Why is the Trump Administration Taking it Easy on Israel’s “Settlements?”

The so-called “peace process” between Israel and the “Palestinians” living in Judea and Samaria has constant ups and downs with no real breakthroughs of substance.  This past week as Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt visited the region, reports have it that the two informed Mahmoud Abbas that there would be no settlement freeze.

With this message in hand, PA officials told the London-based Al-Hayat that Kushner said the following:

“It is impossible to talk about halting the construction of Jewish settlements in the occupied territories, or considering this as a condition for the resumption of negotiations, since the issue of this issue would bring down the government of Benjamin Netanyahu.” 

With only the Al-Hayat as a source, news media outlets began repeating this mantra.

The official White House response simply “this is nonsense.”

Putting off the propensity for news outlets to repeat unsourced stories, the important part here is that the Trump administration will not force Israel into a settlement freeze.

The Trump administration may have gone under a dramatic change when Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, but Trump himself has been shaped over the years by a circle of friend that are extremely pro-Israel. Furthermore, Trump is of the opinion that repeating past mistakes in the peace process will not only not bring peace, but could destabilize the region even more.

The Trump administration, despite the NSC now fully in the hands of globalists like H.R. McMaster, views Israel as a strategic puzzle piece in the Middle East. The last time there was a serious push by the USA for a two-state outcome was in 2007-2008 at the end of Olmert’s term.  Israel was at a vastly different point in its economic and geo-political situation.  The Israel of now, is considered an economic power house, having forged ties into the East and Africa.

With all the changes on the ground, along with Iran’s push towards hegemony across the Middle East, the US administration may want a comprehensive peace plan, but the contours of that plan will have nothing to do with the “Palestinians” in Judea and Samaria.

The Dahlan Plan Takes Flight

In July I wrote the following:

The plan that appears to be taking shape is that Dahlan will essentially become the defacto ruler of Gaza.  Supported by the UAE and Egypt he will lead a Gaza that is independent of Fatah and Ramallah. Without Gaza included in a future deal, the ability to annex Judea and Samaria, including all the area where Palestinian Arabs live appear to be doable. Once you subtract the population of Gaza from the total population of Palestinian Arabs West of the Jordan River, Israel will still have a comfortable 70/30 Jewish majority.

The nature of annexation is not clear, but the fact that it is Israel who is determining Area A housing solutions mean the ball has already dropped.  The question will only be if and when Dahlan takes over Gaza, will he be able to cut Hamas’ outsized control down to size or will the Islamist group prevent him from exerting real authority.

Although things can change, it is clear that the emerging plan that seems to be building behind the scenes between the Sunni alliance that is most interested in working with Israel is a permanent separation between Gaza and Judea and Samaria, which they call “the West Bank.”

Jared Kushner Promises Plan in Four Months

According to Israel HaYom Jared Kushner has promised to deliver a “peace-plan” to Mahmoud Abbas in the next three to four months. This has less to do with the US administration’s desire to build a comprehensive plan on the back of a former terrorist and Holocaust denier, than the need to keep things in check as the US continues to build a counterweight to Iran. This counterweight is being built on the backs of Israel and Saudi Arabia, with an emerging Kurdistan providing stability in Northern Iraq.

Back to Settlements

The vision within the Trump Administration and moderate Arab states is that a permanent settlement between Israel and the “Palestinians” can incorporate two opposing narratives.  With Gaza as a solidified political union backed by the UAE and Egypt, Judea and Samaria can be viewed by both Jews and Arabs as an extension of their “homeland.” This is why Trump himself has distanced himself from overt support of the “Two-State Solution” because the emerging solution is an acceptance that there will never be agreement on everything, but rather what needs to be built is long-term coexistence.

According to the San Remo conference of 1920, Jews have a right to settle anywhere within the boundaries of the Palestinian Mandate, which at that time reached not only from pre-1967 Israel but covered Judea and Samaria and present day Jordan as well.  What we could be seeing is the first attempt to get back to the idea of sovereignty and homeland.  With emerging realties and real threats to the Arab world from Iran, the idea of Jewish settlement throughout its historic homeland is becoming separated from the question of final sovereignty over the same piece of land.

By separating the two issues, creative decisions can be made in respect to a final outcome, which allows for the Jewish communities to thrive in Area C, while providing for the understanding that Palestinian Arabs live amongst them in Areas A and B.

Or Judea and Samria itself can be rolled into Israel.  Without Gaza, the population can be integrated and those not wanting to become part of the Israeli milieu can be paid to leave.

Whatever the outcome, the narrative has shifted away from Israel being an occupying power to one which has rights within its historic homeland.  That alone, makes the news trickling out from Kushner’s meetings relevant and important.



Touting Jewish ghettos – Moronic or malevolent?

Given the resistance to removing hundreds of thousands of Jews from their ancient homeland in Judea-Samaria, an egregious idea is emerging: Instead of evacuation, abandonment


The settlements would remain Israeli enclaves inside a Palestinian state. This will enable the establishment of an independent Palestinian state without dismantling Israeli settlements and evacuating their residents…The idea is to prevent the need to evacuate about 100,000 Jewish settlers who will remain beyond the settlement blocs which will be transferred to Israel in exchange for Israeli territories which will be given to the Palestinian state… free access to these enclaves through the territory of the independent Palestinian state will be guaranteed. – Gideon Biger, “Israeli Enclaves in Palestine…”, Jerusalem Post August 15, 2017


The notion of abandoning Jews anywhere to the mercies of hostile regimes strikes me as frankly immoral. The idea that Jews living (with the full approval, I might add, of successive Israeli governments) in Judea and Samaria, should be somehow consigned to the whims of a Palestinian state, suffused with anti-Jewish racism, strikes me as frankly obscene.- Geoffrey Alderman,  “Plan for settlers that’s naive and dumb”, The Jewish Chronicle, January 3, 2014.


Just when you thought the political debate in Israel could not get any crazier—it does.


