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August 12, 2013 8:54 am

Israel’s Neighbors Don’t Want Peace

avatar by Yoram Ettinger

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Residents of Judea and Samaria thank IDF soldiers during rally. Photo: Michal Avior/Tazpit News Agency.

While the Middle East combusts, threatening vital U.S. interests, the U.S. attempts to clip Israel’s wings — the only reliable, predictable, stable, effective, democratic and unabashedly pro-U.S. firefighter in the region.

Western policy-makers and public-opinion molders welcomed the 2011 riots on the Arab street as an “Arab Spring,” a people’s revolution and a transition toward democracy. However, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria have demonstrated that the Arab street is experiencing an Arab tsunami and a transition towards intensified chaos, totally unrelated to the Palestinian issue, which has been a regional sideshow.

In fact, Alexei Pushkov, chairman of the International Committee in Russia’s Duma, stated on July 4: “The ongoing events in Egypt confirm that the so-called Arab Spring has led not to democratic renewal but to chaos … We can see this in Egypt, in Libya, in Syria, and in Iraq … The events in Egypt show that there cannot be a quick and gentle transition from an authoritarian regime to political democracy. There can’t be such a transition in the Arab Middle East countries.”

According to the May 13 issue of the Singapore-based Today, “The beauty of the Arab Spring seems to have given way to an almost unbearable Arab Winter … The so-called Arab Spring generated a wave of hope among those fighting for — or advocating — democratization of Arab authoritarian regimes. Now, following regime changes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen, and with a brutal civil war raging in Syria and increasingly fraught conditions in Bahrain, Sudan, Jordan and Iraq … the region has already witnessed [disintegration which] will reverberate beyond the Arab map … Everywhere in the Arab world and beyond [the Arab Winter] has called into question the viability of the nation-state.”

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Amir Taheri, a columnist of the Saudi-controlled daily Asharq Al Awsat, wrote on July 5: “Even before it was fully underway, the Arab Spring was seen by some Western analysts as the prelude to an Islamic Winter … The coup against [Egyptian] President [Mohammed] Morsi hints at … a military summer of chaos. In most cases, change of [Arab] governments has occurred in three ways. One way has been through the assassination of the ruler that dates back to the dawn of Islam … The second way is through military coup … With the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire and the emergence of several new Arab states centered on newly created armies, changing governments through military coups became an established method.

“Since the 1920s, Arab nations have experienced around 40 coups — from Oman and Yemen to Algeria, Syria, and Egypt. The fall of Ben Ali in Tunisia and Mubarak in Egypt was due to the Tunisian and Egyptian armies pulling the rug from under the feet of their despots. The third method is through foreign invasion, such as the removal of Saddam Hussein in Iraq in 2003. The Arab Spring created the hope that another method might be developed: change of government through reasonably clean elections… [However], crowds are fickle beasts on whose back could ride all manner of unsavory characters … Morsi was kicked out because of the armed forces. Egypt would be back to 1952 when [Gamal Abdel] Nasser was beginning to build his military dictatorship.”

A major axis of the Arab-Muslim tsunami — and the most critical obstacle to intra-Arab and Israel-Arab peace — has been Islam, the only common denominator in the violently fragmented Arab Middle East. Since its inception in the seventh century, Islam has been authoritative, coercive, repressive, demanding of total submission, and violently intolerant of criticism by Muslims, let alone by “infidels.” Islamic regimes have always regarded freedom of expression, religion, association and free market — the pillars of democracy — as lethal threats.

Moreover, Islam has always considered itself to be divinely ordained to dominate the Christian and Jewish “infidels,” condemning them to “dhimmitude” (accepting inferiority through peaceful surrender) or annihilation. Islam has never tolerated “infidel” sovereignty in the Abode of Islam, as evidenced by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ hate education system, which refers to the Jewish state as an inhumane entity to be uprooted from the Middle East.

Islam’s strategic goal has been to spread Islam throughout the Abode of the Infidel, peacefully or via the sword/war/terrorism. Accordingly, Islam and democracy, as well as Islam and peaceful coexistence with the “infidel,” constitute oxymorons.

The 2013 Middle East — which is increasingly dominated by the 14-century intra-Muslim chaos, uncertainty, shifty policies and horrific intolerance — is incompatible with a 9- to 15-mile width of Israel, as espoused by the well-intentioned U.S. administration.

The 2013 Middle East highlights the tenuous nature of Arab regimes, policies and agreements and the absence of intra-Arab comprehensive peace. However, Israel is pressured to ignore the nature of its Middle East neighborhood and retreat from the tangible mountain ridges of Judea and Samaria — which constitute its cradle of history and tower over Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and 80 percent of Israel’s infrastructures — in return for an intangible and tenuous Arab agreement.

Acquaintance with the Middle East environment, and its implications for vital U.S. economic and national security interests, while the U.S. withdraws and cuts its defense budget, warrants a stronger Israel, which is incompatible with the proposed Palestinian state and an Israeli retreat from the Judea and Samaria high ground.

This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.

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  • Great piece, Mr. Ettinger. My name is Gidon Ben-Zvi and your knowledge of recent Middle East history is formidable, while your analysis of this history is refreshingly clear-headed.

    I believe that your piece dovetails nicely with an essay that I just had posted on CiF Watch, titled ‘No Human Being is Illegal: The Guardian’s Vilification of Settlers is Immoral and Illogical’

    I have reade several of your Israel Hayom pieces and am most impressed. Now, it’s my turn to try and impress you!You can get a good idea as to my writing style by visiting my blog, Jerusalem State of Mind. I look forward to your feedback.

    Thank you for your time,
    Gidon

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