On Sunday thousands of Israel haters gathered in Istanbul to welcome the
Turkish-Hamas terror ship Mavi Marmara to the harbor. Festooned with Palestinian
flags, the crowd chanted “Death to Israel,” “Down with Israel” and “Allah akbar”
with Hizbullah-like enthusiasm.
The Turkish protesters promised to stand
on the side of Hamas when it next goes to war with Israel. They may not have to
wait long to keep their promise. Over the past two weeks Hamas has
steeply escalated its missile war with over 30 launches. Last week, a
missile that narrowly missed a nursery school wounded a young girl.
Operation Cast Lead two years ago, Iran has helped Hamas massively increase its
missile and other military capabilities. Today the terror group that rules Gaza
has missiles capable of reaching Tel Aviv. It has advanced antitank missiles. As
Hamas spokesman Abu Obeida said Saturday, “We are now stronger than before and
during the war, and our silence over the past two years was only for evaluating
That evaluation has not tempered Hamas’s aim of
annihilating the Jews of Israel. As Obeida’s colleague Ahmed Jaabari said
Saturday, Israel’s Jews have two choices, “death or departing Palestinian
IDF commanders are taking Hamas’s new brinksmanship seriously. In
recent days several have said that Israel’s deterrence has eroded. Another Cast
Lead is just a matter of time, they warn.
In the meantime, Fatah –
Hamas’s sometime rival and sometime brother – is preparing its next round of
political warfare with its many friends around the world. Despite some recent
tactical repositioning, its goal is clearly to proceed with its plan to declare
statehood with maximum international support within the next nine to 12
To this end, Fatah and its allies are operating on multiple
fronts. On November 24 the UN General Assembly passed a resolution to hold a
Durban III conference on September 21. The first conference, held in Durban,
South Africa in September 2001, is mainly remembered as a diplomatic pogrom
against Israel and Jews which complemented the shooting war in Israel.
Jews were being butchered in pizzerias in Jerusalem, Jew-haters gathered to deny
that Jews have human rights. They used the UN’s anti-racism banner to assert that
it is not racist to kill and incite the murder of Jews. Jews were singled out
and condemned as the only nation in the world whose national liberation movement
– Zionism – is racist.
BUT EVEN more important than its service in
glorifying suicide bombers and their political commissars just three days before
the September 11 jihadist assault on the US, the Durban conference was the place
where the blueprint for the political war against Israel was authored. At the
NGO conference which took place as an adjunct to the governmental conference,
self-proclaimed “human rights” groups from around the world agreed that their
job was to criminalize the Jewish state to isolate it politically,
diplomatically and economically. As key organizers put it, the “activists’” job
was to conduct a nonviolent jihad to complement the work of the “resistance
fighters” massacring children and parents in Israel.
The Durban II
conference last year in Geneva was supposed to reinvigorate the political war
that was launched in 2001. But it was a bust. The only head of state to address
the proceedings was Iranian dictator Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He used the occasion
to again call for the eradication of the Jewish state.
To prevent another
flop, last month the Palestinians and their supporters agreed that the 10th
anniversary conference will be held in New York during the opening of UN General
Assembly. Their goal is to piggyback on that conference to get heads of state
that are in New York already to join in their anti-Israel political
And they have every reason for optimism. Although Canada and
Israel have announced their plans to boycott the conference, the Obama
administration has been noticeably unwilling to distance itself from
Given the swank locale of Durban III, the Palestinians and their
friends trust they will enjoy a reprise of the virulently anti-Jewish NGO
conference of a decade ago. The resolution clearly advocates such an outcome in
its call for “civil society, including NGOs to organize and support” the
conference “with high visibility.”
For Fatah leaders like the Palestinian
Authority’s unelected president Mahmoud Abbas and its unelected prime minister
Salam Fayyad, the Durban III conference will be the culmination of their current
campaign to delegitimize Israel.
Last week the PA announced it will ask
the UN Security Council to pass an anti- Semitic resolution defining Jewish
building in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem as illegal. This move dovetails
nicely with Abbas’s statement over the weekend that “Palestine” will be
Jew-free. As he put it, “If there is an independent Palestinian state with
Jerusalem as its capital, we won’t agree to the presence of one Israeli in it.
When a Palestinian state is established, it would have no Israeli
To date neither of these racist bids to deny Jews basic rights
to their homes and land just because they are Jews has been opposed by any
government or human rights group. And if the Obama administration allows the
PA’s anti-Semitic resolution to go forward in the Security Council, the move
would be a massive victory for the political war against Israel.
has already won some other significant victories of late. The decision by five
South American governments to recognize “Palestine” along the 1949 armistice
lines, like the decision by a number of European states – following the US – to
upgrade the PLO’s diplomatic status are tactical gains.
