Sunday, July 19, 2020

Breaking News: New Corona Lockdowns and Naftali Bennett: 'Imposing a broad lockdown now is destructive and illogical' and American Troops On The Golan Heights? By Saul Jay Singer and will The Empire State building ever be the same? and Critics say attaining sovereignty will undermine the peace process and ruin Israel’s reputation abroad, but these myths do not hold up to scrutiny. By DAVID M. WEINBERG, JPOST and The sky is falling, the sky is falling. Time for some more lockdowns!!

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Yehuda Lave, Spiritual Advisor and Counselor

Yehuda Lave is an author, journalist, psychologist, rabbi, spiritual teacher, and coach, with degrees in business, psychology and Jewish Law. He works with people from all walks of life and helps them in their search for greater happiness, meaning, business advice on saving money,  and spiritual engagement. Now also a Blogger on the Times of Israel. Look for my column

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Doctor's Orders

Because of an ear infection, Little Moishie Rothman had to go see his pediatrician Dr. Feldman. Dr. Feldman directed his comments and questions to Little Moishie in a professional manner. When he asked Little Moishie, "Is there anything you are allergic to?" Little Moishie nodded and whispered in his ear. Smiling, Dr. Feldman wrote out a prescription and handed it to Moishie's mother. She tucked it into her purse without looking at it.

As the pharmacist filled the order, he remarked on the unusual food-drug interaction Moishie must have. Little Moishie's mother looked puzzled until he showed her the label on the bottle. As per the doctor's instructions, it read, "Do not take with broccoli."

Corona – Latest rules – lockdown

Corona – Latest rules – lockdown, shuls, outdoor minyan, gatherings, gyms, restaurants etc


Indoor minyanim – limited to 10; Outdoor minyanim – limited to 20.

Weekend lockdown will start next weekend.

From Times of Israel:

Cabinet ministers decided in the early hours of Friday morning to impose new lockdown measures as virus cases in Israel surged to record highs.

Restaurants and gyms will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, but beaches will remain open and there will be no restrictions on movement. Restaurants will be available for takeout and delivery, and gyms used by professional athletes will be allowed to operate.

Gatherings of over 10 people indoors, and 20 outdoors, will also be forbidden, but workgroups and nuclear families will be exempt.

Stores will close on weekends, but stores offering essential services, such as pharmacies and supermarkets, will be allowed to remain open. Starting next Friday, July 24, beaches will be closed on weekends.

Malls, markets, barbers, beauty parlors, libraries, zoos, museums, exhibition spaces, pools, and tourist sites will also be closed on weekends.

Restaurants in hotels will be limited to 35 percent capacity and hotel pools will remain open.

Government offices will be limited to 50% capacity and will be closed to the public, except for online services. 

The sky is falling, the sky is falling. Time for some more lock-downs!!

No one knows if the lock-downs are practical or not. While they seem to have slowed the spreading of the disease initially, more medical people are saying that in the long run, more people catch the COVID, because more people are home with each other in closed capacities.

People are scared. They are all afraid to die, which is natural, but they seem to have lost their common sense. There are illogical closures and actions. In the checkout line, at Osher Od,  some customers act like are murdering them, if you stand too close, but they are willing to stand right next to the cashier, who is much more dangerous than a customer as he sees hundreds of people a day.

In the synagogue, everyone sprays on the hand gel, like they are drinking scotch, and no one knows if what we are doing is helping or not. Every five minutes they are taking another hit of alcohol.

One thing is for sure. The  Health Department and BiBi tell us we are in a pandemic. And during a pandemic, while the Halacha does not change, the circumstances have changed and we must adjust. 

For the first time, we have two classes of people. Those under 60 and those over. The disease attacks those over 60 and those with pre-existing conditions much more seriously, so the two classes of people must behave differently. Younger people are supposedly not under much risk at all, but they are carriers! So you can't go to see Grandma and Grandpa anymore, you might be killing them to come over for Shabbat. So the new lock-downs will stop a lot of Shabbat Visits. No buses on Friday and they won't start until Sunday morning. So if you go for Shabbat if it is allowed, you have to stay over two nights. Not practical for many.

I have some friends over 60 that have not come out of their house for 5 months. This, of course, is an over the top reaction, but the media and the government have done a great job in scaring everyone, so everyone is scared. 

