Fending Off Chaos: Israel's Future in World Politics

EXCLUSIVE: Why doesn't Mr. Obama dare look at the official PA maps of "Palestine?" Does he realize his ideas are not only erroneous, they will bring catastrophe?

Prof. Louis René Beres,

OpEds Prof. Louis Rene Beres
Prof. Louis Rene Beres
israelnewsphoto: R. B.

"The safety of the people shall be the highest law." (Cicero, De Legibus, Book iii, sec. 3)[1]

Even after the Palestinian Authority President yet again demanded a one-state solution for “Palestine” – in April 2015, Mahmoud Abbas repeated publicly that all of Israel is “Occupied Palestine” – Barack Obama managed to reaffirm his faith in a mythical “Two State Solution.”  Speaking at a press conference in Camp David on May 14, 2015, the U.S. president ignored that Abbas’ exterminatory stance toward Israel was long-codified in official PA maps of the region. Somehow, Mr. Obama neglected to mention that Israel had already been eliminated cartographically by the Palestinians.

Such cartographic elimination of Israel is not a palpable infringement or direct assault upon an existing state. It is, however, forbidden by pertinent international law. Jurisprudentially, from the standpoint of both the bilateral 1993 Oslo Agreements, and the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, this calculated excision represents various prohibited forms of genocidal “intent” and “incitement.” In essence, it gives irrefutable "testimony" to certain assorted and still-contemplated Arab crimes against humanity.

On its face, such egregious violations are conspicuous and unassailable. Seemingly, for this particular administration, all core matters of Middle East security must first be brought kicking and screaming before the judgment seat of reason. Without even a scintilla of serious legal assessment or strategic analysis, this president stubbornly adheres to the continuously contrived Palestinian narrative of an Israeli "occupation."  

Accordingly, Barack Obama maintains, no matter how explicit the Palestinian side may be about harboring genocidal inclinations toward Israel, that Arab side - despite exhibiting a determinedly lascivious mens rea - is still entitled to a sovereign state of its own.

Looking ahead, one reasonable scenario should come quickly to mind. At some point, goes this very plausible prediction, whenever the Palestinian Authority and Hamas are able to smooth over their most refractory disagreements, they will jointly announce the official arrival of "Palestine." Of course, several years back, the U.N. General Assembly had already elevated the PA to status of a "nonmember observer state," but that particular elevation had still fallen short of authentic statehood.

Nonetheless, this expected Palestinian announcement, with the predictably full support of President Obama, will summarily mock the binding expectations of international law, especially the governing treaty on statehood. This 1934 agreement is known as the Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, or (less formally) The Montevideo Convention.

To be sure, a new state of Palestine will promptly seek territorial extensions beyond its initially constituted borders. At the same time, the "civilized" world will sheepishly look away. After all, according to the ritualistic Palestinian narrative accepted by President Obama, any such aggressive extensions could remain consistent with "global fairness." More than likely, the Vatican, too, will be silent on such a long-planned Palestinian aggression. Very recently, Pope Francis, in expressing his own enthusiastic support of Palestinian statehood, identified the Holocaust denier and unabashedly murderous Mahmoud Abbas as "an angel of peace."

Just as the official PA map identifies all of Israel as part of Palestine, the official logo of PA Television shows all of Israel as Palestine, and the Palestinian capital in Jerusalem. Here, Fatah's designated insignia remains Israel smothered by a grenade, a bayoneted rifle, and a submachine gun. Significantly, all PA school textbooks still use a map of the Middle East in which Israel simply does not appear, and where it has simply been replaced byPalestine.

Undergirding the Palestinian Authority, Fatah's Charter states unambiguously: "Our struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished, and Palestine is completely liberated."

Why, then, does the president of the United States persistently doubt this unhidden genocidal intent? Why doesn't Mr. Obama dare look at the official PA maps of "Palestine?"

Any Palestinian state would have a deeply injurious impact on Israel's physical survival, especially if in "synergy" with Iranian nuclearization. After Palestine, Israel would require ever-greater increments of national self-reliance, and aptly corresponding refinements of its traditional Order of Battle. In turn, such complex requirements would demand, among other things:

(1) a substantially more nuanced nuclear strategy involving deterrence, defense, preemption, and war fighting capabilities; and

(2) a corollary and interpenetrating conventional war strategy.

Almost by definition, as any Palestinian state would make Israel's conventional capabilities increasingly problematic, the national command authority in Jerusalem would likely need to make the country’s still-implicit nuclear deterrent less ambiguous.

