“If a crazy measure is taken against Damascus, I will need not more than 6 hours to transfer hundreds of rockets and missiles to the Golan Heights to fire them at Tel Aviv,” [Syrian President Bashar] Assad said after [Turkish FM] Davutoglu conveyed the United States’ warning message to him.
He also reiterated that Damascus will also call on Hezbollah in Lebanon to launch such an intensive rocket and missile attack on Israel that the Israeli spy agencies could never imagine.
“All these events will happen in three hours, but in the second three hours, Iran will attack the US warships in the Persian Gulf and the US and European interests will be targeted simultaneously,” Assad said. — FARS News Service, Iran
Israel is reported to have warned Assad earlier this year that if he attacked Israel, it would respond by personally targeting him. This is an appropriate response to a gangster. Israel certainly has no interest in killing (other) Syrians, who are not responsible for wild beast Assad’s actions.
I mention this threat to make a point that I’ve made before, but that bears repeating by everyone who tries to explain the Israeli-Arab conflict:
It is not primarily about the Palestinian Arabs, although they often represent the violent interface of it. The overall problem facing Israel is that the Arab world, plus Iran and now Turkey, wants to destroy Israel. One of their greatest weapons, in the war on the ground, in the information war and in the diplomatic war — all three are being waged simultaneously — is the Palestinian Arabs. But it isn’t about them, any more than what used to be called ‘the war on terrorism’ was about terrorism.
Most of the anti-Israel propaganda we see is devoted to obscuring this fact. It deals with Palestinian rights, ‘occupation’, incidents involving Palestinians, settlements, etc. It never mentions the Iranian nuclear threat, Hizballah’s 40,000 rockets, Hamas’ constantly improving military capabilities, Syrian chemical weapons, the possibility that Egypt will become a confrontation state again, the new-found belligerence of Turkey, etc.
Whenever Arab or Iranian hostility to Israel is mentioned, it is said to be a consequence of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. But we can see that this can’t be the case, both from the fact that the Arab countries treat Palestinians worse than Israel and because of the antisemitic and religious nature of the hatred for Israel that is commonly expressed by officials of the Arab and Iranian regimes, their media and their religious leaders.
The conflict is mis-described in so many ways. Even the Palestinian part of it is often explained as soluble by a territorial compromise leading to a ‘two-state solution’. Of course we know that for the Palestinians, this ‘solution’ includes a ‘right of return’ and no recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, which transforms the territorial conflict into an existential one.
The overall situation in the Middle East is quite complicated, with Sunni-Shiite tension, the competing ambitions of Iran, Turkey and Egypt for leadership of the region, the struggles between Islamists, nationalists and even a few democrats to dominate the states where long-time dictators are being deposed, the contest to control Mediterranean natural gas, the instability in Saudi Arabia, the coming food crisis, etc. The situation changes as time passes — Iran was locked in war with Iraq for more than a decade, which kept it from expressing its greater regional ambitions, for example — but superimposed on all of it has always been the imperative to reject and destroy Israel.
These conflicts are independent, in a way. If Israel disappeared the rest of it would continue, and if all the Arabs, Turkey and Iran found a way to make a comprehensive peace between themselves, they would still want to destroy Israel.
Just keep repeating this: it’s not about Palestine, it’s about Israel.