No country in history has ever given back to a sworn enemy militarily essential territory that has been captured in a defensive war.
Predictably, the European Union opposed the U.S. recognition of the annexation. But it provided no compelling argument, beyond its usual demand that the status quo not be changed.
Has any European country ever handed over high ground, captured in a defensive war, to a sworn enemy? Recall that at the end of the first and second world wars, European countries made territorial adjustments to help preserve the peace. Why should the European Union subject Israel to a double standard it has never demanded of itself? The answer is clear: The European Union has always acted hypocritically when it comes to Israel, and this is no exception.
No reasonable person would ask the Israelis to give the Golan Heights to the Syrian mass murderer Assad. It would be suicidal to hand the high ground overlooking Israeli towns and villages to a madman who would use it to target Israelis civilians with chemical barrel bombs, as Assad has done to his own citizens. No country has ever returned a battleship captured in a defensive war to an enemy sworn to its destruction. In addition, the Golan Heights is a big battleship that would be used to attack Israel.
The Golan Heights is not like the West Bank, which has a large population of civilians who regard themselves as occupied or displaced. The civilians who lived in the Golan Heights before Israel entered it on the last day of the Six-Day War were largely Druze. Whoever remained there are far better off living in Israel than in Syria. Since Assad began his campaign of murder, many Golan Druze have already become Israeli citizens. As one of the 25,000 Arab Druze stated in a recent LA Times article, “No doubt that Druze and Israelis in the Golan enjoy a level of safety and security that can’t be compared to life on the other side… Each night at dinner, he says he reminds his children that while they are well fed, there are children in Syria with nothing to eat.”
So, Israel’s control of the Golan Heights is not about people; it is largely about military advantage. No country in history has ever given back to a sworn enemy, militarily essential territory that has been captured in a defensive war.
The issue is not whether Israel should give back the Golan Heights now. Virtually everyone agrees it should not. Moreover, it will not. No Prime Minister of Israel, no matter how far to the left, would ever think of ceding the Golan Heights to Assad. The area is high ground that the Syrians used to shoot down onto the Israeli farmers laboring in the valley: it was a shooting gallery.
Israel will remain in control of the Golan Heights for the foreseeable future. The only issue is whether Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights should be recognized by the United States and other countries. It should, for several important reasons.
The reality on the ground is that Israel will never give up the Golan Heights to Syria, unless it is part of a negotiated resolution with a peaceful, democratic Syria that has agreed to end all belligerency and recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. This is unlikely to happen anytime in the foreseeable future. If it were to happen, there would be nothing to stop Israel from ceding the annexed Golan Heights to Syria as part of an enduring peace deal. There is therefore no real harm in Israel’s decision to annex it and the United States’ decision to recognize that annexation. Furthermore, the decision to annex and recognize the annexation removes the Golan Heights from the status of occupied territory and recognizes the status quo as both de facto and de jure realities.
I had the opportunity to discuss this issue with U.S. President Donald J. Trump two weeks before he announced his decision. I provided him with the battleship analogy, which he seemed to appreciate. I told him that I thought the Sunni Arab world might complain, but that they really do not care about the Golan, which has no religious significance to Islam. There were in fact, some minor protests, but nothing of significance.
Predictably, the European Union opposed the U.S. recognition of the annexation. But it provided no compelling argument, beyond its usual demand that the status quo not be changed. Israel’s control over the Golan Heights has been the status quo for more than half a century; and Israel’s legitimate need to control the heights has only increased over time, with war in Syria, and the presence of Iranian and Hezbollah military in close proximity. Would the European Union demand that Israel now hand over the Golan Heights to Assad? Has any European country ever handed over high ground, captured in a defensive war, to a sworn enemy?
Recall that at the end of the first and second world wars, European countries made territorial adjustments to help preserve the peace. Why should the European Union subject Israel to a double standard it has never demanded of itself? The answer is clear: The European Union has always acted hypocritically when it comes to Israel, and this is no exception.
So three cheers for President Trump for doing the right thing. I will continue to criticize him if and when he does the wrong thing — such as separating families at the U.S.’s southern border.
That is what bipartisan means: praising the President I voted against when he does the right thing, and criticizing presidents I voted for (such as Barack Obama) when they do the wrong thing (such as abstaining on the Security Council Resolution declaring Jewish holy places to be occupied territory).
Israel’s continuing control over the Golan Heights increases the chance for peace and decreases the chances that Syria, Iran and/or Hezbollah will be able to use this high ground as a launching pad against Israelis. That is good news for the world, for the United States and for Israel.
Reprinted with author’s permission from Gatestone Institute
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.