Thursday, August 24, 2006

Israeli Debacle

By Ilan Pappe

(Ilan Pappe is senior lecturer in the University of Haifa department of political science, chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies and author of several books)

"It is too early to judge how solid is the ceasefire agreed upon in the second Lebanon war. But it is already possible to draw some initial conclusions - the most important of which is the resounding Israeli military failure. Such a failure can stop for a while the more ambitious US-Israeli plans to extend the military campaign against Iran and Syria, although the danger is not over.

The first buds of the local soul searching indeed indicate that this is going to be the major conclusion of both the army and the political system.
Thus, we should expect more bloodshed and more aggressive policies - if not immediately against Syria and Iran, then against the Palestinians. The second realm is the politics of the Arab world in general and that of Palestine in particular. Enormous admiration is felt in the Arab world and in Palestine for the success of Hizbollah.

However, with all the respect for the resistance and its steadfastness, secular and socialist movements are fearful that such an admiration is not just for the resilience of the Hizbollah but also for the dogma that guided it. This can and should lead to a more fruitful and meaningful dialogue between the left and the popular Islamic movements of resistance in order to find a common ground for the future. This future must be based on respect for tradition and religion, an aspiration for social and economic justice and, hopefully, careful observance of human and civil rights for all.

To sum up, Hizbollah's achievement may indicate that the days of the US empire in the Middle East are numbered and nearly over. However in history "nearly" can take years.

These can be dangerous years in which we who live in this area - especially the Palestinians - are going to undergo tough times."

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