The Hamas attack on Jewish settlers in Israel has evoked a cascade of sympathy around the world, for the victims and for Israelis and Jews generally, and rightly so. How could it not?
But there are exceptions. One group of Israelis that deserves no sympathy is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his thuggish cabinet. Netanyahu et al. have worked tirelessly to thwart the most hyped route to bringing peace to Palestine—the creation of a sovereign Palestine state. Their efforts have even extended to enabling Hamas. And yes, the Israeli government has been an enabler of Hamas. Bear with me.
According to Hebrew University professor Dmitry Shumsky, “Netanyahu developed and advanced a destructive, warped political doctrine that held that strengthening Hamas at the expense of the Palestinian Authority would be good for Israel.” The purpose of the doctrine was to perpetuate the rift between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank. This would not only keep the Palestinians divided, it would undermine the Palestinian Authority and allow Israel to credibly say it had no one to negotiate a Palestinian state with.
A key part of the strategy was encouraging the oil-rich state of Qatar to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars to Gaza, much of which reached Hamas.
At one point the Qataris had become fed up with Hamas and were planning to stop funding Gaza. According to defence minister Avigdor Liberman, Netanyahu sent Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and the IDF’s officer in charge of Gaza to”beg” the Qataris to continue to send money to Hamas. The Qataris obliged.
Where did the money come from for Hamas to build the tunnels and equip its fighters with arms to attack Israel? In part at least from Qatar, with Benjamin Netanyahu’s blessing. Quoting the Haaretz newspaper, “That flawed strategy turned Hamas from a minor terrorist organization into an efficient, lethal army with highly trained, dehumanized stormtroopers.”
Netanyahu knew perfectly well what kind of organization Hamas was. He knew what they thought of Jews and he knew they wanted to destroy Israel. Yet he was willing to recklessly and cynically gamble with Israeli lives in order to pursue his grand strategy. On October 7th he lost the gamble and over 1,400 of his people paid the price.
He not only rejects the idea of a Palestinian state, he intends to incorporate all of Palestine into Israel. If the strategy of division and the steady expansion of settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank aren’t enough evidence, he drew a picture.
Less than two weeks before the Hamas raid, Netanyahu addressed the UN General Assembly and presented a map of what he called “The New Middle East.” The map showed all of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights, as parts of an enlarged Israel. There was no space for a Palestinian state.
The American government (and ours) must be aware of all this. Why then do they continue to insist that the solution to the Palestine problem is a two-state solution negotiated solely between Israel and the Palestine Authority.
That approach is rigged to begin wth, Israel having all the leverage, as I have discussed elsewhere, but in any case how can this possibly work when Israel intends to devour all of Palestine? It has always been the height of hypocrisy to demand that the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state while Israel does not recognize a Palestinian state.
The U.S. (and Canada) have accepted everything Israel does. When it expropriates more Palestinian land for settlements, there are no sanctions, just polite murmurs of disappointment and pleas not to do it again, which of course Israel ignores.
Will they persist with this do-nothing approach until the two-state solution is well and truly dead? Or do they count on Netanyahu changing his mind and supporting a Palestinian state? Or perhaps the Israelis electing a government that will do the right thing by the Palestinians?
The Palestinians are not optimistic about the latter. According to Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the PLO Central Council, “The problem is that the alternatives are no different from him when it comes to any Palestinian issue. … when it comes to Palestinians, I don’t see any peace camp in Israel.”
Barghouti’s pessimism is reflected in the views of both populations. Prior to the latest round of violence, only 35 percent of Israelis and 24 percent of Palestinians believe in a two-state solution. Neither seems willing to be further deceived by what increasingly appears to be a fallacy.
The Palestinians must be liberated. Israel, the United States and other parties must come up with the magic that will find justice for these beleaguered people. Otherwise, they are pushed more and more to the last resort for an oppressed people—terrorism—and surely we’ve seen more than enough of that.