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December 21, 2014 / 29 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Yoram Ettinger’

Yoram Ettinger: Enhanced Israeli Realism

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Recent findings by a June 12, 2012 Maagar Mochot poll, published by Israel Hayom on Tuesday, reflect a shift in the Israeli state of mind, from the euphoric days of the 1993 Oslo Accords up until the recent eruption of the tectonic “Arab Spring.”

Palestinian terrorism has skyrocketed since Oslo: 250 Israelis were murdered in the 19 years prior to Oslo, while over 2,000 Israelis were murdered in the 19 years since Oslo.

Palestinian hate-education and incitement was prohibited under Israeli control; Palestinian hate-education and incitement — which is the most authentic reflection of one’s ideology — surged under the Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian Authority’s track record in the 19 years since Oslo has been heavy on hate-education, incitement, terrorism, non-compliance, corruption, repression of fellow Palestinians, support of arch-terrorists such as Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, support of anti-U.S. terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq, and friendships with Russia, China, North Korea, Iran and other enemies and rivals of the U.S. and Western democracies.

The seismic “Arab Spring” has exposed the endemic vulnerabilities of “peace treaties” in the Middle East, highlighting the Arab Middle East as the role model of intra-Arab violence, treachery, unpredictably, instability, fragmentation, non-compliance and violation of human liberties.

Israelis are becoming increasingly realistic and realizing that Arabs cannot be expected to share a genuine peace with the “infidel” Jewish State, as they have failed to live in peace with one another for at least 1,400 years.

The Maagar Mochot poll found that:

1. 73% (compared with 64% last year) assume that the two-state solution will not resolve the conflict with the Palestinians.

2. 64% of Israelis, residing in pre-1967 Israel, support expansion of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Only 15% (compared with 20% last year) wish to halt settlement construction.

3. Only 45% support partial or full Israeli withdrawal from Judea and Samaria.

4. Merely 5% support a unilateral Israeli withdrawal.

5. 46% (compared with 38% last year) oppose the uprooting of settlements in return for a peace treaty.

Realism has been the secret behind Jewish survival over the last 4,000 years. Enhanced realism is a prerequisite for the survival of the Jewish state in the conflict-ridden Middle East.

Originally published at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=2049

Yoram Ettinger: The Westernization of Muslim Demographics

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

The dramatic Westernization of Muslim demographics contradicts conventional “wisdom.” It requires the re-thinking of economic, social and national security assumptions and the re-evaluation of related policy.

For example, the fertility rates of young Arabs in Judea and Samaria has converged – at three births per woman – with the respective fertility rates of young Israeli Arabs and Jews, while (mostly secular) Jewish fertility rate trends upwards and Arab fertility rates trend downwards.

The Arab fertility rate in Judea and Samaria is declining faster as a derivative of modernity: urbanization (70% rural in 1967 vs. 75% urban in 2012), expanded education especially among women (most of whom complete high school and increasingly attend community colleges), enhanced career mentality and growing integration into the workforce among women (reproductive process starts later and ends earlier), all time-high median wedding age and divorce rate, minimal teen pregnancy (common in 1967 but rare in 2012), family planning and secularization.

According to How Civilizations Die by David Goldman:

“As Muslim fertility shrinks at a rate demographers have never seen before, it is converging on Europe’s low fertility… Iranian women in their 20s, who grew up with five or six siblings, will bear only one or two children during their lifetimes…. By the middle of this century, the belt of Muslim countries from Morocco to Iran will become as gray as depopulating Europe (p. x)…

Demographers have identified several different factors associated with population decline: urbanization, education and literacy…. Children in traditional societies had an economic value, as agricultural labor and as providers for elderly parents; urbanization and pension systems turned children into a cost rather than a source of income…. Dozens of new studies document the link between religious belief and fertility (p. xv)….