Now we turn to the Jewish holidays. Praying in synagogues used to be good for you, now the great leaders have decided maybe the germs are spread in the synagogue. There must be 10 men for a minyan, and so the numbers have been going up and down from 10 to 50

The main thing that has not been addressed in the lock-downs is the economic cost of putting most people out of work. Adam Smith the great Economist said the unseen hand makes the system work. The government's very powerful hand of stopping the Economy may throw  us into a major depression that will take years to recover from if ever.

People die every year. In some countries (including Israel) the death rate is not significantly different than any "normal" year. This is not true in some countries where the death rate may be twice the normal rate, but we can not have an economy that will survive where everyone stays home on welfare.

In addition, there are many other injuries and side effects (COLLATERAL DAMAGE) when people are forced from their regular routine. My Rabbi has had a great deal of illness because he broke his regular routine. 

Without science or proof of the right course of action, we are blindly going down the route of lock-downs and it is INSANE. Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing that doesn'T work over and over and expecting different results. Government, please look into the mirror.

Naftali Bennett: 'Imposing a broad lockdown now is destructive and illogical'

Former Defense Minister rips government plan to impose weekend lockdowns. 'The government is panicking and shooting in all directions.'

Former Defense Minister and Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett criticized the government's Forum of Ministers Thursday afternoon over its recommendation the government pass new restrictions on public activity intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

After it was reported that cabinet ministers will gather Thursday night to vote on a proposal to close summer schools and impose nationwide weekend lockdowns, Bennett penned an article criticizing the move as "illogical" and "destructive".

"The Coronavirus Cabinet's decision to impose a sweeping lockdown starting tomorrow morning is disconnected from reality, and is illogical and destructive," wrote Bennett.

"Because of this," Bennett continued, "hundreds of hotel reservations for the weekend have been cancelled over the past hour. That's terrible, needless damage!"

Bennett went on to criticize the government's handling of the coronavirus in general, including the ordering of infected individuals into isolation at home.

"The data shows that about two-thirds of people who have been infected were infected at home, within the family. And yet 95% of those who are infected are sent home!"

The former Defense Minister also slammed plans to close public beaches, citing the low number of infections reported at beaches.

"There have been almost no infections during hikes. Almost no infections on beaches. And there have been very few infections at restaurants."

"The government is panicking and is shooting in all directions, without any logic."

"Instead of quibbling over the closure of pools, the government needs to send infected people to coronavirus hotels, increase the number of tests, and train – already this weekend – hundreds of additional contact researchers" to trace infections.

The forum, which is led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, agreed Thursday afternoon to back plans to impose lockdowns every weekend from Friday morning until Sunday morning, with individuals allowed to leave their homes only for "essential needs", including grocery shopping and the purchase of medication.

The plan would also require restaurants to end on-site dining, and would only be able to offer take-out or delivery. Gyms and pools would be closed under the plan, as would public summer school programs.

In addition, synagogue services will be limited to 10 people, down from the current 19.

The cabinet will be convened Thursday night to vote on the proposals.

Will the Empire state Building ever be the same?

Will office buildings ever be the same? Empire State offers cluesNEW YORK (Reuters) - The Empire State Building has been a symbol of America's economic might for almost 90 years. Of late, it's also become a symbol of its struggle with the coronavirus.

The once jam-packed 102 stories of the 1,454 ft Art Deco skyscraper sit mostly empty in a city in shock from the country's worst outbreak of COVID-19. Its spire has been lit up with red-and-white flashes to honor emergency workers, a siren in Midtown Manhattan.

A week into New York's second phase of post-lockdown re-opening, dozens of the companies with office space in one of the world's most famous buildings are trying to figure out when, how - even whether - to come back.

The June 22 reopening allowed office buildings to invite tenants back, as long as maximum occupancy stayed below 50%. But most companies based in the Empire State Building, which range from tech firms like LinkedIn Corp and luxury watch brand Bulova to nonprofits like the World Monuments Fund, have opted to extend work-from-home arrangements.

Based on a tenant poll, management expected just 15% to 20% of the building's usual 15,000 worker population to return at the second phase of reopening.

Yet even among those who plan to maintain a presence when the time comes, few expect to ever return to a workplace like the one they knew before coronavirus, according to Reuters interviews with several people who work or run companies there.

Such shifting attitudes could spell trouble for Empire State Realty Trust Inc (ESRT.N), which owns and manages the building, as well as for other major commercial real-estate companies across the city and beyond.