A cavalcade of craziness


The last two and a half decades, have seen the emergence of several wildly delusional proposals for dealing with the “Palestinian problem”—from both sides of the political spectrum.


Thus, for example, on the Left, the dominant paradigm has been support for the antithesis of all the values the Left professes to ascribe to i.e. the endorsement of a giant Gaza-like entity  on the eastern approaches of  Tel Aviv,  (mis)governed by a misogynistic, homophobic, Islamist tyranny—a.k.a. the two-state principle.


On the Right, proposals range from formulas for the Lebanonization of Israel (via annexation of all of Judea-Samaria, without any clear idea of how to contend with the Arab population resident there), to those for the Balkanization of Israel (via annexation of parts Judea-Samaria, leaving the recalcitrant Arab population largely encapsulated in scattered, disconnected enclaves).


Lately, these calamitous prescriptions have been embellished by similarly unhinged appendages—such as the suggestion to provide the terror-regime in Gaza with a port, despite the fact that, in times of non-belligerence, the modern port of Ashdod, barely 20 miles to the north, can supply all of Gaza’s needs—and in times of  belligerence, Israel has a keen interest in denying Gaza any port services!


In my column last week, I discussed the harebrained scheme to convert Judea-Samaria into a mega-South Lebanon by unilaterally removing the Jewish civilian presence there, but leaving the IDF deployed in a territory over which Israel eschews any claims to sovereignty—thereby, in effect, replicating the conditions that prevailed in the “security zone’ in South Lebanon, which precipitated the 2000 IDF unilateral withdrawal—with undignified haste.  


A real doozy


This of course is not an exhaustive list of all the inane initiatives that have been inserted into the political debate in Israel.


Only last week, an additional idea surfaced—or rather, resurfaced.  


It was a real doozy.


It  was the suggestion that, sometime somehow in the future,  it would be not only  possible politically, but acceptable morally, to leave (read “abandon”) Jewish communities across the  pre-1967 Green Line as enclaves, within  some future  Palestinian state, with no territorial contiguity with “mainland” Israel.


To the best of my knowledge, the proposal first emerged several years ago. It was articulated in an article published by the well-endowed Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), entitled Jewish Enclaves in a Palestinian State.  It was authored by Gideon Biger, professor emeritus in Tel Aviv University’s Department of Geography and Human Environment and Gilead Sher, a senior research fellow at INSS and head of its Center for Applied Negotiations, who formerly served as Head of Bureau and Policy Coordinator for Prime Minister Ehud Barak, and Chief negotiator in talks with the Palestinians (1999-2001).


In it, they acknowledge: “…the evacuation of tens of thousands from their homes and their settlements, including forcible evacuation of those who refuse to leave at the behest of the government, is a difficult task for the country, and could potentially result in bloodshed and civil war.


Accordingly they suggest: Thus there is a need to examine other, less conventional ideas that could reduce the number of Israelis living beyond the final borders of the State of Israel who will need to be evacuated, including the idea of retaining Jewish settlements as enclaves within the borders of a Palestinian state”.


Doozy (cont.)


An article, published several months later by Prof. Alexander Yakobson, a research fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute, entitled “How to deflate the settlements as an issue” expressed similarly egregious sentiments.


In it Yakobson writes: “…the number of settlers there is far higher than on previous occasions when Israel evacuated settlements in Sinai and in Gaza. Many believe that we are fast approaching – if we have not already passed – the point of no return, when the two-state solution becomes infeasible…”


Yakobson stoutly rebuffs any such pessimism regarding the prospects of two-statism.  According to his vision: “…if we are talking about real peace, why can’t there be a Jewish minority in a Palestinian state? The future peace …should recognize the right of those Jews who will find themselves on the Palestinian side of the border to continue living there … as a minority under Palestinian sovereignty”.


This is a question that is both callous and cynical—and one for which Yakobson himself provided the answer, admitting: “…It is true that precedents for Jews living under Arab sovereignty, in the decades since Israel’s independence, are not encouraging: No Jewish community has been able to survive anywhere in the Arab world.”


This somber assessment of the ramifications of leaving Jews in a Palestinian state is shared by Biger et Sher, who, perversely, raise the prospect of precisely such a policy: “…there is a decided possibility of friction and clashes between the enclaves and their Palestinian surroundings, which could develop into a state of high intensity open conflict. Many experts believe that from political, security, and practical aspects, the idea is not at all feasible, even in a state of full peace.”


Reckless endangerment or depraved indifference?


In past columns, I have harshly criticized both Biger et Sher (see Infuriating, Insidious, Immoral) and Yakobson (see Mainstreaming Treason?)


Indeed, given the fact that they all seem entirely aware of the probable gory consequences of their proposal, it is difficult to repudiate the charge that it reflects features very reminiscent of the offences of “reckless endangerment” and/or “depraved indifference.


Without engaging in scholarly debate regarding the legalistic differences between the two concepts, it would, in informed layman’s terms, be true to say, that the defining characteristic common to both these terms is that they each entail conduct exhibiting a clear disregard for the foreseeable consequences of the act involved—wfhich creates a substantial risk of serious physical injury to others. Significantly, the focus in these offenses is on the risk created by such conduct, not the actual injuries resulting.

So clearly, whatever the sentiments in the hearts of the enclave-enthusiasts, their proposal to abandon Jews living across the pre-1967 Green Line to Palestinian jurisdiction, in effect, comprises a call for conduct that displays stark disregard for foreseeable consequences of the measures involved, thus creating a substantial risk of serious injury to others.

So, reckless endangerment or depraved indifference?


As this is so glaringly apparent, one might have expected such proposals—or any like-minded derivatives—would have been long removed from the public discourse—once and for all.  


Sadly, however, as we shall see, this is not the case.


Inverting Zionism?


Clearly, the proposal to abandon Jews to alien sovereignty comprises a grotesque inversion of the Zionist ethos, which always strove to achieve the opposite – bringing Jews to live under Jewish sovereignty.


