Israel: Heading for a Political Cliff?
Middle East expert Patrick Seale knows the region well. He’s covered it for over four decades. On December 4, he said:
He “rarely encountered such detestation of Israel, such thirst for revenge and such rage at its superpower patron. (It’s) bubbling beneath the surface like molten lava.”
How can tiny Israel “defy hundreds of millions of Arabs, Iranians and Turks and the vast Muslim world beyond? Only the United States can save Israel from the suicidal folly of its leaders.”
Rage holds back only so long. Oppressed people eventually rebel. Israel’s moment of truth awaits. US support delays its day of reckoning.
The longer rage builds, the greater the eventual eruption. When it comes, containment won’t be possible. Rogue Netanyahu governance hastens the day. A previous article called him more mad dog than leader.
He may end up fiddling while Israel burns. His hermetic worldview may be its undoing. He threatens to take an entire nation and the region over a cliff with him.
Mindless Israelis look certain to reelect him. It’s hard imagining why they support fascist neoliberal governance. They want peace, not war. Netanyahu threatens to drag them into an abyss.
They’ve got political strength enough to stop him. Indifference and support keeps him in power. He should be in prison, not government. The same goes for likeminded hardliners. Israel has more than its share.
So far, world opposition is tepid. Rhetoric substitutes for policies with teeth. Perhaps hints suggest modest change. It’s not enough to matter but indicates hope.
On December 3, General Assembly Member States overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Israel to join NPT and permit IAEA inspections of Dimona and other nuclear facilities.
The vote was 174 to six with six abstentions. Israel, America, Canada, and three tiny Pacific islands said no. The non-binding measure adds pressure to confront Israel responsibly.
Two resolution paragraphs were voted on separately. Both support universal NPT adherence. They called on countries not yet party to the treaty to ratify it “at the earliest date.”
Washington and Canada expressed support. Israel and India alone opposed both paragraphs.
Arab nations and Iran planned to attend a mid-December Helsinki, Finland nuclear conference aimed at establishing a nuclear-free region.
On November 23, Washington unilaterally cancelled it. Doing so showed support for Israel. Netanyahu refused to attend.
Before Monday’s vote, Iranian diplomat Khodadad Seifi told Member States “the truth is that the Israeli regime is the only party which rejected conditions for a conference.”
He urged other nations exert “strong pressure” to force participation with no preconditions.
Israeli diplomat Isi Yanouka expressed typical Israeli arrogance. He claimed only Iran and Syria pose a regional nuclear threat. He thumbed his nose at all regional states. He fooled no one.
Syrian diplomat Abdullah Hallak said his government is justifiably angry because of “the whim of just one party, a party with (known) nuclear warheads” and long-range delivery systems.
Russia and Britain sponsored the conference. So did Washington. Obama yielded to Israeli pressure. He showed again which side he’s on. Washington and Israel remain rogue partners. Their special relationship shows no signs of bending.
Following Monday’s UN vote, heroic Israeli whistleblower,Mordechai Vanunu said:
“Those who are controlling world history found themselves miscalculating world events!”
“The UN General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Israel to quickly open its nuclear program for inspection and backed the Helsinki conference to ban nuclear weapons from the Middle East.”
After Washington cancelled Helsinki, he added:
“The 2012 Helsinki Conference for the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons and all other weapons of mass destruction is NOT happening as planned.”
“The conveners – US, UK, UN, and Russian Federation – issued statements claiming, ‘regret that the conference will not be convened this year.’ ”
“Why? What makes them regret?”
Vanunu knows “regret” is code language for Washington yielding to Israeli pressure. The tail keeps wagging the dog. You’d think shame alone would force change. Not so far or concern about Israeli interests harming America’s.
Israel is nuclear armed and dangerous. It menaces the region. Its occupation is ruthless, oppressive and lawless. Its security forces and rabid settlers terrorize Palestinian civilians. They’ve been unrelenting for decades.
Israel scorns peace. It craves violence and instability. Policies this extreme assure bad endings. Israel’s moment of truth awaits.
Netanyahu’s heading Israel over a cliff. So far, it’s with Western support. On Wednesday evening, he met Angela Merkel in Berlin.
Nothing more than rhetorical displeasure with his policies followed. A senior German official said she considers Israel’s security “sacred.” She wanted the meeting.
It’s supposed to have been about science. It was very much about expressing solid Israeli support. Palestinian rights got little more than lip service.
On December 4, Der Spiegel headlined “This Time, Israel Has Defied the Whole World.”
Not enough to do anything about it. That’s the sad reality. Netanyahu should have been disinvited. Germany and other EU states should recall their ambassadors, suspend relations, and impose stiff sanctions.
Initially strong British, French and German rhetoric cooled quickly. Threats about withdrawing envoys were reversed. Business as usual continues.
Europe solidly backs Israel. Pressure applied is so weak it’s embarrassing. German broadsheets were quoted.
The Financial Times Deutschland wrote:
“One can only encourage the chancellor to use Netanyahu’s planned construction of settlements in the West Bank as an opportunity to take the hardliner to task.”
“Because what Netanyahu is planning makes a two-state solution between the Israelis and Palestinians impossible.”
“Clearly Netanyahu doesn’t want a Palestinian state.” Given Germany’s Nazi history, Merkel “must choose her words carefully.”
“That history obligates Germany to criticize the repressive measures taken by a government like Netanyahu’s.”
America’s ugly past warrants similar obligations.
The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said:
Netanyahu seeks revenge. “Israel’s settlements on Palestinian land are a violation of international law, against which the Palestinians could take action within the framework of the United Nations.”
Netanyahu’s “government is creating facts on the ground indicating a creeping annexation of the West Bank. The prime minister is provoking both the Palestinians and the international community.”
Süddeutsche Zeitung said:
“This is typical of the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, but it’s not clever. Revenge is never a good counselor — and in the end the damage to Israel could be greater than to the Palestinians.”
Netanyahu “defiance and megalomania” heads Israel toward “growing isolation.”
Die Welt added:
Israeli punishment of Palestine “is likely to lead to long-term international isolation of Israel.” Germany objected without enough muscle to matter.
Merkel knows Netanyahu spurns peace. He refuses to end occupation harshness. He keeps stealing Palestinian land. She, other European leaders and Obama do nothing to stop him.
Nor does longtime collaborationist Abbas. Policies on his watch fall far short of confronting Israeli lawlessness. Rhetoric substitutes for supporting his own people.
He said E1 construction crosses a “red line.”
“If the project is implemented, we will use all legal and legitimate means to stop it, and we have something to say and do about these dangerous decisions,” he said.
He also said he’d pursue ICC action if Israeli leaders commit aggression. He did nothing after eight terror-bombing days. He ignores daily Israeli crimes. He’s complicit as Israel’s enforcer.
He’s done nothing to stop exponential settlement expansions on his watch. Legitimate resistance does all it can. Over time, Netanyahu’s extremism may accomplish more.
World leaders may tire of his double-dealing. Washington one day may feel the same way.
The combination of fascist leaders, fanatical settlers, and religious zealots sharing power makes Israel a classic pariah state. It’s the worst kind of neighborhood bully.
It redefines rogue governance. Patrick Seale said “the whole world knows” Israeli hardliners “want land not peace.”
Perhaps Israel’s writing its own epitaph. Arab countries once had seven diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv. Two remain.
At issue is for how long. Palestinian ambassadors may be more welcomed. Israeli ones may lose support. Change won’t come easily or soon. Liberation is well worth waiting for.