OPINION

Israel’s failings in the Middle East

According to opinion polls, 86 percent of Israelis support their government’s policy which – whether defensive or aggressive, according to different points of view – is based upon solid alliances and military might and is indifferent to the innocent victims it leaves in its wake. Other commentators have expressed their admiration for the courage of a few thousand protesters, mostly intellectuals, who dare to swim against a strong tide of stubbornness and fanaticism – and all this within a country that is actually actively at war. But to complete the picture, we must note that Israel is the only real «Western style» democracy in the region – a combative democracy that respects and consolidates freedom of ideas. In my opinion at least, within an ocean of authoritarian and theocratic rival states, Israel’s status as a democracy is a decisive advantage, perhaps even more significant than military might. So it seems that we must look elsewhere for Israel’s weak spot. Perhaps the very decisiveness and vehemence with which Israel defends its existence are the qualities that undermine it. After all, a war without any prospects of peace is a pointless and dangerous slaughter. Furthermore, it provokes its rivals to rally around extremist causes, transforming political exchanges into ideological and religious clashes and eliminating moderation and alliances. Today, Israel has the military might to crush Hamas and wipe out Hezbollah as well. But tomorrow’s world of hate, desperation and religious fanaticism will sprout another 20 such groups. Another of Israel’s failings is the contempt for human life it shows in its merciless attacks, which merely inspire Arabs to commit the same bloodshed.