Amb. Friedman Compares U.S. Military in Germany to Israel in West Bank
- Nikolaj Nielsen (EUobserver-Belgium
U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman on Wednesday rejected any notion that Israel's security presence in the West Bank is tantamount to occupation.
"The United States has military presence all over the world. We have presence in Germany, Japan, South Korea, Philippines, I mean...none of those countries consider themselves occupied by the United States and certainly don't consider ourselves to be occupiers."
While under the U.S. peace plan the IDF will not leave the West Bank, "I would expect in a few years that the primary internal security would be handled by the Palestinians, that is certainly the aspiration," said Friedman.
Palestinian Authority Schools Are Teaching Anti-Israel Violence Is Honorable
- Lee Harpin (Jewish Chronicle-UK
Speaking in the House of Commons, MP Robert Halfon said he fears children in Palestinian Authority schools are being taught that it "is honorable to commit violent acts against Israelis."
He raised the issue of UK aid money paying for the salaries of teachers in PA schools, saying at least 31 of these schools were named after terrorists who killed innocent citizens.
"Instead of prolonging the conflict by supporting such rhetoric, we must do more to press the Palestinians to stop glorifying terrorists and to use our aid as it is meant to be used."
Wife of Late Palestinian Terrorist Can't Collect on Life Insurance Policy, Ontario Court Rules
- Colin Perkel (Globe and Mail-Canada
The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled against the wife of a notorious Palestinian terrorist who attacked an Israeli airliner, in her bid to collect on her late husband's life insurance, because he failed to mention his unsavory past when he took out the policy in 1987.
Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, attacked an El Al aircraft at Athens airport in 1968, killing one person and destroying the plane.
Mohammad was convicted in Greece but released after a hostage negotiation when other front members stormed another plane. He moved to Lebanon and then, under an alias, to Canada.
64 U.S. Soldiers Suffered Traumatic Brain Injury in Iranian Missile Attack
- Thomas Gibbons-Neff (New York Times
The U.S. Defense Department said Thursday that 64 troops sustained traumatic brain injuries after the Iranian missile strikes on Ayn Al Asad Air Base in Iraq on Jan. 8.
39 of those have returned to duty, 8 are being treated in the U.S., while 21 are in Germany.
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Jewish National Fund Launches Online "Click and Plant" Tree-Planting in Israel
- Sue Surkes (Times of Israel
In the run-up to the annual Jewish festival of Tu B'Shvat - the "New Year of the Trees" - on Feb. 9, the Jewish National Fund (KKL-JNF) has opened an online site for buying trees.
A promotional campaign (ending Feb. 12) offers donors the chance to buy trees for half the usual price - NIS 18 ($5.20) - in any of the many forests throughout Israel.
See also Plant Your Tree in Israel
Your gift will make Israel greener and help heal the environment. You will receive a beautiful certificate with your own personalized message.
Hamas Continues Work on Cross-Border Tunnels
Hamas Al-Qassam Brigades fighter Ibrahim Khalil ash-Shantaf, 21, was killed Thursday in an accident while working in a tunnel near the perimeter fence.
Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed or injured in similar accidents.
Occupied Elsewhere: Selective Policies on Occupations and Territorial Disputes
- Svante Cornell and Brenda Shaffer (Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Recently, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided goods entering the EU that are produced in Jewish settlements in the West Bank must be clearly designated as such.
At the same time, however, neither the ECJ nor the EU have enacted similar policies on goods from other zones of occupation, such as Nagorno-Karabakh or Abkhazia.
Other such territories include Crimea, Donbas, Northern Cyprus, Kashmir, South Ossetia, Transnistria, and Western Sahara.
Policies that are selective reveal biases.
Arab Protesters Turn Away from the Tribe and toward Nationalism
- Benny Avni (Wall Street Journal
A new cry against tribalism is increasingly heard in Lebanon, Iraq and beyond because the old sectarian-based order no longer delivers the goods, if it ever did.
A new Arab generation is fast losing interest in its leaders' religion, familial ties and ability to navigate tribal politics.
A growing protest movement demands more competent national governance.
