Tariq Al-Homayed
Saudi journalist and writer, and former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper

How the Palestinians Win and the Extremists Are Defeated

We are still caught in a Byzantine debate, as is the norm with every Arab crisis. Meanwhile, the facts clearly indicate that one party, Hamas, embarked on an operation with no objective and without the military capabilities required for it, against a monster, Israel, which does not comply with international laws and norms. As a result, innocent people in Gaza are being killed as the world watches on with indifference.

Have we learned anything from 9/11, when Islam and Muslims were hijacked? Or from the Iraq War, when we ignored the US invasion that handed Iraq to Iran on a silver platter? Have we learned from the July 2006 war sparked by Hezbollah kidnapping Israeli soldiers?

Have we learned from the destruction of Beirut, which left more than a thousand Lebanese dead? Have we woken up to the peril of tolerating militias, especially at times like when Hassan Nasrallah came out to say, "Those who love Lebanon should end this war?" And when he later followed it up with: "Had I known what the repercussions would be, I would not have initiated it?"

And the "have we learned" list goes on, from Al-Qaeda and ISIS, to the militias in Iraq, and Syria, the Houthis in Yemen, and of course, behind all of them, the disruptive role played by Iran. The answer: No one has learned the lesson, despite all this bloodshed and destruction.

Is there any hope of learning the lesson this time, as we watch the brutal Israeli war machine wreaking havoc in Gaza? Some could ask, "How?" Hamas certainly knew that it would achieve nothing from this operation, and now the fear is that the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank could be annihilated, sending the cause back not to point zero, rather, below zero.

Can Israel eliminate Hamas, as it had opportunistically empowered it out of short-sightedness in the past? This is a possibility, but that's not the question right now. The more important issue, at this moment in time, is how to ensure victory for the Palestinians and their cause and defeat the extremists led by Iran.

It is now clear that the region's militias are confronting the international community, which has long turned a blind eye to them and even engaged with them when it believed that Hamas was playing by the rules of democracy, because of the naivety of George W. Bush and then Barrack Obama.

The West, specifically France, also naively overlooked Hezbollah, which it categorized as part of the Lebanese political system. None were more naive than the current US administration, which has indulged the patron of the region's militias, Iran.

Alright, how do we achieve a victory for the Palestinians? We can do so by ensuring that this war ends with the Palestinian Authority reclaiming control of Gaza within the framework of an American-Arab mediated serious peace process that gives rise to a two-state solution and grants the Palestinians control over East Jerusalem.

Today, we have real leadership in the region. Led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the region is now capable of enforcing peace, and there is an Arab movement that could back Saudi efforts for a serious peace process if Washington decides that this is the outcome it wants.

If the conflict is resolved through a two-state solution, we would ensure that innocent Palestinian civilians win and extremists are defeated. The destructive project of the Iranians, the sole beneficiaries of the “Al-Aqsa Flood,” would be demolished. This operation was not carried out to achieve a political goal, but to sabotage a promising peace project that had been on the verge of being concluded.

Handing Gaza over to the Palestinian Authority and achieving a two-state solution would guarantee peace and stability, preventing a return to the cycle of violence fueled by Israeli short-sightedness or the desires of extremist groups following Iran's orders, who understand nothing about politics, let alone war.