August 22, 2006

Josh Marshall:
In the Israeli daily Ha'aretz tonight, military affairs writer Ze'ev Schiff says that the main conclusion that will be drawn from the IDF's disappointing performance in the Lebanon war will be that the army's fighting capacity and edge has been blunted by years of policing duties in the territories...

Occupation degrades a fighting force -- a reality the Israelis need to confront right now and we Americans need to come to grips with as well. The occupation of the West Bank and Gaza is something Israel really cannot afford now as it becomes more clear that she is in renewed need of a very potent fighting army.

But, of course, this goes beyond the military sphere. Or rather the military sphere is revealing a deeper reality. The occupation itself is corrupting Israeli society just as it seems to have corrupted (remember that in its original and deep meaning, 'corruption' means 'decay', 'rot') the IDF. And here too, can we not see the echoes for ourselves?

As Amos Oz, the great Israeli novelist, wrote just after the Six Day War, in his first foray into public letters. “Even unavoidable occupation is a corrupting occupation."

The occupation has become Israel's weakness, not it's strength. True friends of Israel realize this.


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