Why a Palestinian state would be a disaster for Israel and the region.
Howard Kohr, AIPAC’s (American-Israel Public Affairs Committee) CEO created a bit of an uproar among certain Jewish organizations when he stated at the AIPAC conference earlier this month that, “We must work toward that future: two states for two people. One Jewish with secure and defensible borders, and one Palestinian with its own flag and its own future.” It was a reiteration of last year’s call on the U.S. administration to undertake steps that “Could create a climate that encourages the Palestinians to negotiate in pursuit of the goal we desire: a Jewish state of Israel living side by side in peace and security with a demilitarized Palestinian state.”
There is no question that Howard Kohr’s motives are pure and honorable in seeking a secure Israel alongside a peaceful and demilitarized Palestinian state. Unfortunately reality dictates otherwise. At the moment we actually have a need to solve more than a two-state question. We have a third state question and that is the Hamas ruled Gaza Strip. Hamas has vowed to fight until the liberation of all of Palestine and the destruction of Israel. The Los Angeles Times reported (March 1, 2017), “In a shift, the new document (as it relates to the Hamas Covenant-JP), formally endorses the goal of establishing a Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank, with Jerusalem as its capital, as part of a ‘national consensus’ among Palestinians (this was during the reconciliation process with Fatah and the Palestinian Authority-JP). While that may be a tacit acknowledgment of Israel’s existence, the revision stops well short of recognizing Israel, and reasserts calls for armed resistance toward a ‘complete liberation of Palestine’ from the river to the sea.”
The attempted assassination of the Palestinian Authority (PA) Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah earlier this month in Gaza, put a stop to the reconciliation efforts between Hamas and the PA, which is dominated by Fatah. Fatah spokesperson and Revolutionary Council member, Osama al-Qawasmi said, “Hamas is fully responsible for this cowardly operation that targeted the homeland, reconciliation, and unity. This cowardly act is outside of our values and national relations, and has repercussions.” It is clear that even if PA President Mahmoud Abbas should return to the negotiating table, and that is doubtful, Hamas will continue its campaign of terror against Israel. Hamas is unwilling to give up control of its arms, its rockets, or its mortars, to the PA.
In December, 1998, President Bill Clinton responded to Arafat’s letter. He thanked Arafat for the move in January of the same year, which allegedly struck out and amended the call in the Palestinian Charter for the destruction of Israel, by the raised arms verbal vote of the Palestinian National Council (PNC). The Palestinian Charter specifies in Clause 33 as amended in 1968, that the charter can only be changed if 2/3rds of its membership met to vote on the change. This did not occur. It is abundantly clear that the PA is still committed to the destruction of Israel, albeit, without openly using the extremist verbiage that Hamas is using. The continued incitement to violence and terror by Mahmoud Abbas, and the entire educational and informational apparatus of the PA that advocates hatred for Jews and Israel, negates the idea of a peaceful Palestinian state living side by side with the Jewish state of Israel.
The idea that a future Palestinian state would adhere to being a “demilitarized state” is totally unrealistic, especially if we consider the history and nature of Arab regimes. Louis Rene Beres, Emeritus Professor of International Law, has pointed out that even “If the government of a fully sovereign Palestinian state were in fact willing to consider itself bound by some pre-state agreement to demilitarize, in these improbable circumstances, the new Palestinian Arab government could likely identify ample pretext and opportunity to invoke lawful ‘treaty’ termination.
Palestine could withdraw from any such agreement because of what it would regard as a ‘material breach,’ a purported violation by Israel, one that had allegedly undermined the object or purpose of the accord. It could also point to what international law calls Rebus sic stantibus: ‘permissible abrogation,’ known more popularly as a ‘fundamental change of circumstances.’ If Palestine should declare itself vulnerable to previously unseen dangers, perhaps even from interventionary forces, or the forces of other Arab armies or insurgencies that it could claim might be trying to occupy it, it could lawfully end its previously codified commitment to stay demilitarized.
There is another reason why any hopes for Palestinian demilitarization must remain unsupportable. After declaring independence, a Palestinian government — any Palestinian government – could point to particular pre-independence errors of fact, or to duress, as appropriate grounds for invoking selective agreement termination. In this regard, the grounds that may be invoked under domestic law to invalidate contracts could also apply under international law, whether to actual treaties, or, as in this particular case, to lesser treaty-like agreements.”
Professor Beres pointed out that according to the ‘Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties’ (1969), an authentic treaty must always be between states.” Beres argues that “any treaty or treaty-like compact is void if, at the time of its entry into force it conflicts with a ‘peremptory’ rule of international law — that is, one from which ‘no derogation is permitted.’ As the right of sovereign states to maintain military forces for self-defense is always such a rule, Palestine would be within its lawful right to abrogate any pre-independence agreement that had (impermissibly) compelled its own demilitarization.”
The “2005 Gaza experience,” of unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, has taught Israel a painful lesson. Once it vacates land it will ultimately become a base for terror attacks against its cities and citizens. With Israel’s major cities within rifle fire of a Palestinian state, not to mention rockets, life inside Israel would become impossible. Palestinian terror attacks and Israel’s retaliation will serve as an excuse for the future state of Palestine to discard demilitarization. International guarantees, even by its closest allies won’t have any meaning. Israel learned this lesson following the Sinai Campaign of 1956. The Maritime powers guarantees (including the U.S.) didn’t prevent Egypt’s dictator, Abdul Nasser, from closing the Straits of Tiran and the Suez Canal to Israeli navigation. The International community did nothing.
