Why a Middle East peace deal is difficult

Middle East Peace Dove Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Washington Times , by Bridget Johnson, May 87 2017:

President Trump is intent on achieving the Middle East peace deal that President Obama sorely wanted as the linchpin of his legacy, and warmly welcomed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House with praise for his new peace partner.

But the realities that have prevented an agreement include roadblocks that even the best boardroom negotiator won’t be able to deal-make away.

And though Mr. Trump said he’ll “do whatever is necessary to facilitate the agreement” and declared a such a pact “maybe not as difficult as people have thought,” Israel should not be pressured to take the plunge if the security risks remain as they are now.

Yes, those risks are many despite Mr. Abbas‘ smooth talk at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., where he proclaimed “a new opportunity, a new horizon.” He publicly heaped praise on Mr. Trump for his “leadership,” “determination,” “courageous stewardship,” “wisdom” and “great negotiating ability,” and the “Art of the Deal” negotiator gobbled up the adulation.

At a press conference alongside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month, Mr. Trump declared “the Israelis are going to have to show some flexibility” and asked the prime minister to “hold back on settlements for a little bit,” while the Palestinians “have to get rid of some of that hate.” With Mr. Abbas, Mr. Trump said, “Hopefully, there won’t be such hatred for very long.”

Here’s how that hate manifests, and why it’s not so easy to sing kumbaya. Just before the Trump-Abbas sit-down, Hamas released an ostensibly softer version of their principles document with the same jihadi fine print stressing their duty to seize all of Israel. “Hamas rejects any alternative to the full and complete liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea,” the terror group said before suggesting openness to an initial 1967 borders agreement to pique the gullible giddiness of those who crave an agreement at any cost.

Hamas leader Khaled Mashal then appealed to Mr. Trump to seize the “historic opportunity to pressure Israel,” telling CNN that the president has a “greater threshold for boldness” than his predecessors.

Hamas, of course, controls Gaza and is a terrorist organization with nefarious ties and a mission to destroy Israel, regardless of the new PR campaign. If a peace deal is forged with only Mr. Abbas‘ Fatah party, then you’ve only dealt with the West Bank and Hamas will not abide by the security agreements. If you manage to bring Hamas in on the deal, then you’ve automatically created a state that is a state sponsor of terrorism. As difficult as people have thought, and more.

Not that Mr. Abbas exactly has his hands clean in the terror market: Can a peace deal be forged with a government paying monthly stipends to the families of terrorists? Can a territory hospitable to Hezbollah, al Qaeda and ISIS ever be a partner in providing the kind of security needed to ensure the safety of Israelis and the Jewish state’s existence? No wonder Mr. Abbas did enough of a song-and-dance that Mr. Trump praised him as being a faithful fellow foe of ISIS.

Israel says recognition of the Jewish state is a must-have in any peace deal.

The Palestinians have made clear this is a no-go. If Israel gives in on this demand over its very definition, then the Palestinian jihad wins a battle that will reverberate through and give empowerment to the global terrorist community. Even a limited victory will further empower those who insist all of Israel is theirs for the taking.

Learn from Gaza: If you give jihadism an inch, be prepared for terrorists to take a mile. No matter what good will leads up to any future partition, the rockets can start flying the day after the pullout. And a truly workable deal needs to be backed up with international support: with the United Nations still unabashedly anti-Israel, who would enforce Palestinian violations of a peace pact?

It’s also foolish to believe that jihad doctrines, kids’ shows or school textbooks in the territories will stop calling for the destruction of what’s left of the Jewish state if the Palestinians win 1967 borders. Thus, the painful round of facepalms when Mr. Abbas assured Trump that Palestinians “are raising our youth on a culture of peace.”

The time is not now until the Palestinian Authority has leaders who want peace instead of what their textbooks preach, who combat violence instead of rewarding terrorists, who are willing to change the culture of never-ending jihad and refuse to welcome terror groups who vow “al-Aqsa, we are coming.”

Mr. Abbas, whose Fatah party lauded the killer who stabbed to death 13-year-old Israeli-American citizen Hallel-Yaffa Ariel last year as she slept and whose government cuts a monthly check to the killer’s family, is not that leader.

Hopefully the president sees through his sweet talk before Khaled Mashal gets the next White House invitation between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Rodrigo Duterte.

• Bridget Johnson is a senior fellow with the Haym Salomon Center and D.C. bureau chief for PJ Media.

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Watch: Netanyahu Tosses New Hamas Charter into Trash

EXCLUSIVE – Feminist Leader Phyllis Chesler: Women Strike Movement Hates Israel Instead of Islamic Misogyny

Phyllis Chesler/Joan Roth

Breitbart, by Deborah Danon, March 9, 2017:

TEL AVIV – Leaders of the International Women’s Strike have no idea about the meaning of feminism and have hijacked the movement to protest the “occupation of Palestine” and “Israeli apartheid” instead of speaking out against the “occupation of women’s bodies” and “Islam’s religious and gendered apartheid,”  a leading Jewish-American feminist told Breitbart Jerusalem.

According to Dr. Phyllis Chesler, emerita professor of psychology at City University of New York and a bestselling author, following Israel’s 1967 defensive war, Palestinians replaced women as “the favored victims of the month” in liberal circles.

“Now, it was formerly colonized Arab men of color, symbolized by the Palestinians, that became an obsession,” she told Breitbart Jerusalem.

Even feminists themselves, Chesler noted, were no “longer concerned with the occupation of women’s bodies worldwide, but rather with the alleged occupation of a country that had never existed: Palestine.”

Chesler, considered a second wave feminist leader, said her generation was focused on “the sexual objectification of women; economic parity; abortion rights; and on all the violence that took place mainly against women: rape, incest, sexual harassment, woman-battering, pornography, and prostitution.”

But then, “post-colonialism and postmodernism swept the Western Academy,” she said.

Indeed, organizers of Wednesday’s Women’s Strike published on their website that they “stand for an uncompromising anti-racist and anti-colonial feminism” first and foremost the “decolonization of Palestine.”

As Chesler notes, women’s rights have been pushed out the picture in favor of a warped anti-colonialist view.

“The West, including Israel, became the world’s worst colonialists. Israel, not Islam, was accused of practicing apartheid. In reality, Islam is the largest practitioner of both gender and religious apartheid, but Israel served as the scapegoat for all the crimes perpetrated by Muslims including slavery, anti-black racism, conversion via the sword, persecution of non-Muslim religious minorities, imperialism, colonialism – and the most barbaric abuse of women,” Chesler said.

“Feminists and other Western academics and progressives simply do not want to know about Islam’s history or current nature. Those who critique Islam, however mildly, are accused of being racists and Islamophobes and may be sued or killed,” she added.

Chesler said that feminists today should be focusing on combating “forced face-veiling, forced child marriage, female genital mutilation, polygamy, and femicide, or honor killing.”

“Sadly, tragically, the feminists who are being funded by Soros; the non-Muslim feminists who proudly wore the hijab at the anti-Trump march simply do not understand that girls and women are killed for refusing to wear the hijab,” she said.

She praised Israel for having robust feminist and gay rights movements and mused that any activists hoping to spearhead similar movements in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, and Pakistan, would end up being “jailed, tortured, raped, and murdered, perhaps beheaded.”

Women like Rasmea Odeh and Linda Sarsour, the faces behind Wednesday’s women’s strike as well as January’s Women’s March, are not feminists, Chesler said.

As Breitbart Jerusalem reported, Odeh, who together with other strike organizers are calling to “decolonize Palestine” and protest the “white supremacists in the current government,” is a convicted terrorist accused of bombing attacks in the late 1960s that killed two Israeli university students and injured nine more.

