Friday, July 28, 2006

More on the War in Israel

The Europeans have an increasingly anti-Israel stance in most of the online news and comment sources that I read. The BBC calls it "the Lebanon crisis" and shows a preponderance of images of Lebanese civilian refugees and casualties, nearly ignoring the constant bombardment targeting Israeli civilians of all faiths and ethnic groups. The Guardian is a little more balanced than the BBC in the range of opinion pieces, but shows bias against Israel in its own editorials and news coverage, as far as I'm concerned.

Joschka Fischer, who was Germany's foreign minister and vice chancellor from 1998 to 2005, has a much different point of view from the British. In a commentary which apppeared in the Guardian, Ha'aretz, and elsewhere, titled "Now is the time to think big", Fischer said "The current war in Lebanon is not a war by the Arab world against Israel; rather, it is a war orchestrated by the region's radical forces - Hamas and Islamic Jihad among the Palestinians, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syria and Iran - which fundamentally reject any settlement with Israel. ... By firing missiles on Haifa, Israel's third-largest city, a boundary has been crossed. From now on, the issue is no longer primarily one of territory, restitution or occupation. Instead, the main issue is the strategic threat to Israel's existence."

Here are more of his words: "Israel has a key role to play here. Twice, it withdrew its troops unilaterally behind its recognized borders, namely from southern Lebanon and Gaza. Both times, Israel's land-for-peace formula resulted in land for war. Now, with the existence of Israel under threat, peace with its Arab neighbors seems a more distant prospect than ever.

"I believe today's war in Lebanon can open up a new opportunity for peace. The sooner the guns are silenced in Lebanon, the better. But let's not forget the war's starting point: the clash within Hamas over whether to recognize Israel. And let's not forget the attitude of moderate Arab governments toward this war and to the hidden intentions of those who sought it."

Here is the final paragraph: "Now is the time to think big! This applies not only to Israel and its neighbors, but to the U.S. and Europe as well. This war offers a chance for lasting peace. We must not let it slip away."

I recommend that you read the article in full, though I can't guarantee how long it will be available at any specific news site. I hope Fischer's optimism is really predictive of a future that I find more and more depressing.

No comments: