Israel celebrates ‘Pyrrhic’ victory as it turns 70

Israel celebrates ‘Pyrrhic’ victory as it turns 70

It appears Israelis have every reason to be in festive mood this week as they celebrate the 70th anniversary of their state’s founding.

This “Independence Day”, which Israel marks according to the Hebrew calendar, on April 19, the regional, security and diplomatic environment looks to be the most favourable Israel has faced in its short history.

The Palestinians have been crushed, and Israel faces no international pressure to concede a two-state solution. The Arab states are in disarray, with growing signs that Saudi Arabia and some other Gulf states may be ready to normalise relations

Al Jazeera World – Born in ’48

The Trump administration is little more than a cheerleader for Israel, and has pre-empted Palestinian ambitions for statehood by moving its embassy to Jerusalem next month.

And Israel has one of the few economies that is thriving despite the global recession sparked by the financial meltdown a decade ago. 

Nonetheless, analysts warn, the picture over the coming decades may prove to be far less rosey than it appears now. The relatively free hand Israel currently enjoys comes with new costs and dangers, they argue.

“This is more like a pyrrhic victory,” Amal Jamal, a politics professor at Tel Aviv University, told Al Jazeera.

“Israel has won this round of the battle, but at a price it probably can’t afford in the coming rounds.”

‘The end of the Jewish state’

That sentiment is shared in unlikely places. Last month Israel’s popular Yedioth Aharonoth daily published the assessments of six former heads of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, headlined: “The country is in grave condition.”

One, Dani Yatom, went so far as to predict “the end of the Jewish state”. Another, Nahum Admoni, warned that the rift within the Israeli Jewish public was “greater than at any other time” in Israel’s history.

Michal Warschawski, an Israeli analyst and founder of the Alternative Information Centre, argued that Israel was suffering from “classic hubris”.

“Israel is strong, rich and has powerful allies. That explains its extreme arrogance at the moment,” he told Al Jazeera.

“We are now in a strange situation in which the security apparatus has more insight into Israel’s problems than the politicians.”

An indication of Israel’s troubles ahead are the popular, unarmed protests that have exploded on to the Palestinian political scene along Gaza’s perimeter fence.

For decades Israel’s internal security has been carefully built on an intricate system of containing, isolating and repressing Palestinians with walls, checkpoints and blockades. 

Head to Head – Is Zionism compatible with democracy?

But the Gaza protests suggest to some observers that Israel’s complex fortifications could quicky turn into a house of cards if unarmed resistance by Palestinians grows or spreads.

Israeli military commanders have repeatedly warned that they have no strategy for countering a mass popular revolt.

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