In 1980, Odeh was freed from an Israeli jail as part of a prisoner exchange deal, and a decade later emigrated to the U.S. She recently made headlines again after being charged with immigration fraud for lying about her terrorist background when applying for U.S. citizenship.

For her part, Linda Sarsour is an anti-Israel Palestinian-American activist who made headlines for becoming the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit against Trump’s executive order on immigration.

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Analyzing Palestinian Propaganda on CNN: Rashid Khalidi on “Fareed Zakaria GPS”

zakaria-and-khhalidiCAMERA, February 20, 2017:

On Feb. 12, 2017, Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi was invited onto CNN’s global affairs program hosted by Fareed Zakaria (Fareed Zakaria GPS) to defend and justify the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel. This followed an interview on the same program a week earlier with French philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy where he charged the BDS campaign with being “an anti-Semitic campaign” which “takes its roots a long time ago, 60 years ago, in the fringes of dying Nazism.” Lévy’s words so enraged Khalidi and other proponents of the anti-Israel campaign that Khalidi complained to the host, then appeared himself on the show the following week.

Khalidi, an experienced propagandist, used classic propaganda tactics (name-calling, transfer/association, glittering generalities, logical fallacy, bandwagon, plain folks, and card stacking, as described by the The Institute for Propaganda Analysis) to defend BDS, and to delegitimize Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem, much as he had done several weeks earlier on WBEZ’s Worldview.

Fareed Zakaria, with a history of skewing the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, helped Khalidi along, not only providing him with an unfettered platform to disseminate his misinformation, but having photos and drawings televised to illustrate Khalidi’s  deceptive analogies, and in the case of Jerusalem, disseminating some half truths of his own.

Here are the facts on BDS and Jerusalem, followed by an analysis of the propaganda disseminated on Zakaria’s CNN program.

BDS: The Facts

Soviet dissident, author and human rights activist Natan Sharansky has proposed a test for the “new anti-Semitism” which he describes as the three D’s—double standards, discrimination and delegitimization— to indicate whether a movement, organization or campaign is anti-Semitic in nature. The BDS campaign employs all three: it uses double standards to single out the Jewish state for delegitimization and discrimination.

Proponents of the BDS campaign have made it clear that they oppose Jewish self-determination and that their ultimate goal is the elimination of a Jewish state in the region. This is what they say:

“A Jewish state in Palestine, in any shape or form, cannot but contravene the basic rights of the land’s indigenous Palestinian population…most definitely, we oppose a Jewish state in any part of Palestine. No Palestinian — rational Palestinian, not a sellout Palestinian—will ever accept a Jewish state in Palestine.”(Omar Barghouti, founding member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel)

“..That [the real aim of BDS is to bring down the Jewish state] should be stated as an unambiguous goal. There should not be any equivocation on the subject. Justice and freedom for the Palestinians are incompatible with the existence of the state of Israel.” (A’sad AbuKhalil,Stanislaus State College political science professor and supporter of BDS)

“…civil society says Israel is the oppressor, not the settlements.…” (Hind Awwad, national coordinator of the Palestinian BDS national committee)

“…we wish to report and confirm that our corporation boycotts all Israeli products and services, and encourages other institutions, companies and individuals to cease and avoid all economic, academic and cultural activity that supports the racist state of Israel until that state dissolves itself…”(Paul Larudee, International Solidarity Movement, Free Palestine, and BDS activist)

“So BDS does mean the end of the Jewish state…I view the BDS movement as a long-term project with radically transformative potential… Ending the occupation doesn’t mean anything if it doesn’t mean upending the Jewish state itself.” (Ahmed Moor, political commentator and BDS activist)

In addition to the BDS activists’ articulated goal of eliminating a Jewish state, their actions demonstrate anti-Semitic motives rather than a quest for civil rights. Here are just a few of the numerous examples of how Jews are singled out for bullying by BDS activists:

  • As part of its “Globe to Globe” festival in May 2012, London’s Shakespeare Globe Theatre invited companies from around the world to perform Shakespeare’s plays in their native languages. After the Palestinian Ashtar company performed Richard II in Arabic, BDS activists attempted to shut down the Israeli Habima company performance of The Merchant of Venice in Hebrew.
  • Regarding Justin Bieber’s 2011 performance in Tel Aviv, BDS activists reportedly threatened Justin Bieber’s Jewish manager with “the Jew manager will die.”
  • In August 2013, BDS activists protesting the performance of Israeli jazz musician Daniel Zamir at Johannesberg’s Wits University, chanted and sang out “Shoot the Jew.”
  • In August 2015, BDS activists in Spain pressured organizers of a music festival to exclude singer Matisyahu from performing unless he publicly denounced Israel and declared his support for a Palestinian state. The American performer, who was singled out solely because of his Jewish identity, refused to cooperate and his performance was canceled. But following fierce criticism by the international press, Spanish government and others of this overtly anti-Semitic action, organizers reinstated the Jewish singer’s participation in the festival. A Spanish court has now admitted a criminal complaint against the BDS activists, filed by an association of human rights lawyers fighting against anti-Semitism.

The BDS campaign against the Jewish state has been condemned as anti-Semitic by German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union(CDU) party, France’s Supreme Court, and the UK’s Minister of Justice:

The German CDU party passed an anti-BDS resolution comparing it to the Nazi boycott of Jews in 1930’s Germany, noting that, “Who today under the flag of the BDS movement calls to boycott Israeli goods and services speaks the same language in which people were called to not buy from Jews. That is nothing other than coarse anti-Semitism.”

In France, BDS is considered a hate crime; The French Supreme court upheld the anti-BDS Lellouche law to rule promoters of BDS guilty of anti-Jewish hate and discrimination and as a result of this law, a major French bank shut down the account of a BDS group.

The UK Secretary of Justice Michael Gove has slammed the BDS campaign as “indulging prejudice” and a new manifestation of an old anti-Jewish hatred.

BDS: The Propaganda

Here is what Khalidi said regarding the BDS campaign (interspersed with the author’s comments in italics):

Khalidi: “[The statement that the BDS campaign is anti-Semitic] is grotesque, in a time when there is real anti-Semitism, Jew hatred that is being publicly expressed by people who are supporters of President Trump …that people are talking about boycott, divestment and sanctions as anti-Semitic.”

This is an example of how Khalidi uses the tactic of “name-calling” –i.e. “grotesque”– to discredit the charge.

Khalidi: “Many of the people who support it are Jewish, so presumably they’re self-hating?”

Khalidi employs a logical fallacy—a false extrapolation– to imply that because someone is Jewish, he or she cannot be anti-Semitic. In fact, the radicals who support BDS and single out the Jewish state for demonization and delegitimization include Jews on the margin who publicly distance themselves from mainstream Jewry and its support for Jewish self-determination.

Khalidi: “Moreover, this is a time-honored tactic. The Boston Tea Party was a boycott, Selma, Montgomery– every major campaign in civil rights involved boycott– the South African freedom struggle used boycott, divestment and sanctions as a central element. But why are the Palestinians not allowed to do this?”

Here, Khalidi uses the propaganda techniques of “glittering generalities” – i.e. vague, emotionally laden phrases like “time-honored tactic”— to evoke a positive feeling, and “transfer” of the positive cause of civil rights to the negative one of BDS. In fact, neither the Boston Tea Party—a protest act by colonists who were unfairly taxed by a government in which they had no representation; nor the civil rights marches in the 1960’sthe non-violent demonstration for African American voting rights; nor the Montgomery bus boycottwhere African Americans refrained from using segregated buses in which they would be forced to the back, were in any way akin to the BDS movement. These were all examples of colonists and citizens attempting to secure their own constitutional rights through non-violent demonstrations. They were not, as BDS’ often violent actions are, an attempt to obstruct other people’s constitutional rights (for example, the rights of Jews or Israelis to gather, speak or perform), or to delegitimize a state and to deny another people’s right to self-determination.

