Wie Israel für das Überleben der Fatah sorgt

checkpointWhat has been lost, again, in Barack Obama’s final venting against Israel through his abstention in the United Nations Security Council resolution against all Israeli settlements on the West Bank and Jewish homes in East Jerusalem is how disconnected American foreign policy on this imbroglio has been from the larger issues riling the Middle East. The truth about Fatah’s security weaknesses is symptomatic of the truth about the Palestinians: They can exist as a non-Islamist polity only if Israel protects their attenuated nation-state. If the Jews pull back, then the militant Muslim faithful will probably recast the Palestinian identity, wiping away the secular Palestinian elite who have defined the Palestinian cause among Westerners since the Israelis and the Palestine Liberation Organization first started sparring with each other in 1964. (…)

Fatah’s men actually exist in the best of possible worlds: They enjoy undisputed mastery of Palestinian politics on the West Bank; they have established a perpetuating oligarchy; foreigners pay for their dominion; the Israelis rarely take credit for maintaining Fatah’s supremacy (which would further vitiate the group’s legitimacy), while the Palestinian Authority can lambaste the Israelis for a wide variety of sins, most surreally blaming the Jewish state for the inability of the Palestinian people to come together. Abbas’s men can unofficially condone, if not encourage, low-level violence against Israelis; through credit by association, Palestinians’ knifing Israelis helps Fatah stay competitive with the Islamists. Even if violence worsened, the Israelis probably wouldn’t stop protecting Hamas’s principal foe, the only instrument Jerusalem has for keeping Islamic militancy at bay without deploying far more of the Israeli Defense Forces.

Israelis who deal with Palestinians intimately have no illusions about Fatah’s staying power if the Jewish state’s protective umbrella were removed. They have no illusions how much damage one man could do with a medium-weight, long-range mortar – and a Palestinian wouldn’t even have to target the Ben Gurion International Airport to wreak havoc – if Israel didn’t have total control over the West Bank’s highlands. (…)

The Palestinian issue has risen in prominence under Obama not because it strategically merits our renewed attention but because the president has willed it. The Europeans, especially the French, have recently highlighted the imbroglio because that is what the French do, especially in the case of a socialist government that has become dependent upon the French Muslim vote, when it’s clear that is what Washington wants them to do. As a senior French official recently put it to me, if Paris had gotten Obama to engage forcefully on Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian issue likely would never have surfaced at the United Nations Security Council.“ (Reuel Marc Gerecht: „Protecting Palestine. Israel’s unacknowledged role on the West Bank“)

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