Efraim Karsh Set to Take Over for Daniel Pipes

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“I don’t have any doubt that the Israeli government between now and September because of the UN vote, and because of other international constraints, is going to do its utmost to avoid conflict in Gaza,” Karsh said. “But here again you have the element of luck. If the bus wouldn’t have taken off the kids five minutes earlier, then you might have had twenty Israeli kids killed in the bus by the missile, and then the Israelis might have been involved in a deeper operation in Gaza already. So you can never know.”

This is a consideration for Hamas as well, because they know that a certain amount of violence will be tolerated by Israel, as long as it remains on the periphery. “But if it will go above this [Israel will] have to do something,” Karsh said. “But they don’t want to do it, that’s for sure.”

Israeli policymakers must also confront the shifting sands in their neighborhood. The Arab uprisings have upended a decades-old status quo, and he removal of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak has forced Israel to reconsider the stability of its southern border. Karsh said he is not nearly as nostalgic for Mubarak as some Israelis seem to be, but he does acknowledge that without Mubarak, the smuggling tunnels from Gaza to Egypt have significantly less resistance, and the Hamasniks can easily take advantage of the chaos on Egypt.

“So from a security point of view, the Egyptian development, at least in the immediate term, has had a very adverse consequence,” he said. You’d want to “think twice,” Karsh added, before signing an agreement with a divided government, one that has yet to establish itself as truly representative of its people, or one that seems temporary.

Karsh said that goes for the Palestinians as well. He said Israel is often admonished that they must strengthen Mahmoud Abbas because he is weak. “OK, he’s weak, so he may be gone tomorrow.” And if he is, and Fatah is weakened, it only increases the chances that Hamas will take control of the West Bank as well. And that would likely be the result if the uprisings sweep into the PA-controlled territory, he said—though he cautioned against expecting the uprisings to target the PA in the West Bank.

“At the moment the economic situation is relatively good in the West Bank,” Karsh said. “The world is financing them, Israel is not fighting them, and there is not much terrorism. So I don’t think that in the immediate term there is a reason for them to rise against the regime. But it might happen. Then again, the question is who is going to come [in their place]? I fear it is Hamas, which is quite strong even in the West Bank. But they haven’t made the move because politically it’s not suitable for them at the time to take over.”

Karsh also said that there has always been something of a disconnect between the Palestinian people and their leadership, but that the PA leaders have succeeded in greatly bridging this gap over time. Many Palestinians still do want peace, but he noted the anti-Semitic incitement contained in Palestinian children’s shows. Without an end to this, he said, prospects for peace are limited and growing dimmer by the day.

“What can you do, if you go to school at the age of five, six and they teach you the Jews are killers and murderers and so on and so forth?” he said. “That’s what you grow up with, so it’s very difficult to undo it. It’s exceedingly difficult. So in this respect, I am not very optimistic right now.”

Seth Mandel is a writer specializing in Middle Eastern politics and a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Horowitz Freedom Center.

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  • noughsaid

    Mid East Wisdom of Solomon the U.S.A. and Israeli Way

    Dispossessed man takes grievances and Court Decisions of new neighbour's
    actions to Arbitrator. Arbitrator notes new neighbour's actions of forcing
    man's family and friends from their homes and farms along with the
    destruction of their crops and annexations of their land for the building
    of settlements have been ruled as being illegal, as has the action of
    building a wall on property other than its own. Arbitrator also notes that
    the dispossessed man's grievances include many cases of proven human
    rights abuses and has enacted discriminatory laws that are in breach of
    U.N Racial Discriminatory laws, and that the new neighbour has a track
    record of many such abuses over a period of sixty years or more including
    U.N res 267 when all members of Security Council including the Arbitrator
    reaffirmed the new neighbour had no right to acquire territory by force.
    Arbitrator sees he has a problem on his hands so to put matters right he
    suggests the dispossessed man agrees to let the new neighbour keep what he
    has taken from him so far and should also agree to allow the new neighbour
    to take whatever he wants whenever he wants. That way the outcome will be
    a win, win situation all round, the new neighbour's illegal actions past
    and present and future will be made legal, the Arbitrator will have solved
    the problem and the dispossessed man will have nothing left for him to
    lose or whinge about. The worth of International Law will be wiped out and the way paved for future land grabs destroying hundreds of years of mans efforts to ensure Justice and Equality for all

