Saturday, September 16

The Prospects of Peace between Israel and the Palestinians

The war against Hezbollah ended abruptly because of a UN imposed cease-fire. This resulted in a certain amount of inconclusiveness. Nobody won the war despite the heavy damage inflicted on Hezbollah. Hezbollah heads are high and their aggressiveness is untamed. When one talks about peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the Lebanese-Hezbollah track must also be considered. This has wider ramifications because it includes Syria and Iran. As the situation stands, there are signs of cooperation between Hezbollah and Hamas that will increase in the near future.

Israel is on the eve of establishing a governmental committee of enquiry into the conduct of the war against Hezbollah. The committee, headed by retired judge Eliyahu Winograd, will examine how the government and defense establishment dealt with the Hezbollah threat in the years preceding the war, as well as how they conducted the war after it broke out on July 12. This enquiry will show up the weaknesses of the Israeli defense establishment and will apportion blame onto those responsible for carrying out military operations that resulted in loss of life. One thing certain is the delay in sending in ground troops into Lebanon earlier on in the war. There was hesitancy on the part of Israel to make this decision earlier rather than relying solely on air warfare. The aircraft pounded Hezbollah positions but made no dent in the ability of Hezbollah to fire into Israeli settlements in the north of the country. This continued unabated until the UN brokered a cease-fire between the warring parties.

Now the fragile cease-fire is in place and a multinational force is replacing Israeli positions in Lebanon. It is doubtful if the situation will remain calm for any length of time. Hezbollah needs the cease-fire more than Israel. They need time to plan future strategy against Israel. They will also not agree to disarm. The multinational force will also not enforce Hezbollah’s disarmament. Hezbollah, despite its weakness, has increased its prowess by creating a dent in Israel’s deterrent military power. Hezbollah believes that they achieved a victory over Israel even though they paid heavy price.

Despite these developments, there is some misplaced optimism in Gaza in the prospective coalition of Hamas and Fatah under President Mahmoud Abbas in gaining recognition of Hamas by the US and EU. However, the US and EU have underlined three conditions before they consider a change of policy towards Hamas –
  1. Recognition of Israel,

  2. Cessation of violence and disarming of militias

  3. The freeing of the kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit

It is unlikely that a national unity government with Hamas and Fatah will change the intransigence of Hamas towards recognizing Israel’s right to exist or ceasing the violence. It is a well-known axiom that Muslim extremists will never recognize a non-Muslim power in its midst.

They will strive for its destruction when they have the power to achieve that goal. Until they achieve that goal all kinds of temporary agreements or hudna will be signed.

Iran will become more involved in achieving the goal of destroying Israel.

According to Professor Moshe Sharon, Israel will never achieve peace with the Muslim World. The Iranian government is seeking nuclear weapons in order to bring about an apocalypse, Professor Moshe Sharon, a professor of Islamic studies from the Hebrew University, told the annual conference at the Counter-Terrorism Institute in Herzliya Thursday 14th September 2006.
Sharon said there was "no possibility of peace between Israel and the Palestinians whatsoever, for ever," since the Arab and Islamic world viewed the establishment of Israel as a "reversal of history," and would never accept Israel.
He described peace agreements with Arab Muslim states as "pieces of paper, parts of tactics, strategies," adding that they have "no meaning."
"The root of the problem between us and the Arab world is Islam. Islam is not only a religion. It is a culture, politics… a state, Islam is everything. It has been like this, and it will be like this for the foreseeable future," Sharon said.
"Islam is a messianic religion… from the very beginning, it talked about the end of the world," Sharon said. In Islam, "Allah is the king of the end of days," Sharon explained, before addressing the Shiite Islam guiding Iran .
According to Sharon, the Iranian regime genuinely believes that the Shiite messiah, the twelfth Imam (also known as the Mahdi), "is here. In addition, he will come. First, he will establish the Shiite house of Ali. This is a time of messianic expectation."
"What moves today the Iranian government, prime minister, is first and foremost the wish to bring about the twelfth Imam." The power of the ayatollahs in Iran came from the grassroots and popular belief that they can "contact the Mahdi. Everybody believes," Sharon said.
"How will they bring him? By an apocalypse. He (the Mahdi) needs a war. He cannot come into this world without an Armageddon. He wants an Armageddon. The earlier we understand the better. Ahmadinejad wants nuclear weapons for this," Sharon declared.
Israel was a side issue for Iran, the professor said, adding that Iran was using Israel as a means "to enter the Islamic world" and dominate it. "But they cannot bluff the Saudis; the Wahabbis… the Shiite are hated by the Sunnis. The Saudis are far more apprehensive of nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran than Israel," he said.
Speaking to Ynetnews about the possibility of a military conflict with Iran, Sharon said, "The only way to avoid military confrontation with Iran is to leave this military confrontation to powers bigger than Israel."
"I'm not so sure that the business with Iran will be finished without confrontation, but it's not an Israeli business," he added.
If one reads “Agenda of Islam – A War between Civilizations” by Professor Moshe Sharon, it may help to understand the psychology of Hezbollah, Hamas and the various Islamist terror groups that operate against the West and Israel. This may also explain the silence of Muslim clerics when it comes to condemning Islamist terror against Israel and the non-Muslim west. Unfortunately, in the case of the future unity government under Mahmoud Abbas, there will be a two-pronged approach towards Israel under one umbrella. The Hamas approach, which will show no sign of change in attitude towards Israel, and the pragmatic Mahmoud Abbas approach, which will show readiness to negotiate a two state solution and recognize Israel. How these two opposing ideas will exist within a unity government including Hamas will be a big question.
The ending of the Israeli occupation of the territories will create a vacuum that will be filled by Hamas and their terrorist allies who will see this as a victory. It will result in further violence against Israel as occurred in Gaza and Lebanon. This has nothing to do with occupation! It has plenty to do with an attempt to destroy Israel and create an Islamic state in its place. Unfortunately, there are increased signs that Hamas and Hezbollah, the proxy of Iran, will see this as an attainable goal and the road to peace between Israel and the Palestinians will not be achieved for many years to come if ever.

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