For my weekly date with The Hugh Hewitt Show, Ed Morrissey was guest-hosting for Hugh and opened with breaking news of a 72-hour "humanitarian ceasefire" in Gaza. I see Hamas has already broken it with a suicide bomber killing Israeli soldiers, and some kidnappers seizing another IDF officer. So much for the "ceasefire". Beyond the usual maneuvers and machinations, however, Ed and I did discuss what seem to me to be the interesting and possibly consequential features of this particular Gaza/Israel showdown:
MARK STEYN: Do you remember the way it was back after 9/11 in the run up to Afghanistan and Iraq, and everybody here used to talk about 'the Arab Street' ...how 'the Arab Street' would explode if we went into these countries? Right now, with what's happening in Gaza, there actually is no 'Arab Street'. There's only a 'European Street'. They're holding these ever more violent and nakedly Jew-hating protests on the streets of Europe. But the significant fact here is that in Egypt, in Jordan, Gaza and Hamas are getting no support. And the odd thing about this is that in this, in what's going on in Gaza, effectively Obama and Kerry are effectively on Hamas' side, and Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are rooting for Israel.
This is the world we live in. The malign alliance of the Jew-hating Euro-left and a restive Muslim population is likely to be an ever uglier feature of Continental and British politics in the years ahead: in that sense, "the European Street" is a portent of troubles to come - not for Israel but for domestic tranquility in France, Germany, Belgium et al.
But Egypt and the Sunni monarchies' support for Israel is significant, too. I said last week that "the Palestinian situation" never changes, at least in respect of their refusal to accept a Jewish state, and live with it - as, in their cheerless "cold peace", Egypt and Jordan do. But the trouble for the Palestinians is that, while they never change, everything else in the region has:
MS: Libya is imploding on the western side of Egypt, so Egypt's got this situation now where the Muslim Brothers have slipped over the border to Libya and hooked up with the guys who killed our fellows in Benghazi. So they're concerned about that. Jordan has got an eastern border where buildings built by American taxpayers are now manned by these head-hacking jihadists from ISIS. Syria's got a civil war that's ...expanded Jordan's population by 25% with Syrian refugees. So right now, these guys have got all the instability they can handle, and they are looking to Israel as actually a force for regional stability.
The Egyptian military, King Abdullah in Jordan, and the savvier princes of the House of Saud are not the most lovely specimens of humanity, but they're not insane and, to one degree or another, all have discreetly effective relations with Israel. So do the Gulf monarchies. They have no interest in joining Obama and Kerry in facilitating a resolution of this conflict that strengthens Hamas. Caroline Glick outlined what the United States Government is pitching:
Obama told Netanyahu that Israel must lose. He wants an unconditional "humanitarian" cease-fire that will lead to a permanent one.
And he wants it now.
And by the way, the eventual terms of that cease-fire must include opening Hamas-controlled Gaza's borders with Egypt and Israel and ending Israel's maritime blockade of the Gaza coast. That is, the cease-fire must allow Hamas to rebuild its arsenal of death and destruction quickly, with US political and financial support.
Not only are there no takers for Obama's "peace plan" in Israel, there are no takers for it in Cairo, Amman or Riyadh either. Do you think General Sisi wants Hamas running an open border into Egypt? No more than King Abdullah wants Israeli immigration officials to cede control of the west end of the Allenby Bridge. And after the last three years, surrounded by al-Qaeda affiliates and Iranian proxies and Turkish meddlers, Egypt and the Sunni monarchies grasp something that the American blunderers don't: Israel is a force for stability, and, with everything else up for grabs in a way it hasn't been since 1922, that's what these guys are looking for right now. Nobody wants to be the next Libya or Syria or Iraq. And helping Hamas only feeds regional destabilization. As I said to Ed:
MS: It's an interesting development in this hideous Israel-Palestine stalemate, because in effect now, Israel is on the Sunni side of the Sunni-Shia split in the Middle East.
For our conversation in full, including European Jew-hatred and the purge of Christians from the Middle East, click here.