As silence falls over the battlefields of Gaza, wars of zeitgeist have begun.
Here are four fronts on which the struggle for Israel’s legitimacy and the global mindset will be fought.
First of all, the real story of Hamas has to be told, in UN committees and through every media and community forum. This includes Hamas executing Fatah members, children digging terror attack tunnels, concrete being redirected to building tunnels rather than hospitals and schools, the affluence of Hamas’s leadership who divert funding from the Palestinian public to their own personal accounts, Iranian weapons shipments, and the 4,500 war crimes (missile attacks) committed by Hamas over the past 50 days.
This includes a full recounting of the (overly) humanitarian Israeli way at war: Targeting only clearly identifiable military targets, tip-toeing around civilians trapped purposefully by Hamas in the crossfire, supplying electricity and food to the enemy in the midst of battle, treating the enemy’s wounded, and so on.
SECONDLY, a battle must be fought over Western consciousness in understanding the war of civilizations under way between radical Islam and the Judeo-Christian world.
Fatah is Hamas is the Muslim Brotherhood is al-Qaida is Boko Haram is Islamic State is Iran – should be the message. For our purposes, there is little differentiation among these groups. They are all out to crush our way of life and reduce our state to rubble. None is “moderate.”
The fact that Islamic State rapes and beheads its opponents by knife doesn’t make the al-Qaida-associated Jabhat al-Nusra (Support Front for Syria) moderate.
The fact that al-Nusra shoots its enemies with bullets doesn’t make Katibat Ahrar Prat (Battalions for the Freedom of the Euphrates) moderate. That fact that the Prat Battalions torture their enemies and then force them into battle against their own people doesn’t make moderates out of Katibat Sawt al-Haq (Battalion of the Voice of Rights/Truth/G-d) and Katibat al-Ahrar al-Sham (Battalion for the Freedom of Greater Syria). The latter only forces its captives to convert to Islam; then they are sold as slaves.
The same goes for Palestinian factions.
The fact that Hamas digs terror attack tunnels doesn’t make Islamic Jihad moderate.
That fact that Islamic Jihad fires Kassam missiles at Israel doesn’t make the Arafat- founded al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades into moderates. The fact that al-Aksa sponsors suicide bombers doesn’t make the Salahadin Brigades into moderates. The fact Salahadin fellows focus on firebombing and shooting settlers doesn’t make the Izzadin Kassam group moderate. The fact that Izzadin Kassam specializes in kidnappings doesn’t make the Tanzim moderate.
The fact that the Fatah-funded Tanzim organizes violent demonstrations and Molotov cocktail-throwing confrontations with Israeli troops doesn’t make Fatah moderate. The fact that Fatah broadcasts blood-curdling paeans to terrorism on its airwaves and through its newspapers and in its Palestinian Authority-sponsored schools, and glorifies suicide bombers and Kassam manufacturers – doesn’t make Mahmoud Abbas a moderate.
The fact that Abbas denies Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state and refuses to renounce the so-called “right” of return doesn’t make Salam Fayyad a moderate.
The fact that Fayyad (remember him?) seeks only to boycott and divest from Israel doesn’t make.... Well, you get the point.
THIS BRINGS ME to the third battleground, which is about Abbas. Left-wingers are seeking to re-empower Abbas, repeating hackneyed mantras from the Oslo era about his “reliability” as a peace partner – as if they were possessed by a Dybbuk or were asleep over the past 10 years.
The notion that Abbas and his Palestinian “Authority” can be Israel’s diplomatic salvation is without evidentiary foundation.
His regime is feeble and corrupt, and his security forces politicized and inert. Hamas and other Islamic jihadists blew him away in Gaza in 2007 and would do so in the West Bank too, if not for IDF control of the territory.
Abbas cannot guarantee Israel’s security, neither in the Jordan Valley and on the Samarian mountaintops overlooking Ben-Gurion Airport, nor in Beit Hanun and at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.
Moreover, Abbas’s rump regime is no partner for any real peace accord, as the failed Kerry diplomatic process proved for the umpteenth time. Abbas wants a state (in contours that Israel can never accept) without an end to the conflict. He wants state status in order to continue the conflict; in order to brow-beat Israel into dissolution through demonization and criminalization.
That is why Abbas was last seen fleeing the scene of real negotiations, and this week announced that he was again taking to the international community to have it impose withdrawals upon Israel.
FINALLY, A BATTLE has been enjoined over the legacy of Oslo, and this struggle will play itself out as Israel rolls forward to its next election. Does the “occupation” corrupt (as the Left has argued for decades), or do withdrawals corrupt and destroy more (as the Right should be arguing now)? Was Israel ever forced to bomb Palestinian high-rise apartment building from the air or to bombard civilian neighborhoods with heavy artillery before the withdrawals and disengagements began? So what has led to more suffering, death and destruction (for both Palestinians and Israelis): Israel’s settling of Judea, Samaria and Gaza; or Israeli withdrawals from parts of Judea and Samaria and all of Gaza leading to PA and Hamas rule? What “corrupts” more: Israelis living alongside and working together with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza; or Israeli withdrawals and the subsequent emergence of Palestinian terrorist enclaves? Should Israel draw more borders and build more fences so that the Palestinians can dig under them and shoot over them; or should Israel erase the Green Line once and for all, and assert new models of autonomous coexistence for a better future?