[An] Iranian twenty-five year old’s mother married in her teens and had several children by her mid-twenties. Her daughter has postponed family formation, or foregone it altogether, and spent her most fertile years on education and work…. World fertility has fallen by about two children per woman in the past half century – from about 4.5 children per woman to about 2.5. Fertility in the Muslim world has fallen two or three times faster than the world average (pp. 2-3)….

Across the entire Muslim world, university-educated Muslim women bear children at the same rate as their in-fecund European counterparts (p.5-6)….

The only Muslim countries where women still give birth to seven or eight children are the poorest and least literate: Mali, Niger, Somalia and Afghanistan…. Iran’s secular government under the late Shah put enormous efforts into education during the 1970s and 1980s…. Ayatollah Khomeini’s Islamic Revolution slowed but could not stop the literacy movement (p. 11)….”

Hania Zlotnik, Director, UN Population Division, stated that “In most of the Islamic world it’s amazing, the decline in fertility that has happened.” Eight of the 15 countries that experienced the biggest drop in population growth since 1980 are in the Middle East.

Goldman writes that “the only advanced country [other than the USA] to sustain high fertility rates is Israel (p. 199)….”

He criticizes Israeli leaders who based their policy on erroneous demographic assumptions:

“Israeli concessions in the first decade of the 21th century [Rabin’s Oslo, Sharon’s uprooting of Jewish communities in Gaza and Olmert’s unprecedented proposed concessions] were motivated by fear that Arab fecundity would swamp Israel’s Jewish population. In actuality, quite the opposite was occurring” (p. 200).

In fact, Israel’s 2012 Jewish fertility rate – three births per woman – is higher than all Arab countries, other than Sudan, Yemen, Iraq and Jordan, which trend downward. The average Israeli-born Jewish mother exceeds three births. Moreover, Israel’s robust demography yields uniquely promising economic, social, technological and national security ramifications.

According to Goldman,

“Israel will have more young people than Italy or Spain, and as many as Germany, by the end of the century, if fertility remains unchanged. A century and a half after the holocaust, the Jewish State will have more military-age men, and will be able to field a larger land army, than Germany” (pp. 201-t2).

Israel’s rising (especially secular) Jewish fertility rate is in direct correlation to its relatively high-level optimism, collective responsibility, generational continuity (roots and future), patriotism, tradition, faith and value-driven education. Israel’s demographic tailwind is even more powerful, when considering the potential of 500,000 Olim during the next ten years.

Yoram Ettinger: Jerusalem – American people vs. White House

Monday, May 28th, 2012

Jerusalem has been one of the most dramatic issues of discord between the will of the American people and Congress on the one hand, and State Department-driven presidential policy on the other hand.

In contrast to most Americans and their state and federal representatives, who cherish Jerusalem as the indivisible capital of the Jewish state, all U.S. presidents have embraced Foggy Bottom’s denial of Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital, or even as part of Israel. Moreover, the U.S. foreign policy bureaucracy has disavowed the 1947 non-binding U.N. General Assembly Partition Plan, but for one segment — Jerusalem, which the U.N. designated as an international city.

Israel is the only country in the world whose (3,000 year old) capital is not recognized by the State Department and by the presidents of the U.S. However, the American people consider Israel to be the second most trusted and dependable ally of the U.S. (after Britain), and 71% support (and 9% oppose) Jerusalem as Israel’s indivisible capital.

President Barack Obama has gone further than any U.S. president in implementing the Jerusalem policy of denial. He is pressing for an unprecedented construction freeze in Jerusalem beyond the 1949 ceasefire lines, and is trying to eliminate any reference to “Jerusalem, Israel” in present and past official documents and communications.

On the other hand, Jerusalem has earned the affection of the American people since the arrival of the pilgrims in the 17th century, who viewed the U.S. as “the modern day Promised Land,” establishing many towns with biblical names, including Jerusalem. There are now at least 18 U.S. towns called Jerusalem and 32 called Salem, the initial, biblical name of Jerusalem (Shalem), meaning wholesomeness, divine, and peace.

