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Israel's realism and Dr Pipes's unrealism

Reader comment on item: Israel's Unnecessary War

Submitted by Ian Mordant (United Kingdom), Jul 18, 2006 at 11:47

Dr Pipes thinks Israel suvived by its tactical brilliance 1948-1993, and that Oslo marked a shift in a previously brilliant record. Not so.

Firstly Israel by 1993, had finally hit its Vietnam, namely Lebanon. Like the US 1965-1975, Israeli troops could go anywhere, bomb anything, shoot at anything. They only failed to subdue the Lebanese, thats all, the way the British had failed to subdue the Jews of Israel before them.

Dr Pipes confuses a correlation with a causation: because Israel before 1993 hadn't retreated under fire, he assumes it could continue to thus refuse. No, the Arabs, being human beings, are also capable of learning, and developing, and as we saw in Lebanon, were doing so. Sure, withdrawal from Lebanon has its problems, just as US withdrawal from Vietnam gave the communists a fillip. But adult choices have to be made, and a crucial adult choice is on which battlefield you choose to fight. The military one is increasingly less one sidedly in Israel's favour, and globalisation makes it politically less so too.

Dr Pipes may favour isolationsim for the US, but even here its ability to work is highly doubtful. Of course the global Jihad has to be confronted, and Israel is in the front line of that confrontation. But its successful confrontation needs more subtlety than Dr Pipes is so far able to summon up.

Ian Mordant

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