How Israel’s Military Successes Ended Its Conflict with the Arab World

Nov. 21 2022

The coming year marks the 75th anniversary of the Jewish state’s founding, and the 50th of the last time Arab nations dared to go to war with it. Surveying the changes of the past half century, Daniel Pipes writes:

During Israel’s first 25 years, from 1948 to 1973, Arab states—with Egypt, Jordan, and Syria in the lead, followed by Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon—fought it five times with conventional armed forces. They built up huge armies, allied with the Soviet bloc, and fought Israel on the literal battlefield. After 1973, the states quietly bowed out and remained out over the next 50 years—which is to say, for twice as long as the era during which they actively fought Israel.

The few exceptions to this cold peace—notably, a Syrian aerial confrontation in 1982 and an Iraqi missile attack in 1991—help make the point. Their brevity, limitations, and failure enforced the wisdom of not confronting Israel. The Syrian air force lost 82 planes, while the Israeli air force lost none. And eighteen separate Iraqi missile attacks directly killed one Israeli. The Iraqi and Syrian regimes both started nuclear programs but gave them up after coming under Israeli attacks in 1981 and 2007, respectively.

Although most Arab states continued to assault Israel verbally and economically after 1973, they carefully withdrew from military confrontation. Focused on other issues—the Iranian threat, the Islamist surge, civil wars in Libya, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, Turkey going rogue, and a water drought—hoary anti-Zionist taboos lost much of their hold in Arabic-speaking countries.

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Read more at Commentary

More about: Israel-Arab relations, Israeli history, Israeli Security

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship