With the recent anniversary of Al-Qaeda's September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States, internal Palestinian discourse revolves around radical Islam and America's actions. It relates to the slaughter, rape and millions of refugees who have fallen victim to Al-Qaeda, the humanitarian calamity and the Islamist terrorist organizations to which it gave birth, such as ISIS. Today a disaster of apocalyptic proportions is unfolding in territories that used to be Arab states but are now the battle grounds for feuding Arab tribes, whose only objective is to destroy one another.
In their heart of hearts, the Arabs living in Israel and the Palestinian Authority territories know, although it is a bitter pill to swallow, that we have been favored by fortune because under the State of Israel we live in security. This reality is brought home to us by the feeble international response and the strange behavior of U.S. President Barack Obama and the leaders of the Western world who have abandoned the Arabs to the atrocities of the Sunni Islamists (and their supporters in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar), and to the murderous proxies of the Iranian Islamic Revolution (mainly in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon).
In view of what is happening in neighboring countries, it is clear to us what will happen if Israel is in danger of destruction: no Western state will come to its aid and no Arab state will come to our aid. Our fate will be the same as that of our brothers beyond Israel's borders. It is hard not to identify and sympathize with Israel's efforts to fight terrorism and with its objections to the nuclear agreement with Iran.
Despite the chaos and worse than chaos in the Middle East, the EU's foreign policy representative, Federica Mogherini, recently announced that the EU had decided to mark products made in the Israeli settlements. That is mind-boggling, so say the least. In the face of the ongoing mass murders in the Middle East, what arcane consideration, apart from Mogherini being a racist, could possibly bring the EU, now, to deal with something as blatantly marginal to global issues as the provenance of face cream and cookies?
In the final analysis, if the Europeans harm Israel's ability to market goods manufactured in the West Bank, the first victims will be the Palestinian workers in the Israeli settlement factories. Every time the Palestinians have taken steps against the Israelis, we have hurt no one but ourselves. The last time we boycotted Israeli products we wound up buying them on the black market at double and triple the price. When we refused to work on construction sites, the Israelis switched to modular, prefabricated units, and the Palestinian construction workers who went on strike are unemployed to this day. When we refused to work in Israeli agriculture, they brought in workers from Thailand, who took our jobs and left us with -- nothing.
The Western pressure on Israel and the Palestinians to establish a Palestinian state as soon as possible, when viewed through the prism of the mass murders and uncertainty in the Middle East, is incomprehensible. The initiative, and the obsession, to promote such a dangerous project at a time when everyone understands that the conditions on both sides are not yet ripe is dangerous; and the motives involved, whatever they really are, are suspicious. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not new, it has been waged in an atmosphere of terrorism and violence, hostility and complete lack of trust for a hundred years. So why exert pressure now?
Everyone, at least everyone living in the Middle East, knows full well that the conflict will not end with a "peace for our time" agreement forced on the two sides and accompanied by a handful of empty, meaningless documents; the dynamics are too dangerous. For both us and the Israelis it is a matter of life and death, not semantics; and it will probably take another hundred years before enough trust can be built on both sides to find a just solution.
The irony is staggering. At a time when the Arab states that were artificially created after the First World War crumble to dust, the EU is pressing for the creation of another artificial Arab state, this one called "Palestine," to be carved out of territories once belonging to Jordan and Egypt. If "Palestine" is granted the status of statehood, it will force not only Israel but the rest of the world to grant it complete control over its borders, airports and a seaport. That will expose the new weak "state" to a rapid and certain takeover by Hamas, ISIS and various other terrorist organizations. Given the current situation in the West Bank, the elected government of "Palestine" will be controlled by Hamas. It will overthrow the Palestinian Authority, the way it did in the Gaza Strip, take over the West Bank, use its airports and seaport to import missiles, various other weapons and Islamist terrorists, and help Islamist terrorism in general, and ISIS in particular, to operate from its territory. The Islamists will proceed to attack Israel and Jordan the way ISIS is currently attacking Egypt in the Sinai Peninsula. Worse, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad will enter the new "Palestine" and strengthen its relations with Iran, just as it has in the Gaza Strip and Syria, and with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Evidently the Israeli withdrawal in 2005, which led directly to Hamas's bloodbath and takeover of the Gaza Strip, the expulsion of the Palestinian Authority and the entrenchment of Islamist terrorism, was not enough for Europe. Now the EU and U.S. President Barack Obama want to bring the catastrophe of the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. The American Food and Drug Administration is more careful with experiments on animals than the White House is with experiments on the people living in the Middle East.
In view of the events in the Arab countries, it is clear to the Palestinians that American and European actions in the Middle East are the direct result of stupidity and complete ignorance of the Middle Eastern mindset, if not outright racism and malevolence. What is inescapable is that under Obama, both America and Europe brought the Arabs to the brink of chaos and beyond, destroyed regimes which, even though they were not democratic utopias like the United States, at least provided governance and public order. That is ultimately the cause of the tsunami of refugees beating at the gates of Europe, all of it caused by the United States and its failed foreign policy.
All the signs indicate that the Middle East disaster is hardly far from over. It is actually just beginning. it will get worse because of the tens of billions of dollars that will now pour into the Ayatollahs' coffers from the insane agreement with Iran. Much of this money will go directly not only to the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards' Qods Force, Iran's arm of international terrorism, but to the various proxy terrorist organizations Iran supports, thus hastening the total destruction of the Middle East and eventually large swaths of Africa.
The wave of refugees will increase, and the price will be paid by the Europeans, already faced with legions of refugees and no plan for dealing with them. Eventually Gaddafi's prophecy will come true: Islam will conquer Europe without firing a shot.
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.