Sunday, June 07, 2009
Israel's right wing, as represented by Lieberman, tends to lump all the Arabs together and all the Europeans. Their suspicions are not based on religious disputes or on the ideologies of political economy. They wish separation from the Other.
There is an alternative approach, more dare I say it nuanced? Israel could drive a wedge between the Christians and the Muslims and seek to rally conservative European support. Such an approach was tried by Sharon and the Likud at the time of the first Lebanon War. At that time it failed but the alternatives have not proven superior. To carry it out Israel would have to act as the champion of the Lebanese Christians and also as the champion of Palestinian Christians. There are maybe 5-600 Christians left in Gaza, Israel could insist on their safety. Israel could annex Bethlehem and expel the recent Sunni intruders. Israel could once more move to defang Hezbollah and the Syrians. The biggest problem this policy would face is the same one that the US or any democracy faces in the eyes of those contemplating alliance with us. That is the tendency of democracies to cut and run or abandon allies.