ISSN 2330-717X

Israel Sinking In Mounting Isolation – OpEd

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By Mohyeddin Sajedi

As the Israeli regime is plunging in deeper isolation, it is brooding over security solutions in order to deal with this isolation and fear of the future.

One may face difficulty locating Marshall Islands or Micronesia on the map. The former is only 181 square kilometers in area and has a population of 62,000. The latter’s area amounts to 702 square kilometers and its population reaches 670 thousand. There is also another country whose location is not specified in credited geographical atlases: the Palau. These three countries are members to the United Nations. They have no place in the international arena, but their votes count in the General Assembly of the United Nations.

The UN General Assembly has recently passed two resolutions on the Middle East and nuclear weapons. The first resolution calls for a Middle East free from nuclear arms. It then requires all governments which have not yet joined the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to place all of their nuclear activities under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The second resolution pertains to the necessity for the Israeli regime to join the NPT, to stop developing and testing any kind of nuclear weapons and to place its nuclear facilities under the supervision of the IAEA.

Both resolutions were submitted by Egypt to the UN General Assembly and were approved with a large number of votes, especially the resolution concerning the Israeli regime which garnered 167 votes in favor, while opposed by only six members: the Israeli regime, the US, Canada, Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands. If you ignore the last three unknown member states, only two significant governments supported Israel. Even the European Union refused to support Israel. Among the five member states which abstained, there is no European name.

Intelligence sources in the West say that Israel possesses nearly 200 nuclear warheads. Official sources say that none of Israel’s nuclear facilities is under international supervision. France and the United States provided Israel with its nuclear technology, part of which was stolen from the French in the 60s. Still, Germany provides Israel with free Dolphin submarines, which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

The UN General Assembly and the world body’s other institutions have repeatedly demonstrated the isolation of Israeli regime. Agreeing to Palestine’s membership in UNESCO is the latest example. Only 14 member states opposed the membership. The US decision to cut off its annual funding of the UNESCO aimed at taking revenge on the organization for admitting Palestine, indicates that Washington shares Tel Aviv’s isolation. Even after Israel blocked the transfer of the Palestinians’ tax money and customs revenue to punish them, only under the pressure from the international community and some of its Western allies was forced to return the Palestinian property.

In September, the Palestinians requested the full membership in the United Nations. The United States exhausted all its political, diplomatic and even financial capacities to prevent the bid from discussion in the UN Security Council; otherwise it would have got to resort to veto in order to block the entry of the Palestinian State into the UN. Only a few states accepted to remain loyal to the United States in the current year. No one is happy in Israel, because probably next September more governments will express support for Palestine’s membership in the United Nations.

Addressing ardent supporters of Israel a few days ago, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said, “I believe security is dependent on a strong military but it is also dependent on strong diplomacy. And unfortunately, over the past year, we’ve seen Israel’s isolation from its traditional security partners in the region grow.”

Israel’s isolation is not a new issue. This entity in the Middle East is not compatible with its surrounding environment, but the European governments’ gradual detachment from staunch support for Israel is a new issue that proceeds according to the public opinion in the old continent.

The Arab revolutions also add to the complicacy of Israel’s situation. Each week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has to reassure his people that the Camp David peace treaty with Egypt will stand, or he sometimes makes such a request in the form of warnings to the new Egyptian rulers. Intelligence sources in Israel say that Netanyahu has called on the United States and European states to support the [ruling] military council in Egypt and to prevent its downfall. The members of the council are known to Israel, but it is unclear who will be Egypt’s president in the coming year.

The only way for Israel is to halt settlement constructions and to return to the negotiating table, which the US defense secretary described as “damned,” but there is no moot point for negotiation. Everything is clear. The US defense secretary sent his deputy, Feltman, to Ramallah to aske Mahmoud Abbas not to move close to Hamas and turn his compass back toward Israel. The response he received from him was the formation of the Palestinian State based on the 1967 borders with East al-Quds (Jerusalem) as its capital and the possibility of a 1.9% land swap as well as the deployment of international peacekeeping forces.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, says there is nothing new in political efforts, because Israel is opposed to the two-state plan and takes measures that effectively render the formation of two states implausible.

Israel is thinking of security solutions in a bid to counter this isolation and due to concerns about the future: the contraction of the separation wall around the West Bank, building a wall on its border with Egypt and increasing its military budget despite its economic crisis. All change in the Middle East, but Israel and the US, wearing thick magnifying lenses, are still gazing at their old schemes.

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