Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren

The world in 2009
Mubarak empowered in Egypt
Assad empowered
Iran had a small stockpile of uranium
no sanctions
Palestinians were refusing to negotiate.
US had just entered the period of profound dislocation
the American people were exhausted with involvement in the Middle East wars.
The conversion law occupied the American Jewish community and Israel. A real crisis. It might have closed the window of reform and conservative judaism with Israel
The question of the Kotel and Women of the Wall.
Then everything changed.
The Arab spring forced Israel to rethink everything.
Egypt-Israeli border inflamed, 10 killed
Sinai filled with international terrorists
Gaza, through Iranian smuggling, becomes militarized. Hamas.
Complex and Dangerous.
Jordan began to stagger with half a million refugees
Jordanian Iraq border is the security for Israel.
Syrian border used to be a quiet border. Weapons of mass destruction hovering being transported around.
17,000 jihadis entered into Syria.
Lebanon, 70,000 rockets from Hezbollah under the watchful eye of the UN.
Now those rockets can go to Elat.
Iranians building underground,
install advanced centrifuges increasing enrichment process to weapons grade.
All the efforts of the Obama administration to negotiate only lead Iran to grow closer to the red line that Obama warned about.
Israel has to explore new realms of cooperation with the US. Israel has succeeded to do so.
On the Egyptian border. the peace treaty has held. good!
Deterrence with Hamas-ceasefire.
build fence of a billion dollar fence. no ground attacks. stopped the flow of labor seeking people from
Iron Dome. 2010 first anti ballistic system that worked in history. 86 % success rate. All possible from help of the US.
Israel built a fence on the Syrian border. will cost almost a billion dollars.
David's sling- a system to knock out cruise missles.  All with the help of the US
Jordan is critical ally and is dealing with huge challenges. Israel is playing a behind the scenes role.
With regard to Iran:
The current administration has sent the Iran economy into a nose dive with sanctions.
Israel and the US still want  a diplomatic solution. but the best chance for a diplomatic solution must have a credible military threat ready to go and they must believe it.

Palestinian issues:  expectations low.  The Israeli government is committed to the process.
Challenges to the Jewish people:
The Kotel is a thorny issue that goes to the core of the issue of the Israel Diaspora relationship.
Sharansky proposals to create a new and expanded plaza for a gender neutral for prayer.
It is a not just a Jewish-Jewish issue but it is a Jewish-Muslim issue as well. Security issues and theological ones overlap in this realm as well.
Oren feels that the story has been a good and successful one over the last four years.

Questions for Ambassador Oren and his comments:
1. Israel wants the EU to play a constructive role.  Right now that is not happening.
2. Israel and Turkey? Better relations but not as far as he would have liked. The flotilla incident and the Gaza event caused the cancelation of the joint military exercises. That was a myth. Well it was the rightward leaning and turning to the Muslim world and the Arab world of Turkey.
This issue also has to due to with oil issues and Israel with Greek Cyprus.
3. The Turks will stay out of Israel's way. Cooperation of commercial ties. Turkey is staying out of the oil issues of Israel and the Gaza blockade for now.
4. YK message since YK war. The message is Klal Yisrael. peoplehood.  preserve peoplehood even if that term appears to be politically incorrect in many circles of American Jewish life.

5. How can American Jews be critical without playing into the hands of advesaries.Israel can withstand pressures but american jews have to think about what they are saying. respect whose lives are on the line.
6. Israelis caree about one thing above all. they care about the sec of their families. taking risks for israelis requires them to be able to defend themselves. that is what it is all about for Israelis.

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