Perhaps it was the uneasy recognition of this that has led to a recent revision of this pernicious and perilous proposal.


In an opinion piece last week, Biger once again referred to the idea, claiming that Netanyahu had raised the possibility with the Trump administration, stipulating that any Jewish communities left behind would—even if territorially detached—remain under Israeli sovereignty.


He notes: “A similar proposal has been raised in the past in discussions with the Obama administration. Later Netanyahu abolished the idea knowing that it would face right-wing opposition.”  


Biger’s contention is corroborated by a Haaretz report, according to which Netanyahu did indeed discuss the “enclave option”. The report claims: “…Netanyahu brought up with U.S. officials the ‘Belgian-Dutch model,’ in which settlements that won’t be annexed will remain as Israeli enclaves”.  


Astonishingly, Haaretz sees this willingness to abandon Jews as a “hardening” of Israeli positions, stating: “This is a harsher position than the one he [Netanyahu] presented Obama, when he suggested that settlers who wished to stay in their homes would do so under Palestinian jurisdiction”.


Reinstate ghettos-win a Nobel prize?


Despite all its fatal flaws, Biger still seems to cling to it with enthusiasm, claiming that it will obviate “the need to evacuate about 100,000 Jewish settlers” in the event of any agreement with the Palestinians.


In an attempt to establish the plausibility of this macabre proposal, Biger, who is credited with being, “an expert in international borders”, rattles off a list of locations on the globe where such enclave arrangements exist—each example conspicuous by its irrelevance to the Arab-Israeli conflict, in general and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in particular.


Indeed, it is difficult to grasp how Biger—or any other enclave-enthusiast—envisages how such isolated entities could be sustained over time—much less develop and prosper.


Clearly, any infrastructure systems serving them—such as power and water conveyance—would have to pass through Palestinian territory, leaving them hopelessly exposed to repeated disruption by the myriad of hostile elements among the local population.  

Moreover given the fierce and unequivocal rejection by the Palestinian leadership of any notion of residual Jewish settlers remaining within the confines of some future Palestinian state, Biger’s prognosis that such enclaves “will remain under Israeli sovereignty and their residents will remain Israeli citizens in all respects….free access to these enclaves through the territory of the independent Palestinian state will be guaranteed”, seems wildly detached from any foreseeable reality.


No less risible is Biger’s whimsical question with which he concludes his article: “Will Netanyahu’s proposal to Trump be fulfilled and give Netanyahu and Trump the Nobel Peace Prize.  But on second thoughts, given the identities (and deeds) of several previous laureates, who knows…


Unsustainable sovereignty: Blueprint for bloodshed


Little analytical acumen is required to foresee the gruesome consequences that will evolve should this iniquitous idea be implemented. It is almost inevitable that the envisaged enclaves will be unwelcome in their hostile surroundings—and soon become a focus of friction.


There is no doubt that huge resources will have to be devoted to sustain such Jewish enclaves, preserve their security and the safety of the inhabitants.  It is unlikely that they will be afforded sufficient areas to sustain much local employment, not to mention future development and expansion. Residents will require constant and heavy military escort whenever they wish to avail themselves of the promised “free access”, to and from the enclaves. Every social outing or trip to work will become a perilous adventure.


Soon, calls within “Israel proper” will begin to clamor to curtail the expenditure on such futile entities and divert resources to other goals. The government will come under relentless and growing pressure to cut back on outlays devoted to the preservation of these enclaves, which will be left to wither and expire. Their inhabitants will be left to fend for themselves, literally risking being torn limb from limb—or to return, destitute, to “Israel proper”…


Abandonment- not evacuation

The emerging threat to the Jewish communities today is less government-coerced evacuation and more government-initiated abandonment.


So, although the device of “enclaves” is presented as a measure to preserve Jewish presence in Judea-Samaria, in reality it is little more than a pretext to dismantle it, in stages, and circumvent the inevitable resistance to proactive evacuation, and the national trauma that will entail.


Accordingly, it must be exposed for what it really is—and nipped in the bud before it can gather any significant momentum.  

Preparing for a Post Abbas Era

The post-Abbas era will pose new threats and opportunities for Israel. It is up to Israel to ensure that the opportunities are maximized and the threats are neutralized as quickly as possible.

PLO chief and Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas scored a victory against Israel at the Temple Mount. But it was a Pyrrhic one.

Days after the government bowed to his demand and voted to remove the metal detectors from the Temple Mount, Abbas checked into the hospital for tests. The 82-year-old dictator has heart disease and a series of other serious health issues. And he has refused to appoint a successor.

It is widely assumed that once he exits the stage, the situation in the PA-ruled areas in Judea and Samaria – otherwise known as Areas A and B – will change in fundamental ways.
This week, two prominent Palestinian advocates, Hussein Agha and Ahmad Samih Khalidi, published an article in The New Yorker entitled “The end of this road: The decline of the Palestinian national movement.”

Among other things, they explained that Abbas’s death will mark the dissolution of the Palestinian national identity. That identity has already been supplanted in Judea and Samaria by local, tribal identities. In their words, “The powerful local ties made it impossible for a Hebronite to have a genuine popular base in Ramallah, or for a Gazan to have a credible say in the West Bank.”

It will also be the end of the PLO and its largest faction, Fatah, founded by Yasser Arafat in 1958 and led by Abbas since Arafat’s death in 2004.

Fatah, they explain, has “no new leaders, no convincing evidence of validation, no marked success in government, no progress toward peace, fragile links to its original setting abroad and a local environment buffeted by the crosswinds of petty quarrels and regional antagonisms.”

One of the reasons the Palestinians have lost interest in being Palestinians is because they have lost their traditional political and financial supporters in the Arab world and the developing world. The Sunni Arab world, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, is now willing to publicly extol Israel as a vital ally in its struggle against Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood. The so-called Arab street is increasingly incensed at the Palestinians for monopolizing the world’s attention with their never ending list of grievances against Israel even as millions in the Arab world suffer from war, genocide, starvation and other forms of oppression and millions more have been forced to flee their homes.

