Palestinian state – enhancing or eroding US national security?

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Ettinger-Yoram photo SmallThe choice of business and social partners should be based – objectively – on a proven track record, not – subjectively – on unproven hopes and speculation.

Similarly, the assessment of the potential impact of the proposed Palestinian state on US national security should be based – objectively – on documented, systematic, consistent Palestinian walk (track record) since the 1930s, not – subjectively – on Palestinian talk and speculative scenarios.

Furthermore, an appraisal of the Arab attitude toward a proposed Palestinian state should be based – objectively – on the documented, systematic and consistent Arab walk since the mid-1950s, not – subjectively – on the Arab talk.

Since the 1993 Oslo Accord, the documented track record of the Palestinian political, religious and media establishment has featured K-12 hate-education and religious incitement. This constitutes the most authoritative reflection of the worldview, state-of-mind and strategic goals of the proposed Palestinian state.

Moreover, since the 1930s, the Palestinian track record has highlighted close ties with the enemies and adversaries of the US and the Free World.

For example, the Palestinian Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al-Husseini, whose memory and legacy are revered by the Palestinian Authority, embraced Nazi Germany, urging Muslims to join the Nazi military during World War II.  Moreover, in 2017, Hitler is still glorified by Palestinian officials and media, and Hitler’s Mein Kampf is a best-seller in the Palestinian Authority.

During and following the end of WW2, the Palestinian leadership collaborated with the Muslim Brotherhood – the largest intra-Muslim terror organization – which also aligned itself with Nazi Germany.  In fact, Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas were key leaders of the Palestinian cell of the Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo.

Throughout the Cold War, Palestinian leaders aligned themselves with the USSR and the rogue East European regimes. Thus, Mahmoud Abbas acquired fluent Russian and his Ph.D. at Moscow’s Patrice Lumumba University, publishing a thesis on “the myth of the Jewish Holocaust.”  Mahmoud Abbas’ PLO, and other Palestinian organizations, were trained by top Soviet Bloc experts on terrorism, subversion, intelligence, staff and command. It resulted – during the 1970s and early 1980s – in a series of PLO camps in Lebanon, training anti-US Asian, African, European, South American and Muslim terrorists and hijackers.

The PLO – which is legally superior to the Palestinian Authority – was an early supporter of the Ayatollahs, following their toppling of the pro-US Shah of Iran. At the same time, three PLO battalions participated in Saddam Hussein’s invasion and plunder of Kuwait, which triggered the First Gulf War.

Since 1966, the Palestinian leadership has maintained close ties with North Korea, benefiting from military, economic and diplomatic support, and maintaining one – of only 25 – embassies in Pyongyang. The Palestinian Authority also sustains close ties with Cuba, Venezuela, China, Russia and Iran.

While the Palestinian issue is pivotal in the Arab-Western talk, it is marginal in the intra-Arab walk. Pro-US Arab leaders are preoccupied with their primary, survival concerns – the lethal Arab Tsunami and the Ayatollahs’ machete at their throats – which are not related directly, or indirectly, to the Palestinian issue.

While Western leaders are impressed with the generous pro-Palestinian Arab talk, they have ignored the harsh Arab walk, and the meager Arab financial assistance to the Palestinians (10% of the Saudi aid to the anti-Soviet Mujahidin in Afghanistan). Pro-US Arab leaders do not forget, nor forgive, the persistent Palestinian subversion and terrorism in Egypt (1950s), Syria (1960s), Jordan (1970), Lebanon (1970-1983) and Kuwait (1990).

A thundering Arab walk was demonstrated by Kuwait’s retaliation to the PLO’s repugnant betrayal (the collaboration with Saddam’s invasion): expelling almost all 300,000 Palestinians (relatives, supporters and associates of Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas) in the aftermath of Kuwait’s liberation by the US military in January, 1991.

The aforementioned, Palestinian systematic rogue track record – against the backdrop of the rocky Hashemite-Palestinian relations – suggests that a Palestinian state could be the straw, which could break the Hashemite back. A Palestinian state west of the Jordan River and the Hashemite regime constitutes a classic oxymoron. It could transform Jordan into another platform of intra-Islamic terrorist warfare, establishing another anti-US Arab regime, which could be subservient to the Muslim Brotherhood, the Ayatollahs (in neighboring Iraq) or ISIS, with lethal ripple effects into neighboring Saudi Arabia, all other pro-US Arab entities and the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea – a dramatic financial, national security and homeland security threat to the US and the globe.

A Palestinian state could provide docking and landing rights, and possibly a land-base, to Russia, and possibly China and/or Iran, which would destabilize the region, challenging the US military presence in the Mediterranean and Middle East.

The aforementioned track record would result in an additional anti-US vote in the UN, and in the flight of the dwindling Christian community, which was a majority in Bethlehem before the 1993 Oslo Accord; now, reduced to a 15% minority and still declining in 2017.

While Western conventional wisdom assumes that the Palestinian issue is a core-cause of Middle East turbulence, a crown-jewel of Arab policy-makers and the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the increasingly volatile Middle East reality pulls the rug from under such assumptions, documenting the Palestinian issue as a red herring, which diverts attention away from the clear and present, lethal threats to all pro-US Arab regimes.

Attesting to the huge Arab talk-walk gap is the currently-unprecedented security collaboration between Israel and all pro-US Arab countries, irrespective of the unresolved Palestinian issue (as are the vast majority of the multitude of intra-Arab disputes) and the growing Jewish population in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. The pro-US Arabs consider Israel to be the most effective “life insurance agent” in the region, due to its robust posture of deterrence, which would dissipate if Israel were to retreat from the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria to the 9-15 mile defenseless sliver along the Mediterranean.

Israel would be relegated from the most effective US geo-strategic beachhead, which extends the US strategic arm, to a geo-strategic burden requiring the aid of the US strategic arm.

For the US to promote the establishment of a Palestinian state – in defiance of its well-documented track record – would resemble the fire department recruiting a notorious pyromaniac to extinguish fires.

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Author: Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger

Ambassador (Retired) Yoram Ettinger is an insider on US-Israel relations, Mideast politics and overseas investments in Israel's high tech. He is a consultant to members of the Israeli Cabinet and Knesset, and regularly briefs US legislators and their staff. His OpEds have been published in Israel and the US he has been interviewed in both Australia and the U.S. A graduate of UCLA and undergraduate at UTEP, he served amongst other things, as Minister for Congressional Affairs at Israel's Embassy in Washington. He is the editor of "Straight from the Jerusalem Cloakroom and Boardroom" newsletters on issues of national security and overseas investments in Israel's high-tech.

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