Regarding the Oslo Accords and Israel's vulnerability to war, Israeli security has become increasingly dependent upon nuclear weapons and strategy. Faced with a codified and substantial loss of territories generated by Oslo, the Jewish state will soon have to decide on precisely how to compensate for its expectedly diminished strategic depth. While this shrinkage will not necessarily increase Israel's existential vulnerability to unconventional missile attack, it surely will increase that state's susceptibility to attacking ground forces and to subsequent enemy occupation. Any loss of strategic depth will almost certainly be interpreted by enemy states as a significant weakening of Israel's overall defense posture, an interpretation that could then lead to substantial enemy incentives to strike first.
The explicit application of codified restrictions of the laws of war to noninternational armed conflicts dates back only as far as the four Geneva Conventions of 1949. Recalling, however, that more than treaties and conventions comprise the laws of war, it is also clear that the obligations of jus in bello (justice in war) comprise part of "the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations," and bind all categories of belligerents. Indeed, the Hague Convention IV of 1907 declares, in broad terms, that in the absence of a precisely published set of guidelines in humanitarian international law concerning "unforeseen cases," the preconventional sources of international law govern all belligerency.
The more things change, the more they remain the same. From its imperiled beginnings, from the plainly one-sided inception of Oslo, the so-called "Middle East Peace Process" never gave Israel a chance. Widely animated by a distinctly lascivious Arab will to exploit the agreement in order to hasten Israel's incremental elimination, a Final Solution to the Israel Question, it remains, even today, little more than an enemy Trojan Horse. Ironically, from the standpoint of current U.S. and other national foreign policies, the "Peace Process" is now routinely characterized as a road map.
Faced with the daunting prospect of seemingly endless terrorism, and with staggering global opposition to any of its essential and altogether permissible forms of self-defense, Israel now requires a complex and capable counter-terrorism strategy merely to survive. Simultaneously, the major threats to Israel's physical survival lie in certain mass-destruction (biological and/or nuclear) attacks by enemy states. Ultimately, therefore, the Jewish State's actual continuance rests upon even more than successful counter-terrorism. It rests also upon the inherently fragile and unpredictable foundations of nuclear deterrence.
It is not always easy, in studying world politics, to know when power is really "powerful," and when weakness is really "weak." Oddly enough, some states that are presumably very powerful in measurable military terms may occasionally have to yield to others that seemingly lack power altogether. Even more ironically, in the case of Israel versus Hamas, the presumably powerful state is increasingly at the mercy of a brutal criminal organization that is substantially less autonomous than a truly sovereign state, and that has no armed forces even worth mentioning.
War, terrorism and genocide are not mutually exclusive. Now, as certain portions of the Arab/Islamic world openly declare genocidal intentions against Israel (a war of extermination is plainly a genocidal war under international law), some progressive Jews are proudly leading various rallies and/or publications for peace - a peace that could only be fashioned upon a new generation of Jewish corpses. Here, in the United States, and regrettably, also in Israel, Jewish university professors are all-too typically the leaders in organized campus protests (1) against an alleged Israeli "occupation," and (2) for expanded Palestinian "rights."
On its surface, The Pianist is "merely" the true tale of a great Jewish musician (Wladyslaw Szpilman) caught up in the unfathomable depths of Nazi occupation and terror. More profoundly, of course, it is a disturbing visual microcosm of the generic human struggle between good and evil, a titanic struggle that is sometimes utterly clear, but at other times also distressingly "gray." The Nazis in Poland were monsters, to be sure, but what are we to say about the others, including many Jews, who became actual and collaborative perpetrators in every corner of the Holocaust Kingdom? What pertinent lessons can we learn from this 2002 film for Jewish, and especially Israeli, preservation in our own perilous time?
In these pages, I have written occasionally about dangerous cartographies. Oddly, even now, the so-called road map to peace will not go away quietly. If implemented, President Barack Obama's plan for a "Two-State Solution" in the Middle East will sorely degrade both U.S. and Israeli security. This is because the twisted roadmap to Palestinian statehood still misses a decidedly crucial understanding:Jihadist terror has little to do with territory or politics or military strategy or tactics. In essence, it is a ritualistic and longstanding expression of religious sacrifice.
By every tangible military and economic standard, Israel is more powerful than its Palestinian foes. Nonetheless, from time to time, there are stark and compelling reminders in world politics that the powerful can sometimes be weak, and that the weak can sometimes be powerful. For example, despite its evident superiority in arms, Israel is periodically at the mercy of Palestinian rockets fired into civilian areas from Gaza.
We Jews are already accustomed to irony, but - only rarely - does the subject in question rise to the daunting level of human survival. Here, however, is one of those rare subjects. Considering it carefully, we can begin to appreciate the obligation to look at our world with genuinely larger questions in mind. In other words, we should quickly begin to recognize a distinct imperative to look behind the news.
The high-minded centerpiece of Barack Obama's still-emerging strategic doctrine is "a world free of nuclear weapons." Although plainly misconceived -this presidential policy expectation is both unattainable and undesirable- Israel can hardly ignore it. On the contrary, planners in Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv will now have to self-consciously fashion and possibly reconcile Israel's own strategic doctrine with the new American ideas.
We must immediately recognize, and reveal widely, that there is no "cycle of violence" in the Middle East, only intermittent Arab/Islamic terror followed by indispensable Israeli counter-terror. If the Palestinian terrorists were to simply and unconditionally stop their murderous attacks on unprotected civilians, Israelis would never lift another hand against them. It's that simple.
"May we be worthy of our role." So ends the author's dedication of The Jewish Revolution (1971) to his son, Aryeh. Scholar, writer and active Zionist, Israel Eldad warned the Jewish People against relying upon others to defend them. Boldly asserting it was the consistent miscalculations of "Jewish diplomacy" that had hastened the genocidal fate of millions during the Holocaust, Eldad's great wisdom underscores the terrible folly of still-ongoing Israeli concessions for peace.
Current news about Israel's interdiction of the Gaza flotilla centers entirely on more or less pertinent operational and legal details. It is also important, however, to look beyond this particular event and toward the more critical underlying issue of a Palestinian state. To be sure, once such a state was established, the tragic cycle of anti-Israel terrorism, Israeli blockade and Palestinian counter-blockade would only accelerate.
Back during the presidential election campaign, then-Senator Barack Obama made repeated reference to a "cycle of violence" in the Middle East. Although, thankfully, he no longer uses this particularly inappropriate term in describing ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, now President Obama continues to allege a basic symmetry between the warring parties. These disturbing allegations, whether explicit or couched in innuendo, are wrong and troubling. They encourage U.S. policies that can only revive and exacerbate Arab violence.
William Butler Yeats, the great Irish poet, wrote prophetically of a time in which "the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned." Here he revealed what still seems to elude historians, diplomats and scholars: In the not-too-distant future, there will come a moment in which there will be no safety in treaties or in armaments, no help from "civilization," no counsel from public authority, and no rescue from science.
Credo quia absurdum. "I believe because it is absurd." It is a term that I have used often here in my weekly column, but never more meaningfully than today. Now, years after the international community first blathered vainly about Iranian intentions, Tehran marches unhindered to full and final nuclear weapons status
Many people prowl round Mount Sinai. Their speech is blurred, either they are garrulous or they shout or they are taciturn. But none of them comes straight down a broad, newly made, smooth road that does its own part in making one's strides long and swifter. Franz Kafka, Mount Sinai
After absorbing any enemy nuclear aggression, Israel would certainly respond with a nuclear retaliatory strike. Although nothing is publicly known about Israel's precise targeting doctrine, such a reprisal would likely be launched against the aggressor's capital city and/or against similarly high-value urban targets. There would be absolutely no assurances, in response to this sort of aggression, that Israel would limit itself to striking back against exclusively military targets.
There is a widely unrecognized but still-meaningful irony in the continuing saga of Iranian nuclearization.From the standpoint of President Ahmadinejad and his clerical masters in Tehran, any prospect of hastening the Shiite apocalypse should naturally be welcomed. In the United States and Israel, on the other hand, any conscious encouragement of a Final Battle between "Good" and"Evil"must always be strenuously rejected.
Horace was born in 65 BCE and died in 8 BCE. His ode (I, 14) on the "ship of state" pertains to ancient Rome, but it might just as well refer to Israel after it concedes to "livewith a nuclear Iran," and also to "live with Palestine." The more or less concurrent arrival of (1) Iranian nuclear weapons, and (2) an independent Palestinian state, could have an intolerable effect upon Israel. Indeed, this injurious interactive outcome - known technically in science, medicine and engineering as synergistic- would likely be far greater than the simple sum of these two discrete parts.
We all already understand that modern physics has witnessed revolutionary breakthroughs in the meanings of space and time. These stunning changes remain distant from the related worlds of diplomacy and international relations. Ironically, however, much of the struggle between Israel and the Arabs is plainly about space. Not so obvious, but certainly just as important, is that this struggle is also about time.
Swiss playwright Friedrich Durrenmatt was certainly not thinking about Israel's national security when he wrote these words in A Dangerous Game, but his argument still fits perfectly in understanding the Jewish State's prospects for survival. Indeed, and not without considerable irony, unless Israel soon begins to fashion its essential strategic doctrine with a view to including various absurdities, it will never be able to find real safety in the Middle East. There, in what is arguably one of the world's very worst "neighborhoods," unreason often reins triumphant, and chaos is never far away.
The list of PA violations of Oslo goes on and on. There is the incontestable failure to prevent incitement (codified at Annex 1, Art. II, 35); harassment of suspected former collaborators (codified at Art. XVI); failure to provide information on Israeli MIAs (codified at Art. XXVIII of the Interim Agreement and at Art. XIX of the Gaza-Jericho Agreement); the failure to change the PLO Covenant (codified at Art. XXXII), a failure that means that the PA (let alone Hamas) has still not renounced its intent to annihilate the Jewish State; the abuse of human rights and the rule of law (codified at Art. XIX); the failure to control PApolice activity in eastern Jerusalem (codified at Annex I of both agreements - the Gaza-Jericho Accord and the Interim Agreement - which carefully delineate the areas in which the Palestinian security forces may operate).
In the 2554 years between 587 B.C.E. and 1967 C.E., Jerusalem was conquered more than twenty times, and, as part of many empires, was ruled from different and distant capital cities. Only for the Jews (for more than 650 years), for the Crusaders (for 188 years), and for the State of Israel (since 1949) has Jerusalem served as a capital city.