Israel: Political Mayhem or Height of Brinkmanship?

By Amjad Yamein – Amman

Last night, Israel conducted two air strikes within hours and opened fire at Palestinians, killing three and injuring ten, in the second aerial attack against Gaza in the last Month.

Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz categorically stated that preparations for another offensive on Gaza is underway, calling Cast Lead, Israel’s 2008 war on Gaza that killed 1,417 Palestinians, including 926 civilians, an ‘excellent’ operation.

Gantz said that another offensive must be initiated by Israel and must be “swift and painful,” and explained “[IDF] will attack when the conditions are right.”

The statement comes to top Last week’s events, which witnessed an escalation in EU criticism of Israel’s policies towards its Arab population, West Bank military occupation, settler’s violence, and protests against segregation/discrimination. On the other hand, Israel relations with the rest of the world is not getting any better, with increasing speculations about a war with Iran and a spike in tension with Turkey.

Yesterday, The Independent revealed that a confidential 27-page paper prepared by European diplomats charted a wide range of indicators showing that Israeli Arabs suffer "economic disparities … unequal access to land and housing … discriminatory draft legislation and a political climate in which discriminatory rhetoric and practice go unsanctioned."

The draft warned that Israel’s treatment of its Arab community "will reinforce those who seek to ‘delegitimize’ Israel and damage [its] international standing.”

Donald McIntyre of the Independent wrote, “A detailed list of recommendations for the EU itself – including active lobbying against discriminatory laws, allocating more European scholarships to Arab students, encouraging European high-tech companies to invest in Arab areas, and fostering the teaching of Arabic and co-existence projects in schools – are understood to have been dropped from the paper after objections mainly from the Netherlands. The draft affirms that Israel’s treatment of its minorities within its borders should be seen by the international community as a "core issue, not second tier to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

On Monday, the Israeli parliamentary committee held a discussion on recognizing genocide in Armenia, in a move likely to further strain already tense relations with Turkey. Haaretz’s editorial called on the government not to politicize the Armenian genocide, and claimed that the reason they did not was because of “fear over the loss of the concept of "Holocaust" as an exclusive Jewish “property.” The editorial further stated that “Morality or identification with the Armenian holocaust were secondary issues that occasionally made their way into the public debate.”

Last week, European members of Security Council condemn Israeli settlements and settler violence. Britain, France, Germany, and Portugal, all UN Security Council current members from the European Union, released a statement deeming the settlements in West Bank and East Jerusalem illegal.

The statement said that they were "dismayed" by Israel’s persistent construction of settlements, and called on the Israeli government to reverse actions, which they said had jeopardized peace negotiations.

They said that, “The viability of the Palestinian state that we want to see and the two-state solution that is essential for Israel’s long-term security are threatened by the systematic and deliberate expansion of settlements.”

The statement was put forward after closed-door discussion by the 15-country Security Council on the situation in the Middle East. It condemned Israeli settlers’ violence against the Palestinians, including the burning of the Nebi Akasha mosque in Jerusalem and the Burqa mosque in the West Bank.

The statement came as a response to the unveiled tenders for the construction of 1,028 new illegal settler units in the East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Tel Aviv occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 1967, and later annexed them in a move not recognized by the international community.

Back in February, US veto thwarted UN resolution condemning settlements. The draft was brought forth by Palestinian Authority leadership against Israeli settlements to the UNSC, despite pressure from the U.S. to withdraw it.

Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni said that the government is “starting a war with its biggest friends in Europe.”

Israel has angered even Tanzania who slammed Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack, saying that he “chose to belittle Tanzania and even compare it to a country that does not exist.”

With what seems to be the verge of a war with Iran, Israel openly calling for actions against the Persian country, an increasing tension between Israel and Turkey, and fallout even with its biggest allies in Europe, the US seems to be the only major country Israel did not anger. (Who, also, allegedly opposes the settlements but rather the issue is tackled by negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians).

The question remains of whether Israel is excreting the height of its brinkmanship for political gain, or is a rogue state counting on the world’s good side not to do anything against its actions? 

– Amjad Yamein is an independent writer and journalist based in Amman, Jordan. He contributed this article to PalestineChronicle.com. Contact him at: amie15197@gmail.com.

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