Tag: Palestine

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Trump’s Disruptive Foreign Policy

 

The following began its brief life as a comment on another recent post, but after reflection I thought maybe it was cogent enough to stand on its own. On the foreign policy front, I suspect I may be the only one here who has served in Embassies, including during the Trump era. This is what I will say about that.

  1. I’m sure I won’t break any news when I say that most of the foreign policy establishment leans left and is distressed when any Republican is elected but was especially so in 2016. This is not only true of our dear State Department friends but across the entire transnational community of foreign policy elites.
  2. Continuing as Captain Obvious, DJT is a norm-breaker, and the foreign policy community seriously loves it some norms–and resents when they are broken.
  3. Of course, some norms badly needed to be broken. In particular, the national and international foreign policy consensus on China urgently needed to move, and this administration succeeded in catalyzing that movement. The 2017 National Security Strategy and National Defense Strategy were masterfully done. They met a critical need to generate a global awakening about the failure of the previous consensus on Beijing, probably best summarized by Robert Zoellick’s 2005 “Responsible Stakeholder” speech. Someone had to end the charade, and it’s worth wondering whether a more conventional administration of either party could have overcome the entrenched consensus to have boldly introduced major-power competition as the new normal–so successfully that even the professionals now agree that we can’t go back to the status quo ante on China.
  4. Israel and the Middle East is the other major area where the foreign policy consensus simply had to be sidelined. I recently spoke to a State Department official who–in the context of a discussion about normalization with the UAE and Bahrain–seethed angrily about how this Administration had trashed 70 years of foreign policy consensus on Palestine. Without irony. Sometimes the conventional wisdom must be firmly rejected.
  5. Getting our allies to finally invest in their own defense is also a plus.
  6. Having said that, we are paying a price for appearing capricious and unnecessarily dismissive of our allies. Sure, they can be difficult, but they remain our allies and we do need to keep them on our side. Those same national security documents make it clear that major-power competition is a team sport, and we have to bring the team along if we’re going to win. And we must win.
  7. Also, the incessantly revolving door of senior officials (especially SecDefs and National Security Advisors) has been extremely disruptive to getting important work done in the international space.
  8. Finally, there’s been a dearth of consistently strong and vocal leadership on our American principles (democracy, rule of law, human rights, etc.), particularly since Nikki Haley stepped down as U.N. Ambassador. Foreign policy requires salesmanship, and ours would benefit from some strength, steadiness, and consistency on these themes.

Bottom line, this administration has served as a corrective to some badly flawed policy. Disruption was absolutely necessary, but at some point should start to give way to stability and focused team-building.

This week on Banter, Yossi Klein Halevi joined the show to discuss his new book, Letters to My Palestinian Neighbor, which explores the Israeli/Palestinian conflict through Israeli eyes. In a series of letters, he outlines the difficult choices that both Israelis and Palestinians must face if there is ever to be a chance of lasting peace in the region. Halevi is an American-born journalist and senior fellow at the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. His other books include At the Entrance to the Garden of Eden: A Jew’s Search for God with Christians and Muslims in the Holy Land and Like Dreamers: The Story of the Israeli Paratroopers Who Reunited Jerusalem and Divided a Nation.

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Richard Epstein examines the recent violence in Gaza and explains the hopelessness of current Middle East peace initiatives.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Israel-Palestine Standoff

 

Few issues produce more political and emotional discord than the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In principle, there is much to commend a two-state solution. If achieved, it could allow the two groups to live beside each other in peace. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, the interminable peace process came to a screeching halt this past week as the American embassy opened in Jerusalem. An exultant Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu proclaimed before Israeli and American dignitaries, “We are in Jerusalem and we are here to stay.” At the same moment , thousands of angry Palestinian demonstrators were rebuffed with deadly force as they sought to storm into Israel from Gaza. The confrontations took place on May 14 and 15—and the Palestinians consciously timed their protests to correspond with the seventieth anniversary of the Palestinian Exodus that resulted in the birth of the Israeli state. Some 62 Gazans died and thousands were wounded as the Israelis used live ammunition to keep protestors from storming over the barricades into Israel.

Now that the protests have subsided, Hamas seeks to capitalize on the deaths and injuries to isolate Israel diplomatically. The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva has harshly condemned the Israelis for a “wholly disproportionate response” to the provocations they faced. Any fair-minded assessment can only judge the Israeli response by first looking at Hamas’s provocation. But as with other UN tribunals, the evidence on the ground does not matter. In this instance, Hamas was fiendishly clever by mixing in children with violent protestors to bolster its common claim that the Israelis fired on “unarmed individuals” who posed little or no imminent threat to the Israelis, a claim that was quickly repeated by Reps. Keith Ellison (D-Minn) and Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii).

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What do three Israeli Palestinian women – a chic lawyer, a grungy lesbian disk jockey and a religious computer science student who are sharing an apartment in Tel Aviv – have in common? Maysaloun Hamoud’s film “Bar Behar” (which is “In Between” in English) is an exposition of precisely what that commonality comprises. I saw […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Who Are the Real Colonialists?

 

Last week, some of us got into a sort of side-conversation about Israel and the Palestinians, one in which it was suggested that Israel could be seen as a “settler-colony” of the United States because the US provides considerable aid to Israel.

The question then arose: if US aid equals colonization, there are an awful lot of colonies around the world that don’t seem to have gotten the memo that they’re part of America’s Colonial Empire … including the Palestinians themselves. Meanwhile, it strikes me that there is at least one situation in the world that does resemble settler-colonialism.

Recorded on September 13, 2017

“In Israel, in order to be a realist . . . you have to believe in miracles,” observed the late David Ben-Gurion. Peter Berkowitz, the Hoover Institution’s Tad and Dianne Taube Senior Fellow and an expert on Israeli affairs, assesses the Trump administration’s peacemaking strategy, which includes deploying Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and taking into account Prime Minister Netanyahu’s fragile political health.

In this episode of Viewpoint, AEI’s Danielle Pletka sits down with David Makovsky, the Ziegler distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, who has spent a career working and fighting for peace in the Middle East. In this interview, he dives into the diplomatic and military events of the neighboring Arab nations, United States, Israel and Palestinians surrounding the Six-Day War, and offers his thoughts on the future of the Middle East peace process.

The Six-Day War, otherwise known as the June War, between Israel and its neighbors, Egypt, Jordan and Syria, marked a turning point in how Arab countries would see the Jewish state for the next half century, and had lasting implications for US-Middle East relations more broadly. Despite being heavily outnumbered and out-armed, Israel won the war, which lasted from June 5 – 10, 1967. Israel seized control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and the Golan Heights from Syria. All of these, besides the Sinai Peninsula, remain disputed territories today.

In this episode of ‘Viewpoint,’ AEI’s Danielle Pletka sits down with Dr. Ziad Asali, president and founder of the American Task Force on Palestine, to discuss a Palestinian perspective on the monumental Six-Day War and the struggles of establishing a Palestinian state.

The Six-Day War, otherwise known as the June War, between Israel and its neighbors, Egypt, Jordan and Syria, marked a turning point in how Arab countries would see the Jewish state for the next half century, and had lasting implications for US-Middle East relations more broadly. Despite being heavily outnumbered and out-armed, Israel won the war, which lasted from June 5 – 10, 1967. Israel seized control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and the Golan Heights from Syria. All of these, besides the Sinai Peninsula, remain disputed territories today.

In this episode of ‘Viewpoint,’ AEI’s Danielle Pletka sits down with Elliott Abrams (Council on Foreign Relations) for the first of three conversations about the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War. Elliott discusses his thoughts on this major turning point in the Middle East and how it has shaped the world today.

The Six-Day War, otherwise known as the June War, between Israel and its neighbors, Egypt, Jordan and Syria, marked a turning point in how Arab countries would see the Jewish state for the next half century, and had lasting implications for US-Middle East relations more broadly. Despite being heavily outnumbered and out-armed, Israel won the war, which lasted from June 5 – 10, 1967. Israel seized control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Sinai Peninsula from Egypt, and the Golan Heights from Syria. All of these, besides the Sinai Peninsula, remain disputed territories today.

Richard Epstein argues that a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians is destined to fail (at least in the short-term) and that the uneasy status quo may actually be the best option available to both sides.

Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A Two-State Solution for the West Bank?

 

In December, the United States under President Barack Obama abstained on UN Resolution 2234, which “reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace.”

