Israel's Neighborhood Watch

(Foreign Affairs) Yossi Klein Halevi - Until a decade ago, every Israeli government was committed to a security doctrine that precluded the establishment of potential bases of terrorism on Israel's borders. That doctrine has since unraveled. In May 2000, Israel's unilateral withdrawal from southern Lebanon led to the formation of a Hizbullah-dominated region on Israel's northern border. Then, in August 2005, Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza led to the rise of Hamas on Israel's southern border. As a result, two enclaves controlled by Islamist movements now possess the ability to launch missile attacks against any population center in Israel. And Iran, through its proxies, is now effectively pressing against Israel's borders. For Israel's policymakers, the nightmare scenario of the recent Egyptian upheaval is that Islamists will eventually assume control as the clerics did in Iran. Such a turn of events would bring to power an anti-Semitic movement that is committed to ending Egypt's peace treaty with the Jewish state. "This could be the beginning of a 1948 moment," a senior Israeli official told me, meaning that Israel could eventually face a multifront war against overwhelming odds. Even a relatively more benign outcome - such as the Turkish model - would mean the end of Israel's sense of security along its long southern border. And this will certainly adversely affect the Israeli public's willingness to relinquish the West Bank anytime soon. With peace with Egypt suddenly in doubt, Israelis are wondering about the wisdom of risking further withdrawals for agreements that could be abrogated with a change of regime.

2011-02-04 08:50:18

Full Article


Visit the Daily Alert Archive