While the American affinity with Jerusalem has cemented the unique covenant between the U.S. and the Jewish state, the State Department never viewed Jerusalem as part of the Jewish state. In 1949, President Harry S. Truman followed Secretary of State George Marshall’s policy, pressuring Israel to refrain from annexing any part of Jerusalem and to accept the internationalization of the ancient capital of the Jewish people. In 1953, President Dwight D. Eisenhower, inspired by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, opposed the relocation of Israel’s Foreign Ministry from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and prohibited official meetings in Jerusalem. In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson adopted the Jerusalem policy of Secretary of State Dean Rusk, who opposed Israel’s 1948 declaration of independence. Johnson highlighted the international status of Jerusalem, and warned Israel against the unification of, and construction in eastern, Jerusalem. In 1970, President Richard Nixon collaborated with Secretary of State William P. Rogers in attempting to repartition Jerusalem and to stop Israel’s plans to construct additional neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem.

However, the presidential pressure was short-lived and ineffective due to the defiant Israeli response, which benefited from overwhelming congressional and public support of Jerusalem as the eternal, indivisible capital of the Jewish people.

In 1995, Congress decided to implement the will of the people, passing overwhelmingly (93-5 in the Senate and 374-37 in the House) the Jerusalem Embassy Act. It stipulated the recognition of unified Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the relocation of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. However, a presidential national security waiver, which was introduced into the bill by Senator Bob Dole with the support of Prime Minister Itzhak Rabin, has enabled Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama to avoid implementation.

In 1999, 84 senators realized that the national security waiver was misused by the White House, and that kow-towing to Arab pressure radicalized Arab expectations and belligerence. They attempted to leverage the co-determining and co-equal power of the legislature and to eliminate the waiver provision. But, they were blocked by Clinton and by then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak.

In 2012, the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties should heed the historical will of Americans, synchronizing the White House and the State Department with the reality that Jerusalem is Israel’s indivisible capital. Still, the success of such an initiative requires Israeli leaders to resurrect the steadfastness and defiance which characterized Israeli prime ministers from David Ben-Gurion (1948) through Itzhak Shamir (1992).

Originally published at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1946

Yoram Ettinger: Shavuot Guide for the Perplexed

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

Shavuot is the holiday of the Torah, which impacted the US Constitution in particular and the state of Western morality, liberty, and democracy in general. Shavuot is celebrated by decorating homes and houses of worship with Land of Israel-related fruit, vegetables, herb and flowers, demonstrating the indigenous connection between the Torah of Israel, the People of Israel, and the Land of Israel.

Shavuot – a spiritual holiday – follows Passover – a national liberation holiday: from physical liberation (the Exodus) to spiritual liberation/enhancement.

The two portions of the Torah, which are recited/studied around Shavuot, are נשא and בהעלותך, which mean – in Hebrew – spiritual enhancement and elevation. נשא is the longest portion of the Torah (176 verses), highlighting the inauguration of the ancient tabernacle and altar. בהעלותך highlights the Menorah (Candelabrum) of the ancient tabernacle, which had seven branches, similar to the seven day week and the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot.

Shavuot is celebrated 50 days following Passover. The Jubilee – the cornerstone of liberty and the source of the inscription on the Liberty Bell (Leviticus 25:10) – is celebrated every 50 years. Judaism highlights the constant challenge facing human beings: the choice between the 50 gates of wisdom and the corresponding 50 gates of impurity. Egypt represented the gates of impurity and the receipt of the Torah represented the gates of wisdom. The 50th gate of wisdom is the gate of deliverance. The USA is composed of 50 states.

Shavuot highlights the eternity of the Jewish People. Thus, the first and the last Hebrew letters of Shavuot (שבועות) constitute the Hebrew name of the third son of Adam & Eve, Seth (שת), the righteous ancestor of Noah, hence of all mankind. The Hebrew meaning of Seth – שת – is “to institute” and “to bestow upon”, מתן in Hebrew – the Hebrew word for the bestowing of the Torah at Mt. Sinai (מתן תורה).

