WASHINGTON, July 20, 2014 — If Israel is to survive as a Jewish state, Hamas must be destroyed.
The Israeli Defense Forces assault on Hamas this week comes in a larger context. The first part of that context is expanding war throughout the region. Because of cascading wars, Libya, Lebanon, Iraq and Syria have ceased to exist as effective states.
Iran’s intervention in Syria has resulted in the displacement of more than 10 million people, most of them Sunni Muslims. Two million displaced Sunnis have fled to Lebanon and now comprise half that country’s population, making that formerly Christian nation solidly Sunni. Another million have fled to Jordan, where, for the first time in a generation, Palestinians are now the minority. This has tilted Syria’s population to groups more aligned with Iran.
In this context, solving the problem of Palestinian refugees is no longer central to bringing stability to the Middle East. The entire Middle East has become a holding area for refugees. There are mass refugee movements all around Israel that have little to do with creating a Palestinian homeland on territory controlled by Israel.
Young Palestinian men outside of Israel face a bleak future made bleaker by mass migrations throughout the region. The misbegotten “Arab Spring” was triggered by high food prices in Egypt and water shortages in Syria. Now the army of refugees displaced by ISIS and the war in Syria is also an army of foragers, stripping resources as they go.
That goes not just for water and food, but for oil; ISIS is selling Syrian oil to Turkey for hundreds of millions of dollars per year, and selling electricity from captured power plants back to the Assad regime. The proceeds for these sales are being used to buy more weapons to hand out to more young men so that this forever war can further cascade.
Egypt only functions because of subsidies from Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states. The degenerate Saudi royal family is desperate to preserve itself and a zone of Sunni dominance around it. One result is that Sunnis from Iraq’s army are allied with ISIS – for now.
In this wider context, the struggle between Israel and Hamas takes on a different meaning. Many in the west operate under a false set of assumptions that must be corrected before we can think clearly about conflict in the region:
The lack of a Palestinian state is not the source of Arab hostility to Israel.
Palestinians in Israel enjoy a higher standard of living, a higher literacy rate, better health care, and a higher level of civil rights than Arabs living in any other nation in the Middle East; Arab citizens of Israel are the freest in the Arab world.
Israeli settlements in the West Bank are often over-emphasized as an obstacle to peace relative to Palestinian terrorism and Palestinian Authority corruption.
The international consensus on dealing with the problem of Palestinian refugees ignores reality. It has held, since Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat signed the Oslo Accords, that a Palestinian state should be created on lands seized by Israel in the 1967 Six-day War. The Palestinians would recognize Israel as a legitimate state, help provide Israel with secure borders, and drop any further territorial demands.