Will Israel Cease to Exist?
Aaron Klein, author of The Late Great State of Israel, argues that because of internal political turmoil, the Jewish state is facing its gravest threat ever from Iran and Hamas.
Israel is headed down a road that, if not altered, may result in the country's demise.
I've reported for months on end from the rocket-pounded Jewish communities of the Gaza Strip and war-torn Israeli-Lebanese-Syrian borders. I've stood in the trenches during massive nationalist protests and Israeli evacuations of Jewish homes. I've watched intense Knesset sessions and have entered the vipers' den of Palestinian terrorism, conducting extensive interviews with dangerous jihadists, some of the region's leaders, newsmakers, and hundreds of its ordinary citizens. I’ve dodged rockets and mortars, and have broadcast from far-off, remote locations, including once, with my colleague John Batchelor of WABC Radio, from an ice-cream truck on the beach of Gaza.
While Jerusalem's ancient walls are only a symbol of the threat, a look just to the east reveals the living resurgence of an age-old danger, stirring the disturbing feeling that history is repeating itself.
Four years of this work has led me to my frightening conclusion—and I directly point to the Israeli government, among many others, for actively working against the Jewish state's interests, whether intentionally or not.
A gang of internationalist politicians rules the Jewish state—some of whom seem more interested in making a quick buck than saving the country they are supposed to lead. Most of them are hell-bent on pursuing the same failed policies that have resulted time and again in large numbers of Jewish deaths and the handover of strategic land to terrorists, fueling a worldwide perception of Jewish weakness.
Take Israel's recent 22-day offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, dubbed Operation Cast Lead. The primary objective of that confrontation was to deal a decisive blow to Hamas as a fighting force while obliterating the group's rocket infrastructure. Neither goal was met. Then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert later announced a third objective of his war: to change the situation on the ground so Hamas would not be able to continue smuggling weapons into Gaza from neighboring Egypt. That goal fell farcically short when, just days after the fighting ended, the international news media filed excited dispatches from the thriving smuggling tunnels.
If anything, Olmert's campaign strengthened Hamas politically. Israel's willingness in the aftermath of the operation to indirectly negotiate border agreements and prisoner exchanges with its Islamist foes provided Hamas with much-needed legitimacy. It sent mixed signals to an international community that had already been considering opening and expanding channels to Gaza's rulers.
I’ve seen one Israeli government folly after another. Olmert heavily mismanaged the war of 2006 in Lebanon that, essentially, handed that country to Hezbollah's control through myriad fiascos of Israeli diplomacy. Prominent among these was the Jewish state's legitimization of the Syrian tyranny, with Olmert announcing talks with Damascus while the Bush administration supported the latter's deserved isolation. Israel was willing to tread with the Bashar Assad regime even while Damascus, in full partnership with Iran, continued to welcome terrorist leaders and furiously acquire thousands of advanced missiles. Ongoing lunacy in Israeli policy has emboldened Iran to surround the Jewish state, and to position its proxies on the regional chessboard so that Tehran now possesses the capability to wreak destruction in Israel.
The Jewish nation's leaders certainly are not the only targets. The country is under relentless pressure from an international community that favors terrorist gangs over a forward-looking Westernized democracy. A community that balks at any assertion of Israeli self-defense pressures the tiny Jewish country to evacuate vital territory, and perpetuates the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by artificially maintaining a festering "refugee" crisis. This same community also supports anti-Israel boycotts and "racism" conferences keynoted by a Holocaust-denying fundamentalist and provides legitimacy and, in some instances, enormous amounts of money, weapons, and advanced training to Israel's terrorist foes.
Indeed, the financing of Palestinian terrorism is shocking. I have interviewed members of a group labeled by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization, which has nevertheless been armed, trained, and continue to be funded by American tax dollars.
President Obama, meanwhile, has been carrying over some of the main policies of the Bush administration in approaching the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He has strongly urged Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to remain committed to pledges made at Bush's Annapolis Conference to negotiate into existence a true Palestinian state—this with a "peace partner" whose official institutions formally indoctrinate citizens with intense anti-Jewish hatred and violence; whose gunmen make up one of the deadliest anti-Israel terrorist groups; and whose leadership is weak, corrupt, and at serious risk of being overthrown by radical Islamists, who in turn are plotting the takeover of territory bordering Israel's major population centers.
Some of Obama's Mideast policies, and his ideas and actions, may threaten Israel's survival. There has been some concern in Jerusalem, perhaps unfounded, that Obama will categorically not support another large-scale Israeli operation against Hamas in Gaza. Indeed, the U.S. is slated to provide hundreds of millions of dollars to reconstruct the Gaza Strip, meaning any future Israeli raid in that territory could target infrastructure funded by America and the international community. The Islamist movement claims openly that Obama's administration favors bringing Hamas into the so-called peace process, while Obama's team has so far flatly denied having any talks with the terrorist organization.
More than on any other issue, the stated views of the new Israeli and American leaders clash most pointedly regarding Iran and its drive to obtain nuclear weapons, which would threaten Israel's existence and provide Tehran and its terrorist proxies with a nuclear umbrella. Obama's team claims it believes it can persuade Iran to refrain from going nuclear with direct talks and incentives, such as financial aid and international legitimacy.
If Netanyahu decides to attack Iran's nuclear facilities or promote a hard-line policy, he will have to contend with an unfriendly White House and State Department. How deep this crisis in U.S.-Israeli relations would go is unclear, especially if Netanyahu acts while Obama is in the midst of diplomatic engagement with Iran. I believe that Netanyahu understands that, facing the threat from Tehran, Israel must move to protect its interests. Regrettably, due in part to impressive U.S. and Israeli mismanagement, Iran has been allowed to lay the foundations for yet another costly future war.
Through my research, I have focused on myriad other lesser-known issues, such as how, with American help, the Palestinians have gained a major foothold in eastern Jerusalem, and how Israeli policies have, shockingly, already essentially divided Jerusalem.
Few have any idea how the country is being torn apart by an internal struggle—a battle of Jew versus Jew in which those in power who want the country to resemble a secular, Europeanized nation are at war with a significant segment of the population that wants to keep Israel a Jewish country defined by its profoundly Jewish history, traditions, and character.
Most don’t know how the Hamas terrorist organization actually blasted its way to control over the Gaza Strip and how the pre-takeover stage of that same process is being played out now in the West Bank—territory slated for evacuation despite its proximity to Israel’s population centers and the country’s international airport.
Even following willful retreats and Israeli military losses, it was with a heavy heart that I gave my book its grim title. Just thinking about the possibility of the destruction of the Jewish state—after all it has achieved and after all the odds it has overcome—fills me with urgent concern. That is precisely the reason for this title: to provoke an immediate reaction. To prod the world into pondering the unthinkable and shed light on the scope of the calamitous threats facing the Jewish state—and the substantial changes in policy that will be required to deal with those dangers.
The view from where I sit in Jerusalem is beautiful and dramatic. The otherworldly rubble and rebuilt walls of the Old City serve as testament to the dangers Israel currently faces. While those ancient walls are today only a symbol of the threat, a look just to the east reveals the living resurgence of an age-old danger, stirring the disturbing feeling that history is repeating itself. It is not yet too late for Israel, but if the perils are not taken to heart—and if the Israeli leadership, along with the rest of the world, continues to sail the present course—the only remnant of the Jewish country may be an epitaph: The Late Great State of Israel.
Aaron Klein is the Jerusalem bureau chief for the conservative news site WorldNetDaily.com and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. He is known for his commentary on radio programs as well as his appearances on cable news networks, including Fox News and Al Jazeera. He is the author of the critically acclaimed 2007 book, Schmoozing with Terrorists.
His email adress is [email protected]