In the wake of the latest Israeli national elections, Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Beitaynu head, Avigdor Lieberman are in the midst of creating a far Right coalition. A month ago, millions took to the streets to express their rage against the Israeli military actions in Gaza, and from all continents a unified cry was heard, demanding that the killings be halted.
From Right to Left, the response in Israel was: “This is a war for existence, and it doesn’t matter what the non-Jews say! After all, everyone is anti-Semitic anyways.” And what further supported the Israeli imperviousness was the support—or at least the intentional silence—of the United States, Europe and the Arab states, first and foremost Egypt.
When providing a country with the position of being above the law and above all rules of civilized behavior, when accepting barbaric behavior, it is no wonder that this country breaks all the rules, and bites even those wishing it well. This was learned in the past week, and in a hard way, by both the United States and Egypt.
Head of the Egyptian Intelligence, General Omar Suleiman, worked hard to bring about the establishment of a Palestinian unity government, and, as such, achieved not only a cessation of rocket fire on southern Israel, but primarily saved the Fatah government in the West Bank. Additionally, Suleiman sacrificed long nights in order to reach agreement for a prisoner exchange which would result in the freeing of the Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. However, the heads of the Israeli government, from Olmert through Livni, were preoccupied with matters of establishing an Israeli government and ignored the efforts of Suleiman, the fate of Gilad Shalit, and even the fate of Mahmoud Abbas.
And even with their most important ally in the region, Turkey, Israeli leaders managed to cause problems! It is as if they wanted to say “what do we care about our enemies, what do we care about our friends, we will do as we like and if you look for us, remember Gaza and what we are capable of doing when we decide to break all the rules!” We should not err: this is an insane policy that will bring disaster upon Israel, and not in the far future. When a country begins with the assumption that the world is anyways against it, and that it can rely solely upon its military strength, when there is no Israeli opposition shouting “stop immediately as you are bringing us to war against the entire world, isolating us both in international public opinion and amongst the community of nations, and you are closing the window of opportunity for peaceful existence in the region,” the countdown has begun.
A real insanity, the insanity of power grabbed Israeli society as a whole, and not only the Liberman-Netanyahu duo, on which it is too easy to project our fears. If most everyone was ignorant, we would suggest they read about the fate of the empires that believed in their ability to rule the entire world, to establish a kingdom of a thousand years, to hold colonies on three continents. Who recalls the French empire in Africa, apart from the descendants of its victims? Who recalls the British Empire in south Asia? French Indo-China?
To laugh at Turkey, to denigrate the head of Egyptian Intelligence, to anger the American envoy about a shipment of pasta (yes, even this) to Gaza—these are signs of the structural loss of sense, to which Israel’s three large parties are partners (if the Labor Party can indeed be called a big party anymore), in addition to the entire Israeli leadership and a vast majority of voters.
The overarching Israeli national consensus, which flies in the face of an almost unified world stance, is a terrifying matter, and a few thousand leaders who expressed their shock and horror at the Israeli crimes in Gaza do not stop talking about “another Israel,” as we could do during the 1982 Lebanon War and the first Intifada.
While there are indeed other Israelis, there is unfortunately no other Israel beyond the state of war criminals and the society that provided them with support.