Israel Is No Goliath

(Spiked-UK) Daniel Ben-Ami - Much of the imagery used to illustrate the recent conflict in Gaza sought to portray a military superpower and a largely helpless victim. The echoes of the biblical story of David and Goliath were difficult to miss. But this vision of a mighty Israel crushing poor Palestinian civilians is highly misleading. First, Israel is far from being a superpower - even in military terms; it is at most a middleweight. By all key metrics - geographic, demographic, and economic - Israel is dwarfed by even a middle-ranked power like Britain. The annual Global Firepower ranking puts Israel in the world's top-20 strongest militaries - but only just, at No. 20. Britain was ranked at No. 8. Several countries in the Middle East are more highly ranked militarily than Israel, including Turkey, Egypt, Iran, and Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the contemporary conflict is not simply one between Israel and the Palestinians. It also involves an additional main party in the wider region: Islamism. Hamas (the Arabic acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement) in Gaza has substantial external Islamic support, including military backing from Iran and financial support from Qatar. It also has a powerful military ally in Hizbullah in Lebanon, which is also backed by Iran. Indeed, the goal of Hamas, and Islamism generally, is not Palestinian self-determination. It is to subjugate Gaza, along with the rest of the Middle East, under an Islamic caliphate. It is therefore hostile to Palestinian self-determination.

2021-09-09 00:00:00

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