What would it take?

Iran’s President Rouhani was feted in Italy on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, of all days. (It’s sickening how many Europeans don’t even mention Jews when speechifying on the Holocaust.) Classic, “erotic” artwork in Rouhani’s line of sight was hidden, wine was eschewed at banquets, and Rouhani was invited to address UNESCO, as if he were a legitimate diplomat of a free state. It’s hard to believe that the president of the greatest supporter of worldwide mayhem was Italy’s “toast of the town.”

While this ensues, Israel, Iran’s second worst enemy after the Great Satan, remains the main target and nemesis of the UN and EU. Yet, which country other than Israel can the West depend on, in the world’s most troublesome region? This begs the question, What will it take for the West to recognize it’s consorting with its enemies in the Middle East, while rejecting its best ally?

I’ll present just one egregious example of “groupthink” from contemporary Western diplomacy:

Israel must evacuate and “return” the Golan Heights. To whom? Answer: either Islamic State or Hezbullah/Iran, giving them the high ground overlooking Israel’s north. Any of these Islamist powers would further threaten Israel, which could be forced to destroy them in a bombastic, cataclysmic manner. However, this wretched possibility is what we have come to expect from tired, morally bankrupt Western states.

Now, a survey of our region, from which a stalwart ally must be chosen by the West for its own self-interest:

The most populous and ancient Arab nation, Egypt, is plagued by jihadi fighters in the Sinai Peninsula adjacent to Israel, and throughout Egypt by the Muslim Brotherhood, the mother of most terrorist organizations. Egypt has an abysmal economy and strong man rule, dependent on handouts from wealthy Gulf States such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia. If the strong man, President al-Sisi, is overthrown, would the Palestinian and Gazan Arabs be better off? No.

Lebanon is a tiny country with many minorities, whose capital Beirut, was once called “the Paris of the Middle East.” Lebanon has been an unstable country for many decades, once controlled by neighboring Syria, but now under the grip of Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy army. Its existence as an independent state is severely threatened by internal friction and external pressures. If Lebanon disintegrates, would the Palestinian and Gazan Arabs be better off? No.

Syria is perhaps the region’s worst case. It is contested by jihadis, both Shia and Sunni, and supporters of the heinous President Bashar al-Assad, with Russian air power controlling the skies and Iran’s troops (Hizbullah and Republican Guard) backing the dictator. The fighting has consumed upwards of 300,000 victims with no end in sight. Millions of refugees are displaced within the county, into neighboring countries, and into Europe. (The wealthy Arab countries refuse to take in any refugees, apparently with no complaint from the West.)

The Russians have benefited from the chaos, controlling a permanent harbor for their warships on the Syrian Mediterranean coast, while the Iranians have benefited by extending their power into both Syria and Lebanon. The only bright spot is the Kurds coming into their own and carrying the fight against the Islamic State. If Syria disintegrates, would the Palestinian and Gazan Arabs be better off? No.

Iraq, yet another Arab country riven by sectarian strife, is a puppet of Iran, with jihadis worsening the religious divides. Though the US spent billions of dollars and lost thousands of soldiers fighting for Iraqi democracy, Iran came up with the gold ring. If Iran conquers the Islamic State warriors or not, would the Palestinian and Gazan Arabs be better off? No.

Jordan, overrun by refugees, has a Western-leaning monarchy propped up by Israel and a permanently poor economic situation. It is threatened by both Islamic State and Iran. Its Palestinian Arab majority is treated as second class by the Beduin minority. If King Abdullah II falls, would the Palestinian and Gazan Arabs be better off? Maybe, but not for long.

(Sunni) Saudi Arabia, while rich, suffers from the low price of oil. It’s huge cash reserves could vanish within five years if extravagant spending isn’t reduced. The likelihood of belt tightening is low, due to the fact that the Beduin citizenry has become addicted to handouts from the Saudi monarchy to sustain the relatively prosperous living standards. The (Shia) Iranian mullahs are the Saudi’s main opponents to found a caliphate (Muslim world order).

Despite spending many billions of dollars on defense, the Saudi kingdom is weak and dependent on others to fight its battles. If the Saudi monarchy falls, would the Palestinian and Gazan Arabs be better off? No.

