Forcing ‘Peace’ on Israel is a Terrible Mistake

February 11, 2014 1:55 am 2 comments

Secretary of State John Kerry with Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat (left) and Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni (right) on July 30 in Washington, DC. Credit: State Department.

When the Arab armies of Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, and Syria attacked Israel in May 1948, it was not to liberate the Palestinian people, but to capture the region for themselves. Like the British, Ottomans, Romans, Greeks, Persians, and Babylonians before them, the goal was conquest, not liberation.

The Arab despot that “drove the Jews into the sea” would be the ultimate unifier of the Arab people. Not only would he gain the popular support of the Arab street, but he would also occupy the territory needed to geographically unify the Arab states, linking Egypt, with Syria, Iraq, and Jordan.

Hence the prize for the fledgling ruler that captured the territory was the control of Pax-Arabia, the very same pan-Arab state nearly created a decade later with Gamel Abdul Nasser’s United Arab Republic of Egypt and Syria. So while these states were fighting a common enemy in Israel, they were also competitors, vying for hegemony in the region.

In today’s Middle East, Arab nationalism has taken a back seat to Islamism, but the goal of regional supremacy remains the same. Thus far the battlegrounds for competing Sunni and Shi’ia Islamist ideology have been in states once securely controlled by Arab nationalist despots, but the region of “Palestine” (Israel and the territories) remains the ultimate prize for the same reasons mentioned above: popular appeal and hegemony.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s Israel-Palestine peace proposal could well provide the means for Islamists to compete for the prize of Palestine. The plan will reportedly call for land swaps based on the 1948 armistice lines, and security arrangements in the Jordan Valley.

The proposal would also require the Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and relinquish any Palestinian “right of return” to Israel proper. This seems like a sound plan for Israel and if the Palestinians accept its parameters, Israel may well succumb to international pressure and agree to it.

This would be a mistake. Military presence in the Jordan Valley – even an Israeli one – would not be enough to prevent Islamist actors from trying to capture the region’s ultimate trophy. Indeed, not even the current paradigm of Israeli counter-terrorism forces patrolling the entire West Bank has been able to prevent an Islamist presence from growing there.

In an apparent attempt to gain a stronger foothold in the West Bank, Iran has reportedly begun providing financial and military support to the West Bank-based Palestinian terrorist group the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Although the PFLP itself is a leftist, Arab-nationalist and not Islamist movement, Iran’s support for the movement is indicative of its regional strategy of supporting as many factions as possible in order to enhance its overall influence.

Sunni Islamist actors are also improving their footing. In December, al Qaeda for the first time claimed to have operatives in the West Bank when it announced that three men killed in Hebron in November belonged to the al Qaeda affiliate – the Mujahideen Shura Council.

Al Qaeda’s presence was confirmed on January 22nd when Israeli officials announced they had disrupted a suicide bombing plot aimed at multiple targets inside Israel including the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv. The operatives of this failed mission were traced to al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.

This new posturing should be considered within the context of the possible creation of a Palestinian state; it is no coincidence that it has occurred during the peace talks.

And it should sound familiar. In Iraq and Syria the very same players are diametrically lined up against each other with Iran backing Maliki and Assad, while the al Qaeda aligned group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) leads the Sunni Islamist opposition.

The entry of the Sunni-Shi’a conflict onto Israel’s most vulnerable border would almost certainly draw Israel into the conflict, and if the final arrangement in the Kerry peace deal calls for an American or‎ NATO presence in the Jordan Valley, the United States could also be drawn in.

Working to solve the Israel-Palestine issue in a vacuum is a mistake. Forcing an agreement could inflame the Middle East’s larger Islamist conflict and bring both the United States and Israel to the front lines. Policy makers should instead focus on suppressing Islamist competition by working to subdue the influence of its chief benefactors, namely Iran, and al Qaeda and its allies and supporters.

The author is a former analyst in the Bureau of Political Military Affairs at the U.S. State Department. He tweets @EytanSosnovich

2 Comments

  • As an American citizen, I need not warn Israeli leaders to ‘not’ trust the leaders of a country who are delusional or outright devious in both word and intention. John Kerry should have never been elected based on his aiding and siding with the enemy during the Vietnam War. As a Christian, I should not speak ill of our President. Suffice it to say, he cannot be trusted either. And the Pope is in the same boat with the others. Only his intent is to profit for his own gain, irrespective of theirs. A man of peace….NOT. And not a Christian either.

