Oddly, Israel and the United States remain intent upon committing gigantic and possibly lethal errors in world affairs. Unimpressed by history, and determinedly indifferent to glaring facts on the ground, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama now proceed more or less smugly on the twisting road to “Palestine.” Along the way, the United States continues to equip and train Palestinian Authority (PA) “security forces,” a disjointed band of armed criminals that represents little more than the grotesque vanguard of future anti-Israel and anti-American terrorism.
Credo quia absurdum. “I believe because it is absurd.” Arming Fatah against Hamas is a foolish and self-defeating foreign policy based on the utterly false presumption of a consequential difference between criminal organizations. In the conceptually related matter of arming or otherwise supporting certain Sunni Arab states against Shiite Iran, our leaders in Washington and Jerusalem also exhibit the latest example of a time-dishonored geopolitics.
The Obama administration, like its immediate predecessor, understandably seeks some sort of tangible balance among states in the Middle East. But in today’s complex world politics, where sub-state actors often assume very critical roles, antiquated policies of contrived “equilibrium” are destined to fail. This is especially the case when one considers the inherently destabilizing impact of Iranian nuclear weapons, a future impact made possible by the persistent American and Israeli unwillingness to acknowledge the obvious futility of sanctions.
Still bowing to the president of the United States, this one as incapable of nuanced strategic thinking as the one who came before him, Mr. Netanyahu will certainly choose to stay “prudently” close to the prescribed “Road Map.” Supporters of this latest expression of a Middle East Peace Process (before highway metaphors became fashionable, there was Oslo) will continue to base their principal argument on a series of manifestly unwarranted assumptions. Assessing all ascertainable evidence, and all explicit Palestinian threats, it should already be plain that no process of unilateral dismemberment (former Prime Minister Sharon called it “disengagement;” successor Prime Minister Olmert called it “realignment”) can ever bring purposeful resolution to what is fundamentally a religious dispute between Israel and the recalcitrant Arabs.
The essential Israeli struggle against Arab/Islamic genociders (what else should one call adversaries who seek Israel’s destruction “in whole or in part”?) has little or nothing to do with territory. Rather, it has to do with an altogether irreconcilable configuration of enemies that seeks not land, but religious hegemony. Ultimately, Messrs. Obama and Netanyahu should finally recognize that these particular Islamic enemies seek something far more personal than any kind of political settlement. In the final analysis, what they seek is nothing less than immortality.
In all world politics, there is no greater form of power than the power over death. The core dispute between Israel and the Palestinians is thus not about any sort of secular or territorial compromise; it is about G-d. From 1948 to the present, the Arab/Islamic world’s authentically existential opposition to Israel has stemmed preeminently from a deeply doctrinal hatred of a Jewish state in its midst – indeed, of any Jewish state that dares to defile the Dar al Islam.
Now, truly basic questions need to be asked. If Arab/Islamic opposition to Israel were only about West Bank (Judea/Samaria) and Gaza, why then were there so many Arab terrorist attacks against Jews between 1948 and 1967? Then, these disputed territories were in Arab hands? What, exactly, were these terrorists seeking to “liberate” before there were even any “Israel-occupied territories?” What, in fact, were Arab terrorists trying to accomplish before Israel even became a state?
For that significantly sizeable portion of the Arab/Islamic world that remains dedicated to Israel’s annihilation, an inventive cartography is part of a far wider strategy of genocide. To understand this, we must recall that in the generally accepted Arab/Islamic view, Israel is always the individual Jew writ large. The Jewish State – any Jewish state – must always be loathed. This easily documented and nefarious deduction is a far cry from the persistently wishful view of Oslo/Road Map/Disengagement/Realignment supporters – that is, that Israel is despised only because it is Zionist, only because it is an “occupier.”
The Israeli is hated in the Arab/Islamic world because he is a Jew. Period! That is the whole story. All else is commentary. All else is land for nothing.
An authoritative expression of this Islamic view is stated unambiguously in a widely-cited article from Al-Ahram. Here, the religiously prominent Dr. Lufti Abd al-Azim wrote straightforwardly and portentously:
The first thing we have to make clear is that no distinction must be made between the Jew and the Israeli…. The Jew is a Jew, through the millennia…. in spurning all moral values, devouring the living and drinking his blood for the sake of a few coins. The Jew, the merchant of Venice, does not differ from the killer of Deir Yasin or the killer of the camps. They are equal examples of human degradation. Let us therefore put aside such distinctions and talk about Jews.
The regionally and Islamically revered Dr. Abd al-Azim is not alone in this revealing position. A current Egyptian textbook on Arab Islamic History – one widely used in teacher training colleges – expresses the following parallel sentiments:
The Jews are always the same, every time and everywhere. They will not live save in darkness. They contrive their evils clandestinely. They fight only when they are hidden, because they are cowards….The Prophet enlightened us about the right way to treat them, and succeeded finally in crushing the plots that they had planned. We today must follow this way and purify Palestine from their filth.
(To be continued)
LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) lectures and publishes widely on Israeli and US foreign and military policies. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.