatah-controlled (and Israeli protected) Ramallah. Ever since, Hamas has served as the official authority on the ground in Gaza. Its personnel have been responsible for internal security and for Gaza’s borders with Egypt and Israel.

Despite their humiliating defeat and removal from Gaza, Fatah and its PA government in Ramallah continued to fund Hamas-controlled Gaza. They paid Gaza’s bills, including the salaries of all the PA security forces that were either no longer working or working double shifts as stay at home Fatah gunmen and up and coming Hamas terrorist forces.

The PA paid Hamas’s electricity bills to Israel and it paid Israeli hospitals which continued to serve Gaza.

Internationally, the PA defended Hamas and its constant wars against Israel. The PA and Fatah, led by President-for-life Mahmoud Abbas, continued to use Israel’s defensive operations against Hamas as a means to ratchet up their political war against Israel. The latest victory in that war came last week with Interpol’s decision to permit the PA to join the organization despite its open support for and finance of terrorism.

For most of the past decade, the PA-Fatah has allocated more than half of its EU- and US-underwritten budget to Hamas-controlled Gaza. It has defended its actions to successive delegations of US lawmakers and three US administrations. It has defended its actions to EU watchdog groups. No amount of congressional pressure or statements from presidential envoys ever made a dent on Abbas’s strident devotion to paying the salaries of Hamas terrorists and functionaries.

But then, in April, Abbas cut them off.

Ostensibly he cut them off because he was under pressure from the US Congress, which is now in the end stages of passing the Taylor Force Act. Once passed, the law will make it a bit more difficult for the State Department to continue funding the terror- financing PA.

While the Taylor Force Act is the ostensible reason for Abbas’s move, Palestinian sources openly acknowledge that congressional pressure had nothing to do with his decision.

Abbas abruptly ended PA financing of Hamas in retaliation for Hamas’s decision to open relations with Abbas’s archrival in Fatah, Muhammad Dahlan.

From 1994, when the PA was established, until 2007, when Hamas ousted his US-trained forces from Gaza, Dahlan was the Gaza strongman.

Once one of Abbas’s closest cronies, since 2011 Dahlan has been his archenemy. Abbas, now in the twelfth year of his four-year term in office, views Dahlan as the primary threat to his continued reign.

As a consequence, he ousted Dahlan from Fatah and forced him to decamp with his sizable retinue to the UAE. There Dahlan enjoys exceedingly close ties with the Nahyan regime.

The UAE is allied with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Sisi. Both view Hamas’s mother organization the Muslim Brotherhood as their mortal foe. As a result, Sisi and the UAE as well as Saudi Arabia sided with Israel in its 2014 war with Hamas.

Since May, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt have been in open conflict with Qatar. Qatar, which sponsors the Muslim Brotherhood, has long sponsored Hamas as well.

Since the start of the year, the UAE has been interested in prying Hamas away from Qatar. And so with the blessing of his UAE hosts, Dahlan began building ties with Hamas.

Recognizing Dahlan’s close ties to the UAE and through it, with Sisi, Hamas, which has been stricken by Sisi’s war against it, and particularly Sisi’s enforcement of the closure of Gaza’s border with Egypt’s Sinai, was quick to seize on Dahlan’s initiative.

The talks between Dahlan and Sisi on the one hand and Hamas on the other were ratcheted up in April after Abbas cut his funding to Gaza.

In May, Hamas formally cut its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.

In exchange, Sisi permitted the Rafah border crossing with Gaza to open for longer hours and permitted Gazans to transit Egypt en route to their religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia, among other things.

To build its leverage against Abbas, beginning in the spring, Hamas began describing Dahlan as a viable alternative to Abbas. The UAE agreed to begin financing Hamas’s budget and to help pay for electricity.

Against this backdrop, it is self-evident that Abbas didn’t send his own representatives to Cairo to negotiate a surrender deal with Hamas because his aid cut-off brought Hamas to its knees. Abbas sent his people to Cairo because Hamas’s double dealing with Dahlan brought Abbas to his knees.

As for Sisi, Hamas has also played him – and the UAE.

Over the past few months, Hamas has been rebuilding its client relationship with Iran. A senior Hamas delegation visited Tehran last month for Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s swearing-in ceremony.

They met there with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and with senior Revolutionary Guards commanders.

