Netanyahu upsets allies
He is a believer in “might is right;” he’s a man who pays mere lip service to the concept of peace in order to keep Israel’s US ally off his back. A comprehensive peace with the entire Arab world is the route to guaranteeing Israel’s security, not to mention increased prosperity, but unfortunately this all-too-obvious truth escapes him. He may not give a fig what the world at large thinks of him, but America is the one nation on earth with which he is obliged to tread relatively carefully — or, rather, should be.
The US is Israel’s prime diplomatic protector, weapons supplier and funder; since 1962, Israel has received US aid to the tune of over $121 billion. Today, when Israel is experiencing affluence bolstered by the discovery of new gas fields, the $3.1 billion US annual aid accounts for just one percent of its economy. Yet American aid is set to continue; not out of any charitable instincts on the part of Washington but rather it is meant to oil Washington’s diplomatic leverage over what some term America’s proxy in the Middle East. However, this de facto quid pro quo arrangement doesn’t appear to be bearing fruit nowadays. President Barack Obama was unable to shift Netanyahu’s policy on Jewish settlement expansions and failed to bring him to the peace table in any meaningful sense.
Whereas previous Israeli prime ministers were circumspect in their dealings with US presidents, Netanyahu is the exception to the rule, causing some to wonder where the US-Israeli relationship is heading. An article in the Globe and Mail suggests the US and Israel may be heading for “a perfect storm.” If that’s true, Netanyahu is failing to read the tealeaves. You know he crossed a red line when even Israel-sycophantic Fox News permits criticism of its former idol.
Fox News hosts and guests hardly turned a hair at the IDF’s killing of women and children, but are expressing shock horror at Netanyahu’s circumvention of established protocol. And what is his “crime”? He has accepted an invitation from US House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner to address Congress on the topics of Iran and global terrorism on March 3; his intention is to scupper the US-led P5+1 negotiations with Iran, which may result in a new US-Iranian détente, by persuading Congress to impose greater anti-Iranian sanctions. President Obama is said to be “fuming” and does not plan to meet with Netanyahu during his visit, ostensibly because the White House does not want to be seen as interfering in upcoming legislative elections.
Over the past few years, Netanyahu has succeeded in alienating many traditionally Israel-friendly European nations, several of which have publicly announced their recognition of a Palestinian state, while the parliaments of France and the UK held non-binding ballots with similar outcomes.
Moreover, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced that the Palestinian Authority’s bid to join the International Criminal Court in The Hague was successful and Palestine will become a full-fledged member of the court beginning April 1. It goes without saying that the US has lodged its objection on the grounds of Palestine’s ineligibility because it is not a functioning state even though it has been granted Non-Member Observer Status by the United Nations.
Nevertheless, the ICC has wasted no time in launching an enquiry to examine “in full independence and impartiality” alleged war crimes that have taken place on Palestinian territories; a move which would have been virtually unthinkable just a few years ago. Israel’s formerly unassailable impunity from having to answer for its crimes may be coming to an end.
The Palestinians are currently riding high in the international court of public opinion and, arguably, if it weren’t for America’s influence over its allies, its unwillingness to crack the whip over the heads of the Israeli leadership and its UN Security Council power of veto, a Palestinian state on 1967 borders with land swaps would be in the offing. However, no one should imagine that any “perfect storm” would shatter US-Israeli relations any time soon. Israel’s security is an unshakable cornerstone of US “divide and rule” foreign policy and will remain so long after Obama and his Israeli nemesis are history.
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