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November 4, 2015 4:10 pm

Mideast Analyst: Israel Wants US to Take More Active Role in Region

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President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on March 20, 2013. Photo: Pete Souza/White House.

President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel on March 20, 2013. Photo: Pete Souza/White House.

Israelis would like to see the US take on a more assertive role in the Middle East to enhance their security, Michael Herzog, the Israel-based Milton Fine International Fellow of the Washington Institute think tank, told Politico on Wednesday.

“There is a feeling that the US role has weakened over … time,” said Herzog, a retired IDF brigadier general, ahead of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s upcoming Washington meeting with President Obama on November 9th.

Additionally, Herzog said, Israelis want their prime minister to raise the issues of the situation in Syria, including Iran’s growing military presence; Hezbollah’s building up of the southern Syrian front near Israel; Hamas’ rearming itself; and terrorist groups cropping up within Israel’s borders.

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He also said Israelis hope for robust enforcement of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal with Iran championed by President Obama and rejected by most of the Knesset.

About Syria, Herzog said: “Israel does not want to get involved in that war.”

“But there are several big concerns for Israel. First is, of course, cross-border attacks; secondly is shipment of strategic weapons from Syria to Hezbollah in Lebanon; and thirdly, the Iranian, I would say, ambition to establish an active front against Israel with Hezbollah in southern Syria,” he said.

In Netanyahu’s meeting with President Barack Obama in Washington he is expected to discuss the Iran deal and other Israeli security concerns, as well as a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding for US military assistance to Israel.

The current memorandum, signed under the Bush administration and set to expire in 2018, amounted to $30 billion in US assistance, with Israel currently receiving $3.1 billion each year. According to Bloomberg, Israel could be seeking to boost that to $4.5 billion per year, responding to the threat from Iran, among other concerns.

Herzog, whose brother, Isaac Herzog, currently heads the Israeli Labor Party and opposition, expressed pessimism about reaching a deal with the Palestinians: “The prospects for resumed negotiations are low and I think almost everybody realizes that even if you get the parties to sit down to the table and negotiate, this will not be resolved.”

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  • Alexi

    Israeli’s want MORE American meddling in the region?

    Can someone tell me, just WHAT Pro-Israel ACHIEVEMENTS of the past justify such a “brilliant” idea?

  • Robert Davis

    NO it is not the “Israelis” who want the US take “a more assertive role” it is Herzog and his lefter half wits and fortunately those lefter losers have no power any longer in Israel. Not only Israel does NOT want that but even if it did, they would not claim this with a loudvoice for evident reasons. Only a half wit would do that, only a lefter would do that. Lefters are born losers, they will never prevail on anything, such “leaders” should be dumped in the sea!

  • BRITISH BIAS AGAINST THE JEWS IN PALESTINE

    An analysis of land purchases from 1880 to 1948 show that 76 percent of Jewish plots were purchased- from large landowners, not poor fellahin. Those who sold land included the mayors of Gaza, Jerusalem and Jaffa. As’ad el-Shuqeiri, a Muslim religious scholar and father of PLO chairman Ahmed Shuqeiri, took Jewish money for his land. Even King Abdullah leased land to the Jews. In fact, many leaders of the Arab nationalist movement, including members of the Muslim Supreme Council, sold land to Jews. “The British helped the Palestinians to live peacefully with the Jews.” In 1921, Haj Amin el- Husseini first began to organize Fedayeen (“one who sacrifices himself”) to terrorize Jews. Haj Amin hoped to duplicate the success of Kemal Atatürk in Turkey by driving the Jews out of Palestine just as Kemal had driven the invading Greeks from his country. Arab radicals were able to gain influence because the British Administration was unwilling to take effective action against them until they finally revolted against British rule. Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, former head of British military intelligence in Cairo, and later Chief Political Officer for Palestine and Syria, wrote in his diary that British officials “incline towards the exclusion of Zionism in Palestine.” In fact, the British encouraged the Arab-Palestinians to attack the Jews. According to Meinertzhagen, Col. Waters-Taylor (financial adviser to the Military Administration in Palestine 1919–1923) met with Haj Amin a few days before Easter, in 1920, and told him “he had a great opportunity at Easter to show the world . . . that Zionism was unpopular not only with the Palestine Administration but in Whitehall, and if disturbances of sufficient violence occurred in Jerusalem at Easter, both General Bols [Chief Administrator in Palestine, 1919–1920] and General Allenby [Commander of Egyptian Force, 1917–1919, then High Commissioner of Egypt] would advocate the abandonment of the Jewish Home. Waters- Taylor explained that freedom could only be attained through violence.” Haj Amin took the Colonel’s advice and instigated a riot. The British withdrew their troops and the Jewish police from Jerusalem, allowing the Arab mob to attack Jews and loot their shops. Because of Haj Amin’s overt role in instigating the pogrom, the British decided to arrest him. Haj Amin escaped, however, and was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in absentia. A year later, some British Arabists convinced High Commissioner Herbert Samuel to pardon Haj Amin and to appoint him Mufti. By contrast, Vladimir Jabotinsky and several of his followers, who had formed a Jewish defense organization during the unrest, were sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. Samuel met with Haj Amin on April 11, 1921, and was assured “that the influences of his family and himself would be devoted to tranquility.” Three weeks later, riots in Jaffa and elsewhere left Jews dead. Haj Amin consolidated his power and took control of all Muslim religious funds in Palestine. He used his authority to gain control over the mosques, the schools and the courts. No Arab could reach an influential position without being loyal to the Mufti. His power was so absolute “no Muslim in Palestine could be born or die without being beholden to Haj Amin.” The Mufti’s henchmen also insured he would have no opposition by systematically killing Palestinians from rival clans who were discussing cooperation with the Jews.
    As the spokesman for Palestinian Arabs, Haj Amin did not ask that Britain grant them independence. On the contrary, in a letter to Churchill in 1921, he demanded that Palestine be reunited with Syria and Transjordan.
    The Arabs found rioting to be an effective political tool because of the lax British attitude and response toward violence against Jews. In handling each riot, the British did everything in their power to prevent Jews from protecting themselves, but made little or no effort to prevent the Arabs from attacking them. After each outbreak, a British commission of inquiry would try to establish the cause of the violence. The conclusion was always the same: the Arabs were afraid of being displaced by Jews. To stop the rioting, the commissions would recommend that restrictions be placed on Jewish immigration. Thus, the Arabs came to recognize that they could always stop the influx of Jews by staging a riot. This cycle began after a series of riots in May 1921. After failing to protect the Jewish community from Arab mobs, the British appointed the Haycraft Commission to investigate the cause of the violence. Although the panel concluded the Arabs had been the aggressors, it rationalized the cause of the attack: “The fundamental cause of the riots was a feeling among the Arabs of discontent with, and hostility to, the Jews, due to political and economic causes, and connected with Jewish immigration; and with their conception of Zionist policy. . . .” One consequence of the violence was the institution of a temporary ban on Jewish immigration. The Arab fear of being “displaced” or “dominated” was used as an excuse for their merciless attacks on peaceful Jewish settlers. Note, too, that these riots were not inspired by nationalistic fervor—nationalists would have rebelled against their British overlords—they were motivated by racial strife and misunderstanding. In 1929, Arab provocateurs succeeded in convincing the masses that the Jews had designs on the Temple Mount (a tactic that would be repeated on numerous occasions, especially in 2000, after the visit of Ariel Sharon and others including the recent violence in October 2015). In a Jewish religious observance at the Western Wall, that forms a part of the Temple Mount, served as a catalyst for rioting by Arabs