As for the developing world, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s refusal to visit with Abbas during his recent visit to Israel marked the official end of the Third World’s alliance with the PLO.

After Abbas departs, Agha and Khalidi identify three key actors that will seek to fill the military and political void. First and foremost, the Palestinian security services (PSF) will raise its head. The PSF is heavily armed and has been trained by the US military. Agha and Khalidi argue reasonably that as the best armed and best organized group in the area aside from the IDF, the PSF will likely seize power in one form or another.

The Palestinian forces pose a major threat to Israel. It isn’t simply that their members have often participated in murderous terrorist attacks against Israel. With their US military training they are capable of launching large-scale assaults on Israeli civilian communities and on IDF forces.

To understand the nature of the threat, consider that last month, a lone terrorist armed with a knife sufficed to massacre the Salomon family in their home in Halamish before he was stopped by an off-duty soldier. Contemplate what a well-armed and trained platoon of Palestinian soldiers with no clear political constraints could do.

The second force Agha and Khalidi identify as likely to step into the leadership vacuum is the Israeli Arab political leadership. As Agha and Khalidi note, since the PLO-controlled PA was established in 1994, the Israeli Arab community and the Palestinians of Judea and Samaria have become more familiar with one another.

Due in large part to subversion by the PLO and Hamas and lavish funding of radical Israeli Arab groups and politicians by foreign governments and leftist donors, a generation of radical, anti-Israel Arab politicians has risen to power.

At the same time, since the Arab Spring destabilized all of Israel’s neighbors, a cross current of Arab Zionism has captivated the Israeli Arab majority. Recognizing that Israel is their safe port in the storm, Israeli Arabs in increasing numbers are choosing to embrace their Israeli identity, learn Hebrew and join mainstream Israeli society.

Agha and Khalidi signal clearly their hope that the integration of the Palestinians and Israel’s Arab minority will enable them to worth together to take over the Jewish state from within.

Finally, Agha and Khalidi note that as support for the Palestinians has waned in the Arab world and the developing world, the West has emerged in recent years as their most stable and enthusiastic political support base. Ethnic Palestinians in the West are more committed to destroying Israel than Palestinians in Syria and Jordan. Western politicians and political activists who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement are much more committed to the political war against Israel than their counterparts in Asia and Africa.

The Western forces now aligned against Israel in the name of the Palestinians will certainly seek to play a role in shaping events in a post-Abbas world.

This then brings us to Israel and what it must do now and in the immediate aftermath of Abbas’s exit from the scene.

The most important thing that Israel can and must do is send a send a clear message that it will not be walking away from Judea and Samaria. To do so, Israel should end the military government in Area C, where all the Israeli communities and border zones are located, and replace it with its legal code.

Militarily, it is imperative that the IDF be ordered to disarm the PSF as quickly and quietly as possible.

Since 2007, Abbas’s fear of Hamas has exceeded his hatred for Israel. As a consequence, during this time, the Palestinian security forces have cooperated with the IDF in anti-Hamas operations.

There is every likelihood that the forces’ calculations in a post-Abbas world will be quite different.

Israel cannot afford to have a well-armed force, steeped in antisemitic ideology, deployed footsteps from major Israeli population centers.

As for the Israeli Arabs, Israel can empower moderate, integrationist forces to rise to power. To do so, it must enforce its laws against terrorism-sponsoring groups like the Islamic movement and enforce its land and welfare laws toward Arabs with the same vigor it enforces them toward Jews. It must provide support for integrationists to enter the political fray against their anti-Israel rivals.

If Israel fails to take these actions, Agha and Khalidi’s dream that the Palestinian war against Israel is taken over by Israeli Arabs supported by the West will become a realistic prospect.

This then brings us to the West.

Economically, Israel has already begun to limit the capacity of anti-Israel forces in the West to wage economic war against it by deepening its economic ties with Asia.

Politically, Israel must reform its legal system to limit the subversive power of the West in its Arab community and more generally in its political system. Foreign governments must be barred from funding political NGOs. Israel should wage a public campaign in the US to discredit foundations and other non-profits in the US that work through Israeli-registered NGOs to undermine its rule of law.

By applying its laws in full to Area C, and by asserting sole security control throughout the areas, while empowering the Israeli Arab majority that wishes to embrace its Israeli identity, Israel will empower the Palestinians in Areas A and B to govern themselves autonomously in a manner that advances the interests of their constituents.

As Agha and Khalidi note, the Palestinians have been in charge of their own governance since 1994. But under the corrupt authoritarianism of the PLO, their governance has been poor and unaccountable. As local identities have superseded the PLO’s brand of nationalism borne of terrorism and eternal war against Israel, the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria well positioned to embrace an opportunity to govern themselves under a liberal rule of law without fear of the PLO jackboot.

The post-Abbas era will pose new threats and opportunities for Israel. It is up to Israel to ensure that the opportunities are maximized and the threats are neutralized as quickly as possible. Failing that, Israel can expect to contend with military threats in Judea and Samaria several orders of magnitude greater than what it has dealt with in the past. It can similarly expect to find itself under political assault from a combination of radicalized Israeli Arabs and Western governments that will challenge it in ways it has never been challenged before.

Originally Posted in the Jerusalem Post.

TERROR IN ISRAEL: Abbas Breaks with Peace Push over Temple Mount

The murder of three Israeli Jews over Shabbat by a 19 year old Palestinian Arab was purported to be carried out due to the policies of the Israeli government on the Temple Mount.  Since the doble murder of Druze policemen near the Lions Gate, the Israeli government has placed a series of metal detectors at the entrance of the Temple Mount.

This tiny act of sovereignty over Judaism’s holiest site enraged the Arab street in Jerusalem and around Judea and Samaria.  Mahmoud Abbas has called for endless riots until the Israeli government returns the security situation to its previous state.

