March 17, 2022

In-Depth Issues:

Israeli Airstrike Targeted Iranian Drone Factory - Ronen Bergman (New York Times)
    A senior intelligence official briefed on the operation said that six suicide quadcopter drones exploded on an Iranian drone factory near Kermanshah on Feb. 12.
    The official said the facility was Iran's main manufacturing and storage plant for military drones, and that the Israeli attack destroyed dozens of them.
    Israeli military officials say that Israel has been attacked by Iranian drones several times.
    American officials say that Iran also provides drone technology to proxy forces in Iraq and Syria, who carry out strikes against American personnel in those countries with Tehran's blessing or direction, including an attack on the American base at Al Tanf, Syria, last October.

Report: Israel Key Mediator in Ukraine-Russia Talks - Neri Zilber (Financial Times-UK)
    Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has been the primary international mediator in the Ukraine-Russia talks, three people familiar with the matter said.
    See also Putin, Zelensky Still Talking - Through Israelis - Michael Hirsh (Foreign Policy)
    Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett for an hour and a half on Monday about a possible cease-fire in Ukraine, one of several talks that Bennett has had with Putin since the Israeli prime minister returned from a visit to Moscow on March 6.
    Bennett also spoke on Monday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
    Putin's willingness to engage in talks with Bennett - the only Western leader he has met directly with since the war began - indicates he is looking to keep diplomatic channels open.
    See also With Ties to Russia and Ukraine, Israeli Leader Seeks to Turn Awkward Position into Diplomatic Opportunity - Shira Rubin (Washington Post)

Americans Still Pro-Israel, Palestinians Gain Support - Lydia Saad (Gallup)
    55% of Americans now sympathize more with the Israelis and 26% with the Palestinians, based on Gallup's annual World Affairs survey for 2022, conducted Feb. 1-17.
    While still wide, Israel's advantage has narrowed since 2013 as sympathy for the Palestinians has edged higher, while sympathy for Israel has diminished slightly.
    Whereas 64% of adults 55 and older and 57% aged 35 to 54 are more sympathetic toward Israel, this drops to 40% among those under 35.
    Liberal Democrats favor Palestinians over Israel by 52% to 28%, while conservative and moderate Democrats favor Israel over Palestinians by 50% to 28%. Conservative Republicans favor Israel by 84% to 9%.
    See also Americans Rank Israel 7th among Favorable Countries (Jerusalem Post)
    71% of Americans rated Israel favorably according to Gallup's annual World Affairs poll, published Monday, after Canada, Britain, France, Japan, Germany and India.
    80% of Republicans and 65% of Democrats said they view Israel favorably. 38% of Democrats and 17% of Republicans view the Palestinian Authority favorably.
    See also World Affairs Poll 2022: Country Ratings (Gallup)

All 25 Jewish House Democrats Blast Amnesty Director for Comments on Israel - Ron Kampeas (JTA)
    All 25 Jewish Democrats in the House slammed recent comments by Amnesty International's U.S. director, Paul O'Brien, who told the Women's National Democratic Club in Washington last week, "We are opposed to the idea...that Israel should be preserved as a state for the Jewish people."

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Gazans Outraged over Spending on Luxurious Mosques - Hadeel Al Gherbawi (Al-Monitor)
    In recent years, the construction of luxury mosques has outraged the largely impoverished population of Gaza.
    Imam al-Shafei Mosque in the al-Zaitoun neighborhood was built at a cost of $3.5 million, and the Al-Hassayna Mosque in Gaza City cost more than $2 million. The Al-Khalidi and Salim Abu Muslim mosques cost $1 million each.
    Gaza citizen Mohammad al-Khalidi said, "Mosques can be built at a reasonable cost and the remainder of the donations could be used to build hospitals, schools or residences....Citizens have the right to ask how the state's funds or donations are being spent."
    Mohammad Abu Samra, an expert on Islamic and Arab affairs, said, "Every few meters you find a mosque, constructed at extremely high costs."

Washington Post Uses Russia's Invasion of Ukraine to Attack Israel - Sean Durns (Algemeiner)
    Russia's invasion of Ukraine isn't anything like Israel's security situation. The Washington Post, however, pretends otherwise.
    On March 7, it published an op-ed titled, "The world of inconsistencies between Ukraine, the Middle East, and beyond," by Khaled Beydoun, an associate professor at Wayne State University where he specializes in "Islamophobia."
    His opinion piece glamorizes terrorists, misleads about Israel's security concerns, and omits important history and facts, asserting that Palestinians "have long embodied the very struggle put forward by the Ukrainian people."
    The writer is a senior research analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA).

Sierra Club Reinstates Israel Trips after Canceling Scheduled Visits - Luke Tress (Times of Israel)
    The U.S. environmentalist Sierra Club said Tuesday it will reinstate trips to Israel, after canceling scheduled visits in response to pressure from anti-Zionist groups.
    Acting Executive Director Dan Chu said, "Recently, the Sierra Club hastily made a decision, without consulting a robust set of stakeholders, to postpone two planned outings to Israel. The process that led to this was done in ways that created confusion, anger, and frustration. We do not take positions on foreign policy matters."
    The Sierra Club has offered trips to Israel for nearly a decade.

Palestinian Woman Recounts Torture by Palestinian Interrogators - Khaled Abu Toameh (Jerusalem Post)
    Suha Jbara, a Palestinian woman with U.S. citizenship, was arrested in November 2018 during a raid by Palestinian Authority security forces on her home in Turmus Ayya in the West Bank.
    She was held in the PA's Jericho Prison, charged with "collaboration" with Israel, illegal possession of weapons and distributing money to Islamic charities.
    She was released in January 2019 but has since been on trial in a Palestinian court in Jericho.
    Her testimony, obtained by the Jerusalem Post, sheds light on the harsh methods used by Palestinian interrogators against detainees. In it she describes being blindfolded, handcuffed, beaten, and threatened with rape.

85 Percent of French Jews Say Anti-Semitism Widespread in France (European Jewish Congress)
    A survey on anti-Semitism published by the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) in January 2022 found that 64% of the French population, and 85% of French Jews, believe that anti-Semitism is widespread in France.
    68% of French Jews declared they had been subjected to mockery and 20% say they were victims of physical aggression.
    French people over 65 were much more likely to have anti-Semitic prejudices.

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News Resources - North America, Europe, and Asia:
  • Top U.S. General in the Middle East Warns Iran Has 3,000 Ballistic Missiles - Jeff Seldin
    U.S. Central Command's Gen. Kenneth "Frank" McKenzie told lawmakers Tuesday that Iran now has about 3,000 ballistic missiles, some of which are capable of hitting the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. "Over the last five to seven years...they have invested heavily in their ballistic missile program," McKenzie said. "Their missiles have significantly greater range and significantly enhanced accuracy," he added, describing the advancement of Iran's missile program as "remarkable."
        McKenzie further warned that Tehran has made major progress in developing long-range drones and land-attack cruise missiles, designed to hit predetermined fixed or mobile ground-based targets. (VOA News)
        See also Countering the Iranian Threat - Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie
    Deterring Iran and its threat network depends on capabilities that provide a credible threat of a robust and timely response to Iranian aggression paired with flexible deterrent and response options that impose high costs on Iran, thereby altering its decision calculus.
        At the same time, the United States must demonstrate to our allies and partners that ours is a credible, dependable force in the region, and enable these allies and partners to contribute more effectively to their own defense. (U.S. Central Command)
  • U.S. Weighs Deal to Remove Iran's IRGC from Terror Blacklist - Barak Ravid
    The Biden administration is considering removing Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from a terror blacklist in return for a public commitment from Iran to de-escalation in the region, three Israeli officials and two U.S. sources say. (Axios)
        See also Promises to De-escalate by IRGC Are Not Credible - Amb. Dennis Ross
    Former U.S. special Middle East envoy Dennis Ross tweeted Thursday: "Tying the delisting of the IRGC to Iran promising to de-escalate in the region makes us look naive. For the IRGC, which admitted this week to firing rockets into Erbil, to promise to de-escalate regionally is about as credible as Putin saying Russia would not invade Ukraine."  (Twitter)
News Resources - Israel and the Mideast:
  • Ukraine Foreign Minister Thanks Israel for Mediation, Humanitarian Aid, Absorbing Refugees
    Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid spoke with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Tuesday. "The minister thanked Israel for our mediation efforts and our position on the matter of sanctions," Lapid tweeted. He added that "Kuleba also welcomed our policy for absorbing refugees." Kuleba tweeted that he was also grateful for Israel's humanitarian aid. (Times of Israel)
  • Hamas, Islamic Jihad Call to Step Up Attacks in West Bank, Jerusalem - Khaled Abu Toameh
    Leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) on Wednesday called for escalating the fight against Israel, especially in the West Bank and Jerusalem, until "the liberation of Palestine." "The priority at this stage of national liberation requires working to...escalate the confrontation with the Israeli occupation and force it to retreat from all Palestinian soil," they said. The two groups also discussed "the danger of normalization" between Arab countries and Israel. (Jerusalem Post)
  • Cyberattack Crashes Israeli Government Websites - Omer Benjakob
    A number of Israeli government websites went down on Monday after a massive cyberattack, but they are all back online. Erez Tidhar, head of the Israeli cyber authority's Computer Emergency Response Team, said, "This was a routine attack - albeit one with serious volume - but not rare or significant." Israel was hit with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, considered to be the least sophisticated of cyberattacks. It involves flooding a computer with multiple requests until it crashes. (Ha'aretz)
Global Commentary and Think-Tank Analysis:


  • The Iranian Missile Attack on Erbil, Kurdistan - Tal Beeri
    On March 13, 12 ballistic missiles were fired directly from Iran towards the city of Erbil (the capital of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq). The missiles, most likely the Iranian-made "Fatah 110," were launched from the Tabriz or Kermanshah areas, over 300 km. away.
        These missiles carry a conventional half-ton warhead. If they had landed in a crowded urban area, they would have caused considerable damage. In our assessment, these were upgraded and accurate missiles of the type the Iranian precision project for Hizbullah focuses on. (Alma Research Center)
  • Kurdistan Government Denies Hosting Israeli Intelligence Bases - Aveen Karim
    The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has called Iran's accusations of hosting Israeli intelligence bases on Kurdish territory as "baseless" and summoned its consul general in Erbil to protest Sunday's missile attack. Iran's Revolutionary Guards claimed responsibility for firing a dozen missiles that hit several targets on the outskirts of Erbil. The KRG expressed support for an investigative committee to determine that no Israeli bases are present on Kurdish territory. Journalists were also invited to the site of the attack on Monday. (Rudaw-Kurdistan, Iraq)
        See also Did Iran Target an Israeli Training Facility in Iraqi Kurdistan? - Jonathan Schanzer
    The Israeli officials I spoke to about the Iranian missile strike in Ebril appeared genuinely perplexed about what the IRGC hoped to hit.
        The writer is senior vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. (Mosaic)
        See also U.S. Official Denies Iranian Missile Strike Hit Israeli Training Site - Farnaz Fassihi
    A senior U.S. official who was briefed on the Iranian missile strikes said the building hit in Erbil served as an Israeli intelligence outpost and training facility. But a senior Biden administration official rebutted that assessment, saying the administration believes that the building that was hit was a civilian residence only and did not also serve as an Israeli training site. (New York Times)
  • Lifting Human Rights Sanctions on Iran Would Be a Mistake - Orde F. Kittrie
    The U.S. is reportedly poised to lift all sanctions on many of Iran's worst human rights abusers and terrorism sponsors in exchange for remarkably weak nuclear concessions from Iran. Both Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan maintained strong human rights pressure on the Soviet Union while successfully negotiating major arms control agreements. The current Congress should step in to ensure that the administration's eagerness for a deal with Iran does not undermine accountability for Iran's egregious human rights abuses and sponsorship of terrorism.
        The writer, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, served as the U.S. State Department's lead attorney for nuclear affairs. (National Interest)
  • Moderate Sunni Arabs See Nuke Deal as U.S. Bowing to Iran - Yonah Jeremy Bob
    The moderate Sunni Arab states see the emerging nuclear deal as the U.S. bowing to Iran, former Israeli national security council head Meir Ben Shabbat told the Jerusalem Post. "It is only when the Ayatollah regime is faced with a choice - to lose power or renounce their nuclear plans - will it give up its nuclear program. There is no precedent for a country renouncing its nuclear program freely and without pressure....Sanctions against Iran could have achieved this goal if they had continued to operate with greater intensity, together with a credible military threat."
        "The Trump administration left the Biden administration with important leverage to exert pressure on Iran. They should have continued to use it. That would have broken the spirit and the hope of the Iranians, who had expected that the change of administration in the U.S. would bring some relief for them."
        U.S. allies "see the agreement with Iran as bowing to the Iranians and allowing them to grow stronger in a way that also threatens them....The emerging agreement has no levers to force Iran to engage in discussions on a 'longer and stronger' agreement....The Iranian regime will increase its efforts to achieve nuclear weapons, also as a lesson learned from the war in Ukraine. It will see nuclear weapons as an essential guarantee to secure its survival, and will do everything in its power to achieve them quickly."  (Jerusalem Post)

