The Message behind American Recognition of Israeli Sovereignty over Jerusalem

Dec. 14 2017

By refusing to acknowledge the location of Israel’s capital, generations of U.S. presidents and foreign-policy professionals have demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of what lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Douglas Feith explains:

Part and parcel of [Palestinian] thinking is the depiction of Israel as a foreign intrusion into the region. It is called a “Crusader state” and analogized to European colonialist outposts, such as French Algeria. The point is that the Israelis, like the Crusaders in the Middle Ages and the French a half-century ago, can be demoralized through relentless violent resistance and induced to pack up and leave the land to its true owners, the Arabs. . . .

The conventional wisdom for decades has held that the heart of the Arab-Israeli problem is the territory that Israel won in 1967 and the Israeli settlements there. But it should be obvious that that’s wrong. Why did Egypt, Syria, and Jordan provoke the 1967 war to begin with? In fact, the conflict goes back long before 1967—it even predates 1948, when Israel became an independent state. . . .

If this analysis is correct, then U.S. recognition of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem might contribute to peace. It reinforces useful messages: Israel is here to stay. The Jews are deeply historically connected to the land and are not foreigners or Crusaders. The U.S.-Israeli connection is tight and not subject to manipulation by Israel’s enemies. . . . There is a price to be paid for perpetuating the conflict: life goes on, the Israelis create new realities, and the world in general adjusts to those realities. The Palestinians do not improve their position—or even preserve it—by remaining unwilling to make peace.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Jerusalem, Palestinians, US-Israel relations

To Israel’s Leading Strategist, Strength, Not Concessions, Has Brought a Measure of Calm

Aug. 14 2018

Following a long and distinguished career in the IDF, Yaakov Amidror served as Israel’s national-security adviser from 2011 to 2013. He speaks with Armin Rosen about the threats from Gaza, Hizballah, and Iran:

For Israel’s entire existence, would-be peacemakers have argued that the key to regional harmony is the reduction of the Jewish state’s hard power through territorial withdrawals and/or the legitimization of the country’s non-state enemies. In Amidror’s view, reality has thoroughly debunked this line of reasoning.

Amidror believes peace—or calm, at least—came as a result of Israeli muscle. Israel proved to its former enemies in the Sunni Arab world that it’s powerful enough to fill the vacuum left by America’s exit from the region and to stand up to Iran on the rest of the Middle East’s behalf. “The stronger Israel is, the more the ability of Arab countries to cooperate [with it] grows,” Amidror explained. On the whole, Amidror said he’s “very optimistic. I remember the threat that we faced when we were young. We fought the Six-Day War and I remember the Yom Kippur War, and I see what we are facing today. We have only one-and-a-half problems. One problem is Iran, and the half-problem is Hizballah.” . . .

In all likelihood the next Israeli-Iranian confrontation will be a clash with Amidror’s half-threat: the Lebanese Shiite militant group Hizballah, Iran’s most effective proxy in the Middle East and perhaps the best armed non-state military force on earth. . . . “We should neutralize the military capability of Hizballah,” [in the event of war], he said. “We should not destroy the organization as a political tool. If the Shiites want these people to represent them, it’s their problem.” . . .

“It will be a very nasty war,” Amidror said. “A very, very nasty war.” Hizballah will fire “thousands and thousands” of long-range missiles of improved precision, speed, and range at Israeli population centers, a bombardment larger than Israel’s various layers of missile defense will be able to neutralize in full. . . . This will, [however], be a blow Israel can withstand. “Israelis will be killed, no question,” Amidror said. “But it’s not going to be catastrophic.”

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More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Lebanon