Sunday, March 18, 2007

Gabriel Kolko on Israel's current situation

Gabriel Kolko has an informative and thought-provoking piece posted on what he calls Israel's Last Chance Antiwar.com 03/17/07. He looks in particular at the implication of the failure of Israel's summer war against Hizbullah in Lebanon to achieve the expected results. And he talks about the particular misfortune of having Ehud Olmert as Prime Minister at this moment, a man who he regards as being of the George W. Bush caliber of leadership.

Kolko argues that Israel's military ability to impose its will on its neighbors - as opposed to its ability to defend itself against invasion - has been dramatically reduced. And therefore coming to diplomatic terms with those neighbors is an urgent necessity. He writes, "The Lebanon War is only a harbinger of Israeli defeats to come. For the first time there is a rough equivalence in military power."

He also discusses Israel's negotiations with Syria in 2004-5 and how the Cheney-Bush administration has opposed any diplomatic settlements between Israel and Syria, and the implications of this for Israel's immediate future.

And he writes of the Iraq War:
There is a consensus among Israeli strategists that the Iraq War was a disaster for Israel, a geopolitical gift to Iran that will leave Israel in ever-greater danger long after the Americans go home. "Israel has nothing to gain from a continued American presence in Iraq," the director of the Institute for National Security Studies of Tel Aviv University stated last January. The US ousted the Taliban from Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein from Iraq and created an overwhelming Iranian strategic domination. Its campaign for democracy has brought Hamas to power in Palestine. "It's a total misreading of reality," one Israeli expert is quoted when discussing America's role in the region. American policies have failed and Israel has given a carte blanche to a strategy that leaves it more isolated than ever.

Notwithstanding this consensus, on March 12th Olmert told the American Israel Public Affairs annual conference by video link "Those who are concerned for Israel’s security…should recognize the need for American success in Iraq and responsible exit." "Any outcome that will not help America’s strength…would…undercut America’s ability to deal effectively with the threat posed by the Iranian regime…." His foreign minister was even stronger. "Stay the hell out of it," a Haaretz writer concluded. No group is more antiwar than American Jews, Congress – in its own inept way – is trying to bring the war to an end, his own strategists think the Iraq War was a disaster – and Olmert endorses Bush’s folly.
Kolko is surely overstating the case when he writes that "Israel today is well on its way to becoming a failed state." But the dilemmas he discusses are real.

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1 comment:

scottsoperson said...

I am a Jewish American. But for some reason my heart bleeds for the plight of
the Palestinians.

After 911, I did the opposite of what most Americans did, I think. I looked into
the reasons why the Muslim world generally does not like America. Most Americans
dismissed those reasons because of 911, I feel. I specifically focused in on how
zionist terrorists stole the land of the Palestinians in 1948, according to
Benny Morris, a zionist historian, and according to Ami Isseroff, a zionist for
peace.

When I found out how my Jewish brothers and sisters violated the ten
commandments in order to form the state of Israel, I was filled with an angry
justice that has not gone away or diminished.

Most Americans do not realize how Israel was formed. Perhaps most don't want to
know. And the US corporate media certainly doesn't want to tell them.

My suggestion to Muslim and Palestinian leaders is to try to give the American
people an education in this history whether they want to hear it or not. They
need to see the context behind those suicide bombers.

On the other hand, in the present times, since the wall was built, there have
been few suicide bombers against Israel, yet the Israelis continue to kill
Palestinians on a regular basis and they continue to build settlements on the
land they stole. These excesses by the Israelis certainly help the cause of a
Palestinian state and the cause of justice by turning some Americans against the
Israelis.

But I feel without the context of history most Americans will continue to be
ignorant and unsympathetic to the victims of this brutal, barbaric and immoral
theft.