  • Israel's Response to the Ukraine Crisis

  • The False Narrative of Israeli Neutrality in Russia's Ukraine Invasion - Lahav Harkov
    The pernicious message, echoing through social and traditional media, that Israel is neutral or silent in this war just because it doesn't sound the same as the U.S. is simply false. Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said this week, "We condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine. It has no justification, and we call on Russia to stop the shooting and the attacks and solve the problems around the negotiating table." Israel voted in favor of the resolution against Russia in the UN General Assembly.
        Lapid also said, "We are not sitting on the fence; we are clearly on the side of the West....We are doing a lot, more than most countries." When asked about his alleged fence-sitting, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told Israel's Channel 13 that "what is described in the media is wrong," because "the different players want us in a place in which we can hold dialogue with everyone."
        Israel has the Russian Army sitting on its border in Syria, where Russia has been the dominant force since 2015. Before Israel strikes at Iranian bases and weapons convoys in Syria, it contacts the Russian military through the "deconfliction mechanism" so that it can get its soldiers out of the way.
        In addition, Israel tries to be sensitive to the situation of Jews worldwide and is concerned about its actions putting them in danger. There are hundreds of thousands of Jews and their descendants in Ukraine and Russia. The potential negative consequences for Jews in Russia, where an iron curtain appears to be descending once again, is great. Putin has certainly been friendlier to Jews than any Russian leader before him.
        Considering Israel's small size and its location, far from the war zone, it's doing a lot to help. Israel sent over 100 tons of humanitarian aid, mostly for refugees crossing Ukraine's western borders, including medical equipment and medicines, dressings for wounds, and hospital supplies. It also included water-purifying kits, 3,000 tents, 15,000 blankets, 3,000 sleeping bags, and 2,700 down coats. The cabinet has approved funding for a field hospital in Ukraine. In addition, Ukrainians who do not qualify to immigrate will be allowed to seek refuge temporarily if they have friends or family in Israel.
        The calls for Israel to give Ukraine the Iron Dome missile-defense system show a lack of understanding. It defends against much cruder missiles than the ones Russia is using. Plus, Israel doesn't have enough to cover its own small territory, transporting Iron Dome batteries from one location to another at wartime, so how can it cover a country that is 27 times larger?
        The writer is the diplomatic correspondent of the Jerusalem Post. (National Review)
        See also Israel Donates Six Mega-Generators for Ukraine Hospitals
    Six mega-generators donated by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs were transferred Tuesday to Lviv in Ukraine, where they will guarantee a steady supply of electricity to hospitals and vital civilian infrastructure in the city. (Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
  • Why Did Israel Decline to Provide Ukraine with the Iron Dome? - Dahlia Scheindlin
    Why did Israel decline to provide Ukraine with the Iron Dome missile interception system? The system requires advanced training that experts say takes a year or more. Without training, Israel would need to send personnel and batteries would need to be replenished. Iron Dome was also designed for Israel's problems: crude missiles in tight geographic quarters - in contrast to the vast territory of Ukraine with the firing of missiles from all directions. (Ha'aretz)
  • Israeli Organizations Are Helping Ukrainian Refugees - Abigail Klein Leichman
    Dr. Albina Rotshtein of Israel was busy caring for Ukrainian refugees at the Polish border as part of NATAN Worldwide Disaster Relief's medical mission from Israel when her parents, her sister and her sister's two children crossed into Poland from Ukraine. Although Israelis always rush to help victims of disasters anywhere, this time it's personal. Roughly half a million Israelis are of Ukrainian descent.