Khalidi: “There’s absolutely nothing anti-Semitic. Boycott, Divestment and Sanction says Israel has to end the occupation, Israel has to treat its discriminated-against, second-class Arab citizens–20% of the population–equally, and Israel has to give Palestinians who lost their homes, whose homes were stolen in 1948, the right to get those homes back and/or to return. There’s nothing anti-Semitic in that.”

Khalidi is using the technique of “card stacking” – manipulating the audience’s perception of an issue by exaggerating one side and repressing the other. Here, he deliberately misrepresents the status and situation of Israeli Arabs, and the issue of Palestinians who became refugees in 1948. He stacks the cards by falsely implying that Arab citizens of Israel do not enjoy equal rights under the law and that Israel stole Palestinian homes and continues to discriminate against those who became citizens. He hides the fact that Arab citizens enjoy the same voting rights, civil rights and representation in parliament as do other citizens. And he hides the reason why Palestinians lost homes, namely, because their leaders urged them to temporarily vacate their homes while they waged an aggressive war against the nascent state of Israel. Instead of presenting the facts, card-stacking propaganda exaggerates or downplays information in order to suit the propagandist’s goal.

Khalidi: “Property rights? What’s anti-Semitic about property rights? The right to live in your homeland? What’s anti-Semitic about that?” An end the longest occupation in history? What’s anti-Semitic about that?”

Khalidi uses the “plain folks” strategy here to falsely imply that BDS is “of the people” with the same goals as any plain folk. But BDS is not about property rights, the right to live in your homeland, and ending occupation. It is about denying Jewish property rights, the rights of Jews to live in their homeland by eradicating the Jewish state.

Khalidi: “I think that when you are defending the indefensible as Bernard-Henri Levy and many extreme supporters of Israel are doing, you have no alternative but to resort to smears and slurs against the people who are, in my view, making a very, very strong case that the United States has not done, that the international community has not done what it said it wanted to do in terms of stopping occupation, settlement, land theft, and that it’s up to people, ordinary people to try and push their government and push people with a moral conscience to put pressure on Israel so that it stops all of these violations of human rights and of civil and property rights.”

For his dishonest finale, Khalidi mixes “name-calling” – calling Levy “extreme” – with role reversal – suggesting that it is Levy, and not Khalidi, who is the one “resorting to smears and slurs.” He again uses “card stacking” as he manipulates the facts and reverses the role of the attacker and victim. He culminates with the propaganda technique of “bandwagon” calling on all those “with a moral conscience” to jump on the bandwagon and join the BDS movement.

Jerusalem: The Facts

The status of Jerusalem is contested: Israel considers Jerusalem – both western and eastern– the country’s eternal, undivided capital based on its historical, religious and political claims to the holy city. Since Israel’s reunification of Jerusalem in 1967, following 19 years of division during which Israeli Jews were excluded from the eastern part, the government through successive administrations has vowed never to re-divide the city again. In 1980, the Israeli Knesset passed a Basic Law declaring reunified Jerusalem the eternal capital of Israel, while providing for freedom of access to each religion’s holy sites.

The Palestinians view eastern Jerusalem as part of the West Bank, which it considers Arab territory that Israel is illegally occupying. While Palestinians reject Israeli sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem, they claim eastern Jerusalem – with holy sites to three religions – as the capital of their future state and view the permanent status of western Jerusalem to be subject to final negotiations.

International law firmly establishes the right of Israelis to settle and reside anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, an area which includes eastern Jerusalem. This international legal right is vested in political and legal agreements drawn up in the post-World War I years between 1919 and 1923. A Mandates System established in Article 22 of the Covenant of the League of Nations, was contained in the Treaty of Versailles and other peace treaties made with the Central Powers. The Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers officially recognized Palestine as a mandated state for the Jewish people at the 1920 San Remo Conference. The San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920 served as the basis for the future administration of Palestine which would henceforth be recognized as the Jewish National Home, as envisioned by the Balfour Declaration. The resulting 1922 Palestine Mandate, which incorporated the resolution into its preamble, confirmed Jewish historical and national rights and converted the Balfour Declaration from a statement of British foreign policy to binding international law.

According to Article 6 of the Mandate, “close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands not required for public use” was to be encouraged. Article 80 of the U.N. Charter preserved this Jewish right to settlement by specifying that nothing in the U.N. Charter’s chapter on the administration of Mandate territory shall be construed ” to alter in any manner” the rights of people and the terms of “existing international instruments” (for example, the Mandate).

Eugene Rostow, a legal scholar who served as U.S. under-secretary of state under the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson, explained that “the Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the existing Palestinian population to live there.”

Jerusalem: The Propaganda

The host, Fareed Zakaria, in his introduction serves up his own propaganda on Jerusalem.

Zakaria: “In 1949, negotiators drew a green line that divided Jerusalem in two. Israel controlled the west, Jordan the east. It was so divided until 1967 when Israel began to occupy the east during the Six Day War.”

Zakaria is using the technique of “card stacking” where he emphasizes the facts that suit him while hiding those that do not. He emphasizes that Jerusalem was divided in two but hides the fact that this was a ceasefire line as a result of an Arab aggressive war. He hides the fact that Jordan destroyed Jewish holy sites and illegally annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem, in a move that only Pakistan recognized . He hides the fact that under Jordan’s occupation and in violation of the same ceasefire agreement, Jordan denied Jews the rights to their burial and holy sites in Jerusalem.

He emphasizes Israel’s “occupation” of the eastern part of Jerusalem but hides Jordan’s aggression that led to Israel’s capture of this territory. Zakaria hides the circumstances under which this territory, which includes Judaism’s historic holy sites, came under Israeli control: During the 1967 war, Israel appealed to Jordan to stay out of the war, but despite this appeal, Jordanian forces fired artillery barrages from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Although Israeli forces did not respond initially, not wanting to open up a Jordanian front in the war, Jordan continued to attack and occupied UN headquarters in Jerusalem. Israeli forces fought back and within two days managed to repulse the Jordanian forces and retake eastern Jerusalem.

And guest Rashid Khalidi provides more.

Khalidi: “In 1947, the United Nations when it gave legitimacy to the idea of a Jewish state and an Arab state said that Jerusalem had to be a separate entity. And the United States has said, and other countries have said, that until there is a final status resolution of the question of Jerusalem, nobody should change the status there, including moving embassies there, proclaiming it your capital, building settlements–there are 200,000 Israelis living illegally in occupied Arab East Jerusalem today. All of these things in the eyes of American policy– until President Trump was elected – and in the eyes of every country in the world – are illegal until and unless the Israel and the Palestinians come to terms about Jerusalem.”

Khalidi similarly uses the “card stacking” technique as he talks about the “separate entity” (corpus separatum) recommended in the 1947 UN General Assembly partition resolution. He hides the fact that the Arabs all rejected this resolution, so that it never went into effect, and further nullified it by aggressively attempting to annihilate the Jewish state. Similarly, while he categorically states that the United States views Israeli habitation in eastern Jerusalem to be “illegal” and that it has declared that embassies should be barred from Jerusalem until there is a final status resolution, he hides the fact that there is no unified US view about Jerusalem. While the State Department does not officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s official capital and does not recognize Israel’s effective annexation of the eastern part of the city, the US Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995 to initiate and fund the relocation of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital. This was followed by the Foreign Relations Authorization Act signed by President Bush in 2002, maintaining the commitment to moving the embassy and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. U.S. presidents, caught in the middle (including President Bush), have viewed these Congressional Acts as advisory and have regularly exercised presidential waivers to temporarily suspend the move of the embassy to Jerusalem “in order to protect the national security interests of the United States.”

