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Ami Ayalon discussion post

This evening Ami Ayalon will give a lecture at the Korbel School.  The purpose of this thread let everyone share their thoughts on the event, and any follow questions or issues that you would like to discuss.

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2 Responses

  1. I just got back from the Ayalon lecture, and for me there were three things that stuck out. First was Ayalon’s depiction of settlements as the pioneers of the Zionist goal of creating a border for a recognized state. Having gained general recognition among Arabs by 2002, the settlements have accomplished their purpose. He views new settlements as unhelpful to the original goal, especially since it does not serve Israel to create an expanded boarder where included populations challenge the status of Jews as the majority. This point I agree with, and most of the international community would agree that new settlements must be halted.

    Second, Ayalon described the Middle East as dominated by three competing powers, Egypt, Turkey, and Iran. His view is that Israeli security was based on a moderate Egypt, and that this can no longer be the basis for regional security. Now, Ayalon says, Israel must co-opt Turkey to create a regional alliance against Iran. Given Israel’s current relationship with Iran, this strategy seems less than ideal. Maybe Israel helping Turkey with yesterday’s earthquake will create some new goodwill. Also, I think Ayalon is wrong not to characterize the United States as the most dominant power in the Middle East (after all, who else could have successfully invaded Iraq?).

    Finally, Ayalon said that Iran does represent a real existential threat to Israel. Then he said Israel must be fully prepared to encounter the challenge of nuclear weapons from Iran. Essentially, he hinted that Israel is wise to maintain a nuclear weapons capability. Ayalon also said that Israel cannot win an existential war alone, and that Arab allies against Iran can be found, but will only become allies if Israel solves its Palestinian problem. I agree with that second point, but again I’d say that Israel’s best ally will be the United States, and that in my view Israel needs to be wary of making policy decisions that test that relationship (which Ayalon suggested during the Q and A).

  2. A very interesting lecture from a man who has been at the center of Israeli security issues. His idea of a pragmatic alliance of M.E.States sounds good but with the total disarray in the M.E. at present I don’t see it happening-maybe when the dust settles.
    Didn’t like his equating the Arab “Nakba” with the Jewish Holocaust. In my mind the Nakba for the Palestinians has been their refusal to recognize the Jewish claims to Palestine & condemning a whole generation to misery in their attempt to destroy Israel. If they chose to work with the Jews they would have prospered & had all the independence they desire.
    His excuse for the events in Gaza is ellitist & sounds like pandering to the Palestinians for not holding the Palestinian leadership responsible for turning Gaza into a hotbed for terrorists & an ally of Iran. Again the Palestinians are being used by others for their own ends.
    When we hear the Palestinians say they recognize Israel as the Homeland of the Jewish People (including the 650,000 Jews who were expelled from Arab lands) then all issues will suddenly become solvable.

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