Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

Winning the Moral High Ground is a Loser’s Game

by Daniel Greenfield on Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

This is article 1204 of 1216 in the topic International

In our modern age, things no longer exist to perform their function. Washing machines aren’t designed to clean clothes, but to save water and energy. Food isn’t there to be eaten, but not eaten. And armies aren’t there to win wars, but to be moral. And the truly moral army never fights a war. When it must fight a war, then it fights it as proportionately as possible, slowing down when it’s winning so that the enemy has a chance to catch up and inflict a completely proportional number of casualties on them.

Forget charging up a hill. Armies charge up the slippery slope of the moral high ground and they don’t try to capture it from the enemy, because that would be the surest way to lose the moral high ground, instead they claim the moral high ground by refusing to try and capture it, to establish their moral claim to the moral high ground, which they can’t have because they refuse to fight for it.

Israel has been engaged in a long drawn out struggle for the moral high ground. The moral high ground is to the modern Israel what the land of Israel was to their pioneer ancestors who drained swamps, built roads and shot bandits; some of whom were later discovered to be the oppressed peoples of the region, fresh from Syria or Jordan, and protesting the settlements built on that stretch of swamp that had been set aside in their revisionist history as belonging to their great-grandparents, complete with oversized house keys to some of the choicer logs in the swamp.

Sadly the only way to win the moral high ground is by losing. Just look at the massive Arab armies who repeatedly invaded Israel, did their best to overwhelm it with the best Soviet iron that the frozen factories of the Ural could turn out, and lost the bid to drive the Jews into the sea, but won the moral high ground. Then their terrorist catspaws spent decades winning the moral high ground by hijacking airplanes full of civilians, murdering Olympic athletes and pushing old men in wheelchairs from the decks of cruise ships.

All these killing sprees accomplished absolutely nothing useful, aside from the killing of Jews, which to a certain sort of mind is a useful thing in and of itself, but that failure won the terrorist catspaws the moral high ground. Their failure to win a war by hijacking buses full of women and taking the children of a school hostage conclusively established their moral superiority and nobility of spirit.

The world was deeply moved when Arafat waddled up to the UN podium, with his gun, wearing a mismatched cotton rag on his head that would decades hence become the modish apparel of every third hipster standing in line with a can of 20 dollar fair trade Lima beans at Whole Foods, because his commitment to killing people in a failed cause that even he didn’t believe in exchange for money from his backers in the Muslim world showed his deep commitment to the moral high ground.

In the seventies, after Israel had ton a few too many wars, Henry “Woodcutter” Kissinger, suggested that it lose a war to gain the sympathy of the world.

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Author Says “Muslim Brother” Obama Betrays Israel

by Cliff Kincaid on Monday, July 14th, 2014

This is article 1203 of 1216 in the topic International

The “liberation of Palestine” is widely recognized as a euphemism for the destruction of Israel. But the term “Palestinians,” according to American-Israeli political commentator and journalist Sha’i ben-Tekoa, is itself a commonly used deception. The “Palestinians,” he argues, don’t really exist. They are an “invented” people whose purpose is to serve as the means by which the destruction of Israel and the Jews will ultimately be achieved.

Ben-Tekoa, author of the new book Phantom Nation: Inventing the ‘Palestinians’ as the Obstacle to Peace, told Accuracy in Media in an interview that the term “Palestinian people” originated with a Columbia University professor, the late Edward Said, who had a major influence on the thinking of such figures as President Barack Obama in Middle East affairs. Said originally described himself as a Lebanese Christian, but then began identifying himself as an ancient Palestinian, saying that the “Palestinians” had as much right to a homeland as the Jews— and so the quest for their own “Palestine” was born.

Ben-Tekoa took courses from Said at Columbia before moving to Israel, where he runs a website on how to “Deprogram program,” meaning that the prevailing narrative about Israel being the obstacle to peace in the region has to be analyzed and deconstructed before the real truth can be understood.

He had conducted research for the Office of Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, and discovered that the term “Palestinians” didn’t emerge in United Nations resolutions until 1970, three years after the Six Day War that Israel won against the Arab states. “Before the 1970s there are no Palestinians on the table” for the United Nations to manipulate as a cause for “liberation,” he said.

“This is the language of liberation,” he says, “when there is nothing to liberate here. Palestine was liberated in 1948 when we Jews declared independence and returned it to their true ancient owners.”

