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Latest News in Israel – 18th March

Israeli stabbed in terror attack near Ariel, two terrorists shot dead

An Israeli woman in her twenties was stabbed on Thursday morning just as she walked off a bus that had stopped by the Ariel junction in the Samaria region of the West Bank.

Two young Palestinian assailants had run toward her from the direction of the nearby gas station with knives in their hands, according to a spokeswoman for the Samaria Regional Council.

Soldiers guarding the bus stop by the city shot and killed the two Palestinian assailants.

MDA paramedics treated the wounded young woman at the scene and evacuated her to the Rabin Medical Center- Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva in moderate to serious condition.

The city of Ariel, with a population of 18,400, is the third largest settlement in the West Bank.

Ariel’s Mayor Ariel Shaviro called on the government “to put an end to the absurd situation in which Israeli citizens are no longer safe.”    (Jerusalem Post)

Things to be optimistic about in Israel

from Aron Lerner of IMRA

  1. The nation’s resilience and determination. Despite all the predictions, our kids still want to serve in combat units and when there’s a war, reservists often show up at their bases before they’re even called. The home front, facing rocket attacks, doesn’t push for a quick ceasefire, but rather for the job to be done.
  2. Our export based economy is shifting from markets that are influenced by politics to countries that have no interest in connecting trade with Arab-Israeli affairs.
  3. Our defense spending as a percentage of GNP is so low (less than 6%) that if we had to drop all the American assistance it would only raise us back to the burden we carried a decade ago.
  4. Thanks to desalination there’s effectively no limit to the growth of our population.
  5. Massive investments in our rail and road network are putting almost the entire country within commuting distance.
  6. Doors have opened to us to many important and emerging markets where we make a critical contribution in agricultural and other technologies.
  7. Prime Minister Netanyahu has managed to achieve relationships beyond expectations – consider the attacks against balance-breaking weapons in Syria despite the Russian S-400s deployed there.
  8. The ultra orthodox community is undergoing a revolution with more and more getting training and joining the labor force.
  9. Despite all the talk of the heterogeneous nature of our society, there’s a strong sense of community meshing the mosaic together – not to mention the family connections crossing groups – be it ultra orthodox – religious-traditional-secular or Ashkenazi-Sfardi, etc.

‘What deters terrorists most is the thought of what will happen to their families’

These days, when Transportation Minister Israel Katz is promoting a controversial bill to expel the families of terrorists as a method to combat the current wave of terror, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Uzi Dayan, who served as head of the National Security Council during the second intifada, has a decisive opinion on how the situation should be handled.

“In bloody days like we are seeing now, every effort must be made to destroy homes and expel families,” he says. “And if this is not possible, at least [to move them] within the territory, from the city in which the terrorist’s family lives to a different city.”

Dayan, who is currently the chairman of the Mifal Hapayis national lottery, bases his view on a study on suicide bombers carried out by the National Security Council at the height of the second intifada, in the early 2000s. The aim of the study was to check if these terrorists shared similar characteristics, what their motivation was to carry out suicide attacks, and especially what might deter them from launching their fatal act.

“The interesting thing is that what deterred them most was the thought of what would happen to their families,” Dayan explains.

“Expulsion, as far as they’re concerned, is considered worse than home demolition, because it uproots them from their ancestral home. Even if you are expelled from Hebron to Gaza, you are still a refugee. These are not your brothers, and nobody loves foreigners, certainly not dangerous ones. That’s why Hamas made sure that those terrorists did not see their families in the weeks prior to the attacks. If the family would have known, in most cases, they would not have been carried out.”

The study was compiled by Prof. Ariel Merari, who managed research of Palestinian terror at the National Security Council for seven years. “He needed an original idea of how to interview suicide bombers,” Dayan recalls. “It turned out that it was possible to do so. We gathered all of the terrorists who advanced with suicide attacks until the last stage. They actually pressed the button or turned the key, and for whatever reason, it didn’t work. We didn’t take those who had a change of heart 200 meters until the end. There were about 20 terrorists. We interviewed them in Arabic, their mother tongue.”

