You have Israel, the U.S, Fatah and Hamas: Four cats that the U.S. wants to herd. Fatah runs the West Bank, Hamas runs Gaza and Israel nervously overlooks both. Nervously because they habitually lob missiles at Israeli cities and their citizens lob stones, grenades and bullets at Israelis when they can. Israel replies with aerial attacks on missile launchers and terrorist munitions sites. These continue, though little reported, today. Hamas is publicly dedicated to the destruction of Israel; Fatah is pursuing peace with Israel in its English language press releases but in its Arabic propaganda, remains dedicated to destroying Israel.
The United States wishes to be seen as the peace broker in all this; it leans on Israel to make this occur since it has leverage from its large subsidies; it also subsidizes the Palestinians, but with less leverage resulting. American pressure on Israel has recently increased; the current idea is that Israel should retreat to its (indefensible) earlier boundaries as a price for peace. Israelis, who live with the present missiles and mortars coming in, are reluctant to do so. It seems evident that the Palestinians are uninterested in peace with Israel and even if they wished it, could not easily retreat from their decades of anti-Israel propaganda toward their own citizens. The currently stalemated “peace talks” between Israel and the Palestinians are a charade forced upon the parties by their mutual patron, the U.S. Neither side expects ‘peace’ though the Palestinians hope for concessions.
The backdrop against which this plays today is increasing antisemitism in Europe and to some extent, the U.S. coupled with pro-Moslem leanings on the political Left in both places, though the last is not widely shared among the voters. The current apparent rapprochement between President Obama and Iran is doing nothing to restrain Iranian nuclear capability and is frightening Israel, since Iran is pledged to destroy it. And now, Fatah and Hamas are exploring a merger. Hamas is an Iranian client; Israel is feeling beleaguered.
With all this in place, U.S. Secretary of State Kerry, who has been leaning on Israel to make concessions to the Palestinians for “peace” remarked that Israel may become an “apartheid” society. This has brought opprobrium upon Mr. Kerry, and for a change, it is unjust. Israel indeed could become an apartheid society; it has a very serious problem that receives far too little attention.
Israel is a Jewish, i.e. religious, state in a secular (mostly) world. But as with Islam and Christianity, Judaism is no longer a single faith; it is fragmented. How do you operate a Jewish state among orthodox, conservative, reformed and other varieties of Jews? How do you fit in the Israeli Palestinians who are Moslems? They have a higher birth rate than the Jewish Israelis; what will happen if their vote comes to outnumber the Jews? What happens if they aren’t allowed to vote? Israel is sitting on a time bomb and Mr. Kerry is merely recognizing in public something that won’t go away if ignored. But Mr. Kerry, though correct, is not helping matters by bringing it up at this point.
The problem of today is the inability of Fatah and the unwillingness of Hamas to seriously pursue peace with Israel. Senator Rand Paul suggested an somewhat obvious solution for this: Simply tell them that the large amounts of aid they receive from the U.S. and Europe will henceforth, be conditional upon arriving at a peace agreement with Israel within a set time. Very logical. One wonders why it has occurred to Senator Paul but not to Secretary Kerry or President Obama?
Senator Pauls’s father, former Congressman Ron Paul might proceed further to ask why the U.S. continues to provide aid to Israel too. The country is by far the most progressive and productive in its region; the contrast between it and its surrounding tin pot dictatorships of various stripes is also striking. The short answer of course, is the influence of Jews in the Democratic party. We guess this possibility has been privately dangled before the Israelis by Secretary Kerry. In any event, the charade is reaching its end and ‘peace’ is not in sight.
Meantime, Israel sees the U.S. and Europe tacitly permitting the Iranian nuclear weapon program. One may ask, what else can they do, but invade Iran? And is that politically and financially reasonable today? So the present U.S. and European stance is at least, realistic. But unlike Israel, Iran has not vowed to destroy either of them. They are dealing with Israels’s future from a place of safety denied to the Jewish state. So what is Israel to do in the face of a nuclear Iran? If it mistakenly attacks Iran alone, it has much to lose. If it correctly attacks Iran alone, there may never be adequate proof of that correctness. And if it fails to attack and Iran strikes with nuclear weapons, there will be no return from the mistake. Israel, increasingly alone, faces awful decisions.