With such disingenuous techniques employed on a mainstream U.S. news outlet, with the help of a CNN journalist, in order to influence public perception on controversial issues, it is no wonder that more and more people are talking about “fake news.” (To view the tape, click here.)

The Way to Peace: Israeli Victory, Palestinian Defeat

by Daniel Pipes
Commentary
January 2017

This typical map in Arabic shows "Palestine My Bride" to the exclusion of Israel.

This typical map in Arabic shows “Palestine My Bride” to the exclusion of Israel.

Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy sadly fits the classic description of insanity: “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” The identical assumptions – land-for-peace and the two-state solution, with the burden primarily on Israel – stay permanently in place, no matter how often they fail. Decades of what insiders call “peace processing” has left matters worse than when they started, yet the great powers persist, sending diplomat after diplomat to Jerusalem and Ramallah, ever hoping that the next round of negotiations will lead to the elusive breakthrough.

The time is ripe for a new approach, a basic re-thinking of the problem. It draws on Israel’s successful strategy as carried out through its first 45 years. The failure of Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy since 1993 suggests this alternative approach – with a stress on Israeli toughness in pursuit of victory. This would, paradoxically perhaps, be of benefit to Palestinians and bolster American support.

I. The Near Impossibility of Compromise

Since the Balfour Declaration of 1917, Palestinians and Israelis have pursued static and opposite goals.

In the years before the establishment of the new state, the mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, articulated a policy of rejectionism, or eliminating every vestige of Jewish presence in what is now the territory of Israel.[1]It remains in place. Maps in Arabic which show a “Palestine” replacing Israel symbolize this continued aspiration. Rejectionism runs so deep that it drives not just Palestinian politics but much of Palestinian life. With consistency, energy, and perseverance, Palestinians have pursued rejectionism via three main approaches: demoralizing Zionists through political violence, damaging Israel’s economy through trade boycotts, and weakening Israel’s legitimacy by winning foreign support. Differences between Palestinian factions tend to be tactical: Talk to the Israelis to win concessions from them or not? Mahmoud Abbas represents the former outlook and Khaled Mashal the latter.

On the Israeli side, nearly everyone agrees on the need to win acceptance by Palestinians (and other Arabs and Muslims); differences are again tactical. David Ben-Gurion articulated one approach, that of showing Palestinians what they can gain from Zionism. Vladimir Jabotinsky developed the opposite vision, arguing that Zionists have no choice but to break the Palestinians’ intractable will. Their rival approaches remain the touchstones of Israel’s foreign-policy debate, with Isaac Herzog heir to Ben-Gurion and Binyamin Netanyahu to Jabotinsky.

These two pursuits – rejectionism and acceptance – have remained basically unchanged for a century; today’s Palestinian Authority, Hamas, Labor, and Likud are lineal descendants of Husseini, Ben-Gurion, and Jabotinsky. Varying ideologies, objectives, tactics, strategies, and actors mean that details have varied, even as the fundamentals remained remarkably in place. Wars and treaties came and went, leading to only minor shifts. The many rounds of fighting had surprisingly little impact on ultimate goals, while formal agreements (such as the Oslo Accords of 1993) only increase hostility to Israel’s existence and so were counterproductive.

Palestinian rejection or acceptance of Israel is binary: yes or no, without in-betweens. This renders compromise nearly impossible because resolution requires one side fully to abandon its goal. Either Palestinians give up their century-long rejection of the Jewish state or Zionists give up their 150-year quest for a sovereign homeland. Anything other than these two outcomes is an unstable settlement that merely serves as the premise for a future round of conflict.

The “Peace Process” That Failed

Deterrence, that is, convincing Palestinians and the Arab states to accept Israel’s existence by threatening painful retaliation, underlay Israel’s formidable record of strategic vision and tactical brilliance in the period 1948 to 1993. Over this time, deterrence worked to the extent that Israel’s Arab state enemies saw the country very differently by the end of that period; in 1948, invading Arab armies expected to throttle the Jewish state at birth, but by 1993, Arafat felt compelled to sign an agreement with Israel’s prime minister.

That said, deterrence did not finish the job; as Israelis built a modern, democratic, affluent, and powerful country, the fact that Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and (increasingly) the left still rejected it became a source of mounting frustration. Israel’s impatient, on-the-go populace grew weary with the unattractive qualities of deterrence, which by nature is passive, indirect, harsh, slow, boring, humiliating, reactive, and costly. It is also internationally unpopular.

That impatience led to the diplomatic process that culminated with the handshake confirming the signing of the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn in September 1993. For a brief period, “The Handshake” (as it was then capitalized) between Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat and Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin served as the symbol of successful mediation that gave each side what it most wanted: dignity and autonomy for Palestinians, recognition and security for Israelis. Among many accolades, Arafat, Rabin, and Israel’s Foreign Minister Shimon Peres won the Nobel Peace Prize.

 

Arafat, Peres, and Rabin with their shared Nobel Prize, 1994.

The accords, however, quickly disappointed both sides. Indeed, while Israelis and Palestinians agree on little else, they concur with near-unanimity on Oslo having been a disaster.

When Palestinians still lived under direct Israeli control before Oslo, acceptance of Israel had increased over time even as political violence diminished. Residents of the West Bank and Gaza could travel locally without checkpoints and access work sites within Israel. They benefited from the rule of law and an economy that more than quadrupled without depending on foreign aid. Functioning schools and hospitals emerged, as did several universities.

Yasir Arafat promised to turn Gaza into “the Singapore of the Middle East,” but his despotism and aggression against Israel instead turned his fiefdom into a nightmare, resembling Congo more than Singapore. Unwilling to give up on the permanent revolution and to become the ordinary leader of an obscure state, he exploited the Oslo Accords to inflict economic dependence, tyranny, failed institutions, corruption, Islamism, and a death cult on Palestinians.

For Israelis, Oslo led not to the hoped-for end of conflict but inflamed Palestinian ambitions to eliminate the Jewish state. As Palestinian rage spiraled upward, more Israelis were murdered in the five years post-Oslo than in the fifteen years preceding it. Rabble-rousing speech and violent actions soared – and continue unabated 23 years later. Moreover, Palestinian delegitimization efforts cost Israel internationally as the left turned against it, spawning such anti-Zionist novelties as the UN World Conference against Racism in Durban and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

 

The UN World Conference against Racism in Durban marked the coming out of leftist anti-Zionism.

From Israel’s perspective, seven years of Oslo appeasement, 1993-2000, undid 45 years of successful deterrence; then, six years of unilateral withdrawals, 2000-06, further buried deterrence. The decade since 2006 has witnessed no major changes.

The Oslo exercise showed the futility of Israeli concessions to Palestinians when the latter fail to live up to their obligations. By signaling Israeli weakness, Oslo made a bad situation worse. What is conventionally called the “peace process” would more accurately be dubbed the “war process.”

The False Hope of Finessing Victory

Why did things go so wrong in what seemed so promising an agreement?

Moral responsibility for the collapse of Oslo lies solely with Yasir Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas, and the rest of the Palestinian Authority leadership. They pretended to abandon rejectionism and accept Israel’s existence but, in fact, sought Israel’s elimination in new, more sophisticated ways, replacing force with delegitimization.

This said, the Israelis made a profound mistake, having entered the Oslo process with a false premise. Yitzhak Rabin often summed up this error in the phrase “You don’t make peace with friends. You make it with very unsavory enemies.”[2] In other words, he expected war to be concluded through goodwill, conciliation, mediation, flexibility, restraint, generosity, and compromise, topped off with signatures on official documents. In this spirit, his government and all its successors agreed to a wide array of concessions, even to the point of permitting a Palestinian militia, always hoping the Palestinians would reciprocate by accepting the Jewish state.

