Thursday, August 5, 2010

Israel's permanent insecurity masquerading as armed peace

A must-read from Paul Rogers (via Open Democracy) that highlights how Israel's actions and policies toward its neighbors guarantee a perpetually imperiled existence:

Israel has developed over the sixty-two years  of its existence into a state that is defined by conflict and the risk of war, and has learned no other way but to maintain security through overwhelming military power. It is an outlook  made possible because it can depend on a superpower’s unstinting support; it is also a recipe for permanent insecurity masquerading as armed peace (see “After Gaza: Israel’s last chance”, 17 January 2010).

A minority in Israel recognises this and advocates a different path involving negotiation and compromise; but it is very much on the margins of public debate. So dominant and powerful is the prevailing security mindset in Israel is that only pressure from external forces - in the United States , especially - could in principle induce a change of outlook. In practice, that does not seem likely - even with Barack Obama in the White House (see “America and Israel: a historic choice”, 22 March 2010).

A situation of this kind is potentially dangerous at any time; it is even more so in a period of multiple tensions across “greater west Asia” - involving Iran, Gaza, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. The chances of Israel waging another war in the coming months are in the balance. But a war will not release Israel from entrapment in a military doctrine that cannot deliver security, a predicament that its closest ally too is unable or unwilling to help resolve.

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