A one-state solution in which Israel would absorb about two-million Palestinians as its citizens is not an ideal solution either. It isn’t so much the demographic threat that it once was, but rather a threat to peace within the country, where two cultures are in conflict. Perhaps the ideal solution is for the Kingdom of Jordan to federate with the West Bank Palestinians. Israel would annex area C under the Oslo Accords, where most of the 500,000 Jews live, and the Jordan River would serve as the international border between Israel and Jordan, which would insure Israel’s security. The Palestinian-Arabs will have a flag (the Jordanian and Palestinian flags are almost identical), a representation in the federated government, possibly a Palestinian Prime Minister (Jordan’s population is already 70% Palestinians), an outlet to the sea (Aqaba if not Gaza) and total religious homogeneity (Sunni-Islam).
Under normal circumstances many Israelis, much like Howard Kohr, would prefer a two-state solution. But the realities in the Middle East indicate that another authoritarian state (and most likely terrorist state) won’t contribute to stability or peace in the region. On the contrary, it would serve as a focal point of conflict. Perhaps in the next few generation things might change, but for now a Palestinian state would be a disaster for Israel and the region.
In pursuit of bipartisanship AIPAC should strive to persuade “progressives”, not pander to them”; to convert them, not coopt them.
The progressive narrative for Israel is just as compelling and critical as the conservative one – AIPAC PresidentMort Fridman, March 5, 2018.
Almost two weeks have passed since the last AIPAC conference and much of the Israel advocacy world is still abuzz over the brouhaha created by the explicit endorsement by the organization’s leadership of two-statism—a position out of step with that of the current governments of both the US and Israel—who, at best, pay highly dubious lip service to the idea.
An ill-founded & ill-advised call.
In several respects the uproar is a little surprising. After all, almost identical sentiments were expressed by senior AIPAC officials at last year’s conference.
Thus, mid- way through his 2017 address, AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr called on the US to undertake “steps [that] could…create a climate that encourages the Palestinians to negotiate in pursuit of the goal we desire: a Jewish state of Israel living side by side in peace and security with a demilitarized Palestinian state ”.
This of course is virtually indistinguishable from the contentious call he made mid-way through his address this year, proclaiming: “We must all work toward that future: two states for two peoples. One Jewish with secure and defensible borders, and one Palestinian with its own flag and its own future.”
Last year, the alleged rationale of the embrace of the two-state formula was the endeavor to cultivate bipartisan support for Israel by avoiding alienating Democrats in Congress, who tend to support the idea.
This year, the professed rationale was essentially similar, with a slight shift of emphasis from retaining support of Democrat legislators to retaining the membership of “progressive” Jews from whom the two-state paradigm has almost sacred significance.
It is a call that was ill-founded and ill-advised last year—and is no less ill-founded and ill-advised this year.
In it, I urged that “Instead of trying to resurrect the decrepit zombie of two-statism in pursuit of bipartisanship, AIPAC would do better to assist in promoting Zionist-compliant alternatives.”
After all, as I pointed out, as important as bipartisanship is, it is in fact a means to achieving a goal – not a goal in itself—and it is crucial that this distinction be kept clearly in mind.
Thus, in his 2017 address, Kohr declared: “…we are here because we are the bipartisan voice in America needed to help keep Israel safe in a dangerous world.
It is clear therefore that AIPAC’s objective is “keeping Israel safe in a dangerous world” and bipartisanship, a meansto achieve it.
In my previous INTO THE FRAY column, I posted several graphic photos, showing how hopelessly vulnerable Israel would be if it relinquished the highlands of Judea-Samaria—the territory earmarked for a future Palestinian state—to Arab control.
They dramatically underscored how setting up such a state would make “keeping Israel safe” immensely more difficult and its world, vastly more “dangerous”—which also makes AIPAC’s endorsement of two-statism starkly self-contradictory—even self-obstructive.
Dangers dramatically depicted.
Significantly, these dangers were vividly articulated by none other than the late Shimon Peres in his Oslo-era book, “The New Middle East” (1993): “Even if the Palestinians agree that their state have no army or weapons, who can guarantee that a Palestinian army would not be mustered later to encamp at the gates of Jerusalem and the approaches to the lowlands? And if the Palestinian state would be unarmed, how would it block terrorist acts perpetrated by extremists, fundamentalists or irredentists?
Doesn’t get much clearer than that.
This echoes an earlier warning which Peres issued a decade-and-a half earlier, cautioningt: “The major issue is not [attaining] an agreement, but ensuring the actual implementation of the agreement in practice. The number of agreements which the Arabs have violated is no less than number which they have kept”.(Tomorrow is Now, Jerusalem: Keter, 1978, p. 48).
One can hardly believe that there is any cause for enhanced belief in Arab credibility since then—given the myriad of subsequent Arab breaches of agreements.
Accordingly, rather than endorsing the two-state formula in an effort to entice liberal leaning legislators to support Israel and to persuade progressive Jews to persist in their membership of the organization, AIPAC should embark on a totally different course
A particularly perverse political paradox
However, it is not only in the realm of security that promoting the two-state principle is counter-productive for AIPAC. If anything the moral case for rejecting it even more compelling.
Thus, perhaps one of the most perverse political paradoxes that prevails in the discourse on the Israel-Palestine conflict is the support of those who profess to cherish liberal values for the establishment of yet another homophobic, misogynistic Muslim-majority tyranny, whose hallmarks would be gender bias against women/girls, persecution of homosexuals, the prosecution of political dissidents and religious intolerance against non-Muslim faiths.
