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Israel's disproportionate response « Previous | |Next »
July 17, 2006

There is so much spin the mainstream media about the Middle East in Australia. We had two minor skirmishes on Israel's borders with Gaza (which despite Israel's formal withdrawal from the strip a year ago has, for all practical purposes, remained under its control) and on its borders with Lebanon.Yet Israel has overreacted, as it is using the abductions by Hama and Hezbollah to achieve a wider goal.

Geoff Pryor

The hawks are spinning madly. Ted Lapkin, from the AIJAC defends Israeli attacks in The Australian:

The right to self-defence is the crux of the Middle East crisis. It has been almost a year since Israel removed its troops and citizens from Gaza. And what have the Palestinians done with their new-found liberty? Rather than focus on the construction of their own society, the Palestinians elected a Hamas Government that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

The conflict has nothing to do with the occupation of Palestinian land by Israeli settlers? The Palestinians should elect a government that is acceptable to Israel and the US? The cause of the conflict the jihadists' unwillingness to compromise with a peace-loving, plucky Israel existing in the heart of a dangerous Middle East.

The editorial in The Australiansays that Israel's response to Hezbollah's hail of rockets was proportionate to the threat they pose to Israeli security. Lapkin, and The Australian justify and legimate the way Israel goes about exercising that right to its self defence--eg., continuing its assaults in Lebanon without regard to the consequences. For them its another round in the clash between good and evil.

The next step the hawks take is to lay the blame for a surge in Middle Eastern violence at the feet of Iran and Syria, and then say it is part of America's war on terror writ large. Colin Rubenbstein from the AIJAC in the Australian Financial Review takes the first step. He points the finger at Syria and Iran to to create an impression of a single implacable enemy, Islam, fighting a global war of terror in which plucky Israel is on the front line. In the US William Kristol outlines the implication--the second step--- when he says:

For while Syria and Iran are enemies of Israel, they are also enemies of the United States. We have done a poor job of standing up to them and weakening them. They are now testing us more boldly than one would have thought possible a few years ago. Weakness is provocative. We have been too weak, and have allowed ourselves to be perceived as weak.

He then says that President Bush can 'fly from the silly G8 summit in St. Petersburg to Jerusalem, the capital [sic] of a nation that stands with us, and is willing to fight with us, against our common enemies. This is our war.'

Amin Saikal, writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, has a more critical perspective. He says that Israel's disproportionate military response to the abduction of one of its soldiers and the killing of two more by Palestinian militants nearly three weeks ago and to similar action by the Lebanese Hezbollah last week has generated a regional crisis. Saikal then says that:

Israel is seeking to destroy not only Hezbollah, but also Lebanon. Its wider objective is to set back Lebanon's reconstruction by years so that it could never rival Israel politically and economically, as well as to undermine the chances of any US-Iran agreement over Iran's nuclear program.Israel has embarked on a dangerous game. Syria and Iran will not leave Hezbollah in the lurch.

America acting as 'honest broker' is doubtless 'quaint' notion these days isn't it. As Rami G. Khouri points out in the Daily Star we have four pairs of actors:
The four pairs are Hamas and Hizbullah, the Palestinian and Lebanese governments, Syria and Iran, and Israel and the United States.The more nuanced and complex reality is that all the actors in the four pairs collectively play a role in the ongoing fighting, as we witness the culmination of four decades of failed policies that have kept the Middle East tense, angry and violent.

This suggests that though Iran may indeed increase its support for Hizbullah and Hamas and eliminating the Iranian factor from the equation will not eliminate Hamas and Hizbullah. They will still function through other means and manage to acquire international support; Iran is not their raison d'etre.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:05 AM | | Comments (2)


Israel does not belong there. Send the imported european Jews back. Hold it, weren't they sent off to the desert because nobody wanted them in the first place?

you give no arguments as to why Israel does not belong in the Middle East. It exists as a sovereign nation-state and so it has a right to defend itself from attack.

Many Jews immigrated from Europe to Israel during the 20th century because they held Israel to be their homeland.