Are Israel’s days numbered?

Alex Clackson 

Image © Maxnathans

The saga between Israel and Palestine has been ongoing for many decades now, resembling a long dark corridor with no end in sight. For many years, through the financial and military support from the United States, Israel has been able to develop and prevent any moral or physical assault from Palestine and its allies. However, over the last few years we have seen a slow, but sure change in opinion. Through non-mainstream media and organizations like BDS (a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel) and finally individual human rights activists, the world is waking up to the realisation that Israel is not the perfect liberal state among the “dangerous” Arab nations as it wants to be seen. As Norman Finkelstein has said in his most recent book, “Even the American Jews are turning their backs on Israel.” It is becoming clearer that the only life support system the Israeli machine can rely on is the American Israel lobby.

Despite the fast changing opinion on the Jewish state, Israel continues to act in a way which further pushes it away from the support Israel is so used to receiving from the Western powers. The Palestinian’s quest for a state of their own has been as futile as ever, as the Israelis continue to build on land that is supposed to form the basis of Palestine. Nearly three years ago Mr. Netanyahu said he accepted the principle of two states, Jewish and Palestinian, existing side by side in peace and security. But he has since shown precious little appetite for putting that principle into practice. Despite admonitions from the State Department, Netanyahu’s government has continued to approve and/or legalize settlement constructions in Jerusalem and the West Bank following the expiration of a freeze on settlement construction in September, 2010.

Even the Israeli politicians are starting to understand the thin thread the Jewish state is walking on.  In an interview published in the Times of Israel, Dan Meridor, the Israeli minister delivered harsh words to his colleagues who have overseen the expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Meridor warned that the current calm in relations with the Palestinians might be producing “an illusion” among Israelis “that this is sustainable in the long term. It is not. It is an anomaly. We need to change it.”

In addition, the deputy prime minister of Israel has urged the government to freeze further settlements “across the line of the [settlement] blocs or the fence or whatever you call it,” a reference to the Israeli West Bank barrier which is partially built along the 1949 armistice line, or “Green Line.” 

Whether it was always Israel’s ambition to eventually take over the Palestinian land completely is unknown, yet what is clear now is that this potential ambition will not become a reality. As the Deputy Prime Minister said, “…But the reality now is that we can’t get all of it (referring to the Palestinian land) and stay a democratic state or a Jewish state, in terms of numbers and in terms of regime.”

Two main factors should concern the Israeli government most. Firstly, the more than 350 million Arabs in the region are losing faith in a two-state solution. Secondly many Europeans put most of the blame for the present impasse on Israel. For these reasons under the second-term Mr. Obama and the American public may start to lose patience with an intransigent Israeli government. The last thing the American government needs right now, especially due to the fact that the Arab Spring is still fresh (and in some states like Syria and Bahrain, still ongoing), is a unanimous decision by the Arab states to unsettle Israel. This would have massive implications for the Middle East, and the USA and Europe will not be able to handle such consequences, due to the current economic situation.

If some are not convinced by the idea that Israel’s days as we know it are numbered, one should compare the situation to the fall of the South African apartheid regime. While associating current Israel to the past South African state may cause some uneasiness, the growing dislike towards Israel from the public and governments has many similarities to the beginning of an end of the apartheid regime in South Africa.

If Israel wants to continue to receive support from the West, it must change its domestic policies and more crucially, its policies towards Palestine. If there is one thing we can learn from history, it is that false liberal democracies do not survive forever. If Israel wants to be seen as the nation which embraces the correct social and political attitudes, then it must start following them.

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4 Responses to Are Israel’s days numbered?

  1. Tom says:

    im not pro israel, i just dont see a blog that seems to advocate its destruction as a good one.

    ‘all forms of racism wherever they occur must be opposed’ – i agree – that is why i dont see why i should support hamas given the quotes from above.

    you say that ‘The rhetoric for the two state solution has not been matched by the actions of Israeli politicians’. palestinian politicians have scarcely accepted the rhetoric, let alone action for a peaceful settlement.