What were your conclusions?

There was not a one-dimensional profile of a terrorist. However, the main motivation was what they would say about them on the street, at the elementary school. Would they hang their pictures on the wall? Would there be backing for the act from Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, for instance?”

Matters of ego?

“The atmosphere in the village was important to them. ‘What a hero’, or ‘Whoever did this is an idiot, he hurt the Palestinian struggle.’ At that time it was Hamas suicide bombers, and they had a course, with training. Hamas found weaker people, who could be influenced, who already may have had suicidal thoughts, and trained them, mainly mentally.”

“Reward and punishment”

Dayan recognizes the difference between today’s terrorists and the terrorists of the second intifada: “Today, the terrorists are younger and less guided by organizations. The organizations in the Palestinian Authority give backing with incitement and in their general attitude. There is less use of weapons, but that could change. If you need an explosive device, then it will likely be more organized. There’s someone who will provide it. But the basic spirit of killing Jews has not changed.”

Regarding the second intifada survey, Dayan says that the conclusions were made and presented to the decision-makers, but by then he had finished his role at the National Security Council, the intifada had dwindled and the expulsion of terrorists’ families was not carried out. “There were legal difficulties in expulsion back then, and they exist today as well,” Dayan says. “I think that, in normal times, we would say, ‘the goal does not justify the means’. But today, the main consideration is what defense you provide the citizens with, and expelling the families, in my experience, is the thing that influences the terrorist and his family. A legal effort must be made, because, at the end of the day, there are good judges in Jerusalem. We will not do things that the justice system decides are illegal. The argument that it doesn’t give us a good name in the world – must be considered, but it is not the main consideration.”

Opponents to this step will say that the terrorist’s family shouldn’t pay for his crimes

“The war on terror is the thing in which it is possible to take far-reaching steps, and we should do so. The end justifies the means, and there is a difference between a terrorist who left his parents home one morning and carried out an attack, and someone who hasn’t lived at his family home for five years. These are the types of things that must be considered and taken into account. However, if someone leaves home with a knife, then I don’t believe the family. We must take action on this to the extent that the law allows. Why? Because it is effective and just. Reward and punishment. It will save lives and the destruction of homes and families.”

“Time is not in their favor”

In 2002, when the idea of expelling families arose, then-attorney general Elyakim Rubinstein announced that he was against the measure, because it contradicted international law and the Geneva Convention.

“I actually think that it does not contradict the Geneva Convention,” Dayan says today. “The Geneva Convention applied to the occupied territories and Israel does not see this as occupied territory. There is also an argument who it captured the land from, certainly not from the Palestinians, but I don’t want to get into the details, even though it should be explored. In general, an effort must be made to find a way to expel or to demolish homes, and it’s very important that it be done quickly. If it’s done a year later, then the deterrence value decreases.”

Why is it not being implemented?

“As a basic approach, terror is terror, and a terrorist is a terrorist. The main difference is, how widespread is it. At the end of the day, if you take Judea and Samaria, the ones whose lives are in danger are the Jews, not the Arabs, and therefore, on specific questions you must take that into consideration. If the phenomenon becomes a plague on the state, like terror, it must be treated as such. If it doesn’t, you must fight it and inflict punishment of the utmost severity.

“By the way, as a country, Jewish terror hurts us more than Arab terror. Therefore we must address it with the utmost seriousness, as far as investigating and bringing these people to justice. When the time for punishment comes, we must consider the question of how extensive the phenomenon is. Any place that is under your control, and you can act in accordance with the criminal justice system, then work in accordance with criminal law, and in any place not in your full control, you must act as if you are at war.”

What do you think about efforts at dialogue?

There are efforts in five areas: diplomatic-political, military, economic, legal and awareness. Only if you turn all five fingers into a fist which you use over time with perseverance, can you effectively fight terror. As far as a diplomatic horizon, I remember too well the days in which there was a diplomatic horizon, and buses exploded in Tel Aviv. I was then part of the [defense] establishment. When does terror get stronger? Many times it is when there is a diplomatic horizon. You make progress in negotiations and get close to agreements, and then some increase terror in order to gain leverage, while others increase terror so that negotiations will cease. I am not against dialogue, but I am against the illusion that it will eliminate terror. From experience, the opposite is true. No Palestinian leader will sign an agreement that starts with the words: “an end to the conflict and all future claims.'”

Why are you so convinced?

“That was my view ten years ago, as well as 15 years ago. I said that the Palestinians would not agree to sign a permanent agreement in Jerusalem, even one that would promise them the earth. They would have been perceived as the ones who gave the Jews what Saladdin liberated. They would have been perceived as traitors. Nobody signs a deal that relinquishes their dreams, and certainly not with Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas], who is weaker than his predecessors. What do you need to do? To make an effort on economic issues. Such big differences between Israel, a high-tech country, and the Palestinians, which is a third world area – are bad over time. Therefore, rather than placing our hope on a permanent agreement, we must start from the bottom: from education, preventing incitement and providing a better economic future.”

This is living from terror wave to terror wave

It is impossible to rule out this possibility. I only want to say that time is not playing into the Palestinians’ hands. This wasn’t always the case, but today the Palestinian issue is losing its place on the world stage, and even in Arab countries, it is not among the five biggest issues. It is naive to think that a Palestinian state would be a rose of democracy among thistles of terror. If elections were held today, in my opinion Hamas would get more than 80 percent of the votes.”                 (Jerusalem Post)

Rivlin lobbies Putin for help in redeploying UN peacekeepers on Golan

Russian President Vladimir Putin told visiting President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday he had agreed to meet Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu soon to discuss the security situation in the Middle East.

The two leaders met in Moscow and an Israeli official, who declined to be named, said Rivlin had “asked that Russia work to restore UNDOF as part of any long-term arrangement in Syria,” referring to a United Nations peacekeeping force.

Personnel from UNDOF, which monitors the Israeli-Syrian frontier on the Golan Heights, have come under fire and even been kidnapped by militants fighting the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad, prompting peacekeeping contingents from some participating nations to withdraw from the force.

The official said Rivlin had also reiterated Israel’s position that “it will not allow Iran or Hezbollah guerrillas to entrench on the Golan,” a veiled threat to take action in the Syrian interior to thwart such a scenario.

Rivlin’s remarks may have been aimed at playing on Russia’s concerns of ensuring that Syria maintains control over its territory.

Israel deems Assad ally Hezbollah its most potent enemy, and worries that the Iranian-backed guerrillas, who hold sway in southern Lebanon, are also becoming entrenched on its Syrian front and acquiring advanced weaponry from Damascus.

Though formally neutral on the civil war, Israel has carried out occasional air strikes in Syria to foil suspected Hezbollah arms transfers. An Iranian general and two senior Hezbollah fighters have been killed in Syrian strikes attributed to Israel.

Israeli guns have also fired into Syria across the Golan Heights frontier zone in what they called responses to spillover shelling or deliberate attacks by Iranian-linked militias.

At the start of his meeting on Wednesday at the Kremlin with Rivlin, Putin stressed his country’s historic ties with Israel.

“Honored president, I welcome you with all my heart on your arrival to Russia. There are over 1.5 million people from the Former Soviet Union living in Israel, Russian speaking people who have both Russian culture and the Russian mentality,” Putin said.

The Russian president said that the Israelis from the FSU that live in Israel maintain ties to family and friends in their native lands, and that these ties give a “unique flavor to the relations” between Israel and those countries.

Officials from both countries said Tuesday that Israel was consulting with Moscow over its unexpected decision to return home the bulk of Russian troops in Syria, possibly complicating a mechanism to coordinate military action agreed upon by the two countries last fall.

“We have many topics to discuss in our meeting,” Putin said. The Russian president added that  he had also spoken to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the two set a time for further discussions.

Rivlin also stressed the quality of Israeli-Russian relations.

“The Russian-Israeli relationship has a long history. We cooperate in many different area and we both have experience in dealing with terror and fundamentalism,” Rivlin said.

