U.S. Actions in Middle East Affect Israel

(Beirut Daily Star) Yossi Alpher - America's actions in the Middle East over the past two-and-a-half years have been good for Israel. They have eliminated any vestige of a coordinated Arab military threat against Israel, begun the rollback of the weapons of mass destruction threat (from Libya, hopefully from Iran, and from Pakistani proliferation), and provided Israel with a powerful ally in its struggle against Islamic radical movements. After Sept. 11, Israel joined America's "good guys," while Arafat maneuvered himself into the ranks of the "evil ones." Even the uglier aspects of the U.S. war on terrorism - regrettable civilian casualties and damage in Iraq, the daunting specter of the Guantanamo detention facility, and the recent revelations regarding U.S. and British torture of Iraqi prisoners - reflected favorably on Israel, by demonstrating to its critics in the West that its treatment of Palestinians in wartime, however problematic, is probably more humane than the "dirty war" norms of some other civilized countries. The writer is a former director of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.

2004-05-05 00:00:00

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