Shavuot (שבועות) is a derivative of the Hebrew word “Shvoua’” (שבועה) – vow, referring to the exchange of vows between God and the Jewish People. The origin of Shavuot occured 26 generations following Adam and Eve. The Hebrew word for Jehovah equals 26 in Gimatriya (assignment of numerical values to Hebrew letters). There are 26 Hebrew letters in the names of the Jewish Patriarchs and Matriarchs: Abraham (אברהם), Yitzhak (יצחק), Yaakov (יעקב) Sarah (שרה), Rivka (רבקה), Rachel (רחל) and Leah (לאה).

The Hebrew root of Shavuot is the word Seven – “Sheva” (שבע). Shavuot is celebrated 7 weeks following Passover; God employed 7 earthly attributes to create the universe (in addition to the 3 divine attributes); There are 7 basic human traits, which individuals are supposed to resurrect/adopt in preparation for Shavuot; 7 key Jewish/universal leaders – Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aharon, Joseph and David – represent the seven qualities of the Torah and the wholesomeness of Judaism and the Land of Israel; 7 days of Creation and a 7 days in a week; The Sabbath is the 7th day; The first Hebrew verse in Genesis consists of 7 words; There are 7 species of the Land of Israel (barley, wheat, grape, fig, pomegranate, olive and date/honey); 7 represents multiplication – שבעתיים – “Sivatayim”; There are 7 directions (north, south, west, east, up, down, one’s own position); 7 gates to The Temple in Jerusalem; 7 Noahide Commandments; Moses’ birth/death was on the 7th day of Adar; Jethro had 7 names and 7 daughters; Passover and Sukkot (Tabernacles) last for 7 days each; each Plague lasted for 7 days; the Menorah has 7 branches; Jubilee follows seven 7-year cycles; according to Judaism, slaves are liberated, and the soil is not-cultivated, in the 7th year; there are 7 continents in the globe and 7 notes in a musical scale; there are 7 days of mourning over the deceased, 7 blessings in a Jewish wedding, 7 congregants read the Torah on each Sabbath and 7 Jewish Prophetesses (Sarah, Miriam, Devorah, Chana, Abigail, Choulda and Esther). Pentecost is celebrated, by Christians, on the 7th Sunday after Easter.

Shavuot is the second of the 3 Jewish Pilgrimages (Sukkot-Tabernacles, Passover and Shavuot), celebrated on the 6th day of the 3rd Jewish month, Sivan. It highlights Jewish Unity, compared by King Solomon to “a three folds cord, which is not quickly broken” (Ecclesiastes 4:12). The Torah – the first of the 3 parts of the Jewish Bible – was granted to the Jewish People (which consists of 3 components: Priests, Levites and Israel), by Moses (the youngest of 3 children, brother of Aharon and Miriam), a successor to the 3 Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and to Seth, the 3rd son of Adam and Eve. The Torah was forged in 3 manners: Fire (commitment to principles), Water (lucidity and purity) and Desert (humility and principle-driven tenacity). The Torah is one of the 3 global pillars, along with labor and gratitude/charity. The Torah is one of the 3 pillars of Judaism, along with the Jewish People and the Land of Israel.

Yoram Ettinger: Beyond World Opinion

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

World opinion should not deter Israel from enhancing Jewish roots and national security, expanding the Jewish presence in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, and pre-empting Palestinian and Hezbollah terrorism.

Adverse world opinion and global pressure have always been an integral part of the attack on the Jewish people and the Jewish state. The aim of this global campaign has been to eliminate the unique national, religious, cultural and territorial features of the Jewish people, including Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel.

The bolstering of Jewish sovereignty generates negative world opinion (except in the U.S. and a few other countries), but enhances respect toward a conviction-driven Jewish state. On the other hand, when Jewish sovereignty retreats and Israel submits to world opinion, it just reflects weakness. Israel will never satisfy world opinion, and such action only further fuels global pressure, which erodes respect toward the Jewish state.

