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Saturday, January 12, 2013
Yoram Ettinger - Chuck Hagel wrong that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is central issue driving Middle East developments

Chuck Hagel Joins the Palestine Firsters
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, "Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative”
"Israel Hayom”, January 11, 2013,

Chuck Hagel established himself as a Palestine Firster on October 27, 2009,
speaking at "J Street's” 1st national conference: "The Israeli-Palestinian
conflict is central, not peripheral, to US vital security interests in
combating terrorism, preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon, stability in the
Middle East and US and global energy security.”


In contrast with the worldview of Hagel and other Palestine Firsters, none
of the tectonic developments on the stormy Arab Street derives from the
Palestinian issue, the Arab-Israeli conflict or Israel's policies or

For instance, Iran is developing nuclear capabilities in order to intimidate
the US into a diminished global and regional power-projection, which would
facilitate the alteration of the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean into an
Iranian basin.Egypt has shifted from a pro-US military dictatorship to an
increasingly anti-US, pro-Iran Islamic despotism, dominated by the
transnational Muslim Brotherhood, which aspires to spread its own version of
Islam in the Muslim world and beyond.Iraq aligns itself with Iran, serving
as the most critical route of military and civilian supplies to the Assad
regime, while disintegrating into Shite, Sunni and Kurdish sections,
constituting an arena for domestic and regional terrorism. Libya has
switched from a decreasingly anti-US Qaddafi dictatorship to a tumultuous
break-up along tribal, ethnic, geographic, ideological and religious lines,
replete with increasingly anti-US Islamic-driven terrorism. InYemen, the
departure of the relatively-stable tyrant, Ali Abdullah Saleh, paved the
road to further disintegration and intensified terrorism, targeting domestic
leaders, the Saudi regime and other US interests.Syria has been violently
split into rival fiefdoms with over 50,000 fatalities since March 2011,
serving as a battleground for domestic, intra-Muslim, intra-Arab and global

Irrespective of the Palestinian issue, Jordan, Bahrain, Kuwait, Lebanon and
Algeria experience boiling seismic undercurrents, exacerbating the 1,400
year oldintra-Muslim instability, unpredictability and violence, as well as
anti-US sentiments.

Moreover, the Palestinian issue is not the crown-jewel of Arab
policy-makers. For example, all Arab League Foreign Ministers were supposed
to visit the Palestinian Authority (PA) to celebrate the November, 2012 UN
vote for Palestinian non-member statehood. However, only the Egyptian
Foreign Minister and the Arab League Secretary General arrived. A March,
2012 Arab League Summit committed $100MN to the PA; nothing has been
delivered. Arab leaders have repeatedly reneged on their financial pledges
to the PA, marshaling their rhetoric, but not their blood or funds, on
behalf of Palestinians. Thus, the October, 2010 Arab Summit pledged $500
million to the Palestinian; only 7% was delivered. Arab nations pledged more
than $2 billion in support of the first and second Palestinian Intifada
against Israel; less than $500 million reached the Palestinians. The
October, 2000 Arab Summit committed itself to $1 billion in aid to the PLO,
but delivered only $200 million.During the 1980s, Arab financial support of
the PLO was less than 10% of the Arab financial support of the anti-Soviet
Muslims in Afghanistan. No Arab support was accorded to the Palestinians
during the 1982 Israel-PLO war in Lebanon, or during the recent Israeli
operations against Palestinian terrorism in Judea and Samaria ("Operation
Defensive Shield”) and Gaza ("Operation Cast Lead” and "Operation Pillar of
Defense”). Arab governments provide dramatically less financial assistance
to the PA and UNRWA than the US or Europe.The Red Carpet, which welcomes
Palestinian leaders in the West, is transformed into a shabby rug upon
landing in Arab capitals. What do Arab regimes know about the Palestinian
issue that Western policy makers fail to comprehend?!

In contrast to the Palestine Firsters, Arab societies minimize assistance to
Palestinians, as evidenced in the reluctance of Jordan – as well as Lebanon
and Egypt - to absorb Palestinian refugees from Syria, while welcoming over
100,000 Syrian refugees. Jordan and other Arab countries are aware of
thesubversive and corrupt Palestinian track record. Currently, the Popular
Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorizes Syrians on behalf of Assad.
In 2007, the Palestinian Fatah al-Islam assaulted Lebanese officials and
soldiers. In 1991 and 2003, Palestinians fought alongside Saddam Hussein.
In 1990, Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas collaborated with Iraq's plunder and
destruction of Kuwait, which provided a home to 300,000 Palestinians.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas fueled Lebanon's civil
wars. In 1970, Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas terrorized Jordan, attempting to
topple King Hussein, who had hosted them since 1968. During the 1950s they
led the Palestinian cell of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo, and
were forced for flee for subversion. Palestinian subversion triggered Arab
retaliation, which produced more Palestinians killed, arrested and expelled
by Arabs than by Israel.

The dwindling club of pro-US Arab leaders are currently traumatized by the
lethal Iranian nuclear threat, the raging Arab Winter, emboldened Islamic
terrorism and the potentially erupting Iraqi, Syrian and Muslim Brotherhood
lava, which may consume Jordan, Morocco and the Gulf States.

However, while the Middle East is burning - irrespective of the Palestinian
issue - Chuck Hagel and the Palestine Firsters are playing the Palestinian
fiddle, sacrificing and inflaming Middle East reality on the altar of
oversimplification and wishful-thinking.

Shabbat Shalom and have a pleasant weekend,

Yoram Ettinger, Jerusalem, "Second Thought"

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