Wednesday, February 23, 2011

First Taste of Middle East Instability Reaches Israel

In the last few hours several 'Grad' rockets have hit several towns in the northern Negev. Most notably, Be'er Sheva has been hit for the first time since operation 'Cast Lead' just over two years a go.

I bet western liberals feel very proud of their unconditional support to the 'democratic' revolution taking place in the Middle East. Well, what we will actually be seeing very soon is much more instability, more conflicts. The only thing we will probably not see much off is real democracy in the western sense. That is, a democracy that runs on the principles of individual rights, freedom of expression and mutual coexistence of citizens with varying, often contradictory desires.

Sorry, the 'people's desire to wage holy war on the infidels' does not cut it as a democratic aspiration.

What we are seeing now is an immediate result of the collapse of Egypt's authoritarian regime, and its replacement with a nervous military junta. Hamas feels emboldened. Egypt is too busy to enforce the Gaza-Sinai border properly and Hamas must be seeing its supply lines revived. They also saw Iranian warships pass freely through the Suez canal for the first time since the last glorious and democratic revolution in the Middle East. Of course I am referring to the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Israel always seemed out of place in the region. Despite of imperfections, sometimes tension internal relations on the basis of ethnicity and nationality and a long conflict with the Palestinians, the type of behavior that is routinely used by Arab dictators against their own people or their Arab neighbours is only conceivable to some of the most radical fringes of both the left and the right in Israel. For that reason Israel has been nervously preparing itself for the blow back from events that are utterly out of its control. 

The first wave has just surfaced. The tense calm that has somewhat persisted since January 2009 has just been broken. Israel has already retaliated by bombing targets within Hamas' terrorist heaven.

However, Israel will be reluctant to respond in force at this sensitive hour, unfortunately.


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