Whilst Jerusalem maintains a diplomatic silence, it is disturbing to hear reports that American-Jewish groups are lobbying for Congress to approve a strike on Syria. Most people agree that the missile option is by now so delayed and so watered-down as to be a waste of time.
An American president who was really serious about punishing Assad’s war crimes would do what Ariel Sharon did to Hamas leaders Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and Abdul Aziz Rantisi. Two targeted and precision assassinations in the space of a month. Without doubt America has all the tools and resources needed to do the same. And if Assad were taken out in this way, all future tyrants would be in no doubt that use of WMD was a red line drawn in their very own blood.
Sadly Barack Obama is not that kind of president, and whilst it is doubtful what his neutered missile strike will achieve, the only certainty is that – like the First Gulf War - it will cause blowback on Israel in some form or another. Israel doesn’t need this and our tiny country shouldn’t always have to pay in collateral damage for the misdeeds of Arab tyrants.
To vote against a US missile strike is not to ignore the victims of Assad’s terrorism and the plight of some 2 million refugees. They are caught up in a vicious sectarian war which no Western intervention will end. To quote Sarah Palin: ‘let Allah sort it out’.
But at least these Syrians have someplace to go; a choice of Turkey or 22 other countries in the Arab league. That leaves them far better off than the 800,000 Jews who were expelled from many of those same Arab countries and for whom Palestine was the only available refuge, albeit barred by the British.
He is the devil they already know.
But he has also now graduated as the new pariah on the world stage.
After what he has done, it’s doubtful we will hear many voices pressuring Israel to return land to Mr Assad.
And the retention of the Golan Heights is one of the most vital interests of the State of Israel and an enduring existential imperative which must supersede all day-to-day crises and distractions beyond our borders.