Imagine If You Will

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On the 9th of March, 1916, Pancho Villa led 100 members of his Mexican revolutionary army across the United States border and attacked the town of Columbus, New Mexico.  Eighteen Americans were killed in the attack and the Mexicans took 100 horses and military supplies stored in the town.  Incensed by this invasion of United States territory, President Wilson, although a pacifist, sent 10,000 American army troops under the command of General John Pershing across the border in an invasion of northern Mexico to apprehend and destroy Pancho Villa and his army of revolutionaries.  Pershing and his young lieutenant George Patton spent 10 months in Mexico punishing those who had the effrontery to invade U.S. soil and attack American citizens.  190 of Villa’s men were killed as well as most of his senior commanders.  This is how America punishes those who cross our border to attack Americans.

Imagine our response if today a terrorist group — an offspring of Al Qaeda — is being shielded by a Mexican government and operating just across our border. They have agitated the Mexican people and riots have taken place denouncing America and its imperialist-colonial occupation of Texas, California and even Arizona and New Mexico — all territory taken by force of arms (even though the Mexican governments started the wars).  And that is not to mention the demonstrations seeking the return of the lands that Americans took from the Indians or Native Americans also by warfare and domination.  These groups have not only expelled all the Americans who lived in Mexico but seek to rid the entire North American continent of these “Europeans” who have been transported to their continent and taken their lands by conquest.

How would President Barack Obama respond if last Thursday, members of this Mexican Al Qaeda, dressed in Mexican army uniforms, and with Mexican government assent, crossed the border into the United States and killed eight American citizens traveling on tourist busses while driving innocently from their homes in Los Angeles to Sea World in San Diego. And when the President called out the U.S. Army to capture or kill the attackers the Mexicans launch more than 100 missiles from Tijuana to rain down on San Diego and Los Angeles.

You don’t have to imagine it.  This is precisely what Israel has been enduring for the past several days. This past Thursday saw a series of well coordinated cross-border terrorist attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians. It began when a bus transporting 40 people from Beer Sheva to Eilat, most for a quiet family vacation, was attacked en route to that popular resort.  The bus was attacked by a group of terrorists known as “The Popular Resistance Committee,” which is an umbrella group of terrorists, drawn from the Palestinian Authority’s security apparatus. It is believed that the Popular Resistance Committee gets its funding from Iran.

The terrorists, dressed in Egyptian army uniforms, came across the Israeli border from Egypt and sprayed the oncoming bus with a barrage of automatic weapon fire. It was only because the clear-thinking bus driver immediately accelerated through the gunfire that no one was killed — although several passengers were critically wounded. A total of fourteen people were evacuated to nearby hospitals.  Simultaneously, another bus and two civilian vehicles were attacked. Israeli Defense Forces rushed to the scene only to have an explosive device, similar to those used against American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, detonate in their faces. By the end of the day, the Israeli toll was eight Israelis killed and at least thirty-one wounded.

The terrorists originated in Gaza but slipped across the border into Israel through the Sinai, a vast peninsula that Israel had returned to Egypt as part of the 1979 Camp David Accords. The peace that Egypt maintained there with Israel has been an ice-cold peace,  but never-the-less the Egyptian army patrolled the Sinai and assured that it would remain peaceful. However, since the fall of President Hosni Mubarak, the new military government had left it unpatrolled and open to terrorists and thieves.

Israel, like any other nation, has a sovereign responsibility to protect its citizens — even according to Article 41 of the United Nations Charter. No nation can allow cross-border attacks on its citizens — not the United States in 1916 — and not Israel in 2011.

When the IDF began hunting down the terrorists who had killed the Israeli civilians they only targeted terrorist headquarters and places where the terrorists trained or were known to be hiding. As the terrorists fled toward Gaza, the Hamas government of Gaza unleashed a barrage of over one-hundred missile on Southern Israel, striking the major cities of Beer Sheva, Ashkelon and Ashdod. Thousands had to flee to the bomb shelters.  Almost every hour on the hour the silence was broken by the alarm siren of “Seva Adom” (Code Red: which translated into “incoming missile).

Fed by more than 50 years of hatred for Israel and the Jews, the Egyptians of Cairo erupted in a violent demonstration against Israel, even scaling twenty stories of the Cairo Tower to pull off and destroy an Israeli flag as hundreds cheered below.

EMET has been saying for the past six months that the political and strategic landscape in Egypt has been changed by the revolution in Tahrir Square — and not for the better! Although the revolution was ushered in by the small, young elite and educated “Facebook” class, the Egyptian political infrastructure is manipulated by the radical Islamists who have control of the mosques.

The Egyptian army, while it is a professional army, is fighting to maintain its control over the government and has bent to the will of the people in the street who have been taught to hate Israel.  The argument that this army will resist the operations of the terrorists and support Western interests is an exercise in overheated imaginings.

Look what has already happened as a result of American brokered peace treaties: the Sinai which was returned to Egypt in exchange for peace is now being used as a launching pad for terrorists to attack Israel — and Gaza, which the Israeli’s evacuated and gave to the Palestinians in return for a promise of peace has become the main launching pad for terror against Israel and for attacks by thousands of missiles — in addition to being the elected home of a government pledged to the destruction of the Jewish state.

Unless and until the Egyptians demonstrate that they are fully capable of living in peace and enforcing the peace, America should put an immediate hold on any transfer of more weapons to Egypt. It is very possible that we may see these very weapons tuned against Israel or even against our own military in the 6th fleet offshore.

And this does not take a great leap of imagination.

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About the Author

Sarah Stern
Sarah Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET).

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