From an LA Times op-ed:
“Reporting from Jerusalem — The images from the fighting in Gaza are harrowing but ultimately deceptive. They portray a mighty invading army, one equipped with F-16 jets that have bombed a civilian population defended by a few thousand fighters armed with primitive rockets. But widen the lens and the true nature of this conflict emerges. Hamas, like Hezbollah in Lebanon, is a proxy for the real enemy Israel is confronting: Iran.”
And why is Iran so powerful in the Middle East these days? One obvious answer is that George Bush decided to remove Saddam from power in Iraq. The foreseeable and foreseen consequence of this was the empowerment of a Iran-leaning, Shiite majority in Iraq. A newly threatened Israel is one of the Bush legacies.
Strangely enough, the authors of this piece welcome the new enemy because now “the Middle East conflict is no longer just about creating a Palestinian state but about preventing the region’s takeover by radical Islam.” This, they say, presents Israel with “a unique chance to deal a strategic blow” beginning with their operation against Hamas.
Jeebus. As to what form this “strategic blow” might take, we aren’t told (invade and occupy Lebanon, Gaza, Iran, Syria???). All I can say is that Israel’s only real hope seems to be the “two state solution” and that will happen only when passions are defused, and moderates are empowered enough to negotiate it.
Radicals want the opposite. Like al Qaeda, Hamas would like nothing better than to portray themselves a leaders of grand fight between Islam and the west, with themselves going eyeball to eyeball with Israel. If the “middle east conflict is no longer about the creation of a Palestinian state but a fight between Israel and radical Islam”, I don’t see how this moves the process forward.