January 3, 2012
Misinformation about Israel and her dealings with her Arab neighbors abounds. Even highly regarded news sources are prone to publish articles that are full of bogus “facts.” For instance, an article in Tuesday’s BBC by Martin Asser titled “Obstacles to peace: Borders and settlements” is loaded with factual errors, and the title itself points to the two most disturbing inaccuracies of all. Israel’s problem isn’t borders with her Arab neighbors, and it’s not settlements. The problem that Israel faces and the problem that the Western media fails to recognize is that Muslims, especially but not exclusively Arab Muslims, want to destroy Israel completely.
In the BBC article, Asser says,
“The fact that complete, permanent borders still have not yet been drawn around Israel 60 years later is testimony to the rancour of its relations with neighbouring Arab states.
Jordan and Egypt have signed treaties with Israel, turning some of the 1949 ceasefire lines into state borders. But the absence of final settlements with Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinians mean most of Israel’s boundaries remain potential flashpoints and the state itself is unstable.”
It’s true that Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but those treaties didn’t settle a thing. They were nothing more than lulls in the fighting. The latest report out of Egypt suggests that “Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood says it won’t recognize Israel.” If Islamists (i.e., the Muslim Brotherhood) take control of Egypt, and they probably will, the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt coul become null and void.
Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan is on more solid footing today, or so it would seem, but what about tomorrow? Jordan’s King Abdullah is facing a crisis of his own. In 2011, Islamists called for an “end to authoritarian rule” in Jordan, so the king ousted his cabinet and his prime minister. That didn’t work, so the king threw out his new cabinet and prime minister. If that’s not an indication of political turmoil, I don’t know what is.
Throughout 2011, Abdullah tried to curry favor with the mullahs in Iran. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad invited him to Tehran for a state visit, but that meeting was nixed by Iran’s parliament. This much is certain: King Abdullah is feeling the heat at home, and he’s trying to salvage what’s left of his “royal” authority. Will he throw Israel under the bus if the survival of his regime is threatened? The most likely answer is “yes.” That doesn’t bode well for Israel’s peace treaty with Jordan.
Hamas controls Gaza. Its leaders have made it clear that they will never recognize Israel. In Lebanon, Hezb’allah chief Hassan Nasrallah is preparing for war with Israel. Syria’s dictator/president, Bashar al-Assad, is fighting a civil war which he probably won’t win. Former Israeli Prime Minister and current Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Assad will be “toppled within weeks.” Things are so bad in Syria that the Arab League was called in to quell the unrest, but their presence precipitated even more bloodshed across the country. Who will take over in Syria when/if Assad falls? The answer should be obvious: Islamists of one sort or another.
That leaves only the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority. What is the likelihood that Israel will make peace with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his followers? Let’s take a look:
Abbas appointed a recently released terrorist as his advisor.
Palestinians leaders are taking “diplomatic steps to put Israel under ‘international siege.'”
Palestinian leaders held their first meeting with Israeli leaders in more than a year in Jordan yesterday, and they let it be known ahead of the meeting that they had “low expectations.”
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the meeting “doesn’t signal resumption of negotiations.”
The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine said that the meeting was a “grave mistake.”
The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council said that the “campaign against Zionists is main priority of [the] Muslim world.”
Turkey’s prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said that “Hamas must be part of negotiations” with Israel.
That doesn’t sound like movement toward peace to me. In fact, it sounds like a prelude to war.
Israel is totally surrounded by enemies and would be enemies who want to annihilate her. Both the Hamas and Palestinian charters call for Israel’s destruction. The Arab Spring has unleashed heretofore restrained Islamist elements in North Africa and the Middle East. Iran is trying to establish hegemony over the entire region, and Iran’s leaders have openly declared that Israel should be “wiped off the map.” Turkey engineered a split with Israel in an effort to reestablish the Ottoman Empire. President Obama’s ambassador to Belgium blames Israel for the situation. President Obama has ingratiated himself with Muslims, Arabs, and Islamists, and he has snubbed Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu so many times that I stopped counting. Just as unsettling from my point of view, Ron Paul has lashed out at Israel with a vengeance, and he has a sizable and growing following.
Several years ago, PA President Yasser Arafat said, “Since we cannot defeat Israel in war we do this in stages. We take any and every territory that we can of Palestine, and establish sovereignty there, and we use it as a springboard to take more. When the time comes, we can get the Arab nations to join us for the final blow against Israel.” (Yasser Arafat speaking on Jordanian television, September 13, 1993 — the same day the Oslo Peace Accord ceremony was held in Washington D.C.) He also said, “Peace for us means the destruction of Israel. We are preparing for an all-out war, a war which will last for generations. Since January 1965, when Fatah was born, we have become the most dangerous enemy that Israel has…. We shall not rest until the day when we return to our home, and until we destroy Israel.” (El Mundo, Caracas, Venezuela, February 11, 1980).
From my perspective, it looks as though the time Arafat referred to may have come. Now more than ever before Israel needs the United States, and as peculiar as this may seem to some, we need Israel even more than she needs us. Israel is the frontline between the West and Islamist extremism. If she falls, there will be hell to pay.
Neil Snyder is a chaired professor emeritus at the University of Virginia. His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily. His latest book is titled If You Voted for Obama in 2008 to Prove You’re Not a Racist, You Need to Vote for Someone Else in 2012 to Prove You’re Not an Idiot.