  2. Stewart Kirk says:

    This is a very strange response from someone who implies that he is of the centre-left. It ignores the very real issues of land-grabbing in East Jerusalem, Hebron and the West Bank. It ignores the fact that the ‘liberal’ state of Israel lays claim to being a homeland for the Jews, surely the only modern industrialised nation that defines itself in explicitly raciial terms. The rhetoric for the two state solution has not been matched by the actions of Israeli politicians, and in all that is moral and honest even the two state solution is more than generous to Israel. We are all rightly indignant when terrorists strike, yet when they struck in Palestine from 1944 to 1948 the British ignominiously renaged on every promise to protect the indiginous population, and the Americans recognised the rebels as the de facto government. No-one yet has successfully dealt with the theft of real estate that went along with the foundation of Israel. You may not like Hamas, but in the final analysis they only want their country back, and thousands and thousands of Palestinian families want their property back. Before there are any accusations of anti-semitism i would point out two things. 1. Most but not all Jews are Semites (Turkic Jews for example), and Arabs are semites, and 2. My opposition to the state of Israel is a simple one. I believe it to be an aggressive, racist state, and all forms of racism wherever they occur must be opposed.

  3. Tom says:

    Wow. I really dislike and disagree with almost everything that you have written and imply.

    You talk of the conflict as ‘a long dark corridor with no end in sight’ but ask ‘are Israel’s days numbered?’ Is the implication meant to be that people of a centre left perspective should welcome the destruction of Israel? The language you use (‘numbered’; ‘survive’) certainly seems to be talking of a destruction rather than reform of the country. Please clarify this as I hope I am misinterpretting you.

    You write of ‘the “dangerous” Arab nations’. Is the implication of the inverted commas meant to be that Israel is surrounded by lovely, peace loving liberal states? All those democratic nations with rights for women and free speech? Err…..

    Then you write about how ‘more than 350 million Arabs in the region are losing faith in a two-state solution’. The construction of settlements is undeniably wrong but why blame Israel solely for the failure of the two-state plan? Arafat did the most to ruin Clinton’s plan, the closest that there was to a settlement.

    I find it very hard to believe that Israel should welcome co-operation with Hamas given what their founding charter says. Hamas that in their charter talks of the ‘Nazism of the Jews’. That writes ‘The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinct Palestinian Movement which owes its loyalty to Allah, derives from Islam its way of life and strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine.’ It has a vile conspiratorial streak throughout, talking of Jews being supported by ‘Freemasons, Rotary Clubs’.

    http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/www.thejerusalemfund.org/carryover/documents/charter.html

    You wrote that ‘Whether it was always Israel’s ambition to eventually take over the Palestinian land completely is unknown, yet what is clear now is that this potential ambition will not become a reality.’ Well, the same uncertainty is not true of Hamas. Its charter states that ‘[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement’. With statements like that, why should Israel want to welcome a larger, stronger Palestine?

    You provide no evidence for the statement that ‘Obama and the American public may start to lose patience with an intransigent Israeli government’. Obama would not abandon Israel. He said in his speech to AIPAC in March that ‘In the United States, our support for Israel is bipartisan, and that is how it should stay’ and that ‘Four years ago, I stood before you and said that, “Israel’s security is sacrosanct. It is non-negotiable.” That belief has guided my actions as president. The fact is my administration’s commitment to Israel’s security has been unprecedented.’ There is no way that America will back away from such a stance. It would be politically impossible for a president in a country with such a history of firm commitment to Israel.

    Israel may have many flaws but it is a liberal democracy far more than any of its neighbours. The South African analogy is not appropriate. While there are similarities, the ANC did not threaten to murder and eradicate all the white South Africans. And that is THE vital difference. Until Hamas back down from their position of clear relentless aggression without any support for peace, I will support Israel regardless of their shortcomings

  4. daibhidhdeux says:

    Reblogged this on Daibhidhdeux's Blog.

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