Lutwak’s Tough but Realistic View of Hamas

Lutwak’s Tough but Realistic View of Hamas

Edward N. Lutwak is a well-known defense intellectual with moderately conservative leanings.  His analysis is acerbic and harsh, but his hard-nosed grasp of historical and current reality contains a large element of truth.  Notice, for example, that he clearly implies that the expansion of West Bank settlements is an obstacle to peace; on the other hand, he completely omits the complex ups & downs of the 1990s peace process.  Still, one can read his piece in Tablet as a reasonable counter to viewpoints that always place Israel at fault in this conflict.  Here’s an important snippet:

Hamas today is in the same position as Yasser Arafat once was: sacrificing its people to a corrupted ideal
By Edward N. Luttwak September 16, 2014  

. . .  Arafat in 1974, like Hamas now, was entirely unwilling to accept what reality had to offer. He still demanded all of Israel for his Palestine, in effect asking the Israelis to surrender to his puny forces just after they had defeated the two most heavily armed Arab states. Another 14 years would pass before Arafat finally gave up his fantasy to issue a grudging recognition of the existence of an Israeli state within the 1967 lines in December 1988. By then, the West Bank was dotted with Israeli settlements, and the accumulated reaction to decades of threats and aggressions had shifted the balance of Israeli politics against a withdrawal. That Israel’s complete withdrawal from the Gaza strip on Sept. 1, 2005, became the prelude to unending conflict instead of the construction of a Palestinian state, only reinforces the unwillingness to make the same experiment in the West Bank.

Hamas today is exactly in the same position as Arafat once was. Like him, it can command the services of young men dolled up to look like formidable warriors, only a few of whom can withstand close combat with Israel’s properly trained infantry. Like Arafat in Lebanon until 1982, Hamas can launch mostly ineffectual rockets into Israel but cannot blunt Israeli air and artillery counter-attacks which can destroy any identifiable target at will.

Like Arafat in the 1970s, Hamas can exploit its underdog status to attract the sympathy of the unreflective, and because of its Islamic identity it can attract global Muslim support from Detroit to Islamabad and beyond, to a greater extent than Arafat ever could in his prolonged “secular, democratic” phase, before he went Islamic in the year 2000 Al-Aqsa Intifada, supposedly launched to protect the mosque.  . . .  [Click here to read the entire article.]
By | 2014-09-17T13:24:00-04:00 September 17th, 2014|Blog|0 Comments

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