Cease-fire proposals in wars between Israel and its neighbors are predictable: as soon as Israel is winning, the United Nations demands a cease-fire. As Dore Gold ably documents in his Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos, cease-fires typically prevent a decisive end to the conflict. They have often guaranteed further war in the long run by providing a temporary calm that allows Israel’s enemies to regroup.
President Barack Obama offered Thursday to broker a cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians–actually, the Hamas terror organization. That is one of the worst ideas, among many contenders, ever proffered by the Obama administration. The effect of the cease-fire would be to stop Israel from defending its citizens from Hamas, and to preserve the terrorist group’s arsenal and infrastructure for future use in another round of war.
Negotiating with Hamas would also legitimize the terror organization. In previous conflicts, Egypt has been the Hamas intermediary, which allowed cease-fires to be established without Israel having to pay the diplomatic price of granting any formal recognition to Hamas. If the U.S. were to step into Egypt’s mediating role, it would give Hamas a credibility that it has never had before–and Hamas would claim that, justifiably, as a victory.
The very suggestion of U.S. mediation is harmful in itself, because it makes Israel out to be an aggressor seeking war, rather than the victim of terrorism seeking, legitimately, to eliminate a threat that would persist after a hasty “peace.”
The correct response from President Obama would be to support Israel’s self-defense–full stop. By offering to follow the U.N.’s shoddy example with a “cease-fire,” Obama has effectively sided against Israel.