World opinion toward the Jewish state was not improved by Israel’s 1957 and 1982 mega-retreats from the Sinai Peninsula (almost three times as large as Israel), the transfer of 100% of Gaza and 45% of Judea and Samaria to the Palestinian Authority, and the 1993 Israeli importation of PLO terrorists to the doorsteps of their intended victims.

However, going against the grain has been a prerequisite for game-changing human endeavors in general, and Jewish initiatives in particular.

Going against the grain has been a Jewish trait since the introduction of Abraham’s monotheism. Moreover, a defiant Jewish people has preserved and advanced the Jewish vision and strategic Jewish goals – while contributing uniquely to humanity – in the face of devastation, decimation, exiles, pogroms, expulsions, public burning, discrimination, forceful conversion and the Holocaust. If they had allowed themselves to be intimidated by world opinion, the Jewish people would have been doomed to oblivion.

Theodore Herzl, the father of modern-day political Zionism, was considered a messianic wishful thinker at the end of the 19th century. He was initially resented by most Jews, ridiculed by demographers, and dismissed by world opinion.

Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion’s 1948 decision to declare the independence of the Jewish state was opposed by most of his party members, as well as by the U.S. Secretary of State Gen. George Marshall, who was then the most charismatic U.S. leader; the State Department’s bureaucracy; U.S. Defense Secretary James Forestall; the CIA and the New York Times. Israel’s founding father had to overcome a U.S. military embargo while the British supplied arms to the Arabs. Following the War of Independence, he ignored global bullying, refused to consider a return to the pre-war lines and the internationalization of Jerusalem, declared the Israel-controlled parts of Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish state and did not end the “occupation of the Negev.”

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol pre-empted Egypt and Syria, in 1967, in spite of adverse world opinion and specific warnings from the U.S. administration. Eshkol also defied Washington, and the world, by reuniting Jerusalem and launching construction projects in Jerusalem across the 1949 cease-fire (Green) line.

Prime Minister Golda Meir dared to provoke world opinion, laying the foundations for four major neighborhoods in Jerusalem across the Green Line which today house some 150,000 residents.

Prime Ministers Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir were criticized and condemned by the world for their claim that Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights and the whole of Jerusalem were indivisble parts of the Jewish state. However, their slackened global popularity was matched by deep respect for their principle-driven policies, which made them worthy allies in the face of mutual threats, triggering a significant enhancement of U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation. Begin’s 1981 destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor – which spared the U.S. a nuclear confrontation in 1991 – was carried out despite U.S.-led global condemnation, depicting Israel as a lawless entity.

Contemporary Israeli leaders benefit from dramatically improved circumstances, compared with the meager resources at the disposal of their predecessors, demographically (more than 6 million Jews live in Israel), economically (the best ever economic indicators), technologically (the site of 400 high-tech global giants), industrially (unprecedented trade relations), militarily (expanded cooperation with Western military forces) and scientifically (a leading space power). Moreover, the world is increasingly exposed to the anti-Western explosive Arab and Palestinian street, the deeply and violently fragmented Arab world, the rising threat of Islamic terrorism in the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, the intensifying demographic Islamic threat in Europe, and Iran’s nuclearization. Recent polls document bolstered support of Israel in the U.S. (71% favorability according to Gallup, compared with 19% support of the Palestinians).

Yoram Ettinger: The Problem with US Mediation

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

The 1993 Oslo Accord between Israel and the Palestinians was introduced by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, surprising U.S. President Bill Clinton, who then facilitated the signing of the agreement. Similarly, the 1994 Israel–Jordan peace treaty was the brainchild of Prime Minister Rabin, adopted by King Hussein, and codified by President Clinton during the signing ceremony.

In contrast, several U.S. peace initiatives not only failed to produce peace, but inadvertently fueled Arab belligerence. They were based on the morally wrong and strategically flawed “land for peace” concept, which rewards aggressors instead of penalizing them, thereby fueling further aggression and punishing the intended victim.

Failed U.S. peace initiatives include the 1949-50 bullying of Israel to “end the occupation of the Negev,” to internationalize Jerusalem and allow Arab refugees to resettle in Israel; the 1970 Rogers plan; the 1973-75 Kissinger-orchestrated initiatives; the 1982 Reagan plan; the 1989-1992 Bush–Baker “foreswear Greater Israel” initiative, culminating in the 1991 Madrid Conference where Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir rejected “land for peace”; the 1998 Wye River Conference; the 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh Conference; the July 2000 Camp David Summit and the December 2000 “Clinton Parameters”; the January 2001 Taba Summit; the 2002 “Road Map”; the 2007 Annapolis Conference; and the 2009-2012 enshrining of the 1949 cease-fire lines, the re-partitioning of Jerusalem and the freezing of Jewish construction in east Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

The attempt to serve as an honest broker between Israel and the Palestinians has defied reality and U.S. interests. While Israel has been an unconditional ally of the U.S. and a role model for countering terrorism, the Palestinians have actively and ideologically sided with U.S. enemies and rivals: Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, North Korea, Iran, China and Russia. They celebrated the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks; condemned the execution of Saddam and bin Laden; participated in the murder of 300 U.S. Marines during the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Embassy and Marines headquarters in Beirut; murdered two U.S. ambassadors in Khartoum in 1973; and established an anti-Semitic and anti-U.S. education system – which has manufactured a line of anti-U.S. terrorists and suicide bombers.

U.S. mediation has been based on the false assumption that the Arab–Israeli conflict is a root cause of Middle East turbulence, creating a delusional connection between the 100-year-old Arab–Israeli conflict and the overarching 1,400-year-old intra-Muslim turbulence in the region. It has diverted U.S. resources from primary to secondary causes of instability in the Middle East, thus undermining U.S. deterrence. It has radicalized Arab expectations for sweeping Israeli concessions, thus inflaming Arab belligerence and terrorism and intensifying tension between U.S. and Israeli administrations. It has clouded U.S.–Israel strategic cooperation while threats increase: The anti-U.S. Arab street is raging; the U.S. is reducing its military presence in the Middle East and cutting its defense budget; Russia and China are increasing their influence in the region; and Iran’s nuclearization is advancing. All of these developments are independent of the Palestinian issue, the Arab–Israeli conflict, Israel’s policies and even its existence.

In 1967, Saudi Arabia welcomed Israel’s devastation of pro-Soviet Egypt and Syria, which aimed to topple the House of Saud. In 1990, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were focused on the imminent threat posed by Saddam Hussein, but the Bush–Baker team was preoccupied with Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria. In 2012, Saudi Arabia and most Arab countries yearn for a U.S., or Israeli, pre-emptive strike against Iran, which they consider a clear and present lethal threat. They are anti-Israel and wish its destruction, but they do not consider the Arab–Israeli conflict, or the Palestinian issue, to be their primary concerns. They understand that when smothered by a sandstorm, one should not be preoccupied with tumbleweeds.

Increased Arab confidence in the U.S. leadership necessitates that the U.S. focus on regional sandstorms such as Iran, Islamic terrorism, the Islamic threat to pro-U.S. regimes and the recent turmoil on the increasingly anti-American Arab street.

The enhancement of U.S. power and influence in the Middle East requires that the U.S. upgrade cooperation with stable, reliable, capable, democratic and unconditional allies, such as Israel. The U.S. should not subordinate such cooperation to the mediation of secondary conflicts in the Middle East.

Originally published at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1842

Yoram Ettinger: Mid-East Unpredictability and the Peace Process

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

In order to comprehend the real Mid-East, the root causes of regional turbulence, the key obstacle to peace and the oversimplification of Western peace-processors, one should examine the Iraq-Syria labyrinth, an arena of flaming and chronic unpredictability.

In April 2012, the Iraqi regime – led by Shiites – is supporting the Assad regime in the battle against Syria’s Sunni majority and the Muslim Brotherhood, which are perceived as a worse threat than Assad to the current regime in Baghdad.