New York City office property values have likely fallen 10% during the pandemic, said Daniel Ismail, lead analyst at real-estate research firm Green Street Advisors.

Empire State Realty shares are down nearly 53% since the end of 2019, versus a 25% fall this year in the FTSE Nareit Equity Office index which tracks office real estate investment trusts (REITs).

Ismail pointed to pressuring factors for the company, including the COVID-19 shutdown of the Empire State Building's observatory - a tourism magnet that last year generated more than a fifth of revenue for the group, which also has other office and retail spaces across the city. [REUTERS]

American Troops On The Golan Heights? By Saul Jay Singer

When the Ottoman Empire was divided after World War I, the strategically important Golan Heights were originally included in the territory assigned to Great Britain, but Great Britain soon transferred the region to French Mandate Syria pursuant to a 1923 treaty that established the boundary between Syria and Eretz Yisrael. After Israel defeated the Syrians in the 1948 War of Independence, that boundary became the basis for the armistice line negotiated by the two countries.

Until Israel's capture of the Golan Heights in 1967, Syria sat perched atop its summit and used its position to unremittingly shell Israeli farms and settlements in the Galilee below and, equally important, to attack Israel's watershed and Hula Valley water projects.


During the Yom Kippur War, Israel not only repelled Syria's attempt to recapture the Golan, but drove deep into Syria; ultimately, it withdrew from much of the territory it captured, but kept two-thirds of the Golan Heights. Not surprisingly, Israel's defensive victory earned the enmity of the United Nations, and Israel incurred further UN condemnation when Prime Minister Begin formally annexed the Golan Heights in December 1981.

Syria continues to demand the return of the land that Israel fairly, and at great human cost, won in a defensive war. For almost half a century, there has been unremitting pressure on Israel – including, sadly, from the United States under certain administrations – to return the Golan to Syria.

In late 1994 and early 1995, the Clinton administration floated several trial balloons to test the waters regarding the possibility of stationing American troops there to act as a "peacekeeping force" as part of a comprehensive peace settlement pursuant to which the Golan would be returned to Syria in exchange for which Israel would get… well, nothing, as is invariably the case in such proposals.

This seemed to me like such a senseless and alarming idea that I wrote to several members of the defense establishment explaining my opposition to such a plan and soliciting their thoughts. Below are five responses that, even today, are interesting to read:

In this January 19, 1995 correspondence on his Center for Strategic and International Studies letterhead, Zbigniew Brzezinski writes:


I support the deployment of American forces in the Golan Heights in the event a genuine peace treaty is signed between Israel and Syria, providing for some form of international security arrangements in the wake of Israeli withdrawal. That formula has worked very well in the Sinai and it can be creatively applied in the Golan context as well. Some of the agitation against the formula originates with the Likud Party in Israel, which is against any territorial compromise. Its spokesmen hope to frighten Americans against supporting the proposed peace arrangements as a means of preventing it.

Brzezinski, who served as a counselor to LBJ and as national security advisor to President Carter, was well known for his obsessive animus toward Israel; for his support of a Palestinian state; for his vicious criticism of the pro-Israel lobby as "too powerful"; and for his promotion of U.S.-Hamas dialogue.

Urging an American policy that would decouple Israeli security from all questions of territorial sovereignty, he advocated forcing Israel to end "Jewish colonialization" through removing Israeli "settlements" and demilitarizing the "occupied territories."

His advocacy in this letter of "some form of international security arrangements in the wake of Israeli withdrawal" is entirely consistent with his general approach of forcing Israel to leave the Golan, and laying the blame on Likud for the failure to secure Mideast peace is classic Brzezinski.

In this January 4, 1995 correspondence on his Hoover Institution letterhead, George Shultz writes:

No doubt American peacekeeping on the Golan Heights pose many issues, some pro and some con… If Israel should decide that peace with Syria is worth giving up the Golan Heights then the question is, what will be the status of that particular piece of ground? Israel's security will always, as you say in your letter, be based fundamentally on its own strength, backed, I hope, by the United States. Nevertheless, I cannot imagine Israel being willing to see the Golan Heights be anything but demilitarized and subject to some sort of international presence to verify that fact. Israel has historically and understandably found the UN rather hostile and would put more trust in the U.S. That is the counterargument as I see it.

When Shultz, who had served as Nixon's secretary of labor and later as secretary of the treasury, became Reagan's secretary of state, Israel supporters – fearful over his previous position as an executive with Bechtel and his relationship with Saudi Arabia – soon had their worst fears realized. He questioned the extent of Reagan's pro-Israel stance; he became the first secretary of state to legitimize the PLO and to include the terrorist organization in U.S. Mideast policy; and he spearheaded the "Shultz Plan," which adopted "land for peace" as official U.S. policy.

Shultz urged that the future of the Golan be determined through Israeli discussions with Syria, which ultimately refused to negotiate. However, he subsequently shifted gears and became a tremendous Israel supporter to the point that he was honored by AIPAC. Our letter reflects his radical change, voicing as it does the centrality of Israel's security as an American concern and expressing "understanding" for Israel's view of the UN as "hostile."

In this January 12, 1995 correspondence on his Center for Strategic and International Studies letterhead, Harold Brown writes:

I would prefer not to see U.S. troops on the Golan. But if some commitment is required to reach a Syrian-Israeli peace, we should consider it. Details (size, nature and purpose of the force, for example) would matter a great deal. There is a U.S. force in the Sinai, as part of the Israeli-Egyptian peace, but that is an area less inhabited and where the former enemies are more distant from each other.

To repeat, I view such a U.S. force as a last resort for reasons including those you mention, in achieving a Syrian-Israeli peace. But I would not rule it out absolutely.

Brown, a secular Jew, served as LBJ's air force secretary before becoming Carter's secretary of defense, in which capacity he played a leading role in setting the groundwork for the Camp David Accords. While serving a fervently anti-Israel president, he was not at the forefront of the administration's public attacks against Israel unlike other high state and defense officials at the time. He actually became the first American Cabinet official to tour the Golan, notwithstanding fierce opposition from U.S. Embassy officials who argued that taking such tours constituted tacit endorsement of the "Israeli occupation."

In his classic low-key and analytical style, Brown explains in our letter that while his strong preference is to keep American troops out of the Golan, he is open to the possibility "as a last resort" but that facts matter, including "size, nature and purpose of the force."

It is also interesting to note that in marked contrast to Brzezinski, who supported troops on the Golan because troops were deployed successfully in Sinai, Brown explains why such a comparison is inapt.

In this January 18, 1995 correspondence, Donald Rumsfeld writes:

I quite agree with you that stationing U.S. forces in the Golan Heights would be a very poor idea.

I also thank you for your comments on the letter we sent to President Clinton about the B-2 bomber. I certainly hope that he reads it carefully.

Rumsfeld, who served as secretary of defense under both Ford and George W. Bush, was a staunch Israel supporter who spoke openly about Israel's right to retain control of captured Arab lands and supported Israel's right to build there. He often used the phrase "so-called occupied territory," and he convinced Bush that Arafat was not a partner for peace. Consistent with his lifelong position, he recently characterized President Trump's official recognition of Jerusalem as "a no-brainer."

Rumsfeld firmly opposed discussions with Syria about returning the Golan, and his opposition to stationing American troops there as expressed in our letter is a logical consequence of his belief that Israel should not leave the Golan. He was a strong supporter of American purchases of the B-2 Spirit (a.k.a. the "Stealth Bomber"), and Clinton did ultimately purchase them.

In this January 23, 1995 correspondence on his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff letterhead, John Shalikashvili writes:

Peace in the Mideast is not only a key U.S. foreign policy goal but it is also important to our military preparedness in that vital region. A critical element of achieving peace between Israel lies in how the peace is secured. Because an Israeli-Syrian peace treaty does not appear to be imminent, it is premature for me to discuss the matter of U.S. military involvement in any detail.

In this letter, Shalikashvili repeats almost verbatim his frequent refusal to comment on the issue, including such a refusal in December 1994 after a state visit with Rabin, during which he declined an offer to tour the Golan Heights.

Finally, in this January 23, 1995 letter, Stansfield Turner writes:

By coincidence, I recently sat in on an official, but unclassified, briefing by Defense Department officials which included this topic. We would place troops there only after both sides agreed to a peaceful arrangement and to having foreign troops monitor it.

In that connection, you might recall that we have been doing that in the Sinai since 1981.

