April 6, 2012


Israel Wary of Changes in the Arab World (Juliane von Mittelstaedt, 4/06/12, Der Spiegel)

Israel has been reacting in recent months the way it so often does when threatened: by walling itself in. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank disappeared behind security walls some time ago. There are high fences along the country's other borders, as well as land mines, but now it wants to improve border security even further by building a high-tech system like the one on the border with Egypt.

The Jewish state has tried to integrate itself into the Middle East for decades. Now it is trying to cut the cord between itself and the surrounding region, blocking out the changes in its neighborhood.

A year after the beginning of the Arab rebellions, it has become a story of mistrust, fear and apathy. Politicians like President Shimon Peres had long dreamed of a "new Middle East," a zone of democracy and freedom. But now that a new Middle East is in fact taking shape, the majority of Israelis and their government are not welcoming it. Although they want democratic neighbors, they are afraid of the democratization process, especially its uncertainties, as well as the instability and loss of control. No one knows yet what the new Middle East will look like, but the government has already decided that it is better to curl up into a ball than explore its options.

Israel supported the repressive regimes precisely because it preferred "stability" from to democracy for its neighbors. 
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Posted by at April 6, 2012 6:07 AM

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