Why Dafka?
Who are we?
Start a Dafka Chapter
Where To Get Equipment
Tabling Materials
Speakers And Consultants
Dafka Chapters
Letters to Editor
Arab Front Groups
Middle East History
See Terror's face
Rogues Gallery
Download Flyers
Send Letters
Leftists Speak Out
Arabs Speak Out
Send Letters
Contact Us

A Mideast Glick Check   [Kathryn Jean Lopez]
Monday, January 05, 2009

Caroline Glick is no stranger to the Corner crowd. She's senior contributing
editor of the Jerusalem Post and the senior fellow for Middle Eastern
Affairs at the Center for Security Policy. She's also author of Shackled
Warrior: Israel and the Global Jihad.

I asked Caroline a few questions this morning about the current Mideast
violence. Here's the conversation.

Q: What exactly started this latest flare-up?

A: The fighting in Gaza today started about three weeks ago when Hamas
renewed its rocket, mortar, and missile assault against Israel. Last June,
Israel foolishly agreed to a six-month ceasefire with Hamas. Hamas used the
time to have Iran double the size of its missile arsenal and double the
range of its missiles, and to build up its Iranian-trained, armed, and
financed Hezbollah-style army of 20,000 men. Hamas called its renewed
offensive "Operation Oil Stain." On December 17, Hamas attacked Israel with
more than 80 missiles, rockets and mortars.

It took Israel ten days to finally respond to Hamas's assault, which for the
first time put Israeli major cities like Ashdod, Yavne, Beersheva, and
Gedera under assault.

What is interesting about this latest round of fighting is that the world
paid little attention to what was going on when it was only Hamas attacking
Israel. People only started paying attention when Israel's government said
enough is enough and started defending its territory and citizens.

Q: Is the media here in the U.S. or internationally remotely fair?

A: When the media are only interested in what is going on when Israel
defends itself, the answer is no, they aren't fair. They don't pay any
attention when hundreds of thousands of Israelis are relegated to bomb
shelters for weeks and months on end. They don't care that Israeli children
can't go to school or day care because Hamas is targeting schools and
day-care centers. They only cover the story when Israel finally decides to
put an end to this crazy situation where our children are growing up
underground. And this is appalling.

From CNN's coverage of events here, for instance, you could easily come away
from the news thinking that Israel is attacking Gaza for no reason. The
European media, and much of the U.S. media dismiss the significance of Hamas's
missile, rocket, and mortar campaign against Israel by noting that these
projectiles are relatively primitive and have no guidance systems. But this
misses and indeed distorts the entire point. Hamas doesn't need advanced
weapons. Its goal is not to attack specific military targets. Its goal is to
attack Israeli society as a whole and terrorize our citizens. That's what
makes it such an outlaw.

In fact, this random bombing of civilian targets is the very definition of
war crimes. Due to their random nature, every projectile launched against
Israel by Hamas is a separate war crime. And that's the real story. But
again, outside of publications like National Review and the like, the
Western media have ignored this basic truth and worse, they have turned the
criminal nature of Hamas's campaign into a justification for it.

Q: What does the fighting mean for the future of Hamas-led Gaza?

A: There are four possible outcomes for Israel's current campaign -  two
would be positive and two would be negative. The best outcome would be for
Israel to overthrow Hamas's regime and destroy its capacity to wage war
against Israel or threaten Israel in any significant way. To achieve this
goal, Israel would have to reassert control over Gaza. Since the Israeli
government has already stated that Israel will not reassert control over
Gaza, and since reasserting control would be extremely embarrassing for the
current leadership, which led Israel out of Gaza with promises of peace
three and a half years ago, it is fairly clear that this outcome will not be

The next best outcome would be something analogous to the end of the 1991
Gulf War. Although the U.S. left Saddam Hussein in power after that war, it
asserted control over the no-fly zones and set up a clear sanctions regime
that by and large prevented Iraq from rearming and apparently prevented Iraq
from reconstituting its weapons of mass destruction programs.

Here too, chances that this outcome will prevail are not great because the
Israeli government has already stated that it is unwilling to reassert
control over Gaza's border with Egypt which is where most of Hamas's weapons
are imported from.

The third possible outcome, which is already not a good one, would be for
Israel to end its current campaign and just walk away with Hamas still in
charge. In due course, Hamas would reconstitute its military forces and
missile arsenals and reinstate its campaign against Israel. The positive
aspect of such a future is simply that, subject to domestic political
constraints, Israel would be able to go in and bomb Hamas anytime it felt
that threatened. Israel would be under no international obligation to avoid
defending itself, beyond the regular anti-Israel pressure.

The fourth, and worst possible outcome is that Israel reaches some sort of
internationally sponsored ceasefire agreement whereby foreign powers the EU,
the U.S., Egypt, Turkey, or whomever agree to form some sort of
international monitoring mechanism to oversee Gaza's borders with Israel and
Egypt. The reason this would be the worst outcome is that Israel's
experience with such forces in Lebanon and in Gaza itself has been wholly
negative. These international forces will never fight Israel's battles for
it. Instead they inevitably shield terrorists from Israeli attack while
ignoring the terrorists' moves to rearm, reassert political control over
their populations and reinstate their assaults against Israel. Moreover,
because these international forces fear the terrorists they shield, they
tend to side with them against Israel and blame Israel for any violence that
takes place.

Unfortunately, this is the outcome that the Israeli government is now
pushing for in its diplomatic contacts relating to the war in Gaza.

Q: A lot of critics say that Israel is just going too far in its attacks.
What do you make of the charge?

