What would you do?

Friends of Israel – many of them respectable lefties, long-time peaceniks, reluctant hawks – have been asking, in their newspaper columns and on TV, “what would you do?” And I’ve been asking myself that question and trying to be even-handed and trying to resist knee-jerk anti-Israeli sentiments but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s the wrong question. Properly rephrased, it would go like this: “What would you – the regional superpower, granted (by the global superpower) the unchallenged ability to strike any corner of the region with lethal force with an hour’s notice, granted the ability to reduce to rubble whole neighbourhoods from $25M pilotless planes, granted the strategic flexibility to respond in half-a-dozen ways to Hizbollah’s wickedness – what would you do?” Phrased like that, Israel’s choices since the Katyushas began to fall look less sound – morally void, in fact.

(Simon Schama, not a famous tankie, on the BBC’s This Week, for instance).

One thought on “What would you do?

  1. What Israel is doing is no more and no less than collective punishment on a whole population. They assert that they are bombing where missiles are stored, but anyone seeing the pictures of destroyed apartment blocks by the dozen knows this isn’t true. And if it were true, what does it mean? That every apartment has a missile in the spare room? And if that were true, what does that mean? It means that an entire population either hates or fears you.
    So what can you do about that? Well, one thing not to do is to try to bomb them to their senses. The thing to do is to look for a political solution. The problem the Israelis have is that to look for a political solution is to look too close to home – like, what the fuck are all those settlements doing on the west bank anyway. And that’s not something an Israel supported by America is prepared to look at. So the only solution is violence and progaganda.
    Now, it’s dangerous to point this out, as Israel is a past master at distorting reality.
    What Israel needs to do is to settle it’s position in the region, which means making peace with the Palestinians, properly, fairly, once and for all. Once that is done, there will be little desire or ability for other regional powers to stir up violence. A propserous Palestine will mean a prosperous Israel and a prosperous region.
    But it aint going to happen, because Israel doesn’t just have to give up the settlements, it will have to give up regional dominance and it’s belief that it is really a european nation, superior to its neighbours. It will have to accept that it has neighbours who have a right to control their air, sea, water, borders. And no nation ever does that unless it has to, i.e. unless it is weak enough to accept compromise. And that won’t happen unless the Americans decide it should happen.
    So Israel really has no choice. It is a settler state supported by the US and it has to remain as such. Tragedy.

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