“As a Jew, I want to say, we will never forget the Russian nation and the Red Army’s victory over the Nazis. Many Holocaust survivors in the world will never forget that the first soldier they meet at liberation was a Red Army Soldier,” Rivlin said.                            (Jerusalem Post)

Deputy FM reveals Israel’s secret ties with Indonesia

Israel has unofficial diplomatic ties with Indonesia, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said, responding Wednesday to a parliamentary question from MK Ahmad Tibi about denying Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi entry to the Palestinian Authority.

Israel barred Marsudi from visiting her Palestinian counterpart, Riyad al-Malki, in Ramallah and dedicating the first honorary Indonesian consulate in the PA Sunday, because she did not plan to meet with Israeli officials. Tibi (Joint List) asked Hotovely to elaborate on the decision.

Hotovely explained that, though Israel and Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation in the world, do not have formal diplomatic ties, Foreign Ministry deputy director- general in the Asia-Pacific division Mark Sofer recently visited Jakarta.

At that meeting, Israeli and Indonesian officials came to an understanding that Marsudi would meet with senior Israeli officials in Jerusalem during her visit to the region.

This is the procedure for all foreign officials; they visit Jerusalem and Ramallah, Hotovely explained, and Indonesia is not an exception.

“It was the foreign minister of Indonesia’s decision to violate that understanding, and she understood that, by her action of skipping Jerusalem, she is going against the rules Israel set for official visits to the PA and Israel,” Hotovely stated.

Hotovely said there is “continuous contact” between the two countries, despite the lack of official ties, and Jerusalem is working to improve its relations with Jakarta.

“We’re seeing growth in our ties with Asia like never before, even though the Palestinian Authority and its leaders are doing all they can to prevent the development of these relations,” she said. “Israel-Asia ties are getting stronger and stronger.”

Tibi responded that Hotovely’s answer proves that Israel is a “foreign ruler” over the Palestinians.

“A country with no ties to Israel, one of the biggest Muslim countries in the world, wants to enter the PA and meet with PA leaders. Why are you involved? [The PA] is a country recognized in the UN; the whole world recognizes it. Maybe this is a situation of foreign rule that must end. Your answer proves what I’m saying,” he said

Hotovely called Tibi’s question a provocation: “We are not a foreign regime. We are here as the legitimate government in the land of the Jewish people, in which there is an Arab minority with equal rights. You represent that minority.”

The deputy foreign minister added that diplomatic relations, including those between countries without official ties, are governed by understandings, and when they are blatantly violated that is a breach of the diplomatic code.

“The respectable thing to do when there are secret ties, like those between Israel and Indonesia, is to respect the code,” she said. “When you break it, don’t be surprised that you’re preventing yourself from visiting the PA.”

Marsudi met with Malki in Jordan, instead of visiting Ramallah.

Indonesia recognized Palestinian statehood in 1988, before the Oslo Accords, and PA President Mahmoud Abbas was in Jakarta last week, attending the Organization of Islamic States summit on the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Indonesia has refused to establish diplomatic ties with Israel until the conflict with the Palestinians has been resolved.   (Jerusalem Post)

Netanyahu Takes Home $US4,500 Per Month for ’42-Hour’ Work Week, Salary Slip Reveals

The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu uploaded a photo of his February salary slip to social media on Tuesday, the Hebrew news site Walla reported.

What the photo revealed was that the Israeli premier’s monthly gross salary is approximately NIS 44,000 ($US11,290), and with an additional cost-of-living increase, it reaches some NIS 48,000 ($12,319) – bringing his net income to NIS 17,645 (approximately $US4,500).

From the salary slip in question, the total of nearly NIS 31,000 that was deducted included NIS 21,000 in income tax; NIS 5,000 for national insurance (social security) and health insurance; and another NIS 3,500 to an unknown source (the line was blacked out).

The slip also indicates that Netanyahu is employed full-time, based on a 42-hour work week, and that he pays 48% in taxes.

According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, the average monthly gross salary in the general population in October 2015 was approximately NIS 9,700 (around $US2,500).