A: The interesting aspect of this claim is what it tells us about the
success of anti-Israel propaganda. For instance, Richard Falk, the Jewish
anti-Semite who the U.N.'s Human Rights Council appointed to act as its
rapporteur against Israel began accusing Israel of committing war crimes
against the Palestinians in Gaza the moment Israel began its campaign.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch systematically fabricate
international "law" backed by "eyewitness" reports from Hamas supporters in
order to accuse Israel of breaking it every single time it takes any steps
to defend itself, no matter how restrained.

Israel has done nothing in its campaign against Hamas that could be
considered going "too far." It has done nothing in its campaign that could
be considered "disproportionate." It has targeted military targets and
terror operatives.

The fact of the matter is that Israel is held to standards that are
discriminatory while its enemy - an illegal, openly genocidal terrorist
organization - is defended and shielded from attack by the media, by
self-proclaimed human-rights activists and by hostile foreign leaders like
British Foreign Minister David Miliband and Turkish Prime Minister Recip
Erdogan. Luckily, with some one million Israelis now under assault, Israel
has decided that we just aren't going to pay attention to their obscene
attacks on our right to self-defense this time around.

Q: Would you caution Israel at all?

A: Absolutely. I think it would be a grave error for the government to agree
to any sort of international monitoring mechanism of Hamas. If the
government doesn't want to see this war through to a complete rout of Hamas,
and doesn't want to retake Gaza's border with Egypt, then it would be best
for us to just weaken the group as much as possible while we have troops on
the ground and then walk away to fight another day. We cannot trust the
kindness of foreigners to do for us what we will not do for ourselves.

Q: What does the future hold for the Palestinians in Gaza?

A: Their future right now doesn't look too attractive. These are people who
overwhelmingly supported Hamas in the 2006 elections. They supported Hamas
when it expelled Fatah from Gaza in 2007. And they supported Hamas when it
began shelling Israel's main port city Ashdod and big cities like Beersheva
with missiles. By throwing their lot in with a genocidal terrorist group,
Gazans, and indeed Palestinians as a whole, have made clear that they prefer
the ravages of war to the blessings of peace. Until they change their minds,
it is hard to see how they can expect to prosper morally, politically or

Q: What does the fight in Gaza tell us about the prospects for the
Israeli-Palestinian peace process?

A: It tells us that such a process is both irrelevant and
counter-productive. It is irrelevant because even in the event that there is
a faction in Palestinian society that is willing to make peace with Israel,
that faction will never bring about a broader rapprochement or even remain
in power for long. What Hamas's current war against Israel, its alliance
with Iran and its popularity in Palestinian society tell us is that as a
society, the Palestinians are not interested in peaceful coexistence with
Israel regardless of what Israel's borders are. They prefer to remain at war
with Israel and to be led by terrorists. So even if the current Fatah
leadership is really ready to finally lay down its arms, prosecute
terrorists and reconcile to Israel, it cannot lead Palestinian society or
the larger Arab world to the same conclusion.

Gaza also shows us that pushing a peace process is counter-productive. In
the context of such a process, Israel is expected to hand over land to
Fatah. In the history of Israeli land giveaways to Fatah since 1994, there
has never been a case where these transfers led to a moderation of
Palestinian behavior or feelings towards Israel. To the contrary, such
Israeli moves have only radicalized Palestinian society that has come to see
every Israeli concession as proof that Israel is collapsing.

Three and a half years ago, Israel gave its greatest concession to date when
it removed all its military personnel and forcibly expelled ten thousand of
its citizens from their homes and farms in Gaza and transferred the area to
Fatah. Rather than moderate the Palestinians, this massive Israeli
concession was seen as proof that Israel would soon disappear. Convinced
that Israel's destruction was at hand, the Palestinians elected Hamas the
group most identified with the cause of Israel's destruction to lead them.

So even though Israel may make concessions to people who claim to be
"moderate," the fact is those concessions only strengthen "extremists" and
so weaken Israel while strengthening jihadist groups dedicated to its
destruction. Obviously, this is not something that engenders peace and
stability. Rather, such "peace processes" engender only war and instability.

Q: What should the U.S. response to the fighting be?

A: Just as the U.S. supports all its allies from Pakistan to India to
Britain to the Philippines in their fights against terrorist groups, so the
U.S. should be supporting Israel without qualification in its fight against
its terrorist foes. And indeed, just as the U.S. tells its allies not to go
wobbly in their fights against terrorists, so the U.S. should be encouraging
Israel to stay firm and not try to cut a deal with its terrorist foes.

Q: Any advice to Obama?

A: The thing that concerns me about President-elect Obama's views of Israel
and the Middle East is that they are heavily influenced by his advisers,
many of whom are Clinton-administration veterans. And these advisers -
people like Richard Haass, Aaron Miller, Dan Kurtzer, and Martin Indyk, to
name just a few - have built their careers championing the failed and
dangerous peace process.

If Obama fails to recognize the folly of these advisers and replace them
with men and women who use reality as their guide for policymaking, not only
will he strengthen terrorist enemies of the U.S. like Hamas and Iran, he
will weaken and endanger U.S. allies like Israel. So my advice to the
incoming president would be to dump his Middle East team and replace it with
advisers who have a clue.

To paraphrase someone you might have heard of once or twice, I'd rather have
U.S. policy on the Middle East determined by the first 100 names in the
Boston phone book than by this team whose policies have brought about the
death of thousands in their pursuit of a fantasy of peace.
01/05 01:35 PM