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WINNERS OR LOSERS? August 20, 2006

Posted by wmmbb in Category to be ascribed.
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By definition, guerrilla wars are not pitched battles, and so there is usually not clear winner. I believe it is true to say that most armies in history have struggled to get the better against guerilla resistance movements, and have seldom conclusively defeated them. More often than not guerilla movements seem to have prevailed, not without considerable pain, over the long haul.

The Washington Post suggests that Hizbullah is the best guerilla movement in the world. The Israel Chief of Staff claims that Israel won on points. There was no knockout he acknowledges. Therefore, as these things are measured in asymmetrical warfare, Israel lost.

Charles Glass gives his thoughts on Hizbullah, and relates how he was once captured by them. He argues that they have shown less vengence than comparable movements, that they have always supported the Palestinians when almost nobody else will, and they are not the cats-paw of Syria or Iran, and that the Israelis understand that to be the case.

Being too much of an idealist myself, it is easy for me to have deep sympathy for those who invested great hope in Israel. The Jewish people have suffered grave injustice, even if my knowledge of it is limited to reading Ivanhoe and Peter Singer’s, Pushing Back Time. Moving on often means forgetting, or perhaps selectively remembering, as has become the ideology for the past eleven years in Australia.

Whatever else can be said the bombing campaign waged against civilians in Lebanon, with the intention that they would set upon each other in a civil war, was immoral. Since Israel was the protagonist of this crime, even if encouraged and supported by the Bush Government, it must face the moral opprobrium.

There is a pattern of behavior here, which did not begin during last months in Gaza. This pattern of behavior is deeply imbued in Israeli actions over the past sixty to one hundred years. As I have said elsewhere there is something rotten in the State of Israel, not only is it based on the principle that might is right, but it has consistently engaged in ethnic cleansing, and now punishments of whole populations.

Compared to the Israelis, Hizbullah are saints. They have won a moral and ethical victory by a knockout. Perhaps, because in truth there was no competition. The Israelis need to look to how they are to secure their Jewish Homeland if not by military force which simply means tears and blood as the select of each new generation, as they have since its foundation, are tossed onto the altar of useless sacrifice.

It will not be easy for Israel to accept that they must form a genuine multi-cultural society in which Jews will be a minority with a recognized right to their homeland, while acceding the same rights of return to Palestinians. Can such a society, and one State solution, work? I do not underestimate the problems and difficulties. But some things are worth trying, and some are not worth persisting with.

Postscript: Here is a brief history of the Arab-Israel conflict from The Guardian, 2004.

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