Similarly, Israel has no interest in peace with the Palestinians that in any way mitigates its own extreme (and otherwise untenable) position, nor does it have any interest in there being a functioning democratic Lebanese state. Jonathan Cook explains why:
Recently Israel has encouraged the slide deeper into Islamic extremism through its policies of unilateralism and its refusal to negotiate.
The same set of policies [as those that created Hamas and resulted in Hezbollah] is being continued now in the Palestinian territories and Lebanon: the shattering of these two societies will only deepen the trend toward radical Islam. Islamic movements not only offer the best hope of local resistance to Israel for these weakened societies but they also offer a parallel social infrastructure of health care and welfare services as state institutions collapse.
There is immediate advantage for Israel in this outcome. With secular society crushed and Islamic resistance movements filling the void, Israel will be able to reinforce the impression of many in the West that Israel is on the front line of global "war of terror" being waged by a single implacable enemy, Islam. Israel's ability to persuade the world that this war is being waged against the whole "civilized" Judeo-Christian West will be made that bit easier.
As a result, Israel may be able to drag its paymaster, the United States, deeper into the mire of the Middle East as a junior partner rather than as an honest broker, giving Israel cover while it carves up yet more Palestinian land for annexation, puts further pressure on the Palestinians to leave their homeland, and destabilizes its regional enemies so that they are powerless to offer protest or resistance.
For some time President Bush has found himself in no position to criticize Israeli actions when Tel Aviv claims to be doing no more to the Palestinians than the US is doing to the Iraqis. If the US allows itself to be handcuffed to Israel's even more extreme version of the "war on terror," the consequences will be dire not just for the Palestinians or the region, but for all of us.