There are intersecting risks and benefits to discarding nuclear ambiguity. Taking the Israeli bomb out of the “basement” could enhance Israel’s security for a while, but such an ending to “deliberate ambiguity” could also heighten certain chances of nuclear weapons use. When Iran is finally allowed to “go nuclear,” as now seems assured (thanks especially to U.S. led P5+1 diplomacy), any resultant nuclear violence might not necessarily be limited to the immediate areas of Israel and Palestine.  Rather, such catastrophic harms could ultimately be unleashed in some form or other on the U.S. homeland, perhaps even as a wholly unprecedented instance of nuclear terrorism.[2]

For Israel, a nuclear war could arrive not only as a "bolt-from-the-blue" missile attack from Iran, but also as a result, intended or inadvertent, of escalation. If an enemy state such as Iran were to begin "only" conventional and/or biological attacks upon Israel, Jerusalem might then respond with fully nuclear reprisals.  If this enemy state were to begin with solely conventional attacks upon Israel, Jerusalem's conventional reprisals might still be met, in the future, with certain enemy nuclear counterstrikes.

After Palestine, the regional correlation of forces would inevitably become more-or-less markedly less favorable to Israel. Now, the only credible way for Israel to deter large-scale conventional attacks would be by maintaining visible and large-scale conventional capabilities, including what professional strategists would call "escalation dominance." Ironically, however, those enemy states contemplating first-strike attacks upon Israel using chemical and/or biological weapons might also be inclined to take more seriously Israel's nuclear deterrent.

Will this deterrent still be obscured in Israel's "basement?" Whether or not the country's nuclear ordnance and doctrine had remained undisclosed could meaningfully affect Israel’s overall threat credibility. In this connection, Washington's altogether predictable posture will be to endorse Israel's continued nuclear ambiguity.  Any such endorsement, however, would also be contrary to Israel's long-term deterrence and survival requirements.

A strong conventional capability is needed by Israel to deter or to preempt conventional attacks, non-nuclear infringements that could readily lead, via escalation, to an unconventional war.  In these inherently unstable circumstances, President Barack Obama’s misconceived Peace Process would impair Israel's already-minimal strategic depth, and, when fully exploited by enemy states, the Jewish State’s corollary capacity to wage conventional war.

With Syria, Libya and Yemen prominently in shambles, and the unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan still unraveling, Jerusalem must finally
For Israel, following Cicero, the "safety of the people," not fealty to the United States, is still the "highest law."
understand the vital imperatives of strategic self-reliance. Of course, Israel should continue to do whatever it can to maintain its mutual defense arrangements with the United States, but it must also remain aware that in certain steadily evolving matters of existential urgency, promised American support should never simply be taken for granted. Indeed, the apparent failure of American diplomacy in dealing with Iran is precisely what recently led the Arab League to create a unified military force.

Although the principal rationale of this joint military command involving Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait and the Persian Gulf Emirates is to provide a measured Sunni counterweight to Iran, Hezbollah, and ISIS - a compelling rationale, understandably shared by Israel - the consequent U.S. promise of more advanced weapon sales to Arab command authorities is also worrisome to Jerusalem. For Prime Minister Netanyahu, in this ever-complicated regional theatre, the enemy of my enemy is still my enemy. For Israel, following Cicero, the "safety of the people," not fealty to the United States, is still the "highest law."

There is one further relevant observation concerning Israel and a Palestinian state. Unexpectedly, the principal impediment to any forthcoming bestowal or continuance of Palestinian sovereignty will not be Israel, but rather one or another irredentist Arab actor (state or sub-state) in the volatile region. Predictably, ISIS, as it ultimately begins to fight its way westward across a dismembering Jordan, will be able to supplant PA/Hamas/Islamic Jihad forces in the West Bank (Judea/Samaria).

Credo quia absurdum. "I believe because it is absurd." Should this takeover happen after President Obama’s “Two-State Solution” had already been actualized, Palestine could conceivably find itself turning to the Jewish State for indispensable protection against Jihadists.

Equally odd, any such turn to a ritualistically sworn enemy could actually be made more likely if the Palestinian state authorities had faithfully adhered to Prime Minister Netanyahu's stated requirement of demilitarization. In other words, a new Palestinian state that had acted in law-enforcing fulfillment of pertinent pre-state agreements with Israel could quickly prove to be even more injurious to the Jewish State.

Credo quia absurdum. Before any further arguments are thoughtlessly advanced in support of  Palestinian statehood, it would be best to acknowledge that the "success" of  any such arguments would come at the tangible expense of both Palestinian Arabs and Israelis (Arabs, Jews, and Christians).

Before a true peace can be born from the anticipated wreckage of any so-called Two-State Solution, only a gravedigger could wield the forceps.

       

LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) lectures and publishes widely on Israeli security matters.  He is the author of many major books and articles on international relations and international law, including recent publications in The Atlantic; U.S. News & World Report; The Jerusalem Post; The Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs; The International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence; The Brown Journal of World Affairs; Oxford University Press; The Hill; and the Harvard National Security Journal (Harvard Law School). Professor Beres’ tenth book, Israel’s Nuclear Strategy: Surviving amid Chaos, will be published later this year. The Chair of Project Daniel (Israel, 2003), he was born in Zürich, Switzerland, on August 31, 1945.

[1] Salus populi suprema lex, derived by Cicero from the Twelve Tables of Roman Law.

[2] Professor Beres is the author of some of the earliest books on nuclear terrorism, including Terrorism and Global Security: The Nuclear Threat (1979).




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