The summer of 2014 was a particularly turbulent period in terms of ‘World Affairs’; the conflict in the Ukraine had entrenched itself further in the press with the shooting down of MH17 over the rebel held territories, and the Israeli-Gaza war erupted over a spree of kidnappings which had catastrophic consequences.
The U.S government and its cronies have imposed various sanctions on Russia for its involvement in the Ukraine which has been followed by a re-emerging Cold War discourse in the media and also between the Putin and Obama administrations with concerns over NATO entrenchment and Russian expansion. However, I want to focus on Israel and their own political games which I believe aren’t so dissimilar to their Russian counterparts.
Israel, since its declaration of independence in 1948, has involved itself with a policy of repression against the Palestinian people. Upon the emergence of the Israeli nation, Zionist militias forcefully expelled Palestinian communities from their homes which sparked a fierce mutual hostility and outrage on behalf of the displaced; this hostility is far from subsiding, and today concerns the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the second class citizenship and domestic repression of Palestinians residing within Israel.
Very little has been done to thwart Israel’s corrupt policies in these territories, and that is due to the political interests of our global hegemon, America.
Today’s American-Israeli alliance is very much the offspring of the Twentieth Century and its international system. America’s favouritism of Israel originates with the Cold War when the U.S sought to halt Soviet incursions into the Middle East following an emergence of secular Arab nationalism, and socialist leaning individuals such as Nasser. This partnership has excelled beyond its Cold War practicality and has found a new purpose in contemporary American affairs.
Israel’s proximity to the oil-rich gulf region has ensured that this alliance has been sustained and evolved to become an integral part of U.S foreign policy in order to protect America’s capitalist interests in oil. Israel’s nuclear arsenal makes America’s favouritism indisputable, especially when considering American resistance to the development of nuclear weaponry by Israel’s regional neighbours such as Iran and Iraq; we are all aware of the force behind this resistance which extended beyond the boundaries of a verbal warning with the invasion of Iraq, protecting the status of America’s ‘buddy’ as the sole nuclear power of the Middle East.
Pro-Israeli sentiment is also a consensus amongst American politicians, largely due to Zionist lobby groups and their financial assets; organisations such as the Christian Zionists and AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) offer substantial financial support to politicians during election periods, subsequently making anti-Israeli candidates less financially resourced and disadvantaged in comparison with prospective Israeli enthusiasts, resulting in inevitable electoral collapse. (This political arrangement makes Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent criticism of Obama in Congress highly ironic when considering the percentage of Congressmen backed by these lobby groups).
In 2014 Russia, as viewed by the West and the Ukrainian government, illegally annexed Crimea which was quickly responded with economic sanctions, instigated by the U.S.
I want to make a simple comparison: how different are Russia’s actions in the Crimea from the illegal settlements that have been created in the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem by Israeli citizens which have received nothing more than verbal condemnation from the world community and the UN alike? The broad discussion over the humanitarian fallout from the conflict which ignored Israel’s excessive military aggression certainly suggest a differentiated response in contrast with the austerity experienced by Russia.
There has been no official announcement by Putin’s administration of a Russian-backed rebel regime in eastern Ukraine, however, the U.S has leapt onto a discourse of illegality which concerns the infringement of Ukrainian sovereignty and the backing of rebel forces against a legitimate government.
Israel’s bombardment of Gaza last summer similarly concerns the principle of sovereignty, but specifically relates to a fragile community, with volatile foundations threatened by an openly hostile neighbour. A UN report on the 26th August 2014 stated that 10, 244 Palestinians were injured and 500,000 children were unable to start school in the new year, but for this, Israel faced no sanctions. The same occurred in relation to its disregard for UN conventions differentiating between combatants and non-combatants, which went unrecognised.
The destruction of Palestinian homes, schools and hospitals which formed the social pillars within Gaza is most definitely a breach of sovereignty, and it is also a breach of the provisional unity Palestinians were able to experience despite decades of displacement and hardship.
Israel is in America’s back pocket, and the saying “one rule for one, and one rule for another” could not be more applicable to their global status. In the case of Russia, it may be traditional animosity from the U.S and the West which have forced a more severe and immediate backlash against its manoeuvres… However, I am not convinced.There doesn’t seem to be any immediate solutions for the conflict in the Ukraine, nor did there seem to be any for the Gaza conflict in 2014. My main concern is the differing responses which the two events received from the international community, and the unequal share of criticism distributed by global leaders despite my personal belief that both scenarios shared very similar traits.
Share your thoughts,