Friday night saw the first Jewish deaths in relation to the rioting as one Arab infiltrated the small community of Halamish-Neve Tsuf East of Tel Aviv and proceded to stab three memebers of one family to death before being neutralized.

In the wake of the murder and riots many are calling for Israel to show restraint.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said the following at a security cabinet meeting held in Jerusalem:

“Since the beginning of the events, I have held a series of meetings and assessed the situation with all the security forces, including those in the field,” Netanyahu said.

The Prime Minister added, “We are receiving an updated picture of the situation and recommendations for action, and we are acting accordingly.”

“We are conducting this with composure, determination and responsibility – and we will continue to do so in order to maintain security,” Netanyahu said, addressing the ministers. “I also expect you to act with the responsibility demanded of you.”

The metal detectors have been blamed for this current round of violence.  However, Abbas has seemed to indicate the rioting has been planned for some time. Not only that, the idea that metal detectors are an infringement on the Arab’s religious rights on the Temple Mount are not only unfounded by have been criticized by several American and European current and government officials, including Sir Paul Robert Stephenson the former Metropolitan Police Commissioner in the UK, who said the following according to the Wall Street Tribune:

“The Palestinians are exacerbating the situation, the metal detectors were put in place as a result of actions taken by the Palestinians. If this was in London, Paris, or New York any law enforcement official worth his salt would advise installing metal detectors to prevent other would be gunmen from entering the place. It is only common sense!”

As we noted last week, Abbas and the Hashemite Kingdom has grown more and more isolated to do the rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar.  Saudi Arabia’s noticeble silence as far as criticism of Israel in relation to the Temple Mount is one of the reasons for Abbas taking such hard line in connection to riots.



Why Did Bibi Freeze the Qalqilya Plan?

The vaunted Qalqilya plan which would have seen a doubling of the size of the Palestinian controlled city of Qalqilya just 10 miles from Tel Aviv appears to be permanently frozen by the security cabinet yesterday.  This was Liberman’s plan. It originated with him and he pushed it, but it ran into a solid brick wall when Bibi Netanyahu decided to freeze when he saw he did not have enough votes to pass it or the story goes.

Liberman vs. Bibi vs. Bennett

The jockeying on the right over the Qalqilya plan began a few weeks ago, Liberman’s move was published with the seeming approval of the Prime Minister. Then it was released that the Prime Minister had no knowledge of the plan. At first this seemed crazy. How could Prime Minister Netanyahu not know of something of this magnitude, but then it was found out that the Civil Administration itself under the guidance of Defense Minister Liberman okayed the plan before it was brought to Netanyahu tossing a hot potato into the government.

It was at that point that the right flank of the Likud led by Zeev Elkin and Yariv Levin along with Naftali Bennett of Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) demanded the plan frozen.

Whether or not Bibi Netanyahu planned this, the results are clear. Liberman has become discredited on the right and Bibi has been able by shelving the plan show the base that he is still with them.  This enables the Prime Minister to hold onto the righ tof the Likud, which if the plan went forward he would have lost to Bennett and Ayelet Shaked. He is most certainly still bleeding seats to them, but the damage is contained for now.

What’s Next for Judea and Samaria

Yesterday I wrote on the connection between Mohammed Dahlan and Liberman’s drive to build in Qalqilya.  As much as there is a need for some sort of organizing strategy in Judea and Samaria, its lack of a concrete plan does not take away from the maneuvers by the UAE and Egypt from effectively sending Gaza on its own trajectory through the imposition of Dahlan onto Hamas.  This, like I wrote yesterday is akin to declaring Palestine in Gaza only. It may not be what those of us on the right want, but it appears to be the Sunni axis strategy to resolving the conflict in the near term.

Afterall, everyone from Saudi Arabia to Egypt know and admit behind the scenes that they need Israel far more than the PA. Without Gaza connected to negotiations, the solution in Judea and Samaria is some sort of application of Israeli sovereignty.  There are many options out there such as the Bennett Plan, or the One State Solution Plan offered by Caroline Glick.

Liberman appears to be playing both sides. On one hand trying to show the Americans he is amicable to a deal, while passing that deal off to the cabinet as some sort of need by Israel to take care of the locals within the PA.

Bennett is Pulling the Prime Minister to his Position

The uproar over the Qalqilya plan shows just how strong the Center-Right really is.  This is far more than just Knesset seats.  The Prime Minister acknowledges that there is no real appetite for a handing more of Israel to the Palestinian Authority.  He needs to hold the appearence that he is not battling with Bennett and the Likud over these issues or he will risk splintering his coalition before its time.

According to reports, Bibi has agreed to open a discussion on land usage in Area C (the area Israel has under its full control within Judea and Samaria).  This discussion is the first of its type and will begin the deeper evaluation of how to ensure that it is Israel who ends up the sovereign within Area C if not all of Judea and Samaria.

Dahlan, the Qalqilya Plan and the Coming Two State Solution…It’s Not What You Think

The rumor mill keeps swirling about major changes in the Middle East.  Two major moves seemingly separate indicate a major shift is underway in Israel, specifically in its relationship to Gaza and Judea and Samaria.

Gaza: Turkey and Qatar Out, UAE and Egypt In

As the Qatar-Saudi rift deepens, the Gaza Strip under Hamas continues to suffer under a joint Israeli-Egyptian blockade.  While Abbas has sought to bring the group to its knees, Egypt and the UAE, two countries that stand with the Saudis against Qatar (and its ally Turkey) have used the situation to impose their will on Hamas in Gaza. According to muliple media reports, the Egyptians and the UAE are pushing for Mohammed Dahlan to take over the Gaza Strip as head of some sort of Gazan leadership council.

With Hamas on the ropes they have little room but to agree to Dahlan returning in a way that makes him the defacto “Head of State” of Gaza.  Dahlan is now the Hamas groups key to opening the strip up to goods and electricity.  Given the animosity between Dahlan and Abbas, it would seem that the Palestinian national movement would be split if Dahlan actually does become leader of the strip.

Qalqilya Building Plan Portends a Coming Israeli Annexation

While Gaza goes its own way, the Israeli government is taking steps to assume more and more direct authority in Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank). Rightwing leaders have been up in arms over the proposed expansion plan of the city of Qalqilya, but perhaps there is another reason for the expansion.  Expanding Qalqilya is only negative for Israel if Qalqilya remains controlled by the PA, but what happens if there is something else going on. Afterall who would be crazy enough to expand a Palestinian city that lies only 10 miles from Tel Aviv unless there was something else going on.

The following comments by Defense Minister Liberman indicates there is:

“6,300 houses will be built.” Lieberman pointed out that “While 19 terrorists have come from Hebron, in the last wave only one ramming attempt came from Qalqilya. These are the sticks and carrots. The housing units are already being marketed, there is no room for debate.”

Speaking of the arrival of Donald Trump’s emissary to the Middle East Jason Greenblatt, Liberman noted that “Greenblatt is coming to promote an agreement with the Palestinians, but I have my doubts when I look at the Palestinian Authority and its leader, and their refusal to condemn the murder of a policewoman –I ask, where is their good will? With such intentions it is doubtful whether it is possible to advance a [peace] process.”

Lieberman is suggesting that it is the Israelis not the Palestinian leadership who are relieving the plight of Qalqilya. If Israel wants to control Judea and Samaria they seemingly must actually care for the people there. Only if the government is moving to some form of annexation does the Qalqilya expansion plan make sense.

Gazal Equals Palestine, “West Bank” Rolled into Judea and Samaria

The plan that appears to be taking shape is that Dahlan will essentially become the defacto ruler of Gaza.  Supported by the UAE and Egypt he will lead a Gaza that is independent of Fatah and Ramallah. Without Gaza included in a future deal, the ability to annex Judea and Samaria, including all the area where Palestinian Arabs live appear to be doable. Once you subtract the population of Gaza from the total population of Palestinian Arabs West of the Jordan River, Israel will still have a comfortable 70/30 Jewish majority.

The nature of annexation is not clear, but the fact that it is Israel who is determining Area A housing solutions mean the ball has already dropped.  The question will only be if and when Dahlan takes over Gaza, will he be able to cut Hamas’ outsized control down to size or will the Islamist group prevent him from exerting real authority.


What You Do NOT Know About The Qatar Crisis

The looming crisis between Qatar and several Gulf states came as a shock to many. Before that, the Gulf Cooperation Council was viewed as a club of rich and stable Arab regimes. Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia is now leading a push to punish Qatar through isolation. This hsa generated much media attention and ‘expert’ focus by pundits of the Middle East. Still none of those seems to have hit the core of the subject: This crisis is deeper than what anyone guesses and it will have an impact on the entire region, including Israel.

To begin with, the main cause of the rift between Saudi Arabia and Qatar could be summed up in three words: The Muslim Brotherhood (MB). Saudis wants the MB gone, so does UAE and Egypt. Nonetheless, Qatar and Jordan are both pro-MB and have invested too heavily in the Islamist group to let it go easily.

Some may be perplexed by the claim that Jordan’s regime supports the MB. Jordan and Qatar both provide support for the MB. Jordan’s royal family, the Hashemites, have been in a full alliance with MB since the 1950s. The MB were the ones who supported the kingdom’s founder, Emir Abdallah, in annexing the West Bank. They also stood with the Hashemites in 1970 during their civil war with the PLO. This fact has been confirmed by Jordan’s king himself in a 2013 interview with The Atlantic magazine.

Further, Jordan’s regime’s alliance with the MB is deeper than generally realized.

In November 2012, Jordan witnessed the largest Arab Spring-style revolution. One million took to the street demanding that the king steps down. Despite overwhelming popular sentiment, the MB openly stood against the revolution and said: “We will never allow the king to fall.” While the MB is banned in most Arab countries, in Jordan, they are registered as a charity, a political organization, and a private business. While the king bans  secularists and liberals for a mere tweet, the MB owns its licensed satellite TV network and daily paper in which they consistently preach terrorism and death to America and the Jews.

In fact, the entire knife-intifada concept was launched by MB journalist Yasser Zaatreh who wrote an article demanding all Palestinian stab Jews and in one of Jordan’s major daily which is partially owned by the Jordanian government itself in June of 2015.

The Jordan monarchy’s marriage with the MB resulted in a polygamous marriage with Qatar’s regime. Qatar is the main financier of the MB group not only in Jordan but the world. Jordan’s MB members control Qatar’s owned Aljazeera, the General Manager, Yasser Abu Helalah, is a Jordanian MB member, a known Jordanian intelligence operative, and an outspoken loyalist to Jordan’s king.

Further, Jordan and Qatar have been very close in coordinating their stance on Syria as well as Israel. Both have worked through their intelligence agencies and media to sustain and expand the unrest in Syria with the concept that the more the unrest persists the more both can get away with sustaining and empowering their instrumental tool: The MB. They want the civil war to go one, and that is why when President Trump attacked Syria with Cruse missiles, both Jordan’s and Qatar’s media were against the hit.

As for Israel, both Jordan’s and Qatar’s royals have played both ends against the middle. They have incited the region’s regimes and public against Israel, then behind the scenes telling the Israeli leadership they are the only people they can talk to, and at times, even claiming they both control the situation in Syria. “Israel cannot afford to ignore us, we hold the strings” as one Jordanian stateman has said in secret.

Under Obama, these tactics worked successfully for Qatar and Jordan. Saudi Deputy Crown Prince, Mohammad Ben Salman, tried to convince Obama several times of the necessity to crack down on the MB and to designate it as a terror group. This only fell on Obama’s deaf ears.

But now, there is a new sheriff in town. From Day One President Trump was very clear in his stance on the MB and other terror groups stating, “We will wipe them from the face of the earth.”

I can confirm, from my Arab sources, that the Saudi-led move against Qatar came after talks with the US administration. Also, the move is not directed only towards Qatar, in fact, Jordan is on the US radar as the MB’s safe house. In fact, the MB’s HQ is only 4 miles away from the king’s palace.

Jordan’s regime has been trying to appease the Saudis in this fight, it downgraded its diplomatic representation with Qatar and closed Aljazeera’s office. This may fool some Western media, but not the Saudis. The king still won’t cut ties with Qatar and his very own intelligence officers are launching a relentless defamation campaign through Aljazeera against Saudi Arabia and president Trump himself.

Both Qatar’s and Jordan’s state-controlled media are still claiming President Trump is on the verge of being impeached. Something Qatar’s Emir himself stated to his own official news agency, then claimed the agency was hacked and he never said those things. Google, on the other hand, confirmed Qatar’s News Agency was not hacked when it posted the Emir’s comments against both Trump and Saudi.

Further, a very well-connected Arab source confirmed to me that the US has already told Qatar: “Don’t expect any solutions before you drop the MB”.

Meanwhile, Qatar keeps hissing, fighting, and kicking. It cannot do this forever and it will have to give up the MB eventually. Once that happens, Jordan could face serious consequences, simply because “Jordan’s MB is a part of the Hashemite regime” as the king’s own Minister of Political Reform has said. Once the MB loses Qatar’s money and Aljazeera, the Jordanian regime itself will be further weakened and Jordan will be open to changes.

This crisis will have far-reaching outcomes and Jordan has already been influenced by it and will be the next place to watch for change if, or when, Qatar divorces the MB.


UNESCO, “Palestine,” and the Erasure of Indigenous History in the Land of Israel

On Friday, UNESCO voted in a secret ballot to declare that Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarch is actually an Islamic and Palestinian Word Heritage site. This vote disregarded the Jewish connection to the city and the Cave of the Patriarchs entirely.

Naftali Bennett, Israel’s Minister of Education responded with the following:

“The Jewish connection to Hebron goes back thousands of years. Hebron, the birthplace of King David’s kingdom, and the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the first Jewish purchase in Israel and resting place of our forefathers – are our people’s oldest heritage sites,” he said. “Unesco’s resolution must be rejected, and our efforts to strengthen the city of our fathers increased,” he added.”

Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN slammed the decision as well.

“The UNESCO vote on Hebron is tragic on several levels. It represents an affront to history,” Haley said in a statement. 

“It undermines the trust that is needed for the Israeli-Palestinian peace process to be successful,” she said. “And it further discredits an already highly questionable UN agency. Today’s vote does no one any good and causes much harm.”

“The United States is currently evaluating the appropriate level of its continued engagement at UNESCO.”

In order to fully understand where to go from the UNESCO travesty, one must understand the partnership the agency and the Palestinian as well as the broader Islamist goals are in Israel and beyond.

The Palestnians were created in 1964 by Yasser Arafat when the Arab world realized they needed some sort of indigenous claim to the Land of Israel, as their broad claim of Zionist colonization failed to make any imprint on a post World War Two Europe and America.

So, in a strategic switch the PLO was born and somehow rewrote history in a bid to claim the mantle of the truly indigenous people belonging to the Holy Land. In 1967, when the Jewish people liberated the heart of their homeland in Judea and Samaria as well as the Golan, Gaza, and Sinai, the newly created “Palestinians” claimed their Land was being colonized even more.

Of course, history shows this is all nonesense as the influx of today’s Palestnians came in waves and usually mirroried Jewish immigration to the Holy Land.  In the 1860’s according to Turkish records the majority population Jerusalem was already Jewish. Beyond Jerusalem, the ancient cities of Sefat and Tiberious had Jewish populations as well as Hebron’s Jewish community that went back well over a thousand years before the Muslum conquest.

This is not to say there were no Arabs, there were. Many of these Arabs came from Syria and even Chechnya or Turkey. A small minority of indigenous Arabs lived in the Southern Hebron Hills, most likely dscended from Jews who vere forced to convert around the 9th and 10th centuries.

It was not until the early 1900’s that Turkey began to encourage intra-migratrion within its empire as to offset the growing Jewish population.  By the time the British took over the Holy Land and renamed it Palestine, the Arab population had artificially exploded.

The Palestinians have no indigenous culture.  They, like the broader Islamist movement sees others’ indigineity as an emotional affront to their lack of historical claims here in the Land of Israel and elsewhere.  Instead of accepting history, they have learned that they have willing partners in the international community that will simply help them appropriate it.

Hebron is the earliest site of spiritual significance to the Nation of Israel and the Jewish people.  Allowing a group of clans that moved to the area relatively recently to claim historical connection to the site that was actually built by the King of Judea is absurd and renders their ability to detect right from wrong obsolete.  Of course, truth is not UNESCO’s or the Palestinian’s goal.

UNESCO believes it’s mandate is to encourage the appropriation of history so as to not be bothered by the Jewish people’s steadfast return and reclaiming that which is mandated by heaven as well as acquired here on earth. Afterall, for UNESCO, the Holocaust is but a distant memory; one where a European group called the Jews were sytematically murdered.

For UNESCO, these Jews are just Europeans with no historical orindigenous claims within the boundaries of ancient Israel. Of course, this is also a perversion of history Israel is made up of Jews of all backgrounds, with a majority from Arab lands. Not to mention, Jews of European descent can trace their origin back to Israel. Once again, history and truth has no place in UNESCO’s perception of reality.

The faster that Israel works to ensure that Hebron is an indisputable part of the State of Israel by providing easy access to its Holy Sites as well as encouraging continued purchasing of private homes by Jews within the ancient city, the faster the world will have to come to a conclusion that the Jews of old have actually returned to their forefathers’ Land.