They never did. To the contrary, Israeli compromises aggravated Palestinian hostility. Each gesture further radicalized, exhilarated, and mobilized the Palestinian body politic. Israeli efforts to “make peace” were received as signs of demoralization and weakness. “Painful concessions” reduced the Palestinian awe of Israel, m­­ade the Jewish state appear vulnerable, and inspired irredentist dreams of annihilation.

In retrospect, this does not surprise. Contrary to Rabin’s slogan, one does not “make [peace] with very unsavory enemies” but rather with former very unsavory enemies. That is, enemies that have been defeated.

This brings us to the key concept of my approach, which is victory, or imposing one’s will on the enemy, compelling him through loss to give up his war ambitions. Wars end, the historical record shows, not through goodwill but through defeat. He who does not win loses. Wars usually end when failure causes one side to despair, when that side has abandoned its war aims and accepted defeat, and when that defeat has exhausted its will to fight. Conversely, so long as both combatants still hope to achieve their war objectives, fighting either goes on or it potentially will resume.

Thinkers and warriors through the ages concur on the importance of victory as the correct goal of warfare. For example, Aristotle wrote that “victory is the end of generalship” and Dwight D. Eisenhower stated that “In war, there is no substitute for victory.” Technological advancement has not altered this enduring human truth.

 

Aristotle (384-322 BCE)

Twentieth-century conflicts that ended decisively include World War II, China-India, Algeria-France, North Vietnam-United States, Great Britain-Argentina, Afghanistan-U.S.S.R., and the Cold War. Defeat can result either from a military thrashing or from an accretion of economic and political pressures; it does not require total military loss or economic destruction, much less the annihilation of a population. For example, the only defeat in U.S. history, in South Vietnam in 1975, occurred not because of economic collapse or running out of ammunition or battlefield failure (the American side was winning the ground war) but because Americans lost the will to soldier on.

Indeed, 1945 marks a dividing line. Before then, overwhelming military superiority crushed the enemy’s will to fight; since then, grand battlefield successes have rarely occurred. Battlefield superiority no longer translates as it once did into breaking the enemy’s resolve to fight. In Clausewitz’ terms, morale and will are now the center of gravity, not tanks and ships. Although the French outmanned and out-gunned their foes in Algeria, as did the Americans in Vietnam and the Soviets in Afghanistan, all these powers lost their wars. Conversely, battlefield losses suffered by the Arab states in 1948-82, by North Korea in 1950-53, and by Iraq in 1991 and 2003 did not translate into surrender and defeat.

When a losing side preserves its war goals, the resumption of warfare remains possible, and even likely. Germans retained their goal of ruling Europe after their defeat in World War I and looked to Hitler for another try, prompting the Allies to aim for total victory to ensure against the Germans trying a third time. The Korean War ended in 1953, but North and South have both held on to their war goals, meaning that the conflict might resume at any time, as could wars between India and Pakistan. The Arabs lost each round of warfare with Israel (1948-49, 1956, 1967, 1973, and 1982) but long saw their defeats as merely transient and spoiled for another try.

II. The Hard Work of Winning

How might Israel induce the Palestinians to drop rejectionism?

For starters, a colorful array of (mutually exclusive) plans to end the conflict favorably to Israel have appeared through the decades.[3] Going from softest to toughest, these include:

Trouble is, none of these plans addresses the need to break the Palestinian will to fight. They all manage the conflict without resolving it. They all seek to finesse victory with a gimmick. Just as the Oslo negotiations failed, so too will every other scheme that sidesteps the hard work of winning.

This historical pattern implies that Israel has just one option to win Palestinian acceptance: a return to its old policy of deterrence, punishing Palestinians when they aggress. Deterrence amounts to more than tough tactics, which every Israeli government pursues; it requires systemic policies that encourage Palestinians to accept Israel and discourage rejectionism. It requires a long-term strategy that promotes a change of heart.

Inducing a change of heart is not a pretty or pleasant process but is based on a policy of commensurate and graduated response. If Palestinians transgress moderately, they should pay moderately; and so on. Responses depend on specific circumstances, so the following are but general suggestions as examples for Washington to propose, going from mildest to most severe:

When Palestinian “martyrs” cause material damage, pay for repairs out of the roughly $300 million in tax obligations the government of Israel transfers to the Palestinian Authority (PA) each year. Respond to activities designed to isolate and weaken Israel internationally by limiting access to the West Bank. When a Palestinian attacker is killed, bury the body quietly and anonymously in a potter’s field. When the PA leadership incites to violence, prevent officials from returning to the PA from abroad. Respond to the murder of Israelis by expanding Jewish towns on the West Bank. When official PA guns are turned against Israelis, seize these and prohibit new ones, and if this happens repeatedly, dismantle the PA’s security infrastructure. Should violence continue, reduce and then shut off the water and electricity that Israel supplies. In the case of gunfire, mortar shelling, and rockets, occupy and control the areas from which these originate.

Of course, these steps run exactly counter to the consensus view in Israel today, which seeks above all to keep Palestinians quiescent. But this myopic viewpoint formed under unremitting pressure from the outside world, and the U.S. government especially, to accommodate the PA. The removal of such pressure will undoubtedly encourage Israelis to adopt the more assertive tactics outlined here.

True peacemaking means finding ways to coerce Palestinians to undergo a change of heart, giving up rejectionism, accepting Jews, Zionism, and Israel. When enough Palestinians abandon the dream of eliminating Israel, they will make concessions needed to end the conflict. To end the conflict, Israel must convince 50 percent and more of the Palestinians that they have lost.

The goal here is not Palestinian love of Zion, but closing down the apparatus of war: shuttering suicide factories, removing the demonization of Jews and Israel, recognizing Jewish ties to Jerusalem, and “normalizing” relations with Israelis. Palestinian acceptance of Israel will be achieved when, over a protracted period and with complete consistency, the violence ends, replaced by sharply worded démarches and letters to the editor. Symbolically, the conflict will be over when Jews living in Hebron (in the West Bank) have no more need for security than Palestinians living in Nazareth (in Israel).

 

Israeli border police guard a group of Israeli tourists visiting Hebron in April 2014.

To those who hold Palestinians too fanatical to be defeated, I reply: if Germans and Japanese, no less fanatical and far more powerful, could be defeated in World War II and then turned into normal citizens, why not the Palestinians now? Moreover, Muslims have repeatedly given in to infidels through history when faced with a determined superior force, from Spain to the Balkans to Lebanon.

Israel enjoys two pieces of good fortune. First, its effort does not begin at null; polls and other indicators suggest that 20 percent of Palestinians and other Arabs consistently accept the Jewish state. Second, it need deter only the Palestinians, a very weak actor, and not the whole Arab or Muslim population. However feeble in objective terms (economics, military power), Palestinians spearhead the war against Israel; so, when they abandon rejectionism, others (like Moroccans, Iranians, Malaysians, et al.) take their cues from Palestinians and, over time, will likely follow their lead.

Palestinians Benefit from Their Defeat

However much Israelis gain from ending their residual Palestinian problem, they live in a successful modern country that has absorbed the violence and delegitimization imposed on them.[4] Surveys, for example, show Israelis to be among the happiest people anywhere, and the country’s burgeoning birth rate confirms these impressions.

In contrast, Palestinians are mired in misery and constitute the most radicalized population in the world. Opinion surveys consistently show them choosing nihilism. Which other parents celebrate their children becoming suicide bombers? Which other people gives higher priority to harming its neighbor than improving its own lot? Hamas and the Palestinian Authority both run authoritarian regimes that repress their subjects and pursue destructive goals. The economy in the West Bank and Gaza depends, more than anywhere else, on free money from abroad, creating both dependence and resentment. Palestinian mores are backward and becoming more medieval all the time. A skilled and ambitious people is locked into political repression, failed institutions, and a culture celebrating delusion, extremism, and self-destruction.

