OPINION

The arrogance of power

The developments we have witnessed in Gaza and Lebanon over the past few days merely serve to confirm, in the most dramatic fashion, that the maxim «might is right» still applies. It has become quite clear that Israel is much more than a small state armed to the teeth. Not even the US enjoys such tolerance. The governments of the West and those who shape its public opinion are, as a rule, extremely cautious in their criticism of Tel Aviv. Evidently this is not merely due to the legacy of the Holocaust. It is also attributable to the creation of an entire industry of ideological terrorism and to the exploitation of the Holocaust for political ends, which insults the memory of the victims. It is hardly irrelevant that the media refer to Israeli soldiers being «abducted» rather than «taken captive» – the term «abduction» suggests terrorism while soldiers are «taken captive» after armed conflicts. However, both captures, of two Israeli soldiers in Lebanon and another in Gaza earlier this month, followed armed conflict. Generally Israel describes such conflicts as terrorist acts. But this time it referred to the unjustified attack of one sovereign state against another. Tel Aviv does not regard Hezbollah as less of a terrorist organization than Hamas. It just needed a political excuse for its attack on Lebanon. The attacks on Gaza and Lebanon were not carried out to free the three Israeli soldiers, nor because of Israel’s penchant for multiple reprisals. There is also an acute problem with rocket attacks targeting Israeli settlements. But these attacks are just the flipside of Israel’s offensives in this unbalanced war. Israel’s mistake is not that it is exercising its right to defend itself but that it has been carried away by an arrogance of power that has extinguished any political farsightedness. Hence its attempt to impose a military solution upon a political problem.