However, from 2003 until the eruption of the current civil war in Syria, Iraq was haunted by Assad-armed and trained pro-Saddam Sunni terrorists, who terrorized Iraq and undermined the stability of the current Iraqi regime.

Moreover, from 1966 – when a split occurred between the Damascus and the Baghdad wings of their ruling Ba’th party – until the 2003 demise of Saddam Hussein, Syria supported all anti-Saddam Hussein ideological, ethnic, tribal, and religious elements. In fact, from 1979 until 2003, Damascus and Tehran provided asylum to Iraq’s current Prime Minister, Nuri al-Maliki, who was then in opposition to Saddam Hussein.

The rivalry between Syria and Iraq has raged – on and off – since the eighth century, when the Damascus-based Umayyad Caliphate lost the military battle for intra-Muslim leadership to the Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate.

Welcome to the real Mid-East, the model of violent unpredictability, where the most predictable factor is unpredictability!

Inherent Mid-East unpredictability has produced a multitude of intra-Muslim accords concluded, but routinely, brutally, and unpredictably abrogated. Hence, the frequent intra-Muslim cease fire agreements recently concluded, yet summarily and mercilessly violated, in Syria.

The higher the unpredictability, the lower the prospect of compliance. The lower the compliance, the higher the threshold of security, especially in the unstable, treacherous, fragmented, violent, and unpredictable Mid-East.

The failure of Mid-East Muslim regimes to adhere to intra-Muslim agreements attests to the provisional and fragile nature of agreements signed with “infidel” entities, such as the Jewish State. The critical issue is when and how – not whether – agreements will be shattered. For example, in 1994, Jordan’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff told his Israeli colleague that “agreements signed with the Palestinians in the morning are violated by the end of the day.”

However, President Obama, West Europe, and the UN – just like the Israeli Oslo-ites and New Middle Easterners – are obsessed with the formalities of concluding Israeli-Arab agreements, failing to grasp the deeply-rooted fragility of all agreements concluded in the Mid-East. They pressure the Jewish State to assume irreversible “painful tangible concessions” – in return for reversible, intangible Arab declarations. They lean on Israel to retreat to the pre-1967, defenseless, 9-15 mile sliver along the Mediterranean. They prod Israel to transfer – to unpredictable and violent neighbors – the cradle of its history, which is also a mountain ridge, dominating the Mediterranean sliver and constituting an indispensable, protective high ground for Israel’s survival in the most conflict-ridden region in the world.

The real Mid-East is currently further traumatized by the tectonic implosion of the Arab Street, the meltdown of traditional regimes, and the surge of radical Islamic elements, irrespective of the Palestinian issue or the Arab-Israeli conflict, which have only had a secondary impact upon the Mid-East.

Islamists have catapulted to leadership in Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt and are challenging every Arab regime.

Emad el-Din Adeeb, a columnist of the London-based Arab daily, A-Sharq al-Awsat, wrote on February 4, 2012: “I sorrowfully say, God bless the days of Saddam Hussein, compared to today’s Iraq!… Iraq has been dismantled, and is now practically divided into three minor states: the Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions…. The number of Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Iraq amounts to 200,000 armed troops. This is in addition to the fact that some government correspondence in Baghdad is now written in both Persian and Kurdish…. The state has shifted into a major power center for extremist Islamic currents that threaten national and regional security, most prominently al-Qaeda…. The Iraqi authorities want to relocate the late President Saddam Hussein’s corpse from his grave – because of the numerous visits and crowds gathering nearby– to an unknown or remote place…. Judging by what happened in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, no one believes change in Syria will be democratic in the long term. It will bring to power a sectarian Islamic fundamentalist party. Instability will continue to be the order of the day.”

But, President Obama, Europe, and the UN persist in ignoring Mid-East reality. They pressure Israel to be the only country negotiating away its cradle of history, while lowering its security threshold, as if the Mid-East were relatively-predictable and compliant.

Originally published at http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=1756

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/yoram-ettinger-mid-east-unpredictability-and-the-peace-process/2012/04/23/

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