Making Sense of the Juxtaposition of the Jerusalem Embassy Opening with the Gaza Riots

Today, while America opened its embassy in Jerusalem, the riots on the Israel-Gaza border, which have been going on for weeks, continued and escalated. Ira Stoll corrects those who have misread the former event as the cause of the latter, and draws some more significant conclusions:

Arab or Islamist violence has been remarkably consistent for nearly a century. Nearly 70 Jews were killed in the 1929 Hebron riots. Palestinian terrorists killed eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972. Another 25 Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorists in the Ma’alot massacre in 1974. The 1990s and 2000s saw a series of Palestinian suicide attacks on Israeli passenger buses, at the Dolphinarium disco, at the Sbarro restaurant.

These attacks happen when Washington sides with Israel, as it has during the Trump administration, and when it tries to pressure Israel or mediate more even-handedly, as it did in other administrations. The attacks target America, as they did on September 11, 2001, and they target European capitals with foreign policies that are more tilted toward the Arabs. More than 190 were killed in the Madrid train bombings of 2004, more than 50 in the 2005 London transit bombings, hundreds more in the attacks in Paris and Brussels in 2015 and 2016. America’s embassy in Iran was seized in 1979 and Pan Am Flight 103 was downed in 1988. . . .

The Gaza violence is sad. Press coverage of it often notes that no Israelis have been killed in the clashes, as if it would somehow be better if the deaths were more evenly distributed. Yet if the choice is between deaths of Palestinian rioters in Gaza or civilians in New York, London, Madrid, Brussels, Paris, Jerusalem, or Tel Aviv, electorates and foreign-policy hands alike aren’t going to spend a lot of time agonizing. [And the] Gaza riots . . . make it clear that the primary Palestinian complaint isn’t about Israeli settlers or occupation—Israel withdrew its settlers from Gaza in 2005—but about Israel’s existence.

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More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza withdrawal, Israel & Zionism, Terrorism, U.S. Foreign policy

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