Nobel Peace Center, Oslo
Nobel Peace Center, OsloiStock
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is author of “Second Thought: a US-Israel initiative”,
*Western conventional wisdom (WCW) embraced Iran’s Ayatollahs in 1979 – while stabbing of the Shah of Iran, “America’s policeman in the Gulf,” in the back – and helping them catapult from a regional rogue regime to the most effective global epicenter of anti-Western terrorism, drug trafficking, money laundering and proliferation of military systems in 2024, constituting a clear and present threat to US homeland security.

*WCW has also afflicted Israel’s policy toward Palestinian terrorism, catapulting Hamas from a mini-terror organization in 2005 – upon Israel’s uprooting its civilian and military presence in Gaza - to the most fortified terror-state in 2024, which perpetrated the October 7, 2023 massacre. The Westernization of Israel’s national security policy was initially reflected by the 1993 Oslo Accord, which was negotiated with PLO terrorists – who have been dedicated since 1964 to the destruction of the “infidel” Jewish entity - and by the importation of 100,000 Palestinian terrorists from Tunisia, the Sudan, Yemen and Lebanon to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

*Middle East policy should be a derivative of the unpredictably violent and despotic Middle East reality – which has never experienced intra-Arab or intra-Moslem peaceful coexistence – and not a predictable and convenient alternate reality. It should avoid - not repeat - past critical mistakes.

*WCW has underestimated the centrality of fanatic and religious ideology in the forging of aspirations, strategies and policies of Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Moslem Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, Yemen’s Houthis and the Palestinian Authority. While the West believes in separation of state and church, Islam believes in the dominance of religion in policy-making, particularly peace and war. WCW assumes that “money talks,” ignoring the supremacy of Islamic ideologies over financial inducements, and takes lightly the 1,400-year-old conviction that Islam is the only divinely-ordained legitimate religion, bringing “apostates” and Western "infidels" – especially the US - to submission. In fact, Islamic terrorism has haunted the US since the Barbary pirates in the early 19th century, irrespective of US policy, and independent of the identity of the US President.

*WCW (and especially Secretary Blinken and National Security Advisor Sullivan) assumes that terrorists are driven by despair, and therefore should not be approached militarily, but by mega diplomatic and financial gestures. WCW deludes itself that such gestures would induce the Ayatollahs to embrace peaceful coexistence with their Sunni neighbors, become good-faith negotiators and abandon their 1,400-year-old ideology.

However, Middle East reality considers gestures, concessions and retreats as weakness, which whets the appetite of rogue entities.

*WCW pressures Israel to adopt such a policy toward Palestinian terrorism, shifting from the military – to the diplomatic - option. It belittles the clout of the Islamic precept that ceasefire and peace negotiations (especially with “infidels”) are temporary, until an opportunity arises to overcome the enemy.

*WCW maintains that Israel must negotiate with – not obliterate - Hamas, irrespective of its anti-Western ideology/charter, school curriculum, mosque sermons, idolization of terrorists and systematic terrorism – which mandate the elimination of Israel and the submission of the Western “infidel.” WCW dismisses the lessons of Israel’s 17-year-systematic negotiation with Hamas, which has dramatically bolstered Hamas’ terroristic capabilities, yielding the October 7, 2023 massacre. WCW ignores the fact that constructive negotiation may take place only between entities, whose visions do not require the elimination of one another. Thus, peace accords were successfully negotiated between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and South Sudan, and Israel-Saudi cooperation has been exceptionally productive.

*WCW is enthralled with the Palestinian Authority moderate talk, concluding that a Palestinian state would be reformed, adhering to peaceful coexistence. However, all pro-Western Arab leaders are preoccupied with the Palestinian Arab walk, which has transformed the Palestinian Arabs into a role model of intra-Arab subversion, terrorism and treachery: terrorizing Egypt in the 1950s, Syria in the 1960s, Jordan in 1970, Lebanon from 1970-1982 and Kuwait in 1990, while always siding with enemies and rivals of the West. Those include Nazi Germany, the Soviet Bloc, Iran’s Ayatollahs, the Moslem Brotherhood, international terrorist organizations, Venezuela, Cuba, North Korea, China and Russia.
They have concluded that a Palestinian state would doom the pro-Western Hashemite regime, transforming Jordan into another epicenter of global, anti-Western Islamic terrorism. This would threaten all pro-Western Arab oil-producing regimes, thus rewarding the Ayatollahs, the Moslem Brotherhood, China and Russia, and deal a dramatic blow to Western economies, homeland and national security. Therefore, Arabs have refrained from an effective walk on behalf of a Palestinian state.

*WCW has attempted to hoodwink Israel into retreat from the strategically over-towering mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria – in the tectonic, intolerant and violent Middle East - to the pre-1967 9 to 15-mile-wide-sliver along the Mediterranean, in return for a peace accord, in the Middle East which features no intra-Moslem peaceful-coexistence, as well as tenuous non-democratic regimes, and therefore tenuous policies and accords. In this region, posture of deterrence (e.g., controlling the mountain ridges of Judea and Judea) – not the highly regarded peace accords – is the most crucial component of national security. While mountain ridges are fixed components, Middle East peace accords are variables.

*WCW insistence to subordinate Middle East reality to its own alternate reality has been highlighted by the failure of all Western peace initiatives, which centered on the Palestinian issue, while the six successful Israel-Arab peace treaties centered on Arab – not Palestinian – interests.

*Additional highlights of the self-destructive nature of WCW are the critical tailwind it accorded the Ayatollahs’ 1979 toppling of the Shah of Iran; the embrace of Saddam Hussein as an ally until his 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and punishing Israel for destroying Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981; the 1994 awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the chief Palestinian terrorist, Arafat, and defining Mahmoud Abbas – the founder of Palestinian Arab hate education, incitement and monthly allowances to families of terrorists – as a moderate. In addition, the 2000 welcoming of Bashar Assad as a potentially moderate leader; the welcoming of the 2011 Arab Tsunami (which still haunts the Arab Street) as if it were the Arab Spring, Facebook and Youth Revolution; the 2011 toppling of Gaddafi, which transformed Libya into a major platform of anti-Western Islamic terrorism and an arena of perpetual civil war; etc.

*Western conventional wisdom has persisted in the attempt to subordinate Middle East reality to its own alternate reality, thus, learning from history by repeating – not avoiding – past critical mistakes, severely undermining Western national and homeland security.

*Israel should be aware of the failed Western track record in the Middle East, when assessing – skeptically - Western policy recommendations, such as the establishment of a Palestinian state, and negotiation with – rather than obliteration of - Hamas.

Amb. (ret.) Yoram Ettinger will be available for speaking engagements in the USin September 2024.