Israel & the lesser of 2 evils
By Arnaud De Borchgrave
Published: Monday, Dec. 10, 2012, 8:54 p.m.
A majority of Israelis recoil in horror at the very thought of emulating the regime of apartheid —institutionalized racial segregation once practiced in South Africa — in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Yet that is what Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu considers less threatening than full-fledged Palestinian independence.
Apartheid is what gradually emerged in the West Bank under Israeli occupation since Israel's victory in the Six Day War almost half a century ago.
Netanyahu and his Likud Party allies view continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank as the lesser of two evils. The bigger evil is Muslim extremism, ranging from the would-be Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship in Egypt to al-Qaida and its associated movements in Syria and Iraq.
If the West Bank were turned over to Palestinian rule, Israeli hard-liners say Hamas hard-liners would quickly displace the moderate Palestinian Authority.
Today, some 320,000 Jewish settlers live in 132 settlements in the West Bank and another 200,000 moved into East Jerusalem, the two out of three areas Palestinians claim for an independent state of Palestine. Gaza is the third.
One Israeli member of the Knesset predicted that within 10 years, more than 1 million Jewish settlers would be living in Palestinian territory, thus making the emergence of an independent Palestinian state well-nigh impossible.
In Washington, National Security Council spokesman Tommy Victor reiterated U.S. opposition to Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But this didn't rattle Netanyahu. He has heard it all before and he knows that Congress will remain solidly on Israel's side.
Meanwhile radical Islamists in the Middle East have espoused radical solutions for the creation of a Palestinian state. Iran's navy is busy testing its mining capabilities for a possible showdown with the United States and Israel. Iran has repositioned itself to mobilize against an anti-Muslim front if one should emerge.
Fundamentalist-controlled Egypt now threatens to scrap the peace treaty with Israel that returned the Israeli-occupied Sinai Peninsula to Egypt after the 1973 war. The treaty guaranteed the demilitarization of Sinai.
Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, north and south of Israel, are mortal enemies of the Jewish state. Syria, another hostile neighbor, appears to be falling prey to pro-al-Qaida extremists.
For Israel, it's not rocket science to conclude it is surrounded by self-proclaimed enemies. Israel's hard-liners are convinced that an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank would quickly fall prey to extremists who would look to the Mediterranean Sea as Palestine's new/old frontier — and a burial ground for all Jews.
There is one critically important lesson the United States and its European and Asian allies should have learned in a chaotic Middle East: Arabs and Persians aren't interested in Western models of democracy.
How to bring democracy to them isn't the problem. How to deal with a different system is the crux of the geopolitical dilemma facing the second Obama administration.
Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor-at-large of The Washington Times and United Press International.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- For Steelers defense, it’s all a matter of trust
- Long-overdue memorial to region’s World War II vets opens
- Jokinen takes center stage as fill-in for Pens’ Malkin
- Baldwin-Whitehall board hits ‘magical line of dissatisfaction’
- NHL notebook: Sabres goalie, LaFontaine talking
- Duquesne women’s basketball off to quick start in post McConnell-Serio era
- Charleroi rolls past Monessen
- Hurricanes storm back to top Sharks
- Fans of former conservative radio hosts Quinn, Tennent support toy drive
- Pitt slows down Loyola Marymount, 85-68
- MLB notebook: Mariners reportedly sign Robinson Cano