This past week, American policy under President Donald Trump took a sharp turn away from that Resolution with two key announcements. The first was that the two-state solution is not the only one the United States will support. The Trump administration signaled that it will consider other alternatives as well, without specifying exactly what those will be. The second was a cautionary note to the Israelis not to expand the territorial reach of their settlements to areas outside of those they have already occupied, mostly near Jerusalem. This statement echoes the understandings of former U.S. diplomat Elliott Abrams under George W. Bush (whom Trump unwisely rejected for a position as Rex Tillerson’s deputy at the State Department). The Abrams solution allowed the Israelis to place additional people in their existing settlements, but they could not expand the territorial boundaries—as a way to preserve the integrity of territories that would remain in Palestinian hands under any two–state solution.

Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Brothers of Israel, Part 1

 

2015-11-19 06.07.092015-11-19 06.01.22As we pulled within inches of the side of the Land Rover, we heckled the other team as we brazenly passed them by negotiating the steep embankment of the Judean Desert trail, which, depending on your tolerance level for danger, was a fun adrenaline rush or a foolish near-rollover.

After some exciting 4×4’ing we all got out, explored some caves, and stood at the location where Patriot Missiles were used to shoot down incoming Iraqi scuds during Desert Storm. As we looked into the valley below we saw the city of Jericho and we were reminded that we were in the heart of the West Bank. However, not to worry; the only folks out this way were Bedouins who were not a threat, unless you were scared of some friendly goats and donkeys.2015-11-19 06.15.23

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On the October 5th episode of his Sirius/XM radio show, comedian Howard Stern lashed out against former Pink Floyd star Roger Waters’ support for Palestinians, and his antipathy toward Israel. Waters wrote an open letter to fellow rocker Jon Bon Vovi, imploring the singer not to perform in Tel Aviv. Preview Open

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

Justice we think about mostly to blame someone for injustice. It’s not a pleasant topic of conversation, but our strong feelings about justice, especially anger, nevertheless make it impossible to put aside. An old liberalism, supposedly able to quell anger, required that polite conversation avoid religion & politics. But that opinion was abandoned & forward […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Relationship Status with Bibi: It’s Complicated

 

bibi-2015victoryHey, everybody. Greetings from King Bibi-Land. Troy suggested I drop in and offer a word or two about the Israeli election from ground zero, as it were. I’m happy to do so, although I confess to some slight hesitation, as my views on the result run somewhat counter to the general sentiment at Ricochet.

There appears to be much (forgive me) rather uninflected delight being expressed at Ricochet over Bibi’s victory — a victory that does offer obvious satisfaction to anyone who views it strictly in terms of the thumb in the eye it offers to President Obama. I understand this. I can see that the result has really energized some of you, who view it as evidence that a rhetorical, chest-thumping lunge for the throat can, under certain circumstances and when executed by a pro, be a productive strategy against Obama.

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“In very recent times, the weight of antisemitism has shifted from the Right of politics to the Left…”. This new antisemitism is one in which many left-wingers see Israel as a “colonialist outpost of the great imperial power, America” -Hyam Maccoby My Grandfather was a Nazi Prisoner of War for 6 years. He was one of the […]

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Israel isn’t just losing allies. They are losing vital trading partners. Secretary of State for Business, Innovation, and Skills and Liberal Democrat MP Vince Cable announced this week that the United Kingdom would suspend the export licenses of 12 British firms which send Israel arms like radar systems, aircraft, and tanks if any new hostilities […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. A View from Nowhere

 

GAZA, PALESTINIAN TERRITORY - DECEMBER 2: A child passes a bombed-out residential block in the Al-Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City, December 2, 2012.Kevin Williamson is one of my favorite National Review columnists. Few people are as deft as Williamson when it comes to making an argument in 1,000 words. So I’m going to use his new piece, which is up today at NR, to make some points I need to make about Palestine.

I’ve been mentally arguing with pundits in my head for the past few weeks now, so maybe it’s time to bring a bit of this to Ricochet. Some of you know that I lived there for about eight months in the year 2000. I spent the spring in at the Tantur Ecumenical Institute, which is in Jerusalem, but sits right on the green line bordering Bethlehem. (There was an Israeli checkpoint just outside our building.) We took classes both at Bethlehem University and at Hebrew University. Then I spent the summer teaching English in Gaza City.