In the Middle East, Discredited Myths Never Die

The current round of violence that was initiated by Hamas firing thousands of rockets into Israel is depressing on a number of fronts, not least because we are once again hearing brain-dead shibboleths from the White House. After a four-year respite under President Trump, ignorance again reigns. Today Jen Psaki was pressed by White House reporters on why President Biden had not yet called for a cease fire. She bobbed and weaved, saying that “we all know” that the only way to end violence is “for there to be a two-state solution.”

Really? How do we all know that? The Arabs were offered a two-state solution in 1948, and they turned it down, preferring to try to destroy Israel and kill the Jews. They have made the same choice consistently over the last 73 years. And if Gaza were a “state,” why would Hamas be any less prone to launch missiles against Israel?

As it turned out, shortly after Psaki was grilled on a cease-fire the White House let it be known that Biden had spoken with Benjamin Netanyahu and had, in fact, called for a cease-fire:

According to the official White House readout, during the call President Biden reiterated his firm support for Israel’s right to defend itself against indiscriminate rocket attacks.

This acknowledgement puts Biden on his party’s right wing on this issue, and has led to withering condemnation from the Democratic Party’s mainstream.

He encouraged Israel to make every effort to ensure the protection of innocent civilians.

This is the weird false equivalence that we see all the time where Israel is concerned. How about if the world’s “leaders” demand that Hamas “make every effort to ensure the protection of [Israel’s] innocent civilians”? But that wouldn’t make sense, since the whole point of Hamas’s terrorist offensive is to kill innocent civilians. The Palestinians have sown the wind, and yet the world’s prime concern is that they not reap the whirlwind. Why?

Similarly, world “leaders” tell Israelis that their response to Hamas’s thousands of rockets must be “proportionate,” which means, apparently, that no more Palestinians than Israelis should die. Evidently Israelis are supposed to downgrade their own competence to match Hamas’s primitive, if brutal, rocketry.

This is a standard never before known to warfare. If you are attacked by an enemy, it is appropriate to respond with overwhelming force so as to devastate your enemy and disable him from further attacks, not at the least cost to your enemy, but at the least cost to your own citizens. See, e.g., the U.S. response to Japanese and German aggression in World War II. Hamas started this war, and Israel has every right to inflict maximum damage until it is satisfied that Hamas can never again pose a threat.

Of course, for reasons I will never understand, that is not how things play out in the Middle East. I suppose Israel will stop too soon, under pressure from “world leaders” and public opinion, and leave Hamas more or less intact to fight again another day. This is, I think, the real reason why the “cycle of violence” that is such a cliche in the region persists.

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