Israel Electric to Help Safeguard Tokyo Olympics from Cyberattack
- Shoshanna Solomon (Times of Israel
The Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) has signed an agreement with a leading energy utility in Japan to help it secure infrastructure against cyberattacks during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, IEC chairman Yiftah Ron-Tal said at the Cybertech 2020 conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday.
IEC has similar cooperation agreements with an electricity producer in Canada and a European utility.
The IEC was subject to an average 11,000 cyber events per second in 2019, and is one of the most targeted organizations in the world, Ron-Tal said.
This huge exposure to cyberattacks has led IEC to develop its cybersecurity tools and market them globally.
Israeli Technology Helps Wounded Canadian Soldier to Walk
- Paul Lungen (Canadian Jewish News
In 2006, Capt. Trevor Greene was serving with the Canadian infantry in Afghanistan when an Afghan plunged an axe into the back of his head at a meeting with local tribal elders.
The attack left him unable to walk, until a Canadian neuroscientist connected him with an Israeli-made wearable exoskeleton that does the walking for him.
Retired U.S. Army Sgt. Terry Hannigan Vereline also uses the device. In 2019 she successfully completed the New York City Marathon, though it took her three days.
New Israeli Anti-Diabetes Drug Could Be a Game-Changer
- Abigail Klein Leichman (Israel21c
Up to 95% of the 463 million people in the world with diabetes, have type 2 (T2D).
Zygosid-50, a drug under development by Concenter BioPharma in Israel, could be the first to restore near-normal cellular sensitivity to insulin, without side effects.
In animal trials, Zygosid-50 restored insulin sensitivity by better than 90%.
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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
- U.S. Ramps Up Sanctions on Iran while Providing Medicine - Lara Jakes
The U.S. on Thursday piled new economic sanctions on Iran, but also opened access to medicine for cancer and organ transplant patients.
The medicines are being sent to Iran through businesses in Switzerland, said Brian Hook, the State Department's special envoy for Iran policy.
Hook accused Iran's government of diverting millions of dollars for medical supplies to buy items like electrical cable and tobacco products. In other cases, he said, Tehran sold medicines on the black market and used the profits to fund its military proxies in Yemen, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. "The Iranian people know that their regime, not American sanctions, are to blame for their difficulties getting medical supplies," he said. (New York Times)
- Kushner: Middle East Peace Plan Guarantees Muslims Access to Al-Aqsa - Ray Hanania
The U.S. peace plan will guarantee the Muslim world access to holy sites in Jerusalem, senior White House advisor Jared Kushner said Wednesday.
"Israel, at America's behest, reaffirmed and appreciates the role of the King of Jordan with regard to the Muslim holy sites and made a firm commitment saying that any Muslim who wants to come and pray at the mosque is welcome to do so," Kushner said. "The Al-Aqsa Mosque is not under attack and Jerusalem is an open city and all Muslims are welcome who want to come and pray peacefully."
"Basically the Palestinians have an opportunity for a state and have a capital in east Jerusalem," he added. He said that if the Palestinians join the process, Israel will be flexible to negotiate issues and specifics of the plan. But if they refuse, the U.S. will move on to other priorities. (Arab News-Saudi Arabia)
- U.S. Expands Presence in Saudi Arabia - Lolita C. Baldor
At Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, hundreds of tents have popped up and F-15E fighters from the recently arrived 494th Expeditionary Fighter Squadron line the tarmac, flying daily missions over Iraq and Syria. In the distance, two American Patriot missile batteries are scanning the skies, prepared to knock down any Iranian attack against the Saudi kingdom. The U.S. troop presence here has grown to 2,500 since last summer.
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
- After Gaza Rocket Barrage, IDF Attacks Terror Targets - Tamar Beeri
The IDF attacked Hamas targets in Gaza on Thursday night in response to a barrage of rockets sent into Israel a few hours prior. Two Palestinian rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome system and one landed in an open field near Sapir College in Sderot. In addition, numerous incendiary balloons entered Israel from Gaza.
- Israel Stopped "Very Serious" Cyber Attack on Power Plant - Eytan Halon
Israel detected and prevented a "very serious cyber attack" on one of the country's power plants a few months ago, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Wednesday. "It was detected and neutralized, but it was a very serious, sophisticated attempt to try to control and paralyze one of our power stations." (Jerusalem Post)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:
U.S. Peace Plan
- The U.S. Peace Plan Puts Peace before Giving Up Land - Interview with Michael Oren
Former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren said:
"One of the biggest differences [in the new U.S. peace plan] is [that] President Trump lifted the formula of territories for peace on its head. If in the past Israel was expected to give territory first and then get peace, now Israel gets peace first and then gives up the territory. Here's the difference: The burden of proof of peacefulness falls on the Palestinians. They have to stop educating their children to kill Israeli youth....They have to accept Israel as a legitimate, permanent state. The burden is there and Palestinian statehood is predicated and conditioned on that."
"This is the first agreement that we have seen now in almost 30 years of peacemaking that actually reflects realities on the ground and it is not an expression of a wish....In a real world, Jerusalem is not going to be re-divided. In a real world, thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of Israeli citizens are not going to be uprooted from their homes. Whereas previous peace agreements assumed the notion of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines - that would involve uprooting thousands and thousands of Israelis and would have given security control to the Palestinians. And that state would have fallen apart in days, if not hours." (Medialine)
- U.S. Peace Plan Critics Shouldn't Encourage Palestinians to Make Another Mistake - Jonathan S. Tobin
All those denouncing the new U.S. peace plan are advising the Palestinians to stick to their refusal to talk until a new American president takes office. It is the worst possible advice anyone could give. Rather than encouraging the Palestinians to start negotiating, the "experts" are applauding their decision to reject the proposal out of hand. Sadly, they are once again serving as enablers for a Palestinian Arab leadership that has, over the course of the last century, failed their people miserably as they pursued a futile war against Zionism.
Palestinian political culture is one in which any recognition of Israel's legitimacy is not merely a form of treason, but a complete betrayal of Palestinian identity. That's why Abbas was meeting with representatives of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, rather than with Trump and Netanyahu at the White House.
Abbas is saying "no" to Trump for the same reason that the Palestinians have been saying "no" to every compromise that has been mooted to solve the conflict since the 1930s. No Palestinian leader has the courage to make peace with Israel, no matter where its borders are drawn. Palestinians are right to say that Trump is asking them to surrender. But what they must surrender is their dreams of eliminating Israel.
What Trump is offering the Palestinians is the best chance they're going to get to achieve a measure of independence, and eventually even prosperity. Anyone who advises them differently - whether out of disdain for Trump, or because they are fixated on forcing Israel to retreat to the 1967 lines and evicting hundreds of thousands of Israelis from their homes - is merely encouraging them to make the same mistake Palestinians have made every other time they had a chance to end the conflict and move on with their lives.
- The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan Dispels Poisonous Fictions that Have Held Back Negotiations for Decades - David Harsanyi
It's unlikely that the new U.S. peace plan will succeed. But it is the best of any recent offerings because it doesn't make any false promises. The plan favors reality, laying out the only plausible path to a new Palestinian state. It's been a dangerous waste of time basing negotiations on delusions.
Palestinians are not getting their great-granddad's house in Jaffa back any more than the hundreds of thousands of Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Muslim lands after Israel's 1948 war of independence are reclaiming their property. The difference is that one of these groups accepted reality long ago. The U.S. plan would simply codify these realities while allowing Palestinians to finally have a startup state. Stateless peoples yearning for self-determination around the world would, no doubt, be ecstatic for such an opportunity.
In the past, Palestinian negotiators, who have never once crafted a peace plan of their own - or any deal that wasn't contingent on the complete capitulation of Israel - sat back and rejected one concession after the next. They offered ever-growing lists of grievances while American leaders tried to pacify them. It's about time someone injected a dose of this reality into this situation. (National Review)
- The Majority of Arab States Are Against the Palestinians - Prof. Eyal Zisser
Upon the revelation of the U.S. peace plan, the Arab world generally responded with restraint and even deafening silence. After all, the majority of Arab states have far more important and pressing issues than the future of the Palestinians to deal with; and if the Palestinians are incapable of taking responsibility for their future, then no one in the Arab world intends to do it for them.
The Palestinians have chosen to indignantly reject the American peace proposal. Apparently, they would rather "live in a movie" and continue dreaming their dreams about the struggle against Israel and international intervention to force Israel to grant them their every desire. But none of this will happen, and the entire world, except for the Palestinians, has already realized this.
The plan Trump proposed on Tuesday is light-years from the Palestinian dream. But it is a realistic and practical plan, which addresses the gamut of problems that have always stood in the way of a peace deal. Its main advantage is that, contrary to the past, this plan is not hostage to Palestinian weakness or whims. The writer is a lecturer in the Middle East History Department at Tel Aviv University.
- Palestinians Are Increasingly Isolated - Mark Almond
Time and again, the Palestinians have looked to the outside world to uphold their cause. In 1948, and again in 1967 and 1973, they hoped the armies of the Arab states would rescue them and topple Israel. It never happened. After decades of being one of the few issues Arabs across the Middle East could agree on, the Palestinians' plight has lost its emotional appeal. Time has left them trapped stateless while Arab rulers have quietly come to terms with Israel's existence.
The aging Palestinian leadership has been woefully slow to understand the implications of the realpolitik going on around them.
Israel made concessions. Most dramatically, in 2005, Israel withdrew from Gaza, taking its settlers out against their will. Hamas then used Gaza as a launching pad for repeated missile attacks on Israel.
As the big powers jostle for influence across the Middle East, their eyes are focused on places like Iraq, Syria and Libya, not the West Bank.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE used to subsidize the Palestinians generously, but their funding has shrunk. The EU too is not anxious to pick up any slack. Now without powerful friends, with violence a dead end, the Palestinians should swallow their pride. Otherwise they will have chosen to be left with nothing to be proud about.
- An Arab Case for the U.S. Peace Plan - Ahmed Charai
Count me among a large number of Arabs who have long believed that the U.S. peace plan deserves a chance - albeit one of the few who says so publicly. The failure to build vibrant Palestinian civil, economic, and cultural institutions has always been a significant obstacle to their dream of statehood. Thus it is pragmatic to open a four-year window for the Palestinians to pursue such an outcome, as the U.S. plan essentially does.
No prior conception of a peace settlement has gone as far in articulating a plan to foster Palestinian civil and economic vitality. The Bahrain economic workshop won large pledges of financial support from Saudi Arabia and other countries.
Though rejectionist ideologues remain in power, younger generations express greater interest in economic progress, struggling against corruption in their institutions, and engaging Israel and the broader region in pursuit of these goals. The writer, a Moroccan publisher, is on the board of the Atlantic Council and is an international counselor at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
- Palestinians Are the Only Stateless People Who Turned Down Repeated Offers of Statehood - Steve Frank
Although the new U.S. peace proposal is unlikely to achieve its purported goal, it is useful because it underscores certain facts. The Palestinians never will accept the existence of a Jewish state in what they consider to be "historic Palestine," which includes present-day Israel. If there was any doubt about that, just listen to the Palestinians' present-day chant for the "liberation of Palestine, from the river to the sea" (from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, including both the West Bank and all of Israel).
The Encyclopedia of the Stateless Nations cites the claims for statehood of over 350 stateless peoples. Many are ancient peoples who have had their own separate identities for centuries, including 45 million Kurds, 6 million Tibetans, 70 million Tamils in southern India, 30 million Igbos in Nigeria, 30 million Sikhs in India, 10 million Ahwazi Arabs in Iran, the Basques, and the Catalans.
The elevation of the Palestinian narrative is especially anomalous given that, unlike other stateless people, the stateless status of the Palestinians is largely self-inflicted. They are the only stateless people who have turned down repeated offers of statehood and independence over the last hundred years.
They are also the only stateless people who have repeatedly and routinely turned to indiscriminate violence and terrorism in pursuit of their goals. The Kurds, Tibetans and other stateless peoples have never turned their call for statehood into an excuse for murder.
The writer served for 30 years as an appellate lawyer with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington.
- How to Limit Iranian Freedom of Action - Col. (res.) Itai Shapira
Iran's ability to accurately strike targets many miles outside its territory, as demonstrated through recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities and U.S. military bases in Iraq, has greatly increased due to its successful development of precision-guided munitions (PGM). Iran distributes PGMs to its proxies, both the missiles themselves and the technology to produce them. Hizbullah already has a missile manufacturing site in Lebanon.
