By Ted Belman

The first half of this article appeared in the September 2011 issue of the Levitt Letter (page 21).

Israel is sitting pretty. Sure it has problems, but its future is bright. Even its present is not too shabby.

Of immediate concern, is the attempt by the PA to gain recognition and membership in the UN in September. To this end the PA has agreed to unify with Hamas to unify, but unification is proving more difficult to achieve than implied, due to their unwillingness to share power.

Even if the PA gains recognition by the General Assembly, such recognition will change nothing on the ground. The US has made clear that it will veto the PA’s admission to membership. Furthermore, Israel has succeeded, diplomatically, in turning the EU around on the matter of recognition. A few months ago, Britain, France, and Germany were threatening Israel to accept the armistice lines as the basis for negotiations, failing which they would vote for recognition. Now they are lined up with the US and Israel in urging the PA not to go to the UN for recognition.

Israel has successfully made the case that such a unilateral move by the PA would be a violation of the Oslo Accords which mandate no unilateral moves and a negotiated settlement. Israel has made clear that such a move would result in unilateral moves by Israel and the end of the Oslo Accords. This means the end of the PA created pursuant to these accords.

The primary unilateral move mooted by Israel is the extension of Israeli law to the settlement blocs which would make the blocs sovereign territory of Israel. Many in Israel are demanding that Israel not stop there but do the same for all of Area “C” over which it has full control pursuant to the Oslo Accords. These lands contain 300,000 Israelis and 10,000 Arabs. Israeli grassroots are campaigning to increase Israeli support for such a move.

A new poll conducted by Egypt’s ruling military regime showed that a 67 percent majority of Egyptians want to maintain their nation’s peace treaty with Israel. This contradicted an earlier poll which showed that 54% of Egyptians wanted to scrap the agreement.

Jordan wants Israel to remain in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) because it’s in Jordan’s best interest. Palestinian nationalism is a threat to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It prefers the status quo, thank you very much.

Syria is on the ropes and is expected to go down for the count. Turkey has been threatening to invade Syria ostensibly to set up a safe zone for refugees but may remain there and perhaps end up controlling Syria and by extension, Lebanon. The US is coordinating all this with Turkey and Israel. Remember, Syria and Lebanon used to be part of the Ottoman Empire. The US and Saudi Arabia have been trying to separate Syria from Iran for years and this may just be the way to do it.

At the same time, there are reports that the US is propping up the Assad regime by calling for it to talk with the opposition rather than calling for it to resign. Hopefully, the US will come to its senses and follow the Turkey option above set out. In fact, we see the fruits of the US coordinating efforts in the fact that Turkey did not back the most recent flotilla.

Hezbollah, according to the leading Arab international daily, alsarq alawsat, it is under duress because the majority of Lebanese do not want a sharia state nor do they want Hezbollah to involve them in a devastating war with Israel. To make matters worse four top leaders of Hezbollah have just been indicted for killing Lebanon’s beloved PM Rafik Harari. Finally, Hezbollah may be losing its Syrian patron and has begun removing its arms stored in Syria.

Greece, previously in the Arab camp, switched sides in the last year. Israel and Greece have been warming relations since Israel’s relations with Turkey cooled. Israel plans to export gas to Europe through Greece and Israelis are vacationing in Greece rather than in Turkey. And Greece stopped the flotilla from leaving its ports, at least for now.

The Quartet (the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia. Tony Blair is the Quartet’s current Special Envoy.) issued a statement in which it supported Israel and discouraged the flotilla:
“The Quartet recognizes that Israel has legitimate security concerns that must continue to be safeguarded. Members of the Quartet are committed to working with Israel, Egypt, and the international community to prevent the illicit trafficking of arms and ammunition into Gaza and believe efforts to maintain security while enabling movement and access for Palestinian people and goods are critical.”

Good news, indeed.

Saudi Arabia recently threatened to acquire nuclear weapons as a needed defense against Iran who will soon be nuclear. It is noteworthy that Israel has had the bomb for four decades but Saudi Arabia saw no need to acquire its own capability until now. Israel was not perceived as a threat. In any potential war with Iran, the Saudis see Israel as an ally.

The Palestinians in Israel do not rise up against Israel because they have no reason to. They have more rights and economic well-being than Arab citizens of Turkey, Syria, Jordan, or Egypt.

The primary threat to Israel is the possibility that Iran or its proxies will use WMDs—be they chemical, biological, or atomic—to bring Israel down even if it means their own destruction. But one thing is certain: neither Syria nor Lebanon wants war with Israel because it will result in a massive defeat for them and the loss of power by Assad and Hezbollah.

On the economic front, Israel is coming up roses. Its economy grew “by 4.7 percent last year according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development against an average of 2.8 for its member countries. The OECD forecast for Israel in 2011 is 5.4 percent.”

Israel should be pumping oil within three to four years and will match Canada in oil exports to the U.S.

Gas finds off Israel, including the Tamar and Leviathan discoveries that together hold an estimated 25 trillion cubic feet are sufficient to meet Israel’s domestic needs eventually and enable it to export gas, industry executives and government officials have said.

These resources will change the global balance of power.

Yes, Israel is sitting pretty.

2 thoughts on “Israel is Sitting Pretty

  • I am disconcerted. Did not Isaiah speak to Damascus? Will not the northern reaches – including Lebanon – become desolate? And Ankara has become the beligerent one. Iran is friends with half the Quartet. Do not be so blythe, make no mistake.

  • To be sure, there are dark days ahead for Israel, but as always HaShem is merciful and kind to His chosen people. It is our job to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” and support her whenever possible. It is just like the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to bless Israel in these last days with resources like gas and oil. Wont the world be surprised with this miracle!

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