Khaled Diab on Gaza

Khaled Diab: At one time, war for Israel meant economic paralysis and crisis, but was sustained by a mesmerising ideology, the fresh memory of persecution and a large array of potentially frightening enemies. But even with Israel as the undisputed regional military superpower and its former enemies falling one by one by the wayside, Israeli violence has risen significantly in recent years, especially towards the Palestinians.

This is partly because a durable peace with the Palestinians requires more fundamental compromises than with the Egyptians and Jordanians as a fair settlement raises issues that strike at the heart of Zionism. Another reason is that, after so many generations, conflict has not only become intrinsically interwoven into Israel’s social fabric, it has also become hardwired into its economy.

During the Oslo years, Shimon Peres – who favoured a « peace of markets » before a « peace of flags » – and the Labour party were backed by influential members of the business community who were lured by the peace dividend Israel could earn from a resolution to the conflict. But under rightwing stewardship in recent years, the Israeli economy has been profiting from its own and global conflict and insecurity.

In fact, for the past few years, Israel has enjoyed one of the highest economic growth rates in the world, and is still registering healthy growth even as western economies falter. Much of this growth has been fuelled by the high-tech « Silicon Wadi » sector, much of it security-related technologies, and arms.

Profits of war,

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