The Lessons of the Ramallah Lynching, Twenty Years On

Last Monday marked the twentieth anniversary of the gruesome murder of two Israeli soldiers who took a fateful wrong turn and found themselves in the Palestinian city of Ramallah. Thanks to the presence of an Italian television crew at the scene, the incident was captured on video, and the image of one of the perpetrators victoriously displaying his bloodstained hands to a cheering crowd is, as Nave Dromi puts it, “seared into the minds of all Israelis over thirty years old.” In Dromi’s evaluation, the killings—which came two weeks after the riots that began the second intifada—convinced a great number of his countrymen that, for many Palestinians, the “lust for Israeli blood was greater than [their] desire for statehood.”

When foreign commentators attempt to understand why Israelis have become consistently more hawkish in the years since, few understand the role of that image, and others, like the Passover massacre of 30 Israelis enjoying a holiday meal in a Netanya hotel in 2002, on our psyche. We were told that Palestinians, like us, want and desire peace. . . . If we just offered enough then there would be peace and an end to the conflict.

These are all myths that were cruelly shattered that day. . . . Even those who decided to make concessions in the future, like Ariel Sharon, would no longer predicate them on a belief that there is a partner for peace.

You cannot reason with people who delight in the shedding of your blood. The candies offered after every deadly suicide attack, and the Palestinian Authority’s ongoing obsession by the PA in incentivizing the shedding of Israeli blood through its “pay-for-slay” program, repeat this lesson in case we dare forget it.

Read more at Middle East Forum

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Second Intifada

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy