Israel is the short-term target of Islamic extremism. The long term-targets are stable Arab states, grateful beyond belief to Israel for doing their dirty work.
Did you notice how all of the customary, acid criticism of Israel from Arab states suddenly dried up when Israel hammered Hamas?
The headlines scream in The New York Times and elsewhere about how terrible it is that Israel’s bombs or shrapnel have killed innocent civilians in or near schools in Gaza. It is terrible. The loss of life, whether in the hundreds in Gaza or in the hundreds of thousands in Syria, is infinitely sad. After the sixth complaint about Israel hitting a school in Gaza, one would think that even mildly intelligent observers could put two and two together. Innocents in or near Gaza schools, hospitals, private homes and mosques die there because Hamas intentionally fights from there.
As if the Hamas shots fired from behind human shields were not evidence enough, the Israel Defense Forces has now discovered a Hamas operational manual on how to use human shields.
The point is clear: Israel would not need to fight in or near civilian locales if Hamas were not fighting there in the first place. As Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netan-yahu puts it, Hamas commits double war crimes: intentionally firing on Israeli civilians and intentionally endangering Gaza civilians.
Headlines are not screaming in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates because the leaders of these countries are profoundly grateful to Israel for radically diminishing Hamas.
Note the double change: Not just that Arab countries support Israel; but that Israel has called Hamas’ bluff. In the past, Israel has restrained itself from firing extensively on Hamas targets in and around civilian institutions. No more. Defending the daily peace and security of its own country, Israel in this war has in effect said to Hamas:
“If you choose to fight from hospitals, schools, homes and mosques, it’s your choice, your responsibility. We will target you as narrowly as possible, but civilian casualties will likely remain unavoidable. The moral onus is on you. No more implicit protection for your missiles and suicide belts by your despicable use of human shields.”
The Arab silence at Israel’s war against Hamas is perfectly understandable.
Sixty-four Israeli soldiers have died to protect Arab countries — protect them from insidious attempts to replace these governments by Hamas’ ideological brothers, the radical Islamists.
Many Arab states are deathly afraid of the power and the example of Hamas. They breathe a sign of relief at seeing Israel take them down many notches in reputation and military capacity.
Even in Turkey — whose prime minister has outdone himself, saying that Netanyahu is worse than Hitler — a recent poll showed that 80% of the population has an unfavorable view of Hamas.
What the long term will bring remains to be seen. But the potential is clear: A two-state solution — if Israel, the US and the PA play their cards as they can, and as they should.
See IJN editorial "Israel just made the two-state solution possible"
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