This could be the beginning of the end of the Arab-Israeli conflict. For more than 70 years, alongside oil and Islamic extremism, that dispute defined the Middle East. Innumerable books were written about the subject, and courses on it were offered at most major universities. Iran and Iraq could fight for eight bloody years, the Lebanese could massacre one another for 15, and wars would rage along the borders of Morocco, Libya and Egypt, but the term "Middle East conflict" almost invariably referred to that between Israel and the 22 Arab states.
Similarly, "Middle East peace," did not mean reconciling such regional rivals as Syria and Turkey or Saudi Arabia and Qatar but mediating between Arabs and Israelis.… Seguir leyendo »
The impending peace agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is a game-changer for the entire Middle East.
In addition to wedding one of world's wealthiest states (the UAE) with its most innovative (Israel), it also opens new avenues toward peace. Realizing that other Arab states may soon follow the UAE's lead, and that time is no longer on their side, the Palestinians may well return to the negotiating table.
An Israeli public that is secure in its newfound relations with the Arab world will be more likely to make concessions. Stalemated for almost 30 years, the peace process might finally be revived.… Seguir leyendo »
While denounced by many as a dangerous escalation of tensions that could lead to war, the killing of Iran's Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani was welcomed in Israel and throughout the Middle East. Justice was done for the thousands of people killed under Soleimani's command, and he helped prop up Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, which was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Following a period of non-response to Iranian attacks and provocations, American deterrence was restored. Israelis say this knowing full well that the Iranian regime is almost certain to seek revenge and that its first target could be Israel.… Seguir leyendo »
“The only alternative to the Iran nuclear deal is war.” That is what the Obama administration and proponents of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action with Iran claimed in 2015. Nobody in the Middle East believed that the United States would ever strike Iran, but enough Americans did that the deal went through.
President Trump has long opposed the deal, calling it one of the “worst and most one-sided transactions” ever. On Oct. 15, the president faces a deadline to recertify or decertify the agreement; various reports say he will opt for the latter. The deal’s defenders, horrified by this prospect, are once again warning of catastrophe.… Seguir leyendo »
Israelis are celebrating 50 years since the Six-Day War — and with good reason. That victory saved us from destruction and reunited our holiest city. Ultimately, it also brought us peace with Egypt and Jordan and a strategic alliance with the United States. The Palestinians, by contrast, are mourning a half-century of suffering. They claim that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza subjected them to colonization and denied them statehood.
While the war certainly shaped the modern Middle East, it alone cannot account for the contradictory ways Israelis and Palestinians commemorate it. The chasm can only be explained by events that preceded it.… Seguir leyendo »
Anti-Semitism is thriving in Europe, so it was no surprise to hear the news last month of record-setting Jewish migration to Israel in 2015. It is a trend that should concern European leaders, who should be asking how they have fueled this scourge. Indeed, the issue raises an extremely troubling question -- more than 70 years after the Holocaust, has Europe really changed?
Take, for example, the European Union's recent decision to label Jewish goods from Judea, Samaria (the West Bank) and the Golan Heights.
There are more than 200 territorial disputes in the world, but Europe does not label products as made in Chinese-occupied Tibet or Turkish-occupied Cyprus.… Seguir leyendo »
How can the United States help Israel defend itself against the threats amplified by the nuclear deal with Iran? That is the question that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will raise with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday.
Defense officials from the two countries have already discussed offers of advanced aircraft -- F-35 jet fighters and V-22 transports -- to Israel, as well as other military hardware. The President also might commit to reacting forcibly to Iranian violations of the agreement and to support Israel if it were attacked by Hezbollah.
But beyond these strategic understandings, the meeting also could produce a historic breakthrough.… Seguir leyendo »
If you scan the headlines, you may have seen that I've written a new book, "Ally: My Journey Across the American-Israeli Divide." Clearly, it has touched a nerve.
This is hardly surprising. The book is out precisely when the United States looks poised to sign a nuclear deal with Iran -- a deal that is bad for Israel, bad for America and bad for the world.
For Israel, Iran's nuclear program poses not one, but several existential threats. The first and most obvious is that Iran will develop nuclear warheads and will place them atop one of the many intercontinental ballistic missiles it has built, missiles whose sole purpose is to carry such warheads.… Seguir leyendo »
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary of State John Kerry and the foreign ministers of Great Britain and France all are rushing to achieve a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Their motive — to end civilian suffering and restore stability to the area — is noble. The images of the wounded and dead resulting from the conflict are indeed agonizing. However, these senior statesmen can be most helpful now by doing nothing. To preserve the values they cherish and to send an unequivocal message to terrorist organizations and their state sponsors everywhere, Israel must be permitted to crush Hamas in the Gaza Strip.… Seguir leyendo »
The key to ending the current battle between Hamas and Israel — and preventing more fighting in the future — is the demilitarization of Gaza. Simply put, Hamas without rockets is not the same Hamas.
That solution, though seemingly uncomplicated, has given rise to questions about its practicality. Is it possible? Are there precedents? How could disarmament be implemented and its permanence assured? And who would lead the effort, guaranteeing that removing rockets from Gaza would benefit Palestinians and Israelis alike and advance the cause of peace?
Demilitarization indeed has precedents, beginning with the 1982 evacuation of the Palestine Liberation Organization from Beirut.… Seguir leyendo »
Great baseball players know every pitch is an opportunity. As with fastballs, international crises also present opportunities. And the current clash between Israel and Gaza offers several potential game-changers.
Over the course of the past six days, Hamas gunmen, along with other militant groups, have fired nearly 800 rockets at Israeli cities and towns. The Israeli air force, in response, has conducted some 1,200 sorties against Hamas targets and -- despite warning civilians of impending attacks -- inflicted civilian casualties.
