Thursday, January 23, 2020

Jordanian Vote Shows Why Defensible Borders Still Matter


 Evelyn Gordon  January 22, 2020 / JNS)

 If you want to understand the true obstacle to Mideast peace, look no further than the Jordanian parliament’s unanimous approval last week of a bill to ban natural-gas imports from Israel, just days after the gas began arriving.

Energy-poor Jordan needs a stable, affordable fuel supply, which the Israeli deal provides. When it was signed in 2016, the Jordanian government said it could save the country $500 million a year—almost 4 percent of Jordan’s 2019 budget and more than half its projected deficit for that year (the actual deficit was apparently higher). In short, the deal would let the kingdom redirect significant amounts of money to some of its other crying needs.

But that doesn’t interest Jordanian lawmakers. What they care about is that this is “the gas of the enemy,” to quote protesters against the deal.

They also don’t care that Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty 25 years ago. As last week’s vote made clear, every single Jordanian lawmaker still views Israel as an enemy with whom trade is anathema, even if Jordan itself would benefit greatly. That stance is wildly popular: Almost all Jordanians have an unfavorable view of Jews and similar views of the Jewish state.

Israel’s egregious efforts to accommodate Jordan’s anti-Israel sensibilities didn’t help, either. The gas comes from a field developed by an Israeli company, Delek, in partnership with an American one, Noble Energy. But to enable the deal to move forward, the partnership acceded to the Jordanian power company’s demand that no Israeli entity be party to the contract. Officially, therefore, the contract isn’t with Israel, but with Noble’s American marketing subsidiary.

The deal will most likely go ahead despite parliament’s objections because though King Abdullah is happy to let his lawmakers spout anti-Israel rhetoric, he rarely lets them interfere with anything that he considers an important Jordanian interest. And for now, despite the country’s growing unrest, Abdullah’s grip still seems firm.

But regardless of what happens to the gas deal, the vote shines a spotlight on two errors that have consistently undermined Western peacemaking efforts.

The first is underestimating the depth of Arab hatred for Israel, and therefore failing to grasp that this is the principal obstacle to peace. Westerners tend to assume that everyone the world over basically wants the same things—peace and prosperity—and therefore, all sides should be happy to make compromises for peace. But in reality, as the Jordanian vote shows, neither peace nor prosperity is a prime motivator for many people in this part of the world, whereas hatred is a very powerful motivator.

Thus when Jordanian lawmakers had to choose between a deal that would boost Jordan’s economy and a chance to publicly display their hatred of Israel, between a deal that would bolster the peace treaty and legislation that would undermine it, they unhesitatingly chose the latter. And Palestinians have repeatedly done the same.

A corollary of this, incidentally, is that the Western belief in an economic “peace dividend” is pure fantasy. Peace treaties can’t provide a significant economic boost when one signatory largely refuses to do business with the other; consequently, neither the Israeli-Jordanian nor the Israeli-Egyptian treaty has produced major economic benefits for any of the countries involved. A 2018 study by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change found that Israel’s trade with the Gulf States—with which it has no official relations—exceeds its trade with Egypt and Jordan combined.

The second major Western fallacy is that peace obviates the need for defensible borders. Granted, the Jordanian and Egyptian borders are both currently peaceful; Israel’s security cooperation with both countries is close; and both these facts will likely remain true as long as the current Jordanian and Egyptian rulers hold power. But as the Arab Spring made clear, no Mideast autocrat’s reign comes with a long-term guarantee. And given the enormous public hostility to Israel in both Jordan and Egypt, there’s also no guarantee that a new government wouldn’t scrap the treaty.

Although the treaty with Egypt did survive the Muslim Brotherhood’s brief time in power, it’s far from clear that would have remained true had President Mohammed Morsi not been ousted after a mere year in office, long before he had time to implement most of his plans. And it’s even less certain that the Jordanian peace would survive Abdullah’s fall, judging by last week’s parliamentary vote and many similar votes in the past. In that scenario, Israel’s longest border could become a hostile one overnight.

The unabated hostility to Israel among most of its neighbors, coupled with the uncertain future of any agreement signed with a dictator, means that Israel can’t afford to assume any treaty is permanent. It must be prepared to defend itself if a new Arab government scraps the treaty. Indeed, both the Jordanian and the Egyptian treaties were drafted with that in mind, and that’s also why even Israel’s main center-left party insists on retaining the Jordan Valley in any deal with the Palestinians. Yet Westerner peacemakers routinely dismiss the need for territorial depth and favorable topography, insisting that “international forces” (who will run if trouble erupts) and unspecified “technological means” provide sufficient protection.

The Jordanian vote is a reminder that hatred is strong and peace is fragile. If would-be peacemakers don’t start confronting this hatred rather than pretending it doesn’t exist, long-term prospects for peace are dim. And in the meantime, any treaty will have to include defensible borders.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

EU Leaders Visit Capital of Antisemitism Today

How sad & ironic. 49 world leaders will be visiting Jerusalem for a special Holocaust Memorial event “to remember the Holocaust and declare that Antisemitism has no place in our global society”.
Yet, after visiting Jerusalem, many of the European leaders will then visit the leaders of the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah. The Palestinian Authority, once pushed down our throats as a “peace partner”, is an organization recognized for educating children via textbooks and television programs to murder Jews and destroy Israel! What is antisemitism if not that?
The Palestinian Authority, and the whole agenda called “palestine” is about killing Jews & destroying Israel! What do people think is meant by the leftist chants of “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free”? That is a call to destroy Israel. Blatant antisemitism!
Visiting Ramallah is the biggest sign that these leaders don’t truly care about fighting Antisemitism. Rather, their visit to Ramallah shows their continuation of enabling and supporting antisemitism by turning a blind eye to the ferocious Arab-Muslim Antisemitism we in Israel deal with every day.
No, their coming to Jerusalem to remember 6 million dead Jews highlights how they only care about showing empathy for dead Jews but are not interested in supporting the Jews of living Jews of Israel to defend ourselves while we are alive.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

A Lebanese Master Chef in Israel?? Meet Farah Raslan!


