Arab Allies want Israel to crush Hamas

Arab autocrats, who need Israel far more than Israel needs them, desire a confident Israel to crush its enemies, not a craven country that bends to terrorists.

Rafael Castro, | updated: 16:30

OpEds Netanyahu addresses Knesset plenum
Netanyahu addresses Knesset plenum
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Prime Minister Netanyahu takes pride in new cooperation and communication channels with Arab governments. Formal and informal ties with Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman contribute to a growing Jewish confidence that Arab countries are finally accepting a sovereign Jewish state in their midst.

This delusion is embraced by Jews desirous to confuse a short-term tactical embrace with a fundamental shift in attitudes. The bitter truth is that none of the autocrats that Israeli diplomats or Jewish communal leaders meet has the best interests of Jews or Israelis at heart.

These leaders are simply reading the writing on the wall. They understand that under the Trump Administration, adequate relations with Israel are a prerequisite for support in confronting Iranian Shiite imperialism, which threatens their territories and their autocracies. It is therefore irresponsible to attribute Arab overtures towards Israel to anything save base political survival instincts.


Netanyahu’s strategy is similar to that of European governments, which are afraid of challenging core Islamic tenets such as armed jihad in order not to alienate the moderate Islamist organizations.
Understanding this reality is crucial for Israeli leaders not to mistake diplomacy with appeasement. Despite a rightwing leadership, Israel has repeatedly ignored threats and attacks launched from Gaza, including hundreds of rockets and incendiary balloons, which have murdered Israeli civilians and burned thousands of acres in Southern Israel.

Common wisdom suggests that the bland Israeli response reflects the absence of positive post-Hamas scenarios in Gaza. However, the deeper truth is that Netanyahu restrains the IDF in order not to antagonize the Arab autocrats which his government courts.

In this regard Netanyahu’s strategy is similar to that of European governments, which are afraid of challenging core Islamic tenets such as armed jihad in order not to alienate the moderate Islamist organizations co-opted to resist the growing influence of extremist Islamists in Europe.

These strategies will both fail. Supporting orthodox Islam in order to win over moderate Islamists will further embolden extremist Islamists. Likewise, appeasing Gazan terrorists in order not to alienate autocrats in Riyadh or Manama will earn Israel the collective scorn of the Arab world.

Israel needs to boost its credentials as a generous ally and as a formidable foe. Responding ruthlessly to Hamas aggressions, will earn Israel the respect of Middle Eastern leaders, who just like Hamas, read any Israeli indulgence as a sign of weakness and unreliability. Arab autocrats, who need Israel far more than Israel needs them, desire a confident Israel to crush its enemies, not a craven country that bends over to terrorists.

If Israel is too weak to deter Hamas, how can she be a trustworthy ally in thwarting Iranian expansionism in the Middle East?  

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