The Era of Dictators Moves to the Era of Islamists
The constant, unabated terrorizing of Israelis does not interest the international community and the media. They only become interested once Israel responds to such attacks.
For those of us in America, Britain and Europe, terrorism may be something which we take seriously, but it is not something we must face every single day. As recent weeks and days should remind us, for Israel the situation is different. Israel must fight a defensive war against terrorists 365 days of the year. Even before recent events, just consider the period from September to October this year.
According to Independent Media Review and Analysis, in October this year 116 rockets and 55 mortar shells were launched against Israel in 92 separate attacks. Compare this to the previous month and you see how swiftly things have been escalating. In September there were only (in what other situation would one write "only"?) 17 rockets, and 8 mortars fired against Israel.
As anybody who has visited Israeli towns and cities in the affected areas will know, ordinary life in such a situation is made everything short of impossible. Even when the missiles do not kill or injure people, as they often do, the bombardment forces people to live with constant terror, never sure of when they will have to throw themselves into a bomb shelter. Hamas has forced a generation of Israeli children to have to grow up like this.
What other people in the world would be able to live with the constant threat of random obliteration at any moment? The answer is none. Yet the international community and the media have no interest in this. The constant, unabating terrorizing of Israelis does not interest them. They only become interested once Israel responds to such attacks.
Since November 10, hundreds of unguided missiles have been fired at Israeli citizens from Gaza. As a response Israel has launched Operation "Pillar of Defense.". This has already taken out multiple Hamas rocket-sites and also – to the seeming horror of much of the world and world's media – one of Hamas's worst terrorists, Ahmed Jabri.
Only once Israel had carried out this targeted strike, the papers and broadcasters became interested. But this means a crucial and dangerous thing happens: It means that the world falls for the idea that it is not Hamas but Israel which started the violence and not Hamas but Israel which will be responsible for whatever happens from here.
This may now be a familiar model, but there is even more reason now than usual to be concerned. In 2009 when Israel launched operation "Cast Lead," the pieces all fell along the usual lines. Neighbors in the region – as well as so-called allies in the West – condemned Israeli "aggression" and called for the usual return to the (intolerable) status quo ante. But that was it. This time the situation is different. This time an old problem is occurring in a new region. This time Israel is going to war in a new Middle East in which the pieces have by no means settled.
There has not been a major confrontation between Israel and Hamas since the Arab revolutions got underway. But what is plain enough already is that the fallout from even a comparatively minor confrontation in the new situation could get very bad very fast.
Even before these latest events, we witnessed the first fraying of the north-eastern border of Israel. The Israeli-Syrian border has been quiet since the 1973 Yom Kippur War. But in the second week of November Syrian government forces fired into the Golan Heights and Israel returned fire.
The Assad regime, desperate to retain its grip on power, may well have aimed to draw Israel into conflict. One of the few lifelines Assad would have would be if he could deflect domestic and regional attention from his own massacring of Syrian people onto claims of "aggression" by the Israelis. Of course the Syrian situation has its own propulsion, but elsewhere events look more than capable of knitting together.
Perhaps the withdrawal of Egypt's ambassador to Israel and the Egyptian government visit to Gaza are only diplomatic posturing. But this comes after an already serious falling-off in relations between the two countries.
We have already seen the fraying and escalation of security breaches in the south at the Israeli border in the Sinai. The new government in Egypt is allowing this border area to become a place in which terrorists are prodding Israel, testing Israel and seeing what it is possible to get away with. This has already led to terror attacks in the south, only – it should be remembered – a short time into the Islamist government in Cairo's life-long period in power.
All these – as well as the most recent – events are linked in one important way. What we are seeing in the Middle East is a breaking down of the unstable but understood ceasefire agreements that held for the best part of a generation. Over the years since the Yom Kippur War ended, Israel made some significant progress in making peace with its neighbors. The treaty with Egypt held, the standoff with Syria was silent and Israel even had success in forging broader alliances with Turkey and other countries.
Recent events suggest that this period may have come to an end. Relations with Turkey have declined sharply during the reign of Erdogan. Assad's Syria is mired in a civil war which could yet explode outwards. And Egypt is governed by the same ideologues that drive Hamas. This is the situation in which Hamas have played their hand again.
The cards may be familiar, but the game has changed: the stakes are higher. A great shift is occurring across the region. We appear to be moving from the era of the dictators to the era of the Islamists.
Whatever is to come, Israel will need her friends abroad, for she has none nearby.
Reader comments on this item
|The Era of the Islamists [233 words]||Max Modine||Nov 22, 2012 01:26|
|What Israel doesn't seem to acknowledge [155 words]||Dennis||Nov 19, 2012 17:48|
|Willing to do what is needed [75 words]||Quiberon||Nov 19, 2012 10:25|
Comment on this item
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."
by Alan M. Dershowitz
by Soeren Kern
Austria has emerged as a major base for radical Islam and as a central hub for European jihadists to fight in Syria.
The proposed revisions would, among other changes, regulate the training and hiring of Muslim clerics, prohibit the foreign funding of mosques, and establish an official German-language version of the Koran to prevent its "misinterpretation" by Islamic extremists.
Muslims would be prohibited from citing Islamic sharia law as legal justification for ignoring or disobeying Austrian civil laws.
Leaders of Austria's Muslim community counter that the contemplated new law amounts to "institutionalized Islamophobia."
Official statistics show that nearly 60% of the inhabitants of Vienna are immigrants or foreigners. The massive demographic and religious shift underway in Austria, traditionally a Roman Catholic country, appears irreversible.