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September 16, 2014 / 21 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Red Lines’

Defense Minister Ya’alon: Assad Has Lost Control

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Against the background of the gas attack in Syria and the reports about hundreds of victims, perhaps more than a thousand, Israeli Defense Minister and former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon said on Wednesday that “the Syrian regime has lost control over the country, is present only in about 40 percent of its territory and is finding it difficult to subdue to opposition forces.”

Speaking at a ceremony welcoming the new Jewish year at the defense ministry compound in downtown Tel Aviv, Ya’alon said that “for some time now this has not been an internal Syrian conflict. We decided not to intervene in this conflict, but we drew red lines to make sure our interests are not harmed.

The defense minister expressed skepticism about the ending of the war in Syria. “We don’t envision the end of this situation, since even the toppling of Assad won’t bring about a conclusion. There are many open, bloody accounts yet to be settled by the various elements.”

“It’s a conflict that has turned global, with one axis receiving support from Russia and the other bein helped by the U.S. and Europe. Lebanon is connected to the massive Iranian support and therefore the war has been dripping into its territory as well. Inside Lebanon there are focal points of confrontation as well. But, generally speaking, the borders are peaceful and we are watching to make sure the cannons are not trained on us,” Ya’alon said.

According to rebel sources in Syria, the number of dead as a result of the chemical gas attack on a suburb of Damascus has topped 1,300, including women and children. The rebels are claiming this was a massacre of innocent civilians, who were hurt by poison gas in the area of the Guta camp, a rebel held spot outside Damascus.

A Syrian government spokesperson has said in response that those claims are unfounded, and are intended to sabotage the work of the UN inspectors who have just arrived in Syria to investigate earlier reports of the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian army.

Swedish scientist Ake Sellstrom, head of the 20-member inspection team, told news agency TT that he finds the reports of such a high number of casualties suspicious.

“It sounds like something that should be looked into,” he told TT over the phone from Damascus. “It will depend on whether any UN member state goes to the secretary general and says we should look at this event. We are in place.”

Minister Ya’alon referred to situation in Egypt as well, saying there has been relative quiet on the Israeli border with Egypt, but noted that extremist elements like the World Jihad will attempt to destabilize the border.

He warned against the recent developments in the Sinai, such as the execution by Islamist terrorists of 25 Egyptian policemen, spilling over into Israel.

“Over the past week, the Sinai border has been the hottest, and it obliges us to realign for it.”

What’s Best for the Jews: Agencies Split Over Assad Vs. Rebels Options

Monday, April 29th, 2013

There appear to be sharp disputes among Israel’s intelligence agencies, over the best outcome of the two-year Syrian civil war. Against the background of a public debate about whether the Red Line has been crossed by the Syrian government, which likely attacked its own civilians using chemical weapons, Israel’s government experts are differing in their assessments of whose victory would better serve the Jewish state’s security interests: the Assad regime in Damascus or the rebels.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assembled, for the first time since the start of his current coalition government, the Security Cabinet, to discuss the situation in Syria and the Israeli response to recent developments, Maariv reported.

Israeli intelligence agencies are split on how to act regarding Syria. One organization believes that the focus should be kept on the Iranian nuclear issue, and, therefore, if the Assad regime collapses, the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah axis would absorb a mortal blow, thus improving Israel’s ability to handle the nuclear threat.

One of the factors delaying an Israeli raid on the Iranian nuclear facilities—certainly not the only one—is the probability that Iran’s clients, Syria and especially Hezbollah, would retaliate, peppering Israel’s civilian centers with the estimated 50 thousand short- and medium-range missiles Hezbollah has in its possession. With Syria turning anti-Iranian—the rebels are Sunni, Iran is Shiite—and with a consequently embattled—also Shiite— Hezbolla, The likelihood of a retaliation would diminish.

But another intelligence agency’s evaluation focuses on the border between Syria and Israel, and away from the Iranian strategic threat. It is estimated that removing Assad would create chaos and the disintegration of the central government, and as rebel groups then settle on the Syrian-Israeli they are highly likely to initiate attacks against Israel. Therefore, this agency recommends, the best course of action is to allow, and whenever possible even encourage the warring parties in Syria to continue to wear each other down over time.

