Let's see if I have this right. On this planet of 6.8 billion people, a nation with a population of 7.5 million, about the size of Massachusetts, issues a stern warning to Russia, and then puts the United States "on notice." That striking example of confrontational behavior has, once again, illustrated how Israel continues to try to force its agenda on other nations; in effect, the message is, "you're either with us or against us."
Reports out of Russia in early September stated that, during a shouting match between Russian President Medvedev and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israel's leader warned, "We'll bring the whole world down with us if we have to." This comment supposedly came after Netanyahu was informed by Medvedev that Russia would not go along with Israel's plans to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities and would, very likely, retaliate if the attacks were carried out. Very dangerous rhetoric on the part of both parties.
Considering the myriad of problems swirling around Israel and the Middle East why Israel would get involved in Russia's backyard is difficult to comprehend; but it has. The Russian Itar-Tass news agency reported on February 12 of this year that Israel was not only supplying Georgia, once a part of the Soviet Union but now an adversary, with drones but was also supplying it with very large amounts of sophisticated weaponry. This could enable Georgia to prepare for another attempt to gain control of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two territories of contention between Georgia and Russia.
On March 9, Vice-President Joe Biden was blindsided when, during his visit, the Israeli government announced plans to construct 1,600 new housing units in East Jerusalem -- it had previously announced settlement expansion in the West Bank. In addition to that affront, a headline from the Asian Times, March 13, 2009 stated: "Israel puts the U.S. on notice." This, apparently, was meant to be a stern warning to Washington that if the U.S. continues to hold Israel back from a strike on Iran, there will be consequences.
These warnings and recent actions by Israel reflect a high degree of arrogance and recklessness. That this tiny nation of Israel has the audacity to rattle its sabers in the face of both Russia and America, the world's largest nuclear powers, is astounding.
The state of Israel has been in existence for more than 60 years and, over that period of time, has been involved in numerous regional conflicts and outright wars. While there have been any number of attempts by the U.S. and other nations to mediate peace accords between Israel and Palestine, to this day, there has been no success or real progress and there continues to remain a deep distrust and suspicion between Israel and its neighbors over this issue.
Israel's confrontational attitude in the Middle East goes back to 1947 when Palestine was partitioned and the nation of Israel was created by the United Nations. Inconceivably, at that time, Palestine was not given the same opportunity for statehood. In recent decades the possibility of a two-state solution has been mentioned time and again. While Israel would never agree to a single-state solution, they have indicated that they could live with the two-state solution. However, their actions continue to indicate that they have, in reality, no such interest.
At some point, Israel is going to have to stop thinking that "we are right and, therefore, everyone else must be wrong." At some point Israel must think about what the future holds for their nation if they continue on their present course of rejecting any and all attempts to establish a two-state solution.
Now to the festering situation with Iran. The big issue with Israel is its fear of Iran developing nuclear weapons; Iran must not be allowed to develop nuclear capabilities that would threaten the Israeli people. But in considering this situation, let's talk about a huge double standard. Question: which Middle Eastern nation has the region's only nuclear arsenal and is considered to be in the top ten nuclear powers in the world? Well, it's none other than the state of Israel that is reported to have between 150 and 200 nuclear weapons.
Consider this: In 1970, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT or NNPT), a treaty to limit the spread of nuclear weapons, came into being. There currently are 189 nations that are parties to the treaty, five of which are recognized as nuclear weapon states -- the United States, Russia, the UK, France and China.
However, there are four nations that are not parties to the treaty and are known or believed to possess nuclear weapons; India, Pakistan and North Korea have tested weapons and have admitted that they possess nuclear weapons. The fourth is, of course, Israel which refuses to join the NPT treaty and will not admit that it possesses nuclear weapons.
How and when will this Middle East turmoil end? Is the entire world going to continue to watch as Israel maintains an attitude of, "it's us against the world"? That is not going to work and it's only a matter of time until Israel is yet again involved with a dangerous military action in the volatile Middle East and let's hope that it does not involve a misguided attack on Iran's nuclear facilities.
Some have said that Israel is its own worst enemy and that often appears to be the case. And it shows no signs of changing. The U.S. has, for decades, been both the big brother protector and chief apologist for Israel and that needs to be changed. The current situation in the Middle East with Israel being the center of continuing controversy is unsustainable.
Here is the scenario that cannot -- must not -- be allowed to unfold: Israel goes off the deep end and initiates an air attack on Iran's nuclear facilities; Iran retaliates with a vengeance, using mines and missiles to turn the Strait of Hormuz into total chaos and bring all oil traffic to a halt; Iran, together with Syria and Hezbollah, join in a direct attack on Israel using rockets, missiles and, possibly military forces.