Illustration: US Ambassador to Israel David M. Friedman Sworn In by Vice President Mike Pence, by McKenzie Clift on whitehouse.gov [Public Domain] via Wikimedia
U.S. Ambassador David Friedman’s June interview with the New York Times was inconsistent with the worldview of the American State Department establishment — but quite consistent with Middle East reality and U.S. national security interests.
Ambassador Friedman stated: “The absolute last thing the world needs is a failed Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan…. Israel retaining security control in the West Bank should not be an impediment…. Certainly, Israel is entitled to retain some portion of it [the West Bank]…. I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank….”
While the State Department establishment (except for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton) rejects Friedman’s assessments, its own track record in the Middle East has been systematically flawed, as easily shown in the following examples.
During 1947-48, the U.S. State Department opposed the reestablishment of the Jewish State — contending that it would be a pro-Soviet entity, militarily overrun by the Arabs, while undermining US ties with the Arabs. In 2019, Israel is the most effective, unconditional ally of the US, whose ties with all pro-U.S. Arab countries are unprecedented in scope and expanding.
In the 1950s, the State Department establishment considered the radical, pro-Soviet President Nasser of Egypt — who attempted to aggressively topple every pro-U.S. Arab regime — a potential ally of the U.S.
From 1977-1979, the State Department betrayed the Shah of Iran, a critical ally of the U.S., courting Ayatollah Khomeini, whom it considered a warrior for democracy against a tyrant; thus, allowing the creation of a rogue, megalomaniacal regime in Teheran, intensifying regional and global Islamic terrorism, exacerbating instability, while severely injuring the U.S. credibility among its allies.
In July 1990, on the eve of Saddam Hussein’s August 2, 1990 invasion of Kuwait, the Department of State severely underestimated Saddam’s ruthless determination, providing a glaring green light to the invasion. A message was delivered to the Iraqi despot — who had been considered a potential ally since the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran war — from Secretary Jim Baker via Ambassador April Glaspie: “The US does not intend to take sides in what it perceives as an intra-Arab border dispute…. Washington has no opinion on the disagreement between Kuwait and Iraq... and does not intend to start an economic war against Iraq...”
In 1993, the State Department joined the wishful-thinking party surrounding the Oslo Process and ordained Arafat — a documented arch-terrorist and hate-educator — for a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.
The December 2010 eruption of the still-raging Arab Tsunami was welcomed by the State Department as an “Arab Spring,” advancing the prospects of democracy on the Arab Street. The mega-million Arab refugees, the almost one million Arab fatalities and the mega-billion dollar damage document the severe detachment of the State Department from Middle East reality.
In 2011, the U.S. joined its European allies in the toppling of the Libyan dictator, Qaddafi — who in 2003 transferred his nuclear infrastructure to the U.S., and conducted a major military campaign against Islamic terrorists — which transformed Libya into the largest platform of anti-Western Islamic terrorism in Africa and beyond.
In 2015, the State Department co-led the pro-Ayatollahs’ diplomatic orgy, yielding an agreement which expanded the Ayatollahs’ global terror and subversion treasury in a monumental manner, bringing the Ayatollahs’ machete closer to the neck of each pro-U.S. Arab regime, while (under the best-case-scenario) postponing the nuclearization of the Ayatollahs by only ten years.
Now in 2019 — at variance with the State Department establishment (except for Secretary Pompeo and National Security Advisor Bolton) — Ambassador Friedman advances U.S. interests against the backdrop of Middle East reality, rather than flirting with wishful-thinking, even-handedness and moral equivalence between inherent aggressors and intended victims, which have systematically failed, fueling radicalism, wars and terrorism.
In 2019, contrary to the State Department, Ambassador Friedman recognizes the secondary/tertiary role of the Palestinian issue in feeding regional turbulence and shaping U.S.-Arab and Israel-Arab relations, as evidenced by the dominant regional developments (e.g., the threats of the Ayatollahs, Sunni terrorism, inter- and intra-Arab upheavals) and the deepening ties between Israel and every pro-U.S. Arab country, while there is no movement on the Palestinian issue.
Moreover, the Ambassador is aware of the subversive and terroristic Palestinian track record in Egypt (early 1950s), Syria (1966), Jordan (1968-1970), Lebanon (1970-1982) and Kuwait (1990), which has been engraved in the Arab memory, hence the unbridgeable gap between the Arab walk and the Arab talk on the Palestinian issue.
In 2019, unlike the State Department, Ambassador Friedman realizes the destructive impact of a potential Palestinian state upon the inherently unstable, unpredictable, intolerant and violent Middle East. Such a state would fuel Islamic terrorism in the Middle East and beyond, threaten the survival of the pro-U.S. Hashemite regime (and the devastating ripple effects into the Arabian Peninsula), undermine U.S. interests in the Middle East, while advancing the interests of Russia, China and possibly Iran, providing them with land, air and sea bases.
In contradiction to the State Department, Ambassador Friedman is aware that Israel’s control of the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria is a prerequisite for Israel’s effective posture of deterrence, which is perceived by Jordan, Saudi Arabia and additional pro-U.S. Arab regimes as the most effective life insurance policy in the face of clear, present and lethal threats posed by the Ayatollahs, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Furthermore, the Ambassador is aware that Israel’s withdrawal from the mountain ridges would transform the Jewish State from a national security asset of the U.S. to a national security liability/burden upon the U.S., depriving the U.S. of a unique beachhead, which constitutes the largest U.S. aircraft carrier with no U.S. soldiers on board, and a most productive battle-tested laboratory, producing for the U.S. a several hundred percent annual rate-of-return on its annual investment in Israel.
Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger is the director of The Ettinger Report: Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.