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What President Trump Can Accomplish on His Trip to the Middle East

As President Trump prepares to visit both Saudi Arabia and Israel, and thereafter to attend a NATO meeting in Brussels, Robert Satloff has some suggestions for what he can bring to America’s traditional allies:

First, the president should take advantage of his meeting with Muslim leaders in Riyadh to propose a new partnership to roll back the twin forms of Islamist extremism that threaten global peace and security: the Sunni jihadism of Islamic State (IS), al-Qaeda, and like-minded sub-state actors, movements, and groups, and the Iranian-led consortium of radical states, militias, and proxies. . . . Such a partnership—less than a full-fledged treaty but more than just a vague communiqué—would have many component parts, from military, political, and diplomatic to economic, educational, and cultural. . . .

Second, the president should link his Riyadh and Brussels meetings to secure promises from his Arab hosts and his NATO partners for a coordinated, all-hands-on-deck effort to ensure stability, security, and reasonably effective governance in the lands soon to be liberated from IS domination in eastern Syria and western Iraq. . . .

[In addition], the president should use his considerable political leverage to advance a secure peace between Israel and the Palestinians. . . . With Palestinians, he should pick up a theme George W. Bush championed fifteen years ago as a requirement of U.S. partnership and then dropped in the tumult of the Iraq war: an insistence on internal reform, on everything from fighting corruption to stamping out incitement to ending the odious practice of paying terrorists and their families.

Read more at New York Daily News

More about: Middle East, NATO, Palestinian Authority, Politics & Current Affairs, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy

 

Being a Critic of Israel Means Never Having to Explain How It Should Defend Itself

April 23 2018

The ever-worsening situation of Jews in Europe, writes Bret Stephens, should serve as a reminder of the need for a Jewish state. Israel’s critics, he suggests, should reflect more deeply on that need:

Israel did not come into existence to serve as another showcase of the victimization of Jews. It exists to end the victimization of Jews.

That’s a point that Israel’s restless critics could stand to learn. On Friday, Palestinians in Gaza returned for the fourth time to the border fence with Israel, in protests promoted by Hamas. The explicit purpose of Hamas leaders is to breach the fence and march on Jerusalem. Israel cannot possibly allow this—doing so would create a precedent that would encourage similar protests, and more death, along all of Israel’s borders—and has repeatedly used deadly force to counter it.

The armchair corporals of Western punditry think this is excessive. It would be helpful if they could suggest alternative military tactics to an Israeli government dealing with an urgent crisis against an adversary sworn to its destruction. They don’t.

It would also be helpful if they could explain how they can insist on Israel’s retreat to the 1967 borders and then scold Israel when it defends those borders. They can’t. If the armchair corporals want to persist in demands for withdrawals that for 25 years have led to more Palestinian violence, not less, the least they can do is be ferocious in defense of Israel’s inarguable sovereignty. Somehow they almost never are. . . .

[T]o the extent that the diaspora’s objections [to Israeli policies] are prompted by the nonchalance of the supposedly nonvulnerable when it comes to Israel’s security choices, then the complaints are worse than feckless. They provide moral sustenance for Hamas in its efforts to win sympathy for its strategy of wanton aggression and reckless endangerment. And they foster the illusion that there’s some easy and morally stainless way by which Jews can exercise the responsibilities of political power.

Read more at New York Times

More about: Anti-Semitism, Gaza Strip, Israel & Zionism