An Israel victory liberates Palestinians. Defeat compels them to come to terms with their irredentist fantasies and the empty rhetoric of revolution. Defeat also frees them to improve their own lives. Unleashed from a genocidal obsession against Israel, Palestinians can become a normal people and develop their polity, economy, society, and culture. Negotiations could finally begin in earnest. In all, given their far lower starting point, Palestinians would, ironically, gain even more from their defeat than the Israelis from their victory.

That said, this change won’t be easy or quick: Palestinians will have to pass through the bitter crucible of defeat, with all its deprivation, destruction, and despair as they repudiate the filthy legacy of Amin al-Husseini and acknowledge their century-long error. But there is no shortcut.

The Need for American Support

Palestinians deploy a unique global support team consisting of the United Nations and vast numbers of journalists, activists, educators, artists, Islamists, and leftists. No obscure African liberation front they, but the world’s favored revolutionary cause. This makes Israel’s task long, difficult, and dependent on stalwart allies, foremost the U.S. government.

For Washington to be helpful means not dragging the parties back again to more negotiations but robustly supporting Israel’s path to victory. That translates into not just backing episodic Israeli shows of force but a sustained and systematic international effort of working with Israel, select Arab states, and others to convince the Palestinians of the futility of their rejectionism: Israel is there, it’s permanent, and it enjoys wide backing.

That means supporting Israel taking the tough steps outlined above, from burying murderers’ bodies anonymously to shuttering the Palestinian Authority. It means diplomatic support for Israel, such as undoing the “Palestine refugee” farce and rejecting the claim of Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital. It also entails ending benefits to the Palestinians unless they work toward the full and permanent acceptance of Israel: no diplomacy, no recognition as a state, no financial aid, and certainly no weapons, much less militia training.

Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy is premature until Palestinians accept the Jewish state. The central issues of the Oslo Accords (borders, water, armaments, sanctities, Jewish communities in the West Bank, “Palestine refugees”) cannot be usefully discussed so long as one party still rejects the other. But negotiations can re-open and take up anew the Oslo issues upon the joyful moment that Palestinians accept the Jewish state. That prospect, however, lies in the distant future. For now, Israel needs to win.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org, @DanielPipes) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2016 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved. The title refers to Deut. 16:20.


[1] I analyzed this topic for Commentary in December 1997 at “On Arab Rejectionism.”

[2] Which, curiously, paraphrased the statement of a PLO leader, Said Hammami, of 15 years earlier.

[3] I reviewed these proposals in detail for Commentary in February 2003 at “Does Israel Need a Plan?

[4] Injuries and deaths from traffic accidents in Israel in the period 2000-05, for example, came to 30,000 while terrorism-related injuries amounted to 2,000.

***

Does Trump Grasp the Reality of ‘Radical Islam’?

radical-islamNational Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, December 31, 2016:

It was the key national-security debate of the 2016 election. Donald Trump won the election, in no small part, because he appeared to be on the right side of it. Appeared is used advisedly: Trump was at least in the general vicinity of the bull’s-eye; his opponent wouldn’t even acknowledge the target existed — except in the most grudging of ways, and only because Trump had forced the issue.

The question boiled down to this: Are you willing to name the enemy?

After a quarter-century of willful blindness, it was at least a start. We should note, moreover, that it’s a start we owe to the president-elect. Washington, meaning both parties, had erected such barriers to a rational public discussion of our enemies that breaking through took Trump’s outsized persona, in all its abrasive turns and its excesses. Comparative anonymities (looking down at my shoes, now) could try terrorism cases and fill shelves with books and pamphlets and columns on the ideology behind the jihad from now until the end of time. But no matter how many terrorist attacks Americans endured, the public examination of the enemy was not going to happen unless a credible candidate for the world’s most important job dramatically shifted the parameters of acceptable discourse.

Trump forced the issue into the light of day. And once he did — voilà! — what was yesterday’s “Islamophobia” became today’s conventional wisdom. In reality, it was never either of these things. The former is an enemy-crafted smear (a wildly successful one) to scare off examination of the enemy; the latter is frequently wrong.

What we Cassandras have really been trying to highlight is a simple fact, as patent as it was unremarkable from the time of Sun Tsu until the 1993 World Trade Center bombing: To defeat the enemy, you must know the enemy — who he is, what motivates him, what he is trying to achieve. Being willing to name the enemy is a start. But it is just a start — the beginning, not the end, of understanding.

In his major campaign speech on the subject, Trump asserted that the enemy is “radical Islamic terrorism.” Terrorism, surely, is the business end of the spear, but “radical Islamic terrorism” is an incomplete portrait. Dangerously incomplete? That depends on whether the term (a) is Trump’s shorthand for a threat he realizes is significantly broader than terrorism, or (b) reflects his actual — and thus insufficient — grasp of the challenge.

The speech provided reasons for hope. For one thing, Trump compared “radical Islamic terrorism” to the 20th-century challenges of fascism, Nazism, and Communism. These were ideological enemies. The capacity to project force was by no means the totality of the threat each represented — which is why it is so foolish to be dismissive of today’s enemy just because jihadist networks cannot compare militarily to Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.

Furthermore, toward the end of his speech, Trump used “radical Islamic terrorism” interchangeably with “radical Islam.” Ending the spread of radical Islam, he said, must be our objective. He even referred to it as an “ideology” — though he called it an “ideology of death,” which misses the point; it is an ideology of conquest.

Trump intimated some understanding of this, too. He vowed to “speak out against the oppression of women, gays, and people of different faith [i.e., non-Muslims].” He promised, in addition, to work with “all moderate Muslim reformers in the Middle East.” The objects of radical Islamic oppression are targeted because of ideological tenets that call for dominion by sharia, Islam’s ancient totalitarian law. It is those tenets that reformers are trying to reform.

In sum, Trump showed signs of awareness that there are more than bombs, hijacked planes, weaponized trucks, and jihadist gunmen to confront. Still, his focus was terrorists — specifically ISIS, which he claimed was created by Obama-Clinton policy. While he clearly knows there is more to the threat than ISIS, he explicitly added only al-Qaeda and “Iran-backed Hamas and Hezbollah.”

To the contrary, ISIS is a breakaway faction of al-Qaeda that existed before Barack Obama came to power. Hamas, though certainly supported by Shiite Iran, is a Sunni terrorist organization spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood. More crucially: All of the groups Trump listed, and the regimes that sponsor them, were created by the ideology. While I’ll go with “radical Islam,” the ideology is more accurately described as “sharia supremacism” — alas, in the parts of the world Trump was talking about, “radical Islam” is not so radical. It is the ideology that creates jihadist groups and regimes, not American policy, no matter how clueless and counterproductive our policy has been at times.

If ISIS and al-Qaeda disappeared tomorrow, other jihadist networks would take their places. It will be that way until sharia supremacism is discredited and marginalized.

That is a tall order, not to be underestimated. The audience in which the ideology must be discredited is not Western; it does not share our value system — our sense of what is credible and meritorious. Plus, the sharia that our enemies strive to implement (i.e., “jihad in Allah’s way”) is undeniably rooted in Islamic scripture. It will not be easy — it may not be possible — to discredit a literalist construction of Islam that has been backed by revered scholars for 14 centuries.