If successful, Iran's project of spreading PGMs across the Middle East would allow it to deter U.S. action and limit U.S. force projection, even in peacetime. The necessary condition for Iran's PGM effort is its freedom of action in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. Open logistical routes over air, land, and sea from Iran to the rest of the region are susceptible to U.S. military capabilities, when it chooses to exercise them. The recently foiled Iranian attempt to transfer arms to Yemen by sea demonstrates how the U.S. can limit the freedom of action Iran enjoys.
The writer, former deputy head of the research and analysis division in the Israel Defense Forces, is a fellow at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America.
- Time to Pressure Lebanese Government on Hizbullah - Yonah Jeremy Bob
The new Lebanese government is racing around the world to foreign governments and banks to obtain enough aid to avoid a broad financial default,
former Israeli National Security Council chief Brig.-Gen. (res.) Giora Eiland told the Institute for National Security Studies on Thursday.
"This is exactly the time that the answer from all American and EU institutions should be to tell the Lebanese government: we will give you loans based on certain economic conditions....1) sign and commit that there will be no production of precision missiles on Lebanese land; and 2) whatever arms Hizbullah already has, is yours, but a commitment not to import more weapons from Syria and Iran."
U.S. State Department sanctions official David Peyman discussed the success of the "maximum pressure" campaign. "Iran is now telling Iraqi Shi'ite militias 'we won't fund you anymore.' Iran has cut its defense budget by 29%. The IRGC has been cut by 17%. Hizbullah is looking for donations. 17 out of 18 Iranian pension funds are failing." (Jerusalem Post)
- Hamas Faces Tough Choices - Michael Milstein
Hamas is currently caught in dire straits, with a deep grass-roots protest movement inside Gaza, and alienation from a notable segment of outside Arab players. Yahya Sinwar, head of the Hamas Political Bureau in Gaza, grew out of the armed Palestinian wing (Iz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades) and demonstrates a deep attachment to jihad; yet he also understands the importance of maintaining civilian social stability in order to preserve long-term Hamas control.
His attempt to warm up ties with the wider regional "resistance axis" led by Iran is foundering; Iran takes care to provide even its limited backing solely to the Hamas armed wing and not to the movement as a whole.
Moreover, the violent weekly "March of Return" protests along the Gaza-Israel border, in which 350 Gazans were killed, achieved nothing significant.
The writer is head of the Palestinian Studies Forum at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies at Tel Aviv University.
(Washington Institute for Near East Policy)
- European Governments Continue to Fund Terror-Linked NGOs
Eight European-funded NGOs have close links with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terror group, a new report by NGO Monitor released Monday has found. Over 70 current and former staff, board members, and general assembly members, as well as senior management and founders at these NGOs, have direct ties to the PFLP, designated as a terror group by the U.S., EU, Canada, and Israel.
The Palestinian NGOs include Addameer, Al-Dameer, Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P), Health Work Committees (HWC), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), Union of Agricultural Work Committees (UAWC), Union of Health Work Committees (UHWC), and Union of Palestinian Women's Committees (UPWC). The head of the PFLP terror cell who was indicted for preparing and detonating the explosive device that killed 17-year-old Rina Shnerb on August 23, 2019, worked as an accountant at UAWC.
The research documents millions of dollars in funding to these groups from the EU, Netherlands, Switzerland, Spain, Germany, France, Ireland, Norway, and Belgium, as well as support from the U.S., Canada, Japan, UN-OCHA, and UNICEF.
- ADL Study Finds There Is No Epidemic of Anti-Semitism in the U.S. - David Bernstein
Over the last several years, concern about a purported dramatic increase in anti-Semitism in the U.S. has gripped the American Jewish community.
Concerns about rising manifestations of anti-Semitism have been reasonable, as people with strong anti-Semitic views have become more active, more visible, and more willing to express their views publicly.
The ADL just released a new study on anti-Semitic attitudes among Americans. While belief in stereotypes about Jews remains widespread, the ADL found that only 11% of American adults believed in six or more of the 11 stereotypes tested, which is tied for the lowest percentage ever. By contrast, the first year the ADL undertook this study, the figure was 29%.
The problem of anti-Semitism in the U.S. is a problem of the far left and far right fringes, and the way social media, technology, partisanship, and the decline of media gatekeepers has allowed them to have a much louder voice. For those who thought that the U.S. was heading toward the sort of commonplace, mainstream anti-Semitism prevalent in some European countries, you can breathe a sigh of relief, at least for now.
