No Peace While World War Rages: Until the Islamist Movement Is Failing and in Retreat, There Can Be No Durable Resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, No Matter How Much Israelis Want It and No Matter How Strenuously Americans Push

By May, Clifford D. | Moment, March-April 2010 | Go to article overview

No Peace While World War Rages: Until the Islamist Movement Is Failing and in Retreat, There Can Be No Durable Resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, No Matter How Much Israelis Want It and No Matter How Strenuously Americans Push


May, Clifford D., Moment


Israel's American supporters spend a lot of energy trying to convince people that Israelis want peace, are working for peace and are prepared to sacrifice for peace. All that's true but it misses this point: Militant jihadis are waging a war against the "infidel" West They see Israel as a frontline state. There is no way they will permit a separate peace for Israel.

I realize this stands on its head the long-held and widespread belief that resolving the Israeli-Palestinian question would help us prevail over Islamist extremists elsewhere in the world. But that's like saying repealing the law of gravity would make it easier for us to fly. Yes, it would; but we can't, so why delude ourselves?

After September 11, 2001, the Bush administration spoke of a "Global War On Terrorism" (GWOT).The phrase is imprecise, but at least it conveyed the idea of an international campaign against an enemy who routinely violates the most fundamental Laws of War. The Obama administration has rejected the term. Its spokesmen sometimes refer instead to "global contingency operations," a term that seems to willfully disconnect the dots.

More recently, President Barack Obama has said that we are fighting a war against Al Qaeda. That's better, but still inadequate--akin to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in 1941, saying we were fighting a war against the Wehrmacht, the armed forces of Germany. In truth, we were at war with violent, supremacist ideologies and regimes--e.g. Nazi, Fascist, Japanese militarist--all of them intent on the conquest and destruction of free nations. Understanding this, Americans braced themselves for a great struggle.

Today, we confront ideologies that are similarly violent and supremacist--e.g. Khomeinism, bin Ladenism, Wahha-bism--and no less intent on the conquest and destruction of free nations. Too many Americans do not grasp this and are not prepared for the tough measures necessary to limit, contain and eventually defeat these enemies.

Israel's existence is a particular irritation to the Islamists because the modern Jewish state was established on land Muslim armies once conquered.They therefore consider every inch of Israeli soil an "endowment from Allah to the Muslims." To leave it under the domination of "unbelievers" one day longer than necessary would be a sin. To accept the existence of a Jewish state on a permanent basis would be nothing less than apostasy.

The beliefs and goals of Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Iran's mullahs, Hezbollah, Hamas and a long list of other Islamist groups are not identical, but much more unites them than divides them. All embrace a militant understanding of Islam. All justify their aggression and their terrorism theologically. All believe that a final, decisive and divinely ordained jihad--holy war--is now under way.

On one side is the dar al-Islam, literally the "realm of submission," the parts of the world governed by Sharia, Islamic law as they interpret it. On the other side is the dar al-Harb, literally "the realm of war," those countries ruled by Christians, Jews, Hindus and moderate Muslims who oppose them and therefore are "enemies of God. …

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No Peace While World War Rages: Until the Islamist Movement Is Failing and in Retreat, There Can Be No Durable Resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, No Matter How Much Israelis Want It and No Matter How Strenuously Americans Push
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