Dr. Harris Schoenberg’s 1989 book, A Mandate for Terror: The United Nations and the PLO, describes how the world body came to endorse and embrace the terrorism campaign of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In the 1970s, international terrorism was rampant. In 1972, Palestinian terrorists murdered 11 Israeli athletes at the Olympics in Munich, Germany. Two years later, PLO chief Yasser Arafat addressed the U.N. General Assembly in New York, wearing a gun.

Ben-Tekoa acknowledges a Soviet role in this phony “liberation” narrative as well. At its core, he says, the Palestinian cause is Islamic, with its hatred of Israel and the West. But he says the PLO, its first chairman Yasser Arafat, and many of its factions had their bases in the Soviet Union and were trained by the Soviets.

He adds, “Both Islam and Communism are totalitarian systems and both of them ideologically hate Jews and are behind the murder of Jews. So they work together. But the history of Jewish-Arab relations…goes back thousands of years [and] predates the monstrosity of modern-day communism. Islam is a religion which is steeped in hostility toward the Jewish people.”

Christians in the Middle East, he notes, are also targets of this hostility. “It’s a nightmare for them these days.”

He notes that the current president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, who also serves as chairman of the PLO, did his Ph.D.

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A Game Changer in Gaza

by Daniel Greenfield on Monday, July 14th, 2014

This is article 1202 of 1216 in the topic International

Terrorism is a game. The rules are simple. You have three choices. 1. Destroy the terrorists. 2. Live with terrorism. 3. Give in to the terrorists.

There are no other choices.

The first choice comes from the right. The third choice comes from the left. The second choice is
what politicians choose when they don’t want to make a decision that will change the status quo.

Despite all the explosions in Gaza, Israel is still stuck on the second choice. The air strikes aren’t meant to destroy Hamas. They are being carried out to degrade its military capabilities which will buy a year or two of relative peace. And that will be followed by more of the same in the summer of 2016 when Hamas will have deadlier Iranian and Syrian weapons that will terrorize more of the country.

That doesn’t sound like much of a deal, but these kinds of wars have bought more peace than the peace process ever did. The peace process led to wars. The wars lead to a temporary peace.

This status quo became the mainstream choice ever since Israelis figured out that the peace process wasn’t going to work and that their leaders weren’t about to defy the UN, the US, the UK and all the other U’s by actually destroying the terrorists.

When Netanyahu first ran against Peres, the difference between the center-right and the center-left was that he campaigned on security first and appeasement second, while Peres campaigned on appeasement first and security second. The center-right has dominated Israeli politics because most Israelis accepted Likud’s security first as a more reasonable position than Labor’s appeasement first.

Living with terrorism was a viable choice in the 80s. It stopped being a viable choice after Israel allowed terrorist states to be set up under the peace process. It’s one thing to manage terrorism in territories that you control. It’s another thing to deal with entire terrorist states inside your borders. Even physical separation isn’t enough. Not when terrorist groups can shell all your major cities.

Israel responds to that that threat with light air strikes which damage Hamas’ military capabilities. Hamas loses a few commanders, fighters and rockets, but scores a PR victory. Israel buys two years of peace while encouraging its enemies to attack it as a bunch of racist baby killers. Then Hamas replaces the rockets and fighters and launches a new operation and the whole thing begins again.

The left’s argument, framed by Washington Post pundits, Israeli leftists, Obama, assorted diplomats, retired security chiefs, activist busybodies funded by radical billionaires and the entire gang of foreign and domestic enemies, is that Israel has no choice except to default back to choice three; appeasement.

Israel has to gamble on appeasement because its situation is constantly worsening, they argue. What they neglect to mention is that the situation is worsening as part of their pressure on Israel to appease terrorists even though the current problems exist because of earlier appeasement.

“Drink this poison,” the doctors of diplomacy say.

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It’s Only a "War" if Israel Defends Itself

by Alan Caruba on Monday, July 14th, 2014

This is article 1201 of 1216 in the topic International

By Alan Caruba

There are many reasons why Hamas, a terrorist organization according to the U.S. State Department, has increased its rocketing of Israel. And it is an increase because Hamas has never ceased from rocketing Israel following it seizure of Gaza from the Palestinian Authority, also known as Fatah.

