Israel humiliated the Palestinians, but then humiliated herself. Both nations are perfect scapegoats for the international community: Palestinian terrorists and their Jewish oppressors. Israel allows a stream of Jew-hatred in the Arab media; Mubarak publicly called Sharon—a prime minister—an idiot. Israel shows herself to be powerless, unable to fight Arab guerrillas—though Syria and Egypt crushed them easily through inhumane means. Egypt routinely represses the Muslim Brotherhood, and Jordan banned Hamas, but Egypt and Jordan both push Israel to cooperate with Hamas. Jordan, Egypt, and Lebanon shelled Palestinian refugee camps; Israel’s reluctance to do likewise provokes her enemies. Every Arab country refuses to assimilate Palestinian refugees and bans them from many occupations. Yet the same Arabs decry Israeli mistreatment of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Palestinians generally. The Arab countries use the Palestinians as pawns in an ideological struggle with their own nations and in a political struggle with Israel.

Israeli politicians realize that the public is entirely against negotiating with the Palestinians, and do so secretly; Sharon broke off talks with the PLO weeks before the 1992 elections after the Israeli media revealed them. Peres and Rabin pushed the Oslo process through while excluding even the inner cabinet ministers and the IDF staff from the negotiations—and the Oslo process failed. History cannot be altered at will. The Oslo participants deferred the burning issues of Jerusalem, refugees, and settlements to the final stage of the negotiations—and now stumble against them; Rabin and Peres pretended the problems would go away, but they didn’t. Neither could Arafat stem the tide of history: suicide bombings in Israel in 1996 brought the somewhat anti-Oslo Netanyahu to power. Abbas shows a different, more militant face to his people than to Israel and the world; the Israeli establishment knows this and concurs.

No one needs a peace settlement; neither the Saudis nor the Syrians, Palestinians, or Egyptians. The Egyptians tolerate Hamas’ smuggling of weapons into Gaza as part of the typical Arab strategy of mildly bugging an enemy (Israel, in this case) and watching to see how it might benefit from the enemy’s problems. Egypt doesn’t want other Arab countries to establish peace with Israel, but wants to remain the regional arbiter, a conduit between Israel and the Muslim world. An independent Palestinian state in the West Bank is Jordan’s nightmare, since it would galvanize Jordan’s Palestinian majority and break the monarchy. The Saudis offered a ridiculous peace plan they know Israel wouldn’t accept, but Israel bends over backwards to show her good faith in the plan no one intended to succeed. The US doesn’t need peace: the peace process balances the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but once peace ensues, US actions will only be considered anti-Muslim.

Israel’s fixation on peace with the Palestinians is absurd. The other Arabs don’t care much about the Palestinians. If Israel signs a peace deal with Palestine, other Arabs will see the peace as a product of the Palestinian struggle rather than of Israeli goodwill, and thus an Israeli defeat. After the Palestinians soundly defeated Israel and obtained statehood, other Muslim nations might be emboldened to fight Israel. Syria is a much bigger problem than Palestine. Though not capable of defeating Israel, Syria can shower her with missiles while enjoying Iran’s nuclear protection against Israeli retaliation. A peace treaty with Syria, even in exchange for the Golan Heights, would only remain on paper.

Israel cannot count on any country. America embargoed arms shipments to Israel during the 1948 war, came to the brink of fighting Israel on behalf of Egypt in 1956 and 1967, and only helped Israel in 1973 to counter the expansion of Soviet influence in the Middle East. That year, at the peak of the Cold War and during the largest Middle East war ever, the Europeans closed their airspace to the American airlift to Israel. At a critical time, Israel could be left without a foreign sponsor. It is senseless to abide by the wishes of an American administration and relinquish our meager strategic depth of defense now if American support is not assured later.