Saturday, February 14, 2015

Israel in the Long Run

In the long run, does Israel have a viable alternative to peace and reconciliation?  What if it remains surrounded by countries hostile to it, or that are home to hostile groups, or whose politics fluctuate between cautious cooperation and hostility?  In other words, what if there are well-organized groups beyond Israel’s borders, but not too far beyond, who object to Israel’s policies, or even its existence, and refuse to accept defeat?

Israel is vastly more powerful militarily than any country, group, or set of countries and groups that oppose it.  It can defend its borders—build a giant fence in fact—and project violence at will throughout the region.  Such superiority seems to have convinced a majority of Israelis that peace is optional.

At the present time, the long-distance weapons available to Hamas, Hezbollah and other forces that take the Palestinian side in the Israel-Palestine dispute are inaccurate and largely ineffective.  They cause enough damage to provoke retaliation and foster an understandable bunker solidarity among Jewish Israelis, but not more than this.

That’s the situation now.  What about several years from now?  Small, toy-size weaponized drones are already within the means of private citizens.  Smart guidance technology in ballistics can only become cheaper and more widely available as digital technology and GPS improve.  Is it unrealistic to think that, in the not-distant future, it will become as possible for Israel’s opponents to target and execute individual Israelis as it is for Israel to locate and assassinate those on its hit list?

What long run strategy makes sense of Israeli intransigence?

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