Lawrence of Arabia: Pro-Zionist, Pro-Arab, or Both?

Scott Anderson, in a recent biography, suggests that although T. E. Lawrence underwent an “apparent conversion to Zionism” after a 1918 meeting with Chaim Weizmann, “there was a marked limit to that conversion.” To Anderson, Lawrence’s support for Zionism was a tactical and perhaps cynical ploy with little staying power. Not so, writes Raymond Stock; Lawrence’s commitment to Zionism ran much deeper:

Lawrence published in the influential British periodical Round Table assessing the Zionist project in Palestine: “The success of [the Zionists’ settlement plan] . . . will involve inevitably the raising of the present Arab population to [the Zionists’] own material level, . . . and the consequences might be of the highest importance for the future of the Arab world. It might well prove a source of technical supply rendering them independent of industrial Europe, and in that case, the new confederation might become a formidable element of world power.”

One can hardly be more pro-Zionist than that—and arguably, no more pro-Arab, either. By placing Lawrence—a champion of both causes—essentially on just one side of that tragic divide, at least in his heart of hearts, Anderson has rendered . . . a less than reliable narrative. That is a pity, for the complex—and balanced—message of this enduringly enigmatic figure has great value both for his time, and our own.

Read more at Middle East Quarterly

More about: Chaim Weizmann, History of Zionism, Israel & Zionism, T. E. Lawrence, Zionism

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security