By George Friedman – reprinted with express permission from Stratfor
The events in Egypt have sent shock waves through Israel. The 1978 Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel have been the bedrock of Israeli national security. In three of the four wars Israel fought before the accords, a catastrophic outcome for Israel was conceivable. In 1948, 1967 and 1973, credible scenarios existed in which the Israelis were defeated and the state of Israel ceased to exist. In 1973, it appeared for several days that one of those scenarios was unfolding.
The survival of Israel was no longer at stake after 1978. In the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, the various Palestinian intifadas and the wars with Hezbollah in 2006 and Hamas in Gaza in 2008, Israeli interests were involved, but not survival. There is a huge difference between the two. Israel had achieved a geopolitical ideal after 1978 in which it had divided and effectively made peace with two of the four Arab states that bordered it, and neutralized one of those states. The treaty with Egypt removed the threat to the Negev and the southern coastal approaches to Tel Aviv. [Read more…]
When I was in Hebrew School many years ago, I remember a spirited discussion in class about whether we should consider ourselves American Jews or Jewish Americans. I remember that someone asked the teacher – who’s side would you take if Israel and the United States were ever to become enemies. The teacher looked at the student as if he had 3 heads – America and Israel will always be friends, he stated – we have far too many common interests: culturally, militarily and politically.
Fast forward to 2010. Take a look at these videos, which illustrate far more eloquently than I can opine about the decline in official U.S. support for Israel:
First, we have vice-President Biden delivering his message:
[mc src=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x10wc0gR1tA” type=”youtube”]Biden Scolds Israeli Government[/mc]
Next we have the President’s top political adviser, David Axelrod, himself a Jew, roundly criticizing the Jewish State, presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs adding his criticism and a report that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has joined in the condemnation as well. This report is from the Al Jazeera network:
[mc src=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7iKNtKalyk” type=”youtube”]Al Jazeera video showing David Axelrod & Robt. Gibbs scolding Israel[/mc]
Finally, we have another take on the controversy: Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman reacting angrily to this seeming about face in U.S. policy. Interestingly, Lieberman points out that the building permits at issue were issued as part of a lengthy process and that the buildings at issue might not see the light of day for several years, if ever.
[mc src=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JtqOLPH1VU8″ type=”youtube”]McCain & Lieberman defend Israel on floor of U.S. Senate[/mc]
Haaretz (an Israeli newspaper) reports that an Israeli company called Innowattech, with the cooperation of the Technion University has developed a technology that turns highway traffic into electricity. The system works by installing piezoelectric materials 2 inches below the surface of the asphalt. Piezoelectric materials generate electricity in response to mechanical stress.
Project manager Lucy Edri-Azoulay stated that installing the technology on a single traffic lane stretching one kilometer would produce 200 kilowatts of electricity hour and a four lane highway with the system implemented would produce a megawatt of electricity, enough to power 2,500 households.
Unlike solar and wind technology, this piezoelectric system would not be dependent on the weather nor would it require significant infrastructure outlays.
It is certainly too bad that so much of the world spends its time figuring out new ways to isolate and castigate Israel. Arab oil producers, fat and lazy with easy money created by exploiting the finite petroleum reserves that happenstance put under their feet certainly have no interest in supporting alternative energy technologies and, in fact, they have an incentive to stop this type of development.
Energy consuming nations, however, have no excuse. Arab oil money empowers Islamist radicals and their destructive, terrorist ideologies. When their oil dries up, the Saudis and their ilk will be back herding camels within three or four generations.
Western democracies as well as eastern regimes like China would be wise to embrace the intellectual resources that Israeli society produces in endless supply.
My friend, Scott Italiaander, published this very insightful post on his blog. Despite what those on the left may think, conservatives and libertarians do not want this president to fail – especially when it comes to national security. At best, it seems that the president and his staff have far more on their plate than can be handled. At worst, they are increasingly coming off as bumbling amateurs who are foolishly appeasing our enemies at the expense of long-time allies like Israel, Poland and Honduras.
The Iranian response to the president’s desire for engagement surely must be the cause of concern in the White House.
And why has Secretary of State Clinton been so silent in the face of these very significant foreign policy challenges?
Let’s hope that the president and his advisers return to a policy of operating from strength and not from weakness.
Now – here is Scott’s take on the current state of the Obama White House:
September is proving to be a cruel month for the Transformer-in-Chief.
Early in the month Van Jones, President Obama’s czar in charge of “green jobs,” resigned after having been unmasked as an avowed Communist with Marxist ideas. Jones was fired in order to short-circuit scrutiny of Jones’ ties to Leftist front groups which in turn have ties to the President. Too late: thanks to the likes of Glenn Beck, the Jones affair opened up an avenue of inquiry into the Obama White House’s ties to radical activists and their incendiary political philosophy.
Next, Obama made his much hyped address to Congress to pitch his health care plan. The highlight of the speech was the “You Lie!” charge which earned Republican Rep. Joe Wilson a rebuke by Congress and about 2 million dollars in online contributions. But the accusation only put the spotlight on Obama’s fantastic assertions about his plan, causing the politicians to promise to remove language in the bill that Obama insisted didn’t exist in the first place. [Read more…]
By Kamran Bokhari and Reva Bhalla
Reprinted with permission from Stratfor
Israel is now in the 12th day of carrying out Operation Cast Lead against the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas has been the de facto ruler ever since it seized control of the territory in a June 2007 coup. The Israeli campaign, whose primary military aim is to neutralize Hamas’ ability to carry out rocket attacks against Israel, has led to the reported deaths of more than 560 Palestinians; the number of wounded is approaching the 3,000 mark.
The reaction from the Arab world has been mixed. On the one hand, a look at the so-called Arab street will reveal an angry scene of chanting protesters, burning flags and embassy attacks in protest of Israel’s actions. The principal Arab regimes, however, have either kept quiet or publicly condemned Hamas for the crisis — while privately often expressing their support for Israel’s bid to weaken the radical Palestinian group.
Despite the much-hyped Arab nationalist solidarity often cited in the name of Palestine, most Arab regimes actually have little love for the Palestinians. While these countries like keeping the Palestinian issue alive for domestic consumption and as a tool to pressure Israel and the West when the need arises, in actuality, they tend to view Palestinian refugees — and more Palestinian radical groups like Hamas — as a threat to the stability of their regimes. [Read more…]