        Hagit Krakov, head of mission for IsraAID in Moldova, is of Moldovan heritage and most of her relief team has roots in the area as well. Ethan Schwartz, IsraAID's spokesman, said, "We've met many people who have family in Israel." Israeli NGOs "have chutzpah - they are small but hands-on and work with international organizations to know where the needs are," says Dana Manor, deputy director of the Society for International Development (SID)-Israel.
        Israel's Foreign Ministry has established a coordination center to deal with the many initiatives to help Ukrainians. Other Israel-based NGOs helping refugees include ZAKA, SmartAID, Rescuers Without Borders, Dream Doctors, Yad Ezer L'Haver, Brit Olam and Shalom Corps.
        The Jewish Agency for Israel (JAFI), International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Keren Hayesod-United Israel Appeal, United Hatzalah and Jewish groups and donors from around the world are bringing Ukrainian Jews to Israel. Hundreds of Jewish and Christian volunteers are assisting refugees on the ground and through a hotline.
        TytoCare provided 50 telemedicine devices for Ukrainian children. Rakuten Viber initiated free calls and information-sharing channels in the countries with the largest influx of refugees. Latet donated food, blankets and winter equipment. Sheba Medical Center, Clalit HMO, medical personnel from Schneider Children's Medical Center and Hadassah University Medical Center flew over to aid refugees. (Israel21c)
  • Nationalism Can Be the Historical Bearer of Freedom - Fiamma Nirenstein
    Witnessing the Ukraine war from Israel, a country perpetually at war - and one, like any democracy, which abhors war - is instructive. Small nations tied to their history, culture and origins possess extraordinary strength of resistance.
        European culture, for which nationalism had been muddied by the Nazi-fascist past, must understand that the nation-state is not only necessary; it's the historical bearer of freedom. Indeed, the evils mistakenly attributed to nationalism are actually those of imperialism.
        Human beings are born free and fight for the freedom of their national collective. Israel wouldn't survive a day if it didn't know how to stick together in need, fight, win wars and cultivate valor.
       The writer, former vice president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies, is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. (JNS)
  • The Russian Invasion of Ukraine: Legal Aspects - Col. (res.) Adv. Pnina Sharvit Baruch and Ori Beeri
    The Russian invasion of Ukraine is the most extensive belligerent action between states since the end of World War II. The invasion constitutes an unequivocal and blatant violation of Article 2(4) of the UN Charter, which prohibits states from using, or threatening to use, force against the territorial integrity or political independence of another state. Putin tried to justify the invasion based on Article 51 of the UN Charter, which recognizes the "inherent right" of a state to use force in self-defense in response to an armed attack. Clearly there is no factual basis to the claim that Russia was under a concrete threat, which could justify a claim of "self-defense."
        Furthermore, the use of force in self-defense is subject to principles of necessity, i.e., the lack of a non-violent way to remove the threat, and of proportionality, i.e., the force used does not exceed what is required to deal with the threat. The Russian action plainly fails to meet these principles. Moreover, there are many reports of Russian forces committing war crimes, such as deliberate attacks on civilians, disproportionate use of force, and use of prohibited weapons.
        Pnina Sharvit Baruch served in the International Law Department of the IDF Military Advocate General unit for 20 years, including five as the unit's head. Adv. Ori Beeri is coordinator of the Law and National Security program at INSS. (Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)

