Sunday, June 5, 2011

Naksah Day Protests

Today marks the 44th secular anniversary of the start of the Six Day War. In the Arab world, it is called al-Naksah (the Setback) because of the spectacular way that the Arab armies not only failed to destroy Israel in June 1967, but also because of the substantial territory they lost to Israel.

This year, the anniversary was marked by substantial "civilian" demonstrations in the Arab world, which featured civilian attempts to cross into Israel from Syria, the West Bank and Lebanon. Today, Syrian TV reported that 14 people were killed in border crossings at Madjal Shams and several others were killed in Jerusalem as Palestinians forcibly breached Israeli border crossings. Of course, Syrian TV is not a particular credible media source, but it is relevant to note that even if these figures are remotely accurate, Israel's response of using military force is absolutely justified.

What we are seeing here is government sponsored civilian invasion of another sovereign nation. Such events are incredibly dangerous and can significantly alter geopolitical realities. King Hassan of Morocco used a 300,000 strong civilian march ("The Green March") to destroy Western Sahara's chances for independence when Spain departed in 1975. That same year, Indonesia began a policy of using civilian invasions to alter the population dynamics in East Timor to its benefit.

Morocco used its civilian marches against Western Sahara, a country whose independence Morocco did not recognize, just as the Arabs are using civilian marches against Israel. In both cases, the issue was not about specific borders or negotiated solutions, it was about an ultimate attempt to deny sovereignty to a nation. Taken in the context of the Palestinians' plans to unilaterally declare statehood without having peace with Israel, the situation at present is very much akin to the territorial and military maneuvering that occurred in the British Mandate from the UN Partition Plan declaration in 1947 to the end of the Mandate on May 15, 1948. After the Arabs rejected the Partition Plan, both sides began to maneuver their forces in anticipation of the war that would break out once the Partition ended.

With the second attempt to create a Palestinian state in 64 years coming up in October, Israel should prepare for the same level of belligerency that it faced in 1948. The fact that there have been several hundred infiltration attempts into Israel that show Syria, Lebanon and the future Palestine's unwillingness to recognize Israel's borders. One can and must foresee military action occurring in Jerusalem immediately upon Palestine's creation, since the Palestinians claim all of Jerusalem as their capital. Considering the Palestinians' unwillingness to recognize a Jewish State within any borders, today's Naksah Day protests are but a precursor of the militancy that Israel can expect from its Palestinian neighbors.

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