Non-Arab Iran is the main troublemaker in the region and the foremost global terror exporter. Its newly found windfall of 100+ billion dollars, a windfall from the miserable Western-inspired nuclear deal, will supply more money for terror activities. Due to Iran’s weak economy, domestic strife may result from disgruntled citizens who now expect better economic conditions. If the Iranians threw off the mullahs’ yoke, would the Palestinian and Gazan Arabs be better off? No.

Non-Arab Turkey (Sunni) vies with Iran and Saudi Arabia to head the Muslim caliphate. Though a member of NATO, Turkey’s Islamist government has steered the country towards the East, rather than a partnership with the West. Its abysmal foreign policy has left Turkey friendless to the extent that it is trying to revive a friendship of sorts with Israel, which it had declared its worst enemy. If Turkey succeeds in becoming ruler of the Arabs, as it did during the Ottoman Empire, would the Palestinian and Gazan Arabs be better off? No.

(Sunni) Islamic State is perhaps the most ardent proponent of a new caliphate. It has already proclaimed itself to be one. By holding a relatively large area, it has become the most potent terror non-state ever, with allied terror groups throughout the world. Though its army is pathetic by Western standards, its guerrilla forces, concealed within civilian populations, are a potent enemy for Western armies shackled by Western concepts of human rights, which Islamic State disdains. If Islamic State establishes a caliphate throughout the Middle East, would the Palestinian and Gazan Arabs be better off? No.

Then there’s the Palestinian Authority and Gaza, divided geographically and ruled by opposing terror movements, neither with a viable economy. Both are beggar entities, with no bigger ambition than to destroy the successful Jewish State. If the rival parties ruling the two entities combined and somehow defeated Israel, or persuaded the myopic West to somehow force Israel to withdraw to within the 1949 Armistice lines, would the Palestinian and Gazan Arabs be better off? No, because the (best of the worst choice) Abbas-headed Fatah government of the Palestinian Authority would fall without ongoing Israeli support, resulting in civil war between the many armed factions within Palestinian Arab society.

Which outcome is favorable to the West in these scenarios? Rationally, what helps the West is the continuing success of Israel. Perhaps a major turn towards Israel’s point of view by the US, ostensibly the leader of the West, will awaken people to the realization that a strong Israel is the best chance the West has to prevent the total eruption of the Middle East and the further spread of its hateful ideology.

Unfortunately, the jolt may come from the opposite direction: French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius announced January 29, “France will engage in the coming weeks in the preparation of an international conference bringing together the parties and their main partners to preserve and achieve the two-state solution,” Fabius told a conference of French diplomats in Paris. “If this attempt to achieve a negotiated solution reaches a dead end, we will take responsibility and recognize the Palestinian state.”

It is obvious that this formula gives every reason to the Palestinian Arabs to remain adamant and uncompromising. Surely, President Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal to recognize Israel as the Jewish State will not need to be revoked. Why should their negotiators show any flexibility, when recognition, for whatever it’s worth, will result regardless of their intransigence.

Not to be outdone, Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, said on January 30, “Under the ground and above the ground, in tunnels and into the sky, with rockets and in the sea and everywhere, it is the permanent preparation for the sake of Jerusalem and Palestine, and for the sake of the intifada of Jerusalem and the sake of our people.”

Until today, the West doesn’t get it. We Jews will endure, as we have for millennia, but the EU and UN face an end of their own making. On International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27), Prime Minister Netanyahu asked, “Where is Europe, where is the rest of civilization? A state like Iran, movements like Daesh [Islamic State] and Hamas openly declare their goal of committing another Holocaust. We will not let it happen. But Europe and the rest of the world must stand up together with us, not for our sake, but for theirs.”

About the Author
Steve Kramer grew up in Atlantic City, graduated from Johns Hopkins in 1967, adopted the hippie lifestyle until 1973, then joined the family business for 15 years. Steve moved to Israel from Margate, NJ in 1991 with his family. He has written more than 1100 articles about Israel and Jews since making Aliyah. Steve and his wife Michal live in Kfar Saba.
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