State Hillary Clinton signaled this month that the Obama administration is
wholly on board Fatah’s political warfare bandwagon. In her speech at the
Brookings Institute on December 10, she said the Obama administration supports
Fatah’s plan to build facts on the ground that will make it more difficult for
Israel to maintain its control over Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
calling Jewish presence in the areas “illegitimate,” Clinton pledged the US
“will deepen our support of the Palestinians’ state-building
Among other things, she pledged to continue training and
deploying a Palestinian army in Judea and Samaria and pressuring Israel to
withdraw the IDF from the areas.
As she put it, “As the Palestinian
security forces continue to become more professional and capable, we look to
Israel to facilitate their efforts. And we hope to see a significant curtailment
of incursions by Israeli troops into Palestinian areas.”
These then are
the contours of the Palestinians’ war plans for 2011. Hamas will launch an
illegal missile war to provoke an IDF campaign in Gaza. Iran, Syria, Hizbullah,
Turkey, the UN and a vast array of NGOs and leftist governments from Norway to
Brazil will support its illegal war.
Fatah will escalate its political
war. Its campaign will be supported by the US, the EU, the UN and a vast array
of NGOs and leftist governments.
The purpose of these two campaigns –
which complement one another and which will likely culminate at the UN in
September – is to weaken Israel militarily and politically with the shared
purpose of destroying it in the fullness of time.
SO WHAT must Israel do?
In the first instance, it must decide that its goal is not merely to weather
this storm, but to win both of these wars.
In recent days we have been
witness to a mildly entertaining fight between Defense Minister Ehud Barak and
former prime minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert accused Barak of purposely failing to
defeat Hamas during Operation Cast Lead. Barak, Olmert alleged, “did everything
he could to defend Hamas and to prevent its downfall in the Gaza
Barak responded to Olmert’s broadside by accusing the leader who
failed to defeat Hizbullah in the 2006 war of “phony
Ironically, of course, both are right. Both of them led
Israel in war with extreme incompetence. Both refused to put together
strategies for victory.
Now as the country contemplates a reprise of Cast
Lead, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu must ensure that when the IDF acts, it
acts decisively and emerges victorious. If this means firing Barak, then
he must be fired.
The same is true in the political realm. The
Palestinian offensive must be met by a counteroffensive that is informed by a
strategy for victory. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman demonstrated the
starting point on Sunday when he told Israel’s ambassadors that peace with the
Palestinians is impossible. But this is not enough.
Any strategy for
victory in political warfare must begin with a clear recognition of
reality. Peace is impossible because like Hamas, Fatah is the enemy. Its
leaders and rank and file reject our right to exist. They are building a state
that will be at war with us. They are avidly working to delegitimize us with the
intention of destroying us together with their brothers in Hamas – whom they
finance with US and other foreign aid.
A political war against Fatah
would involve actively discrediting its members and leaders. Today Fatah
is running a campaign libeling IDF soldiers and commanders as war
criminals. Israel must file valid war crimes complaints against Fatah
terrorists and political leaders in the international and foreign judicial
Fatah uses the UN to delegitimize us. Our delegations at all UN
bodies must daily submit resolutions calling for the condemnation of the
Palestinians for their efforts to criminalize us and carry out war crimes
Israel must also rally its allies to its side. We must ask
our friends in the US Congress to defund the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA.
The PA is a terroristic and criminal syndicate that uses US taxpayer dollars to
finance terrorism and pad the pockets of terror masters and apparachiks. UNRWA,
which is supposed to be a welfare organization, openly acknowledges that it
employs terrorists, allows its schools and camps to be used as jihad
indoctrination centers, training camps and missile launching pads. The
Congressional Research Service has stated that it is impossible to claim that US
funds to UNRWA do not at least indirectly finance terror groups.
the government must stop all tax transfers to the PA. It must prohibit the
deployment of the US-trained Palestinian army in Judea and Samaria. It must
rebuff US pressure to curtail IDF counterterror operations in Judea and
The government must outlaw all organizations assisting the
Palestinians in their military and political warfare operations. It should
support class action lawsuits against the PA by terror victims in local courts.
It should withhold diplomatic visas to representatives of countries like Britain
where Israeli politicians and military personnel are barred from travelling due
to Palestinian lawfare operations.
The government should implement
Netanyahu’s open airwaves plan and encourage the launch of a private all news
network along the Fox News model.
The Palestinians clearly see the coming
year as a decisive year in their war to destroy Israel. The Netanyahu government
needs to muster its forces to battle. These are battles we can win. But to do
so, we must commit ourselves to victory.