Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Notes: Leon Hadar, "Israel's Failed Strategy,", July 14, 2006.

"It's true that after erecting the barrier in some strategic areas in the West Bank, there was a drop in terrorist violence inside Israel. But while they give high grades to Israeli's counterinsurgency tactics, many analysts also insist that the drop in terrorist attacks could be temporary and may have to do with a political decision by the Palestinian groups, including the ruling Islamic party Hamas, to maintain an informal cease-fire in Israel."

Leon Hadar is the former United Nations bureau chief for the Jerusalem Post and is currently the Washington correspondent for the Business Times of Singapore.

Hadar suggests that the security barrier is not analogous to the Berlin Wall, which was constructed to keep East Berliners from leaving.

"A more appropriate historical analogy to apply to Israel's security barrier would be the Maginot Line, that is, the line of concrete fortifications, tank obstacles, machine gun posts and other defenses that France constructed along its borders with Germany (and Italy) in the wake of World War I, which they believed would help them prevent a German invasion by providing time for mobilization in the event of a German attack and would also compensate for French numerical weakness.

"The Maginot Line worked as long as the German military was weak and the German leadership had no plans to invade France. When these two conditions changed, the Maginot Line proved to be nothing more than a – to use a contemporary term – virtual line. In fact, its existence only helped create a sense of misplaced confidence among the French and caused their defeat in 1940" (Hadar Jul 14 06)

"...the unilateral strategy of withdrawing from parts of the occupied territories and erecting a security fence may not even provide Israel with short-term security, not to mention long-term peace."

In Hadar's view, the Wall puts an end to what has been called the "two-state solution." He is not the first to point out that the security barrier will divide towns and villages, making it impossible to form "a contiguous and viable Palestinian entity."

What are the alternatives? Israel could continue its control of West Bank and reoccupy the Gaza Strip. The likely result would be "a Middle-Eastern version of South Africa under which a Jewish minority would rule the Arab majority residing between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean."

Some say this is already the case. Bishop Desmond Tutu said that conditions in the Occupied Territories were like those in apartheid South Africa. But with a permanent occupation and the possibilty of *two* states living side-by-side in peace and harmony physically ended, responsibility for the impossibility of peace--along with the maintenance of the barrier--would effectively pass to the Israelis.

Alternately, Israel could grant Arabs living in the territories full Israeli citizenship. That would mean that Israel would cease to be a Jewish state and become a binational entity like Canada. In order to avoid such scenarios, the Israelis have decided to take steps to withdraw from the occupied Arab territories either under a peace accord with the Palestinians or through the combination of a security fence and a unilateral disengagement policy.

"The only alternative," Hadar concludes, "is to negotiate."Recommend this Post

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