(The Algemeiner)

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan dies at age 71

Meir Dagan, a former Israeli general and longtime director of its spy agency, has died. He was 71.

Dagan directed the Mossad from 2002 to 2011. Under his leadership, the Mossad reportedly carried out covert attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists and unleashed cyberattacks, including the Stuxnet virus that delayed the Iranian nuclear program.

During his term, the Mossad also reportedly assassinated key figures like Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh and prominent Hamas military wing official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh.

After he stepped down, Dagan was also a fierce opponent of a military strike in Iran. He openly criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s opposition to the recently implemented nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

Born in 1945 in Ukraine to Holocaust survivors, Dagan reached the rank of general in the Israeli army and was known for innovations in battling terrorism.

Four years ago, Dagan was diagnosed with liver cancer.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu eulogized Dagan on Thursday, saying: “Meir was a bold fighter and commander who contributed enormously to national security throughout Israel’s wars, be it in the counterterrorism bureau or later on as the head of the Mossad. Meir was determined to ensure that the people of Israel will never again be defenseless or powerless, and he dedicated his life to building Israel’s strength.

“During his time as the head of the Mossad, Dagan led the organization in bold, groundbreaking operations.”

President Reuven Rivlin also remarked on Dagan’s death, saying: “Meir was one of the bravest, greatest and most imaginative fighters that the Jewish people had ever seen. His dedication to the State of Israel was absolute. He viewed Israel’s best interests as his own and did everything in his power to ensure its existence for many generations to come. To many, Meir Dagan, the ‘giant of giants’ as he has been described, represented the Holocaust and the subsequent resurrection of Israel. I knew Meir as a man of good counsel, a wise man, a man who loved others and was loved despite his grit, a leader and a common man.”

Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog said: “Meir was a hero who fought our enemies and those who seek our destruction with the same great courage that he displayed while fighting for the peace he longed for. I share the terrible grief felt by Meir’s family and friends. He fought his illness for a long time, with the strength and will of a hero. May his memory and the memory of his deeds be a blessing.”   (Israel Hayom)

British justice secretary slams Israel boycott: ‘BDS campaign indulges prejudice’

British Secretary of Justice Michael Gove on Tuesday came out against the BDS movement, saying the “campaign indulges prejudice rather than fighting it.”

In a speech at a conference on anti-Semitism in Berlin, Gove indicated that the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign leads to anti-Semitism.

“[BDS] calls for the shunning of Jewish academics, the boycott of Jewish goods, the de-legitimization of Jewish commerce,” he said at the third Inter-Parliamentary Coalition for Combating Anti-Semitism. “We have seen these all before. And we know where it takes us.”

More than 100 parliamentarians from nearly 40 countries, as well as a plethora of nongovernmental organizations, attended the conference.

Gove underlined that the government in London has restricted the adaptation of the movement by public bodies in the UK, where BDS efforts have become popular with various student and academia groups.

“We have made clear that local authorities and public bodies cannot adopt BDS policies aimed at Israel; they cannot use public resources to discriminate against Jewish people, Jewish goods and a Jewish state,” he stated.

At the forum, Gove also parlayed a message from British Prime Minister David Cameron, vowing to fight anti-Semitism.

“Together, we will make sure Britain remains a country that Jewish people are proud to call home – today, tomorrow and for every generation to come,” Gove said quoting Cameron.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who addressed the conference on Monday, said anti-Semitism in Germany, whether from natives or refugees, must be confronted by the government and civil society together.

Merkel also said Jews must feel free to speak up when they fear anti-Semitism – and they must be received with sympathy and concern.

Whether it is hate-filled criticism of Israel, vandalism of cemeteries or synagogues, “anti-Semitism and other prejudices have no place in our society,” Merkel said.

The chancellor also defended the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, who she said has been harshly criticized for expressing fears about anti-Semitism among new refugees from Muslim lands. More than 1 million people have sought asylum in Germany in the past year.

“It is perfectly legitimate for someone to share his concern,” Merkel said, noting that many refugees “have grown up with certain stereotypes.”

Merkel commended the conference organizers for addressing anti-Semitism in sports, in the Internet and on the street.

“If gravestones are defaced, then our country itself is defaced. If synagogues are vandalized, this shakes the foundations of our free society,” Merkel said. And demonstrators who call for the destruction of Israel are simply “giving vent to hatred of Jews.” In so doing, they “abuse the fundamental rights in our country to freedom of association and expression.”

She added that fighting all manifestations of anti-Semitism and hate is the “joint role of government and civil society.”

A variety of leaders and politicians at the conference made clear that Jewish communities must not be left to fend for themselves against anti-Semitism.

“We all have to do our part,” Michael O’Flaherty, director of the European Union Fundamental Rights Agency, said at the opening of the meeting.

On the table are the challenges of Internet hate, community relations and anti-Semitism in sport, as well as legal, parliamentary and governmental responses to anti-Semitism.

Best practices for combating anti-Semitism will be discussed at the three-day conference, which started Sunday.      (Jerusalem Post)

The Obama doctrine and Israel

None of this was a surprise to anyone who was paying attention.

By Eric Mandel         The Jerusalem Post


More than any other American president, Barack Obama seemed to be thinking about his legacy from the moment he took office, viewing himself as a transformative and iconic world figure. He received international accolades before he even began. His desire to humble America before the Muslim world in Cairo, his discomfort with American exceptionalism, his eagerness to apologize for America’s historical transgressions were rewarded with a Noble Peace Prize.

Last week the president, continuing his legacy quest, spoke to his go-to journalist Jeffery Goldberg, who then wrote an article in The Atlantic entitled, “The Obama Doctrine: an Exclusive Report on the US President’s Hardest Foreign Policy Decisions.” The president’s disappointment with Israel featured prominently.

Goldberg reported that former US defense secretary Leon Panetta said President Obama “questioned why the U.S. should maintain Israel’s so-called qualitative military edge, which grants it access to more sophisticated weapons systems than America’s Arab allies receive. And he decided early on that he wanted to reach out to America’s most ardent Middle Eastern foe, Iran. He has bet global security and his own legacy that the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism will adhere to an agreement to curtail its nuclear program.”

None of this was a surprise to anyone who was paying attention.

In 2009, the president reached out to the Arab world claiming Israel was created as the world’s reparation for the Holocaust, while undermining the actual Zionist historical narrative, to promote his rapprochement with the Muslim world. At the time I wrote and told anyone in Congress who would listen that the president looks at Israel as a foreign policy liability, not the strategically indispensable ally all previous presidents, save for Jimmy Carter, had valued.

I received an incredulous response. It was America 2009, and the people were in a “Hope and Change” mentality, war weary, with the nation looking for a new direction.

The president, according to the Atlantic article, tried to revise his own historical narrative, claiming that in his infamous Cairo speech he said, “Let’s all stop pretending that the cause of the Middle East’s problems is Israel.” This turns reality on its head, and former ambassador Michael Oren couldn’t just let the remark go unchallenged, so he stated last week that the president never said any such thing.

Oren told The Algemeiner, “President Barack Obama’s recent claim about the real meaning of his 2009 Cairo speech is patently unsubstantiated by the text…

[which] nowhere mentions that the Israeli-Palestinian issue is not the core of the Middle East’s other conflicts.” On the contrary, Oren emphasized, “It actually implied the opposite.”

When the president and many of his ideological allies, harsh critics of Israel, said that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the principal source of Muslim frustration, myself and many others said this was far from the truth.

What does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have to do with the centuries-old Sunni-Shi’ite hatred, today’s Syrian genocide, Hezbollah’s control of Lebanon, Houthi ascendancy in Yemen, Iran’s quest for hegemony over Iraq, Afghanistan and Bahrain, the barbarism of Islamic State (ISIS) or the disintegration of Libya? What does Israel have to do with the rise of the most dangerous worldwide Islamist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, or misogyny in the Muslim world, human trafficking and repression in Saudi Arabia or human rights abuses and major involvement in terrorist atrocities around the world by Iran.

