Israel’s delinquent behavior
Israel’s almost complete international isolation appears to be increasing the delinquent behavior of its right wing government rather than knocking sense into it. The decision to build 3,000 new houses on Palestinian lands, in retaliation to the U.N. General Assembly vote on Palestinian statehood last week, is the latest example.
Israel’s perverse attitude does not end there either. It has also decided to seize over $120 million in tax revenues, collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, in retaliation to the world siding with the Palestinians.
Rejecting the U.N. vote Prime Minister Netanyahu claimed the Palestinian Authority’s “one-sided step at the U.N. constitutes a gross violation of the agreements that have been signed with the State of Israel.” Taking these words at face value one could almost believe that Israel is a country fully committed to international and humanitarian law.
It is clear, however, that there is not much of an international reputation left surrounding their country that Israelis can feel proud of. Remarks by Secretary of State Clinton concerning the authorization of 3,000 new houses on Palestinian lands show that even the United States – who has often backed Israel to the hilt– finds it difficult to condone such behavior.
It is of course curious that Israelis should be blaming and punishing the Palestinians over the outcome at the UN, and not bothering for one instance to wonder why the overwhelming majority of countries in the world are supporting Palestine. Neither does the fact that Europe has started to desert Israel appear to ring alarm bells for them.
An Israeli once told me his compatriots basically believe the world is against them and therefore they do not care two hoots as to what people around the globe may think about their country- as long, that is, America is on their side.
Assured that the U.S. is on their side, Israelis do indeed appear to be reconciled to the fact that they are an increasingly despised nation the world over. However, they appear as concerned about this as white South African’s were during the heyday of the Apartheid.
But the Apartheid collapsed in the end, showing that such behavior can not be sustained forever if the world is against you. Fortunately, wise leaders emerged from among white South Africans and helped smooth the transition to normality in that country.
That seems unlikely in Israel for the foreseeable future given the mindset that has overtaken average Israelis. This, however, does not alter the fact that Palestine – which appears also to be moving toward overcoming its domestic squabbling - has more than a legal foothold at the U.N. now.
With so much international support it can be expected to capitalize on this further in order to compound Israel’s isolation. And then there is Israel’s “Turkish headache,” which must have grown after last week’s U.N. vote that was welcomed festively in Turkey.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, clearly angry at Israel’s decision concerning the 3,000 new houses, vowed that Turkey would never endorse attempts by Israel to legitimize its grab of Palestinian lands. Israelis could care less of course over such remarks from Turkey.
But what is certain is that a Turkish-Israel reconciliation appears remoter than ever, no matter what behind-the-scenes talks may be taking place between the two countries.
Turkey must now use its influence over the Palestinians and ensure that there are no more terrorist attacks against Israel. The Israeli government has always turned these attacks to political advantage one way or another, especially in terms of grabbing Palestinian lands.
Ankara must ensure that a united Palestine will give up violence and concentrate purely on diplomacy now, seeing that it has more than a fighting chance in this area given the overwhelming support it has from the international community.
To put it another way, Turkey should see to it that Palestinians do not squander this support with their own delinquent behavior.