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Dr Musa A Keilani: Believe in its own interest
August 30, 2011
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Exclusive to The Gulf Today

It is surrealist the way Israel is conducting itself. Backed by one of the strongest military powers in the world — including nuclear, chemical and biological weapons — and allied with the world’s sole superpower, it believes itself to be immune to its gross violations of international law and conventions.

During the last sixty years, It has killed tens of thousands of Palestinians and other Arabs and turned hundreds of thousands of refugees — whose number now totals more than four million. It is occupying Arab territory seized through the use of military force and is not bothered to abide by the conventions relevant to foreign military occupation of others’ land. Not only that, it adamantly refuses to end its occupation by accepting international legitimacy as the basis for peace agreements with the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon so that it could assure itself of the security of its people.

It carries out targeted killings of Palestinian resistance leaders and keeps thousands of others in detention citing security as the reason. Its agents assassinate its foes in foreign soil. It treats the Palestinians under its occupation as cockroaches in a bottle, as former chief of staff Raphael Eitan had described them. It considers its Arab citizens — who represent one fifth of the population — as third class citizens.

It wants itself to be considered as “the Jewish state” in order to deny Palestinians their legitimate rights.

It spies even on its “strategic partner” — the United States — and more often than not gets away with it. The case of Jonathan Pollard, a former navy analyst who is serving a life term in a US prison for spying for Israel, is a rare exception that he was indicted.

It uses the so-called Holocaust card and continues to exploit the European feeling of “collective guilt” over Hitler’s treatment of Jews.

One of the key problems with Israel is that its leaders believe even today the world should be constantly reminded of the days when Jews were persecuted centuries ago and atone for that by giving Israel sympathetic, supportive and exceptional treatment. At the same time, they also want to live the modern day, with all that it entails, knowing very well that their arguments do not hold any water. It is a delusional expectation.

Granted that there is a minority among Muslims who, for varying unconvincing reasons, simply cannot tolerate Jews, but that does not constitute a sound reason for Israel to argue that Muslims are determined to destroy it and kill as many Jews as possible.

No Muslim government believes that Israel could be destroyed and is seeking to do so. No sober analyst can try to defend the Iranian extreme political stands, but even Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad does not believe that it could be done. His hallucination and constant rhetoric about Israel being wiped off the world map is based on the assumption that the country, by following the policies that it has adopted for itself, is striving towards its own destruction.

Israel believes only in itself and its interests. It is the only country with no borders with three of its neighbours — the nominal state of Palestine, Syria and Lebanon. It does not believe that in order to secure itself and its interests it has to respect those of its neighbours.

There would not have been any conflict in the region had Jewish leaders made the right moves when Israel was created. But the very aggressive approach they adopted even before the creation of the state aborted peace efforts that late King Abdullah I had tried. The result was the 1948 war. Since then, they were waiting for the right opportunity and pretext to seize all of what they considered as their “promised land.” The result was the 1967 war, when Israel took control of the entire pre-1948 Palestine, Syria’s Golan Heights — because of its water needs — Egypt’s Sinai and a part of southern Lebanon.

Israelis are known for their financial wisdom (among many other gifts for intelligence and arts). But they did not use them in the right manner when it came to dealing with its neighbours. Israel spent hundreds of billions of dollars in fortifying itself. Had it spent part of that money to help cultivate a need-based relationship with its neighbours, there would have been no conflict today. It did not realise that the economic health and prosperity of its neighbours would have ensured that they would prefer regional peace rather than undermining themselves by wasting their resources and petrodollars on the purchase of weapons or being engaged in armed conflicts.

It is Israel’s political behaviour that created Hizbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the occupied territories through the alienation, desperation, deprivation, and humiliation resulting from occupation. In fact, it saw the hardliners of Palestine as a weapon that could be manipulated against the secular mainstream Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO). Logically, it should be regretting it, but effectively it should be gloating that the hardline stand of Hamas is offering the right pretext to argue that it does not have a “credible” Palestinian negotiator for peace.

Forget about peace negotiations, forget about the Palestinian bid for UN recognition of Palestinian statehood. The region would be peaceful if Israel recognises that its policies are behind the instability of the region and tries to make accommodations for the interests of is neighbours, starting with the Palestinians.

Short of that, Israel will be sliding towards its own loss of regional power because of its own aggressive policies, approach and actions. The slide has already started.
The author, a former jordanian ambassador, is the chief editor of  Al Urdun weekly in Amman

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