BLOG 517

May 17, 2021


Each week Robert L. Wise, Ph.D., explores the Middle Eastern situation, ranging from Egypt through Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the surrounding area. Wise first traveled to Israel and the neighboring countries in 1968. Two of his sons taught in Jordan and Lebanon universities. Wise presents an objective view of the behind the scenes situation in these countries.


Last week’s blog ended with “something like this weekend’s confrontation always has the potential to erupt into a major nation-wide war. Let’s hope not.” Unfortunately, I was right on target. Israel and Hamas as well as the Palestinians now stand on the edge of a full-scale war. You may be asking yourself how this could have exploded so quickly. Actually, it has been simmering for a long time. Here are some of the factors that merged at  the right moment for a horrendous confrontation.


The Muslim holy month  (April to May) has always been a time of increased tension and violence against the Jews. While the month of Ramadan is supposedly to be a time of peace, Muslim extremists have turned it into a period of attack. Israelis know they must be extra protective during this time. The fact that the attack began on the Temple Mount with youth coming out of the Al-Aksa Mosque is consistent with Ramadan’s period of increased tension.


As unbelievable as it appears, Israel is preparing for a fourth election that should have been settled years ago. The legal problems of Prime Minister Netanyahu fueled political indecision about his office as well as confronting him with the possibility of going to jail. Those problems add up to a sense that at this moment Israel is vulnerable. While thoughtful inquirers know Israel can defeat an Arab attack, the Palestinians don’t think that way. This seemed to them to be a good moment to attack.

  • The Trump factor

During the four-years of the Trump administration, the USA appeared to be unequivocally on the side of Israel with no concern for the Palestinian issues. While this made for a good show in Republican politics, it left the Palestinians with the conclusion they had no support in Washington for their own legitimate claims and needs. When the Palestinian cause appeared hopeless, they turned to violence.

  • Palestinian Elections

With elections scheduled in the West Bank on May 22 and July 31, what better way to garner votes than to cross the line and attack Israel. The assaults with rockets and bottles came at the right moment to declare solidarity with the Arab cause. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas can now blame Israel if the election is cancelled in an attempt to avoid blame for his not holding elections for over a decade.

  • Iran

Iran always enjoys seeing Israel bleed. As the world’s number one terrorism exporter, they have been the source of providing those countless rockets fired on Israel over the years and particularly at this moment. They are testing the Iron Dome’s ability  to defeat these attacks. So far, Israel is winning that struggle.


What does the future hold? A communique came this week from Yitzhak Sokoloff in Israel whose daughter serves in the Army and has been in bomb shelters this past week. He writes,

I don’t know where things are headed and I’m not sure that anyone does. As I write tonight from my part-time home in Yerucham, the Red Alert application keeps buzzing every few seconds with warnings for the Israeli towns and cities about to receive a visit from a Hamas rocket, including one aimed at my daughter’s base. (She’s OK).

How long can this last? The problem started with Isaac and Ishmael four-thousand years ago. If that’s any indication, the conflict looks endless. Palestinians see a holy purpose in dying for the Temple Mount and their claim to the land. If Jordan or Egypt get into the fray, there is no end to how far this collision could go.

Stay tuned.

My latest books:

I Marched with Patton: A Firsthand Account of World War II

Alongside One of the U.S. Army’s Greatest Generals!

by Frank Sisson (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

You can find I MARCHED WITH PATTON on Amazon.

82 Days on Okinawa: One American’s Unforgettable Firsthand Account of the Pacific War’s Greatest Battle!

You can find 82 DAYS ON OKINAWA on Amazon.

by Art Shaw (Author), Robert L. Wise (Author)

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Filed under Iran, Israel, Palestinians, The Middle East, Trump, War

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