Today is the commemoration of Nakba Day, in remembrance of the exodus of many Palestinians as the state of Israel was proclaimed 70 years ago. Several generations have now grown up in refugee camps and in the case of the Gaza Strip under blockade during the latest decade given the fact that Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel and the latter try to make everyday life as difficult as possible for the Palestinians in order to sow popular discontent with the radical rule of Hamas. However there seems to be an opposite effect, causing even more hatred and resentment. The violence along the Gaza Strip border fence continues with the number of killed Palestinians at the hands of the IDF reaching almost 60 people in a single day and with far more than 2000 injured since the start of the Great March of Return.
The US decision to recognize the Holy City of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has caused considerable resentment, not only among Palestinians for obvious reasons but also among many Muslim nations around the world. Turkey is no exception and the ruling Islamist AKP Party under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed both Israel and the United States hard, calling Israel an apartheid state and labeling the Israeli disproportionate use of deadly force as nothing short of state terrorism. Ankara has even taken home it’s ambassadors from Washington and Tel Aviv.
While Erdoğan certainly isn’t Mustafa Kemal, quite the contrary, he will undoubtedly come out of this very much politically strengthened, both among his countrymen and in the eyes of many Muslims around the world. The diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv and Washington were poor even before this weeks escalations. The diplomatic “all in” approach towards Israel by the Trump Administration will with out a doubt cause Turkey to orient itself closer politically and strategically towards Russia, something that is already under way with for instance Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 SAM systems, the latter causing considerable disgruntlement in the US. This will further cause the United States to become even more dependent on Israel for it’s geopolitical position in the Middle East, especially since it seems that the coalition between the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and the Communist Party of Iraq has secured the victory in the Iraqi elections. Thus the United States seems to be loosing even more political ground in Iraq. Iranian influence was considerably strengthen due to the Shia majority becoming the dominant group in Iraq due to the US overthrow of Saddam Hussein who’s support rested on the Sunni minority. The victory of al-Sadr can be seen as Iraq embarking on a revival of Iraqi nationalism, which actually can counter some of Iran’s influence, however this still means that the US at the same time looses influence as well, making the Middle East even more multi polar.
Further it is quite safe to say that Hamas will come out of the violence strengthened as well as the more Palestinian blood that flows with the United States blatantly turning a blind eye the more hatred is fueled towards Israel and by extension the United States. On the contrary, the United States induces even more resentment by calling the actions of the IDF as “restrained”. Hatred is one of the cornerstones in causing radicalization in a never ending spiral.
In a long row of distasteful and undiplomatic statements during the latest weeks from the Cabinet of Benjamin Netanyahu can now be added a statement in Israel Times by Avi Dichter, former director of Shin Bet internal security service and Minister of Internal Security:
“-I think that ultimately, the means that the IDF prepared, whether non-lethal, or if needed, lethal, in cases where it’s justified by the open-fire regulations — there’s enough ammunition for everyone.”
With such attitude that has been shown by Cabinet members like Lieberman , Steinitz and now Dichter, it’s not without that here seems to be somewhat of legitimacy behind Erdoğan’s raged allegations. Especially so with incriminating footage surfacing of IDF snipers shooting Palestinian protesters that by all accounts are not involved in hurling stones at the IDF.
The Trump Administrations has without a doubt totally surrendered to the Pro-Israeli lobby in the United States. Hardly surprising as for instance influential Pro-Israeli lobbyists like Sheldon Adelson and Miriam Ochsorn, harboring good relations with Netanyahu’s Likud, supported Donald Trump’s election campaign with considerable donations. They certainly got value for the money with Trump backing out of JCPOA, the nuclear deal with Iran and recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, while at the same time antagonizing pretty much everyone else. Hence the alleged “Russiagate”, if there really was such a thing, any tangible evidence hasn’t been put forth in proof of it’s actual existence beyond accusations, seems more like a mild breeze in comparison to the political influence that Israel exercises over the United States. Proof of the the latter is evident for anyone to see.
Unfortunately this isn’t just a Republican problem, it is also a Democratic problem. Something that was evident with Hillary Clinton being firmly on the regime change band wagon in Iraq, Libya and Syria.
The Pro-Israeli lobby in the United States is as such a bipartisan operation, albeit with the most success within the Republican Party so far. This bipartisan nature of the game will cause significant problems for the United States if a new Administration sets out to mend the American diplomatic credibility. With putting more or less all eggs in one basket the Trump Administration has now lost every chance to be seen as a viable diplomatic mediator in foreseeable future certainly when it comes to the Palestinian Question but also in regard to the already strained relations with Turkey. This also stands true regarding US relations with it’s allies in Europe as there has been growing concerns about the effects on European economies due to the sanctions against Russia, sanctions that also have been counterproductive. Now as Trump has also pulled out of the nuclear deal with Tehran, this will have economic consequences for European companies as sanctions will be reimposed. Hence the EU is increasingly coming to the conclusion that there is a contradiction in the interests of Europe and those of the United States and that the latter has no intention to listen to it’s allies. Diplomacy is usually in it’s nature a matter of finding common ground in order solve a common problem, or at least to try to maintain some form of stability. However US diplomacy of today in the Middle East and Europe seems more than anything else like a unilateral posture to impose Washington’s will, or rather Israel’s, upon others. At all costs. Thus this looks like the last nail in the coffin for US diplomatic credibility.