Indeed, no two-stater has, to the best of my knowledge, ever advanced a persuasive argument why the entity, which two-state advocates endorse, will be anything but the antithesis of the very values they invokes for its establishment.
Accordingly, given past precedents, present realities and future projections, it is difficult to see how two-state advocacy is anything other the endorsement of the establishment of a mega-Gaza overlooking greater Tel Aviv (see here) dominating Israel’s only international airport (see here) and abutting its major transport axes (see here). .
So unless one assumes the wildly improbable, implementation of the two-state principle—and the establishment of a Palestinian state—will culminate in realities that are the utter negation of the very values for which it was purportedly supported.
This is something that AIPAC must seriously consider in assessing its support of two-statism. For in its quest for bipartisanship by strongly endorsing the perverse two-state prescription in order to mollify miffed Democrats, AIPAC is in fact….
How should I put this? Touting tyranny?
Gaza: The ghoulish gruesome culmination of two-statism
Just how delusional and detached from reality “progressive” support for two-statism is, was underscored earlier this week by an attempt by unknown assailants to assassinate the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority who was visiting Gaza for the inauguration of a new, foreign funded water purification plant.
The event further underscored—if any additional proof were required—just how little progress has been made over the last quarter century in advancing the cause of Palestinian nationhood.
– virtually worldwide political endorsement of their cause,
– highly favorable international media coverage,
– massive financial aid; and
– numerous compliant Israeli governments,
all the Palestinians have managed to establish is a corrupt kleptocracy in Judea-Samaria and a tyrannical theocracy in Gaza, with a dysfunctional polity—which, for over a decade, has been unable to conduct proper municipal elections, never mind legislative or presidential ones; and a feeble economy—crippled by corruption and cronyism with a bloated public sector and a miniscule private one, utterly dependent on foreign aid.
Nowhere is the appalling failure more evident than in Gaza, where the ill-fated experiment of foisting self-governance on the hapless Palestinian-Arabs was first attempted—amid much fanfare and celebration.
The dismal results are not difficult to discern.
Awash in flows of raw sewage, with virtually all natural sources of water undrinkable, with perennial and prolonged power outages disrupting the regular operation of desalination and water purification plants, with polluted beaches becoming a grave public health hazard, and with much of the enclave’s resources being diverted from the civilian sector to building military infrastructure to battle the hated “Zionist entity”—the outlook for the average Gazan looks bleak indeed, with little hope of any respite on the horizon.
For this, Gazans have two-staters—and two-staters alone—to blame.
The “progressives” utterly un-compelling narrative.
The jury is no longer out on two-statism!
When it first became the centerpiece of Israel’s Mid-East policy, back in the early 1900s—after being considered border-line treason for decades—there were two-state proponents, who promised that sweeping benefits would be reaped; and two-state opponents who warned of the dire dangers it would wreak.
Today—a quarter century later—the results are unequivocal. None of the benefits, which the proponents promised, have been fulfilled, while all the dangers, of which the opponents warned, have indeed materialized. Thousands of Jews and Arabs have paid with their lives and limbs on the altar of the false deity of “progressive” political correctness. So when the AIPAC president declares that “The progressive narrative for Israel is just as compelling…as the conservative one”, it it difficult to know on what he bases such a contention. For it is demonstrably untrue.
It is—to be charitable—un-compelling in terms of its security implications for Israel. It is un-compelling in terms of its moral ramifications. It is un-compelling in terms of its political pretensions. It is un-compelling in terms of its socio-economic outcomes—just ask the folk in Gaza. After, all it is they who bear the full brunt of “progressive” two-statism
In a recent article, threateningly titled, AIPAC won’t win back progressives until it faces hard truths about Israel, two professed progressives,Jeremy Ben-Ami and Jill Jacobs, write: “the argument that ‘Israel’s security cannot be fully ensured and its promise cannot be fully realized until she is at peace with all her neighbors,’ which AIPAC’s CEO Howard Kohr shared with the crowd during his welcoming remarks, is one that we have each made time and again.” Could it be that the authors are trapped in a time warp! Apparently they haven’t heard that Israel is doing fine in “realizing its promise”. On the cutting edge of nearly every field of human endeavor, with its GDP per capita overtaking a number of EU countries, its technology sought after worldwide, expanding its influence and exports in Asia and Africa… Of course it would be more than intriguing how they would recommend Israel reach peace with all its neighbors. By surrendering the Golan to Syria?? (Just as well the “progressives didn’t prevail on that score). By withdrawing from Gaza and removing every vestige of Jewish presence. (Oh Yes. We did that.) Or by withdrawing to the international border with Lebanon (Drat! That didn’t work). Or by evacuating the entire Sinai—now being taken over by brutal Jihadi gangs? Indeed, in the face of blatant balderdash, it is becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile calls for embracing a progressive narrative with genuine concern for the well-being of the Jewish nation-state—at least on planet Earth. Persuade rather than pander; convert rather than coopt
As I mentioned earlier, the pursuit of bipartisanship is a worthy goal for AIPAC—but not if it means sacrificing its core mission to “help keep Israel safe in a dangerous world”. Thus, in its endeavor to achieve its goal of bipartisan support for Israel, AIPAC should focus efforts on persuading “progressives” to forsake their regressive two-state agenda, rather than pandering to them by embracing it. By highlighting two-statism’s perilous security implications, its pernicious moral ramifications and calamitous socio-economic consequences, AIPAC should convince “progressives” that two-statism is the utter negation of all the values they purport to cherish, and will result in precisely the realities they would wish to avoid.
