With the Israel-Palestine talks in tatters due to Palestinian president Abbas threatening to put a halt to Netanyahu’s stretching out of the process to buy time, the Israelis have resorted to bringing the issue of Iran’s so-called ‘nuclear weapons program’ back to the forefront in an effort to provoke instability that may lead to the war the Israelis so desperately want. Abbas’s threat to go to the UN to seek membership of various international organisations seems to have been the tipping point which has caught Israel off balance.
US Secretary of State, John Kerry, has spent the last fourteen months trying to get a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine but with neither side actually wanting any kind of settlement that didn’t give each all that they wanted, the talks were doomed to failure before they even started. The two main sticking points, one for each side, was the Israeli demand from the Palestinians that they recognise Israel as a Jewish state and, on the Palestinian side the demand for the right of return of the refugees. Then, of course, there was the issue of the settlements; Israel refuses to abandon them while the Palestinians insist they go.
The only reason the Israelis went along with the talks was to buy time while they waited for the right geo-political environment to evolve in which they could launch an attack on Iran. In order to buy that time the Israelis mumbled stuff about freezing settlement building without actually doing it, and also released some Palestinian political prisoners knowing that at any time they could be rearrested – especially when Israel decides to go to war against Iran and fully occupy the West Bank to prevent Palestinian retaliation from West Bank Palestinian fighters for attacking Iran. For the Palestinians it was an opportunity to show the world how intransigent the Israelis are wanting more and more of land earmarked for a Palestinian state and dictating what the final form a Palestinian will take. It also brought time for the BDS movement to take hold in terms of opening debate about Israeli oppression even if it’s not doing much to actually hurt the Israeli economy.
But now the talks have faltered, Netanyahu and his right-wing cohorts have got impatient. They see the opportunity of striking at their enemies slipping away. Events are overtaking the Israelis. International support for the Palestinian cause, particularly in the West, is gathering pace. The BDS movement’s actions are beginning to bring awareness of the Palestinians plight into the glare of the mainstream media. This is having the effect of delegitimising Israel for its actions persecuting and oppressing the Palestinian people both in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. As Thomas Friedman has recently written, the world is beginning to see Israel as nothing more than colonisers and the backlash to that is the increasing demand from the world for there being a one state solution with full democratic rights for all.
Israel has gone beyond the point of no return. After decades of trying to blame the Palestinians for there not being a Palestinian state, the West has finally woken up to the fact that all the while Israel has been holding up the Palestinians as being intransigent, it has been the Israelis that have insidiously been ensconcing themselves on lands that they claim are god-given to them that all along have had been earmarked to be part of a future Palestinian state.
The Zionists of Israel have painted themselves into a corner. Their wars, most of which, contrary to Israeli propaganda, had actually been provoked by Israeli actions, have succeeded only in proving to the world that their intentions have never really been about anything else other than creating an expansionist Greater Israel. They’ve annexed the Golan Heights and they have gradually taken over the West Bank. They have invaded several times south Lebanon but have always failed make good their occupation there. The Israelis hold up their withdrawal from the Gaza Strip as being an expression of their desire for peace but in reality all they created was the world’s largest prison on a tiny strip of land surrounded by a fence and a vast no-mans land as well as being blockaded from using the sea in order to trade.
Israel, of course, could march back into the Gaza Strip at any tick of the clock but cannot without some casus belli to do so. The same with the West Bank.
With the cards now stacked against them, the Israelis need to resort to their usual stunt of creating – or, in this case, recreating – an existential threat that would allow them to take on all of their enemies while at the same time realise their goals of re-occupying the Gaza Strip, fully militarising the West Bank and annexing the settlements as well as invading and occupying south Lebanon al with a view of creating a Greater Israel in the future.
And so it’s back to Iran which, as I reported last week, Israel has put back on the front burner. At the same time, Israel has also begun provoking Palestinians in both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Over the last few months Israel has shot dead several innocent Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. In retaliation Palestinian fighters have launched rockets into Israel. Israel in turn has launched air strikes into the Gaza Strip. In explaining their reasons for the attacks the Israelis simply say they are in retaliation to the rocket strikes on Israel. Not mentioned is the reasons why Palestinian fighters launched the rockets in the first place.
Meanwhile, Israel have resumed the frequency of their low level mock air attacks over Lebanon in a bid to provoke a response from Hezbollah, a tactic they used to start their 2006 war against Hezbollah when Hezbollah responded to Israeli provocation by capturing several Israeli soldiers on the Lebanon-Israel border and launching thousands of rockets into Israel.
Israel’s position is now desperate. With the six months nearly up on the agreement between the P5+1 and Iran over Iran’s nuclear program, Israel are likely to insist that they reserve the right to unilaterally strike Iran if deems it is a threat in anyway. Such a strike would then trigger the all-out war Israel has been all along been hoping for.
Time, it seems, may be running out for the Israelis. The world needs to be aware that they might lash out at any time.