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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Why Israelis are skeptical (The Australian op-ed)

A pretty good summation of how Israelis think, by Jeremy Sharon in The Australian:

The current Israeli insistence on the deployment of Israeli troops on both the western and eastern borders of any future Palestinian state is regarded as of critical importance to Israel's long-term security. This is seen as one of the inviolable lessons of the Gaza withdrawal and the 2008 Gaza conflict. The other lesson Israel learnt from Operation Cast Lead is that the country can in no way rely on the international community to support its right to self-defence. Having been bombarded with more than 3000 rockets and mortars in 2008 alone, the Israeli government felt it was well within its rights to try to put an end to the intolerable situation in which hundreds of thousands of its citizens found themselves before Cast Lead was initiated.

But the torrent of condemnations, denunciations, diplomatic attacks and media outrage that was directed at Israel for having the temerity to defend its own citizens was unprecedented, even for Israel. This campaign culminated with the publication of the Goldstone report that, were it to be enforced, would essentially prevent the Israeli armed forces from protecting its citizens in the future, should they be attacked by artillery fire from civilian towns and cities, as they were prior to Operation Cast Lead.

In this context, Israel's concern over a withdrawal from the West Bank is quite clear. It is apparent to Israelis that should the urban areas of the West Bank be turned into rocket launching-pads, as happened in Gaza, the international community would not afford Israel the right to self-defence. The Israeli public is therefore much more inclined to forgo the risk of being shelled in their houses in Tel Aviv despite the international opprobrium that accompanies such a choice.

...The lesson Israel has taken from this appalling negligence is obvious; it can rely on no one to protect its citizens and stand up for its right to self-defence other than itself. It is this accumulated sentiment that those who wish to see a Palestinian state established must contend with, because Israelis cannot be expected to trust external forces with their security.
Read the whole thing.