Accordingly, AIPAC should seek bipartisanship by converting progressives—not co-opting them.
That is the only way its leadership can save this proud organization from sinking into irrelevance.
The 2018 annual AIPAC policy conference, which this year was held right after Purim in Washington, DC, offers a perfect opportunity to reflect on the value of Jewish Unity.
News reports say that over 18,000 attendees were at the AIPAC conference. Each individual attendee is clearly committed to support Israel.
There is no question that the conference goers maintain widely contrasting views of both how to support Israel and what is best for Israel. Perhaps 18,000 different views! This is the challenge and the hurtle. With everyone voicing their own agenda and views on how we can best help Israel from the U.S., we forget about the elephant in the room that we still have yet to confront. That is the issue of developing a mutual respect for Jews from different camps and beliefs. It is high time to start the dialogue and create the atmosphere for fostering unity.
The Herut World Movement is in the midst of The Jewish Unity Challenge. This is a personal call to Jews, to all Jews, including you, to start reaching out across the aisle, to create one united Jewish People. Just because Jews come from many different backgrounds and hold different beliefs doesn’t mean we cannot show love and respect for one another.
Our diverse types, colors, and traditions should be seen as a strength for all of us rather than foster exclusivity, elitism, selectiveness, and even superiority.
Ahavat Yisrael, the unconditional love of our fellow Jews, should not be seen as some unattainable dream. In our time we can make it a reality. We should not have to rely on the threat of Antisemitism and impendingdangers affecting Israel, as the only things for uniting us. There needs to start to have a dialogue, and foster an environment of acceptance for one another.
The lack of love and unity was considered by the ancient Jewish sages of the era of the Mishnah to be the root cause of the destruction of the Second Holy Temple in Jerusalem. If we can re-introduce ourselves and start the process of accepting one another, in the spirit of Ahavat Yisrael, we can again grow as individuals and as a collective nation.
The Jewish Unity Challenge is designed to spark a conversation between the diverse types of Jews so that we can achieve greater things for the State of Israel and the People of Israel.
It’s time to put aside differences we may have with other Jews, and focus on the wonderful, time-honored things that unite us as Jews. This is your individual challenge. This is our collective challenge as a community.
What we are talking about is simple, yet we call it a challenge because it is not so easy! When it comes down to it, many of us have a knee-jerk reaction to leaving our comfort zone. That is why this is called a challenge. It is time to look at the bigger picture, to let go a little, and to reach across the table.
It forces us to re-examine our biases and to change our thinking. This is basic common sense and now is the right time to start this!
The Herut World Movement is dedicated to the values of Ze’ev Jabotinsky [1880-1940] who was a key leader of world Zionism before World War Two, the mentor of Menachem Begin, and a champion of Jewish unity. And in Jabotinsky’s honor we have launched this campaign.
Let us discuss what is best for Israel and the Jewish People. Let us argue about it but let us discuss these opinions and remember that all Jews are responsible one for another no matter our backgrounds or beliefs or diverse types, colors, and traditions.
Thousands of Jews came together in common cause in DC through AIPAC because they care about Israel’s future and the well-being of the Jewish People.
The Tanach [Bible] relates that in the time of Esther and Mordechai Jews were called upon to join together to pray, fast, and physically defend themselves.
Late last year we marked the thirtieth anniversary Freedom Sunday for Soviet Jews. The December 6, 1987 rally saw over a quarter million American Jews unite on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to stand up for Soviet Jews at what was the single largest gathering of Jews in U.S. history.
From Purim, to AIPAC 2018, to Freedom Sunday we have shown that Jews with different ideas can stand together. Now is the time to do more than stand together. Now in the aftermath of Purim, let us show that we can all love each other in Jewish Unity.
Take the Challenge! Helps us change for the better! Sign our petition at: https://www.change.org/p/world-herut-the-jewish-unity-challenge?recruiter=261063546&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=share_petition&utm_term=share_for_starters_page
Palestinian statehood & a secure Israel are mutually exclusive goals. This was always the accepted wisdom in Israel – until the discourse was hijacked by the tyrannical diktats of politically correct dogma
We must all work toward that future: two states for two peoples. One Jewish with secure and defensible borders, and one Palestinian with its own flag and its own future, Howard Kohr, March 4, 2018.
Last Sunday, in front of 18,000 animated pro-Israel activists, AIPAC’s CEO, Howard Kohr delivered a polished and carefully-crafted address—totally torpedoed about midway through his 25 minute speech by a few seconds of politically-correct claptrap. After meticulously cataloguing the daunting dangers facing Israel and the nefarious nature of her unscrupulous adversaries—from the Shia “puppet master”, Iran, and its terror proxy Hezbollah in the North to the brutal Sunni Hamas and the assorted Salafi Jihadi renegades in the South—Kohr went on to propose…giving them precisely what they are allegedly clamoring for—at least initially: A self-governing Arab entity in the East, dominating Israel’s densely populated coastal plain, abutting the trans-Israel highway and overlooking Israel’s only international airport. Mutually exclusive goals: Palestinian statehood and a secure Israel
I do not wish to dwell on all the logical inconsistencies, factual inaccuracies and glaring non-sequiturs that marred the second half of Kohr’s impeccably delivered speech. Rather, I shall focus on only one: His call for a state for the Palestinians “with its own flag and its own future” on the one hand; and “secure and defensible borders” for Israel on the other.
