Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

The Goldstone Report from the United Nations on Operation Cast Lead is a 575-page documentation of Israeli human rights violations in Gaza. It appears after a skim-through that the report is pretty accurate in its details and sound in its methodology. Save for some passive-aggressively-worded phrases about Israel "refusing to cooperate" with the investigation, the report is a thorough work which can and should be taken seriously.

Unfortunately, the Israeli government decided from the beginning that since the report was likely to be biased against Israel it shouldn't even try to defend itself. As a result, no substantial Israeli defense for actions in Operation Cast Lead are given (though the report does quote IDF press releases relating to civilian casualties). The report contains no attempts on Israel's part to contextualize the extremely complicated combat situations the report discusses.

This reticence towards perceived-anti-Israel agencies is nothing new and it damages Israel. Whether the agency is Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, or the U.N., Israel's refusal to engage plays well domestically, but is seen as stubbornness internationally. The strategy is sound for short-term political gain, but is likely to hurt Israel in the future.

Shifting Israel's grand strategy from a short-term to long-term focus would likely be one of the single best policy choices the state could make to acheive its interests.

What do you think? Is Israeli policy already long-term? Is it not short-term enough? Just right?

*Hopefully the new, improved, easier-to-read font will be an incentive to respond.

No comments:

Post a Comment