Monday, May 31, 2010

Israel Takes the Low Road

The government of Israel has crossed a serious line in the operation against a Turkish flotilla heading toward Gaza. Fifteen people were killed by Israeli troops, including a Turkish member of parliament. Belgium Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere said the Israeli military attack on an aid flotilla headed for Gaza “looks like it was rather disproportionate”. Israel has been forced to advise all its nationals to leave Turkey.

The stupidity of Netanyahu and his cabinet is almost unbelievable if it did not fit a consistent pattern of alienating allies and attempting to provoke an attack on Iran.
One of the more profoundly predictably hawks, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke Israel. Logic would dictate that if that was the case, and it certainly was, the last thing to do would be to take the bait. But, true to form, the Israels fed the view that they are not only unreasonable, but brutal by being exactly that.

If the Israeli government possessed even a modicum of grey matter at this point they would have avoided falling into this particular trap. However, in the black and white apartheid world of this Israeli government, logic did not prevail.

The Turkish NGO flotilla was designed to divide Israel and Western governments and to create a political crisis inside Israel. It has now, courtesy of the Netanyahu government, succeeded spectacularly. It is difficult to underestimate the damage that this has done to perceptions of Israel. Relations with the US and Europe, where relations are already strained, will deteriorate further.

Israel’s relationship with Turkey, a rare and extremely powerful Moslem ally which just happens to be a member of NATO, can now be consigned to the trash bin. The isolation of Israel is now going to get much, much worse and siding with Israel on this issue is not in the interests of any Western country. Israeli sabre rattling about Iran will no longer be viewed as simply an arguable position. Israel is in an extremely precarious position.
The best outcome now would be new elections and the removal of the hardliners from power in Israel.
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