After all, Palestinian statehood and a secure Israel are mutually exclusive goals. Indeed, this was always the accepted wisdom in Israel – until the discourse was hijacked by the tyrannical diktats of politically correct dogma.
Thus, it was none other than Nobel laureate, the late Shimon Peres, who warned: If a Palestinian state is established, it will be armed to the teeth. Within it, there will be bases of the most extreme terrorist forces, equipped with anti-tank and anti-aircraft shoulder-launched rockets, which will endanger not only random passers-by, but every airplane and helicopter taking off in the skies of Israel and every vehicle traveling along the major traffic routes in the coastal plain .- “Tomorrow is Now” (Keter publishers), pp. 232, 255.
This dour caveat was echoed by Israel Prize laureate, Prof. Amnon Rubinstein, who also served as Education Minister on behalf of the far-Left Meretz faction: “…Israel, small and exposed, will neither be able to exist nor prosper if its urban centers [and] its vulnerable airport…are shelled…this is the terrible danger involved in the establishment of a third independent sovereign state between us and the Jordan River. – ‘The Pitfall of a Third State’, Haaretz, Aug. 8, 1976.
These two citations convey, with chilling accuracy, the grave perils to which Israel would be exposed if a Palestinian state were ever established on the commanding hills overlooking the country’s coastal megalopolis, where about 80% of the country’s civilian population and commercial activity are located.
These dangers are dramatically illustrated by the following series of photographs, shot from locations inside the territory designated for any future Palestinian state.
All taken on January 31, 2018, using a Canon 7D Mark II camera, fitted with a Sigma Sport 150/600 lens, from just east of the Palestinian-Arab villages of RantisandAl-Lubban, located about 5 km across the pre-1967 “Green Line” (see map), they vividly convey how vulnerable and exposed Israel would appear through the binoculars of any Palestinian “intelligence officer” (a.k.a. terrorist) perched on those heights.
Ben Gurion Airport hopelessly exposed
The following four photographs depict how utterly exposed the installations and aircraft – both on the ground and in the sky – would be to any hostile forces–even lightly armed–deployed on the highlands east of Israel’s densely populated coastal plain.
Above: Israel’s only international airport, Ben Gurion – as seen from just east of the Palestinian-Arab villages of RantisandAl-Lubban (buildings seen in foreground), showing the new control tower, the passenger terminal, the duty-free area and planes docking for embarkation/disembarkation.
Above: Israel’s only international airport, Ben Gurion – as seen from just east of the Palestinian-Arab villages of RantisandAl-Lubbanshowing numerous civilian planes on the tarmac.
Above: A plane taking off from Ben Gurion, Israel’s only international airport – as seen from just east of the Palestinian-Arab villages of RantisandAl-Lubban.
Above: Arkia airliner taking off from Ben Gurion airport – shot from just east of the Palestinian-Arab villages of RantisandAl-Lubban. (Camera: Canon 7D Mark II with Sigma Sport 150/600 lens).
A tempting target: Israel coastal urban sprawl
The next five photographs convey starkly what a tempting target the office buildings, prestigious apartment blocks, teeming recreational and entertainment centers and central transport arteries (rail and road) would be if the IDF were to evacuate areas earmarked for a future Palestinian state.
Above: Tel Aviv skyline showing the iconic Azrieli high-rise complex, adjacent to the Ministry of Defense and IDF’s GHQ, the trans-Tel Aviv AyalonHighway and the busy HaShalom railway station; also seen is Kirya (Ha-Yovel) Tower, with 28 of its 42 floors occupied by government offices, and the nearby AzrieliSaronaTower, the tallest building in Tel Aviv – as seen from just east of the Palestinian-Arab villages of Rantis & Al-Lubban.
Above:Enlarged: North Tel Aviv skyline showing the luxury apartment complex, Park Tsameret, adjacent to the trans-Tel Aviv (Ayalon) highway and the busy Savidor Central railway station.
Above: North Tel Aviv, Ramat Gan, Bnei Brak sky-line showing the Reading Power Stationchimney, adjacent to the Tel Aviv Portrecreation area, and the 4 BSR Towers, which house many upmarket law firms, medical facilities, hi-tech offices and numerous busy restaurants– as seen from just east of the Palestinian-Arab villages of Rantis & Al-Lubban.
The imperative to “think ahead” In the opening minutes of his address, Kohr observed: “…there have been many threats [to Israel]; many more ready to make them. So it is our purpose and mission to always think ahead, prepare for any possibility…”
And indeed we should.
One of the “possibilities” we should “prepare for” is the (highly plausible) prospect that any land vacated by Israel and the IDF will fall into the hands of vehemently hostile elements – as happened every time Israel has relinquished territory to Arab control—whether in the North in South Lebanon; in the South in the Gaza Strip, and even in Sinai, now descending into the depravity of Jihadi brutality…
Of course, once Israel evacuates the strategically vital highlands of Judea-Samaria to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state “with its own flag and its own future”; there is no way that Israel can have “secure and defensible borders”—for there is no way it can ensure that they will not fall into the very hands of those who Kohr so excoriated in his speech—including elements controlled by the terror “puppet masters” in Tehran.
So we should all heed Kohr’s wise counsel and make it “our… mission to always think ahead, prepare for any possibility…” So should Kohr!
