Here we are, nearly at the start of Ramadan, and as promised the Israel Defense Forces has begun withdrawing its elite units from the territory of the Palestinian Authority, so as not to spoil the holiday for its inhabitants. Our soldiers return empty-handed, and IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz declared that fear for the lives of the abducted teens is growing. That was the reverse of his previous declarations, according to which the army’s working hypothesis is that they are still alive.
- Netanyahu’s new Middle East equations: Iraq=Iran and Hamas=Al-Qaida + ISIS
- The enemy of our enemy is our enemy
- ISIS forging ahead as Iraq's allies dither
- How the West got the Middle East all wrong
Defense correspondents have their own way of describing such situations. Writing in Haaretz, Amos Harel spoke of lowering the expectations for the operation. And Ron Ben-Yishai, at Ynet, wrote that the search for the teens has been put in the hands of the intelligence services, and that “could even take years.”
It’s not clear who came up with the idea of sending the mothers of the abducted teenagers to address the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, whose members are not known for shedding sentimental tears on our behalf. It was not surprising that while the mothers were shedding tears before an apathetic audience, the UN Security Council was being asked to condemn Israel over Operation Brother’s Keeper. The request was withdrawn only due to the objection of U.S. President Barack Obama.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took the reins during the military operation, doing frequent stand-ups in the field like the IDF spokesman. His thinning hair waving in the wind, his shirt open at the neck — Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon to his right and Gantz to his left, loaded rifle slung across his chest — and reports from time to time on the forces’ advance through the territory of the PA. He denounces Mahmoud Abbas, even though the Palestinian president actually had the courage to condemn the kidnapping and its perpetrators before foreign ministers from Muslim states.
The only thing Bibi was missing was a map, so he could point to the homes and cellars our soldiers were searching. Of course, he didn’t miss the opportunity to criticize Obama in a public broadcast in New York.
All the above is to say that while we are focused on ourselves, a genuine world drama is taking place. The surrounding states are in the process of being brought down by Islamic extremists. The Middle East is undergoing tectonic shifts. The countries and the regimes around and on top of us are collapsing or about to collapse. Syria, Iraq, Libya and so on. Hezbollah is the de facto ruler in Lebanon, Al-Qaida and Islamic Jihad are a threat to Cairo through their creeping takeover in Sinai, not to mention the Muslim Brotherhood.
Jordan, too, which shares a border with Syria and has its own domestic troubles, could fall to the forces of darkness. These forces, which mercilessly slaughter thousands of people standing in rows, as the Nazis did, recognize no borders. In effect, they are erasing the boundaries set by England and France in the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916.
Regimes are falling, and genocidal terror organizations with enormous capabilities and few inhibitions pose a potential danger to us from three sides. Shi’ites, Sunnis, Kurds, and soon we’ll be back to the days of the Caliphate. The covert connection between Israel and the Sissi regime in Egypt is no coincidence, when the dark forces are gradually establishing their regional base in Sinai. Iran has good reason not to tangle with us, not to mention that Tehran has its own troubles to deal with. Also not a coincidence was Saudi Arabia’s notification that it wants to be involved in any Israeli-Palestinian agreement. It’s not clear why Israel hasn’t taken the hint.
Former Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, a kind of local Vilna Gaon, recently said that while the U.S. administration has an obligation to uphold Israeli security, we can only rely on ourselves. Chutzpah, in light of the fact that the Obama administration is up to its neck in the military aid it gives us. The Israeli optimist would say that for now, our situation is alright. Bibi even deigned to praise Abbas for condemning the West Bank kidnapping. But everybody knows that our problem is neither Abbas nor Sara Netanyahu’s new garden furniture, but rather the government’s inability to see one step ahead. We will yet miss Hamas.