Hamas is Iran’s Palestinian proxy in the war on Israel in much the same fashion as Hezbollah which controls Lebanon. It lost its support from Syria’s dictator who is engaged in a civil war with Islamists who, controlling a swath of its northern region, have now declared an Islamic State and are threatening Baghdad in Iraq after a swift military victory in its northern and central region. Hamas has also lost the support of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood which has been banned there.

The rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel have generated four conflicts since 2006 during which Israel took military action to reduce them. Israel is only considered to be “at war” when it takes steps to defend itself.

Hamas knows it cannot “win” a military conflict, but as Middle East expert, Dr. Daniel Pipes, noted in the July 11 edition of National Review Online, “The holy grail of political warfare is to win the sympathy of the global Left by presenting oneself as underdog and victim.” The current conflict began when three Israeli teens were kidnapped and killed. This led Israel to round up suspects in the West Bank in the course of searching for the boys. Regrettably an Arab youth was killed in revenge and this was followed by a rain of missiles and rockets from Gaza.

As Jonathan Spyer, a senior research fellow at Israel’s Global Research in International Affairs Center, noted, “There is a tendency to see the Israel-Palestinian arena as somehow set apart from the rest of the Mideast neighborhood, but this is an illusion. Firstly, in the most tangible way, the most potent elements of the Hamas assault on Israeli cities of recent days is made possible only by the movement’s link with Iran.”

The primary reason Israel has not suffered the problems of Syria and Iraq has been its defense forces. “More profoundly, in the simple and brutal logic of the neighborhood, Israel is trying to remind Hamas of the cost of tangling with the Jewish state,” says Spyer. “The objective of this is not to reconquer Gaza, nor to impact on local politics, still less to impose suffering on the Palestinians for its own sake.”

To demonstrate how deeply rooted the hatred of Israel is in the minds and hearts of Palestinians who have never agreed to any terms of peace, David Horowitz, the editor of Times of Israel noted on July 8 that “Gaza could have flourished after Israel wrenched its 8,000 civilians from the 20-plus settlements there in 2005.” Yes, it was Israel that cleared Gaza of its Jewish population to provide a place for the Palestinians to live together!

“Gazans,” said Horowitz, “could have built an island of democracy. Investment could have grown, as it did in the early 1990s, when expat Palestinian investors, believing better times were at hand, fueled a brief property boom. Gaza’s golden beaches could have been a promising tourism draw.

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A Bloody Endless Peace

by Daniel Greenfield on Thursday, July 10th, 2014

This is article 1199 of 1216 in the topic International

“War is peace,” entered our cultural vocabulary some sixty-four years ago. Around the same time that Orwell’s masterpiece was being printed up, an armistice was being negotiated between Israel and the Arab invading armies. That armistice began the long peaceful war or the warring peace.

The entire charade did not properly enter the realm of the Orwellian until the peace process began. The peace process between Israel and the terrorist militias funded by the countries of those invading armies has gone on for longer than most actual wars. It has also taken more lives than most actual wars.

War has an endpoint. Peace does not. A peace in which you are constantly at war can go on forever because while the enthusiasts of war eventually exhaust their patriotism, the enthusiasts of peace never give up on their peacemaking.

Warmongers may stop after a few thousand dead, but Peacemongers will pirouette over a million corpses.

Two decades later the peace process has failed in every way imaginable and cemeteries on both sides are full of the casualties of peace. Two decades which have created two abortive Palestinian states at war with one another and with Israel.

Two decades later, it’s still time for peace.

Peace time means that it’s time to ring up some more Israeli concessions in the hopes of getting the terrorists and their quarreling states back to the negotiating table for another photo op in the glorious album of peacemakers.

And if the photos are properly posed, perhaps there will even be another Nobel Peace Prize in it for all the participants.

It would be nice to think that the peace disease was one of those viruses carried only in the bloodstream of liberals. But it’s not.

Every so often I am asked about a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian-Arab-Muslim conflict and the interrogators are baffled when I tell them that there is no solution.

“No solution at all? But there has to be a solution. What of all the moderate voices of goodwill? What of all the mothers who only want to raise their children to sing happy songs about peace? What about all the old soldiers who are tired of war? What if we get them all in a room to shake hands and pose for photos? Then won’t there be peace?”

As society has become more progressive, it has become progressively more difficult to explain even even to intelligent people that the world simply does not work that way.

