The Danger of Israeli Extremism

  • 15 January 2009

The most important thing that the Israeli aggression on Gaza Strip has revealed is the emergence of radicalism in Israel at the political, military and even public levels. The recent call by the leader of Israel Our Home party, former Israeli minister of strategic affairs Avigdor Liebermann, of throwing a nuclear bomb on Gaza to end the conflict as was done in World War II against Japan, clearly exposes the political climate within Israel in which hardliners and radicals are gaining strength. Even opinion polls point to rising support among Israeli masses for the aggression on Gaza and the popularity of Israeli leaders, especially for foreign minister Tzipi Livni and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak.

Although Lieberman is known for his hard-line and racist positions, it would not be an exaggeration to state that most of the political and military statements emanating from Israel are tinged with radicalism, which is even reflected in the excessive use of force against civilians in Gaza, and the insistence to continue savage aggression despite international criticism, at both the political and popular levels, including the resolution of the UN Security Council for a ceasefire. The danger is that the Israeli political arena could be heading towards greater political radicalism in coming times, especially as a power struggle among hardliners and radical elements erupts, as voices of calm and moderation recede. Israeli radical forces dominate the political and military scene and have started to influence Israel’s policies by playing on uncalled for security fears, and by exaggerating perceived dangers.

In addition, this wave of radicalism has dealt a strong blow to hopes of peace and coexistence in the region, particularly to the prospects of peace between Arabs and Israelis, and could generate a similar wave of extremism in the Arab region. It has emboldened hard-line movements, while putting the forces of moderation, peace and coexistence in a difficult position. Therefore, the directions of obvious radicalism within Israel will have a dangerous effect on the state of security and stability of the entire Middle East region. Undoubtedly, the failure of the international community to deter Israel from carrying out and continuing its aggression and its inability to punish Israel for its unethical and inhuman practices has encouraged radicalism in Israel. An immediate, decisive and strong international position against the aggression will force Israel to review its position, not only at the political or military levels, but also at the popular level that will promote regional security and stability, as well as international security.