For those who have been following the news, you must have noticed a relatively new tide in international politics: Barring the USA (and a handful of other geopolitically insignificant countries) there is a real tide of international opinion that is increasingly critical of Israel’s colonialist policies, actions and general violence in the West Bank and Gaza. The most recent evidence for this are two overwhelming votes in the General Assembly of the United Nations. In the first (29 Nov 2012), Palestine was given ‘observer member status’; only nine countries voted against: Israel, the USA, Canada, Czech Republic, Panama, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru and Palau. The second resolution (4 Dec 2012) ordered Israel to open up its nuclear facilities for inspection; only six countries voted against – the usual suspects: Israel, the USA, Canada, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Palau.
In addition to this, two days ago several key European countries – Germany, England, Spain – and many others threatened to withdraw their ambassadors – a serious diplomatic move – after Israel began constructing settlements on occupied land in the West Bank. In particular, there was outrage at plans to build on an area called E1, which would separate East Jerusalem (universally agreed upon as the capital of the future Palestinian State) from the West Bank. This move was seen as retaliation for Palestine’s symbolic move at the United Nations.
How will Israel respond to this tide of international condemnation and support of the Palestinian cause? Israel, for a few years now, has been moving steadily to the right. For example, Liberman, a far right politician who only recently would not have dreamed of it, is now in main-stream politics. The Israeli people are voting for more extreme and right wing governments who engage in war and extend the occupation. It is fair to say that the average Israeli voter is experiencing a state of paranoia. Israeli voters who go for the Netenyahu/ Liberman coalition and shun right-of-centre and centrist parties believe that the whole world is against them and that they need to bring in war-mongers like Netenyahu and Liberman to save Israel. The problem is that the actions of these politicians is only turning international opinion against Israel and making it lose support. In response to this, in response to international isolation, the Israeli voters will become even more paranoid and insular, imagining a threat at every corner and feeling that the whole world is against them. The logical conclusion to this will be an extreme right government that wages active war against its neighbours. This is not farfetched: we have seen Netenyahu’s warmongering about Iran. If the Israeli government wages war on its neighbours to appease its paranoid and insular Israeli voters then a broader middle-east war will no doubt be set in motion. At that point the Israeli psyche will be deeply paranoid and the Israeli populace isolated (with only America and perhaps Micronesia and Canada for support), to the extent that the voices of reason within Israel will be completely lost, even if now they are not heard.
This broader middle-east war will result in tens of thousands of death, if not more, and will lead to a true re-ordering of geopolitics in the region, including the very definition and structure of Israel and Palestine. Then, maybe, just maybe, we will finally see a solution to the Israeli/Palestinian problem.