Israel on the Front Line

(Prospect-UK) David B. Green - Israel today is not the same country it was four years ago. What is new is a deep disillusionment among that segment of society that used to call itself the left, whose members for the most part still believe in the two-state solution. At the same time, however, they fear that this solution is no longer attainable. They have become convinced that Israel lacks an adversary who shares its understanding of political bargaining. There is, they fear, "no partner." And much as they would like to feel regret over the harsh measures Israel has imposed on the Palestinians in the past few years, the blows that Israel has endured - above all the suicide bombings - have hardened their hearts to their enemy's suffering. I asked Israeli historian Benny Morris if, in the wake of 9/11, he now saw the intifada in a more Islamic context. He responded that the conflict could be viewed on two levels: a "territorial conflict between two peoples, unfortunately turned into a zero sum game by the Palestinians," and as "a war against the existence of the State of Israel." This has "merged with the pan-Arab, pan-Islamic radical struggle against the West, against modernism, against liberal values and democratic values. They see the West as a threat to their own culture, and they see Israel as an outpost of this West. So when Hamas wages the struggle against this entity called Israel, they're also waging the pan-Islamic struggle against the West itself. And we are on the front line."

2004-07-30 00:00:00

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