June 12, 2010
Punchy and powerful posting from Eve Gerrard.
Whats to argue with? - nothing - so i wont. All the countries she lists have done terrible things. no decent person can defend those things, or argue that Israel is worse. But what does trouble me, is the implication that while israel does terrible things, so do lots of other countries, so its ok.
It is of course, not ok. And with a little imagination, courage, and compromise, it does not have to be like this. Israel does not have to be in occupation of palestinian lands. It could agree withdrawl to the 1967 borders, make a proper peace with the palestinians, and get its soldier back. It could resolve border issues with lebanon, make a commitment to no more invasions or bombing, get its soldiers back, and have peace on its northern border. It could very easily agree to hand back the Golan, and make peace with Syria. Israel could make a public declaration that the IDF will only be used to defend Israel at its borders - not for invading neighbouring countries. Everyone except the opposing fringes knows what the final settlement looks like; similarly everyone knows how to get there. The initial drive must come from Israel, since it is the dominant player in a hugely uneven regional power structure. But its negotiating partners will have plenty of hard commitments they will need to make to ensure that Israelis feel welcome and secure in the post conflict environment, and more - that Israel itself is a recognised, accepted, fraternal member of the family of the middle east.
None of the above prevents Israel maintaining strong armed forces, or even retaining its nuclear weapons - with a no first use doctrine. All of the above would utterly transform Israel, and the region.
What other options are there? Just to ask the question is to answer it - none. The status quo is completely unsustainable, as Stephen Pollard himself recognises. The occupation is sapping the morale of the IDF, and is a poison infecting Israeli society. Military spending is a drag on the economy. The aggressive posture re the neighbouring states is so obviuosly counter productive - are hamas stronger than in 2008/9 are Hezbollah stronger than in 2006? Can Israel continue to rely on an eternally compliant and co-operative US - will the cashpoint remain open? Are the demographics of Israel and the occupied territories favourable? Will Israel be forced to act in more extreme, yet more aggressive ways to maintain the status quo?