There Is No "Israeli-Palestinian Conflict"

(New York Times) Matti Friedman - To someone here in Israel, there isn't an Israeli-Palestinian conflict in the way that many outsiders seem to think. In the Israeli view, no peacemaker can bring the two sides together because there aren't just two sides. There are many, many sides. Most of Israel's wars haven't been fought against Palestinians. Since the invasion of five Arab armies at the declaration of the State of Israel in May 1948, the Palestinians have made up a small number of the combatants facing the country. Today Israel's most potent enemy is the Shiite theocracy in Iran, which is more than 1,000 miles away and isn't Palestinian or Arab. The gravest threat to Israel at close range is Hizbullah on our northern border, an army of Lebanese Shiites founded and funded by the Iranians. A threat of a lesser order is posed by Hamas, which is Palestinian - but was founded as the local incarnation of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and is kept afloat with Qatari cash and backed by Iran. There are also Islamic State-affiliated insurgents on our border with Egypt's Sinai. By framing it as only an "Israeli-Palestinian" conflict, Israelis seem stronger, more prosperous and more numerous. But many in Israel believe that an agreement signed by a Western-backed Palestinian leader in the West Bank won't end the conflict, because it will wind up creating a power vacuum destined to be filled by intra-Muslim chaos or Iranian proxies. That's exactly what has happened around us in Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

2019-01-16 00:00:00

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