The following article appears in today’s edition of Crikey:
Antony Loewenstein, blogger, journalist and author of the forthcoming My Israel Question:
Israel’s war against Hamas and Hezbollah is the latest sign of a US-backed client state that is truly out of control. The abduction of three Israeli soldiers in the last weeks was the supposed catalyst for the latest upsurge in violence, but we should be under no illusion as to the real agenda. The Jewish state aims to redesign the Middle East through the barrel of a gun, imposing its will through the killing of civilians and destruction of civilian infrastructure. The result will be the strengthening of both Hamas and Hezbollah, and rising stature of Syria and Iran.
Haaretz writer Gideon Levy despaired yesterday that Israel had undertaken a “war of choice”. “The IDF [Israel Defence Force] absorbed two painful blows, which were particularly humiliating”, he wrote, “and in their wake went into a war that is all about restoring its lost dignity, which on our side is called ‘restoring deterrent capabilities.’”
Israeli, Palestinian and Lebanese civilians are the victims of an Israeli defence establishment that still believes, despite decades of policy failure, that “terrorists” must be liquidated in every corner of the region, whatever the political cost. Isi Leibler, former head of Australia’s Zionist lobby, recently argued in the Jerusalem Post that, “the responsibility for casualties, even innocent bystanders, will rest entirely with the terrorists and the Palestinian leaders who enable them to carry out their barbaric acts. And if by doing so we will create a new wave of international anti-Israeli condemnation, so be it.”
This arrogance can only breed because of seemingly open-ended US support, a situation that is unsustainable due to the growing political strength of the US Arab and Muslim populations. The clock is ticking on the blank cheque offered to every Israeli manoeuvre, no matter how provocative or illegal.
Australia, not unlike many other Western nations, still sees Israel as the plucky, defenceless nation in the heart of a dangerous Middle East. It is an illusion that holds no credibility. A negotiated settlement to the current crisis should be a priority, the release of untold number of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails – many of whom are arrested and never even face court – and cessation of cross-border, state terrorism.
The uncontrolled policies of the Israeli government should now be seen as a danger to enlightened citizens and governments across the globe.