If the international community has nothing much to say about a governmental entity launching literally thousands of rockets against civilian targets in a neighboring nation, what does it say about the future stability and security of the United States and our allies?
The international community, and especially the United Nations, share responsibility with the terrorist thugs of Hamas for all the bloodshed in the current Gaza fighting. The United Nations Relief and Welfare Agency for Palestine (UNRWA) has propped up the murderous jihadist regime ever since it took power in 2007. The UNRWA budget now stands at $1.2 billion a year, with literally hundreds of millions poured directly into Gaza. The schools and youth programs run by the UN have included vicious, anti-Semitic propaganda in their curricula and gave in to Hamas demands to abandon even a modest experiment to teach children about the Holocaust.
The United States provides by far the biggest contribution to UNRWA’s programs – some $240 million a year – and should have begun demanding accountability many years ago. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) has been particularly outspoken on this issue, and had the Obama administration paid more attention to his demands the current crisis might have been avoided. The patterns of daily life in Gaza would quickly collapse without UN aid, and if the United Nations had guaranteed an automatic, instantaneous halt to that assistance whenever Hamas rocketeers launched their weapons against civilians, that guarantee could have deterred, or at least discouraged, the latest round of destructive brutality. How, in fact, can UN officials justify the continuing flow of generous aid to clients whose government violates the UN charter and all rules of common decency with its ceaseless, senseless barrage?
Even Hamas itself can’t provide a coherent explanation for this latest flare-up. When Hamas shredded the prevailing cease-fire and launched a new wave of rocket assaults, they did so in response to a perceived opportunity, not to Israeli air strikes. Israeli officials have repeatedly announced, in fact, that air strikes against the rocket launchers and Hamas infrastructure will cease as soon as “quiet” returns and missile attacks end.
Despite popular journalistic references to an endless “cycle of violence” or “tit for tat” in the Middle East, the current conflict has a clear beginning and an obvious initiator. Palestinian apologists may claim that the latest explosion of mortar shelling and rocket assaults represents a response to the murder of an Israeli-Arab teenager in Jerusalem, but Israeli officials promptly arrested six suspects in that indefensible crime and secured confessions from three of them. That surely constitutes a more appropriate and meaningful response than directing rocket fire against innocent civilians in Israel’s major cities.
Meanwhile, the latest round of fighting should lead all open-minded observers to reconsider the profound folly in the Obama administration’s dysfunctional fascination with the suspended “peace process.” The leaders of the Palestinian Authority insist that in order to reach any settlement, Israel must follow the same course of action on the West Bank that she pursued in Gaza in 2005 – forcing all Jewish residents of the area to abandon their homes and dismantle their communities and to turn disputed territories to full, undisputed Palestinian control.
But why should Israelis or Americans expect that this strategy would work better in the West Bank than it has in Gaza? Rocket attacks multiplied more than tenfold after Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip nine years ago, with local authorities concentrating on terror strikes rather that state building.
During the recent struggle, the West Bank (known to Israelis as Judea and Samaria) has remained relatively calm, with no rocket fire, despite the presence of more than 400,000 Jewish residents and the visibility of Israeli security forces. Meanwhile, Gaza has launched thousands of attacks from its pristine, Jew-free paradise, following Israel’s 2005 uprooting of well-established communities and handing Gazans complete control of their own territory. In other words, recent experience strongly suggests that so-called “occupation” is hardly a cause of violence and instability, and may even provide a cure for it.
In this context, President Obama’s offer to negotiate a new cease fire between Israel and Hamas has given rise to a bitter Israeli joke. The punch-line suggests that “Bibi Netanyahu should agree, and let Obama negotiate peace with Hamas—on the condition that Obama gets Bibi to negotiate a cease fire between America and Al Qaeda.” The point is that everyone knows a true cease-fire is impossible with Al Qaeda: they don’t want America to compromise or change, they want America destroyed. By the same token, Hamas isn’t launching hundreds of rocket attacks because they want Israel to change, or to alter specific policies. They demand that the Jewish state disappear, as their charter proudly declares. When facing an existential challenge, negotiation is meaningless– for America or Israel. Terrorist groups pledged to your destruction can’t be appeased – they must be eliminated, or at least strictly limited in their ability to do further harm.
Yes, the international community could play a constructive role, but not by demanding a new series of useless negotiations. Instead, the UN, NATO, and above all the United States should make clear that after the current violence ends or subsides, any new round of rocket launches against civilian targets will bring devastating, multi-lateral consequences, and Israel need not stand alone in confronting increasingly sophisticated attacks against its citizens. Without some record of enforcing civilized norms against aggressive terrorists, how can South Korea rely on guarantees of protection against the nightmare state to their north; or Japan (or Taiwan, or the Philippines, for that matter) rely on help against an increasingly imperialistic China; or Ukraine (or Poland) feel secure from a new Russian grab on their territory; or Israel count on promised American and NATO protection from a nuclear-armed Iran?
The current lack of leadership by the US and, even more conspicuously, by the UN and the international community, doesn’t just destroy prospects for progress toward Middle East peace. It also insures a far more unstable, perilous and explosive world to menace the security of Americans and all other civilized peoples in the months and years ahead.
This column originally appeared at TruthRevolt.org on July 14, 2014.