The administration’s “creating daylight” approach lead to a moral equivalence narrative between the Israelis and Palestinians in 2009, as the president wanted to become the “honest broker” not taking sides in the dispute. He therefore choose to ignore the fact of Palestinian outright rejection of prime minister Ehud Olmert’s 2008 proposal. Israel as the weaker party fighting defensive wars, the one suing for peace even though it kept winning, did not fit in with the Jarrett, Rice, and Obama doctrine that Israel is the occupying Western colonialist power, depriving the Palestinians of their natural rights.

The rhetorical support for Israel belied the calculated actions of the administration to embarrass and create “daylight” between the two long-term allies. None more so than provocation to change the status quo on areas like Gilo, the Jewish Quarter of the Old City, and French Hill which became the equivalent of international war crimes. The European/UN politicized version of international law to delegitimize Israel’s rights became the American position under President Obama. A constitutional lawyer should know that international law in this region is gray, not black or white, as the West Bank is most accurately described as an occupation of disputed territory acquired in a defensive war. That fact is indispensable for the possibility of an eventual lasting peace treaty, even if Israel chooses to return 99% of the territory.

Unfortunately this does not fit with the true Obama doctrine, which sees Israel as the persecuting Goliath. To Susan Rice, Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes, J Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami and the president, it is all about the “illegal” settlements. Defensible borders are irrelevant to this crowd. Rockets won’t be landing on their children’s schools.

Looking at the domestic and international struggles within the Islamic world, it is apparent that Israel plays the scapegoat role, deflecting attention from their leaders’ shortcomings and enmities.

It must be pointed out that in the case of the leadership of Iran, Israel is not just a scapegoat. These ayatollahs may actually believe that an Armageddon and the eradication of the Jews pave the way to salvation.

Not tying the concessions of the nuclear deal to human rights, missile tests, or support of terrorists in Syria and beyond has made a laughing-stock of America and undermined American interests for years to come. I don’t envy the next president’s predicament, but it is even worse for Israel, as the president has empowered a nation that truly wants to eliminate it and has the patience to wait for its opportunity in eight or 15 years when the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) legally allows Iran to amass unrestricted amounts of nuclear fuel for a doomsday weapon. Just last week the Iranians unveiled a missile capable of reaching Tel Aviv, with the words, “Israel Must Be Wiped Off the Earth” written on it in both Farsi and Hebrew.

The Obama doctrine is about the president’s abandonment of the Syrian people, not even trying to slow the Syrian genocide by creating no-fly and safe zones. It reminds me of Edmund Burke’s saying, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

The president’s promises to Israel leading up to and after the signing of the JCPOA to make up for the Iranian sanctions relief have also evaporated. The MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) for future American assistance was supposed to compensate for Israel’s new vulnerability, with Iran on the Golan, rich with billions in sanctions relief money, to support conventional weapons and missiles to Hezbollah and Hamas.

Now the administration that all along knew it was never going to substantially increase aid to Israel is trying to force Israel to accept an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) which ignores the new and more dangerous reality the president created by signing the JCPOA.

Israel’s situation is now even more unstable with the mullahs flush with cash, destabilizing Syria, Jordan and Lebanon, while strengthening Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and Hamas with its newfound wealth.

The president’s own hand writes his legacy and the Obama doctrine on foreign affairs. To his credit, during the past seven years he has gone beyond the previous MOU, adding additional funding for the Iron Dome. Yet the Iran deal, and his reinterpretation of international law as removing Israeli rights to any land over the Green Line will make Israel more isolated than ever before, aiding the growing boycott movement.

The Obama doctrine will make Israel appear to be a thief trying to retain stolen territory in any future negotiation.

For seven years the administration has promoted a moral equivalence between Israeli legitimate self-defense and Palestinian terrorism, which has left Israel in a much more precarious position than in 2009 when the Obama doctrine began.

No amount of rhetorical or historical revisionism can change that.

The legacy of the Obama doctrine on foreign policy will be one of vacuums created, and allies abandoned.

This information is compiled by Dr Ron Wiseman, Board Member of the Zionist Council of NSW