Israel under the microscope

No matter how many times the Palestinians prove to the world in word and deed that they are a cog in the war against the West — with an emphasis on annihilating the Jewish state — Europe and America continue to insist that this is not so. What the Palestinians really need, according to anyone who doesn’t speak Arabic, is a “peace process” with Israel that results in a “two-state solution.”

Never mind that both Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization teach their children and preach to their congregants that killing Jews is a duty and a privilege. Let’s ignore the fact that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas made a speech at the U.N. General Assembly on Thursday worthy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Forget about all of this inconvenient verbiage, even when it is backed up by heavy weapons.

No, of far greater concern is the Israeli prime minister’s announcement on Sunday of the construction of new housing units in the E1 area that connects Jerusalem to the city of Maaleh Adumim. Such talk constitutes a “provocation.” And “Israeli provocations” prevent “peace-making.”

As false as even the Palestinians themselves would acknowledge this is, one has to understand its root. The U.S. and the EU are helpless when it comes to exerting leverage over the Arab-Muslim world. It makes sense for them to want to apply pressure where it might have some effect. Knocking on an open door is always preferable to trying to beat down a bolted one. Since Israel is the only true democracy in the Middle East, and is culturally more Western than Eastern, it is responsive to both internal and external criticism.

This is not the case with Israel’s neighbors, which is why Iran is about to have nuclear arms; Syrians are being slaughtered in the streets; Tunisians, Libyans and Algerians are being subjected to unspeakable tyranny; and Egypt is about to ratify a new constitution based on Shariah law.

Though many Egyptians are back in Tahrir Square screaming against President Mohammed Morsi’s megalomaniacal power grab, I would wager that they won’t be able to topple him as they were his predecessor, Hosni Mubarak. Morsi took steps to ensure a long tenure for himself and the Muslim Brotherhood he represents.

One of these steps was to restrict the judiciary. Another was to curry favor with the U.S., a feat he accomplished with little effort, thanks to its disproportionate focus on Israel.

To get a sense of what awaits the Egyptian people and the rest of the ever-Islamizing region, one need only glance at some excerpts of the new constitution (translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute), which will be put to a referendum on Dec. 15.

Article 1 defines the Egyptian people as “part of the Islamic nation.”

Article 2 defines Islam as the “state religion” and “the principles of Islamic Shariah” as “the main source of legislation.”

Article 6 states that “the political system is based upon the principles of democracy and shura [an Islamic principle obligating the ruler to consult with authoritative advisers].”

Article 10 states: “The family is the basis of society and is founded on religion, morality, and patriotism. The state and society strive to preserve the genuine character of the Egyptian family, its cohesion and stability, and to protect its moral values, all as regulated by law.”

Article 44 states that “insult or abuse of all religious messengers and prophets shall be prohibited.”

This document was probably not discussed at last week’s ninth annual Saban Forum in Washington, which was devoted to “U.S.-Israeli Relations in a Changing Environment,” following the Gaza war and Abbas’ successful bid for nonmember status at the U.N.

What did emerge at the VIP-filled conference was an attack on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff. Emanuel accused Netanyahu of having “bet on the wrong man [Mitt Romney] — and lost.”

Though the comment was made in a closed, off-the-record session, Emanuel would never have said it without the consent of his buddy, President Barack Obama. And the message was loud and clear: While the goings-on in the Arab world might warrant a modicum of observation from the sidelines, Israel is under the microscope, front and center, and had better watch its step.

Ruthie Blum is the author of “To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the Arab Spring.”

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