Now, the Israeli army is poised to enter Gaza and uproot Hamas by force. Destruction is expected to be at least as extensive as in the previous rounds of fighting between Hamas and Israel.… Seguir leyendo »
The war against Israel has passed through three phases.
The first was the attempt to annihilate Israel by conventional means. It began with Israel's birth in 1948, when Arab armies nearly captured Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and ended in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when Israeli forces came within artillery range of Cairo and Damascus.
The next stage, starting in the early 1970s, sought to cripple Israel through terror. Suicide bombers nearly paralyzed the country, but by 2005 they too were defeated.
That is when Israel's enemies launched the third, and potentially most devastating, campaign: to isolate, delegitimize and sanction Israel into extinction.… Seguir leyendo »
Back in the mid-1960s, a Palestinian guerrilla group called Fatah -- the Conquest -- began launching cross-border attacks against Israeli civilians.
Sponsored by Syria and led by Palestinian activists, among them the young Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah aroused admiration throughout the Arab world. So much so that Egypt, then Syria's rival, formed its own group and called it the Palestine Liberation Organization -- the PLO -- which also staged attacks into Israel.
The Israelis wouldn't sit passively, though, but struck back at Fatah's Syrian hosts, who in turn shelled Israeli villages. Not to be outdone, Egypt in May 1967 evicted U.N. peacekeeping forces from the Sinai Peninsula and amassed troops along Israel's border.… Seguir leyendo »
The world is, understandably, focused on the Middle East. The map of the region — drawn a century ago by European powers to reflect imperial interests rather than ethnic realities — is unraveling. Syrians and Iraqis are being massacred, and Jordan is flooded with the half-million who have fled. Turkey, a formidable power, also struggles to meet the challenges of refugees and terrorist attacks. Russia, meanwhile, seems bent on supplying Syrian President Bashar al-Assad with deadly weapons such as the S-300 anti-aircraft system. This will enable Assad to enforce a no-fly zone over all of Syria and even parts of neighboring countries.… Seguir leyendo »
President Obama is visiting Israel this week, the first foreign trip of his second term. Some commentators have criticized the tour as a diversion from the president's intention to pivot toward the Asia-Pacific region. Why go to Israel now, they ask, and anger the Arabs at a time of rising Middle Eastern turmoil? Others claim that the trip is merely a maneuver designed to achieve some memorable photo-ops rather than to advance crucial American interests.
Indeed, the president could have traveled farther east and to a less controversial country. But the fact remains that the United States is economically, militarily and strategically engaged in the Middle East.… Seguir leyendo »
Critics of Israel’s campaign to defend millions of its citizens from deadly Hamas rocket fire claim that it lacks a clear objective. Israel has bombed Gaza in the past, they argue, and received only rockets in return. Is there any logic, much less an end, to the cycle of violence? Can it lead to negotiations and peace?
Such questions can be answered only by going back to the origin of the campaign that we Israelis now call Operation Pillar of Defense. It did not begin last week, after Hamas fired more than 700 rockets at southern Israel this year; nor did it start four years ago, as Israel acted to stop thousands of terrorist rockets striking its south.… Seguir leyendo »
The claim of Israel’s isolation, echoed by Democratic and Republican leaders alike, is gaining status as fact. “Israel finds itself increasingly isolated, beleaguered, and besieged,” John Heilemann wrote recently in New York magazine. The Economist reported that “Israel’s isolation has . . . been underlined by the deterioration of its relations with Turkey and Egypt.” New York Times columnist Nicholas D. Kristof accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “isolating his country,” while Thomas Friedman described Israel as “adrift at sea alone.”
But is Israel really more isolated now than in the past?
Isolation, of course, is not automatically symptomatic of bad policies.… Seguir leyendo »
The world shared the American people's gratitude for the special forces who rid us of Osama bin Laden, but there was one flagrant exception.
"We condemn the assassination of an Arab holy warrior," declared Ismail Haniyeh, the prime minister of the Hamas regime in Gaza, who also deplored "the continuing American policy … of shedding Muslim blood."
This is the same Hamas that has launched hundreds of suicide bombers and thousands of rockets at Israeli civilians. Hamas terrorists have held Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, in solitary confinement for nearly five years without a single Red Cross visit. And just last month, they fired an antitank rocket at an Israeli school bus, killing 16-year-old Daniel Viflic.… Seguir leyendo »
Following an uprising in Cairo, Israel’s prime minister told the Knesset that he “wishes to see a free, independent and progressive Egypt,” and that “the stormy developments there may contain positive trends for progress.” The prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, spoke on Aug. 18, 1952, shortly after a young and seemingly moderate officer, Gamal Abdel Nasser, came to power.
Israeli leaders subsequently tried to secure a peace treaty with Nasser, but his rule proved neither progressive nor peace-minded. Instead, his hostility toward Israel set off two wars, the second of which, the Six-Day War of 1967, continues to affect the Middle East today.… Seguir leyendo »
Nearly 63 years after the United Nations recognized the right of the Jewish people to independence in their homeland — and more than 62 years since Israel’s creation — the Palestinians are still denying the Jewish nature of the state. “Israel can name itself whatever it wants,” said the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, while, according to the newspaper Haaretz, his chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, said that the Palestinian Authority will never recognize Israel as the Jewish state. Back in 1948, opposition to the legitimacy of a Jewish state ignited a war. Today it threatens peace.
Mr. Abbas and Mr. Erekat were responding to the call by the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, enabling his government to consider extending the moratorium on West Bank construction.… Seguir leyendo »