AFTER NEARLY 10 DAYS of near-uninterrupted viewing and hearing BBC announcers drone on incessantly in their most pious tones about an “impending humanitarian crisis” in the Gaza Strip, I have brushed up on my knowledge of the complex politics of West Asia. I know the difference between the politics of Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and the unholy terror alliance between the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and Hamas in Gaza, and Hezbollah in Lebanon. More important, I can now fully empathise with the Conservative Party supporters in Britain who despair that BBC has forgotten its foundational principles and ended up promoting Left causes.
The biggest Left cause since the Spanish Civil War—which generated good poetry, lots of romance and a devastating defeat—is, of course, the crusade to destroy Israel and establish a Palestinian state with its capital in Jerusalem. The long-term objective is often kept under wraps and obfuscated with the seemingly inoffensive demand that Israel should withdraw to its pre-1967 borders. That means withdrawing from half of Jerusalem and climbing down from the Golan Heights captured from the Baathist regime in Syria during the Six-Day War.
If its neighbours had their way in 1948—the year when the Jewish state was established—and 1967, Israel would have been obliterated from the world map. That was what Nasser in Egypt, Assad in Syria and, in a more half-hearted and confused way, the Hashemite monarchy in Jordan wanted. Instead, thanks to its own ineptitude and Israeli tactical brilliance, the Star of David ended up fluttering over the entire Sinai Peninsula, right to the waters of the Suez Canal. Jordan, which entered the war quite needlessly, ended up losing control of the entire West Bank of the river Jordan and East Jerusalem and with it, control of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Israel, which began the war as a battle for survival, was the unquestioned victor. Its biggest and most unexpected prize was Jerusalem.
All the battles, wars and acts of terrorism since June 1967 has been aimed at reversing the outcome of the Six-Day War. Egypt realised the futility of this project and wisely made peace with Israel, getting back the Sinai Peninsula as a result. Jordan, too, made up for King Hussein’s miscalculation by negotiating a working relationship with both Israel and its unwanted Palestinians. It handed over control of the West Bank to Yasser Arafat’s PLO, hoping that the radical impulses of the Palestinian dispossessed would not destabilise the monarchy. As for Jerusalem, Jordan knew that this was one prize the Israelis would never return, even if it meant fighting to the last man.
The only country that seeks to involve Israel in a vicious war on all fronts is the one that wasn’t involved at all in 1967. Despite what has been said about the viciousness of the SAVAK and the lavish tastes of its royal family, Iran under the Shah was a force for good. Had he managed to ward off the threat from the Islamists in 1979-80, Reza Pahlavi would have reshaped the geopolitics of the region. With his downfall, however, the resources of one of the world’s most sophisticated civilisations has been diverted to the one-point project of the destruction of Israel and, by implication, the crippling of America. Hamas would have been nothing had it not been for the backing it receives from the Ayatollahs. Both Hamas and Hezbollah in Lebanon are Iranian proxies. This is what makes them doubly dangerous.
This is not to say that Israel doesn’t have its angularities. Since 1967, there is one group in Israel committed to safeguarding the country by enlarging its borders, including absorption of the West Bank which is referred to as Judea and Samaria. The Likud Party, whose most able advocate was former Prime Minister Menachem Begin, is not mindlessly expansionist as its detractors often make it out to be. Like most committed Israeli nationalists, it seeks to negotiate a path between keeping Israel secure, keeping it at peace with its neighbours and creating an environment that would allow Jewish enterprise to make a global mark. Ideally, Palestinians should have negotiated a settlement with the Jewish state and become co-sharers in the larger zone of prosperity. Unfortunately, they got sucked into a whirlpool of self-destruction.
Today, the destructive impulses of Palestinian terror brigades have been fattened by European leftists and liberals who are blinded in their hatred of Israel, so much so that they cannot get themselves to condemn the beheading of babies, the rape and murder of holiday revellers and the abduction of grandmothers. I hope Israel lives up to its promise of destroying Hamas.