Thursday 18 May 2017
Photo, above:US Consulate Jerusalem
JOHN BATCHELOR SHOW
Co-host: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents.
EL AL MIDDLE EAST REPORT, special edition from Jerusalem.
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 1, Block A: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, in re: anticipation of Pres Trump’s visit next week – earliest in his term; to the Western All, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Potential consequences of missteps or misstatements are fairly serious her because of of how sensitive the situation is His envoy, Jason Greenblatt, came here with nary a slip, all perfect. Potential for great advances is also present. Unpredictability. Palestinians: Abbas refuses to cease funding mass murderers with US funds.
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 1, Block B: Amb Dore Gold, president, Jerusalem Center; in re: Pres Trump’s visit to Israel. I think it's important for him to move he US embassy to Jerusalem, even for some Arab nations: his words will be proven reliable. Recall Orient House. Where the PA threatened that if it were closed, the whole Middle East would blow up; by cause of some unwholesome activities, Israel eventually closed it down and yet nothing blew up. Saudis and UEA share with Israel concerns over Iran, ISIS, and other matters. Abbas’s term of office has long since ended; he enjoys no support from Hamas and little from the West Bank; he fundamentally lacks authority. Several claimants to his throne, among them, Mohammed Dahlan in Abu Dhabi. The JCPOA: Gulf States saw the US as a questionable ally under Obama because of the JCPOA. Much hope that the Trump administration would lead to a stronger US position vs the Iranian drive for hegemony. Risks: I think there are limited understandings that can be reached between the Palestinians and Israel; if Trump goes for the Hail Mary, the total resolution, and that doesn't work, it can lead to much disappointment among Palestinians and thereby to another intifada And you don't want to risk the prestige of the US with a failed manoeuver.
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 1, Block C: Tony Badran, , in re; a training mission in Jordan on the Syrian border: US troops seen there and gossip is that the US is preparing to cross the border into Syria. Jordan much wants a buffer zone with Syria, esp as ISIS is evicted from Raqqa and moves south. The MOAB has led to a new regional calculus; Jordan much relieved. US troops have ben training in the desert adjacent to Jordan and Iraq; may have a few special ops. Deir Azour is now a nerve center. Russia is displeased that Jordan can ignore it and deal directly with US; Jordan setting up communications with Syrians in Aleppo and other towns. US won’t allow IRGC or other Iranian affiliates (e.g., Syrian army) to operate on Jordanian border. . . . JB: US troops arrive with heavy comms and defense preparations. I saw some in Georgia. TB: . . . Assad, Iranians, and everyone in that camps has begun to attack Jordan vociferously. Jordan replies, Syrian army can’t secure a paper bag without Iran. Potential for things heating up does exist.
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 1, Block D: Gen Michael Herzog, Washington Institute, in re: No announcement of US moving embassy to Jerusalem. Anticipation of Pres Trump’s thirty-hour visit; rife with symbolism and atmospherics, but substance is the possible launch of a peace process ‘twixt Palestinians and Israel. No specifics outline at this stage. Maybe some genl policy statements. Will recognize Pal right to self-determination. Trip couched in religious symbolism – Vatican, Saudia (Home the the Two Mosques) and to both Jerusalem and Bethlehem, not Ramallah. Will he not go to Masada but to the Israel museum? Why? Why not speak at Knesset? Masada is said to be too hot and a helicopter can't land [producer affirms that it's truly really hot atop that mesa]. . . . A junior State Dept official put two left feet in his mouth and was overridden by Nicky Haley. Substantive discussions will be not in public but behind closed doors.
This is John Batchelor and Malcolm Hoenlein in Israel, Bob and Bing on the road.
EL AL MIDDLE EAST REPORT, special edition from Jerusalem.
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 2, Block A: Malcolm Hoenlein, Conference of Presidents, in re: the transformation of the Old City from earlier to now is almost beyond belief. Pres Trump’s visit: risks are overexpectations, misunderstandings, even recent allegation of disclosures of secret info from Israel. However, the citizenry loves Americans. And this is a celebratory week in honor of Jerusalem under Israel for fifty years. Trump will go to Western Wall as a personal visit, solo, not as a political deed. Who has authority to enter into a peace discussion on behalf o Palestinians. Clearly not Abbas. Congress’s main demand is that he cease paying mass murderers for having killed, which he lied about to Pres Trump in saying he could but now reaffirms that he will not. It’d help a lot if the Americans quit the pretense that Abbas has any authority to represent Palestinians.
