Wistful in Jerusalem

(Weekly Standard)- Elliott Abrams- Israelis look north to Syria and see the savagery, the massacres, the now over 14,000 dead, and the world doing absolutely nothing. "You get no help in this region if you are weak," one IDF general said to me. "It is a reminder to us of just what would have happened to us and could still if we were not strong enough to defend ourselves. But now we watch as these women and children are slaughtered and no one acts to save them. It's up to the Arabs and to Europe and to you [the United States]. And you do nothing." The Israelis know their security is tied to the United States, and no country in the world roots with more energy than Israel for American success and American power. So when we refuse to use it, they shake their heads and wonder why, what does it mean, what are the causes, where does it lead? You could stop the killing in Syria in a week, they say. Think of the lives you would save - and it would hurt Iran and Hizbullah. And then there is Iran. One Israeli official told me: We do what we do well, but you guys are so much bigger, you have so much more. Israel can damage the Iranian project, we can set them back, really. But if we had the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force, well, they would come to the table and give up their program or they would lose it in 24 hours. Israelis do not see their world collapsing, just changing to present a few more threats. The Sinai was quiet for decades, as was the Golan, but who can say if they will be in a year or two? What does Israel do if terrorists strike Eilat from Sinai - nothing, even if there is loss of life, or do they violate Egyptian sovereignty and chase the terrorists across the border? The king of Jordan is managing well through the "Arab Spring," but if first Egypt and perhaps some day Syria come under Muslim Brotherhood control won't the Brotherhood seek more power in Jordan? None of the Israelis with whom I spoke expect President Abbas to sign a final status agreement, ever. The Mahmoud Abbas who rejected Olmert's generous peace 2008 offer and who is currently negotiating with Hamas is not widely viewed as a very likely peace partner.

2012-06-19 00:00:00

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