Israel is constantly being warned by its erstwhile allies and their wagging fingers that if we don’t correct our behaviour, or if we don’t agree to suicidal ceasefires with an implacable genocidal enemy, we are going to become isolated. There are two answers to that:
- We tried “correcting our behaviour” with the pullout from Gaza – and look where that got us. Not only that, but we received no credit for it once we had committed that almost suicidal act. Israel is still accused of being the “occupier”, of laying an “illegal siege”, and generally being the cause of all the mayhem and misery in the Middle East.
Despite our “bad behaviour” (you’d think we were a nation of 2 year olds) Israel’s isolation has only grown from our Western “allies”. Our former enemies however are almost all onside in our fight against Hamas and its extremist Muslim Brotherhood proxies and allies, up to and including Iran.
Here are a series of links that I’ve been collecting since this war began (and never had a chance to post as the news kept overtaking me as I blogged).
A Saudi official accused Hamas of being responsible for the deaths in Gaza and called for peace with Israel.
The former head of Saudi intelligence services Turki al Faisal said that Hamas was responsible for “the crimes Israel has committed in the Gaza Strip,” according to a report by Israeli news website NRG.
Faisal said that “Hamas is responsible for the slaughter in the Gaza Strip following its bad decisions in the past, and the haughtiness it shows by firing useless rockets at Israel, which contribute nothing to the Palestinian interest. The Hamas rockets pose no threat to the Israeli occupation, even when they reach Tel Aviv.”
Faisal further blamed Qatar and Turkey for their mediation efforts, saying that instead of preventing Israel from destroying Gaza, these two countries were destroying Egypt’s leadership role in the Arab world. He also attacked the US and Europe for giving Israel the diplomatic credit to continue its campaign.
Earlier over the weekend, an influential Saudi wrote an op ed published by Al Arabiya headlined “Peace with Israel is the solution.”
Several weeks ago, a Saudi intellectual, Abdallah Hamid a Din, wrote in Al Hayat that Israel cannot be forcefully defeated. In his words, the Palestinians have been missing opportunities since 1947, and all the while Israel grows stronger while the Palestinians weaken and their territory shrinks. Hamid said many of the Palestinians’ demands were unrealistic, like the right of return for refugees, which he compared to an Indian demand to return native Americans to cities in the US.
Some Egyptians are even openly expressing hope that Israel will completely destroy Hamas, which they regard as the “armed branch of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization.”
Sisi’s Egypt has not forgiven Hamas for its alliance with Muslim Brotherhood and its involvement in terrorist attacks against Egyptian civilians and soldiers over the past year.
The Egyptians today understand that Hamas and other radical Islamist groups pose a serious threat to their national security. That is why the Egyptian authorities have, over the past year, been taking tough security measures not only against Hamas, but also the entire population of the Gaza Strip.
Famous Egyptian TV presenter and journalist Amr Adeeb has been told by many Egyptians to “shut up” after his criticism of Sisi’s “silence” toward the war in the Gaza Strip.
One Egyptian reminded Adeeb that “Hamas is responsible for the killing of Egyptian soldiers.”
Her colleague, Azza Sami of the newspaper Al-Ahram, went as far as thanking Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for ordering the attack on Hamas. “Thank you Netanyahu and may God give us more [people] like you to destroy Hamas,” she wrote.
In response, an Egyptian wrote: “May God make the State of Israel victorious in its war against the terrorist movement Hamas during this holy month of Ramadan.”
Echoing the widespread sentiment among Egyptians, journalist Mustafa Shardi said: “No Arab country has done for the Palestinians as Egypt did. Why doesn’t Hamas go to (Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip) Erdogan? Where is Erdogan when you need him? Why is he silent? If he opens his mouth they (Israel and the US) will hit him with a shoe. The Egyptian people are asking: Where are our people who were kidnapped and taken to the Gaza Strip? Hamas should apologize for the 1000 tunnels that were used to smuggle the resources of Egypt. They all have their own planes and accounts in Swiss banks.”
