- How quickly the ground has shifted in the Middle East. The apparent fall of Tripoli must send shivers down the spine of the cousins who run the Assad mafia in Damascus.
- Now is the time to turn up the pressure and make Assad fall sooner rather than later. Then attention will have to turn to the next act: the one in which we see, in Tunisia and Egypt, in Libya and Syria, if decent, stable, democratic governments can be built.
- Meanwhile it is becoming a hot summer for Israel as well. The largest terrorist attack in months took place last week near Eilat, killing 8 and wounded 25.
- That attack emerged from Sinai, which is fast coming loose from Egyptian control and falling under that of Bedouin criminal gangs and Palestinian terrorists. Whether the Egyptian military has the power and strength to re-assert control of Sinai seems to me very doubtful.
- Now Hamas and its partners have sent dozens of rockets into Israel in the last few days.
- All of that puts the PLO claim that it is ready for statehood in a different light, for it reminds us that Ramallah has no control over events in Gaza-even including making war on Israel, which these rocket and mortar attacks clearly are. It renders any U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood even more obviously unreal and unhelpful, for the greater problem Palestinians suffer is that half their populace is under the domination of an Islamic terrorist group.
- It also shows how foolish has been recent U.S. and EU policy, constantly criticizing Israel whenever a plan to build a new apartment house is announced. The Quartet has turned itself into a real estate monitor, doing nothing to address and help solve far more real and more complex problems for Israelis and Palestinians both. The beginning of a more practical and useful approach would be complete solidarity with Israel.
(Elliott Abrams - Council on Foreign Relations)