So far, everyone agrees that the ongoing civil war has been a bonanza for Israeli security concerns, especially as it has been drawing Hezbollah fighters into the conflict, and returning scores of them to their homeland in convoys of coffins. As a result, Hezbollah, which has done better against the IDF in the 2006 Lebanon War, may be losing its clout in Lebanese politics, and may even be facing internal strife over its direction. The rumors about the organization’s leader Hasan Nasrallah being stricken with cancer (he’s been denying it) are a good thing, too.

It isn’t clear, according to Maariv, where Netanyahu stands in this debate. At the moment he is most concerned with the possibility that the United States would be pushed by public opinion to supply the rebels with weapons—which it may be doing via clandestine channels already.

But Netanyahu has a different perspective on the Red Line issue regarding President Obama’s decision on becoming involved directly in Syria. A Sunday Times report suggested that when Obama was visiting in Israel, he was given a full and thorough report on the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons. Netanyahu’s concern is not whether or not Obama takes steps to punish Assad on using chemical weapons, but whether or not Obama ever makes good on his word regarding Red Lines.

What will Obama do at one minute before midnight—which is bound to take place this summer—when Netanyahu provides him with irrefutable proof that Iran had crossed its Red Line, and is now capable of producing and launching nuclear weapons?

And so, the competing interests here are the “convenience” of having two kinds of Syrians delivering one another into the embrace of 72 maidens in the hereafter—versus the existential need to force the president of the United States to keep his promise on Israel’s life or death issue.

A component that has not been in discussion until recently is the attitude of Israel’s on-again, off-again Muslim ally in the region, Turkey. The Turks have been feeling the effects of the Syrian civil war in a much more pronounced way that Israel. Their territory has been breached several times by aggression from the other side of the border, while thousands of Syrian refugees are flooding across the same border. Does Turkey want a quick end to the war, and whom do they like better, Assad or the rebels? And is Turkey not equally terrified of a nuclear Iran as are Israel and Iran’s neighbors along the Gulf?

Kerry Beats the Drum for Talks on Iran but War Drums Grow Louder

Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC that Iran’s failure to negotiate makes “confrontation more possible,” and hours later, the American delegate to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) accused Iran of “deception, defiance and delay” while it enriches uranium.

Kerry has jumped into his new position with the full character of the State Dept. to solve the world’s problems with talk, but the unusually harsh comments from Joseph Macmanus, the chief U.S. delegate to the IAEA, indicates that the noose is tightening around Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

So far, he seems to believe that the United States is bluffing about a military strike and is making a show to keep Israel quiet.

However, the more the Obama administration, sees Iranian nuclear capability as a threat to the United States, the closer everyone gets to the red line to talk with action and not words.

“I’m not going to get into red lines and timing publicly except to reiterate what the president has said again and again, which is he prefers to have a diplomatic solution,” Kerry told ABC News in Qatar.

“If they keep pushing the limits and not coming with a serious set of proposals or are prepared to actually resolve this, obviously, the risks get higher and confrontation becomes more possible,” he said.

Joseph Macmanus’ comment blew holes into the recent complacency of the international community, which was soothed by Iran’s expression of being interested in  proposals by the world’s six powers.

Even the European Union appears to be getting fed up with Iran.

The EU told the IAEA board in Vienna Wednesday that it “considers … Iran’s procrastination to be unacceptable.”

Iran has refused IAEA requests to visit the Parchin military site, where satellite pictures have shown explosive tests probably were carried out for  nuclear weapons capability.

Prime Minister Netanyahu said this week, not for the first time, that Iran is using the negotiations and talks of negotiations as a camouflage for its nuclear weapons program.

Tehran, of course, insists its nuclear development is only for peace and is counting on more talks to erase any American red lines.

“We are committed to continue our dialogue with the IAEA but at the same time we can’t give a blank check” because of Iran’s national security concerns, Iranian Ambassador Ali Asghar Soltanieh told reporters in Vienna.

Kerry notwithstanding, louder voices are being increasingly heard from the most senior American officials.

Gen. James Mattis, head of U.S. Central Command, told a Senate committee on Tuesday, “I’m paid to take a rather dim view of the Iranians, frankly.”

