Osama Bin Laden is dead, but we mustn’t lose sight of our major focus in the Middle East—stopping the advance and attacks from radical Islam and supporting our critical allies. Instability remains.
As America moves forward in crafting a response to the changing landscape in the Middle East, there are questions we should be asking: Will our actions make the world more stable or less stable? Will our actions support our long-term allies? Will this stop the advance of radical Islam?
While Hamas and Fatah groups have signed a unity pact in support of Palestinian statehood, Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in Gaza, reacted to Bin Laden’s death: “We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood…. We condemn the assassination and the killing of an Arab holy warrior.” In the days following Bin Laden’s death, it’s clear that many share such sentiments.
Even though Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called the attack that saw five members of an Israeli family stabbed to death in their home in a West Bank settlement "despicable, immoral and inhuman," a poll conducted by a team of Israeli and Palestinian pollsters that surveyed nearly 1300 Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem found that 32 percent supported the attack. Palestinians talk of peace, but missiles are still being fired into Israel from Gaza.
There are more ominous signs. Egypt Airlines has stopped flights to Israel and taken Israel off their maps, the blockade of supplies into the Gaza Strip has been lifted, and the Muslim Brotherhood is well positioned to take advantage of early elections. The attacks on Christian churches, the merciless sexual assault on CBS reporter Lara Logan by an Egyptian mob, and the presence of some Al-Qaida and other terrorist groups within the ranks of rebel forces in Libya cannot be overlooked.
The world desperately wants peace, but at what cost? Ronald Reagan reminded Americans, “Trust but verify.” With the turmoil racing through the Middle East and the temptation to support rebels high, it’s easy to accept words without actions and to forget to support Israel, our most important ally. Pressuring Israel to give up land gained in a war Arabs initiated to bring on an illusion of peace is nothing short of asking Israel to commit national suicide.