There is a widespread tendency amongst scholars, journalists, and legal experts to apply a double standard when relating to Israel and the Palestinians.
Asher Susser is Professor Emeritus of Middle Eastern History at Tel Aviv University and the Stein Professor for Modern Israel Studies at the University of Arizona.
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In the years following Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, even though the Israelis had just decisively defeated their enemies, the country’s founding fathers were rather pessimistic about their future. They were deeply concerned that the Arab states would eventually build a combined military force that could overwhelm Israel. Israel’s losses in the war had been very heavy; some 6,000 men and women out of a total population of about 650,000 had been killed in the hostilities.
The war in Syria is a ruthless representation of regional changes that have taken place in the Middle East in recent years. At stake is a lot more than the future of Syria. The struggle for Syria is essentially about supremacy in the Arab East, the Mashreq (as opposed to the Arab West, the Maghreb of North Africa). The fact that Russia and Iran have become key players in this contest is a dramatic and revealing sign of the times, indicative of both Arab state weakness and American retreat.