Staffan Tillander, a retired Swedish diplomat, wrote an assessment of terrorist-stronghold territories published by the Jerusalem Strategic Tribune.
XX is only estimated to have perhaps 4 to 5000 fighters, but it thrives on rifts and conflicts in society … threatening (the people) into obedience and forcing them to supply the group with support and people. It extorts “taxes” from businesses and individuals and kidnaps children and forces them to become fighters. As long as XX controls land in YY, peace and development will remain an uphill battle, with constant setbacks …
If XX teaches us anything, it is the danger posed by an entrenched terrorist group. It is urgent to stop jihadist terrorist groups, wherever they appear, to block their advance and to roll back their control. In YY, they have been able to infiltrate and permeate society and its institutions, use banks and companies to launder money, control trade and harbors, and to prevent peace and state-building efforts.
No, it is not Hamas in Gaza.
Tillander was writing about Al Shabab in Somalia.
But the principle is the principle. It is impossible to create a safe, prosperous civil society when the levers of power are in the hands of terrorists. This is the conclusion Israel has reached—not only regarding Hamas in Gaza but with the Palestinian Authority in Judea and Samaria.
Yet, American diplomacy is still wedded to the “two-state solution,” suggesting—no, insisting—that there cannot be peace in the Middle East until the Palestinians have an independent state, but without consideration of what happens if you give more power to terror organizations. And the P.A. is no less a terror organization than Hamas.
It is well known that the P.A. pays “salaries” to Palestinians who commit acts of terror against Israelis, or to their families if the terrorists don’t survive. Most recently, Mahmoud Abbas, the putative president of Palestine, announced that the Oct. 7 terrorists are “eligible” for P.A. stipends. The P.A. is going to reimburse terrorists who raped, tortured, mutilated and incinerated more than 1,200 Israelis and kidnapped 240 others, including children and Holocaust survivors.
What is less well known is that the P.A. also rewards terrorists who have served time in Israeli prisons with jobs in the P.A. governing authority. The more heinous the crime, the longer the sentence and the higher the position the terrorist will receive in the P.A. Which means that if you’re looking for a professional civil servant class, you won’t find one.
The Biden administration is encouraging—no, insisting—that the P.A. become the government of territories on both sides of the State of Israel. Now. And if not now, then tomorrow or the day after.
The administration’s position empowers Iran and the chain of puppet governments surrounding Israel. Tehran has swallowed Iraq (where American troops are under attack by Iranian-controlled militias), Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen (where American troops are under attack offshore). Adding Judea and Samaria would complete the circle to the east of Israel—and to the west of Jordan.
Control of Jordan is crucial to Tehran for religious, political and military purposes. King Abdullah II of Jordan is a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad. As such, he commands respect and attention in the Sunni Muslim world (as does King Mohammed VI of Morocco, another target). Iran’s government is Shi’ite, following religious succession through the Prophet’s son-in-law, Ali (Shia Ali, followers of Ali—Shi’ites).
If Iran collapses Jordan, it completes a land bridge to the north of Sunni Saudi Arabia, keeper of the holy places of Mecca and Medina, and enemy of Iran. This would take out the last protector of the Sunni Gulf States. Egypt would be the last major Sunni power.
So, back to the Biden administration’s position.
The president and the secretary of state posit that the Middle East would be a more calm, peaceful and prosperous place with a split, rump Palestinian state on both sides of the State of Israel, all of which the Palestinians consider their territory. One western side of the split state would be smushed between a hostile Israel and an equally or more hostile Egypt; the eastern side smushed between a hostile Israel and an equally or more hostile Jordan.
There is no viewfinder in which this produces a calm and productive region.
The West has been late in understanding the broad reach of Iran’s non-nuclear plans. And Israel, for compelling reasons, has been focused largely on its borders. But Israel is now in a position to roll back one front of Iran’s multi-front war on the West. Hamas cannot be allowed to remain the entrenched power in Gaza. Victory by the IDF is the only way to, as Tillander says, “stop jihadist terrorist groups, wherever they appear, to block their advance and to roll back their control.”