Watch this MEMRI TV video of various Egyptian TV hosts lambasting Hamas during the first weeks of the war:
The Egyptians are furious not only at Hamas but at their supporters, mainly Turkey and Qatar.
Egypt warned Ankara Saturday of “further action” as it protested for the second time in a week at the Turkish premier criticizing its president and Cairo’s handling of the Gaza conflict.
The foreign ministry said it was summoning the Turkish charge d’affaires — for the second time within a week — to protest against Erdogan’s criticism in the media on Thursday of President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and Cairo’s stance on the conflict in the Gaza Strip.
Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty told AFP that the protest comes after Erdogan in an interview with US television channel CNN “repeated again that Sissi was a tyrant and that Egypt has no role” in resolving the Gaza crisis.
Erdogan also denounced Sissi on July 18 as an “illegitimate tyrant,” saying that Cairo could not be relied upon to negotiate a truce in Gaza.
Saturday’s ministry statement said Erdogan’s remarks show “the total ignorance and dismissal of the political reality in Egypt since the June 30 revolution.”
After the military ouster of the Islamist government in Cairo last year, Egypt has led a new coalition of Arab states — including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — that has effectively lined up with Israel in its fight against Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip. That, in turn, may have contributed to the failure of the antagonists to reach a negotiated cease-fire even after more than three weeks of bloodshed.
“The Arab states’ loathing and fear of political Islam is so strong that it outweighs their allergy to Benjamin Netanyahu,” the prime minister of Israel, said Aaron David Miller, a scholar at the Wilson Center in Washington and a former Middle East negotiator under several presidents.
“I have never seen a situation like it, where you have so many Arab states acquiescing in the death and destruction in Gaza and the pummeling of Hamas,” he said. “The silence is deafening.”
“There is clearly a convergence of interests of these various regimes with Israel,” said Khaled Elgindy, a former adviser to Palestinian negotiators who is now a fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. In the battle with Hamas, Mr. Elgindy said, the Egyptian fight against the forces of political Islam and the Israeli struggle against Palestinian militants were nearly identical. “Whose proxy war is it?” he asked.
The dynamic has inverted all expectations of the Arab Spring uprisings. As recently as 18 months ago, most analysts in Israel, Washington and the Palestinian territories expected the popular uprisings to make the Arab governments more responsive to their citizens, and therefore more sympathetic to the Palestinians and more hostile to Israel.
But instead of becoming more isolated, Israel’s government has emerged for the moment as an unexpected beneficiary of the ensuing tumult, now tacitly supported by the leaders of the resurgent conservative order as an ally in their common fight against political Islam.
For Washington, the shift poses new obstacles to its efforts to end the fighting. Although Egyptian intelligence agencies continue to talk with Hamas, as they did under former President Hosni Mubarak and Mr. Morsi, Cairo’s new animosity toward the group has called into question the effectiveness of that channel, especially after the response to Egypt’s first proposal.
As a result, Secretary of State John Kerry turned to the more Islamist-friendly states of Qatar and Turkey as alternative mediators — two states that grew in regional stature with the rising tide of political Islam after the Arab Spring, and that have suffered a degree of isolation as that tide has ebbed.
But that move has put Mr. Kerry in the incongruous position of appearing to some analysts as less hostile to Hamas — and thus less supportive of Israel — than Egypt or its Arab allies.
If Kerry would have taken proper advice from knowledgeable people rather than from his little echo-chamber coterie, he might not have found himself in this embarrassing situation.
Meanwhile, a 72-hour ceasefire was declared a few hours ago, to begin at 8 a.m. on Friday. Perhaps the US has learned its lesson from its abortive attempt at a ceasefire last week, because this time, Israel’s security needs were taken into account:
He notes that the joint US-UN text provides that during the 72 hour truce, “the forces on the ground will remain in place.” This clause reflects Netanyahu’s insistence that he would not agree a deal that requires the IDF to stop looking for and demolishing Hamas’s terror tunnels.
And despite the announcement coming from the UN and the US, where will the ceasefire negotiations be taking place? In Egypt, considered by Israel to be more neutral than the US. Who could ever have dreamed of such a situation?
As Lewy14 says in his comment on my previous post: