Is­rael in the fire

En­dors­ing a Pales­tinian state would be join­ing the ‘ar­son in­tifada’

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

Only fools play with matches. There’s no scarcity of fools in the Mid­dle East, and many of them are ob­sessed with play­ing with matches. Some may have warmed to the game with “ar­son in­tifada” in Is­rael. Pres­i­dent Obama threat­ens to ig­nite a larger flame by en­dors­ing a Pales­tinian state. Any num­ber can play the ar­son in­tifada game.

Fire is an ever-present dan­ger in the dry re­gions east of the Mediter­ranean Sea, and never more so when ar­son­ists do their evil work. In re­cent days, fires have bro­ken out in the north­ern city of Haifa and then in the central Pales­tinian ter­ri­to­ries of the West Bank, forc­ing the evac­u­a­tion of an es­ti­mated 80,000 res­i­dents. The sud­den fires be­tray or­ches­tra­tion, and Is­raeli au­thor­i­ties have ar­rested more than a dozen per­sons of Arab de­scent on sus­pi­cion of ar­son. One was ar­rested film­ing the set­ting of a fire.

Given the dis­mal his­tory of Pales­tinian rage against the Jewish state, it’s easy to see that the Arab-Is­raeli con­flict has en­tered a new phase. Pales­tinian au­thor­i­ties deny of­fi­cial in­volve­ment, cor­rectly ob­serv­ing that Pales­tini­ans are suf­fer­ing from the spread­ing fires, too, and that Pales­tini­ans are also bat­tling the smoke and flames. Wel­fare of their own peo­ple, how­ever, has not de­terred Arabs in the past from plac­ing mis­sile launch­ers near schools and mosques to de­ter Is­raeli counter-at­tacks to Is­lamic vi­o­lence against the Jewish state.

Hash­tags like “Is­rael is burn­ing,” and “the Zion­ist en­tity is burn­ing,” are “trend­ing” on so­cial me­dia, and it’s ob­vi­ous that thou­sands are cel­e­brat­ing the fires. Is­raeli of­fi­cials call some of it ter­ror­ism. Weapons for driv­ing the Is­raelis into the sea may now in­clude the com­mon kitchen match.

With lit­tle to show for his eight years of Is­raeliPales­tinian diplo­macy, Pres­i­dent Obama is said to con­sid­er­ing one last sym­bolic act of a lead­er­less for­eign pol­icy to put an end to ne­go­ti­a­tions by en­dors­ing a Pales­tinian state. His pre­de­ces­sors one and all sup­ported the con­cept of a two-state so­lu­tion with Is­rael and Pales­tine pledged to liv­ing in peace and ac­cord on ground hal­lowed to Mus­lims, Jews and Chris­tians.

Noth­ing, even Is­raeli of­fers of land for peace, has de­terred the Pales­tini­ans from their stated goal of tak­ing Is­rael by force, which they have demon­strated in sev­eral wars that they can­not do. Aban­don­ing Is­rael at the United Na­tions would en­cour­age them to con­tinue to pur­sue their goal by other means.

A last-minute at­tempt by Mr. Obama to short-cir­cuit the peace process would be an af­front to Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump, who has made his po­si­tion crys­tal clear: “The United States should sup­port direct ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween Is­rael and the Pales­tini­ans with­out pre­con­di­tions, and will op­pose all Pales­tinian, Euro­pean and other ef­forts to by­pass direct ne­go­ti­a­tions be­tween par­ties in fa­vor of an im­posed set­tle­ment.” The so-called “peace process” is not much of a process, but as Win­ston Churchill fa­mously ob­served, “jaw jaw is bet­ter than war war.” Aban­don­ing Is­rael in the ef­fort, frus­trat­ing as it may be, is tan­ta­mount to join­ing the “ar­son in­tifada.”

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