The point you raise, though, is one the U.S. is going to have to face repeatedly in the future; that is, what risks we take in the name of helping to maintain peace. We cannot just leave it to the UN or to other nations, but we also have limits on the price we will pay; witness our withdrawal from Somalia after some loss of life.

After serving as Supreme Allied Commander NATO Southern Europe, Turner was Carter's third choice to serve as his CIA director in which capacity, much to the consternation of Israel, he limited its receipt of satellite images. He was not a Carter administration insider, and most commentators minimize his impact on American foreign policy.

Turner manifested generally negative views about addressing the Israeli-Arab conflict by stationing American troops in harm's way: "I really worry about getting our people caught in this body-bag type of situation – having the suicide bombers focusing on us or UN troops because they see us as an impediment."

In our letter, however, he walks the line between not abdicating the responsibility to others, but also taking a careful measure on "the price we will pay."

* * * * *

On October 25, 1994, shortly before these six letters were written, the Center for Security Policy released an expert study on the subject (it may well have been a briefing on this report that Stansfield Turner attended). After presenting an in-depth analysis and report, the Center's conclusions could not have been clearer (the document is fascinating and well worth a read; it is available online):

There is no mission or rationale for a U.S. peacekeeping force on the Golan that would justify the resulting costs and risks. Indeed, the net effect could be negative for Israel's security and regional stability, while the consequences could include the loss of U.S. lives and, possibly, a credibility-damaging retreat of the U.S. forces under terrorist fire. In any event, such a deployment would increase the danger of direct U.S. involvement in a future Middle East war and undermine Israel's standing with the U.S. public as a self-reliant ally.

Of course, this entire issue was essentially rendered moot when, on March 25, 2019, President Trump, unquestionably the most pro-Israel president in history, signed a proclamation recognizing the Golan Heights as part of Israel and rejecting all Syrian claims to sovereignty over the territory.

Not surprisingly, the move was condemned by most of the world, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres who commented that "the status of Golan has not changed." On April 23, 2019, Prime Minister Netanyahu announced that a new community in the Golan Heights would be named after Trump and, on June 16, 2019, Israel announced the establishment in Golan of a planned settlement called "Trump Heights."

Critics say attaining sovereignty will undermine the peace process and ruin Israel's reputation abroad, but these myths do not hold up to scrutiny. By DAVID M. WEINBERG, JPOST

According to critics, application of Israeli law to security and settlement zones in Judea and Samaria will ruin everything. It will undermine the "peace process" (as if there was one), and wreck Israel's international reputation (as if everybody loved Israel nowadays).These myths do not stand up to scrutiny.

Myth 1: "Annexation" would be a violation of international law.• Fact: "International law" is a malleable concept, and neither the government nor the Supreme Court of Israel ever have accepted the view that Jewish settlement over the Green Line is a violation of international law. Nor can Israel's assertion of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria be considered "annexation" because the land never "belonged" to the Palestinians. The "Pompeo Declaration" and the "Trump Plan" explicitly accept the historical right of the Jewish People to settle in their biblical homeland (and consequently the US government already has recognized Israeli sovereignty over united Jerusalem and the Golan Heights).•

Myth 2: Israel risks ultimate global isolation by asserting sovereignty over any part of the West Bank.• Fact: The threat that the "diplomatic sky will fall" if Israel annexes is akin to the panic once caused by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. But the menace of BDS was deliberately overstated and wildly overestimated; an artificial threat magnified a thousand times by media repetition. Now too, the specter of Israel's ostracism is exaggerated, and in any case, Israel could manage most degrees of negative blowback.•

Myth 3: Sovereignty assertion will jeopardize the progress that Israel has made in ties with the Arab and Muslim world. Latest articles from Jpost Top articles1/5READ MOREIran under pressure after fourth mysterious explosion Fact: In the immediate term, it may slow these developing relations. But in the longer term, which is what counts, the forces that are driving Israel and Gulf states together will prevail. These are the threats from Iran and radical Islam, alongside a desire to advance into the 21st century (and benefit from Israeli technological advances) without being endlessly tied down by the self-immolating Palestinian national movement.•

Myth 4: Reckless Israeli action will lead to a Palestinian uprising and regional conflagration, and this will distract Israel (and America) from more pressing threats.• Fact: Most experts do not see a "third intifada" (Palestinian wave of terrorism) developing, nor do they see the Muslim world rallying to the Palestinian Authority's side beyond the usual, ritual murmurings of support. The exceptions to this rule are Turkey and Iran, which continue to stoke Palestinian-Israeli conflict with money and weapons. Israel will not be distracted from its laser-fine focus on confronting these bad actors.•

