Naftali Bennett Should Ask for an Enduring American Commitment to Israel’s Control over the Golan Heights

Last week, reports circulated that the U.S. government had decided to revoke the previous administration’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights. The reports turned out to be inaccurate, but underscore the importance of securing a reaffirmation from the current White House. Dore Gold writes:

The most important U.S. statement on policy with respect to the Golan Heights was contained in the 1975 letter from President Gerald Ford to Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin, which stated that “the U.S. has not developed a final position on the borders. Should it do so, it will give great weight to Israel’s position that any peace agreement with Syria must be predicated on Israel remaining on the Golan Heights.”

What made the Ford letter so significant was that it provided the basis for the formulation of U.S. policy by subsequent administrations. . . . American assurances on the Golan Heights were bipartisan and in many respects set the stage for finally recognizing Israeli sovereignty on March 25, 2019.

The new U.S. approach to the Golan Heights was not formally locked in by means of a bilateral treaty. . . . Clearly, further diplomacy is required between Jerusalem and Washington. Perhaps the issue can be settled before the first summit meeting between President Biden and Prime Minister Bennett.

Remember, Iran is seeking to encircle Israel with its Shiite militias—in Lebanon, in new bases within Syria, and eventually in Jordan. If U.S. policy over the Golan Heights is interpreted as changing, that might even invite a conflict that neither the U.S. nor Israel is seeking.

Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Golan Heights, Joseph Biden, Naftali Bennett, US-Israel relations

American Aid to Lebanon Is a Gift to Iran

For many years, Lebanon has been a de-facto satellite of Tehran, which exerts control via its local proxy militia, Hizballah. The problem with the U.S. policy toward the country, according to Tony Badran, is that it pretends this is not the case, and continues to support the government in Beirut as if it were a bulwark against, rather than a pawn of, the Islamic Republic:

So obsessed is the Biden administration with the dubious art of using taxpayer dollars to underwrite the Lebanese pseudo-state run by the terrorist group Hizballah that it has spent its two years in office coming up with legally questionable schemes to pay the salaries of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), setting new precedents in the abuse of U.S. foreign security-assistance programs. In January, the administration rolled out its program to provide direct salary payments, in cash, to both the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) and the Internal Security Forces (ISF).

The scale of U.S. financing of Lebanon’s Hizballah-dominated military apparatus cannot be understated: around 100,000 Lebanese are now getting cash stipends courtesy of the American taxpayer to spend in Hizballah-land. . . . This is hardly an accident. For U.S. policymakers, synergy between the LAF/ISF and Hizballah is baked into their policy, which is predicated on fostering and building up a common anti-Israel posture that joins Lebanon’s so-called “state institutions” with the country’s dominant terror group.

The implicit meaning of the U.S. bureaucratic mantra that U.S. assistance aims to “undermine Hizballah’s narrative that its weapons are necessary to defend Lebanon” is precisely that the LAF/ISF and the Lebanese terror group are jointly competing to achieve the same goals—namely, defending Lebanon from Israel.

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Iran, Israeli Security, Lebanon, U.S. Foreign policy