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...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.