So along comes Hamas. Just days before the presidential election, the terrorist organization — begotten by the Brotherhood and serving as its Palestinian branch — spearheaded an Islamist offensive, firing in just a few days over 120 rockets into the Jewish state from its home base in Gaza. You may not have heard about it until a few days after the election. Like Iran’s act of war in shooting at a U.S. drone in international waters, it signaled a further dangerous unraveling of the Middle East that undercut the media narrative of Obama as foreign-policy chess master, so it was tucked under the rug. But it could not be ignored forever, for it is not just another spike in the ever-thrumming Gaza border skirmish. It is the renewal of an unending war — an existential one for Israel, which is expected to fight “proportionately,” with both hands tied behind its back, yet blithely accept, as the international community has, the barbaric Islamist claim that nothing short of Israel’s destruction will be satisfactory.
The jihad against Israel “isn’t a matter of individuals, not a matter of community. It is a matter of a nation. The Arab nation, the Islamic nation.” So exclaimed Egyptian prime minister Hisham Qandil on Thursday in Gaza. He had been sent there to show solidarity with Hamas by Mohamed Morsi, the Brotherhood leader Egyptians elected as their president. “We are all behind you,” Qandil continued — behind “the struggling nation . . . that is presenting its children as heroes every day.”
This is how the Middle East’s Muslims see the situation. They are not Palestinians, Egyptians, Saudis, Iraqis, and so on. They are the ummah, the “Islamic nation.” For them, Gaza is not a regional dustup over parochial grievances. It is a civilizational struggle to be fought to the finish — the finish being when the enemy is vanquished. We used to fight wars that way, too. The fact that we’ve decided total victory by force of arms is a quaint concept does not mean everybody else has. Islamists define victory in the Middle East as the annihilation of Israel. That is the ambition of the region, not just of Hamas. Our government’s decades-old claim that the aggression results from a “perversion of Islam” weaved by a fringe of “violent extremists” is dangerously delusional.
The U.S. reaction so far? A perfunctory statement acknowledging Israel's right to defend itself, and a phone call between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu. But, as Mr. McCarthy reminds us, this is the same administration that has been actively encouraging the Islamists that are now calling for the final defeat of Israel.
Meanwhile, some of the Palestinian "missile crews" from Gaza have moved their crude weapons into Egyptian territory, with the apparent blessing of the Muslim Brotherhood-led government. Some of those rockets have already been launched against Israeli territory. What happens when the Israelis finally lose their patience and strike launch sites in Egypt, not Gaza? Will the new Egyptian leader show the same restraint exercised by the Israelis (so far)? What will Mr. Obama do when Egypt begins mobilizing, and the Middle East hurtles towards an all-out regional war? Another speech? More behind-the-scenes deal-making with the Islamists who now run Turkey?
In related news, Iran has announced plans to greatly increase its nuclear output, putting it at a critical "red line" in another seven months. Obviously, Israel won't let Tehran get that far; the elements of an IAF strike against Tehran are simply awaiting the authorization from the Prime Minister. The current Israeli Air Force "surge" against Hamas provides the perfect operational cover for launching tankers and fighters against Iran. And that will happen sooner, rather than later.