A month earlier, senior Hamas terrorist Salah Arouri, who lives under Hezbollah protection in Beirut, paved the way for the reconciliation in a meeting under Hezbollah sponsorship with senior Revolutionary Guards commander Amir Abdollahian.

Following the meeting in Tehran, Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya Sinwar extolled Hamas’s relations with Iran as “fantastic.” Sinwar also said that Iran is “the largest backer financially and militarily” of Hamas’s terrorism apparatus.

Concerned about Tehran’s growing influence in Gaza, and through it, the Sinai, where Sisi continues to fight against an Islamic State-backed insurgency, Sisi has an interest in tempering Hamas’s client-ties to Tehran.

So just as Abbas has decided to restore financing to Hamas to keep Dahlan at bay, so Sisi has decided to embrace Hamas to keep Iran at bay.

In all cases, of course, Hamas wins.

The fact that Hamas has just won is obvious when we consider the unity deal it just concluded with Fatah.

Hamas made one concession. It agreed to break up its civil governing authority – a body it formed in response to Abbas’s decision to cut off funding in April. In exchange for agreeing to disband a body it only formed because Abbas cut off its funding, Hamas receives a full restoration of PA funding. The PA will fund all civil service operations in Gaza. It will pay the salaries of all civil servants and security personnel in Gaza. It will pay salaries to all Hamas terrorists Israel freed from its jails.

In other words, the PA will now be responsible for keeping the lights on and picking up the garbage.

And Hamas will be free to concentrate on preparing for and initiating its next terror war against Israel. It can dig tunnels. It can build missiles. It can expand its operational ties with Hezbollah, Islamic State, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Fatah.

In the wake of Hamas’s leadership’s meetings in Tehran, Sinwar told reporters that Hamas is now moving full speed ahead toward doing all of these things. Sinwar said that Hamas is “developing our military strength in order to liberate Palestine.” He added, “Every day we build missiles and continue military training.”

Thousands of people, he said, are working “day and night” to prepare Hamas’s next terror war against Israel. And indeed, two weeks ago, two Hamas terrorists were killed when the tunnels they were digging collapsed on them.

Tuesday’s surrender ceremonies tell us two things.

First, the notion that Fatah is even remotely interested in defeating Hamas is complete nonsense. For 10 years since its forces were humiliated and routed in Gaza, Fatah has faithfully funded and defended Hamas. Abbas’s only concern is staying in charge of his Israeli-protected fiefdom in Ramallah. To this end, he will finance – with US and EU taxpayer monies – and defend another 10 Hamas wars with Israel.

The second lesson we learn from Hamas’s victory is that we need to curb our enthusiasm for Sisi and his regime in Egypt, and for his backers in the UAE. Sisi’s decision to facilitate and mediate Hamas’s newest victory over Fatah shows that his alliance with Israel is tactical and limited in scope. His decision to side with Israel against Hamas during Operation Protective Edge three years ago may not repeat itself in the next war.

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

Change is Coming to Jordan Whether the King Likes It or Not

Despite Israel’s desire to protect the Hashemite regime, and stay out of messy Arab internal politics, it is now public knowledge that the Israeli intelligence establishment believes that Jordan’s king’s fall is imminent, and Israeli officials have been whispering that in private for a while, desperately discussing ways to save king and keep him in power. Nonetheless, a well-calculated, carefully-ushered and engineered change in Jordan could pose a huge opportunity for US, Israel, our Jordanian people, and all of those who want peace.

No, we’re not seeking a total regime change in Jordan, in which the state itself is turned into nothingness, leaving a gap for Islamists to jump in and take over. That was Obama’s style at best, because Obama did not know better, or at worst, because he wanted the Islamists to take over.

The change we desire for Jordan will be simple: Seeing the already irrelevant king leave by a small and peaceful revolution that is protected by the army. The US does not and need not interfere, this will be an internal Jordanian affair. All the US should do is offer the king a safe exit while Jordan’s army and strong intelligence keep the country intact and the Islamists at bay. This was the case when Egyptians took to the streets against the Muslim Brotherhood, deposed Morsi and the army protected the people, and the outcome: Serendipity, and more secular and peaceful Egypt, under a strong and wonderful man, President Sisi. Worth-noting here, that Jordan’s king does not control the army or Jordan’s intelligence; therefore, he will leave in peace, the US, on the other hand, finances, trains and influences our army and intelligence and could help both secular and patriotic organizations to usher in a moderate interim government for Jordan.

