How to Prevent a Conflagration in Jerusalem

Sept. 21 2015

The imminent coincidence of Yom Kippur and the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha is expected to exacerbate the situation on the Temple Mount, where there have been multiple riots in recent weeks and spreading violence elsewhere in Jerusalem. Kobi Michael and Oded Eran suggest what Israel might do to prevent a major outbreak of violence:

The crisis, [which has been going on] for several months already, . . . requires the design of an overall strategy, not merely putting out fires as they occur. . . . The stabilization efforts should include stepped-up police presence and law enforcement, and legislative changes to enact more severe punishment [for rioters]. These should be combined with efforts to temper the behavior of Jewish provocateurs, and diplomatic and public-relations efforts to expose the true nature of the events on the Temple Mount to the international community, with an emphasis on the riots and violent confrontations [orchestrated] by Palestinian groups.

Concurrently, Israel should try to refashion the existing situation on the Temple Mount with a focus on excluding inciters, headed by Hamas and the northern faction of the Islamic Movement, while reinforcing the presence and influence of the Jordanian Waqf on the site. This would help preempt a possible maneuver in Abbas’s expected appearance before the UN General Assembly in late September that harps on the issue of Jerusalem as a convenient tool for the purpose of delegitimizing Israel in the international community.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Jerusalem, Palestinian terror, Temple Mount, Yom Kippur

At the UN, Nikki Haley Told the Truth about Israel—and the World Didn’t Burn Down

April 22 2019

Although Nikki Haley had never been to Israel when she took the position of American ambassador to the UN, and had no prior foreign-policy experience, she distinguished herself as one of the most capable and vigorous defenders of the Jewish state ever to hold the position. Jon Lerner, who served as Haley’s deputy during her ambassadorship, sees the key to her success—regarding both Israel and many other matters—in her refusal to abide by the polite fictions that the institution holds sacred:

Myths are sometimes assets in international relations. The fiction that Taiwan is not an independent country, for example, allows [the U.S.] to sustain [its] relationship with China. In other cases, however, myths can create serious problems. On Israel–Palestinian issues, the Trump administration was determined to test some mythical propositions that many had come to take for granted, and, in some cases, to refute them. Haley’s prominence at the UN arose in large part from a conscious choice to reject myths that had pervaded diplomacy on Israel–Palestinian issues for decades. . . .

[For instance], U.S. presidents were intimidated by the argument that recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital would trigger violent explosions throughout the Muslim world. President Trump and key colleagues doubted this, and they turned out to be right. Violent reaction in the Palestinian territories was limited, and there was virtually none elsewhere in Arab and Islamic countries. . . .

It turns out that the United States can support Israel strongly and still work closely with Arab states to promote common interests like opposing Iranian threats. The Arab street is not narrowly Israel-minded and is not as volatile as long believed. The sky won’t fall if the U.S. stops funding UN sacred cows like the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA). Even if future U.S. administrations revert to the policies of the past, these old assumptions will remain disproved. That is a valuable accomplishment that will last long after Nikki Haley’s UN tenure.

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More about: Donald Trump, Nikki Haley, United Nations, US-Israel relations