Looking at the future of a military strike, he stated, “There are number of means to do that, perhaps even short of open conflict. But certainly that’s one of the options that I have to have prepared for the president.”

Iran, Israel and America

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

Wait?! …Wait for What?! This was the rhetorical question recently asked by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to the American refusal to draw a clear line whereby if crossed by Iran, it would act militarily.

The world wants Israel to wait and not take military action… to give sanctions a chance to work. Fine. I actually agree with that. But there has to be some lines drawn. If Israel keeps waiting – that could spell its end. That was the point.
I could not help but marvel at the simple clarity given to this issue by the Israeli prime minister. In what should be obvious to anyone with half a brain, the “what” Netanyahu was referring to was the threat by the Islamic Republic of Iran to annihilate the State of Israel.  As soon as it has nuclear capability the likelihood of using it to achieve that goal is very strong.
They are progressing full speed ahead towards the development such weapons. They already possess delivery capacity.  Their religious beliefs include killing innocent people along with themselves in the cause of advancing Islam. The idea that Israel should wait and let sanctions do their job, is very nice – if you don’t live in Israel.
The problem with Iran is that the combination of all those factors means that it doesn’t matter what we do in terms of diplomacy. They are just biding their time until they can get the job done.
Sanctions? That will only slow them down. It will not stop them. That should be obvious to everyone too by now.
To be fair, the Obama administration has not removed anything including its own military action from the table. But the way things are going now and with all the talk of the devastating effects of a war with Iran – the military option will not have any real impact to them. Iran doesn’t think the United States under an Obama Presidency has the guts or the will to do it.
Iranian leaders can hear the United States expressing reservations about attacking them. Iranian bellicosity has added fear to those reservations. Their strategy of projecting resolve about their religious mission is working. They are pretty sure that they will not be attacked. They see see any sabre rattling by the US as no more than a paper threat. I’m sure they are giddy with joy about that and proceeding full steam ahead towards becoming nuclear.
The truth is that a military attack would not be pretty. Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan. It has a far more sophisticated and powerful military and a regime willing to die for Allah. Which of course include Israel’s destruction . There could very well be carnage unlike anything we have seen since the World War Two. Iran will not go down without fighting to its death.
Which brings us back to square one. Israel is the one with its head in the chopping block. It’s easy for others to say wait. They are not the ones about to get their heads chopped off.
This does not mean I think that Israel ought to attack Iran just yet. Israeli blood is not cheap and if they ever attacked Iran, I don’t even want to think about the consequences in lives lost. God forbid! And then there is the matter of the remaining Jews still living in Iran. I don’t want to think about their consequences either.
But at the same time, I cannot see fiddling while Rome burns either.  And if Iran gets a nuclear weapon, Rome will burn!
I have to believe that the prime minister has red lines. He knows when they will be crossed. He is not going to wait a moment beyond that to destroy Iranian nuclear reactors. He knows that  if he doesn’t act decisively at the right moment –  the consequences of a nuclear attack against Israel will rival those of the Holocaust. Only this Holocaust will be nuclear.
It is my belief that the Obama Administration realizes this. They have recently said that there is no daylight between the two countries when it comes to dealing with Iran. It is my hope that the United States will stand with Israel in its time of need – if and when Israel sees that line crossed and acts militarily. If need be I believe that the United States will aid Israel if they need it. That is the only moral option.
In these days of awe before Yom Kippur, I pray that this does not need to happen. I would rather see a peaceful resolution. Or even better a regime change in Iran. But I think we will sooner see Moshiach. Iran is a brutal religious dictatorship that will do whatever is necessary to  keep its government in power. They consider it a religious imperative!  The last revolution that was tried there was very quickly quashed.
Just like an insurrection is unlikely in Iran so too is it unlikely that they will ever surrender in a war should it happen. In the event of war Iranian leaders – both political and religious – must be utterly destroyed. That will not be easy. But what alternative is there?
Visit the Emes Ve-Emunah blog.

Contrary to J Street and Media Claims, Former IDF Chief Halutz Is Hawkish on Iran

Friday, September 14th, 2012

Former Israel Defense Force Chief of Staff Dan Halutz is being shepherded around the United States to talk about the international crisis with Iran.  The anti-Netanyahu group J Street is promoting Halutz as critical of Israeli policy and supportive of their position of opposing military action.

