Israel is a nation completely out of touch with the nations of the World. When will it realize that the Middle East and the world are undergoing dramatic changes and that its policies of aggressive militancy and repression will no longer work? It's attitude of "it's us against the world" that has driven its foreign policy for many decades has now caused Israel to become an alienated, isolated nation with only one friend and ally -- America.
From Egypt to Tunisia, Syria, Bahrain and other Middle East nations, revolutionary changes are underway that are going to have a significant impact on Israel and its people. Yet, the government of this tiny but very militaristic nation shows no signs that it has either the capacity or the slightest inclination to change with the times.
For some unknown reason, Israel seems to think that no one has the right to question or challenge anything it does, no matter how grievous its actions may be. The world has watched Israel's continuing suffocating, unconscionable blockade and oppression of the people of Gaza, and its attack on the "Gaza Freedom Flotilla" in May of 2010 when six ships from various nations attempted to deliver humanitarian supplies to that besieged city.
The world is currently witnessing the latest of Israel's explosive tantrums as Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, in a visit to the White House, reportedly erupted angrily at President Obama over his latest attempt to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian nation.
Netanyahu apparently exploded when Mr. Obama had the audacity to suggest that to restart the negotiations Israel should consider moving its borders back to what they were before the 1967 Middle East War, with the process including mutually agreed "swaps." That immediately set off a storm of protest in the Israeli government that caused Netanyahu to come storming into Washington D.C. How dare this president try to tell Israel what to do. Does he not understand that Israel takes no orders from any nation on the face of the earth?
Netanyahu supposedly said that the question of Israel's borders was totally non-negotiable and would not even be discussed. That would have been the perfect time for the president to stand up and show Mr. Netanyahu the Oval Office door. But, as we could well guess, that did not happen and, no doubt, the president did all he could to soothe Bibi's tender feelings.
When is all this going to stop? When is the leader of the most powerful nation going to rise up and tell Mr. Netanyahu that if he continues to stonewall every honest and meaningful attempt at establishing peace between Israel and the Palestinian people, that severe consequences will follow?
And what might those consequences be? Well they certainly cannot include cutting off the $3 billion or so annual aid to Israel because the Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, will not allow it. However, there is one thing that this president can and should do, something that has been a long time coming; he should tell Netanyahu that if he does not cooperate in this peace effort and continues to stubbornly resist all attempts, that the U.S. will no longer protect Israel from UN Security Council censures or resolutions by vetoing them as it has done for decades.
That would be a historic move by a U.S. president, one that would take courage and conviction. The result of this promise to end the long standing veto process to protect Israel at every turn would have great implications in the very near future. In September of this year it is likely that Palestine will make a bid in the UN to be recognized as a state; this move could be averted if Israel would finally listen to reason and work with the Palestinians, the U.S. and others to establish peace through a two-state solution.
It's way past time for the nations of the world to take control of this continuing, unresolved situation. All indications are that when this resolution to establish a Palestinian state comes to a vote in the UN General Assembly that it will be passed almost unanimously; and those voting for it could very well include Britain and many of America's European allies. After passing in that body it will have to be brought before the UN Security Council and that will be the moment of reckoning. At that time, if Israel has continued to refuse to listen to any reasoning, then the U.S. representative should vote for the final resolution and refuse to veto it.
The relationship between America and Israel goes back a long time and it should still remain a strong one. But, that said, America cannot continue to allow Israel to dictate its Middle East policy and brazenly use our government to protect and shield it while it follows an agenda of confrontation against its neighbors. Yes, I am well aware of Israel's power, influence, the AIPAC lobbyist group and the heavy monetary donations to our Congress. But America must do what is right, not what Israel demands that it do.
So we'll see what happens in this latest disagreement between these two closely allied nations and its leaders. We'll also see whether President Obama can summon up enough courage and resolve to tell Israel in no uncertain terms that America will no longer back it and continue to bail it out of tense situations unless Israel gets serious about peace negotiations -- and fast.
If Israel wants to take on the entire world, it is about to get its wish. Very soon, individual ships and flotillas will once again be crossing the Mediterranean Sea heading toward Gaza with humanitarian supplies. These ships are coming from many nations, including the Middle East and even the U.S.; they are doing it in the name of justice to deliver badly needed supplies to the people of Gaza. When these ships arrive we hope that there will not be a deadly confrontation. For if that happens Israel will find itself in the middle of a humanitarian firestorm. If Israel once again attacks these ships and their brave passengers, they will feel the wrath and condemnation of the world.
Israel may have worn out its welcome in the world but there is a chance, albeit a remote one, that Israel can still regain the trust of the nations of the world. The only way that this could happen is if the people of Israel rise up against Mr. Netanyahu and his party of extreme militarism and replace it by electing leaders who have a vision of what Israel can still become. There are competent, rational thinking leaders in Israel that could do just that if given the chance.
Israel must accept the fact that the world is no longer going to tolerate its confrontational behavior and militancy. Changes are coming and they are coming fast; Israel needs to try hard to forget the past, as difficult as that might be, and think about the future of the nation and its people.
If it steadfastly refuses to accept the reality of the times, it will remain a pariah in the eyes of the world. It will become today's version of South Africa when that nation, because of its policies of repression and apartheid, was boycotted and isolated by the entire world.