BEVERLY HILLS — On Thursday night, former U.S. Ambassador John Bolton and Israel Defense Forces Brig. Gen. Israel Shafir spoke at Beth Jacob synagogue about Israel’s future and security in a region that is growing ever more hostile towards the only Jewish State in the world.
The event was moderated by Simcha Salach, who is the executive director of the Israeli Air Force Center Foundation, which was responsible for the event.
“President Barack Obama has been the most hostile president towards Israel since 1948,” Bolton said. “I think the administration has pursued the notion that if you could create a Palestinian state that sweetness and light could break out in the Middle East. This has been a view in America that’s been very widespread and very persistent for a long time. It’s just fundamentally wrong.”
Bolton pointed out that he believes Obama “views Israel as just as much a problem as the United States” and is attempting to “constrain” both nations in order to weaken them strategically on the world scale.
He said that has pushed America’s other allies in the region to “hedge their bets” by deepening their relations with the Russians and the Chinese.
“I’ve had Arab foreign minister say to me, we’ve watched the way the United States has treated Israel. We’ve watched how they treated the Mubarak regime in Egypt. What happens when our time of trouble comes? If that’s the way you treat your best allies, how are you going to treat us? It’s a very hard question to answer,” Bolton said.
General Shafir, who has been recognized for his participation in the 1981 mission to destroy Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981, presented what was, at times, a different view.
“Us, in the west, when we tell other people how they should live their life from our point of view, it’s an abuse of power. But these tribes live just the way they did in the Biblical times,” he told Breitbart News. “And their family structure and tribal structure is just the way they are. By trying to force them to change we are actually destroying the way they live.” He said that was exemplified in Iraq and Libya, and that the same thing will soon happen in Syria if Assad is made to leave.
Shafir said Assad’s absence in Syria would leave Israel in a position of greater vulnerability–a point the two men disagreed on. “The fall of Syria into tribes and into tribal warfare is detrimental to Israel because that means there is no one accountable.” He said if Syria is not led by Assad, then there will be nobody else “because if it’s not Assad, it’s going to break up anyway.” He referred to Assad as “the devil that we know.” He continued “we are dealing with bad and worse, so I’d rather have Assad accountable in Lebanon” with regard to Hezbollah–another terrorist group Iran is sponsoring. Iran and Russia’s alliance with Assad is no secret.
Regarding the Iran deal, the general said he believes the only nation that can “take out” Iran’s nuclear program is the United States. However, Bolton said the United States is not going to take such action. Furthermore, Bolton pointed out that he had previously believed, before the signing of the Vienna agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA), that Israel would be prepared to take action against Iran, but said he now does not view that as a possibility. “The prognosis is for this already volatile and unstable religion to become even more dangerous in the near future,” he said, because Iran is the “world central bank of political terrorism,” and it is sure to acquire a nuclear bomb sooner or later.
Shafir said he was a “bit more optimistic that once money starts flowing into Iran that life becomes easier…[Iran] will become less aggressive.”
Regarding the future of Israel in reference to its Palestinian neighbors, the men agreed that a one-state solution was out of the question, but disagreed about a two-state solution. When asked by Breitbart News if a two-state solution was no longer a viable option, Shafir disagreed, whereas Bolton agreed, and presented his own analysis for what he referred to as a “three state solution.” Shafir said he thinks “most Israelis recognize that there is no third solution of sustaining the current situation, because it’s an antithesis to our culture and values system.”
Bolton said, “I think the two-state solution is a failure. I don’t think it’s viable because Gaza and some piece of the West Bank constitute a viable state. It’s not just that they’re geographically separated. Its that they don’t have inherent economic potential and I don’t think that there’s a way to enhance that in hopes that that then leads to a political solution. I just don’t think there’s ever going to be substantial trade or investment in the West Bank or Gaza until the political issues are resolved.”
He noted that the three-state solution is the only true option, and proposed that the Gaza Strip be given back to Egypt and that an accommodation should be made with Jordan to divide the West Bank “in a responsible fashion and give whatever is not to be part of Israel to Jordanian sovereignty.”
Bolton pointed out that “they don’t want it, but life is hard. And particularly under this government, the military government, I think that since Hamas is a subsidiary of the Muslim Brotherhood, this is as good a time as any.” He explained that “it’s not a question of where you draw the line in the West Bank, it’s a question of what kind of state it is on the other side. And nobody should be forced to live with the creation of a terrorist state on their borders.” He argued that his three-state solution was “not radical” but that it draws from history itself.
“That’s effectively the way it was before the 1967 war,’ Bolton noted. “Now, the Jordanians don’t want that much more than the Egyptians want the Gaza Strip. But, as I said, life is hard.”