The Bigger Picture: The City in the Global Village


Israel's Military Refuseniks (Jan 2002)

Israel undoubtedly thought it could climb onboard the train of America’s War on Terrorism in the wake of September 11th., but the hawks in the Bush administration are not in complete control and Sharon has not (as yet) been given a green light from Bush to topple Arafat. Sharon is steeped in what Israeli historian, Avi Shlaim, has called the doctrine of the Iron Wall, meaning that Israel will only negotiate with the Arab world from a position of superior military strength. A corollary of this doctrine is the ongoing use of retaliatory acts to control terrorist incursions. And undoubtedly Sharon believes that a politically leaderless Palestinian population will be easier to cast as a terrorist people to be dealt with by security measures rather than political agreement.

The doctrine, however, is no longer working. The Palestinian Intifada with its tactic of suicide bombings has changed the nature of low level warfare. And the retaliatory acts of the mighty Israeli IDF is serving to recruit yet ever more volunteers for suicide missions. After the first suicide bomb by a Palestinian woman, Wafa Idris, who is being lauded as a heroine across the Arab world, the patriarchal Hamas announced that it did not need women volunteers since it already had more male volunteers than it could use. Now the Israeli government wants to build a protective ’wall’ of security measures along the eastern boundary of Jerusalem in an effort to prevent terrorist incursions. While the political process lies in tatters, the securocrats will increasingly run the show.