OpinionIsrael at War

What went wrong?

Israeli, U.S. and Western policy makers have been in denial regarding the nature of Palestinian terrorism, just as the Western establishment has, since 1979, been in denial regarding the nature of Iran’s regime.

Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh (left) with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iran in January 2018. Credit: Iran Times via Wikimedia Commons.
Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh (left) with Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Iran in January 2018. Credit: Iran Times via Wikimedia Commons.
Yoram Ettinger
Yoram Ettinger
Yoram Ettinger is a former ambassador and head of Second Thought: A U.S.-Israel Initiative.

No common-sense observer of the volcanic Middle East and Islamic terrorism in general, and Palestinian terrorism in particular, should be shocked by Hamas’s Oct. 7 atrocities, which were driven by the terror group’s goal of uprooting the “infidel” Jewish state from the “abode of Islam.”

Ignoring reality

Significant elements in Israeli, U.S. and Western policy-making, national security and intelligence circles have been in denial regarding the nature of Palestinian terrorism, just as the Western establishment has since 1979 been in denial regarding the nature of Iran’s regime.

They have eagerly attempted to pacify Hamas, failing to internalize the pivotal role of the terrorist group’s fanatic, 1,400-year-old ideology, which views Israel as the beachhead of the “infidel” Western culture in the Middle East.  

Their eagerness to advance the cause of peace has led them to sacrifice the frustratingly complex Middle East reality on the altar of convenient fantasy. This was the case in both the Israeli-initiated (and Western embraced) 1993 Oslo Accords and the 2005 Gaza disengagement, which catapulted Palestinian terrorism to unprecedented intensity, paving the road to Hamas’s recent atrocities.

They have based their approach to Hamas—as Western policy has approached Iran’s ayatollahs—on the assumption that money could induce it to alter its priorities, that it would choose material considerations over zealotry. They believed that dramatic economic gestures could lead Hamas to eventually comply with agreements, accept a manageable low-intensity conflict, or even peaceful coexistence with Israel.

The centrality of the Hamas covenant

The apocalyptic, Iran-supported Hamas terror entity was established in 1988 by the anti-Western Muslim Brotherhood, the world’s largest Sunni terror organization, committed—since 1928—to toppling all nationalist Muslim regimes and the establishment of a universal Muslim society, while bringing the West—and especially “the great American Satan”—into submission.

Hamas is one of many political, religious, educational and terrorist Muslim Brotherhood spin-offs. Others are Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Islamic State, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. These were established throughout the Middle East, Africa, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Thailand, Europe and the United States.

The 1988 Hamas covenant, which has been posted online by the Yale University Law School, presents Hamas’s vision and nature, which is also highlighted by  Hamas’s K-12 education system, Hamas’s Friday sermons and official events and monuments:

“The slogan of the Islamic resistance movement: Allah is its target, the Prophet [Muhammad] is its model, the Koran its constitution…. Jihad is its path, and death for the sake of Allah is the loftiest of its wishes….

“The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] is one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization—the largest Islamic movement in modern times….

“Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it….

“The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight [kill] the Jews. When the Jew will hide behind stones and trees, the stones and trees will say: O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him….

“There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad…. The Jihad for the liberation of Palestine is an individual duty…. the Palestinian problem is a religious problem…. I swear by the holder of Mohammed’s soul that I would like to invade and be killed for the sake of Allah, then invade and be killed, and then invade again and be killed….

“Freemasons, Rotary Clubs and others are nothing more than cells of saboteurs…. The day Islam is in control of guiding the affairs of life, these organizations, hostile to humanity and Islam, will be obliterated…. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam….” 

The strategic blunder

Key elements in the Israeli, U.S. and Western policy, national security and intelligence establishments have ignored the following decisive feature of the Middle East: The uprooting of the Jewish state is not a prerequisite for the attainment of the vision of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and South Sudan; hence, their peace accords with Israel and the unprecedented Israel-Saudi defense and commercial cooperation.

On the other hand, the uprooting of the Jewish state is a prerequisite for the attainment of the Palestinian vision, as documented by the Palestinian (Palestinian Authority and Hamas) school curriculum—which has become the most effective production line for terrorists—the 1959, 1964 and 1988 covenants of Fatah, the PLO and Hamas; the Palestinians’ public idolization of terrorists, monthly allowances to families of terrorists; and the 100-year Palestinian track record of terrorism against not only Israel but also Arab countries.

These key Israeli and Western figures approached Hamas as a potential negotiation partner rather than as a ruthless, fanatic, uncompromising terror entity—in other words, as a target for liquidation. They would not accept the fact that gestures toward Hamas were construed by it as weakness, hence intensifying terrorism.

They underestimated Hamas’s apocalyptic nature, just as they still do with regard to Hezbollah and Iran’s ayatollahs. This has enabled Hamas to absorb severe military blows, and to leverage the numerous ceasefires concluded with Israel to upgrade its terror capabilities— which are driven not by despair, but by the hope of uprooting the “infidel” Jewish state.

These figures have been influenced by the “Oslo school of thought,” as articulated by Shimon Peres, the chief architect of the 1993 Oslo Accords, in his book “The New Middle,” which promotes Middle East fantasy over Middle East reality. For example:

“The international political setting is no longer conducive to wars” (page 80).

“We must focus on this new Middle East reality… and not wander among memories of victories in long-gone wars—wars that will never be fought again” (p. 85).

“All things-considered, any war entered into now will be an unnecessary one” (p. 52).

“We must strive for fewer weapons and more faith. Soft, open political boundaries will make it easier to reach an agreement and help withstand stormy times” (p. 173).

This school of thought has severely eroded Israel’s posture of deterrence—which has played the key role in forging the country’s six peace accords—while ushering in an unprecedented wave of terrorism, culminating with the current Hamas atrocities. It has led Israel to prefer defense and reaction to—rather than offense against and preemption of—terrorism, and to chasing mosquitos rather than draining the swamps.

The bottom line

Failure to read the crystal-clear writing on the wall led to the failure to avert Hamas’s recent atrocities.

Will Israeli, U.S. and Western policy makers and their national security and intelligence establishment draw the common-sense lesson of Palestinian terrorism and finally read the 60-foot writing on the wall regarding the proposed Palestinian state on the mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria, which would dominate Jerusalem and the 8-15 mile waistline of Tel Aviv, Ben Gurion Airport and 80% of Israel’s population and infrastructure?

Moreover, will U.S. policy makers and congressional leaders read the 60-foot writing on the wall regarding the proposed Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, which would topple the pro-U.S. Hashemite regime east of the Jordan River, transforming Jordan into another epicenter of anti-U.S. Islamic terrorism, with its domino effect into all pro-U.S. Arab oil-producing countries, which would yield a strategic bonanza to Iran’s ayatollahs, Russia and China, while dealing a blow to the U.S. economy and national and homeland security?  

Originally published by The Ettinger Report.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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