Richard Cohen of the New York Times has some interesting views on Israel as well. You can find them here.
By Heru Ammen
In 1947 the State of Israel was formed over the objection of all of the Arab nations. The U.N mandated 1947 U.N. Partition Plan divided the Palestine territory into two states with roughly 55% of that territory belonging to the newly formed State of Israel. This partition plan was summarily rejected by the Arab League primarily because the plan forcibly displaced the indigenous Arab population. The partition and the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel lead to the displacement of over 700,000 indigenous Arabs; with some estimates placing that number as high as 900,000.
The official reasoning for establishing the modern State of Israel can be found in the aforementioned Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel where it reads “…the Land of Israel, was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.” By stressing their own religious beliefs and history as the foundational premise for the establishment of modern day Israel, the Jewish people (with the approval of the U.N., Europe, Russia, and the United States) effectively dismissed the spiritual, religious, and political identity of the entire Arab world. Not surprisingly the Arabs reacted violently to this declaration. The interjection of a Jewish state in what was for over 1800 years Arab territory was followed by the first Arab-Jewish war. Since that period tension between Israel and its Arab neighbors have ebbed and flowed with atrocities being committed against the other by both parties.
Due primarily to its close relationship with the USA, Israel has always held military superiority in that region; which has enabled it to withstand all incursions from its Arab neighbors. Arab militants bent on the destruction of Israel have always known that America had Israel’s back and that threat has acted as a stern deterrent to any nation wishing to impose its military and political will upon Israel. That is up until now. Because of the war and the subsequent occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan there is a perception amongst Arab militants that America is no longer in a position to readily assist Israel at this time.
Additionally the arming of the Hezbollah and Hamas militias by Iran and Syria has changed the military dynamics of the region. So while America continues to be bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel is now faced with the prospect of fighting a war on multiple fronts without that (perceived) American military advantage. Needless to say the perception that America is not in a position to readily assist Israel and the upgraded military prowess of Hezbollah and Hamas may result in an escalation of violence in the Middle East to unprecedented proportions. Israel may have acted as it did (some say disproportionally) due to this perception.
Another factor that is in play in this drama is the fact that in the past when tensions have spilled over into violence between Israel and its neighbors, America was in a position to offer a diplomatic solution. Unfortunately the Bush Administration is arguably the most diplomatically inept administration in modern American history. Also the fact that this administration is now perceived to be unethical, dishonest, and untrustworthy by most Americans and Europeans alike does not bode well for an American led diplomatic solution to this crisis.
In my last commentary I discussed the (metaphysical) consequences of wrong actions. A simple analogy one can take from that commentary is that an individual or even a nation cannot engage in acts contra-posed to justice and peace and escape the consequences of their actions. It is inevitable that at some point in time the universe will (sometimes violently) re-balance itself in some form or fashion and that is a sobering reality that the world will have to deal with.