(Click on subtitles button)

When Farah Raslan first crossed the border 
from Lebanon 🇱🇧 into Israel 🇮🇱 she did not speak 
a word of Hebrew and had no knowledge of 
Israeli culture.
Today Farah is one of Israel's up and coming chefs, 
taking the culinary scene by storm after making 
it to the finals of the hit Israeli cooking show
 Master Chef. She infuses her cooking  with 
the memories and flavors from her childhood 
in Lebanon.
This incredible woman is much more than a 
master chef, she's an inspiration to us all.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Islands of Peace: Jordan Valley Co-Existence


The Jordan Valley is an important region both historically, religiously
and economically. Economic cooperation between Jews, Arabs and
Christians helps this region bloom like never before.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Anti Semite of 2019


Omar is without doubt qualified for this title

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Nurses Get Training in Israel


Five nurses from the Gaza Strip and 11 from the West Bank (Samaria) were in Israel this week for four days of medical training conducted by Israeli physicians through a collaboration between Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHR) and the Medical Simulation Center (MSR) at Sheba Medical Center.

 I could not imagine how this country would be or how it works,” Akram Abu Salah, a nurse from the Gaza Strip told Israels newspapers in a heavily-accented English. “It’s different than I thought. The people are very nice. You have Jews and Palestinian Muslims working together. It minimizes the gaps between us.”

Although collaboration between MSR and PHR began close to a decade ago, this is the first-time training has been provided to nurses. In the past, physicians and ambulance drivers have been trained. 

Participants learned new practices in the field of primary medicine, with a focus on the skills these nurses might need in emergency situations. For example, they learned best and innovative practices for stopping bleeding, intubation and chest drains. There was also one day focused on advanced cardiovascular life support. 

They trained daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. In the evenings, they enjoyed short social activities with their Israeli counterparts and then slept at the Maccabiah Hotel in Ramat Gan. A spokesperson for Sheba told the Post that four out of five of the Gazans had never been outside of the Strip.

The travelers said they were taken aback by Israel’s beauty and even more so by the size of Sheba and the sophisticated training available through MSR. 

Israel’s center for medical simulation was founded in 2001 to lead a nationwide effort to introduce new standards and innovative approaches to health care training and patient-safety education for the benefit of the people of Israel. A press release on the center describes a 2,400-square-meter facility designed as a virtual hospital that encompasses the whole spectrum of medical simulation modalities from role-playing actors for communication and clinical skills' training to cutting-edge, computer-driven, full-body mannequins that enable team training for challenging/high risk clinical conditions. Hopefully soon, more trainees from the Gaza strip will attend further courses should the security situation remain calm.

Unfortunately due to Hamas spending most donar money on arms and battlefield expenses, Gazas main hospital in Gaza city has many empty shelves and are void of vital medications including chemotherpy medications.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

A Scorecard on the First Decade after the Arab Spring

Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs 
  • Today, the Middle East is a combination of confused Arab nation-states that have shown their weakness and incapacity to contain the Iranian threat. The instability of Arab regimes allows the formation of sectarian and extremist Islamic militias that threaten the Middle Eastern and world order. The disintegration of the Middle East nation-states has placed the issue of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on hold.
  • Turkey, with its Muslim Brotherhood leader, President Erdogan, has adopted an unprecedented activist and aggressive policy. Turkey was deeply involved in facilitating the introduction of ISIS fighters from Europe and Asia into Syria and Iraq. Turkey's intelligence services were also implicated in the supply and training of jihadists in Egypt and Libya. Turkey's intelligence agents were caught red-handed in Sinai fighting alongside jihadist organizations against the el-Sisi regime of Egypt.
  • This past decade saw the reappearance of Russia as a superpower in the Middle East. Moscow has sought to fill every vacuum and to replace the United States politically with new arms and economic deals. As a result of its massive military presence in Syria, Moscow became the mediator Israel could not circumvent and a force on the ground with whom Israel had to coordinate deconfliction arrangements to prevent unwanted clashes between the militaries of both countries.
  • Illustrative of the weakness of the Arab regimes was their inability to deal with existential dangers. Ethiopia is building the biggest hydroelectric power facility in Africa on the Blue Nile, whose inauguration is scheduled for 2022. The Blue Nile provides 85 percent of the water flow to Egypt downstream. Moreover, filling the Ethiopian dam threatens the water level in Egypt's Aswan Dam, where a severe drop could jeopardize the production of electricity by the dam's turbines. There is little wonder that Egypt has several times contemplated military action against the Ethiopian dam.
• Iraq has always depended on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. In recent years the Iranians have diverted at least 42 rivers and springs of water from Iran, causing a migration of Iraqis from the water-stricken areas. The Turks have built five big dams on the Tigris. As a result of these projects, Iraq has lost more than 50 percent of its water. Before 2003, Iraq generated power from 12 hydroelectric stations. Reduced water flow because of Turkey and Iran, coupled with drought and the war with the Islamic State, have left Iraq's major cities with only an intermittent supply of electricity.