For two Cold War generations it was nearly impossible to communicate that there really would be no peace with the Soviet Union other than the cold kind maintained by a mutual balance of power. Their children and grand-children appear equally unequipped to understand that most serious wars end with either one side definitively losing and fundamentally changing as a result of that defeat or both sides maintaining a cold peace that will last only as long as neither side believes that it can squash the other with a surprise attack.

Israel did have peace until it began peace negotiations.

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Forget Iraq

by Alan Caruba on Monday, July 7th, 2014

This is article 1198 of 1216 in the topic International

Having contributed to the situation that has destroyed Iraq as a nation by withdrawing all U.S. troops, President Obama now wants to throw $500 million at the problem of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). While sending a rising number of “military advisors”, Obama announced there will be no “boots on the ground” to protect what is left of Iraq. He has demonstrated a fatal ignorance of history and of war.

On June 29, DEBKA File, an Israeli news outlet, reported “The Obama administration announced Friday, June 27, that unmanned aerial vehicles flying over Baghdad would henceforth be armed in order to defend the US Embassy in the Green Zone. The embassy was originally assigned the tasks of guardian of Iraq’s central government and symbol of post-Saddam national unity. These roles have remained out of reach ever since the Americans invaded Iraq in 2003. Today, the armed drones overhead are reduced to holding back the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) and its local Sunni allies from overrunning the Green Zone and seizing the embassy, most of whose 5,000 staff were evacuated.”

General Douglas McArthur, the legendary warrior of World War Two in the Pacific theatre, said this of the difference between victory and defeat:

“The history of the failure of war can almost be summed up in two words: too late.

* Too late in comprehending the deadly purpose of a potential enemy.
* Too late in realizing the mortal danger.
* Too late in preparedness.
* Too late in uniting all possible forces for resistance.
* Too late in standing with one’s friends.”

Obama has failed on all points, preferring to think that any of the nations of the Middle East with the exception of Israel had any good will for America. He has squandered Israel’s with idiotic demands that it return to its 1967 borders, criticism of it settlements, and the failure to understand that the Palestinians have never wanted statehood without the total destruction of Israel.

He has never understood that Islam was and is the enemy, not only of America, but the West and everywhere else in a world that it believes must be dominated. It is not the “religion of peace” and never was. Its spread was based on conquest. The Middle East was the birthplace of Christianity and Islam has shown little tolerance for its places of worship and Christians with a relatively few exceptions. When things get tense, Christians get killed as occurred in Egypt with the Copts during its “Arab Spring.”

An example is Turkey’s Hagia Sophia, originally a cathedral and now a museum, but perhaps not much longer. In December 2013, the government let it be known it is considering turning the notable landmark into a mosque. This has been standard operating procedure throughout Islam’s history as has Islam’s unremitting warfare between Sunnis and Shiites.

As Gary C. Gambill, a scholar at the Middle East Forum, noted recently, “First, understand that the United States didn’t start this fire and can’t put it out.

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Friday Afternoon Roundup – Can’t Miss

by Daniel Greenfield on Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Tom Trento’s amazing team have put together another video on my article, The Innocence of Hillary.

A FEW QUICK THOUGHTS ON COCHRAN

1. Beating a Senate incumbent is still really hard. Even when the votes go your way, the incumbents have any number of dirty options at their disposal. It happened in Alaska. Now it happened again.

The system itself is corrupt and winning an election means beating the system. The bigger the election, the harder the system pushes back. It’s an elastic effect. Scale that up and you can see how hard winning the White House becomes.

This is why the left started at the bottom. It’s much easier to take over organizations from the top than the bottom. You have to become the system before you can beat the system.

2. The Tea Party brand has been severely damaged. That is to be expected. Even the left doesn’t stick with a brand. It uses innumerable front groups. The Tea Party brand should be retained as feeders for recruitment, but it might be wiser to route actual work through groups branded with names like “Reform” and “Change”.

And that takes me to…

3. The ongoing problem on the right is that it talks ‘extremist’ and legislates ‘moderate’ while the left talks ‘moderate’ and legislates ‘extremist’.

That’s a big part of why Obama is in the White House and conservatives are still struggling to make headway.

