If Syria and Egypt have nothing to fear from the President of the United States, what will Iran fear?
Turning Jordan into Palestine would mean the loss of a moderate and rational Arab leader at a time when Islamists are rising to power in Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Libya.
When this farce began, only a limited rural area near the Gaza Strip was being hit. Each time the range was extended there was talk that a red line had been crossed. But it is now clear that these lines in the sand had no meaning. Today over a million Israelis are in range of the weapons already launched from the Gaza Strip.
Five years ago, the SWIFT clearing system ban on Iranian banks would have yielded results, but nowadays Iran is relying on rogue financial systems created by South-American countries, and on its trade with India, China, Russia, Brazil and Turkey, to maintain the flow of money, goods and services for which it continues to pay with oil. It's business as usual for Iran.
The Gaza Strip is no different from the rest of the Arab world, so tribal culture is alive and kicking there. Ever since the Hamas movement took control of Gaza trip in 2007, it has transformed itself from a gang of jihadists into a ruling government, a standard Arab state. The minor movements - Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Resistance Committeess - function like tribes, challenging the authority of the state. Today, these groups are doing to Hamas what Hamas did to the PLO twenty years ago when it was in power.
A war between Israel and Iran is not something that may or may not occur in the future. It is in progress now.
Reality: Those who are, or will soon be, governing Egypt view themselves as being at war with Israel for all practical purposes. It matters relatively little that there is still a peace treaty. In Cairo, there are no thoughts of peace.
The threat and the ominous effects of an air attack against Iran is the pull and tug of sovereignty versus suzerainty. Is Israel an independent nation free of American influence? Does the president of the U.S. have a veto over Israeli military actions? Or is Israel free of outside influences, a state enjoined by what it believes to be its self interest?
In our Palestinian culture, it is much more important if one "graduates" from an Israeli prison than from the most prestigious university in the world.
A solution in which the Syrian people are empowered to operate more freely in a true multi-party government, under the aegis of multinational protection against both Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, would be the most desirable, achievable outcome. It is not possible to broker this outcome while ignoring Russia.
While war with Iran might eventually be inevitable and necessary, that’s not true at this moment - when Iran is far from being able to build nuclear weapons, much less deliver them on missiles. And such an operation does genuinely pose serious problems for Israel and also - even if it does not participate directly in any way - for the United States.
The Iron Dome is another, hi-tech manifestation of the siege mentality that guides Israel's cultural and political narrative. From media to academia to politics, Israel’s celebration of this so-called “strategic” weapon system - that neither neutralizes its threats nor enhances Israel's geo-political position – is an indictment of the degree to which Israel has accepted this siege mentality, and of its resignation to a permanent defensive posture.
In the past, Hamas has proven that when it wants to, it can prevent attacks on Israel. It would be a mistake to allow these governments to have it both ways -- on one hand claiming they are legitimate and sovereign governments, while on the other hand avoiding responsibility for terror attacks.
Planning timelines of days and weeks are very comforting for policy-makers seeking to avoid costly decisions. But the purpose of the exercise is not to indefinitely postpone what is best done today. The decision-makers owe it to their constituents to look beyond the next weeks and even months.
The war on terrorism cannot be won by defensive – but only by offensive – means, notwithstanding the impressive performance of the Iron Dome missile defense system.
Israeli intelligence authorities need to assess the threats coming from Iran. This is not a public relations issue. Obama and the other world leaders can support or oppose our actions, but Israel will have to do what is best for the future and well-being of the Jewish State. No one else will do the heavy lifting for us. While we cannot diminish the possibility that Iran actually has the technology and the motivation to strike Israel, we also cannot afford to overlook other real and obvious threats to Israel.
The difference between the Muslim Brotherhood and “Salafists” is purely tactical. The Brotherhood has learned how to maneuver politically, an advance similar to what Lenin instituted for the Marxists of his day. You can’t just declare a revolution and change everything overnight. And just as Lenin planned to get the capitalists to sell him the rope with which to hang them, the Brotherhood plots the same course with the infidels.
A survey released two weeks ago, titled “The American Mosque 2011,” revealed a tremendous growth in the number of mosques across the US since 9/11, and claims that Islamic radicalism in the US is on the wane. But Islam expert David Yerushalmi says that many of the numbers presented in the survey don't add up, and in fact contradict similar surveys conducted in recent years.
Would it be prudent for Israel to launch now the kind of unilateral initiative proposed by former Yesha Council Director Naftali Bennett, or is it best to leave well enough alone?
On March 7, the PA President convened yet another urgent meeting of PLO and Fatah leaders in Ramallah to discuss the content of this "mother of all letters" which he intends to send to Israel. The meeting, which came less than 48 hours after Obama's speech, reflected the increased concern of the Palestinians over the world's fading attention to their problems.