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Tuesday, 6 March 2018), in Washington, addressed the AIPAC Policy Conference. Following are his remarks:
“Good morning, AIPAC. It’s always great to be here.
But as I told President Trump yesterday, it’s especially great to be in America’s capital now that he has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Thank you, President Trump for that historic decision. Thank you for announcing another decision—to move the American embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem this Independence Day. And the first ambassador to have the honor of working from that embassy in Jerusalem is a great American ambassador, David Friedman.
David, thank you for that terrific job that you’re doing. And you know who else is doing a fantastic job? Israel’s ambassador to Washington – Ron Dermer. Thank you for the terrific job you’re doing.
I want to thank Mort Freidman, Lillian Pinkus – Lillian, you don’t have to remind them how far back we go together – Howard Kohr, AIPAC’s nuclear core, everyone at AIPAC. I want to thank all of you for the work you are doing to strengthen the remarkable alliance between our two countries. Thank you.
I want to acknowledge the Israeli ministers, Israel’s representatives here in the United States, in the United Nations, the Mayor of Jerusalem, the many Members of Congress and the former leaders of countries who are here. In particular, I want to acknowledge my friend, a great champion of Israel, the former Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper. Stephen, stand up, please. Stephen, we never forget our friends, and you were a tremendous friend and still are.
And finally, I want to thank the 4,000 students who are here with us today. Four thousand students. Thank you for cutting class to be here. So, if any of you needs a note, you can see me later. There’s a line forming outside.
Now, what I can see is this. Well, it’s dark, but I can see something. I can see that the audience in this hall each year is getting bigger and bigger and bigger, 18,000 strong. I want to see all of you, and I can’t. I don’t want to stand behind this podium. Is it okay? What the heck—I’m the Prime Minister. Thank you, yeah, great, good to see you. Thank you. I’ll get there too. Don’t worry. Great to see you.
So today I want to ask you. You remember that great Clint Eastwood movie, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly? Well, I want to talk about the good, the bad and beautiful.
The good are all the good things that we are doing in Israel that are helping make the world a better place. The bad are all the bad things that malevolent forces are trying to do to Israel and to the world – and specifically, I’m talking about Iran.
And the beautiful – well, that I’ll leave to the last.
So first the good news: Israel has never been stronger militarily. Tremendously strong.
That’s an F35 fighter plane, the most advanced in the world. That’s an Iron Dome interceptor, and many other systems that we developed with the help of America. Thank you America; thank you successive American presidents; thank you Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike; thank you AIPAC for helping bring this about. You’re terrific. And this incredible military is buttressed by superb intelligence, unmatched in the world. Can you see me? I can hardly see you. I have to get closer. Yeah, I see you. That’s good. Superb intelligence. You know, in the last few years, Israel’s incredible intelligence services have foiled dozens, dozens of terrorist attacks across the world in dozens of countries. That plane, a plane like that could have been blown out of the sky if it weren’t for Israeli intelligence, a plane heading from Australia to the Persian Gulf. You’re boarding planes when you leave this place. You are safer because of Israeli intelligence. It not only protects Israeli lives, it protects innocent lives around the world.
And we’re able to do all this because of the extraordinary soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces, men and women—just look at them—men and women, black and white, religious and secular, gay and straight, Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, Circassians. They come from different backgrounds, but they’re united with a common mission: to protect the State of Israel. They keep us safe. They make us proud.
Now, I know there are quite a few veterans of the Israeli army here. So I want you to stand up. I want you to be recognized. Stand up please.
But the good news doesn’t stop merely with Israel’s strong military. It continues with Israel’s strong economy. It’s a tremendously strong economy, and I’ll tell you, we made it stronger by moving Israel to free market principles, which unleashed the spark of genius embedded in our people, into innovation, entrepreneurship. And there is a revolution taking place. This couldn’t happen at the better time. Look at the ten leading companies in 2006: five energy companies, one IT company, Microsoft. And a mere 10 years later, 2016, a blink of an eye in historical terms, it’s completely reversed. Five IT companies, one energy company left. The true wealth is in innovation. You know these companies: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook. Guess what? They all have research centers in Israel. All of them, major research centers. And they’re not alone. There are hundreds more. And there’s a reason, something is going on. It’s a great change. It’s—you want to hear jargon? It’s one sentence. This is a terrible sentence, but I have no other way to say it. It’s the confluence of big data, connectivity and artificial intelligence, okay? Do you get that? You know what that does? It revolutionizes old industries and it creates entirely new industries.
So here’s an old industry that Israel was always great in: agriculture. We were always good in agriculture. But now we have precision agriculture. You know what that is? See that drone in the sky? He’s connected to a big database. And there are sensors in the field, and in the field there’s drip irrigation and drip fertilization. And now we can target, with this technology, the water that we give, the fertilizer that we give down to the individual plant that needs it. That’s precision agriculture. That’s Israel. Unbelievable.
You know, we were always good in water. I want you to see how good we are. So, we recycle almost 90% of our wastewater. The next country, with less than 20%, is Spain. You can see how Israel, what it does for water, what it does for the environment. So when you take these two things, agriculture and water, and the other technologies that we apply in both, we can change the world. We are. I just heard about an African woman in Africa, has to walk eight hours a day to give water to her children – four hours one way to a well, four hours back. And a young Israeli company brought in this technology that improves on Moses. You remember Moses? He brought water from a rock? They bring water from thin air. They bring water to Africa, to millions of people in Africa – Israeli technology!
