There Can Be No Palestinian State under the Rule of Hamas—or of the PLO

What are the effects of this war on the viability of some kind of Palestinian sovereignty? Yesterday, Evelyn Gordon argued in Mosaic that the Jewish state’s best safeguard against terrorism is occupying territory. Efraim Karsh takes this argument one step further:

Hamas’s latest aggression may well have driven the final nail in the coffin of the two-state solution. For one thing, while most Israelis have been disabused of the idea by Yasir Arafat’s war of terror and the subsequent confrontations with Hamas, Saturday’s horrendous massacres may convince other international players of the mortal dangers that would follow if Israel withdraws from key West Bank areas (which would be needed for a viable Palestinian state to exist).

After all, were such an invasion to ensue from a West Bank state, hordes of terrorists would be able to roam the more populous streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv in no time. What do two-state solution campaigners believe would happen then? What sovereign state could possibly allow a situation that would arise in which their citizens could be indiscriminately slaughtered on its streets?

What’s more, the grim brutality of Hamas’s recent atrocities may also draw international attention to the corrupt and oppressive nature of its regime. And just as the creation of free and democratic societies in Germany and Japan after World War II necessitated a comprehensive sociopolitical and educational transformation, so long as the West Bank and Gaza continue to be governed by Hamas’s (and the PLO’s) rule of the jungle, no Palestinian civil society, let alone a viable state, can possibly develop there.

Read more at Spectator

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, PLO, Two-State Solution


Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy