The Jordan Times (Opinion)
January 25, 2010 - 1:00am

Israel is not only talking down peace prospects in the Middle East, it is also behaving aggressively towards Lebanon, Syria and Gaza, and has made clear its intention to strike at Iranian nuclear capabilities.

A few days ago, an Israeli minister said that the battle against Hizbollah, in southern Lebanon, is not over. He was clear in describing the Israel war against Lebanon in the summer of 2006 as unfinished business, saying that it is only a matter of time before his country will wage war again on Lebanon.

Israel claims that Hizbollah is rearming with long-range, sophisticated rockets that can reach its heartland. Earlier, an Israeli source had said that Israel intends to strike deep into Syrian territory if Damascus facilitates the transfer of missiles to Hizbollah.

At the same time, the war rhetoric against Hamas in Gaza never stopped, with calls heard for an end to the so-called Hamas threat once and for all.

This belligerent posture vis-à-vis a number of Arab parties and Iran does not bode well for the region. If indeed these Israeli threats are serious, and they should be taken as such, the summer of 2010 might witness a period of increased Israeli military acts that could turn the entire region into a war zone with incalculable consequences.

US President Barack Obama’s admission - and on him much hope was pinned that he would convince Israel to talk peace instead of waging war - that the Arab-Israeli conflict has proved to be much more complex than he thought and that the solution to the Palestinian question is not within reach, greatly diminishes the chance of defusing Israel’s military threats.

In view of such prospects, and especially given the continued deadlock in the peace process, the possibility of another Palestinian Intifada is not remote, and that would only compound the situation in the Middle East.

The psychology of war seems to be overtaking that of peace in the region, which makes the likelihood of aggression quite possible, the war scenario plausible.

Strong international intervention may help defuse the situation, but that needs the political will to do so. So far, there is no sign of such determination on the part of the international community, which means the region will be left to its own devices once again.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017