Disclaimer: I support the right of Israel to exist and to defend itself. If you choose to believe otherwise after reading this, that is none of my business.
Israel is a nation whose very existence is highly divisive. For some, the simple existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East, regardless of the history is an abomination that will only cease to be when the state is physically destroyed and the Jewish population removed or killed. At the other end of the scale, there are people who not only believe that Israel should exist, but that the disputed land on the West Bank, in Gaza, the Golan Heights and particularly in and around Jerusalem is theirs in its entirety. Of these two particular extremities, neither wants peace despite their claims to the contrary. It will take until their leadership passes on and younger ones who have a different perspective step forward.
There is nothing nice about having only 15 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket attack. There is nothing pleasant about seeing innocent people, men, women and children with terror and panic on their faces as they take shelter from rocket attacks at all hours of the day. The nations who supply the rockets and the launching systems and the companies that make these ghastly things should hang their heads in shame.
But there is also nothing nice about Israel’s use of white phosphorous, against international law during Operation Cast Lead, as the musician Roger Waters mentions in his address to the United Nations. Israel is also alleged to have used cluster munitions, which are banned in many countries by the Control Arms treaty, which the United States, China and Russia did not sign. When these devices hit the ground, they spray little bomblets, only a couple of pounds in weight, but quite capable of killing human beings over an area of several tens of metres or more causing secondary explosions.
But it is not just in acts of war that Israel, a nation that supposedly wants peace with its neighbours comes up shockingly short. It’s illegal occupation, sanctioned by only itself of the Golan Heights and other key zones of land, and the blockade – for lack of a better word of Gaza are human rights abuses that are unbecoming of a developed democratic country, which Israel says that it strives to be. Yes, Gaza has been mismanaged and Egypt and the Palestinians have a role to play as well, that they should be both trying to make a bigger effort on, but Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu seems to have an agenda against Palestine.
To him and the pro-Israel hardliners in the United States, Palestine is an abomination of some sort. It is an ugly blot on the land backed increasingly by other nations around the world, growing frustrated with Israeli intransigence backed by a seriously misguided U.S. Government. He ignores the fact that H.A.M.A.S. will accept peace with Israel if the latter will withdraw to it’s pre-1967 border. In retaliation for most of the world having the bravery to recognise Palestine, Mr Netanyahu decides to proceed with highly inflammatory housing developments that he knows will anger the United Nations.
Israel says it wants friends and peace. Perhaps it does – it certainly needs them – and if it can achieve lasting peace then all marks to it. However Israel seems to believe with an unfathomable high-handedness that it can destroy Palestine and the world will meekly roll over and accept a one state solution with no Palestine. I admire the Israeli’s who are appalled by their Government’s intransigent attitude to international diplomacy, the protocols of dealing with the United Nations and international law. I admire the Palestinians who have patiently waited and refrained from participating in the inflammatory anti-Israeli actions that sometimes break out.
But I don’t admire the abomination that is Benyamin Netanyahu or the U.S. Government hawks who back him from high places in American politics. And now, word reaches me that the British – normally a staunch American ally – and the French are considering recalling their ambassadors from Tel Aviv. For better – but more likely for worse – politics in the Middle East seem to be getting very interesting.