There is a Greek tragedy unfolding today in the Middle East. In response to past mistakes and as a result of hubristic political calculation, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is setting in motion forces that promise to lead inexorably to grief for his nation. The result could be staticide, the destruction of the Jewish State, with incalculably serious repercussions for the Free World in general and the United States in particular.
In the pursuit of peace with its neighbors, Israel has made one strategic concession after another. In 1979, it surrendered the Sinai to Egypt when Anwar Sadat promised peace and then was murdered for doing so. In 1993, Israel adopted the Oslo accords, legitimating one of its most virulent enemies, the PLO terrorist chief Yasser Arafat, and setting the stage for Palestinian control of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Eight years ago this month, Israel unilaterally withdrew from South Lebanon, creating a vacuum promptly filled by Iran’s proxy army there, Hezbollah. Then, in 2005, Israel forcibly removed its citizens living in Gaza and turned the Strip over – temporarily – to Arafat’s right-hand man and successor, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas.
Space constraints will not permit a full rendering of the costs associated with these serial mistakes. The “peace” with Egypt proved to be a very cold one. In Sadat’s stead, the government of Hosni Mubarak has promoted virulent hatred for Israel among its people and assiduously armed for renewed conflict with the Jewish State. It has also used the Sinai to funnel ever-longer-range missiles and other advanced weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip – now under the control of another Palestinian terrorist faction, Hamas.
The latter and its friends, including the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, al Qaeda and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, are now using Gaza as a safe-haven for planning and executing terrorism against Israel. It is a safe bet that Israel’s most important ally, the United States, is being targeted from there, as well.
Meanwhile, Hezbollah has not just taken over South Lebanon – its dominance of which was greatly strengthened when Olmert’s government proved incapable of decisively defeating the forces of this so-called “Army of God” in 2006. In recent days, Hezbollah launched attacks in Beirut that effectively produced a coup d’etat. The hopes for a democratic Lebanon, free of Syrian and Iranian interference, have given way to a dark future for the Lebanese people and their neighbors in Israel, alike.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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