But at the first two talks given by Halutz, one of which was attended by a Jewish Press reporter and the other of which can be can be viewed online, it appears that Halutz’s positions are far more complex and nuanced than J Street and their fellow promoters understand.

What is Halutz saying?

On negotiations: “negotiations have failed”;  on diplomacy: “enough Viennese coffee without results”; on sanctions: without the participation of China, Russia and India – all of which have been given exemptions by the US government – the sanctions will take too long to work; and on the issue of “red lines,” the problem isn’t that they are too bellicose, it is that they give the enemy an advantage you don’t want it to have.

On Tuesday, September 11th, Halutz spoke at the Saban Center For Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. On Wednesday evening he spoke at a large suburban Philadelphia Conservative synagogue.  Thursday night the former IDF Chief of Staff spoke at a synagogue in West Chester County, New York, and he is scheduled to speak sometime soon to the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the coordinating body for local Jewish community relations organizations.

Lt. Gen. Halutz is actually making the argument, in an admittedly very circumspect manner, that it is the international community – that is, everyone besides Israel – which is to blame for the current cataclysm precisely because the actions taken thus far are inadequate and it is that failure which may result in Israel, alone, having to take military action against Iran.  And that is a situation no one wants.

Sanctions

According to Halutz, the international response to Iran’s nuclear activity has been inadequate on just about all fronts.  With respect to sanctions, there aren’t enough countries participating and there aren’t enough products on the banned list.  In particular, without China, Russia and India’s full participation in sanctions – all of which received exemptions from the United States — the impact on the Iranian economy has been too small to encourage the regime to cease its path to nuclear weapons.

Halutz told the Brookings audience that despite some reports to the contrary, the sanctions are not really having an impact on the Iranian economy.  “It was just reported,” he said, “that the Iranian currency dropped by 8 percent compared to the dollar.”  The Iranians are “not yet convinced that there is a real cost imposed upon them because their leadership has chosen to move forward on a project which is unacceptable to the world.” Unless they are forced to do that, to choose between “bread or nuclear weapons,” the sanctions will not work.

An additional reason sanctions are not working is because not enough products are involved.  Halutz explained that there need to be many more products, “thousands of them” placed on the sanctions list.  He offered two examples. The Iranian airlines and the Iranian shipping lines are still operating in the world and, if they weren’t, the Iranians would be seriously impacted.   Right now they aren’t.

In other words, sanctions only work if they cause sharp pain.  Right now there’s barely a mild caress.

Diplomacy

Halutz believes that diplomatic efforts must continue, but he is contemptuous of the public versions taking place.  “Enough Viennese coffees,” he said, referring to the rounds of talks that have already taken place, after each one of which the Iranians have refused to cease their nuclear activities.

However, he was quite supportive of one diplomatic effort that he believes, if only more countries would join in, could be fruitful.  The bold shuttering of the Iranian Embassy in Canada by President Stephen Harper is exactly the kind of diplomatic effort that needs to be undertaken, but “others must follow.”  Again, as with sanctions, unless many countries – diplomatically important countries – join in, weak diplomatic energy will bear no fruit.

Red Lines

Publicly, J Street repeatedly states that Halutz is against the drawing of “red lines,” that is, the line in the sand beyond which military action against Iran must be taken.  This is significant because President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu have engaged in a public spat over the US refusal to set red lines.  The Israeli government is claiming that without them, it cannot rely on the United States and Israel will have to take action on its own.  There are commentators who crow that Halutz’s opposition to red lines reveals a reluctance to use force against Iran, and that it is an explicit criticism of the Israeli prime minister.

How Not to Keep Israel from Bombing Iran

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

There are no deadlines:

The U.S. is “not setting deadlines” for Iran and still considers negotiations to be “by far the best approach” to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Bloomberg in an interview published Monday.

Speaking to Bloomberg Radio on Sunday after the conclusion of meetings at an Asia-Pacific forum in Vladivostok, Russia, Clinton said that economic sanctions are affecting Iran and the U.S. is “watching very carefully about what [the Iranians] do, because it’s always been more about their actions than their words.”

