By Alan Caruba
Writing in May 2008 on the occasion of Israel’s sixtieth anniversary, Fouad Ajami, a longtime observer and commentator of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, said that “The Arab imagination could never reconcile itself to the permanence of the Jewish state…stubbornly refusing to accept the verdict of what happened in 1948.”
“In its short history,” said Ajami, “Israel has held up a mirror for the Arabs, who have not liked what they have seen.”
Now we shall wait again for the inevitable condemnations of Israel for taking military action against the incessant daily attacks from Gaza. It is worth remembering that Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza in the summer of 2005, forcing Israelis living there to leave their homes in order to end a 38-year occupation. Their reward for this selfless act was to watch Gaza become a staging ground for attacks.
If, say, the Canadian province of Quebec was shelling nearby cities in the United States, how long do you think it would take the U.S. to retaliate? When Osama bin Laden’s terrorists perpetrated 9/11, America sent troops halfway around the world to attack the Taliban with which al Qaeda was allied. Yet Israel is not supposed to respond to daily provocations, property damage and the deaths of its people?
The Palestinian answer to every effort Israel has undertaken to achieve peace and a two-state resolution to their grievances has been war. They have waged war from Gaza and, in the name of Hezbollah, a Lebanon-based Palestinian group supported by Iran and aided as well by Syria, they have been threatened from the north.
The disgraceful and morally debased former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter, was recently in the Middle East, helping to celebrate the founding of Hamas while in Damascus and, later in Lebanon, lamenting that Hezbollah had no protection from Israeli overflights.
On his blog for the Carter Center, he recently said, “Like the Syrians, they (Hamas) are patient, relatively satisfied with the status quo, and putting all their eggs in Obama’s basket. We had to caution them about expecting too much of an immediate change in U.S. Middle East policy.”
No fans of diplomacy, Hamas took over Gaza in a bloody coup two years ago, driving Fatah, the arm of the Palestinian Liberation Organization founded by Yassir Arafat, into the West Bank. In response, Israel sealed off Gaza from the outside world to the extent it could.
Two years ago, Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Editor-in-Chief of U.S. News & World Report, wrote that “Hamas, in truth, is not a nationalist force. It is part of the global movement of jihad, a Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood founded in Egypt with the goal of eliminating Israel with help from its Syrian and Iranian backers.”
In 2006 Zuckerman reported that the Israel Defense Forces had “found more than a hundred transborder tunnels (into Egypt) through which tons of explosive, tens of thousands of rifles, RPGs, rockets and missiles of all kinds have been shipped.”
Watch now for television news to run endless tape of Gazan burials, of destroyed Hamas headquarter buildings and structures where massive amounts of arms were stored, and of grieving families of civilians, though warned to leave, were killed. Try to recall the last time you saw, heard or read any reports on the losses in Israel’s Sederot, the object of daily rockets for months prior to and since the “hudna” or ceasefire to which Hamas agreed?
The Gazan people have been victimized, but by Palestinians, by Fatah, and now by Hamas, who teach their children to become suicide bombers, by the Hamas leaders who prosper why the ordinary people must depend on UNRWA aid to find enough food. Since the founding of Israel sixty years ago, the United Nations has been the enabler of Palestinian resistance while passing a hundred resolutions condemning Israel.
In about a month the Palestinians, not the Israelis, become yet another problem on President-elect Obama’s agenda. Assuming that Hillary Clinton becomes Secretary of State, they may be very surprised to find they do not have a friend in the White House.