Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Before I begin this essay, first I must admit that I have a disproportionate number of Jewish friends. This is partly because of a career in finance and entrepreneurial endeavors, but it has always been the case. I did not grow up with money. My parents cherished good public schools and safe neighborhoods, which also attracted like-minded Jewish families. I’ve always had Jewish friends and still do. Close friends. I have an affinity for Jews.
I’ve also worked in venture capital for an enterprise funded by the Jordanian crown and by the ruling families of the UAE and Kuwait. My Arab counterparts (I was CFO) were also highly educated and prosperous, generous, fine folks. I can tell you honestly that they bore no ill will toward Jews or Israel, were fully westerized, and loved America. They taught me a lot about the Arab and Muslim world, at that time undergoing its modern fundamentalist reformation.
I doubt that any Arab countries really want to deal with the Palestinian problem. They all know the history of the area and its people. They know, for example, that the area in question was controlled by Jews for many centuries, lost, of course, to the Roman empire, retaken, lost to the Ottoman Empire, then placed under British control and resettled after WWI. It was recognized as Israel in 1948.
During its centuries within the Ottoman Empire, it was considered largely a worthless land, populated only in its few arable valleys by poor farmers, and even then, it was not considered a particularly fruitful area. The poor farmers who lived there paid little in rent to their Emir landlords. Further, it was a frontier, an arid no-man’s land and lawless. Inhabitants were regularly harassed and attacked by bands of violent Bedouins who traversed the area.
When the Jews began resettling during British control around 1930, they tried to purchase land wherever possible. It was such a problem that the Brits had to restrict Jewish land purchases to non-arable areas and require a one-year notice to local Muslim renters to quell rising resentment for these new Jewish neighbors. Further, Jewish settlers used abstemious irrigation technology to turn worthless land into productive farmland, growing mainly citrus that found its way to European markets. This success did not inure them to the local Muslim farmers who had no capital and still struggled with traditional crops and farming methods.
Britain’s promotion of the Jewish state of Israel was perhaps as much a wish to remove itself from the local politics of Jewish resettlement than a wholehearted embrace of a new Israeli state. Soon, major Jewish investment land funds, sponsored by wealth from American and European Jewry, began buying up property in earnest and encouraging Jews from around the world to migrate there. The absentee Emir landowners of scale were happy to be done with it. Many of the remaining Muslim residents found themselves displaced or isolated, and had to move to other Arab nations.
Many integrated successfully into their new environs in the Arab and Muslim world, but there remained a core of those newly minted “Palestinian refugees” who resented their displacement and could not assimilate. These were the anti-Zionists, who found respite in their resentment among other antisemitic Muslims in their resident countries. All the while, there was a fundamentalist revival going on in the Muslim world, among both the Shia and Sunni, and this also rejuvenated the old Jew-hatred of pre-colonial Islam.
Under various banners, these truculent “refugees” were organized as the Palestinian Liberation Authority, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, the Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and various other groups vying to restore their domination of the land that is now Israel. Their zeal did not stop with Israel, however, and this led to problems within their adoptive countries. Hence, when Gaza opened for resettlement, Lebanon, Jordan, and Egypt took full advantage and essentially expelled the Palestinian refugee troublemakers from their countries. None of these Israeli neighbors wanted to harbor these dissidents, violent, uncontrollable zealots who were bent on terrorizing Israel. It would place Israel’s neighbors and their people in close proximity to the terror war chaos and ripe for Israeli retaliation.
Born-again Arab and Muslim nations further from Israel were and remain smart enough to keep terrorists, even those that they covertly support, out of their countries. Hence, Saudi Arabia forced Bin Laden and Al Qaeda to seek refuge in Afghanistan. Iran funds and trains Hezbollah, but in Lebanon. ISIS, with a similar mission to return the Caliphate, was relegated to Syria and parts of the Iraqi frontier.
Here is where it gets interesting. The majority of Arab and other Muslim countries know that these Palestinian refugees remain a problem that they do not want to re-import. Despite any underlying shared antisemitic, anti-Zionist leanings, they know that Israel is a determined and potent adversary with a superior claim to the land of Israel than the claims of this rabble of self-identified refugees, now generations from their exodus.
These nations also know that war with Israel will not likely end well, especially with the US as Israel’s backstop. Even Iran and the Turks know this. So it is best for all concerned that Hamas be quickly and utterly defeated, with a following surge of Israeli and international aid to rebuild Gaza (and the West Bank) and where anti-Israeli resentment can never smolder again.
So I don’t fear Turkish saber-rattling or Iran’s belligerence. Israel must move quickly and deliberately to destroy Hamas. Ignore the nattering ninnies. No quarter.
Waste not a minute.Published in