    • stern

      noughsaid, you're full of it. I don't think you've missed an anti-Zionist, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic canard in your useless screed. It's not even worth addressing your garbage point by point as most of the people on this site know the difference between the truth and your BS.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      You couldn’t be a more oblivious useful idiot.

      The worth of International Law will be wiped out and the way paved for future land grabs destroying hundreds of years of mans efforts to ensure Justice and Equality for all

      What Muhammadans recognize and adhere to International Law? The reality is Muhammadans regard International Law and all manmade laws, for that matter, as abominations, as Muhammadans only recognize and adhere to Sharia (Islamic law). Indeed, since Sharia emanates directly from Allah, it is divine and as such perfectly just and infallible, whereas manmade laws, on the other hand, emanate from mere mortal men and as such are unjust and fallible by default.

      Nevertheless, that never stops the Muhammadans from exploiting the ignorance of useful idiots by inciting hatred against Israel by falsely claiming Israel is in violation of International Law, even though Muhammadans themselves only recognize and adhere to Sharia and view International Law and all other manmade laws as abominations.

      Moreover, if you hadn’t been turned into an obsessed Israel hater maybe you would be able to notice that the same permanent jihad that targets Israel also targets all of Western civilization as well.

    • stern

      Just by the way, UN 267 is a General Assembly resolution, not a Security Council resolution. In other words, it was passed with the automatic, built-in anti-Israel majority of every other UN resolution you seem to consider to be "international law" – but coming from the GA, it has no force whatsoever. It also doesn't make any sense at all: according to you, an aggressor can attack a country, lose, and then insist that any land it has lost must be returned – no harm, no foul? So what's to stop any country attacking another? Then there's the whole issue of Jerusalem. For more than 3,000 years, Jews lived anywhere in the Holy City. In 1948, Jordan ethnically cleansed the Old City – including the Jewish Quarter – and East Jerusalem of every last Jew. In 1967, Israel liberated Jerusalem (and, incidentally, opened all holy sites to anyone who wants to pray there, something that was impossible under Jordanian rule. Incidentally, that's not quite true. The only religion still not allowed to pray wherever they want is Judaism. Jews are forbidden from worshipping on the Temple Mount in case it "upsets" our Arab brethren). But according to you, those 19 years of illegal Jordanian annexation trump more than 3,000 years of Jewish history. Not bloody likely, mate.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    With all due respect Mr. Karsh, the so-called Palestinians are the proxies of the Islamic world and the perpetual jihad being waged against Israel will never end no matter how many fake peace processes are used to weaken Israel and to dupe useful idiots. Just like the greater global jihad at large, of which the jihad being waged against Israel is a smaller component, will never end as long as there are unbelievers that haven’t been forced to submit to the authority of Islam.

    • Mohamed -cairo

      you, u r not an thru american, but i m sure you r a jewish

      • ObamaYoMoma

        Sorry to disappoint you Mohamed, but I’m not a Jew although you obviously hate Jews. I’m just someone who can see the world the way it really is.

      • stern

        Is there something wrong with being Jewish, Mohamed? Spell it out, in full.

  • neveragain

    noughsaid. Small penis?

  • NuritG

    Efraim Karsh is set to take over for Daniel Pipes as the director of Mideast-focused think tank. Pipes has been up front and center in denouncing the 'two state solution' and standing up for Israel. Much gatitude to Daniel Pipes and welcome Efraim Karsh