Dore Gold Iran, Mid-East Strategy & Arab-Israeli Diplomacy
 

Blog

The West Bank's Airspace - The Forgotten Factor of Israeli Security
It should have come as no surprise that in the Wikileaks documents that were published this week, Maj. General Ido Nechushastan, as head of the Planning Branch explained in 2007 to General Jim Jones, that Israel's security requirements in the event a Palestinian state comes into existence would include "control"...
The Debate over Defensible Borders in the Era of Missiles
My neighbor on the page where my weekly column appears in Yisrael Hayom, Yossi Beilin, commented last week that Israel was returning to the idea of "defensible borders," which in his words was "anachronistic" and had been "disproven" since it was first introduced through UN Security Council Resolution 242 in...
The Sudanese Leadership Deserves the Breakup of its Country
This week's referendum for the independence of South Sudan represents a major blow to one of the worst regimes in the world: the Sudanese government under General Omar al-Bashir, who has been its president. The Khartoum government not only has to renounce control over roughly a third of its territory,...
How the Palestinians Hope to Get a State Without Declaring One
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad issued a puzzling declaration last week when he was interviewed in Washington by Danna Weiss on Channel 2. He stated that what he wanted was a Palestinian state, but at the same time he specified  that he was not interested in a unilateral declaration...
Saeb Erekat Shows His Cards: The Palestinians Will Demand the Return of Refugees
Saeb Erekat is normally a very careful Palestinian spokesman. For years, he regularly appeared on global television networks like CNN, using argumentation crafted to win the sympathy of American viewers.  In addition, he also had excellent contacts in the Israeli media and easily could get himself quoted by any political...
The Myth that the Iranian Nuclear Program is Slowing Down
On August 19, the New York Times published a major article entitled: "US Assures Israel that Iran Threat Is Not Imminent." The authors claimed that because Iran had been facing increasing problems with its nuclear program the Obama administration concluded that it would take a year or more for Iran...
For Israel Security is Linked to Sovereignty
Months before the July 2000 Camp David Summit between Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat, Israel had been revising it positions on the subject of borders and security in preparation for final status talks. Martin Indyk, who had just come back as the US ambassador to Israel, recalls in...
Israel's Eastern Front after the US Withdraws from Iraq
The hardest challenge for any Israeli leader proposing what political initiatives his government should undertake is anticipating what the Middle East region will look like in the years ahead. In the Middle East, the range of uncertainty about the future is far greater than any other part of the globe....
Why Incitement is Ignored
Richard Holbrooke is probably the most accomplished and experienced US diplomat that served in recent years in the US Department of State, and therefore his ideas should be seriously considered. He is responsible for the greatest achievement of the Clinton administration in foreign policy--the Dayton Agreement that ended the Bosnian...
After the Obama-Netanyahu Summit
Palestinian reaction to the Obama-Netanyahu summit has not received adequate attention. The head Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, refused to accept the call coming out of the Washington meeting for direct negotiations between the parties. Instead, he demanded that, as a precondition, Israel accept the idea that it must start any...
Israel's Naval Blockade of Gaza is Legal, Necessary
The continuing demand that Israel should agree to an investigation -- with international involvement -- of its interception of a Turkish-led flotilla to Gaza last week presupposes that Israel did something fundamentally wrong.  At the United Nations, the Security Council issued a presidential statement which lent its political weight to...
Dore Gold on the Flotilla Crisis

From an interview with Hugh Hewitt:

Everything you're hearing about Israeli interdiction of the Turkish flotilla is probably wrong. First, this is not a humanitarian flotilla to bring humanitarian goods, food, water to the Gaza Strip. Remember, the Gaza Strip has plenty of food, water, and other supplies. The marketplaces have all kinds of produce, which have been photographed. Le Monde carried an article about Gaza On October 10, 2009 saying that  "the shelves in the marketplaces are full." This is not about humanitarian aid.

Second, the people on these boats were not peace activists singing "We Shall Overcome". In particular, the boat called The Marmera, the sixth boat, where there was a major incident between our naval commandos and the people on board, the people there are members of an organization called IHH, which is a Turkish organization that is supportive of terrorist groups like al Qaeda and Hamas. The French magistrate, Jean-Louis Brougiere, in fact gave testimony that IHH was involved in the "millennium plot" to bomb the Los Angeles airport in late 1999.They are radical Islamists.

Third, Israel has a naval blockade around Gaza to keep out Iranian weapons, and the Iranian rockets that have been used against Israeli citizens. It is completely legal. It is Israel's right to board any ship trying to run that blockade. That's all the Israeli naval commandos wanted to do. If the passengers were humanitarian workers, they would have let them see that there's nothing on the boat, and they would have gone on. But instead, they decided to attack our soldiers, and we defended ourselves.

There are many precedents for what Israel has done. The US put a "quarantine" around Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis, because it didn't want Soviet missiles in 1962 to get to be deployed there and  aimed at the United States. In December 2002, Spanish commandos boarded a North Korean ship, the Sosun, in international waters, looking for weapons of mass destruction. The French boarded hundreds of ships in the 1950's during the Algerian conflict. The Europeans know international law from their own experience.

Today Israel is blockading Hamas, the Hamas entity in Gaza. Hamas is an international terrorist organization. It's defined as such by the United States, European Union, Canada. They rule the Gaza Strip. They are trying to import weapons from Iran so they can launch rockets against the citizens of Israel. If Israel opened up Gaza and just let ships come in, it will end up with hundreds of rockets aimed at Israeli civilians. Israel has a right to defend itself, and it expects that the countries of the world would respect that.

Yet now there is talk of an international investigation of what Israel did. If anybody should be investigated it should be Turkey. Turkey was supposed to be a NATO ally. It is fair to ask why is its prime minister, Mr. Erdogan, supporting an organization like the  IHH that is directly tied to international terrorism. Erdogan, has now pulled Turkey from a pro-Western orientation to becoming an ally of the Iranians. As a result, it's become more hostile to America, it's become more hostile to Israel, and the Europeans don't want to talk about it, but they're also very nervous.

