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Israel’s perpetual wars

May 15,2018 - Last updated at May 15,2018

Although Israel has achieved its 70th year of existence, its wars with its neighbours are yet to abate. At this very moment in time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doing his utmost to plunge the region, on top of what it already has, in a new war; this time with Iran. If he succeeds, his evil plan will set the entire region on fire, causing unprecedented devastation from which no state, his own country included, can escape.

In an article published in The American Conservative on  May 11th, titled “Israel nudges Trump towards war with Iran”, Robert Merry wrote that Netanyahu’s aim “is to get America to curtail Iranian power and influence in the region, a level of power and influence, it should be noted, that was greatly heightened by America’s 2003 Iraq invasion, supported avidly at the time by no other than Benjamin Netanyahu”.

“In other words,” Merry adds, “Netanyahu wanted the United States to get rid of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in the interest of Israel’s security, and now wants us to risk another war to take care of the fallout from the destabilising misadventure.” 

This exactly seems to be the pattern: Israel’s wars have been steadily counterproductive in mostly precipitating adverse outcomes. They often lead to the creation of much more dangerous security circumstances for Israel than the ones they were set to address.

I did indeed emphasise this exact phenomenon in my last week’s article on this page, where I argued that the expanded Iranian influence in significant parts of the Arab region, which Israel is so fiercely complaining about, was only facilitated by destabilising wars directly committed or instigated by Israel.

Iran expanded in Lebanon in the aftermath of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, it expanded in Iraq following the 2003 American invasion, which delivered Iraq to Iran free of charge, it expanded in Syria when a peaceful domestic national uprising demanding reform and democratisation was quickly hijacked by foreign and regional powers that descended upon the country from every direction, lavishly arming and financing any group, including known terrorists to fight the state with an avowed regime change agenda and Iran gained influence in Gaza because of the siege and the many Israeli wars against the most densely populated, isolated and impoverished strip of land. 

Israel constantly claims that Gaza became a terrorist Hamas rocket-launching pad against it following the Israeli withdrawal from it. This is not true. The seeming withdrawal did not set Gaza and its population free. On the contrary, it placed the land under a strangling siege from sea, land and sky turning it into the largest prison on earth. Under such miserable and desperate circumstances, Gaza would welcome any helping hand, and there were not many. Iran may be helping Hamas, but there is no Iranian presence in Gaza. 

Additionally, the ongoing war in Yemen, for which Iran is primarily blamed, is creating the perfect chaos for further Iranian expansion.

Evidently, therefore, Iran made substantial gains in the Arab region and it still does. But this is the result of the unnecessary wars, the follies, the excessive provocations, the miscalculations, the sanctions and the poor tactics targeting, not only the Iranian leadership, but the Iranian people as well. As a result, Israel has every reason to be concerned, but must at the same time, acknowledge the source of the mounting trouble. 

If the lessons of the recent past were to be learned, the remedy could not be, and should not be, more destructive wars and more miscalculated adventures. That would only make a very bad situation much worse and much more dangerous.

All of Israel’s major wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982, 2006, 2008 and 2014, in addition to daily raids and incursions all around, have only been deepening the hatred and enlarging the gap between Israel and its neighbours, including those with whom Israel had signed peace treaties. It is this, Israel’s arrogance, the humiliation its occupation causes the Palestinians, the unprecedented oppression and misery they subject the Palestinians to and the persistence of Israel to block any possibility of reconciliation that is the biggest threat to Israel’s security. Israel is its own worst enemy by missing all opportunities to reach peace with its neighbours; peace that is based on legal grounds, non-aggression and respect of the legitimate Palestinian rights as defined by international law.

Israel’s demands are astounding; a country that is armed to the teeth, maintains a substantial nuclear arsenal, receives massive supplies of the most modern weaponry and military gear from anywhere in the world without question and uses massive force against occupied unarmed civilians, is claiming victimhood.

Israel continues its occupation of the Syrian Golan Heights for the last 51 years, it occupies all of Palestine and parts of Lebanon and, yet, none of those countries are allowed to buy advanced weapons or to seek allies’ help when needed. Not only does Israel’s absolute right to defend itself apply when under attack, but also when the attacked retaliates or even contemplates retaliation. There is always the preemptive strike, with Israel claiming its absolute right to commit aggression anywhere any time. Its victims, on the other hand, have no right to defend themselves as they are always deemed to be the guilty side.

This is definitely not the way to make Israel secure. It did not in the past seventy years. Israel seems to be more insecure now than ever before, despite exceptionally favourable conditions: unlimited American support, Arab disunity and political deterioration, international hypocrisy and Palestinian leadership decline.

Israel’s security can be better served by adhering to the rule of law, by ending its occupation, by abandoning its aggression, by recognising the rights of the Palestinian people, taking advantage of the very conciliatory peace offers extended to it by the Arabs and the Palestinians and by creating conditions conducive to normal and peaceful relations with all its neighbours, including the Iranian people.

It is frightening that warmongering, however ominous and threatening, is not countered by authoritative voices of wisdom and sanity demanding peace and justice, as well as rule of law. Except for some European voices that should rise, nothing comes from the UN, the Arab League, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, the Africans, the Latin Americans, the non-aligned and many others. Evil seems to dominate, unfortunately.

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