Sovereign or satellite?

News item:

The US issued an ultimatum to Israel regarding construction in the West Bank, threatening to avoid vetoing at the UN a French resolution calling to declare the settlements illegal, Channel 2 reports. …

Netanyahu vehemently opposed more construction, during the security cabinet meeting he headed yesterday.

According to Channel 2, senior White House officials told Netanyahu they are closely watching the decisions of the Israeli cabinet and warned that if Israel approves more building in the West Bank, it will come at a price.

“We will not risk international backing for some declaration of building or expanding construction in Itamar,” a senior official close to the prime minister is quoted by Channel 2 as saying.

This is not about homes in Itamar or apartments in Jerusalem. It is about whether we are a sovereign state or a satellite of the US.

Freezing Jewish construction while Arab construction is not limited (indeed in many cases it’s paid for by the EU) is dangerous from a security standpoint, as well as establishing a political precedent that the land does not belong to us. If it is intended to make a partition possible (even if such were desirable) by preventing the establishment of facts on the ground, it is biased toward the Arabs.

It is also racist, specifically discriminating against Jews. There is no way a Jewish state can acquiesce to this and maintain its self-respect.

We can’t continue the policy of making concessions in response to Obama’s threats. The seriousness of the threats and the size of the concessions demanded will only increase. Concessions will be pocketed and become the basis for further demands. Isn’t it clear yet that the man who took the side of Hamas in the recent Gaza conflict isn’t our friend?

Far worse, Obama has greatly empowered Iran, our worst enemy, with a huge financial windfall and removed the obstacles from its path to nuclear weapons.

Israel ought to have a close relationship with the US, because we share many of the same ideals. We certainly have the potential to be a valuable ally in a dangerous part of the world. But the present administration in Washington does not behave like an ally. Because of the support for Israel in the streets of America — no, not in the elite universities, but among ordinary Americans and their Congress — the president and his appointees like to talk about how much they care about Israel’s security. But they continue to act in ways that directly damage it.

I propose that we do implement a freeze, not on construction, but on our relationship with the Obama Administration.

The Prime Minister should publicly announce that while Israel wishes to continue its close relationship with the American people, it does not see the Obama Administration as an appropriate partner with which to do so. Therefore, until January 20, 2017, Israel will downgrade its relationship with the administration to the minimum required for diplomatic relations.

The PM should say that Israel does not see the administration as an unbiased broker in any negotiations with the PLO or anyone else.

Questionable US personnel in Israel (those suspected of working for the CIA) should be made persona non grata and asked to leave. The US-operated X-band radar station on Mt. Keren in the Negev, which serves as much to spy on Israel as to warn of an Iranian attack, should either be transferred to IDF control or shut down. Intelligence cooperation with the US should be limited.

These steps should be taken with a view not only of embarrassing Obama, but as a practical means of improving the probability that military moves against Iran would not be detected until it is too late to stop them.

It should be made clear that this action is being taken because of the policies and attitudes of specific individuals in the administration, starting with the President, and does not represent a divergence from Israel’s traditional admiration of the values and principles on which the US was founded.

I’m sure such an action would be met with outrage, and threats to cut military aid and to vote against Israel in the UN. Nevertheless, it would be considered a diplomatic defeat for Obama, and while he could hold up deliveries of arms, it would be painful for his constituencies in the areas where defense industries that supply those arms are located. Once a new president takes office, these steps can be reconsidered.

Yes, the US would vote for the French resolution and others inimical to Israel. But this is a reasonable trade-off for the recovery of Israel’s sovereignty. Indeed it might even be possible to arrange a Russian veto in return for embarrassing Obama!

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2 Responses to Sovereign or satellite?

