The Israelis need to get with it, writes Ethan Bronner, a New York Times reporter. Hamas needs to be accommodated, not attacked. Unnamed analysts and diplomats “outside Israel” say so. And we should always trust unnamed sources.
Here’s what Bronner claims all those very smart experts – anonymous, of course – are saying about the disposition of the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel:
The Middle East of 2012 is not what it was in late 2008, the last time Israel mounted a military invasion to reduce the rocket threat from Gaza. Many analysts and diplomats outside Israel say the country today needs a different approach to Hamas and the Palestinians based more on acknowledging historic grievances and shifting alliances.
When hasn’t the Israelis been for peace with its neighbors? Only the most jaundice observers could assert that Hamas and others in the Arab world want peace. Israel was able to secure peace with the Egyptians and Jordanians for a while because leaders of both countries wanted durable settlements based on mutual respect and abidance of terms. Such is obtainable, but it takes two sides to make peace work. And it’s not the Israelis who are unwilling.
Bronner quotes an Arab academic, who evinces the spirit of fraternity and peace that Arabs hold for the Jews:
“As long as the crime of dispossession and refugeehood that was committed against the Palestinian people in 1947-48 is not redressed through a peaceful and just negotiation that satisfies the legitimate rights of both sides, we will continue to see enhancements in both the determination and the capabilities of Palestinian fighters – as has been the case since the 1930s, in fact,” Rami G. Khouri, a professor at the American University of Beirut, wrote in an online column. “Only stupid or ideologically maniacal Zionists fail to come to terms with this fact.”
No hate, bile, or condescension from Professor Khouri. No, sir. Nothing that Khouri says reflects in any way the feelings of anti-Semite Arabs. Khouri’s a voice of compassion and reason, isn’t he? Well, compared to Hamas and other Muslim militants blasting rockets into Israel to indiscriminately murder Israelis, perhaps Khouri is.
More from Bronner’s report:
But the government in Israel and the vast majority of its people have drawn a very different conclusion. Their dangerous neighborhood is growing still more dangerous, they agree. That means not concessions, but being tougher in pursuit of deterrence, and abandoning illusions that a Jewish state will ever be broadly accepted here.
“There is a theory, which I believe, that Hamas doesn’t want a peaceful solution and only wants to keep the conflict going forever until somehow in their dream they will have all of Israel,” Eitan Ben Eliyahu, a former leader of the Israeli Air Force, said in a telephone briefing. [Italics added]
Of course, there are no grounds for what Eliyahu says or what most Israelis believe. No stepped-up rabid anti-Semitism in the Middle East. No threats of annihilation against the Jewish people by Muslim militants and governments (Iran come to mind?).
Yes, as Bronner’s report states, the Middle East is different today. Circumstances have altered and require new responses from the Israelis. Muslim militancy is ascendant across the Arab world (and has been red hot in Iran for decades). The Arab Spring is turning into nothing more than the rise of a new order, committed to some degree of Muslim theocracy and with a reinvigorated intolerance and hate of infidels (that would include Christians and Jews).
The Israeli response – military, primarily – to Hamas and the other radical Muslim groups now operating in Gaza is quite appropriate. The Israelis, whose very survival is at stake, have taken a fully realistic measure of the shifts among its Arab neighbors and are moving to safeguard themselves through military action. Bully for the Israelis.
This, finally, from Bronner:
There is no solution to security challenges, officials here [in Israel] say, only delays and deterrence. That is why the idea of one day attacking Iranian nuclear facilities, even though such an attack would set the nuclear program back only two years, is widely discussed as a reasonable option. That is why frequent raids in the West Bank and surveillance flights over Lebanon never stop.
So, what should the Israelis do? Not take military action to delay the Iranian nuclear weapons program two years, per the estimate? There’s no security value to the Israelis in buying time? There’s no point in going after Hamas in Gaza if it significantly reduces rocket attacks on Israel (which Bronner’s report acknowledges)?
The danger in the Middle East – for Israelis and Americans – is to misapprehend the intentions, determination, and militancy of the Muslims. There’s an historic, religion-based hate for the Jews by Muslims. Christians are despised.
Its radical Muslims – not Jews – who need to change in order to ever bring peace to the troubled Middle East.