The writer is professor and executive director of the Liberty & Law Center at the George Mason University Law School.
See also Survey of Anti-Semitic Attitudes in the U.S. (Anti-Defamation League)
See also ADL Tracker of Anti-Semitic Incidents (Anti-Defamation League)
- In Israel, Ukrainian President Zelensky Tells Own Family's Holocaust Story
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the story of kindergarten director Saide Arifova who lived in Nazi-occupied Crimea during World War II and concealed the nationality of kindergarteners. "She passed them off as Crimean Tatars, gave them Tatar names, taught them Crimean Tatar language and customs, forged documents and medical certificates. She was a Muslim by religion. She saved 88 Jews."
He also mentioned Greek Catholic Ukrainian priest Omelian Kovch. "He saved Jews by providing them with more than 600 baptismal certificates. He was sent to the Majdanek concentration camp for this."
Zelensky also told the story of his own family. Three of his grandfather's brothers were victims of the Holocaust. They were executed by German occupiers. His grandfather came back alive from the front.
(Presidential Office of Ukraine)
- Jews in the Dutch Resistance in World War II - Cnaan Liphshiz
Dutch resistance fighter Selma van de Perre, 97, writes in her new book, My Name is Selma,
"Countless Jews worked with non-Jews together in the resistance - much more than we knew during the war. Often, it was assumed that Jews who escaped deportation immediately went into hiding but that wasn't always the case." Though resistance leaders knew she was Jewish, her fellow fighters were never told.
Van de Perre joined the resistance at the age of 20. Posing as a nurse to avoid deportation, she arranged a safe house for herself, her mother and 15-year-old sister. Her father was sent to a concentration camp, where he was killed. Eventually her mother and sister also were deported and killed. The Netherlands had the highest death rate among Jews in Nazi-occupied Western Europe, a figure reached in no small part due to the collaboration of local "Jew hunters," who were paid for each Jew they delivered to the Nazis.
- Berlin Jews Hid from Nazis on Tiny Island for 18 Months - David Crossland
A small group of German Jews lived in huts on Reiswerder, an island in Lake Tegel, 180 meters from shore, on the edge of Berlin, for 18 months during World War II until they were discovered by the Gestapo in August 1944.
Reiswerder had been a popular weekend destination for locals.
They are likely to have received help from Harry and Margarete Bonus, a non-Jewish couple who had leased the island and also lived on it, and from friends and relatives who weren't Jewish. (The Times-UK)
- Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) President Dore Gold quietly helped the U.S. peace team, but only went public with his involvement when he attended the peace plan's rollout. Gold told the Jerusalem Post that for the past two years he was fielding "dual invitations" from the U.S. and Israel to help hammer out the details of the latest proposal.
- Gold, an experienced diplomat and former director-general of the Israel Foreign Ministry, said that Jason Greenblatt was the main player. "He may have come in as a real estate lawyer, but he left as a Middle East expert. You need people who are very pragmatic in this business."
- David Friedman brought a "special connection" with Trump to the team.
"I've never seen a U.S. ambassador who could reach in to the Oval [Office] like Friedman did. We had the president in the room without him being there." Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer had the same kind of relationship with Netanyahu, "which allowed this to move along." Jared Kushner offered "strong support" to the team.
- "Trust was an invaluable component of what made this negotiation work," Gold stated. "The trust between the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government was so great that it became possible to have a discussion...over maps, which was revolutionary."
- For Gold, the biggest win for Israel in the peace plan is support for Israel applying sovereignty to the Jordan Valley. He pointed out that former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin said in his final speech to the Knesset that Israel cannot give up the Jordan Valley.
- In the past, American negotiators doubted Israel's need for a physical presence in the Jordan Valley, and thought about technical solutions instead. Gold explained: "What decides wars is the movement of ground armies. As long as that is the case, then the conditions affecting land warfare, like topography, terrain and strategic depth, are part of the requirements for Israel's national security....Ultimately the U.S. stood with Israel when Israel made cogent arguments."
See also New Video: Israel's Critical Security Needs for a Viable Peace (Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)
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