War is not inevitable in Mideast

Prussian military strategist Carl von Clausewitz said that war is another means to achieve a political goal. The goal of Hamas and Islamic jihadists is to annihilate Israel and its allies. To some degree they’ve benefited from the United States’ policy of helping both sides in a peace process that does not rebuke Hamas’ desire to blow Israel off the map, but instead ignores this by trying to mediate a peaceful co-existence that is not forthcoming.

The time may be approaching when the Western world — and, specifically, the United States — will have to unequivocally make a choice. Hamas and its allies leave no other choice.

In the past, the terrorists have lost ground battles but won the hearts and minds of the media for the loss of innocent life among the Palestinian population. In this latest round, Israel’s discovery of new evidence of Hamas’ planning of military attacks against Israel’s civilian population provides the kind of proof of their terrorist strategies that even the most ardent Palestinian sympathizer can’t ignore.

Nearly a dozen underground tunnels made of concrete and, in some cases, two stories high were being used by Hamas to hide weaponry and militants underneath the homes and shops of the Palestinian people. Hamas’ hiding among the civilian population, making innocent Palestinians predictable targets of Israeli fire, is not new; what is different is the use of what Israelis call “terror tunnels” used by terrorists to sneak in, attack and then get out of the country. Some are even configured to allow Hamas militants to secretly move within Gaza itself.

The military objective behind these tunnels clearly is to execute further attacks with greater efficiency and more precise results. These findings should be of no surprise to the United States, but it makes the hope for peaceful resolution much more remote. Americans who understand what is at stake have hoped and prayed for a peaceful resolution in order to spare the world an exceedingly dangerous and bloody war. Perhaps our hopes are merely denial.

We turn away from evidence that the Palestinian Authority supports Hamas’ operations. We forget that other governments in the Middle East, which we fear offending by supporting Israel, also support anti-U.S. terror organizations operating within their borders, some perhaps tacitly. We attribute our American sense of fair play to foreign governments and even terrorists like Hamas, which has no relevance in these conflicts. Those attributes, which are our strength in maintaining our American democracy, plays no role in the fight against terrorists and the governments that support them.

This is a grave realization in that it almost dismisses all hope for the Middle East by Americans who are hopeful by nature and whose democratic system gives each citizen at least some modicum of control in their destiny — and with that comes hope. Israel shares that hope, but their history and their very existence relies on their ability to blow through the fog of U.S. diplomacy, as well-meaning as it may be.

The time may soon come where the United States will be required to blow through that fog as well. It’s a frightening proposition, as the terrorist web among those who wish to destroy Israel and its Western allies run deeply Europe, the Middle East and Africa. It has an extensive grasp around the rest of the world. Our role is not easy and this premise should not be construed to imply that American diplomats are stupid. They are not. Nonetheless, it is clear that Western diplomacy will only go so far when used among those who do not fear war, or the deliberate death of innocents, even within their own families. Those without fear will pursue war at any cost. They revel in their own fog.

There are those who say peace in the Middle East is an optical illusion; it will never happen. That is an opinion we must reject. There are Middle Eastern countries that fear a stronger Hamas — we should be engaging their support. War is hell, which is why it must be stopped. But it requires President Obama to reengage with the job he was elected to do. It is called foreign policy, and the free world would appreciate his undivided attention on this matter.