Israel after the Flotilla Debacle

Maybe this is the wake-up call that Israel needs before acquiescing to a "Two-State Solution."

In the aftermath of the Flotilla Debacle, Israel finds herself mired in an unmitigated public relations conundrum. She was backed into a corner by clever propagandists, Hamas supporters, anti-Zionist extremist NGOs, hostile neighbors including an increasingly radicalized Turkish government, and a liberationist Left that invariably roots for the wrong underdog.

Israel encountered the Flotilla Debacle because she rightfully was blockading Gaza from acquiring new boatloads of weapons. For years, the Arabs of Gaza surreptitiously have obtained rockets, grenades, and anti-tank missiles, in attempts by land and by sea, for the purpose of destroying their Jewish neighbor. As a terrorist polity run by actual murderers who seized power from other terrorists by killing them, Hamas-run Gaza should be blockaded. Their other neighbor, Moslem Egypt, has blockaded Gaza, too.

Israel must blockade Gaza because Hamas uses its polity to acquire weapons to destroy Jews across their common border, in towns like Sderot and in cities like Ashkelon and Ashdod. Hamas enjoys that power because her terrorists seized Gaza from Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah organization, which previously had ruled both "halves" of the "Palestine Authority" -- the "West Bank," which Abbas and Fatah still control, and Gaza. Abbas and Fatah initially came into their control because Yasser Arafat received a new political entity, a "Palestine Authority," as part of the Oslo Accords of 1993. In the Oslo Accords, which won Nobel Peace Prizes for Arafat, for Israeli Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin, and for his predecessor Shimon Peres, Israel agreed to cede governance over those two regions in return for Palestinian Arab pledges of a new era marked by civility and renewed understanding between and among people searching for peaceful coexistence.

No sooner did Israel cede the areas of Gaza and the "West Bank" to Arafat than the latter began leveraging the unprecedented tools of governance -- national radio and television media, newspapers, control over schools, and even the power to name streets and town squares -- for the purpose of inculcating his population to hate venomously. School textbooks and summer camps taught and even trained Palestinian Arab children to hate Jews. Palestinian television began airing children's programs akin to "Sesame Street," but modified with an agenda to indoctrinate children not only to hate Jews, but also to desire suicide-bombing martyrdom. Rabidly hateful anti-Jewish mosque sermons were televised and broadcast on radio on Fridays. Town squares were named for terrorists who had proven especially effective in mass-murdering targeted Jewish victims.

If there had been any chance before the Oslo Agreement for Israel and the Arabs of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza to reach a meaningful and lasting peace, that hope ironically was torpedoed by the Oslo Accords. Amid the celebratory camera bulbs flashing at awards ceremonies in the faces of the 1994 Nobel Laureates credited with actualizing the Accords -- much as they had flashed in Washington, D.C. when President Bill Clinton brought Messrs. Arafat and Rabin together for the Agreement's signing -- the foundation was being laid to set back peace for a generation and more. With unprecedented opportunity, Yasser Arafat now would be a president with a territorial springboard for fomenting worse. He would name advisors and a cabinet, an Education Minister, a Communications Minister, and he would have authority and government funding to sow the malignant seeds of such social venom that Israel soon would face a new kind of enemy on her eastern front worse than any she had encountered before. 

In time, Arafat would die, and his life-long lieutenant, Mahmoud Abbas, would carry on the vision. However, a newer and deeper hate had been transmitted during Arafat's years laying the Palestine Authority's foundations. Palestinian terrorists had moved on from the occasional Olympic massacre, airline hijacking, and Ma'alot or Kiryat Shmoneh outrage to the more prevalent suicide bombings that eventually would span the globe. Arafat had launched one Intifada, then another, wreaking havoc along the front with Israel, fomenting passions and hate beyond anything ever stirred by the governments of Jordan or Lebanon. Possibly to his own surprise, too, Arafat even found sympathy abroad for his Intifadists, from European capitals to liberationist NGOs and churches, with choreographed images of his slingshot-pointing "Davids" facing off against the Israeli "Goliath." Western civilization could be won over by suitably framed pictures, notwithstanding the more complicated substantive context behind the photos.

Arafat died, but he nonetheless gave birth to the Hamas that drove Al-Fatah out of Gaza, creating a quintessential Outlaw State in Gaza under Hamas governance. This Hamas State soon found itself wielding the same reins of power that other governments have: not only propaganda tools -- school textbooks, the power to name town squares and to control media propaganda -- but also control over military weapons. Soon, Hamas was tolerating and even encouraging rocketing missiles into Israel. Israeli leaders like Ehud Barak and old warhorse Ariel Sharon found themselves stymied, even exhausted, ultimately willing to take "risks for peace," ceding Gush Katif and withdrawing the Israeli military presence from Gaza. It now would devolve onto Hamas to prove itself worthy of governance.

Time has told. Hamas became only bolder. Instead of targeting Gush Katif within Gaza, Islamofascist terrorists now inch closer, raining destruction across the border onto the Israeli towns like Sderot and Israeli cities like Ashdod. Weapons can be launched with greater impunity, restricted only by access to adequate rearmament. As Hamas has bored tunnels beneath its southern border with Egypt to continue restocking its missiles and weapons of destruction, and has tried importing heavy materiel by sea, Israel has been compelled to blockade.

There are Western "statesmen" throughout Europe and America, from Tony Blair to the Obama administration -- and the Bush White House before it -- who have advised Israel that the only road to lasting peace is the "Two State Solution." If only Israel will acquiesce and cede vast amounts of Judea and Samaria to Abbas, much as Israel ceded Gush Katif and Gaza before, and agree to withdraw her military from the West Bank, Israel will find Palestinian Arabs immersing themselves peacefully and productively with the constructive responsibilities of governing themselves. 

'Tis not so. For all the public relations damage that this week's Flotilla Debacle has caused Israel, the experience can redound to Israel's benefit if she perceives the wake-up call. A "Two State Solution" will not bring her peace on her eastern front, nor a harmonious coexistence with irredentist polities dedicated to her destruction from both her sides. Until Palestinian Arab leaders and the Arab world recognize the Jewish right to be sovereign anywhere in Israel and agree to internationally authorized conditions that enable Israel to assure permanent Palestinian Arab disarmament both in Judea-Samaria and in Gaza, she dare not contemplate siren calls of a "Two State Solution," or she will face future nightmares that make this week's Flotilla Debacle seem like a holiday cruise.

Dov Fischer is a legal affairs consultant and adjunct professor of the law of civil procedure and advanced torts. He was formerly Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review and writes extensively on political, cultural, and religious issues.  He is the author of General Sharon's War Against Time Magazine and blogs at