Historian Benny Morris (of "Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem" fame) has an excellent op-ed piece in today's New York Times about why Israel feels threatened. He outlines two general sources and four specific causes of Jewish Israelis' anxieties.
The first general source is the fact that the Arab and Muslim world have never accepted Israel and still oppose its existence. Generally, he's right about this, but the Saudi Initiative is a glimmer of hope in this regard. On the other hand, the Arabs don't seem to be willing to give up the right of return, so I'm not very optimistic.
The second general source is the deminishing Western public support for Israel. I think this can be countered at least in part by taking steps toward a peace deal that would end the occupation, but there are many bleeding hearts in Europe, and to a lesser extent in the United States, that will always blame Israel for everything, and as long as the right of return isn't implemented, they'll still see Israel as owing the Palestinians something.
The four specific causes of Israel's sense of threat are Iran's nuclear program coupled with their leaders' desire to see a world without a Zionist state, Hezbullah's large arsenal of long-range weaponry and control of South Lebanon, Hamas's control of Gaza and the radicalisation of the Arab citizens of Israel.
As Morris points out, these are all unconventional threats. The first one is a potentially nuclear armed country, two are radical Islamist terrorist groups who reject the existence of Israel, and the fourth is one fifth of our own citizens.
The Obama Doctrine, R.I.P.
2 weeks ago