That is why some detractors of Islam argue with considerable force that we should stop mincing words: If the problem is rooted in Islamic doctrine, they contend, then the problem is Islam, not “radical Islam.” Yet this overlooks significant facts. There is fierce intramural Islamic debate about doctrinal interpretation. Our own Judeo-Christian experience tells us that doctrine and religious practice can evolve. Belief systems, moreover, are ultimately about more than doctrine. Culture counts for a great deal. Yes, sharia supremacism is pretty much the same wherever you go (and becomes more aggressive and threatening as its adherents increase in number); but the understanding and practice of Islam varies from Riyadh to Cairo to Kabul to Ankara to Jakarta to Tirana to London.

There is, furthermore, an on-the-ground reality of much greater moment than theological infighting: A large percentage of the world’s approximately 1.6 billion Muslims reject sharia supremacism. Many of them provide us with essential help in fighting the enemy. To condemn Islam, rather than those who seek to impose Islam’s ruling system on us, can only alienate our allies. They are allies we need in an ideological conflict.

The sensible strategy, therefore, calls for supporting the Islamic reformers President-elect Trump says he wants to befriend. That would be an epic improvement over outreach to Islamists, whom our government has inanely courted and empowered for a quarter-century. To the extent we can (and that may be limited), we should support the reinterpretation of what Egyptian president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi courageously acknowledged as “the corpus of texts and ideas that we [Muslims] have sacralized over the centuries, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible” even though they are “antagonizing the entire world.”

Sisi, it is worth noting, is a devout Muslim who knows a lot more about Islam than Barack Obama and John Kerry do. In any event, it’s better to confront with open eyes the scripturally rooted ideological foundation of radical Islam. As we’ve seen over the last three presidential administrations (or the last six, if you want to go back to Carter and Khomeini’s revolution), pretending that the ideology does not exist, or that it represents a “false Islam,” is fantasy. As a national-security strategy, fantasy is a prescription for failure.

It has been the Obama prescription, right up to the end.

While candidate Trump was demanding that the enemy be named, and me-too Hillary was thus goaded into the occasional mention of “jihadists,” Obama tried to defend his refusal to invoke radical Islam. The defense was classic Obama. Part One was flat wrong: “There’s no religious rationale,” he maintained, that would justify” the “barbarism” in which terrorists engage — something that could only be right if we ignore scripture and adopt Obama’s eccentric notion of “religious rationale.” Part Two drew on Obama’s bottomless supply of straw men: “Using the phrase ‘radical Islam,’” he lectured, will not make the terrorist threat “go away” — as if anyone had claimed it would.

The point, of course, is not that there is talismanic power in uttering an enemy’s identity. It is to convey, to the enemy and to an anxious American public, that our leader comprehends who the enemy is, what the enemy’s objectives are, and what drives the enemy to achieve them.

Obviously, Obama is too smart not to know this. After eight infuriating years, I am beyond trying to fathom whether his intentional gibberish masks some misguided but well-meaning strategy, some dogma to which he is hopelessly beholden, or something more sinister. The imperative now is to address the mess he is leaving behind, not unwind how and why he came to make it.

This week, Obama betrayed our Israeli allies by orchestrating (and cravenly abstaining from) a U.N. Security Council resolution. As I’ve explained, the ostensible purpose of the resolution is to condemn the construction of Israeli settlements in the disputed territories of East Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria that Israel has controlled since 1967; the real purpose is to declare that those territories are sovereign Palestinian land, and thus that Israel is “occupying” it in violation of international law (“international law” is the gussied-up term for the hyper-political, intensely anti-Israeli Security Council’s say-so).

What does this have to do with our enemy’s ideology? Everything.

The Palestinians and the Islamist regimes that support them frame their struggle against Israel in terms of Islamic obligation. Hamas, the aforementioned Muslim Brotherhood branch that has been lavishly supported by Saudi Arabia, Iran, Turkey, and other Muslim governments, is more explicit about this than its rival for Palestinian leadership, Fatah. But both are clear on the matter. They take the doctrinal position that any territory that comes under Islamic control for any duration of time is Islam’s forever. (That’s why Islamists still refer to Spain as al-Andalus and vow to retake it, notwithstanding that they lost it half a millennium ago.)

Further, radical Islam regards the presence of a sovereign Jewish state in Islamic territory as an intolerable affront. Again, the reason is doctrinal. Do not take my word for it; have a look at the 1988 Hamas Charter (“The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement”). Article 7, in particular, includes this statement by the prophet Muhammad:

The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say, “O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.” . . . (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Understand: Al-Bukhari and Muslim are authoritative collections of hadith. These memorializations of the prophet’s sayings and deeds have scriptural status in Islam. Hamas is not lying — this story of an end-of-times annihilation of Jews is related, repeatedly, in Islamic scripture. (See, e.g., here.) And please spare me the twaddle about how there are competing interpretations that discount or “contextualize” these hadith. It doesn’t matter which, if any, interpretation represents the “true Islam” (if there is one). What matters for purposes of our security is that millions of Muslims, including our enemies, believe these hadith mean what they say — unalterable, for all time.

Even after all the mass-murder attacks we have endured over the last few decades, and for all their claptrap about respecting Islam as “one of the world’s great religions,” transnational progressives cannot bring themselves to accept that something as passé as religious doctrine could dictate 21st-century conflicts. So, they tell themselves, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict is simply about territorial boundaries and refugee rights. It could be settled if Israel, which they reckon would never have been established but for a regrettable bout of post-Holocaust remorse, would just make a few concessions regarding land it was never ceded in the first place (conveniently overlooking that East Jerusalem and the West Bank are disputed territories, and were not “Palestinian” when Israel took them in the 1967 war of Arab aggression).

Transnational progressives see Israel as intransigent, notwithstanding its many attempts to trade land for peace. They rationalize Palestinian terrorism as the product of that intransigence, not of ideology. Thus their smug calculation that branding Israel as an “occupier” of “Palestinian land” in gross “violation of international law” is the nudge Israel needs to settle. This will effectively grant the Palestinians their coveted sovereign state. Thus accommodated, Palestinians will surely moderate and co-exist with Israel — if not in peace, then in the same uneasy state in which Parisians coexist with their banlieues and Berliners with their refugees.

It is not just fantasy but willfully blind idiocy. No one who took a few minutes to understand the ideology of radical Islam would contemplate for a moment a resolution such as the one Obama just choreographed.

Under Islamic law, the Palestinians regard all of the territory — not just East Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria but all of Israel — as Muslim territory. Furthermore, they deem the presence of a Jewish-ruled state on that territory as anathema. A Security Council resolution that declares Israeli control of the disputed territory not merely an “obstacle to peace” but illegitimate tells the Islamists that their jihad has succeeded, that non-Muslim powers accede to their sharia-based demands. It can only encourage them to continue their jihad toward their ultimate regional goal of eradicating the Jewish state. After all, Mahmoud Abbas has stated his racist terms: Not a single Israeli will be permitted to reside in the Palestinian state. As Islamists see it (and why shouldn’t they?), Obama’s reaction was not to condemn Abbas; it was to appease Abbas. As Islamists see it, Allah is rewarding their fidelity to Islamic doctrine; of course they will persevere in it.

We are not merely in a shooting war with jihadists. We are in an ideological war with sharia supremacists. Mass murder is not their sole tactic; they attack at the negotiating table, in the councils of government, in the media, on the campus, in the courtroom — at every political and cultural pressure point. To defeat jihadists, it is necessary to discredit the ideology that catalyzes them. You don’t discredit an ideology by ignoring its existence, denying its power, and accommodating it at every turn.

President Obama never got this. Will President Trump?

In his campaign, Trump made a welcome start by naming the enemy. Now it is time to know the enemy — such that it is clear to the enemy that we understand his objectives and his motivation, and that we will deny him because our own principles require it.