And there are no red ones either, according to State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland yesterday:

QUESTION: Toria, your closest ally in the Middle East, Israel, is quite upset with a interview that the Secretary gave, particularly when she was asked about redlines or deadlines for Iran’s nuclear program. Do you have positions or levels in Iran’s nuclear enrichment that you consider unacceptable and that would force some sort of change to the current stalemate, let’s say?

MS. NULAND: Well, as we have been saying for many months, and as was clear when the Secretary was in Jerusalem earlier this summer, we have extensive and ongoing contacts with our close ally Israel to discuss the full range of security issues, but obviously to compare notes on the challenge posed by Iran, and we will continue to do that…

QUESTION: Well it’s a very – will you agree that it’s – are you – is there a specific policy of being – of constructive ambiguity here? Because, I mean, not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon means many different things to many different people. As you know, the Israelis have one definition of what it means to have a nuclear weapon, and maybe you have another one. So could you provide any –

MS. NULAND: Among the many reasons, Elise, why these consultations with Israel need to be constant, they need to be detailed, they need to be private. …

So we are absolutely firm about the President’s commitment here, but it is not useful to be parsing it, to be setting deadlines one way or the other, redlines. It is most important that we stay intensely focused on the pressure on Iran, the opportunity for Iran to fix this situation through the diplomacy that we’ve offered, and intensive consultations with Israel and all the other regional states, as we are doing.

Nuland seems to be trying to suggest that there is more going on under the surface with Israel, but Israel Hayom quoted “senior diplomatic sources in Jerusalem” saying that,

Hillary Clinton is speeding up the Iranian centrifuges with her erroneous public comments … Without a clear red line, Iran will not halt its race for nuclear weapons.  … not only do Clinton’s comments not deter Iran, they actually appease it.

So to recap: there are sanctions, but Iran’s 20 biggest trading partners have exemptions. Iran still refuses to let IAEA inspectors into its test site at Parchin, where it appears that experiments related to weaponization have been carried out. The I.A.E.A. also reports that Iran is carrying out computer simulations of the destructive power of nuclear warheads. Iran continues to add centrifuges to bolster its enrichment capabilities.

But the U.S. is not prepared to issue an ultimatum. It will go no further than to repeat that “we will not allow Iran to get a nuclear weapon,” but it will not say — publicly or to Israel — how far it will allow Iran to go.

The Iranians understand this to mean that they can keep on doing what they are doing, which is putting all the pieces in place to sprint to the finish line when they choose to do so. It’s by no means clear that we will know when this is about to happen, or that we will be able to act quickly enough to stop it, even if we do know. It is also generally accepted that the ability of Israel by itself to prevent Iran from building a weapon is eroding with time.

The U.S. has the power to issue a credible threat to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability, as well as a great deal of its military assets — missiles, air defense systems, etc. Such a threat would most likely cause Iran to pull back and would not actually have to be carried out.

By not doing this, the administration leaves Israel with only one option, which is to try to destroy or delay Iran’s program itself. While an American threat carries the risk that the Iranians will call our bluff and provoke a conflict, an Israeli attack guarantees one.

Incidentally, it should be mentioned that the former Israeli security officials like Meir Dagan who are opposed to an Israeli attack in the near term do not believe that Iran should be allowed to get nuclear bombs. They simply disagree with the PM and Defense Minister aboutwhen there will be no other way to stop Iran. If the US persists in allowing Iran to proceed, then even Meir Dagan’s red line will be crossed.

If the administration wants to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran, it has a strange way of showing it!

Red Lines, Not Green Line

Monday, May 17th, 2010

Next month marks the 43rd anniversary of the June 1967 Six-Day War, when the Jewish state went from the brink of extinction to breathtaking victory.
 
Few times in the modern era has the guiding hand of Divine providence been as plain and clear for all to see as it was during that heady period, when our Arab neighbors threatened to annihilate Israel and cast its citizenry into the waters of the Mediterranean.
 
But the Jewish people turned the tables on our foes, and in less than a week, with God’s help, we managed to reclaim the cradle of our civilization in the form of places such as Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
 
It was an emotional reunion, one that had taken more than 19 centuries to occur. But the love and the longing of the Jewish people for their God-given land could not, and would not, be denied.
 
Sadly, however, with the passage of time, memories tend to dim and emotions often fade. And so instead of celebrating this miracle on its anniversary with all the verve and joy it deserves, many on Israel’s left descend into a state of semi-mourning.
 
In columns and editorials they regularly bemoan the outcome of the war, grieving over the “occupation” of the territories and fantasizing about how good life would be without them.
 
Indeed, it almost seems many would have preferred Israel to have lost the battle rather than emerging victorious with the blue-and-white flag flying over Hebron and Jerusalem.
 
But what they conveniently ignore is everything that preceded the 1967 war: increased Palestinian terrorism, a large Arab military buildup, and the brazen threats by Arab leaders to exterminate the Jewish state.
 
In effect, left-wing Israeli proponents of withdrawal have cast a fog over history, shifting the focus away from the “whys” of the 1967 war, and replacing them instead with “why us?”
 
Most people forget, but two years prior to 1967, back when Israel was narrow
and tiny and did not yet “occupy” anyone else’s land, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol unveiled a peace plan that could have resolved the Arab-Israeli conflict once and for all.
 
Speaking in the Knesset on May 17, 1965, Eshkol proposed to open direct negotiations with the Arab states with the aim of turning the 1949 armistice agreements into full-fledged peace treaties.
 
Pointing out that Israel’s four Arab neighbors – Egypt, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon – together had 60 times the land area of the Jewish state, Eshkol suggested that the pursuit of war by the Arabs was a needless waste of human and material resources.
 
Instead, he laid out a vision of peace that would have included open borders, freedom of transit and communications, bilateral trade and economic cooperation, as well as access to the holy sites of all religions.
 
All he asked from the Arabs, said Eshkol, was “full respect for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of all the states in the region.” It was a simple, yet compelling deal: peace for peace, with no strings attached.
 
But Israel’s offer was met two years later with a clear and unequivocal Arab response. Egypt and Syria mobilized their armies and vowed to destroy the
Jewish state.
 
Here is just a sampling of some of the Arab rhetoric at that time:
 
On May 20, 1967, Hafez Assad, who was then serving as Syria’s defense minister, said, “Our forces are now entirely ready to initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland. I, as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.”
 
On May 26, Egyptian president Nasser declared in a speech to his nation, “Our basic aim will be to destroy Israel.”
 
At a press conference the following day, PLO founder Ahmad Shukeiry said, “D-Day is approaching. The Arabs have waited 19 years for this and will not flinch from the war of liberation.”
 
And on May 30, Cairo Radio was even more explicit: “Israel has two choices, both of which are drenched with Israel’s blood: Either it will be strangled by the Arab military and economic siege, or it will be killed by the bullets of the Arab armies surrounding it from the south, from the north and from the east.”
 
A week later, the war began.
 
And a week after that it was over, with Israel in control of Jerusalem, along with Judea, Samaria, Gaza, Sinai and the Golan Heights.
 
Ever since, the world has been pressing Israel to go back to the pre-1967 frontiers and to give its foes the territory from which they sought to launch its destruction.
 
As a matter of fact, Washington is now laying heavy pressure on Israel to retreat to the “Green Line” and create a Palestinian entity alongside its borders, as though Israel’s acquisition of these territories was somehow illicit from the start.
 
But nothing could be further from the truth.
 
Israel did not occupy Judea and Samaria – it won them fair and square in an act of self-defense, and it should have no regrets for doing so.
 
The war of 1967 was one that Israel neither asked for nor initiated. And the time has come for us to stop apologizing for winning it. Instead, let’s embrace the great gift God has given us by settling the land and filling it with Jews.
 
Our ancestors walked these areas centuries before the advent of Islam, and thousands of years before the establishment of the PLO, and we need not apologize for returning to the heartland of our proud and ancient heritage.
 
It is time for Israel to stand firm and be strong, and declare once and for all that the “Green Line” has forever been replaced.
 

In its stead we now have Red Lines, and chief among them is this: we will never, ever give up territory again.

 

 

Michael Freund, whose Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the third week of each month, served as deputy director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office under Benjamin Netanyahu from 1996 to 1999. He is founder and chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists “lost Jews” seeking to return to the Jewish people.

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