ISSN 2330-717X

‘Unholy Peace And Israel’s Passivity’ – OpEd

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By Mohiyeddin Sajedi

“The Camp David agreement is not a sacred thing and is always open to discussion with what would benefit the region and we could make a change if needed.”

These are parts of the most-recent remarks made by Egyptian Prime Minister Essam Sharaf, regarding the Cairo-Tel Aviv peace accords. The comments were made following the Egyptian people’s attack on the Israeli embassy in Cairo and the escape of the Israeli ambassador and the embassy’s diplomatic, military, and security officials to Tel Aviv.

Based on the peace deal itself, either part can request to change the agreement.

Tel Aviv’s reaction to these comments would not only fail to restore calm between the two sides, but also fan the anti-Israeli sentiment in Egypt. However, it seems like a group in Israel is tasked with further isolating the regime and dent its relations with some Arab governments.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry summoned the Egyptian ambassador. In a veiled reference to Sharaf, the ministry said in a statement that the leaders have to be aware of their responsibility, but the recent remarks disprove this.

Adoption of this position by Israel is unmitigated passivity. Tel Aviv has for long failed to take the initiative and has sufficed to reacting to matters, despite the US and Europe’s lavishing it with assistance. Over the past decades, it acted on its own initiative during military and diplomatic warfare. The 33-Day War against Lebanon, however, marked the point of the reversion to the process.

Although Tel Aviv had previously prepared itself for hostilities, the Israeli regime was forced into starting the conflict. Lack of initiative and accurate security and military information and analyses caused Tel Aviv to throw up its hands after four weeks and wait for a life buoy, which was thrown by the United Nations Security Council in the form of a ceasefire resolution.

Israel was likewise passive in its relations with Turkey. Instead of easing its pressure on the Gaza Strip so there would be no need for the dispatch of the Turkey-backed aid fleet, it made the matters worse by killing nine Turkish nationals in international waters. It even did not take any serious action to erase the disaster from the history of the bilateral ties and refused to apologize. Israel waited so long until Turkey took initiative and downgraded the level of bilateral diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Israel’s response was nothing but intransigence tarred with rage. This led authorities in Ankara to cut the strategic military relations and cooperation with Tel Aviv.

Should Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan live up to his promise of travelling to the Gaza Strip, Israel would not resort to anything but passivism. No one in Israel seeks war with Turkey.

In a couple of days, acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas will present the United Nations General Assembly with the request for recognition by the world body of a Palestinian state, which is comprised of only 20 percent of this historical land.

The sole reaction of the Israeli regime was to threaten Mahmoud Abbas and arm those settlers who live in the West Bank against international regulations and UN resolutions.

The Israeli newspapers published the Zionist army’s “great” plan to confront the probable action of Palestinians in the coming days. The scheme may prove useful in convincing the Israeli public opinion that Tel Aviv has taken the initiative, but it is nothing except a passive measure.

The foreign ministry of Israel summoned the ambassadors of a number of European countries and rebuked them for refusing to support Israel in the face of the Palestinian recognition plan to the extent that infuriated European envoys and provoked them to respond radically to the Israeli officials. One can infer from the remarks made at the session that some European states have been trying to persuade Mahmoud Abbas into submitting to only partial recognition of Palestine’s statehood at the UN General Assembly, and have even predicated this on the condition that the Palestinian party must never sue against Israel at the International Criminal Court in Hague or any other war crime tribunal. Yet, Tel Aviv has ignored this attempt and continues to accuse the European governments of negligence in backing the Hebrew regime.

The escape of the Israeli ambassador in Jordan, which lasted for a few days, similarly demonstrates that the Israeli leaders have lost their initiative. The call of a number of people on Facebook for staging a rally in front of the Israeli embassy in Amman was enough for Tel Aviv to move out its envoy hastily. It was later revealed that Jordan’s great political parties had not participated in the call and the number of demonstrators did not even amount to over 2000.

Due to the silence of parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, it was clear that the anti-Israel demonstrations in Amman will not contribute to similar or comparable results as they did in Cairo, but lack of correct understanding of the political situation in Jordan made the Israeli prime minister to summon his envoy from the Arab country and send him back within a few days in utmost embarrassment.

Of course, this does not mean that Israel’s concerns have been eliminated. The Israeli embassy in Cairo was seized following several demonstrations and public sit-ins. Now, there is no sign that protest rallies in Jordan and in front of the Israeli embassy’s security wall will not continue.

This passivity and puzzlement applies to the US government too. Washington has threatened to veto the plan for recognizing Palestine as an independent state at the UN Security Council.

The US intelligence centers consider it unlikely even for the Arab allies of Washington to express disapproval of the threat and respond to it by threatening back.

The recent remarks made by Ben Rhodes, the US Deputy national security adviser for strategic communications, show the culmination of the American government’s passivity about the issue. Recently, he stated that “I think the Arab world is continuing to be very challenging [to the US]. I’d ascribe that to two factors … a very long legacy of mistrust that’s built up over a very long time; and that you’re not going to be able to resolve those issues quickly.”

“I think there’s no question that there is great frustration at the lack of progress on the Israeli-Palestinian issue in the Arab world,” Rhodes continued.

Now the question is, what plan does the US have in mind to improve its stature in the Arab world? And the answer is, vetoing the drive for the recognition of Palestinian statehood.

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