The new president should begin by renouncing Obama’s Palestinian power-play: Revoke any state recognition Obama gives the Palestinians; defund them; clarify the disputed (not occupied) status of the territories; move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem; reaffirm the principle that the conflict may only be settled by direct negotiations between the parties; and make clear that the United States will consider the Palestinians pariahs until they acknowledge Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state, stop indoctrinating their children in doctrinal Jew-hatred, and convincingly abandon terrorism.

That would tell radical Islam that America rejects its objectives as well as its tactics, that we will fight its ideology as well as its terrorism. This is not just about restoring our reputation as a dependable ally. Our security depends on it.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

UNESCO Pretends Jerusalem’s Temple Mount is A Wholly Islamic Site

temple-mount

A resolution prompted by Arab nations attempts to hide the majority of the site’s history in order to defend one of Islam’s least plausible claims.

CounterJihad, October 14, 2016:

The United Nations’ agency for cultural preservation, UNESCO, has ruled that the Temple Mount in Jerusalem has nothing to do with Jews or Israel — or Christians, either.  It is a site to be preserved for exclusively Islamic reasons, according to the ruling.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the resolution, sponsored by several Arab countries, was a “theatre of the absurd.”  The ruling refers to Israel as “the Occupying Power” and is generally critical of Israeli preservation efforts, Israel’s intention to build a new visitor’s center near the site, and Israeli security forces’ efforts that have allegedly led to damage to the site.  In response to the ruling, Israel’s education ministry has suspended cooperation with UNESCO.

The Vatican, which holds observer status at UNESCO, has been asked to intervene to prevent the ruling from becoming finalized.  The resolution goes so far as to deny a Jewish connection to the Western Wall, where Jews still pray as they have since the Middle Ages.

Islam’s connection to the site is one of its least plausible theological claims.  That the site housed a Jewish temple in the days of Herod is a matter plainly demonstrable by archaeology, and that it was a Jewish site long before Herod is almost certainly true from scholarship.  Islam’s claim, however, is that the site is sacred because it is where Muhammad is supposed to have literally ridden his horse to heaven, following an already miraculous ride from present day Saudi Arabia to Israel in just one night.  The Western Wall is said to be sacred because it is where he tied his horse for a while before doing that — a tradition that does not date to the time of Muhammad at all, but is first observed in the literature in the 14th century.

There is nothing particularly wrong with holding to unlikely religious claims.  Christians generally hold that Jesus was bodily assumed into heaven, and although that claim goes along with Jesus having been actually divine, Catholics at least hold to a similar claim about St. Mary.  Nevertheless, it is strange to endorse those most unlikely of claims while also dismissing the most likely, and indeed clearly provable, of the claims of other faiths.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to see UNESCO’s ruling as otherwise than nakedly political.  The intent is clearly to favor Islam over Judaism and Christianity, and to favor Palestine over Israel.  It is not new for Israel to come in for hardship at the UN, nor for Muslim nations to attempt to use the United Nations to advance their religion’s primacy — or to prevent criticism of the worst practices of some of its adherents.  Nevertheless, it represents a shameful failure to live up to the United Nations’ higher ideals.

Despite Other Global Conflicts and Occupations, Israel is the Only Country the UN Calls an “Occupying Power”

Disarmament Conference at the European headquarters of the United NationsForget prolonged military occupations in East Timor, Cyprus, Georgia, Cambodia, Azerbaijan, and the Crimea; Israel is the UN’s only “occupier.”

CounterJihad by Bruce Cornibe, Sept. 26, 2016:

Is there any doubt that giving more power and authority to the  United Nations will not only compromise U.S. security but also the security of other other countries within the Western world, including Israel? Just take a look at the list of current members (here) that makeup the U.N. Human Rights Council, which includes some of the biggest human rights abusers. So, we are going to have the likes of Saudi Arabia, Cuba, China and other authoritarian regimes enlightening the free-world on human rights? What a joke. Maybe we should raise awareness that, in Saudi Arabia, one can allegedly receive a death sentence for renouncing his or her Islamic faith.

Furthermore, we have already seen members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) advocate for the United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution (UNHRC) 16/18, which seeks to stifle criticism of Islam and Islam’s prophet, Muhammad. If anti-Western coalitions such as the O.I.C., allegedly “the largest United Nations bloc” (including 57 member states if counting the alleged ‘State of Palestine’), are so influential with the U.N. – how can we look to the U.N. for any kind of justice or fairness? We can’t. Just look how the U.N. deliberately tries to demonize Israel when discussing the Arab-Israeli conflict, while either ignoring or providing scant coverage to other important conflicts around the globe. The Wall Street Journal unveils the U.N.’s double standard with Israel:

Our research shows that the U.N. uses an entirely different rhetoric and set of legal concepts when dealing with Israel compared with situations of occupation or settlements world-wide. For example, Israel is referred to as the “Occupying Power” 530 times in General Assembly resolutions. Yet in seven major instances of past or present prolonged military occupation—Indonesia in East Timor, Turkey in northern Cyprus, Russia in areas of Georgia, Morocco in Western Sahara, Vietnam in Cambodia, Armenia in areas of Azerbaijan, and Russia in Ukraine’s Crimea—the number is zero. The U.N. has not called any of these countries an “Occupying Power.” Not even once.

It gets worse. Since 1967, General Assembly resolutions have referred to Israeli-held territories as “occupied” 2,342 times, while the territories mentioned above are referred to as “occupied” a mere 16 times combined. The term appears in 90% of resolutions dealing with Israel, and only in 14% of the much smaller number of resolutions dealing with the all the other situations, a difference that vastly surpasses the threshold of statistical significance. Similarly, Security Council resolutions refer to the disputed territories in the Israeli-Arab conflict as “occupied” 31 times, but only a total of five times in reference to all seven other conflicts combined.

Yet the bias goes further:

General Assembly resolutions employ the term “grave” to describe Israel’s actions 513 times, as opposed to 14 total for all the other conflicts, which involve the full gamut of human-rights abuses, including allegations of ethnic cleansing and torture. Verbs such as “condemn” and “deplore” are sprinkled into Israel-related resolutions tens more times than they are in resolutions about other conflicts, setting a unique tone of disdain.

Israel has been reminded by resolutions against it of the country’s obligations under the Geneva Conventions about 500 times since 1967—as opposed to two times for the other situations.

In particular, the resolutions refer to Article 49(6), which states that the “Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” This is the provision that the entire legal case against Israel settlements is based upon. Yet no U.N. body has ever invoked Article 49(6) in relation to any of the occupations mentioned above.

Israeli politician Danny Ayalon also gives a breakdown of the U.N. hypocrisy in this video. Not only does a large segment of U.N. General Assembly “Member States” comprise of countries where basic religious and political liberties for minorities are repressed, but it also includes rogue states that advance jihad either directly or indirectly like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Furthermore, it’s ridiculous that those in the Western world, including Israel (the only genuine democracy in the Middle East) have to take harangues by such actors. For example, at the U.N. General Assembly in 2012, on the Jewish day of atonement (Yom Kippur, high holy day), then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lambasted Israel and the international order – calling Israel a “fake government” and referring to them as “uncivilized Zionists” among other things.

Considering everything mentioned above it’s absurd how some U.S. leaders want to give the U.N. General Assembly even more power – especially with the U.S. currently wielding the “right to veto” resolutions, being one of the five “Permanent Member States” of theU.N. Security Council. While such efforts to make the U.N. more ‘democratic’ may sound appealing to some globalists, it ignores the fact that many U.N. member countries haven’t even truly bought into the U.N.’s flawed Universal Declaration of Human Rights. When U.S. politicians like President Obama and Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton seek to concede U.S. sovereignty to the empower the U.N., we need to remind them how bad of an idea that is for not only the U.S. but the rest of the free-world as well.