Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Is this Ceasefire a Step Toward Peace or a Prelude to More Terrible Bloodshed?

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Cairo today just in time for a photo opportunity with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi following the announcement of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Egypt.  It is not yet known to what extent American influence helped to achieve the ceasefire, but negotiations had been underway for some days.

A wag once said that the good thing about being a pessimist is that one is rarely disappointed. Yet the pessimist's vindication is seldom anything but sad.  Several times in the past, including the Gaza withdrawal by Israel seven years ago, and the Oslo Accords, I have found myself aligned with the minority view against Israel's agreement, but at the same time stating that I hoped I would be proven wrong.  So far, tragically, my forebodings have proven all too valid.  Please G-d, it should be different this time.

The test for the ceasefire will be if Egypt and the United States allow Hamas to rearm with ever more powerful and deadly rockets and artillery from Iran.  If so, then this ceasefire will prove to be a stumbling block for Israel, because when war erupts again--as it must if Hamas perseveres in its campaign to destroy the Jewish State--the enemies of Israel will be more difficult to defeat.

Can Egypt be trusted to police its borders?  Even the former Mubarak regime only half-heartedly tried to prevent heavy arms from being smuggled through tunnels from the Sinai into Gaza.  I do not expect the present Egyptian government, led by President Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood--the mother organization and inspiration for Hamas--to make any effort whatsoever, other than whatever superficial measures are needed to preserve the pipeline of United States foreign aid.

The Muslim Brotherhood, like Hamas, considers the very existence of Israel to be an abomination.  That is why President Morsi and other Egyptian government officials, and well as Islamist Turkish President Erdogan, have described Israel's acts of self-defense in Gaza as Israeli aggression against the Palestinians. To them, Israel's existence is an occupation of Islamic territory, and attacks by Muslims against Israelis, even civilians, is justified resistance.  Accordingly, any response by the Jewish enemy to defend itself is aggression.  If that is the attitude that determines the policing by Egypt of Hamas' efforts to smuggle in heavy weaponry, more terrible combat lies in the future.

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