Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Two Items From Magnes

One of my favourite blogs, the Magnes Zionist, has recently posted two excellent articles. I could try to summarize them fully here, but its better to go read the originals. Follow the links below. And the comments are interesting too - including mine (pardon my shamelessness.)

The first item explores the "morality" of peoples at war, and how intellectuals and jurists totally lose perspective, and can be made to justify anything. This problem is particularly acute in Israel. The article ends by stating that
[people] use self-serving justifications for doing what is evil and illegal. This is what happens to the moral judgment of people when states are at war. Look at what has happened to the US during the Bush presidency. The problem is that Israel has been at war for over sixty years. Imagine what the US would be like in such a situation.
The second item looks at who was "responsible" for the second Intifada. It attacks the premise that Arafat planned the whole thing. It concludes that Israel is at least as guilty as the Palestinians for starting and escalating the violence. It looks at how the security establishment's predictions, based on worst case scenario planning, can become self fulfilling prophecies. The article bases itself largely on new testimony from the former CO of the IDF's Southern Command.

The most insightful quote, IMO:
"I think that throughout all the years and all the wars, we have pushed ourselves into a situation of no choice, because that is what we know how to get out of best. Maybe we are waiting for a Qassam [rocket] to hit a kindergarten and kill 10 children so the operation will be enabled - the neighborhood bully who tells everyone to stop him, so he can beat people up. So we are telling the whole world, 'Restrain us,' and looking for a reason to beat up others."

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