against Jews that spilled out of Jerusalem into other villages and towns, including Safed and Hebron. Again, the British Administration made no effort to prevent the violence and, after it began, the British did nothing to protect the Jewish population. After six days of mayhem, the British finally brought troops in to quell the disturbance. By this time, virtually the entire Jewish population of Hebron had fled or been killed. In all, 133 Jews were killed and 399 wounded in the pogroms. After the riots were over, the British ordered an investigation, which resulted in the Passfield White Paper. It said the “immigration, land purchase and settlement policies of the Zionist Organization were already, or were likely to become, prejudicial to Arab interests (the British wanted to control the oil in the Middle East). It understood the Mandatory’s obligation to the non-Jewish community to mean that Palestine’s resources must be primarily reserved for the growing Arab economy. . . .” This, of course, meant it was necessary to place restrictions not only on Jewish immigration but on land purchases. All the while the British turned a blind eye while hundreds of thousands of Arabs entered Western Palestine.
    “The Mufti was not anti- Semitic.” In 1941, Haj Amin al- Husseini fled to Germany and met with Adolph Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Joachim Von Ribbentrop and other Nazi leaders. He wanted to persuade them to extend the Nazis’ anti- Jewish program to the Arab world. The Mufti sent Hitler the drafts of declarations he wanted Germany and Italy to make concerning the Middle East. One called on the two countries to declare the illegality of the Jewish home in Palestine. Furthermore, “they accord to Palestine and to other Arab countries the right to solve the problem of the Jewish elements in Palestine and other Arab countries (from about 1940 to date the Arab countries terrorized and expelled over a million Jewish families and confiscated all their assets including over 70,000 square miles of Jewish owned land), in accordance with the interest of the Arabs and, by the same method; that the question is now being settled in the Axis countries.” In November 1941, the Mufti met with Hitler, who told him the Jews were his foremost enemy. The Nazi dictator rebuffed the Mufti’s requests for a declaration in support of the Arabs; however, telling him the time was not right. The Mufti offered Hitler his “thanks for the sympathy which he had always shown for the Arab and especially Palestinian cause, and to which he had given clear expression in his public speeches. . . . The Arabs were Germany’s natural friends because they had the same enemies as had Germany, namely. . . . The Jews. . . .” Hitler replied: Germany stood for uncompromising war against the Jews. That naturally included active opposition to the Jewish national home in Palestine. . . . Germany would furnish positive and practical aid to the Arabs involved in the same struggle. . . . Germany’s objective [is] . . . solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere. . . . In that hour the Mufti would be the most authoritative spokesman for the Arab world. The Mufti thanked Hitler profusely. In 1945, Yugoslavia sought to indict the Mufti as a war criminal for his role in recruiting over 20,000 Muslim volunteers for the SS, who participated in the killing of Jews in Croatia and Hungary. He escaped from French detention in 1946, however, and continued his fight against the Jews from Cairo and later Beirut. “The Irgun bombed the King David Hotel as part of a terror campaign against civilians.” The King David Hotel was the site of the British military command and the British Criminal Investigation Division. The Irgun chose it as a target after British troops invaded the Jewish Agency on June 29, 1946, and confiscated large quantities of documents. At about the same time, more than 2,500 Jews from all over Palestine were placed under arrest. The information about Jewish Agency operations, including intelligence activities in Arab countries, was taken to the King David Hotel. A week later, news of a massacre of 40 Jews in a pogrom in Poland reminded the Jews of Palestine how Britain’s restrictive immigration policy had condemned hundreds of thousands of Jews to death. Irgun leader Menachem Begin stressed his desire to avoid civilian casualties. In fact, the plan was to warn the British so they would evacuate the building before it was blown up. Three telephone calls were placed, one to the hotel, another to the French Consulate, and a third to the Palestine Post, warning that explosives in the King David Hotel would soon be detonated. On July 22, 1946, the calls were made. The call into the hotel was apparently received and ignored. Begin quotes one British official who supposedly refused to evacuate the building, saying: “We don’t take orders from the Jews.” As a result, when the bombs exploded, the casualty toll was high: a total of 91 killed and 45 injured. Among the casualties were 15 Jews. Few people in the hotel proper were injured by the blast.
    In contrast to Arab attacks against Jews, which were widely hailed by Arab leaders as heroic actions, the Jewish National Council denounced the bombing of the King David. For decades the British denied they had been warned. In 1979, however, a member of the British Parliament introduced evidence that the Irgun had indeed issued the warning. He offered the testimony of a British officer who heard other officers in the King David Hotel bar joking about a Zionist threat to the headquarters. The officer who overheard the conversation immediately left the hotel and survived.
    After WWII; the British actually blew-up Holocaust refugee ships bound for Palestine-Israel known as “Operation Embarrass”.

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