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End of Palestine’s ‘great idea’

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Six weeks after the dramatic events of October 7, when Hamas massacred 1,200 Israelis and took hostage 240 Israeli civilians, the two sides agreed to a four-day ceasefire to allow for humanitarian aid into Gaza and exchange prisoners.

It was the first time since the Holocaust that so many Jews were killed in a single day.

What did the leadership of Hamas think when they were planning this attack or their sponsors in Iran?

Were they oblivious to the military reaction of the mighty IDF and the desire of the people of Israel not to merely seek revenge or punishment but rather the annihilation of Hamas?

Both the leadership of Hamas and their sponsors knew all too well of Israel’s reaction, and their political aim was primarily to sow division not only among the Arab world but also in the West. And to deliver a devastating blow to the new partnership between Saudi Arabia and Israel through the Abraham Accords set to restore their diplomatic relations.

Now the deal is frozen, and although Hamas is about to be obliterated on the ground, it is enjoying a spectacular international public relations success in convincing the masses of the supposed atrocities of the IDF, when in reality, no other army in the history of warfare went to such extraordinary lengths to keep civilians out of harm’s way.

Despite hopes of a quick solution for peace, the reality is that there can be none with Hamas in power or remnants of its leadership.

It’s as if we could expect peace in Europe with the Nazis still running Germany in the 1940s.

Although the UN is striving to save lives in Gaza, the UN Secretary-General seems to be having a hard time understanding the bigger picture of the conflict by calling for the disbandment of Hamas and their unconditional surrender.

Like the Nazis, who rose to power on a hatred agenda for the Jews and the communists, similarly, Hamas rose to power on the idea that only the destruction of the Jewish state can deliver divine justice and hope to the Palestinians.

Since the age of the Peloponnesian War, the history of human conflict offers great examples to draw lessons from on nearly every occasion, and Gaza is no exception.

Complicated conflict

True, the conflict in the Middle East is complicated by geography, history, and religion.

But it could have taken a different course if the main actors had considered historical examples and worked on realistic political solutions that could spare ordinary people much pain and suffering on both sides.

For much of the conflict’s history, the state of Israel was seen as the main problem by Palestinians and Arabs alike.

The greatest supporters of the Palestinian cause were some of the greatest dictators of the 20th century, including Saddam Hussein of Iraq, Muammar Gaddafi of Libya, and Ayatollah Khomeini of Iran.

They were all engaging in mass murder domestically and drawing legitimacy from their anti-American and anti-semitic platforms.

Hamas is a new version of this political ideology, and Israel, with the support of the United States, the UK and other European nations, is leading the fight against this terror.

It is no secret that Hamas is also appealing to many Palestinians with its idea of annihilating Israel today.

History offers good lessons.

At the beginning of the last century, when the Ottoman Empire began crumbling after the First World War, Greece felt it was a good idea to annex a large section of Asia Minor’s western coast where Greeks had lived for generations long before the Turks came to conquer what is now Turkey.

Uniting that piece of land with mainland Greece became known as the Great Idea or Megali Idea.

Great Britain lent its support to keep Constantinople for itself and create a diversion for the army of the Young Turks movement of Mustafa Kemal.

Such poorly thought ideas driven by selective history and passion are doomed to fail and create unimaginable disasters and suffering.

The Greeks not only suffered a humiliating military defeat, but they also lost the ancestral land of Smyrna and a Greek population that at the time was greater than Athens became forever refugees.

Now, the Palestinians are likely to lose whatever hope is left for a two-state solution.

After all, no Israeli government can muster enough political capital to pursue negotiations in that direction in the foreseeable future.

Despite what many believe about the future of a two-state solution, the world will ultimately understand the only reliable partner for peace is the stable and thriving democracy of Israel.

Unlike the Palestinians, who have failed to bring democracy to their land and live by the rule of law, the Israelis have proven that democracy and the rule of law are both possible and preferable for the region.

Now, Hamas will be buried along with whatever cause they were fighting for.

 

Michael Olympios is Editorial Consultant for the Financial Mirror