|Scenes like this ISIS execution remind Israelis of the Nazi genocide|
The Israelis are ready to go to war even if the United States is not.
The news out of the Middle East reflects how President Obama’s policies have led to an Islamic terrorist takeover of huge swaths of Syria and Iraq. No nation watches these events more closely than Israel. On June 6 the chief of the Israeli Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz cryptically remarked that the IDF is gearing up to address the growing numbers of terrorist forces on its border with Syria. He noted Iraq as well for good measure.
When Israel is in the news, it is usually because it is under attack or responding to one. The only other times have been news of “peace talks” between it and the Palestinian Authority (PA), but none of those talks over decades has ever achieved peace because, as the diplomatic community knows, the Palestinians do not want it.
Most recently, the PA announced “unity” with Hamas, a Palestinian organization that all nations identify as terrorist. As Efraim Inbar, the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and a fellow of the Middle East Forum, recently noted, “As long as the military branch of Hamas remains independent, there is no Palestinian unity.”
Why the PA would engage in this charade is known only to them. There are no advantages in it because they do not gain any presence in the Gaza Strip, the home to Hamas. As far as the U.S. and Europe are concerned, says Inbar, “the establishment of a real, stable Palestinian state (is) more unlikely than ever.” Hamas has already asserted itself by kidnapping three teenagers, one of whom is an American
Though most U.S. taxpayers are likely unaware of it, the U.S. gives an estimated $440 million in aid to the PA every year. They are not likely to be pleased now that the PA has entered into some form of unity with Hamas. Official State Department statements referred to something they called “an interim technocratic government…that does not include members affiliated with Hamas” and made it known the U.S. expects the PA “to do everything in its power to prevent attacks from Gaza.” A European Union spokesman said it would insist that the new government recognize Israel’s right to exist. That will not happen.
Israel’s initial response was to announce plans to build 1,500 new housing units in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, making it clear the decision was its retaliation for the creation of the Palestinian unity government with Hamas. Israel made it known it might withhold the taxes it collects on behalf of the PA. This is well short of a shooting war and, of course, the U.S. ambassador to Israel repeated the Obama administration’s longtime opposition to new settlement construction.
What exists at this point—and has for a long time—is an Israel that is an oasis of sanity in the Middle East in contrast to the conflicts occurring in the region’s other nations.
Syria is now entering its fourth year of civil war and Israel took notice that a small Hezbollah force took up position on June 5 on the Syrian side of the Quneitra crossing directly opposite the Israeli Defense Force Golan deployment. It was the first known instance of such an occurrence and will likely precede a larger force because the al Assad regime attaches a high strategic importance to the town.
Lebanon, also to the north, has not been a source of conflict for many years and is controlled these days by Hezbollah. The U.S. designates it as a terrorist organization. Jordan to its east has felt the brunt of the Syrian civil war, having to absorb thousands of refugees as has Lebanon and as the fanatical forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) continues its takeover of Iraq, Jordan has to know it is in its sights for takeover. Israel is not likely to allow that to occur. It would put ISIS on its doorstep.
To the West, Egypt has been working its way through the “Arab Spring”, having just elected a new president, a former general, but one waging war against Hamas terrorists in its Sinai region while continuing to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood domestically.
Israel has long since abandoned any notion that the Obama administration is to be trusted. As Anne Bayefsky, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust, recently noted, the administration’s foreign policy decisions have “deliberately driven a wedge between Obama and Israel. President Obama’s priority is, and always has been, the Muslim world.”
The recent exchange of five high ranked Taliban leaders, set free from Guantanamo, for a single American soldier who is identified as a deserter suggests that Obama’s attitude and actions pose as great a problem for the U.S. as it does for Afghanistan and the entire Middle East.
Israel’s primary “existential” threat is a nuclear-armed Iran and, should the day arrive that Israel wants to stop that from occurring, it will take action just as it did in Iraq and Syria in past times.
Meanwhile, Mideast nations such as Saudi Arabia no longer trust the Obama administration any more than does Israel and some have been engaging in outreach to Iran, knowing that the current U.S. negotiations were doomed to failure from the start.
Israel is the only stable nation amidst the pandemonium that is the Middle East and it will defend itself.
© Alan Caruba, 2014