The US and the region could obtain breakthrough advantages from change in Jordan. The first is destroying Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood. (MB). Jordan’s MB gets its power from the regime – so if the regime falls, the MB falls. Jordan’s own government believes this. This is important because Jordan’s MB is not just another terror group. The global MB HQ is based in Amman and controls Hamas and the global MB as well, especially Qatar’s. The US intelligence agencies are aware of this fact. If Jordan’s army -under US help and guidance- ushers in a secular anti-MB leader (like Egypt’s Sisi), that would be a major blow to the MB and the Western globalists forces who support them such as Soros.

The second advantage is ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict; if a Palestinian-Jordanian leader becomes the head of Jordan’s interim government, and then Jordan’s president; this means that Jordanians from all backgrounds will have a home, and that 2.1 million Palestinians in Israel, all holding Jordanian passports, could find a place to call their state.

Next, once the king is out and his theft of public money stops, Jordan will become economically prosperous and attractive for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank itself. Meanwhile, Israel and the US should continue to apply pressure on the corrupt and terroristic Palestinian Authority, gradually putting them out of the business of killing our people, Israelis, and even other PLO figures. Defusing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be major blow to the globalists who have blackmailed the world for decades with it, and who remain united against President Trump and his advisor, Jared Kushner’s, effort to usher in real peace.

Another advantage is that a successful regime change in Jordan will put the region’s radical regimes on notice, Qatar for example. Those will need to end their hostility to Israel and to stop promoting radical Islamism, otherwise face the same music King Abdullah has. This also shall empower moderate regimes, and champions of change, such as the very pragmatic Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Ben Salman, and UAE’s Crown Prince, Mohammad Ben Zayed.

America’s deep and positive influence of Jordan’s army and security agencies means the country will remain safe during the transition, and so will its borders with Israel. In fact, it is this influence that keeps Jordan’s borders with Israel safe, and not the absentee landlord king who spends most of his time in Europe, with documented travel of 30 percent of the year, not counting his year-long private vacations. Basically, he is irrelevant to everything and anything in Jordan.

One a new interim leadership is in power, the first thing it should do is banning all Islamist groups, just like Sisi of Egypt did, and this will mean they won’t even have a chance of running for any public office, let alone for president.

Today, such positive change in Jordan will be embraced by several Arab governments who no-longer see Israel as an enemy and in fact would love to see an end to the expensive and obstructive conflict.

This sought change is the very reason my political party and I are proudly taking part in the Jordan Option Conference in Jerusalem in October.

The sweet music of change is playing loud, and we all better be listening.

The Smotrich Plan – A step in the right direction, but…

Several flaws in MK Smotrich’s otherwise bold proposal will prevent it from achieving its long-term strategic goal: Sustainable Jewish sovereignty over the entire Land of Israel

… I am not talking here about cruel expulsion or the flooding of countries with penniless refugees. The emigration we are talking about is planned, willing, and based on a desire for a better life, by people with appropriate skills for their new country of absorption and the economic ability to make the change. This is not migration on rickety boats, but the very modern phenomenon of organized relocation to countries which provide an opportunity for a better future…

MK Bezalel Smotrich, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, “Israel’s Decisive Plan”, Sept. 7, 2017.

Over the last week or so, the idea of funded emigration as a means of resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict got a considerable fillip.

Boosting funded emigration in media

The impetus for this media flurry was a 30 page essay in the relatively new journal of political philosophy and policy, “Hashiolach”, written by MK Bezalel Smotrich, of the National Union faction in the Jewish Home party—which has three senior ministers in the ruling coalition: Education, Justice, and Agriculture.

In principle, Smotrich’s plan calls for abandoning the two-state endeavor, dismantling the Palestinian Authority and extending Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea-Samaria.

As for the Arab population in this area, Smotrich distinguishes between those who are willing “to forgo their national aspirations” and to reconcile themselves to living under Israeli sovereignty—and those who are not.

With regard to the latter category, Smotrich again distinguishes between two groups—those who will continue to fight against Israeli sovereignty, and those who will not. With regard to the former, he calls for harsh coercive action—far harsher than employed today—to quash any recalcitrant resistance.  With regard to the latter—i.e. “those who choose not to let go of their national ambitions” but eschew active resistance against Israel—will “receive aid to emigrate to one of the many countries where Arabs realize their national ambitions, or to any other destination in the world”.

Funded emigration: Breaking the taboo?

The essay drew considerable media attention and was widely reported in both the Hebrew and the English press.  

On Tuesday, a conference convened by the National Union faction, reportedly attended by “hundreds” (up to 800 by one account), unanimously approved the proposal. While the short-term political significance of this is unclear, one thing does appear to emerge. The debate on financially incentivized emigration of the Palestinian-Arabs is edging inexorably into the mainstream discourse as a legitimate topic for discussion.

Indeed, underscoring this emerging legitimization was the fact that despite it being known that funded emigration would be the central topic at the conference, Prime Minister Netanyahu sent a message congratulating the participants on dedicating the discussions at this conference to the future of the Land of Israel״ and assuring them—pointedly—that We are building the land and we are settling it. In the mountains, in the valleys, in the Galilee, in the Negev, and yes, in Judea and Samaria as well”.

Very much in the spirit of the sentiments expressed in Smotrich’s essay, he added: “Because this is our land. The homeland of the Jewish people. The only land promised to our forefathers. We were given the right to settle here.

While it would be imprudent to read too much into this, it would not be entirely implausible to conclude that some of the taboo attached to raising the issue of funded emigration of the Palestinian-Arabs in “polite company” may finally be beginning to dissipate.

Step in the right direction, but…

Of course, there is little new in the idea of funded emigration. Indeed, I have been urging its adoption as the center piece of Israeli policy for well over a decade.  Likewise, so has former deputy Knesset speaker, Moshe Feiglin.

Accordingly, any enterprise fostering public debate on the principle, especially as an alternative to the pernicious prescription for “two-states”, is a positive development.  In this regard, Smotrich’s initiative is to be applauded as a welcome step in the right (pardon the pun) direction.

Indeed, as I have pointed out, almost ad nauseum, there is no other policy paradigm that can enable Israel to adequately contend with the twin imperatives—the geographic and demographic—which it needs to deal with to ensure its long-term viability as the nation-state of the Jewish people. The need to effectively address these imperatives should be virtually self–evident for if they are not, Israel, as the nation state of the Jews, will become untenable—either geographically or demographically. Or both!

Clearly, there is no other non-coercive—or at least non-kinetic (i.e. involving large-scale-violence)—that can produce an outcome in which   Israel retains (a) control of the  strategically vital territory, abutting and overlooking virtually all its major population centers and vital infrastructure systems; and (b) a sufficiently dominant  Jewish population in the territory under its control, so as to preserve the Jewish character of the state.

Regrettably, however, as it is formulated, Smotrich’s proposal is marred by several flaws that not only impair its logical consistency and political acceptability, but will prevent it from achieving its long-term strategic goal: Sustainable Jewish sovereignty over the Land of Israel from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

Good intentions, fatal flaws

To his credit, Smotrich gets many things right in his proposal. He is certainly correct in his withering criticism of the two-state approach and in perceptively diagnosing that, by its formal endorsement of this approach, Israel necessarily makes itself appear disingenuous—since it cannot take  the actions required to implement its declared intentions without putting its citizens at unacceptable risk.  

However, the only litmus test Smotrich seems to apply for permitting the Arab residents of Judea-Samaria to continue to live under Jewish sovereignty is a professed readiness “to forgo their national aspirations”.  

He writes: “Those who wish to forgo their national aspirations can stay here and live as individuals in the Jewish State; they will of course enjoy all the benefits that the Jewish State has brought and is bringing to the Land of Israel.”  

Sadly, this is sufficient to guarantee the eventual and inevitable failure of his plan—especially when this is coupled with his declared intention to permanently—or at least indefinitely—disenfranchise these Arabs. Thus, although he would grant them “the right to vote in municipal administrations which control their daily lives”, Smotrich writes “… the Arabs of Judea and Samaria will be able to conduct their daily life in freedom and peace, but not to vote for the Israeli Knesset”.

By this, Smotrich, in effect relegates his alleged innovative blueprint to a regurgitated version of the failed autonomy plan of the late 1970s—with the addendum of possible  funded emigration for those  unwilling to forgo their national aspirations” but unwilling to take up arms to achieve them.

Long-term irrelevance of initial “electoral arithmetic”

Smotrich endeavors to justify the rationale for this suggestion by contending that: “This will preserve the Jewish majority in decision making in the State of Israel”. While this claim might be numerically true – it is politically irrelevant, even detrimental.  