  • But the chattering class in Washington aren’t working in a vacuum, They still function as if the Arab propagated myth of Linkage is verifiable fact. That IF Israel kowtows to the “Palestinians,” the entire region will magically be transformed into a peaceful desert utopia with Dubai’s and Abu Dhabi’s sprouting in every major city.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Book Reviews Personalities How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    How a Jewish Leader With 3 Months to Live Created a ‘Seminar’ on Life

    JNS.org – What would you do if you found out that you had only three more months to live? Gordon Zacks was a successful businessman, a leader of Jewish life, and a confidante and adviser to President George H.W. Bush. He knew that he had prostate cancer, but doctors advised him that it was very slow-growing and nothing to worry about. Then came the day when the doctors told him his cancer metastasized to his liver, and that he had [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Theater 10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    10 Things I Learned From My Play About Holocaust Denial

    Last month, my one-man show Hoaxocaust! Written and performed by Barry Levey with the generous assistance of the Institute for Political and International Studies, Tehran ran in the New York International Fringe Festival, where it won an Overall Excellence Award. The play has now been selected to run in the Fringe Encores Series at Baruch College’s Performing Arts Center, for four performances which started on Thursday, September 11. Getting the play to the stage was not easy, however. Here are [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israel Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Israeli Music Producer Racks Up Over 535,000 YouTube Hits – in Two Days

    Phenomenon: Tel Aviv-based musician and “sampler” extraordinaire, Kutiman (aka Ophir Kutiel) has hit another one out of the park with “Give It Up,” a fully-functioning song in its own right, assembled from hundreds of ameteur and instructional music videos. The Jerusalem-born musical prodigy is best know for his diverse online musical projects. In the latest video, uploaded to YouTube on Sept. 12th, Kutiel thanked most of the musicians and individuals he chose to include in the meticulously-edited clip, which opens with [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    Behind-the-Scenes Reel of Ridley Scott’s Moses Epic Shows Scenes Using 4000 Extras (VIDEO)

    A recently released behind-the-scenes reel of Ridley Scott’s upcoming film Exodus: Gods and Kings shows just how far the director has gone to portray one of the Bible’s most famous narratives. In the clip, which shows scenes involving up to 4,000 extras, the visionary director discusses what drew him to the biblical tale of Moses. “The Moses story was a massive challenge, which I really love. I wanted to explore the complexity of his character and I was stunned by [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    Turner Classic Movies Showcases ‘Broad Sweep’ of the Jewish Experience on Film

    JNS.org – Since 2006, the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) cable and satellite TV network has hosted “The Projected Image,” a month-long showcase examining how different cultural and ethnic groups have been portrayed on the big screen. At last, after previously covering African Americans, Asians, the LGBT community, Latinos, Native Americans, Arabs, and people with disabilities, the annual series is delving into Jewish film this month. “The Projected Image: The Jewish Experience on Film,” whose first segment aired Sept. 2, runs [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    An Inside Look at the Hasidim (REVIEW)

    The sight of young girls in pinafores and young boys wearing peyos – sidelocks – dangling over their ears is a sure sign that you have entered the enigmatic precincts of the Hasidim – the pious ones. Veteran New York Times journalist Joseph Berger’s new book, THE PIOUS ONES: The World of Hasidim and their Battles with America, takes the reader on a journey into the enclaves where various sects of Jews live a seemingly outmoded way of life in [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    How Jewish Television Pioneer Milton Berle Inspired Modern Comedy Stars

    JNS.org – Today’s comedy superstars, especially those whose careers are driven by television, may very well owe their success to pioneering Jewish entertainer Milton Berle. Born Mendel Berlinger in Manhattan in 1908, Berle became America’s first small-screen star. Aptly nicknamed “Mr. Television,” he influenced and helped promote the work of hundreds of younger comics. “Milton Berle was deceptively successful and very Jewish,” says Lawrence Epstein, author of The Haunted Smile: The Story of Jewish Comedians in America, published the year [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    Jewish ‘Hoops Whisperer’ a Secret Weapon for NBA Stars

    JNS.org – Idan Ravin’s friends chipped in to buy him a humble but life-changing bar mitzvah gift—a basketball hoop his father attached to the roof of his garage. Little did his friends know that years later, he would be the personal trainer of National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard, and Stephen Curry. Ravin’s new book, “The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Head of Basketball’s Best Players,” details his rise from a Jewish upbringing [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.