Myth 5: An Israeli sovereignty move will create apartheid. What will be left for the Palestinians are mere Bantustans, islands of disconnected land surrounded by Israel. Nor will a future Palestinian state be fully sovereign because Israel will maintain security control of the total territory.• Fact: There is no apartheid here. The "enclaves" and "exclaves" of both Israeli and Palestinian settlement that already exist and will persist according to the American peace plan are the inexorable result of the principle that no Palestinian or Israeli will be forced out of their home. Yes, the new American two-state map is complicated, but this reflects reality. This speaks for, not against, the peace plan.As for Israeli military predominance in the entire West Bank envelope; well, yes, that must always be the case. There is no other way to ensure the demilitarization of a Palestinian state and to block Iranian infiltration of the West Bank and Gaza.•

Myth 6: The American plan, and Israeli assertion of sovereignty based on this plan, undermine the two-state solution.• Fact: The opposite is true! The American plan and its approval of near-term Israeli border adjustments offers the only realistic path toward the vision of "two states for two peoples." Historical truths and concrete realities replace stale formulas based on maximalist Palestinian demands (uproot all settlements, withdraw from the entire West Bank, and divide Jerusalem).Moreover, the plan reverses a long-term deleterious dynamic (whereby Israel was expected to give land in exchange for empty Palestinian promises of peace and compromise) and instead tells Palestinians that time is not on their side. The longer they reject peace with Israel, the less independence they might obtain. This creates critically needed pressure toward concrete engagement in a true peace process.Furthermore, the plan also treats Palestinians as responsible adults, with no free pass regarding the type of state they might establish. Meeting essential US benchmarks – like ending payments to terrorists, disarming Hamas and other armies, and ending the teaching of genocidal antisemitism in schools and media – could make for a genuine peace process leading to a viable two-state solution.•

Myth 7: Unilateral actions are the opposite of peacemaking.• Fact: Well, over the past decade, Palestinian leaders have taken multiple unilateral actions against Israel, while international observers stood by in acquiescence or were complicit.This includes Palestinian appeals to have their statehood unilaterally recognized by the UN without negotiation or compromise; appeals to the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice to criminalize and penalize Israel; launching UN resolutions that deny Jewish history in Jerusalem and Judea; building Palestinian settlements in Area C of the West Bank in violation of the Oslo Accords; ongoing warfare from Palestinian Gaza against Israel; and repeated unilateral Palestinian walk-outs from negotiations where Israel made gigantically generous peace proposals, while blaming Israel for collapse of the talks.Israel was expected to do nothing in response to these Palestinian assaults. It was "told" to hang on patiently for another negotiation that the Palestinian leadership does not want and repeatedly rejects.No longer. The American plan forces everybody to face the fact that Israel cannot be expected to freeze development of its strategic and historic heartland while waiting endlessly for a peaceful and democratic Palestinian political culture to emerge, miraculously. Israel cannot be held hostage to never-ending Palestinian vetoes.You might say that an Israeli move is necessary to shake-up skewed approaches to Mideast peacemaking. And since it will be coordinated with Israel's most important strategic partner and the major Western superpower, it is not completely "unilateral" or in violation of so-called "international parameters."•

Myth 8: Asserting sovereignty now, even over a small part of Judea and Samaria, is just not worth it. It will alienate Israel's friends abroad and divide Israeli society too. Better to refrain and build credit for a move in the future with more global support.Fact: Israeli leaders reckon the risk/reward ratio more favorably, and do not buy the argument that is best to do nothing now. Each time Israel is urged not to rock the boat, the international goalposts seem to shift in favor of the Palestinians. Who really believes that if only Israel makes just one more show of good faith (say, by sitting back and giving the Palestinians another chance to enter/refuse talks), then Israel will have greater legitimacy to assert its rights at a more propitious time in the future with wider Western backing?In any case, acting now will not divide Israeli society. The territorial contours and security parameters of the American plan make eminent sense to most Israelis. The country is united in asserting that the Jordan Valley is Israel's permanent eastern security border and that the settlement blocks that straddle united Jerusalem are rightfully Israeli sovereign territory.The author is vice president of the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, His personal site is

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