Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17: Sunday Protests Showed More Than Israel's Fence Holes

By Sylvia Gurinsky

On Sunday, they paid.

Israelis watched nervously as people in every surrounding Arab country took protests to their front door - and beyond, in some cases.

Because the Palestinians haven't quite gotten the concept of nonviolent protest down, a number of them died. But the actions called attention to the holes in both Israel's peace negotiations and preparations for war.

Three months ago, I wrote that Israel needs to get its own house in order, given everything going on around it in the Arab world. Israel has not made those preparations; today's Jerusalem Post features stories about the state comptroller's report that branches of the Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry don't coordinate reports - and that Defense Minister (and former Prime Minister) Ehud Barak seems to have his own ethical hiccups - in addition to the big ethical hiccups Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is being investigated for.

Incompetence and corruption issues set Israel up for serious problems internationally, in addition to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's intransigence. Stuck-in-the-mud attitudes by both Israelis and Palestinians are, no doubt, the primary reason former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell, who brokered peace in Northern Ireland, finally said "enough" to his involvement in the Middle East peace process.

It may be futile for President Barack Obama to appoint a successor to Mitchell as special Mideast envoy. One suspects Israel and the Palestinians may have to go to war yet again before true peace is possible.

Israel has to be strong. But the Israel the world is currently seeing - stumbling - makes many wonder and worry. As in ancient times, Israel's worst enemy could be itself.

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