Indeed, even setting aside the clear possibility of purposeful subterfuge on the part of those Arabs professing “to forgo their national aspirations” Smotrich’s proposed measures comprised an unvarnished formula for institutionalized disenfranchisement of ostensibly non-belligerent residents, based on nothing more than ethnic affiliation—i.e. apartheid—making it a manifestly untenable political doctrine.

Moreover, by allowing Arab residents the prospect of “enjoy[ing] all the benefits that the Jewish State has brought and is bringing to the Land of Israel” in exchange for formally forswearing national aspirations, Smotrich, greatly undercuts the potential efficacy of his funded emigration option. Indeed, he severely limits the likelihood that anyone other than those showing a commendable, but arguably rare, combination of intellectual honesty, ideological fervor and a commitment to non-violence, will avail themselves of it!

But more important—as I have frequently been at pains to point out—the initial electoral arithmetic, while in itself a factor of significance, is not the only crucial issue in ensuring the overall Jewish nature of Israel over time. No less important, arguably more so, is the impact the permanent presence a large Muslim population (even if not a majority)  will have on the socio-cultural fabric of the nation—irrespective of who wins the elections.

Irrelevance of initial electoral arithmetic (cont.)

Accordingly, unless draconian restrictions are imposed on the disenfranchised Arab residents of sovereign Israel, on their freedom of movement and/or choice of abode, their presence will impact every walk of life in the country—in the shopping malls, on the beaches, on gender equality, on sexual preferences, on the consumption of alcohol, on the forms of public leisure activities…to name but a few.  For anyone who would doubt  the ominous nature of this prospect, or  attempt to dismiss it as baseless racially motivated scaremongering,  may I suggest a  brief—but sobering—look at what has befallen societies in Western Europe and Scandinavia, who have, in good faith, tried to incorporate far smaller Muslim populations—enfranchised or not—into their  domestic  socio-cultural milieu…

Moreover, as the Israeli government will be largely responsible for the newly acquired permanent, but disenfranchised, Arab population, huge budgetary resources will have to be diverted from current uses to closing the yawning socio-economic gaps that exist between the two sides of the pre-1967 Green Line—inevitably dramatically degrading the level of services currently provided in health, education, and transport as well as in the maintenance and development of national infrastructures.   

Clearly, none of this is likely to make Israel a more inviting abode for Jews abroad, nor an attractive location for retaining significant segments of the Jewish population currently resident here.  Indeed, it is likely to have a chilling effect on Jewish immigration (Aliyah) and a stimulating one on Jewish emigration (Yeridah), potentially upsetting any optimistic demographic assessments.

Accordingly, without some clear mechanism as to how such indeterminate disenfranchisement is to be addressed and eliminated, Israel is likely to face an unenviable position of a growing segment of the population, stripped indefinitely of political rights and largely alienated—perhaps even latently hostile—to the defining Jewish nature of the state in which they reside.  Hardly a formula that bodes well for the future!

Forgoing national aspirations: The danger of shifting sentiments

But perhaps one of the gravest problems with Smotrich’s criterion for offering the Palestinian-Arabs permanent residency under extended Israeli sovereignty—i.e. professed forgoing of national aspirations—is the implied assumption that this will be not only be  sincere, but long-lasting.  This is clearly—to be charitable—a tenuous supposition to base such a far-reaching strategic measure.  For even if one accepts that such aspirations are initially forsworn in good faith, there is—and cannot be—any assurance that this will not change for a myriad of reasons—from changes in personal circumstances, through outside incitement, to derision from one’s children. Indeed, even if such willingness to forgo national aspiration proves durable with the current generation—how can it be guaranteed that similar compliance will be undertaken by the younger generation?

Accordingly, Smotrich’s formula is more likely than not to have two detrimental results.

Firstly, relatively few Palestinian-Arabs are likely to avail themselves of the funded emigration option—because of his invitation for them “enjoy all the benefits that the Jewish State has brought and is bringing to the Land of Israel.”  Then at a later stage, Israel might find itself with a permanent Palestinian-Arab population, no longer willing to forgo their national aspirations, greatly empowered having enjoyed “all the benefits the Jewish State brought them”…and  now “chafing at the bit” to take it over.

What must be done…

Funded emigration is an essential policy tool for Israel, but for it to be effectively wielded it must be incorporated into a strategy that correctly conceptualizes the conflict between Jew and Arab as a conflict between irreconcilable collectives, from which only one can emerge victorious.

Its goal must be a drastic reduction of the Arab presence in sovereign Israel, not as Smotrich suggests, a conditioned maintenance thereof. It must comprise a system of enticing incentives to leave and punishing disincentives for staying   —not, as Smotrich suggests, incentivizing benefits for those remaining in the Jewish state.

Finally, while it must differentiate between a belligerent enemy collective and non-belligerent individuals who may be members of it,  the only binding proof of such non-belligerency must be acceptance of the funding for irreversible relocation.

Only then will the concept of funded emigration be able to fulfill its required role i.e. safeguarding the existence of the Jewish nation-state…and enhancing the future of non-belligerent Palestinian-Arabs.

Amichai, Replacement Community for Amona Receives Funding From the Government

In blow after blow to the assumption that Arab “Palestine” will replace Judea and Samaria as an independent state, the Israeli cabinet approved the budget for the first Jewish community to be built in Judea and Samaria in the last 25 years.

Amichai is the replacement community offered to the evacuees of Amona in order for their community to leave their homes quietly.  Amichai will be built next to Shilo, the site of the Biblical Tabernacle, and religious center for Israel until King David established Jerusalem.

Amichai Israel
Amichai, just East of Shilo marked in blue

With the Trump administration seemingly not interested in getting involved with internal Israeli matters, the Netanyahu government has been laying the groundwork for establishing some sort of extended Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.

Last week, the government upgraded the status of Jewish Hebron to a municipal council at the same time Netanyahu stated clearly that “Israel will remain in Judea and Samaria forever.” With Amichai going forward and 300 more homes to be built in Bet El, the unfolding strategy does not involve Palestine or at least not Palestine located on Israel’s Biblical Heartland.

By going ahead and building in the Shilo block, the government sends three messages.  The first is that whenever the left tries to tear down a community using the courts, a new legal one will be built. The second is that Area C (where a majority of Jews live in Judea and Samaria) is and will be Israeli.  The third is, Oslo is dead.

With an American veto guaranteed, the Trump administration too distracted domestically, and a region in chaos, Israel is finaly free to develop its country the way it sees fit.  So where does that leave the Abbas clan and its vehicle for corruption called the Palestinian Authority?  Heading towards the dumpster.

Palestinian Authority Loses its Grip Over Hebron Upgrade

The Palestinian Authority’s reaction to the Hebron community’s municipal upgrade last week has become unhinged. Sensing the move essentially means that the Jewish residents of the city will not be removed from what is the Jewish people’s second most holiest city, Palestinian Arabs now understand that the coming parameters of a “peace deal” may not be to their liking.

“The order jeopardizes any political settlement in the area, which stands in contradiction with the peace process and the establishment of a Palestinian state,” Kamel Hamid the Palestinian Authority representative who also acts as their governor in the Hebron area said to the PA’s Wafa news agency.

More and more Israelis are recognizing that the blatant land theft as well as the continued twisting of history on the part of Arabs living in the area makes it near impossible to reach a final status agreement. In place of that, Israel has had no choice but to begin to extend its sovereignty to areas that have been historically Jewish since before the Arab population occupied them in the late 19th Century and early 20th Century.

In 1929, the Arab population rioted and killed 68 Jews in the ancient Jewish community.  The rest of the community fled. The Jewish community existed there since ancient times with the main building known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs being built over the grave site of Israel’s Patriarchs and Matriarchs by King Herod more than 2000 years ago.

The Arab population has gone out of its way to erase Jewish history in the city.  The latest upgrade by Israel, essentially freezes the assumption that Hebron is on the negotiating table.  With this in mind, a two-state solution seems to be the farthest thing from reality.

More importantly Israel has finally begun to call the Palestinian Arab bluff and started to make moves to integrate important parts of its biblically significant homeland into pre-1967 Israel.  This movement to finally assert Jewish sovereignty over what was always been Jewish land means a weakening of the Palestinian Authority control over Judea and Samaria.

With Hebron now off the table and continued reclamation of Jewish property in Jerusalem continuing, the PA has little claim to the rest of Judea and Samaria.  Abbas and his clan may have grown rich off of siphoning money from Western investments into their political racket dubbed the Palestinian Authority, but they are losing their grip on what matters most.

Israel’s growing control over its historical homeland may appear slow-moving, but it is moving forward none-the-less. It is this movement at the end of the day which will determining the sovereign in Judea and Samaria.