In Acknowledging the Reality about Jerusalem, the U.S. Helped the Cause of Peace

Dec. 13 2017

Belief is widespread in the Arab world that Jews have no claim—historical, political, or moral—to the city of Jerusalem, writes Haisam Hassanein, an Arab-American born in the Middle East. When Western leaders effectively pay lip service to that belief by refusing to recognize the city as Israel’s capital, they encourage the delusion that the Jewish state might vacate it entirely in a future peace deal. Thus, Hassanein contends, the longstanding U.S. policy of ambiguity has made the acceptance of such a deal less likely:

Based on my personal experience, I think U.S. policymakers over many years have been irrational, even deluded, to think that millions of Arabs—let alone Palestinians—will accept a peace settlement acknowledging Jerusalem as the capital of the Jewish state. The fact is, insisting upon this up front, laying this down as essentially non-negotiable, is the only chance the idea will ever get through their heads. . . .

We have heard all the talk about coming violence [that might occur] if and when the United States acknowledges Jerusalem as the capital of Israel—despite the fact that the U.S. Congress has repeatedly declared this to be the case.

The coming weeks and months will prove those warnings to have been overblown. Yes, there [has been] outrage and protests in some countries. But Arab governments criminalize free speech and the right to assemble. Any protests, violence, and rioting are likely to be staged or permitted by Arab governments to blackmail the U.S. policy community into following their views, which unfortunately previous U.S. administrations have tolerated. . . . Those who do protest [are] driven by a political agenda that denies Israel’s right to exist outright and are fundamentally hostile to the United States. . . .

Acknowledging Jerusalem as Israel’s capital just may be the necessary breath of fresh air we need: it will settle this issue, and if they want and need a state, Palestinians will have to move on to issues that truly deserve and demand negotiations.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at New York Daily News

More about: Israel & Zionism, Jerusalem, Middle East, U.S. Foreign policy, US-Israel relations

No, Israel Hasn’t Used Disproportionate Force against Hamas

Aug. 15 2018

Last week, Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza launched nearly 200 rockets and mortars into Israel, in addition to the ongoing makeshift incendiary devices and sporadic sniper fire. Israel responded with an intensive round of airstrikes, which stopped the rockets. Typically, condemnations of the Jewish state’s use of “disproportionate force” followed; and typically, as Peter Lerner, a former IDF spokesman, explains, these were wholly inaccurate:

The IDF conducted, by its own admission, approximately 180 precision strikes. In the aftermath of those strikes the Hamas Ministry of Health announced that three people had been killed. One of the dead was [identified] as a Hamas terrorist. The two others were reported as civilians: Inas Abu Khmash, a twenty-three-year-old pregnant woman, and her eighteen-month daughter, Bayan. While their deaths are tragic, they are not an indication of a disproportionate response to Hamas’s bombardment of Israel’s southern communities. With . . . 28 Israelis who required medical assistance [and] 30 Iron Dome interceptions, I would argue the heart-rending Palestinian deaths indicate the exact opposite.

The precision strikes on Hamas’s assets with so few deaths show how deep and thorough is the planning process the IDF has put in place. . . . Proportionality in warfare, [however], is not a numbers game, as so many of the journalists I’ve worked with maintain. . . . Proportionality weighs the necessity of a military action against the anguish that the action might cause to civilians in the vicinity. . . . In the case of the last few days, it appears that even intended combatant deaths were [deemed] undesirable, due to their potential to increase the chances of war. . . .

The question that should be repeated is why indiscriminate rocket fire against Israeli civilians from behind Gazan civilians is accepted, underreported, and not condemned.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Read more at Jerusalem Post

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict