Why Guatemala’s Embassy Move Matters

March 8 2018

Guatemala declared that it would do the same. The editors of the Weekly Standard explain why this matters:

“It is important to be among the first,” the Guatemalan president Jimmy Morales said on Monday at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) policy conference, “but it is more important to do what’s right.”

Guatemala was one of only nine nations that backed the U.S. embassy move when the UN passed a resolution condemning it. The other countries were similarly small players on the global stage: Honduras, the Marshall Islands, Togo, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, and of course Israel.

We hear the guffaws of the foreign-policy elite in Washington and London and Paris. Guatemala? Honduras? Togo? The alignment of these few little nations with U.S. policy is itself, members of this elite suggested, an indication of just how outlandish the American policy is.

Well, okay. But 35 nations merely abstained in the UN vote, and many of them are both sizable and influential: Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, to name a few. We wonder what would happen if some of these nations also decided to move their embassies to Jerusalem? Perhaps not much, or perhaps some halfhearted protests in Middle East capitals and some formulaic denunciations from the usual suspects in Turtle Bay. Perhaps not even that. . . .

[F]ar from jeopardizing the at-present nonexistent peace process, moving those embassies would help to rid future negotiations of the pernicious delusion that the Palestinians may one day control all of Jerusalem. The only basis on which to negotiate is the truth, and so far the U.S. and Guatemala are the first openly to acknowledge that truth. Others are welcome to follow.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Jerusalem, Latin America, U.S. Foreign policy

 

Syria’s Downing of a Russian Plane Put Israel in the Crosshairs

Sept. 21 2018

On Monday, Israeli jets fired missiles at an Iranian munitions storehouse in the northwestern Syrian city of Latakia. Shortly thereafter, Syrian personnel shot down a Russian surveillance plane with surface-to-air missiles, in what seems to be a botched and highly incompetent response to the Israeli attack. Moscow first responded by blaming Jerusalem for the incident, but President Putin then offered more conciliatory statements. Yesterday, Russian diplomats again stated that Israel was at fault. Yoav Limor comments:

What was unusual [about the Israeli] strike was the location: Latakia [is] close to Russian forces, in an area where the IDF hasn’t been active for some time. The strike itself was routine; the IDF notified the Russian military about it in advance, the missiles were fired remotely, the Israeli F-16s returned to base unharmed, and as usual, Syrian antiaircraft missiles were fired indiscriminately in every direction, long after the strike itself was over. . . .

Theoretically, this is a matter between Russia and Syria. Russia supplied Syria with the SA-5 [missile] batteries that wound up shooting down its plane, and now it must demand explanations from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad. That won’t happen; Russia was quick to blame Israel for knocking over the first domino, and as usual, sent conflicting messages that make it hard to parse its future strategy. . . .

From now on, Russia will [almost certainly] demand a higher level of coordination with Israel and limits on the areas in which Israel can attack, and possibly a commitment to refrain from certain actions. Syria, Iran, and Hizballah will try to drag Russia into “handling” Israel and keeping it from continuing to carry out strikes in the region. Israel . . . will blame Iran, Hizballah, and Syria for the incident, and say they are responsible for the mess.

But Israel needs to take rapid action to minimize damage. It is in Israel’s strategic interest to keep up its offensive actions to the north, mainly in Syria. If that action is curtailed, Israel’s national security will be compromised. . . . No one in Israel, and certainly not in the IDF or the Israel Air Force, wants Russia—which until now hasn’t cared much about Israel’s actions—to turn hostile, and Israel needs to do everything to prevent that from happening. Even if that means limiting its actions for the time being. . . . Still, make no mistake: Russia is angry and has to explain its actions to its people. Israel will need to walk a thin line between protecting its own security interests and avoiding a very unwanted clash with Russia.

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More about: Hizballah, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Russia, Syrian civil war