Has Israel taken more than what it can chew?
The political row between America and Israel shows no sign of abating as neither side is willing to forego their stance. Britain has expelled an Israeli diplomat for allegedly forging British passports as the row threatens to go global. The question now remains what sort of an end these shenanigans boil down to and whether the Palestinians would be the one to lose again?
In Ben Yamin (Benjamin, depending on your preference) Netanyahu’s book, it is the Palestinians who must bow for peace to be achieved in the region. Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee summit meeting on Monday, Netanyahu almost demanded that peace must be made by Abbas, not Israel. For a good second it sounded that Israel was not really interested.
In fact, Netanyahu’s plan to defuse tensions with America has taken on a new strategic turn. From what can be contrived from the almost 25 minutes that Netanyahu spoke (actual time that he spoke, he was continuously interrupted during his 40 minute stage presence by persisting applause, standing ovations and wolf whistles), he has subtly termed the Palestinian conflict as an “internal” matter for Israel, terming current US attempts to broker peace deals an intrusion of state sovereignty and can be seen as a challenge to any detractor, US or otherwise. The global community has been challenged to judge Israel like any other sovereign democratic state but the truth is that the “standard” of Israel, to be judged by, is on a totally different scale.
Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton in the same AIPAC conference, reasserted that peace lay in the acknowledgment of a two-state solution in the Middle East, Netanyahu invited any one to try and convert that into a reality. The applauses, initially forth coming as Bibi famously reminded his American cronies that Jerusalem and the hills of Judea are historic properties of Israel, and it had the right to self defense even if Israel was the trespasser. However, just as soon as he mentioned that Israel will not be kind to the US meddling in “internal” affairs of sabotaging peace negotiations, negotiations where a settlement freeze annuls any talk, the hall fell into a stunned silence. Americans picked a side.
The two people who helped form Israel, Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, have been dealt the deuce by Netanyahu. “Thanks for your help in putting us here, we will continue human rights violations as you get rid of our nuclear nemesis, Iran, who has may be 10-15 warheads compared to over 400 of our own” is more to what Netanyahu fed his fan club in Washington.
However, Churchill, the pudgy, cigar chewing wartime politician seems to have influenced from beyond the grave as the Labour party decided Israel had taken one step too many by forging British identities to conduct a hit. 12 British, 6 Irish, 4 French, 3 Australian and 1 German passport were believed to have been used by a 26 member assassination squad linked to Israel, involved in the murder of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai on January 20.
“The fact that this was done by a country which is a friend, with significant diplomatic, cultural, business and personal ties to the UK, only adds insult to injury,” described British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, after evidence was found linking the incident (indirectly) to Israel’s secret agency Mossad.
The last time the UK expelled a Military Attache from London was in 1988 when it expelled the then attaché, Arie Regev, who was removed for “activities incompatible with diplomatic duties,” a euphemism for espionage. Britain also barred a second Israeli, Jacob Barad, from returning to Britain in 1987. Both men were suspected of coordinating Mossad activity in the UK and of involvement in the forgery of British passports. France, which are conducting their own investigations may take a similar action if conclusive evidence is found.
Israel, with all its pompous arrogance, politicking and mainstream backlash sidestepping, has slowly but surely been alienating its best friends. Jordan and Egypt, two allies neighboring Israel have been deeply hurt by the hard line taken by Israel, torpedoing Obama-brokered, indirect peace plan with Palestine and the controversial settlement plan announced during US Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit and its continued indignation towards that decision. By terming the conflict an internal matter, and calling on the international community to judge Israel by world standards, is asking for trouble. Palestinian hatred is growing steadily, and a new intifada may be on the cards.
Surely, either an under pressure Obama or a staggering Gordon Brown, or even, the romping Nicholas Sarkozy who must call Israel’s latest bluff. Honestly, its either that or stand to be called the greatest fools of the century.