The New American Embassy Punctures the Fantasy of an International Jerusalem

Today, the U.S. will officially open its new embassy in Jerusalem. Nadav Shragai explains what this event does, and does not, signify:

[T]he transfer of the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is another nail in the coffin in which [the Trump administration] placed UN Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, which called for the internationalization of Jerusalem [along with the partition of Mandatory Palestine into Jewish and Arab states]. This metaphorical coffin is the consequence of U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6, 2017. Now, it would seem, [internationalization] is being laid to rest in its grave. . . .

At the same time, to put matters into proportion, it is worth stating [that], contrary to the lamentations and threats of war on the Palestinian side, but also in contrast to the fanfare and sense of victory on the Israeli side, this is neither cause for another Nakba [“catastrophe”] for the Palestinians nor a second November 29, 1947 celebration for Israel. The embassy transfer is primarily a snapshot of the situation and de jure recognition of what already exists de facto: Jerusalem, and definitely its western part, where the United States is now putting its embassy, is the capital of Israel. The United States, as opposed to most other countries in the world, recognizes this reality and has given it recognition and its seal of approval.

Does this mean that the concept of the internationalization of Jerusalem will never be tossed back into the international arena in the future? No. . . . At the same time, the fact that a power like the United States has effectively erased the internationalization option with regard to the entire area of Jerusalem is very significant. . . .

[Meanwhile], the Arab world is divided. The (comparative) silence of Egypt and the Saudis on [the transfer of the embassy], which Jordan has also joined, have made it easier for President Trump to go through with it. Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan will also benefit from generous future economic and military aid from the Trump administration. They are part of the coalition that Donald Trump and Benjamin Netanyahu are building against Iran and the organizations and countries that are helping it, including Hizballah, Hamas, Syria, and Turkey. The Saudis and Egyptians have expressed formal opposition to Trump’s actions, but they have been careful not to push the boundaries on this issue. Jordan, which at first appeared to join in with Turkey, has taken a step or two back.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Israel & Zionism, Jerusalem, Jordan, 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