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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

wither the Israeli Right? « Previous | |Next »
August 21, 2006

With a fragile ceasefire currently holding in Lebanon, there is now mass popular Arab support for Lebanon and for Hezbollah. The Tehran-Damascus-Hizballah axis has emerged more confident from the Lebanon War whilst the Shi'a community may now demand a greater say in the country's affairs.

Stavro,Lebanon after war, 2006

There is an intense debate in Israel about the outcome of the war and the meaning of the ceasefire with Israeli deterrence--‘unilateralism’ at a historic nadir. Writing in Haaertz Gideon Levy makes an interesting comment about the effect the war with Hizbollah in Lebanon has had on Israel.

He says:

The right won. The one clear result of this war is that the left suffered another fatal blow and the rightist camp was strengthened. The prevailing wisdom now is that not only is there nobody to talk to, there is nothing to talk about. Not only did we withdraw from Gaza and get Hamas and Qassams, we withdrew from Lebanon and got Hezbollah and rockets. The conclusion: no more withdrawals.

In other words the war proved the settlers right. The nation's heart has been broken by the failure to uproot the jihadist threat orchestrated by Iran-- 'the axis of evil'. Another and far more deadly round of war is to be expected in order to disarm Hizbullah and confront Iran given Israel's persistent attempts to secure its place in Middle East by military force and to utilize Lebanon as a battleground for regional conflicts and neighborly disputes.

Levy adds:

The right has to come up with some answers now..... What exactly is the developing right actually offering?....At most, the talk is about tomorrow. There's a reason for this: the Israeli right has no solutions. For the long term, there are only two real possibilities: transfer, or an end to the occupation. The sane right still rejects transfer, and ending the occupation is not its way. Since there is no other way, the right cannot offer anything beyond the next war.

Doesn't that mean eternal war against the Arabs with no willingness for concessions or dialogue with Arab nation states?

I would argue that the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still the key. The occupation of the territories is still a millstone on Israel's neck because it continues to paralyze any attempt at normalization with the Arab states. How does Israel's capture and imprisonment of the deputy Palestinian prime minister, and the imprionment of other Palestinian cabinet and parliament members in an Israeli prison advance Israel's interests for security and peace? The big problems that afflict the region are not military but political.

Levy then adds:

Israel has always chosen the right's approach, through armament, settlement, and hunkering down behind a wall, clinging to the territories and their residents though brutal military force and taking pleasure in the graces of a failed and ephemeral American administration. Nothing endangers Israel's existence more than this approach.

It leads to the recurrence of cycles of resentment, radicalism and resistance that now define much of the Arab-Islamic Middle East.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 4:38 PM | | Comments (2)


Levy is of course absolutely right, but I'm not convinced that most Israelis are even looking for anything other than continuing the enslavement of the Palestinian people and semi perpetual war with anyone in the region who opposes them.

Yes, they are angry and bewildered, but only because the IDF fared badly, not because they see war isn't the answer.

A few IDF heads will roll, Uncle Sam will donate even more bunker-busters and tank rounds to the cause ready for round two. Meanwhile it'll remain business as usual in the West Bank and Gaza.

One of the problems is the gigantic hubris that has been built up over the last 60 years, most of it undeserved. Look closely at the wars Israel has fought and you see that most were cheap victories against opponents that weren't ready for a fight. Contrary to what the Israelis claim, most were started by Israel at a time of its choosing when circumstances were very much in its favour. Which isn't to say that they wouldn't have won anyway, but the result wouldn't have been so certain and the price would have been much higher. Which may have been a good thing in the long run.

I agree with you that, the way things look now, it is going to be more of the same by the Israeli's. The Israeli Left has been pushed to one side. So we are left with the strategy of military pre-emption and deterrence.

There is as yet no sign that Israel is ready to confront the real questions raised by the Lebanon war. Will it press on with its West Bank expansion and refuse to withdraw from the Golan, or will it be persuaded to negotiate with the Palestinians and Syria on the basis of the land-for-peace formula of Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967?
Will it seek to restore its absolute military superiority over the entire Arab region or will it accept some form of a balance of power -- or at least a balance of deterrence?

Maybe the second Lebanese War will eventually show Israeli's the limits of power in the face of Hizbollah, and ISraeli's come to understand the way that it functions as a nationalist opposition with wide popular support and religious motivation.