Why Israel Must Keep its Options Open

There has been tremendous mistrust between the Biden administration and the Israeli government on account of Israel’s strategic intentions vis-a-vis China and America’s strategic intentions vis-a-vis Iran. Israel now understands that there will be no nuclear deal with Iran because Tehran has no interest in such an agreement. The US and Israel are jointly training for destroying the Iranian nuclear weapons program while the US is building the international coalition to impose a no-fly zone over Iran that will provide air support to armed rebellions throughout the country and will invade Iran if Tehran uses weapons of mass destruction against America and other members of the emerging coalition. Israel in turn has become transparent to America about advanced technologies that are made available to China.

The question for America still however lingers and it is the following: Is it in the long-term strategic interest of Israel to realign with China? Despite America’s intermittent tendency to push Israel for measures that would be suicidal for Israel are American and Israeli interests closely aligned and cooperation between the two sides has grown ever-closer during the past half century. America and Israel differ in that America during most presidential administrations has had an idealistic foreign policy (based on an idealistic conception of the US national interest) while Israel always has had a realistic foreign policy (based on an realistic conception of the Israeli national interest) despite Zionism being a highly idealistic project. Therefore American strategic planners ask themselves whether Israel’s realistic conception of national interests will push Israel to eventually realign with China? This of course would be a strategic disaster for America as the United States is increasingly highly dependent on Israeli intelligence, Israeli cyber abilities and Israeli advanced technologies.

The question for Israel is a different one. Will the situation arise where a US president is elected who is implacably hostile to Israel? Support for Israel in the United States Congress is contrary to typical distortions not based on “Jewish power” but on the patriotic interest of most members of Congress in defending and promoting the US national interest that America shares with other nations such as Israel. The influence of major American Jewish organizations on ties with Israel is entirely limited to successfully articulating joint US-Israeli interests. If it was no longer in the best interest of the US to support Israel would Congress no longer support Israel other than in the sense of generally supporting democracies. This is how American patriotism works at the highest levels of power. America has had one Anti-Semitic president in Richard Nixon although he was strongly pro-Israel in saving Israel through mass deliveries of weapons during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Considering the fact that the American presidential office exercises nearly exclusive control over issues relating to foreign policy, defense and security is the American presidential system the weak point in US-Israel strategic relations and considering the tendency of the younger generation in the United States to drift away from support for Israel does this certainly worry Israel. Israel is concerned that someone hostile to the notion of indigenous Jewish statehood in the land of Israel would at some point in the future be elected president and would seek to cause harm to Israel out of Anti-Semitic sentiment.

Both Israel and America therefore in the long-term worry that each will be abandoned by the other. America is highly tactically dependent upon Israel while Israel is highly strategically dependent upon the United States. America has no alternative to Israel while Israel has alternatives to the US in the form of China and Russia. France abandoned Israel in 1967 and UK bipartisan support cannot be relied upon due to Anti-Zionism being a predominant sentiment in the UK Labour party despite its current leader being Zionist.

The resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has always been a sticking point between Israel and the United States. Israel has a strictly realist understanding of the conflict with the Palestinians without any religious or nationalist influences whatsoever. Israel can simply not afford to abandon strategic control over the Judea/Samaria mountain range which is close to all four metropolitan regions in Israel. This is a matter of survival, yet temporary autonomy for the Palestinians proved possible to achieve; although an end-of-claims final status agreement is simply not possible under any circumstances whatsoever due to how each side conceptualizes its respective national interest. 

From the Palestinian side is there no reason to accept the Jewish state since the Palestinians leaders consider it to be a strategic obligation to their people to gain control over the entire territory of Mandatory Palestine. The Palestinian policy is highly “idealist” in this regard while being “realist” in seeking to exterminate the Jews. The Palestinian position is influenced by religion and Anti-Judaism since Palestinian society is highly religious in relying on the perceived determinism of Islamic expansion history and traditional Muslim racist stereotypes of Jews and they conclude that Zionism is a rebellion against Allah who will ensure that the Jews are defeated and destroyed. There is no difference in this regard between secular, traditional and religious Palestinians since they generally all assume this is to be true. Israel keenly understands the Palestinian position and does not consider it subject to change considering how entrenched is the consensus in Palestinian society 1) that the Jewish state must be dismantled, 2) that all descendants of Palestinian ex-refugees be allowed to settle in the former places of their great-grandparents and 3) that the entire Jewish population be “removed” from both Israel and Judea/Samaria. Even Palestinians who nominally support a two-state solution view this as entirely dependent upon Israel accepting the immigration of millions of Anti-Zionists to Israel, something which if realized would render the two-state solution strictly temporary and transitional indeed.

Israel has always understood that peace is not possible with the Palestinian side but temporary accomodation based on tactical common interests and controlled mutual deception has proven quite successful. One significant difference between Israel and the PA is that Israeli policy is based upon learning from Jewish history while Palestinian policy refrains from learning from the quite indisputable gargantuan historical mistakes of the Palestinians. Furthermore, the Palestinian side does not want to internalize that the threat of genocide as implied in threatening the existence of the Jewish state, would lead to a new Palestinian Nakba. Therefore, the Palestinian side cannot win because were they to be on the cusp of victory would they be deported en masse since this from the perspective of Jewish ethics is certainly preferable to the Jews suffering extermination.

From the Palestinian perspective is Palestinian tragedy not the result of mistaken decisions by the Palestinian side which in their view are rather expressions of steadfastness (Arabic: sumud) and they refuse to draw conclusions from their own indisputable, successive historical mistakes. They refuse to internalize that the Nakba happened because they realistically threatened the Jews with genocide and a Palestinian Nakba will happen again if necessary so as to prevent genocide against the Jews. From the Palestinian perspective are Israel’s actions derived from the allegedly pernicious “racial character” of the Jews and the Palestinians side does not accept that Israeli actions are based on Jewish ethics. Israel does not see any prospects for change in the Palestinian position since it constitutes a consensus in Palestinian society, a rejectionist consensus which has become even further entrenched since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994. While in theory of course the Palestinian attitude could shift such as due to the ongoing digital secularization, there are however currently no indications that this will happen and the Anti-Semitic belief in the ostensible veracity of Operation SIG Anti-Jewish discursive discrimination is almost universal in the thoroughly Anti-Semitic Palestinian society.

Israeli policy in Judea and Samaria since 1967 is based on retaining strategic control over the Judea and Samaria mountain range for perpetuity with the preferred outcome always having been Israel redeeming and enfranchising the entire Judea and Samaria once Jewish demography allows. Israeli planning however always kept open the options of 1) Jordanian annexation of a contiguous Arab region in Israel and Judea/Samaria as the primary reserve option and 2) a contiguous Palestinian proxy state in Arab areas of Israel and Judea/Samaria but without a border with Jordan as the secondary reserve option. 

The rediscovery of core Median Jewry after 27 centuries in hiding and disguise means that the immigration of tens of millions of Median Jews will demographically permit Israel to apply sovereignty over the entire Judea and Samaria and the Jordanian monarchy will subsequently be extremely pleased to annex Gaza and enfranchise its population. Nearly all Median Jews in the Middle East will be very eager to immigrate to Israel for reasons of being oppressed in Muslim societies and the economic and social opportunities inherent in moving to one of the most economically developed nations in the world. 

The international community in contrast remains fixated on a dysfunctional “two-state solution” that has made exactly zero progress in the past two decades and has no prospects whatsoever of being realized within the foreseeable future. The messianic obsession of the two-state consensus ignores that a two-state solution is entirely unfeasible and that irrational messianism will not prevent Israel from establishing real peace for the generations. The peace industry unrealistically presumes that the respective Israeli and Palestinian positions are due to mutual “irrational suspicions” rather than mutual hardball maximalist territorial ambitions, each for their own reasons. The international community has an idealist conception of the resolution of Israeli-Palestinian conflict while the parties to that conflict are strictly realist despite pursuing idealist national projects. 

It is within Israel’s reach to establish peace in the northern military theater by destroying Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon, establishing an Aramean Christian state (Aram), annexing Median Jewish (Alawite and Druze) regions of Syria and Lebanon and subsequently hand over most of Syria and the remainder of Lebanon to the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) of the AANES (Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria) with new international borders established in treaties between Jerusalem (Israel), Beirut (Aram) and Damascus (Syria). Median Jewish mass immigration will enable Israel to de facto resolve the Palestinian issue and establish perpetual peace. Palestinians throughout the Levant will be enfranchised wherever they live. The Israeli position on peace is likely to be accepted by the next Republican administration in the United States as a Republican administration will most likely recognize Israeli sovereignty over the entire Judea and Samaria and Jordanian sovereignty over Gaza. 

Once there is peace will Israel’s dependence upon the United States increasingly lessen since there will be gradually growing international acceptance that peace has been de facto established and therefore over the years there will be less and less need for the United States to defend Israel in the international arena, including at the UN Security Council. However, Israel will still need deliveries of advanced American weaponry and of course the US is concerned that in the future Israel will prefer Chinese weapons if these become technologically more advanced than American ones. China is attractive to Israel due to the absence of Anti-Semitism in Chinese society and Israel of course remains concerned that an Anti-Semite unfriendly to Israel will be elected president of the United States at some point in the future. However, this will be less of an issue once Israel has established perpetual peace with its neighbors. Israel nevertheless must keep its options open considering the possibility that a Haman would ascend to the highest office in the United States. 

For this reason, Israel will never adopt an adversarial attitude towards China and Russia but will retain amicable relations with both strategic rivals of the United States. The Palestinian issue has always strained the US-Israel relations but in the future, with that conflict de facto resolved may US-Israel relations rather be delimited by Israel refraining from becoming adversarial towards China and Russia despite of course taking America’s side as continued American global hegemony is in Israel’s national interest indeed.

Published by Daniella Bartfeld

Daniella Bartfeld is the founding director of the Aliyah Organization.

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