War of rockets & words against Israel
While hundreds of millions of Muslims believe 9/11 was history's biggest conspiracy, hatched by U.S. intelligence and Israel's Mossad to justify a global crackdown on Islamist militants, there are also millions of Arabs who are convinced the Nazi Holocaust was grossly exaggerated to justify “the Jewish occupation of Palestine.”
Between Palestinians and Israelis, neither side liked where the latest bloody conflict was headed.
Hamas' Iranian-built Fajr-5 rockets were inaccurate and with insufficient range to reach beyond the outskirts of Israel's heavily populated areas. Only nine Israelis were killed versus 163 Palestinians, including seven senior Hamas commanders.
Demolished in 1,500 air strikes, according to Israeli sources, were 19 Hamas senior command centers, hundreds of underground rocket launchers, 140 smuggling tunnels, dozens of concealed operation rooms and bases in separate buildings, and 26 weapon-manufacturing and storage facilities, along with dozens of long-range rocket launchers and launch sites.
But no amount of violence will hasten the creation of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It is a diplomatic chimera.
Israeli settlements keep growing, and no one can see Jewish settlers agreeing to resettle in Israel. The number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank now exceeds 350,000, double what it was 12 years ago.
At the height of the latest crisis, Arab columnists piled on about the “Holocaust that was exaggerated to justify the usurpation of Palestine.”
For Palestinians, Israel was founded in what was home for a million Palestinians living in more than 700 villages and cities that were deliberately and forcibly depopulated and renamed in 1948 after the Jewish victory in the war of independence.
Palestinians who want to live-and-let-live with Israelis fear radical retribution. Hamas' dictatorial grip on Gaza and the growth of its clandestine influence throughout the West Bank silences moderate views.
If it weren't for TV's history and military channels playing 1945 newsreels, the Holocaust would be ancient history.
As memories fade, anti-Jewish propaganda redoubles its efforts to confuse subsequent generations. Anything goes — and anything is believed — in a culture in which lies freely mingle with facts.
It is also abundantly clear the U.S. cannot play the role of honest broker between the Jewish state and Palestinian radicals who are backed by Egypt. But Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood regime is under siege by democratic forces demanding an end to dictatorial government.
Arab radicals argue that violence is the only way to liberate Palestine, or at least to force Western powers to move it to the top of their geopolitical agenda.
But Egypt's radical Muslim Brotherhood is not ready to jettison its peace treaty with Israel.
Nothing would please Iran's aging mullahs more than a rupture in Cairo's relations with Washington. But given Egypt's desperate need for World Bank, IMF and U.S. financial assistance, this is not likely to happen.
Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor-at-large of The Washington Times and United Press International.