Arab Spring Leading to Israel’s Fall?
The so-called Arab Spring claimed its first Israeli casualties on August 18. A “terror squad” coordinated attacks on two buses and two cars, as well as Israeli troops, killing eight and wounding 40. As Israel tried to deal with terrorist bases in Gaza, Islamists fired over 100 rockets, killing 15 and wounding nearly 70.
This is just the beginning. The attacks have made Egypt more supportive of Hamas. Meanwhile, in response to the Arab Spring, Iran and its terrorist proxies are pushing for war with Israel to take the heat off men like Syrian President Bashar Assad.
Israel faces a three-front war. Its position will only get worse as Egypt slides toward radical Islam and Iran. The Arab Spring is already a disaster for Israel.
A ‘Game Changer’ in Egypt
The August 18 terrorist attack couldn’t have happened with Hosni Mubarak running Egypt. Israeli officials say that a heavily armed group of Palestinians crossed into the Sinai from Gaza a month before, where they were joined by other militants. They then crossed the desert into Israel and attacked.
Mubarak clamped down on terrorists in the Sinai, and while he didn’t stop weapons flowing into Sinai, he did close the official border and limit the terrorists flowing out.
Now, it is anarchy.
Islamists attacked the gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel five times from February to July this year. They have burned down police stations and even the headquarters of Egypt’s state security in Rafah. The number of rockets in the Gaza Strip has doubled from 5,000 to 10,000 since the end of last year.
Even before the August 18 attacks, Israel was very unpopular with the Egyptian people. Now, the tension is even worse.
As Israel pursued the attackers, some Egyptian police were killed in the crossfire. This poured kerosene on the flames of Egypt’s animosity toward Israel. “What was tolerated in pre-revolution Egypt will not be in post-revolution Egypt,” wrote Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.
A group of Egyptian politicians, including several of Egypt’s presidential hopefuls and the former leader of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, published a statement in local newspapers warning that Mubarak was “a strategic asset to Israel” but now, Egypt is ruled “by a strong popular will that does not know weakness or complicity and understands how to achieve retribution for the blood of the martyrs.”
At time of writing, Egypt has not completed its autopsy on the dead policemen, but don’t expect Egyptian leaders to call for retribution if it turns out they were killed by the terrorists.
The killings prompted protests outside the Israeli Embassy in Egypt. One man scaled the building and replaced the Israeli flag with an Egyptian one. He has been applauded across Egypt and on Facebook and Twitter.
Faced with Egyptian threats to recall Egypt’s ambassador, Israel apologized for the deaths. Egypt’s cabinet refused to accept the apology, saying it was “not in keeping with the magnitude of the incident and the state of Egyptian anger toward Israeli actions.”
The Egyptian people have long been anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic, but as JKC de Courcy of Intelligence Research pointed out, the “game-changer” is that now, “Egypt has to take account of popular opinion in a way that the Mubarak regime did not.” He continued: “Even under the transitional Supreme Military Council this factor is having an impact on Egyptian policy, and that will be even more the case once elections have been held” (August 24).
An Incentive for War
This incident is being exploited by Hamas and their Egyptian cousins, the Muslim Brotherhood. “There is evidence that Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood are working together to refocus the energy of the Arab Spring onto Israel and the Palestinian question and away from the purely domestic issues that were the initial inspiration,” wrote de Courcy.
Stratfor’s George Friedman warns that this pro-Palestinian sentiment “is a singular unifying force that might suffice to break the military’s power, or at least force the military to shift its Israeli policy” (August 22).
Hamas’s strategy is to attack Israel through front organizations—terrorist groups that it supports or controls but denies having any jurisdiction over. This means that if Israel bombs Gaza, Hamas can deny having provoked the conflict and simply play the victim. Sadly, history shows that most of the world will believe it.
“I find it difficult to believe that Hamas, with an excellent intelligence service inside Gaza and among the Islamist groups in the Sinai, would not at least have known these groups’ broad intentions and would not have been in a position to stop them,” wrote Friedman. “Just as Fatah created Black September in the 1970s, a group that appeared separate from Fatah but was in fact covertly part of it, the strategy of creating new organizations to take the blame for conflicts is an old tactic both for the Palestinians and throughout the world” (ibid).
Hamas has much to gain by provoking war. It would be almost impossible for Egypt’s government to keep its peace with Israel while popular opinion overwhelmingly supported the “innocent” Hamas as it was bombed in Gaza. Rather it would surely allow aid of every type to flow into Gaza to help Hamas confront the Israelis.
Such a war would also make it hard for Fatah, in the West Bank, to do nothing. There, popular opinion would be clamoring for an intifada, which could push Fatah to side with Hamas. Meanwhile, Israel would be condemned by the world for trying to defend itself.
Yet it is not only Hamas that has an incentive to attack Israel. Israel Surrounded
Wherever there is conflict in the Middle East, it seems Iran is nearly always involved.
The Washington Times wrote on August 24, “Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has ordered the Revolutionary Guards to draw Israel into another Middle East war through their Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah proxies in an effort to save Bashar Assad’s brutal regime in Syria, sources report.”
Assad’s troubles give Hezbollah a strong incentive to attack Israel. The terrorist group’s popularity has suffered as it has supported Assad. But if it takes the focus off Syria’s leader by attacking Israel, it can paint itself as the hero of the Arab world once again. And it can paint Assad’s enemies as agents of Israel. Even if Assad fell, Hezbollah would come out looking far stronger if it was pitched in battle against the Jews. “It would help Hezbollah create a moral foundation for itself independent of Syria,” Friedman explained.
So Israel has enemies to the north and south with strong incentives to start a war. Fatah in the east would face strong pressure to join them.
Israel faces the strong prospect of a three-front war. Its leaders seem aware of the danger. They have already announced that they will call on their reserves in September. But even if they weather the storm, they’re in a tough position. Egypt is still sliding inexorably toward Hamas and Iran. It has lost control of the Sinai. Israel has allowed a thousand more Egyptian troops to enter the Sinai to try and bring it under control—but when Egypt aligns with Iran, these troops will become the enemy.
Biblical prophecy warns that East Jerusalem will soon fall to radical Islamic forces. The Arab Spring is setting the stage for this, making the radicals powerful enough to push at Israel.
How long can Israel survive when it is threatened on three fronts?
For a thorough biblical explanation of what is facing the nation of Israel—including its inspiring ultimate future, request our free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.