Obama isn’t in the White House because Americans woke up Communist one morning. I know that “Free Stuff” is a popular theory, but people always liked free stuff. The larger welfare population helped shift the balance, but if Obama had been a non-viable candidate, there would have been no balance to shift and it would have done him as much good as it did Jesse Jackson or Dukakis.

Obama is in office because much of the country believes that he is a moderate and a centrist.

The left can get away with it because it talks centrist and lives radical. If the right is ever going to do better than another liberal Republican, its candidates are going to have to talk like liberal Republicans while legislating well to the right.

It is doable. Rand Paul has been doing the talking part well enough. Unfortunately he talks the talk so well because he actually is well to the left.

And that’s the bigger problem.

Lefty candidates can have a certain amount of trust from the base because they are committed to an ideology. Obama’s supporters knew that he was for gay marriage and racial polarization no matter what he said. The right needs candidates who are ideologically committed so that trust stops being an issue.

NOT A ONE

There can be no conservative case for amnesty because there is no such thing as a conservative case for a policy that will not have a conservative outcome.

The only meaningful argument for a policy is based on outcomes.

If the outcome of a conservative policy is more liberalism, it was never a conservative policy to begin with. That is the simplest and most reliable acid test of any “conservative” policy agenda.

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Saddam, the Good Old Days

by Alan Caruba on Monday, June 23rd, 2014

This is article 1195 of 1216 in the topic International

I know it’s a terrible thing to say, but sometimes I miss Saddam Hussein.

Yes, he was a cruel despot. Between September 1980 and July 1988 he pursued an eight-year war against Iran that killed an estimated combined million troops on both sides and achieved nothing. He had ruled from 1979 until 2003 when George W. Bush decided to remove him by invading Iraq, believing as other nations did that he had weapons of mass destruction. Had he not posed a constant threat to neighboring nations, he might still be in charge. He was hanged in 2006, but the U.S. would stay on until our troops were withdrawn by Barack Obama in 2011.

In places where troops have remained like Germany, Japan and South Korea, a long state of peace has existed. At their invitation we have military installations in 130 nations around the world.

“The Great Big Book of Horrible Things” by Matthew White provides a brief review of Saddam’s dictatorship, noting that “Iraq is an artificial country with borders that were drawn to suit the European colonial powers rather than to reflect local allegiances.” He could say the same thing of Syria what owes its borders to decisions made following World War One by the British and French.

Saddam maintained control by propagandizing himself as a great hero and by killing or imprisoning anyone who disagreed. There was no end to the barbarism he imposed. The Kurds were blamed for the loss of the war with Iran and it is estimated he killed anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 Kurds between February and September 1988; some of them with poison gas. In 1991, after an American-led coalition drove Saddam out of Kuwait, the Shiite Arabs of the southern marshes rose in revolt and some 50,000 were massacred. The Kurds were driven into the mountains of the north and American air cover helped them establish an autonomous zone.

Libya experienced a similar dictatorship by Muammar Gaddafi who took power in 1969 until overthrown during the “Arab Spring” in 2011, a revolt that has left a barely functioning nation. Like Saddam he exercised the same repression to control the nation’s tribes.

Not a classic dictator like Saddam and Gaddafi, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, a former air force general, kept tight control there from 1981 to 2001 thanks to the support of the military. He was a major U.S. ally. After Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was deposed in the wake of Mubarak’s removal, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, another general was elected to the office of president.

An ongoing civil war in Syria has killed an estimated 160,000 to date and Bashar al-Assad is the son of its previous dictator, Hafiz, who had seized power in 1970 and was elected president a year later, never to relinquish the office until he died in 2000. Al-Assad presently controls about forty percent of the nation, supported by his tribe, the Alawites and military aid from Iran.

What these dictators had in common was a Middle East that did not directly challenge the United States or the West. They were more interested in selling oil.

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Don’t Forget to Remember Democrats Who Lied About the War in Iraq!

by John Lillpop on Thursday, June 19th, 2014

This is article 1194 of 1216 in the topic International

Now that Barack Obama’s “great achievement” in Iraq has joined Obamacare, the jobless recovery, a plethora of domestic scandals involving impeachable- caliber high crimes and misdemeanors, foreign policy foibles in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Russia, as indelible scars on the proud history of American culture and Exceptionalism, liberal spin doctors working at the White House have been placed on 24-hour, seven day a week schedules until such time as a reasonable argument has been crafted to explain why, under the command of the alleged smartest man in the universe, America is being humiliated by events spiraling out of control near Baghdad.