  • Other Issues

  • European Dependence on Russian Gas Revives Debate on EastMed Pipeline - David Isaac
    With the EU rethinking its energy policy after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Israeli voices have called for restarting the EastMed pipeline to link Israel's extensive offshore natural-gas reserves with Europe. "The war has made it clear to everybody the risks entailed for the West in continuing to depend on Russian gas," Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and former Israeli Ambassador to the UN, told JNS. Gold noted that the eastern Mediterranean as a whole, including Israel, "has immense gas reserves...estimated to be roughly equivalent to 76 years of gas consumption by the EU."
        Gold added that turning away from natural gas to embrace only renewables is "untenable." "You have to take into account what are the long-term interests of your allies." Gold said that when he was director-general of Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he was asked by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to study the issue of Israel's natural-gas reserves.
        "Energy is part of national security. I think this war in Ukraine has demonstrated that more than anything," he said. "If the price of Russian gas goes down because of a new supply situation, the amount of money Russia has to fund its defense budget and its war in Ukraine will also drop. This is the most sensible strategy to pursue."  (JNS)
  • U.S. Ended Cooperation with Mossad to Undercut Hizbullah Funding - Eyal Levi
    In 2015, former Mossad official Udi Levy headed a secret unit that specialized in economic warfare. From 2006 to 2015, it worked together with the Israel Police and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to undercut Hizbullah funding from drug running, confiscating billions of dollars. Then the U.S. reached an agreement with the ayatollahs, and in order not to upset Iran - Hizbullah's mentor - "Project Cassandra" was ended. Levy told Israel Hayom: "We wanted to continue at full speed, but the Americans said, 'There is an agreement with the Iranians'."
        "Americans invested millions in the project, hundreds of people and agents achieved great success and all of a sudden they were told to stop....Instead of suffocating Hizbullah's economic lifeline completely, it is now alive and kicking."
        Levy added, "Hamas has built a huge mechanism of funds. Today, it has companies abroad that generate about $500 million annually. Legitimate companies that deal with real estate, pharmaceuticals, and trade....I discovered that Hamas was getting millions of dollars that enabled it to build its vast infrastructure."
        "We filed lawsuits against entities that helped terrorist organizations transfer money." You "get on a plane and see the bank manager, show him these papers so that he will freeze [the bank accounts]....Our approach was that we don't need to kill, [we] need to stop the money."  (Israel Hayom)
  • Israeli Arabs See Rise in Standard of Living, Life Expectancy and Education - Dr. Nasreen Haddad Haj-Yahya
    Arab society in Israel is being revolutionized by a rise in the standard of living, life expectancy and education. The number of Arab citizens of Israel was 1,595,300 at the end of 2020, 17.2% of the total population. They are 83% Muslim, 9% Druze, and 8% Christian. Over the last two decades, life expectancy for both Arab men and women has increased by three years, similar to the equivalent increase among Jews.
        The median number of years of education among Arabs has risen dramatically. In 1985, the median was 7.7 years for Arab women and 9.3 for Arab men; in 2017, the median for both sexes was 12 years. Matriculation rates in the Druze system are even higher than in the Jewish school system.
        The number of Arab undergraduate students and their share of the total student population has almost doubled over the last decade, from 10% in 2009-2010 to 18.3% in 2019-2020. Students for an MA degree have risen from 6.5% in 2009-2010 to 14.6% in 2019-2020. The proportion of Arab Ph.D. students rose from 3.9% in 2009-2010 to 7.3% in 2019-2020.
        In 2000, Arabs constituted 4.8% of civil service employees. By 2020 it reached 13.2%. The percentage of Arab board members in government companies has risen from 1.2% in 2000 to 12% in 2018.
        The writer is director of the Arab Society in Israel Program at IDI. (Israel Democracy Institute)

  • "The U.S. is weakened and withdrawing into itself," says Professor Eytan Gilboa, an expert on the U.S. and international relations at Bar-Ilan University. President "Obama said it as clearly as possible - America cannot and does not want to be the world's policeman." "Support for us has waned, and will wane further. As someone who has been examining U.S. conduct for decades, I am now seeing significant weakness," Gilboa says. "They are still investing in us, a lot. In the longer term, what I described is the true direction, and we should internalize that."
  • "A defense pact wouldn't be worth the paper it's written on," Gilboa thinks. "If there is a pact and they don't want to help, they won't. And if there is an acute need for their aid and they do want to help, they will, even without a pact....A defense pact adds commitments we don't need, and could limit us, such as on the Golan Heights or in Gaza. Imagine what would have happened if [Menachem] Begin had needed to consult with the U.S. and get its permission before deciding to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor?"
  • Maj.-Gen. (res.) Gershon Hacohen says such a pact would "completely bind Israel to American interests." The U.S. wants Israel to "comply with their view of Israel's defense needs and forgo our vital interests according to their wishes....The Arabs might take into account that America supposedly stands behind us and will be somewhat more deterred, but we would pay too high a price for what we would get."
  • Maj.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, former head of Israel's National Security Council, said, "Israel was built on the binding statement of its founders that we will fight on our own, and will not ask foreign soldiers, especially not Americans, to defend us. A defense pact...would hurt our commitment to defend ourselves and one of our strongest points in dealing with the U.S. Israel shouldn't do that to itself, and moreover, we want to retain our freedom of action."
  • "To prevent threats against us from becoming an actuality, we take action in places, at times and in ways that no other country does, do crazy things. According to foreign reports, we are constantly carrying out strikes in other states....If there were a defense pact...we couldn't go nuts when we needed to, and wouldn't be free to act. So there are more disadvantages than advantages to an alliance like that....Our strength - at home and abroad - is that we fight independently, and so are also independent when it comes to our decision-making and operations."
  • Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yossi Kuperwasser, formerly head of the Military Intelligence Research Division and now a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, said, "The truth is, even when it came to countries with which the U.S. had actual pacts, when it didn't want to take action, it didn't. The latest example, of course, is Ukraine. The U.S .and Britain signed the Budapest Memorandum in 1994 and committed to helping Ukraine if it were attacked in exchange for Ukraine giving up its stocks of nuclear weapons. But when that was tested, Ukraine was left on its own."
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