Is Israel under new levels of pressure?
The BBC website delivered 2 reports on the Israel’s international relations within the last 3 days of April, which together seemed to indicate some kind of small but undeniable shift in governmental attitudes towards Israel’s foreign policy. The first predicted an ugly clash with Obama, the second reported stern warnings from Israel to the EU over suggestions to postpone improvements in Israel’s preferential treatment of Israel.
This might not be all a good thing. Sometimes one needs ones friends to help one come to change with the mistakes one has made. And there is the possibility a newly isolated Israel will feel frightened into a hasty war. But honesty with ones friends is always the best policy, and its about time that was applied on US and EU relations with their good friend, to whom they throw unthinkable amounts of money.
Also, we shouldn’t assume that this huge shift is any more huge than it is: sure it was once unthinkable that a US president might have an argument with the 51st state, but this is in reality only a very small step. The EU and America will still be supporting Israel to the tune of billions of dollars one way and another, even if the Israeli government wants to claim it is being totally abandoned. The symbolic statement might be enormous, but the reality is tiny. Every journey starts with one step, but that step needs to be big to make any impact on the distance left to travel.
But a step it is, nonetheless. That Israel has felt it has grounds to make the claim means there must have been distance travelled. Its interesting how it seems like several major international have made this move at once. Its probably something to do with the outrage over Gaza; itself a mix of Israel’s outrageous actions and the relatively high levels of outrage achieved by the various international pressure movements. Suddenly Israel is being forced to justify any and all of its actions, a sort of probation I suppose.
This doesn’t, of course, give rise to a let up in the efforts of the Palestinian Solidarity movements worldwide. If anything, this is a sign that our efforts are being heard and that an impact is finally being made. This could mean a need to adjust our messages, strategy and tactics for the next part of the journey; after all, a movement cannot be a movement if it doesn’t move.
There is hope, there has been movement on the issue, there might even momentum, but whatever happens, we must continue to push in order that the situation keeps moving in a reasonably positive direction.
As a note on the whole one state solution vs two state solution debate, I feel its a dangerous time to be arguing for a one state solution and I believe Obama recognises this. It would put the Palestinians in a very vulnerable position. I don’t think it would help to develop a co-national state, but would instead give Israel a chance to dissolve the Palestinian national identity, by forcing Palestinians to sign away the right to their identity and heritage in return for life as flag-waving Israelis. It would be almost impossible for them to keep the celebration of their culture alive, and would justify moves to crack down on it. A separate, viable Palestine is needed simply to preserve the cultural diversity.