Tuesday, November 20, 2012

New balance of terror in the Middle East

By Kaveh L Afrasiabi 
Asia Times

"NEW YORK - In the week-long war between Israel and the Palestinians, slowly but surely signs have emerged of a new "balance of terror" reflecting Hamas's enhanced ability to strike back at Israel via the Iran-made long range Fajr-5 rocket.

Compared with the previous war in 2009, when Hamas relied on the shorter range and more inaccurate rockets that rattled southern Israel before a ceasefire went into effect, this time we are witnessing a "more disciplined" and sophisticated Hamas missile brigade that reportedly has some 15,000 military personnel operating through a network of tunnels.

It comes as little surprise then that Hamas has set its own conditions for a truce despite the deadly waves of Israeli air bombardment that have resulted in the death or injury of hundreds of civilians in the densely populated Gaza, described by professor Noam Chomsky on his recent Gaza visit [1] as the world's largest open-prison. Its inhabitants live in increasingly horrible and uninhabitable conditions as the direct result of Israeli collective punishment of the population ruled by Hamas, which now wants the lifting of the Israeli blockade of the area as a term of truce.........

Unfortunately, many Israeli leaders are immune to an in-depth understanding of interdependence and its political ramifications, convincing themselves instead that they achieve more security by simply relying on brute force to bring their Palestinian opponents to their knees. This "compellence strategy" is fundamentally suspect however, and now in the light of the new "balance of terror" more than ever a product of the past.

Perhaps what Israel needs more than anything else is a post-Zionist enlightened leadership that is not self-imprisoned in the arcane 19th century expansionist ideology and is instead more in tune with the requirements of survival in the contemporary context of globalization and regionalization. That would mean less arrogance and delusion of military superiority, [2] and an admission of vulnerability that can, in turn, create the hitherto absent impetus for understanding and sympathizing with the suffering of the Palestinian "other", who is for now the candidate for mere oppression. "

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