  1. Keefe Goldfisher says:

    You’ve addressed the issue–making a break with this Administration–, and the ancillary items of importance as well, like dealing with the X-band radar. Let me add some fuel and circle back to address your premise of Israeli sovereignty again…

    In an article appearing in Roll Call recently, the well-regarded and knowledgeable authors (James Woolsey and Henry Cooper among them) made a convincing case that Iran already has the bomb; John Bolton has also alluded to this by saying that the working assumption for dealing with Iran is to assume they have the weapon now. The Roll Call article says that the longest it has ever taken a country keen on having a bomb to produce a rudimentary version is 12 years, including South Africa and North Korea. Iran has been seeking a weapon, if you count the working estimates by current intelligence communities, for 25 years! Even if this were true, and lack of a bomb were ascribable to the targeting of Iranian nuclear scientists, the Iranians have been working hand-in-glove with the North Koreans for over 15 years, and probably longer. Why would the latter not share any tidbits about bomb-making with their Iranian soul-mates?

    If a raw essayist in America knows this, then certainly Israel knows it, or should. One hopes there is no equivalent in Israel to the embarrassing NIE predictions that seem regularly to make hostages of US Administrations to bad intelligence, coercing bad judgment with bad facts.

    Israel has compromised on having good relations with the US to the point of allowing the stifling of building in the Jewish homeland, US sponsorship of Iranian hegemonic ambitions, the US not discouraging Russia from holding sway in Syria and beyond so that Israeli fighter jets must now cloud tiptoe around Russian Sukhois, propping up the very corrupt PA in Judea and Samaria, keeping a bridle on emotions as a low-grade intifada percolates in Jerusalem and other areas, suffering constant humiliations for Obama’s pique in one-on-one dealings with Washington, and being vilified by Western and European news agencies and academics on a non-stop basis. These sorts of compromises are life-changing, each one a knife cut upon Israel’s sovereignty.

    If Iran already has the bomb, then Israel is or ought-to-be on hair-trigger alert for the movement of materials from Iran, and review of intel on Iranian military movements. You can’t be on a shivering readiness like this forever. Either a mistake will occur, or you will be caught off guard after forcing yourself to relax. With Russia’s presence have come S-300s and the curtailment of air lanes to make Israeli sorties more difficult.

    Guarantees, either from the US or Russia, cannot be taken as useful or worth the words that are used to state them. It would be salubrious (in my opinion, necessary) for Israel to do exactly as you’ve suggested… because it needs to concentrate its strategic mind right now and not try to square the circle of avoiding pissing off Obama; by existing, Israel already gets his goat. This suggestion also dovetails with Caroline Glick’s recent recommendation for Israel to seize strategic initiatives where they present themselves, since the disarray that Obama’s pullback has caused gives great opportunities for the bold.

    The only thing Obama has concentrated on throughout his two terms with any kind of strenuousness and follow-through has been boxing in Israel. What this has done, by avoiding attention and opportunities to assert US interests elsewhere, is throw out all of the United States’ options in the Middle East. Taking the PR battle to Obama allows Israel to seize tempo and focus for the battles to come and appeal its case directly to the American people, their staunchest friends. So long as the military cost of doing so has been reckoned with (re-supply and inventories), then your prescription is exactly right.

    This fellow still has nearly 500 days left to wreck the world. Without pushback to his plans, one sees that he’ll actually gain momentum for allowing and participating in the worse that can happen. Obsequiousness endangers Israel by the drip-drip loss in sovereignty. By not seizing action earlier against Iran and Syria, Israel has made its job much more difficult and the US has abetted this neutralizing of options.

    It doesn’t have to be your prescription or mine, but Israel must do only that which increases its room to advance its own interests, even if that means a time-out from being too cooperative with the US.

  2. sabashimon says:

    Sorry Vic, but we haven’t been a sovereign state for years now. We are not even sovereign in our own capitol.
    That’s not to say we can’t be again, but it won’t be until we regain our pride as Jews again, a People who have brought forth the 3rd iteration of a Jewish nation. It won’t be until we forget about caring who loves us, and remember that we have flourished only when we exhibited strength and confidence, and not just talked about it.
    Had Begin listened to those around him who warned of repercussions from our “allies”, he would not have sent that mission to Osirik. “Oy voy voy, what will the world say and do” (read:America)
    Zip, nada, zilch…..Kloom.
    Act like a sovereign proud state and we’ll get respect, not love. First step is reclaiming what is rightfully ours….the Temple Mount. Dayan had no right doing what he did, and it’s time that embarassment was rectified.

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