A Middle East that could blow and soon

The idea that the status-quo is sustainable in the Middle East is both delusional and sensible. On the one hand, Israel’s occupation of Palestine will continue as long as the world powers allow it to. Without serious pressure, Zionist fundamentalists will continue pushing their apocalyptic view of the world. Alternatively, as Bernard Avishai notes today, extremism is brewing and will likely explode some time soon.

Now, we have IDF soldiers refusing to remove settlers from the West Bank. Don’t be surprised, as this is the only outcome of a state that has long indulged Jewish fundamentalism as normal and healthy:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu voiced concern on Tuesday over a mutiny by pro-settler soldiers that raised fears of more rebellion in the ranks in any future land-for-peace moves with the Palestinians.

“Our security and existence depend on the Israel Defence Forces,” Netanyahu told reporters. “If you promote disobedience, you will bring about the downfall of the state. There is no place for disobedience.”

In an incident on Monday played down by the military as an aberration and described by some political commentators as a crossing of a red line, a handful of soldiers protested against the partial dismantling of a settler-outpost in the West Bank.

Their action prompted 15 right-wing legislators in the 120-member parliament to propose a bill that would bar the military from forcing troops to remove Jews from settlements in the occupied territory.

Two of the soldiers disobeyed orders and refused to secure the settlement site, which had been built without government permission and where police razed two buildings. They were sentenced respectively to 20 days and 14 days in jail.

Two other soldiers, who held up a sign at an army base in the West Bank saying their battallion would never evacuate settlements, also faced a disciplinary hearing at which each received a month-long prison term.

Text and images ©2023 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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