Palestinian Rockets and the Limits of Israeli Deterrence
The news last week that the Obama administration was asking the US Congress to approve $205 million for the "Iron Dome" rocket defense system was an important development. Israel has gone through two wars in 2006 and 2008 in which both Hizbullah and Hamas launched rockets at Israeli civilians living...
The Genocide Debate
Last month, President Barack Obama found himself in a tight spot on the question of whether the mass killings of Armenians in World War I should be called an act of genocide. As a candidate to the presidency, he promised to apply the the term genocide to the Armenian case....
The Myth of the 1967 Borders
In rejecting, the proposal for a Palestinian state with temporary borders, that Haaretz reported last Friday, Abu Mazen insisted that the only basis for any future political arrangements with Israel is "the 1967 borders". He is not the only one today talking about the 1967 lines. President Carter's, national security...
Averting Nuclear Terror
President Barack Obama's nuclear summit in Washington largely focused on how the international community can prevent nuclear terrorism. Since the 9/11 attacks, this has been a special preoccupation of the US intelligence establishment for good reasons. One month after the attacks, George Tenet, the head of the CIA, told President...
The Dangerous Implications of Dividing Jerusalem
In the last decade, one of the areas in the peace process where Israeli governments--as well as American administrations--failed was anticipating the "day-after". Those who advised Ariel Sharon to adopt the disengagement from the Gaza Strip probably did not anticipate that after Israel withdrew, the rate of yearly rocket fire...
Obama and Israel: A Global Perspective
Israeli commentators on the tense relations between the US and Israel are missing a central point. Some are suggesting that Obama is inexperienced and is prone to making mistakes when dealing with the Middle East. It is typically asked: doesn't Obama know that he will only harden the Palestinian position...
Diplomatic Dispute Obscures Israel's Invaluable Help to U.S. Military
Originally printed in the Washington Examiner: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was right to speak about U.S.-Israeli strategic ties during his speech at Tuesday's AIPAC conference. During the recent bilateral tensions between the Obama administration and the Israeli government, a vicious rumor began to spread that the U.S. feels that Israeli...
The Dangerous Bias of the UN Goldstone Report
Published in US News and World Report: Last year's report by the U.N. Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza War, known more popularly as the Goldstone Report, is not going away. Originally, it was the initiative of the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council, which named South African Justice Richard Goldstone to...
Obama's Struggle With Israel over Jerusalem
The Obama administration has decided to escalate its disagreement with Israel over its construction plans for new housing in eastern Jerusalem to a level that has rarely been witnessed before. It has employed all levels of the administration to critique Israel, from Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to presidential adviser...
The Two Faces of the West's Ties to Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia is clearly emerging as one of the most pivotal allies of the West in the struggle against Iran. For example, the Saudis, along with the UAE, are offering to supply China with oil, in order to replace any Iranian oil that it might lose, should Beijing support new...
The Hidden Agenda Behind Those Charging Israel with Apartheid
The organizers of "Israel Apartheid Week" (March 1-March 13, 2010) are hoping to replicate what they claim was an unprecedented success for their cause last year when  they sponsored events in 40 cities around  the world. They have one central problem in making their case. The arguments against their charge--...
Why Washington Does Not Want to Admit to the Severity of the Iranian Nuclear Program
At first glance it seemed very strange that when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran was enriching its low-enriched uranium from 3.5%  up to 20 %, the Obama administration did not seize upon this declaration and use it to strengthen its case at the UN for instituting painful sanctions...
Fareed Zakaria on Iran
Fareed Zakaria often has good insights on US foreign policy but he seems to get Iran totally wrong.  Recently he wrote (February 22) an op-ed in the Washington Post, in which he asserted that a nuclear Iran could be deterred. He bases his argument on the shift in power inside...
The Frightening Side of a Nuclear Iran
In the corridors of power in Washington, it is increasingly recognized privately that the US will not be able to halt the Iranian nuclear program and therefore the Obama Administration's Plan B is to rely on deterrence. They hope that the US and its allies can deter Iran the same way...
The Dangerous Illusion of Relying on Deterrence Against a Nuclear Iran
The US and its allies are planning to ratchet up severe sanctions against Iran, in light of the decision of the leadership of the Islamic Republic to rebuff Western diplomatic offers and to go ahead with domestic enrichment of its low-enriched uranium to the 20 per cent level. This new...
The Diplomacy of Delegitimization
Anyone analyzing what Israel's adversaries are planning should read the writing of Professor Richard Falk carefully. A former professor of international law at Princeton, where he defended the use of violence by Vietnam War protesters and supported the rise of Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, he was recently appointed by the...
New Revelations About Goldstone's Report Seriously Undermine its Credibility
With Lt. Col. (res.) Jonathan Dahoah Halevi -- Studying the recent statements of Col. (ret.) Desmond Travers, the Irish military man who sat on the Goldstone panel, I couldn't believe what I was reading, when he argued that Israel used thermal sensitive UAV's to look inside of Palestinian homes in...
Should Barack Obama Be Compared To Jimmy Carter?
Just when President Barack Obama is facing mounting criticism over his domestic agenda for the US, one of the leading American journals of international relations, Foreign Policy, published a cover story for its January/February issue comparing Obama to Jimmy Carter, who is widely perceived as having been a failed president....
Bin Laden Connects Al-Qaeda Attacks to US Support for Israel
This week, Osama bin Laden took down from the shelves an old argument from his radical Islamic library, namely that Israel is the reason why al-Qaeda is presently trying to attack the US. In an audiotape broadcast on al-Jazeera on January 24, bin Laden took credit for the attempted airline...