WORLD CHANGE: Why the Modi Visit to Israel is set to Radically Reshape the World

We are living in amazing times. History will show that this three-day visit by Neandra Modi to Israel was a moment in world history when two of the most ancient cultures decided to leave the prism of their past behind and work together in order to build a strategic partnership that would not only benefit one another, but the world.

Israel and India are thousands of years old.  Judaism and Hinduism are the two most ancient spiritual paths in the world. It is under this backdrop and the geopolitical turmoil in which we see the old power structure of the west and its colonial and neo-colonial influences collapse that these two countries have begun to rise.

Modi’s visit comes after more than a decade worth of growing ties between the two countries.  These political ties are built on the back of thousands of years of personal relationships between Jews and Hindus.  These relationships were built on respect of one another.  Jews have been living in India for more than 2000 years and during that time no tinge of anti-Semitism was expressed.

In a world that has seen the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the weakening of the post cold-war order these cultural ties have grown far more overt as more and more Israelis have spent time in India backpacking and taking a breather after the army.  Indians have taken the opportunity to visit the only Jewish State, to learn and admire another ancient culture.

Technology Partnership Built by the People

Israel, being the technology powerhouse it is has built many of its tech partnerships with other countries through government introduction.  With India it has been built by the people itself. Indian programmers have become the go to source for Israeli teams for the last decade.  Both groups have worked together on virtual teams and learned how to achieve success an ocean away.

It is no accident that as Prime Netanyahu said, “The two most spoken languages in Silicon Valley are Hebrew and Hindi.”

Strategic Importance

During Modi’s visit to Israel and after several closed-door sessions that lasted four hours each, the two countries elevated their relationship to a Strategic Partnership and signed seven MOU’s.  Beyond these developments as well as the announcement of a direct flight between Tel Aviv and Mombai/New Dehli, the partnership erases the false narrative of “Palestinian” indignity and rightful rebellion against the “Jewish Occupier.”

India has always been admired by third world countries in Africa and the Middle East as the leader against the International European colonial regime.  The Jewish State was seen as part of this unwanted colonial regime. With the growing ties and Modi’s about-face on Israel’s place within the broader neo-colonialist dynamic it is the Palestinians who have been exposed as the European tool to divide and conquer the Levant.  Afterall, the Palestinians are supported and funded by the EU.  It is also the Europeans who have bolstered Islamic regimes and totalitarian governments, which have burned a path through indigenous communities from Africa to the MIddle East, to the Indian Sub-Continent.

For Indians, who have known for decades if not more, that the mentality of Jihad is just another form of colonialist aspirations, the Modi visit is only natural in exposing the lie of Islamic indigineity in Africa, Israel, and India.

It is no accident that India and Israel’s embrace of one another has come after tens of Sub-Sahara African countries have turned to Israel as a partner and friend. India’s partnership is an erasure and exposure of European implanted lies within the context of their own need to exploit and expand using the land of ancient cultures in Africa, the Middle East, and India.  The Europeans did this by unleashing the Islamic hordes within the wider Arab world through turning one against another and finally setting them upon non-Islamic Africans, Jews, Druze, Arameans, Kurds, Indians, native Pashtun in Afghanistan, and more.

Modi’s visit is about the future and it is about rectifying a narrative that was injected by a self-serving Europe who sought to twist history for its own purposes.

In three days, India and Israel have found themselves again.  They have taken a path away from their former colonial masters who wanted only to divide the two in order to conquer. This partnership will be built on true friendship and goodwill.

To see a touch of just how genuine this is, Netanyahu and Modi met Moshe Holtzberg – an Israeli child who as a toddler survived the 2008 terror attack at a Jewish centre in Mumbai. Moshe, now 11, read out a welcome note for PM Modi, saying “Dear Mr Modi, I love you”.

Modi tweeted this moving image during the visit.

Friendships are built on the little things. It is those little things, from basic respect, mutual work relationships, and truly feeling another’s pain that India and Israel find themselves in a relationship that is both ancient and entirely innovative.  This is the partnership that the next phase of world development can and will be built on.

PALESTINE FALLING: The Qatar Ultimatum and Fatah’s Rift with Hamas

Mahmoud Abbas, the perpetual leader of the Palestinian Authority is set to meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi on Sunday. The meeting comes at a time of increased uncertainty for both Abbas and the future of his Fatah movement as it attempts to show a more moderate face by putting the screws on Hamas.

For Hamas’ part, it hopes that continued negotiations with the Sisi government will result in a permanent reopening of the Rafiah crossing between Gaza and Egyptian controlled Sinai.

Since the the crisis between Saudi Arabia and Qatar began and the 48 hour extension given by Saudi Arabia to Qatar winds down, Hamas has been busy attempting to find another avenue to bring in goods.  Qatar has been their biggest backer, but the feud between the Saudis and Qatar is making Hamas’ future far more tenuous.

Why Does Egypt Want to Help Hamas?

Sisi’s meeting with Hamas leadership was not about saving the movement, but rather preventing an armed conflict between Hamas and Israel.  A cornered Hamas  is a dangerous Hamas and Sisi would rather have the leaders owe him than play by their own rules.

This may seem like a dangerous strategy as well as in opposition to the Saudi line against Qatar as it throws a bone to a movement which is sinking fast. Yet, part of the strategy by Sisi and most assuredly Israel is to keep both Fatah, which is corrupt and Hamas, which is Jihadist weak and divided. Neither Egypt nor Israel can trust either movement to take over the reigns of the Palestinian cause. By leaving Gaza in the hands of a somewhat weakened Hamas while allowing the PA to rule over a small number of cities within Judea and Samaria the national movement for “Palestine” will continue to disintegrate.

The Saudis, Egyptians, and even the many of the Gulf States have concluded that the made up movement for the liberation of historic Palestine, which they had concocted over 50 years ago is doing far more damage to their own fortunes. Israel has only gotten stronger and the Palestinians far more obstinate and radical. By letting the Palestinians movement die slowly a new paradigm can arise that will be far more sustainable and prosperous for itself and the region.