In This Edition: Déjà vu In The Middle East - Who Is To Blame? (As Night Follows Day) - There Is Always An Alternative To Bombing
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Sludge Report #99
Déjà vu In The Middle East
If you like I feel a sense of déjà vu in relation to today’s situation in Israel you are far from alone. The entire planet is feeling it.
The world and the Holy Land - towards which all eyes are today directed - are now back in precisely the same position they were on June 1st following the horrible Tel Aviv nightclub suicide bombing.
Then the Government of Israel chose restraint rather than massive retaliation.
Today the Israeli cabinet faces the same choice it did then: namely, follow with the kneejerk instinctual response that traditional policy dictates and kick back harder, or change the script.
From early reports from Jerusalem today it would appear that the more likely response is the former - in which case we can only pray for the souls of those who will end up paying the price.
If the plan that was shunned by Israel’s leaders on June the 1st is now advanced then we can expect a massive full-scale military attack on the Palestinian Authority in the coming hours.
And if that is what happens then what happens next is equally clear - a regional security crisis and quite possibly war.
Even if moderate Arab nations swallow their bile and do not attempt to intervene to support the Palestinian Authority, the consequences of a large scale attack on the occupied territories will still be grave for a far greater population than that of the territories itself.
The government’s of Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia will quite likely face large scale civil unrest , and perhaps the best that might be hoped for is a global oil crisis as a consequence.
At the other end of the spectrum of possible futures we know that Syria and Israel have ballistic missiles and that Israel has a nuclear arsenal.
Who Is To Blame? (As Night Follows Day)
On July 5th this column ( Sludge Report #94 - Macho Instincts Take Over remarked upon recent developments at the time saying:
“If and when more teenagers are killed by another young Palestinian suicide bomber, Israel's Cabinet will only have themselves to blame. And when they go to comfort the grieving parents of the victims, they should remember to say sorry.”
At that stage Israel had only just restarted its campaign of “targetted killings”, to use the official Israeli euphemism.
As has been pointed out ad nauseam by editorial writers, government speech writers and diplomats since, this policy might be more accurately labelled a policy of “state sanctioned assassination”, or perhaps more simply as just plain “murder”.
Since early July Israel has rejected all calls – including the most clearly worded entreaties from its ally the USA - for it to abandon this policy.
And so several more instances of gross use of the policy have followed.
In mid July there was the infamous The Bombing Of Bethlehem, and then more recently a rocket attack on Nablus killing two Hamas activists and six others including two children.
Can anyone in the Israeli cabinet seriously claim that in these circumstances the bombing we saw yesterday in downtown Jerusalem would not be the eventual outcome?
In reality the bombing yesterday was as inevitable as night following day.
There Is Always An Alternative To Bombing
It is always darkest before the dawn. And it is an inherent truth of international relations that “there is always an alternative to bombing”.
C.D. Sludge can only hope that the leaders of Israel have the foresight to again realise that what they would ordinarily do in these circumstances won’t work.
And if it takes a personal realisation that they are themselves to blame for yesterday’s bombing and bloodshed in Jerusalem in order for this to happen, then so be it.
The best outcome at this point in time would appear to be the long overdue agreement by the Israelis to allow the deployment of international monitors to the territories to keep an eye on the final remains of the June 13th ceasefire agreement.
On its face such an outcome looks highly unlikely. And so it would appear that it is again time to pray for a miracle.
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