May 31, 2021
WISE ON THE MIDDLE EAST
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.
REMEMBERING THOSE WHO PARISHED
On this Memorial Day weekend, Americans remember those dear ones who have passed on. The same is true in the Middle East, but for their own particular reasons. The Palestinians lost at the least 200 people while Israel death were small. The question for diplomats is where do we go from here.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that in the wake of the recent conflict in Gaza and unrest in Jerusalem, the United States plans to focus on addressing “the underlying causes” that could spark yet another round of violence, Tuesday evening. Blinken indicated that the Biden administration will be actively involved in the Israeli Palestinian conflict, echoing comments he made earlier in the day during a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Blinken met with top Israeli officials including Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi and Defense Minister Benny Gantz before heading to Ramallah for high-level meetings with Palestinian Authority leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Blinken also stressed the “critical role” played by Egypt in brokering the Gaza ceasefire, and called Jordan “a voice for peace and stability in the region.”
In contrast, Hamas had its own objectives. The terrorist organization was able to hijack protests in Jerusalem and use the last week of Ramadan for their own purposes. Moreover, Hamas firing rockets into the city on “Jerusalem Day” made them appear to be a credible resistance force. This action aimed at making PA President Mahoud Abbas look incompetent. In fact, Abbas completely failed to cash in on the tensions that had developed in East Jersualsm over the housing question. Hamas has now placed itself on center stage. To create a ceasefire, Egypt had to talk with Hamas, not the Palestinian Authority.
Hamas stopped short of urging a Palestinian revolt against Abbas for fear of being directly responsible for a Palestinian civil war. Moreover, they would not have done well with the PA soldiers on one front and the Israeli on the other.
It now appears America’s goal is to “give the Palestinian people, including those in Gaza, a renewed sense of confidence, of optimism, of real opportunity,” Blinken said. “If we are able to do that together, then Hamas’s foothold in Gaza will slip. We know that, and I think Hamas knows that.”
We don’t need another war in the Middle East. Let’s hope this Memorial Day will be a reminder of the grief that always comes with such a conflict.
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)