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 2, Block B: Behnam Ben Taleblu, Senior Iran Analyst at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, in re: Iran. In the absence of a holistic strategy toward Iran – Obama’s was nonconfrontation – current phase is [not to upset the apple cart] while developing a larger strategy. NDA of 2012 , and Iran Sanctions Act. . . . Cui bono? I’d caution the US on sanctions or sanctions relief . . . Iran has an offensive nuclear weapons-proliferation program; true, no reason to permit them to row the ABM program, but US has sanctioned some Iranian and Chinese entities, we shd look at domestic Iranian companies that produce the metals, the eqpt, the domestic supply chain of nuclear weapons producers. Imminent Iranian election – autocratic illiberal — it holds elections to defend itself against Western criticism and domestic enemies. One of the greatest tragedies of modern Iran is that they’ve had to choose between the likes of Rouhani and something worse.
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 2, Block C: Prof Gideon Avni, Israel Antiquities Authority, head of the Archaeological Division; in re: The 5000 sq-meter cave, Ali Baba, filled with artifacts from the time of Jesus. Most interesting section of these excavations fro are from Second Temple, or Early Roman, Period. We can describe the shape of the city, what people wore and ate, the shape of public bldgs and streets. Approaches to the Jewish Temple then. We provide a detailed picture of how Jerusalem looked in the time of Christ. MH: Seems to put the lie to UNESCO, which said that Jerusalem [never?] was Jewish. GA: . . . You go to a piece of land as though a physician to his patient, and treat it as a doctor would treat a patient in a hospital: with great care and no favorites. Anent Josephus’s descriptions: we can identify exact chronologies by multiple artifacts. Discovered a stone in 2009 with a picture/description of a synagogue wherein Jesus probably preached. Village of [Magdala?] We don’t have precise evidence but all considered it’s very highly likely. Stone is currently being displayed in the Vatican. We found bones of someone who’d been crucified with his name attached. We know his family. Crucifixion by Romans was common at that period.
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 2, Block D: Rony Timsit, Inbal Hotel in Jerusalem, general manager, in re: Preparing his hotel, as is all of Jerusalem, for the American invasion. The traffic has already started. How do you prepare for this? It's exciting,; Inbal is hosting part of the US delegation; we’re 200 meters from where Mr Trump will stay, meaning massive closures. We're prepared to escort our guests in, incl by walking. At the same time, great celebration of Jerusalem’s fiftieth anniversary as a city in Israel.
We have on our roof a camera that films 24/7 the whole area, incl Old City. Go to InbalHotel.com to see the video cam! We’ve just refurbished the whole hotel, put in a new pool, extended it to have 51 new luxe suites; can see Jerusalem and the desert from here. Can welcome many more visitors. Events: all sorts of services and amazing events are planned. I was a French citizen, came her thirty-five year ago; the changes are astonishing, miraculous. Inbal means “bell” – the copy of the Philadelphia Liberty Bell in the park next door
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 3, Block A: Gerard Russell. Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms (part I of II) — Ancient religions of the Middle East; here. Yazidis.
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 3, Block B: Gerard Russell. Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms (part I of II) — Ancient religions of the Middle East; here. Druze.
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 3, Block C: Timothy Snyder. Black Earth (part IV of VI)
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 3, Block D: Timothy Snyder. Black Earth (part IV of VI)
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 4, Block A: Hugh Wilford. America’s Great Game (part I of II)
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 4, Block B: Hugh Wilford. America’s Great Game (part I of II)
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 4, Block C: Michael Oren, American-born Israeli historian, author, politician, former ambassador to the United States and current member of the Knesset for the Kulanu party, and Deputy Minister for Diplomacy in the Prime Minister's Office; in re: the Six-Day war in 1967
Thursday 18 May 2017 / Hour 4, Block D: Michael Oren, American-born Israeli historian, author, politician, former ambassador to the United States and current member of the Knesset for the Kulanu party, and Deputy Minister for Diplomacy in the Prime Minister's Office; in re: the Six-Day war in 1967
.. .. .