“With Our Eyes Wide Open”

Posted: February 7, 2011 in Uncategorized

There are two ways to think about the impact upon Israel of the collapse, fast or slow, but inexorable, of the Mubarak regime in Egypt. The first is to be concerned for Israel. The second is to be concerned about Israel.

Until the peace treaty with Egypt was concluded in 1979, it was said about Israel, and rightly, that it was surrounded by “confrontation states.” The accord with Egypt, followed by the accord with Jordan, destroyed the monolithic character of the security threat to Israel. The collapse of the Soviet Union, which was the most formidable enemy of Israel in the world, further fractured the threat, most notably in the case of Syria, which found itself isolated in its bellicosity toward Israel and without a powerful patron. Palestinian terrorism, for all its atrocities, never endangered Israel’s existence, and anyway the Palestinian people have a moral and historical status as Israel’s adversary and interlocutor that could not be imputed to the confrontation states, which on the question of the Palestinians were always cynical. Israel’s wars with Hezbollah and Hamas were not wars of survival, which is not to say that they were lacking in justification, even if they were not always sterling examples of the ethically scrupulous use of military force. So as long as there was peace, hot or cold, with Egypt and with Jordan, and as long as Syria was inhibited by the new regional arrangements from direct military action against Israel, Israel’s security situation was better than dire. Read more

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