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Birth of a Terrorist State
by J. F. Kelly, Jr.[writer] 6/20/07

While U.S. and European leaders, along with area specialists, think tank experts and editorial writers continue to call for a U.S.-brokered “solution” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, by which is commonly meant the creation of an independent Palestinian homeland, a new terrorist state has suddenly emerged in the Gaza Strip. The forces of Hamas, the majority party in the Palestine Authority wrested control of the territory, an area less than one-tenth the size of Rhode Island, from the numerically superior, U.S.-backed, but outfought Fatah forces after weeks of bloody civil strife.

J.F. Kelly, Jr.

J.F. Kelly, Jr. is a retired Navy Captain and bank executive who writes on current events and military subjects. He is a resident of Coronado, California. [go to Kelly index]

The Strip, dubbed Hamastan by some pundits, is now firmly under the control of a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel and its replacement with an Islamic theocracy. This development is a culmination of several decades of naïve and misguided U.S. Middle east policy practiced by a succession of U.S. presidents, each believing he could negotiate in good faith with a Palestinian “partner for peace”. Such hopes now appear dead. There is no credible Palestinian partner left to deal with and certainly no evident desire for peace on the part of the Palestinians.

Hamas achieved power in the PA as a result of elections encouraged by the United States. Palestinian voters responded by empowering a terrorist organization backed by Iran and Syria. We should be careful what we encourage. Democracy and free elections in the Arab world may bring results that we find very hard to live with.

The U.S. erred in succumbing to European, U.N. and Arab pressures to act as an impartial broker in the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. We are not impartial in this matter nor should we be. Still, we relentlessly pressed Israel to exercise restraint in the face of suicide and rocket attacks and to offer land for peace with the goal of creating a Palestinian homeland. Now, Hamas has one, of sorts, in Gaza. Fatah, numerically stronger in the West Bank, will now attempt to consolidate its position there. Another civil war for control of the West Bank is not unlikely.

Rejecting repeated offers of land for peace, the Palestinians have learned that such tactics, combined with escalating the violence, are rewarded eventually by more concessions. Why should they change their tactics? Their real objective, after all, is not simply statehood for the “occupied territories” of Gaza, the Golan Heights and the West Bank. It is to drive the Jews from the Middle East and to rule all of Palestine, including the Jewish homeland. It is only our desperate desire to curry favor with the Arab oil dictatorships and the Muslim world that blinds us to this reality and causes us to persist in the fiction that we have a duty to facilitate the creation of a Palestinian homeland as some sort of magic key to peace in the Middle East.

Our Roadmap to Peace is now an empty slogan. Given the true objective of the Palestinians, it never really had a chance. It will be perceived as another major defeat for the U.S. and for the Bush Administration. Europe and the U.N. deserve a major share of the blame but they will simply deflect it onto the Americans for being too pro-Israeli.

What to do now? There are few options, none with much chance for success. First of all, we should do no further harm. Our actions to date have made matters much worse. We bet heavily on the ability of Mamoud Abbas to hold things together in Gaza and we lost. We armed and supplied his Fatah security forces and they collapsed, leaving weapons and supplies in the hands of Hamas, whose forces celebrated their victory by blowing up captured Fatah security facilities and destroying much of what remained of Gaza’s infrastructure.

When Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, the Palestinians were given a golden opportunity to demonstrate their ability to govern themselves. They reacted instead by blowing up the industries and infrastructure left by the Israelis, firing rockets into Israeli villages and then lapsing completely into chaos and civil war.

Israel’s worst dreams are now materializing. Another hostile state on its borders, this one with access to the sea and a porous border with Egypt, long a conduit for smuggled arms. Gaza will provide a sanctuary for terrorists and a base of influence for Iran and Syria. So far, the missiles being fired into Israel from Gaza are unguided Qassam types. Soon they may be more sophisticated types with guidance systems that can inflict massive Israeli civilian casualties.

Israel will be forced to react. Any intervention by Iran or Syria could escalate the conflict. Bear in mind that Israel has nuclear weapons and will do what it must to defend itself and protect its citizens. We will have little choice but to support our democratic ally. CRO

copyright 2007 J. F. Kelly, Jr.



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