And I was just recently in India. That’s my friend, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, great friend. I’m showing him cherry tomatoes. This is in Gujarat, India. This is Israeli technology. And what I heard there was fantastic. Famers came from the region. There’s an experimental farm there and a place where Israel gives technology knowhow to India famers. Sixty-five percent of India’s population are farmers. And one farmer after the other gets up and says: Because of Israeli technology, I’ve increased my crop yields and my income three times, four times, five times. Israel is changing the world in India, in Asia, in Africa, in Latin America, everywhere.
These are the old industries. Now, there are new industries. Israel is literally, how can I say this: Israel is literally driving the world. I’m talking about autonomous vehicles. Israel is a world leader in autonomous vehicles. Five hundred tech companies that sprang up almost instantaneously. And one of them, MobileEye up there on the left, was just sold to Intel for the paltry sum of 15 billion dollars. But the interesting thing is that Intel said to them, “Here are the keys to our 30 worldwide autonomous vehicle businesses. You run it.” Israeli technology is driving the world!
And one last industry – there are many more – but one more that you’re all familiar with. You have bank accounts? You should, okay? Well, you don’t want anyone hacking into them, right? Or into your cars, or into the planes you ride? You need cybersecurity. Everybody needs cyber. Israel has become a world leader in cybersecurity. Look at how much they invest in the hundreds of Israeli startup companies, tremendous companies. But here is another factor that you should now. Israel’s population is how much? Who knows? Class? Eight million? It’s closer to nine, but it’s about between eight and nine million, that’s correct. And what percentage of that is of the world’s population? Oh come on. It’s one-tenth of one percent. So, what percentage do we get of the world global investment in cybersecurity, in private investment in cybersecurity? We’re one-tenth of one percent of the world’s population, and we get a whopping 20% of global, private investment in cyber. We’re punching 200 times above our weight. Not two times, not ten times, not a hundred times – 200 times above our weight. That’s very strong.
Now here’s how the dots connect. Because we have this tremendous capacity for security and intelligence, and because we have this tremendous capacity for civilian technology, for making the lives of people richer, safer, more productive, many countries are coming to Israel because they want to share with us these benefits.
And that creates the third great change, which is a flourishing of Israel’s diplomatic relations around the world. You know, when I joined the Foreign Service 105 years ago, as the DCM to this city, Washington, the number two in our embassy, I think we had about 80 or 90 countries with whom we had diplomatic relations. Now the number is 160, and there are very few countries left. By the way, what are we doing with Greenland? We got to do something with Greenland. They must have some satellite needs or something that we could do there. But we are coloring the world blue. I’ve been to Africa three times in 18 months. I’ve been to South America, to Latin America. Can you imagine in the 70 years of the history of Israel a prime minister of Israel never went south of Texas? I mean, I love Texas, but we went to Argentina. We went to Argentina, to Colombia, to Mexico. And they say come back, come back. We want more. That is changing. All these countries are coming to us: India, China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, all of them, Azerbaijan, Muslim countries. First time I visited Australia – tremendous. Far away though. So we’re coloring the world blue. And you know what? The numbers… You remember people talked about Israel’s isolation? Pretty soon, the countries that don’t have relations with us, they’re going to be isolated.
There are those who talk about boycotting Israel? We’ll boycott them.
So, the good news is very good, and it’s getting better. The bad news, and that’s the bad news, is that bad things are getting worse, and they’re very bad. And when I talk about that, we have to deal with this challenge. And I’m thinking specifically: What do we do about Iran? The force behind so much of what is bad is this radical tyranny in Tehran. If I have a message for you today, it’s a very simple one: We must stop Iran. We will stop Iran!
When I last spoke here, I warned, tried to warn the world about a nuclear deal that was a threat to the survival of Israel, the security of the region, the peace of the world. I warned that Iran’s regime had repeatedly lied to the international community, that it could not be trusted. I warned that the deal gives Iran a clear path towards developing a nuclear arsenal in little more than a decade. And I warned that by removing Iran’s sanctions, Iran’s regime would not become more moderate and peaceful, but more extreme and belligerent, much more dangerous.
And, ladies and gentlemen, that’s exactly what has happened.
Here is what Iran is doing today.
Darkness is descending on our region. Iran is building an aggressive empire: Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen, more to come. Now Iran is seeking to build permanent military bases in Syria, seeking to create a land bridge from Tartus, from Tehran to Tartus on the Mediterranean. And in addition to moving its army, its air force, its navy to Syria to be able to attack Israel from closer hand, it’s also seeking to develop, to build precision guided missile factories in Syria and Lebanon against Israel.
I will not let that happen. We will not let that happen. We must stop Iran. We will stop Iran.
Last week, we read in the Book of Esther about an earlier Persian attempt to exterminate our people. They failed then. They’ll fail now. We will never let Iran develop nuclear weapons – not now, not in ten years, not ever.
President Trump has made it clear that his administration will not accept Iran’s aggression in the region. He has made clear that he too will never accept a nuclear-armed Iran. That is the right policy. I salute President Trump on this. And the President has also made it clear that if the fatal flaws of the nuclear deal are not fixed, he will walk away from the deal and restore sanctions. Israel will be right there by America’s side. And let me tell you, so will other countries in the region.
As we counter Iran’s aggression, we should always remember, we should always remember the brave people of Iran: their suffering, their hopes, their courage. Women are jailed for removing their hijabs. Students are tortured, tortured and shot for advocating freedom. We stand with those in Iran who stand for freedom. Now I believe that a day will come when this horrible tyranny will disappear, will perish from the earth and at that point, the historic friendship between the people of Israel and the people of Persia will be reestablished. Today we have Haman. Tomorrow we’ll have Cyrus and friendship and peace.
My friends, as we work together to confront the bad, there is also potential to advance the good that paradoxically comes from the bad, because most of the states in our region know—they know very well, believe me—that Israel is not their enemy, but their indispensable ally in confronting our common challenges and seizing our common opportunities. That is true for Egypt and Jordan, Israel’s long-time peace partners, but it’s also true for many other Arab countries in the Middle East. Israel remains committed to achieving peace with all our neighbors, including the Palestinians. President Trump has made it clear that he is committed to peace. I have made it clear that I am committed to peace. We appreciate the efforts of President Trump’s superb team—Jared Kushner, Jason Greenblatt and Ambassador David Friedman. Thank you all. Thank you all for your hard work for peace.
But to get peace, to get peace President Abbas has to embrace peace and to stop supporting terror. Raise your hands high if you agree with me that President Abbas should stop paying terrorists who murder Jews. You know how much he pays? He pays about $350 million dollars a year to terrorists and their families, each year. That’s about a little less than 10% of the total Palestinian budget. That’s an incredible number. He pays Hakim Awad. Hakim Awad is the terrorist who murdered this beautiful family of Ehud and Ruth Fogel and their three children, including a 3 month-old baby girl, Hadas. So he pays Hakim Awad, this murderer, and over the lifetime of this killer, he will be receiving two million dollars.
I have a message for President Abbas: Stop paying terrorists. Because what message does this send to Palestinian children? It says murder Jews and get rich. And I believe President Abbas should find better use for this money—to build roads, schools, hospitals, factories. Build life, don’t pay death. Invest in life. Invest in peace.
Israel hopes that the passage of the Taylor Force Act will make clear to President Abbas that America has zero tolerance for terror.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I’ve spoken about the good and the bad – there’s plenty of both. But I want to end with a few words about the beautiful – the beautiful alliance between Israel and the United States of America, the beautiful alliance that has brought all of you here to Washington, the beautiful alliance that you work day in and day out to make stronger and to make better.
What is this beautiful alliance made of? It’s made of our shared values. That’s the well-spring of the great alliance between our two countries. And all you have to do is leave this room, leave this hall, and you walk around a few blocks from here, and you see these majestic monuments , you can learn from them all about our common values. You know, they come from a certain book, a great book, a good book. It’s called the Bible. It said that all of us are created in the image of God. And those words inspired Jefferson when he declared in the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal. All women too, by the way.
And that book inspired Abraham Lincoln in the darkest days of America’s Civil War. He found inspiration in the words of our greatest king, King David, when he said that the wounds of a divided America would heal and that the judgements of the Lord are true and righteous. Just as the stirring words of the Prophet Amos inspired the great Martin Luther King when he stood before the Lincoln Memorial and promised to carry on his struggle until justice runs down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream.
They values are an inseparable part of America’s story. They’re an inseparable part of Israel’s story. And today, together, we are writing a new chapter in our common story, a story of freedom, of justice, of peace, of hope. And it is because we are inspired by the same ideas, because we are animated by the same values that America and Israel have forged an eternal bond that can never ever be broken.
Thank you, AIPAC. God bless Israel. God bless America. And God bless the Israel-America alliance.”
Either AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) didn’t get the memo on the Trump administration’s shift in policy for Israel and the non-existant Palestine or it simply doesn’t care.
The above clip featuring AIPAC CEO Howard Kohr has him clearly stating his support for “Palestine.”
“We must all work toward that future: two states for two peoples,” said Kohr. “One Jewish with secure and defensible borders, and one Palestinian with its own flag and its own future. Today that dream seems remote. This is tragic.”
This sort of line would be understandable during the Obama administration, when Israel’s rightwing government had to pay lip service to the two-state solution, but now with Trump’s moves in the region, other alternatives have been acknowledged to be on the table.
So why is Howard Kohr stating this? His statements appear to be in contradiction to the shift in both the US government and Israel? Afterall, AIPAC only came out in support for Sharon’s Gush Katif evacuation after tremendous pressure from Sharon himself. AIPAC is only supposed to push for the stated interests of the people of Israel through its elected officials, not its own.
AIPAC has been headed by Howard Kohr since 1996. He has navigated various administrations and has been known to standup to various Presidents. In 2012 he seemingly took on Obama as noted by the Washington Post here.
So why is he still toting the two-state line? Kohr himself is seemingly not the issue, but rather the outsized influence AIPAC’s board and delegates have. These people found themselves part of AIPAC at a time when both Democrats and Republicans saw eye to eye on Israel. The push for a two-state solution and rising support for “Palestine” among Jewish Democrats has in a sense forced Howard Kohr to somewhat moderate his positions.
Ultimately, AIPAC itself is not what it used to be. More about tradition than anything else, AIPAC’s role has become secondary to the growing chemistry between Trump and Netanyahu as well as the direct influence of Christian Zionist leaders on individuals in congress.
AIPAC’s board and delegates have been so used to the two-state paradigm, their ability to recognize its collapse has been subsequently diminished. What needs to happen now by nationalists in Israel is a serious reeducation process to help American supporters of Israel, especially Jewish Americans understand the alternative to the two-state solution before its inevitable collapse.