ISIS is the acronym to which the world is demanding answers.

Code named the “Fog of Diplomacy,”  this White House rush project is all about setting the record straight on Iraq and, whether true or not, clearing Barack Obama of any and all responsibility.

The spin doctor narrative will be:

George W. Bush lied to Congress and the world about non-existent weapons of mass destruction, thereby needlessly spilling the blood of 4,500 US soldiers and wasting trillions of US treasury chasing ghost weapons in the sands of Iraq.

However, the spin docs will need to confront the following truth: If Bush Lied About WMD, So Did These Democrats!

Indeed, when the question of using military force against Iraq was put before the U.S. Congress, 110 Democrats supported the 2002 Joint Resolution, which authorized President Bush to act as he ultimately did.

Further, some very outspoken Democrats during that time said these sort of things including President Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, and Senator John F. Kerry.

“[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”—From a letter signed by Joe Lieberman, Dianne Feinstein, Barbara A. Milulski, Tom Daschle, & John Kerry among others on October 9, 1998

“This December will mark three years since United Nations inspectors last visited Iraq. There is no doubt that since that time, Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to refine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer- range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.”—From a December 6, 2001 letter signed by Bob Graham, Joe Lieberman, Harold Ford, & Tom Lantos among others

“Whereas Iraq has consistently breached its cease-fire agreement between Iraq and the United States, entered into on March 3, 1991, by failing to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction program, and refusing to permit monitoring and verification by United Nations inspections; Whereas Iraq has developed weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological capabilities, and has made positive progress toward developing nuclear weapons capabilities”—From a joint resolution submitted by Tom Harkin and Arlen Specter on July 18, 2002

“Saddam’s goal … is to achieve the lifting of U.N. sanctions while retaining and enhancing Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction programs.

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Israel Will Go to War as Islamic Fascism Spreads

by Alan Caruba on Monday, June 16th, 2014

This is article 1192 of 1216 in the topic International

Scenes like this ISIS execution remind Israelis of the Nazi genocide

The Israelis are ready to go to war even if the United States is not.

The news out of the Middle East reflects how President Obama’s policies have led to an Islamic terrorist takeover of huge swaths of Syria and Iraq. No nation watches these events more closely than Israel. On June 6 the chief of the Israeli Defense Forces, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz cryptically remarked that the IDF is gearing up to address the growing numbers of terrorist forces on its border with Syria. He noted Iraq as well for good measure.

When Israel is in the news, it is usually because it is under attack or responding to one. The only other times have been news of “peace talks” between it and the Palestinian Authority (PA), but none of those talks over decades has ever achieved peace because, as the diplomatic community knows, the Palestinians do not want it.

Most recently, the PA announced “unity” with Hamas, a Palestinian organization that all nations identify as terrorist. As Efraim Inbar, the director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and a fellow of the Middle East Forum, recently noted, “As long as the military branch of Hamas remains independent, there is no Palestinian unity.”

Why the PA would engage in this charade is known only to them. There are no advantages in it because they do not gain any presence in the Gaza Strip, the home to Hamas. As far as the U.S. and Europe are concerned, says Inbar, “the establishment of a real, stable Palestinian state (is) more unlikely than ever.” Hamas has already asserted itself by kidnapping three teenagers, one of whom is an American

Though most U.S. taxpayers are likely unaware of it, the U.S. gives an estimated $440 million in aid to the PA every year. They are not likely to be pleased now that the PA has entered into some form of unity with Hamas. Official State Department statements referred to something they called “an interim technocratic government…that does not include members affiliated with Hamas” and made it known the U.S. expects the PA “to do everything in its power to prevent attacks from Gaza.” A European Union spokesman said it would insist that the new government recognize Israel’s right to exist. That will not happen.

Israel’s initial response was to announce plans to build 1,500 new housing units in Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, making it clear the decision was its retaliation for the creation of the Palestinian unity government with Hamas. Israel made it known it might withhold the taxes it collects on behalf of the PA. This is well short of a shooting war and, of course, the U.S. ambassador to Israel repeated the Obama administration’s longtime opposition to new settlement construction.

What exists at this point—and has for a long time—is an Israel that is an oasis of sanity in the Middle East in contrast to the conflicts occurring in the region’s other nations.

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