The Israeli-US Relationship As a Train Wreck
At what point does Israel and its complicated settlement situation become a liability for the United States as Americans cope with the growing pain of recession and decline?
The United States has been an enthusiastic partner of Israel’s worst Iron Wall policies since the beginning of the state in 1948 and, most intimately, in the years following the 1967 war. The decision to see the West Bank, Gaza and all of Jerusalem as conquered, militarily occupied territory and the acceptance or encouragement of a settlers’ movement has led to a world-class impasse and growing international anger at Israel.
The madness has gotten to the point that, even if leaders of the United States and Israel suddenly woke up one morning and accepted a Palestinian state, the state of Israel would be at odds with its own settlers it sent out to colonize the conquered areas. Accepting a Palestinian state would require Israel to take on some of its most volatile citizens with military force to dislodge them.
The more Israel insists on its role as conqueror of Palestinian territory, the more dicey Israel's hold on international respect becomes. And it all seems to be coming to some kind of a head this month as the hurricane known as The Arab Spring heads into totally uncharted waters.
“We’re watching a potential train wreck,” a senior western diplomat (speaking anonymously due to the gravity of the situation) told The New York Times.
The “train wreck” he was referring to is the convergence of three ominous things this month.
First there’s Israel’s growing struggle with Turkey, which has become the world’s best model for a workable, moderate Islamic state. Recently, the powerful regime of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan amazingly cleaned out the top leadership of its corrupt military.
This week, Erdogan is visiting Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. In Egypt, Islamic politicians are now labeling themselves "the Egyptian Erdogan." He begged off a planned visit to Gaza, concluding that such a visit would be too provocative, but he says he's setting up a Gaza trip with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and the Hamas leader Ismail Haniya.
Angered over the shooting of Turks on a flotilla ship to Gaza last year, Erdogan sent the Israeli ambassador packing and threatened to send Turkish war ships with the next Gaza flotilla. Israel prudently chose not to respond to the threat. Turkish President Abdullah Gül called Israel “an ungrateful burden to its allies.” Until recently Turkey had been one of those allies.
Righteous Israelis, meanwhile, are linking Turkey with Hamas and Iran as all part of a sinister “Islamicization” movement. What is going on in Turkey, according to Eli Shaked, a former Israeli ambassador to Egypt, is “just like what happened in Iran in 1979.”