Remember in the old days (1960s-1980s) when the Union of Atomic Scientists used to have a “Doomsday clock” that “measured” how close the world was to nuclear war?. Remember when the clock was a five mintues to midnight? I always thought that this was a wonderful tool to focus the mind on the imminence of nuclear annihilation.
I think there should be a Middle East Doomsday clock that measures how close the Israeli Palestinian conflict is to the abyss. The advent of the Road Map, Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, George Bush’s intervention (he finally got off his butt & got involved), and the Israeli-Palestinian cease fire–all of these were positive developments which set the clock back quite a ways. But today’s news of Israel’s murder of a Hamas militant (after several other similar murders in the past weeks) has brought both sides back to the brink of outright war. No right-minded person has much sympathy for someone who makes bombs to blow up innocent civilians, but the Israeli policy of assassination of its enemies is the most reprehensible of policies. It is state sponsored terror, extrajudicial murder, how many other horrible descriptions could one come up with to describe this? But the worst aspect of these murders is that it inches Hamas and Islamic Jihad that much closer to renouncing the cease fire. And if they recounce the cease fire that could prove to be the end of the relatively idyllic period in Israeli-Palestinian relations. We could go back to seeing suicide bombings inside Israel on a daily or weekly basis. The funerals will resume on both sides. The grisly ritual of murder and counter murder will resume. And that could put us at about 1 minute to midnight.