Israel’s relationship with Russia is changing direction

Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu has taken a very discrete and distant position towards Russia’s invasion of Ukraine lest such a position tars Israel’s good relationship with Russia – this discretion will wither away as the Israelis have been flustered with Russia’s position to take the lead in advocating for the Palestinians at this precise moment. Israel is now in a state of war and its activities will span across the region as it plans to weaken Iran’s military network and infrastructure. Ukraine will also benefit from this situation given Iran is supplying Russia with weapons.

Yesterday, Russia called for mediation between the Israelis and the Palestinians while the West and many Arab countries like the United Arab Emirates and Egypt are backing Israel’s stance to retaliate. Saudia Arabia, Qatar, and Iran issued statements condemning Israel’s provocations, while Russia is advocating for the Palestinians in the UN Security Council. The head of the Arab League  Ahmed Aboul Gheit will be visiting Russia to meet the Russian Foreign Affairs Minister. These are clear demarcations that will condition Israel’s foreign policy going forward. There will also be no Saudi-Israeli deal for some time – and this was Iran’s initial objective, but Israel’s break from Russia will affect Iran negatively.


1 Comment

  1. Mark, it is right to be discussing the current war, but we should also be discussing the wider context and eventual resolution.

    In the short term, Israel should have every right to retaliate in self-defence, as any country under siege should. However, in the long term, it has to be acknowledged that Israel has contributed to the beginning of this war by driving so many desperate Gazans (Gaza is effectively an open-air prison in which everyone is poor and young people have no prospects) into the hands of Hamas.

    The long-term solution is two separate states existing side by side and respecting each other, as well as Israel treating its Arab citizens as fairly as it does its Jewish ones. Unfortunately, Israel is doing the exact opposite of this, occupying ever more land which is essential that Israel eventually gives up to Palestinians to win the peace.

    Meanwhile, Israel itself is becoming ever more chauvinistic, treating Arabs like dirt and promoting Jewish superiority over Islam (similar to what India is doing by constant extreme promotion of Hinduism and denigration of its Muslim minorities). The current government is an extreme right-wing one which wants to push divisive policies, crush the judiciary which usually acts as a check on the executive (thankfully, not without pushback from liberal-minded Israelis), and capture ever more Palestinian land. It is not an exaggeration to state that Israel is becoming an apartheid state.

    No wonder Arabs and Palestinians are angry.

    Palestinian politicians are of course not helping the situation. The good guys on the Palestinian front are supposed to be the Palestine Liberation Organisation and the political party Fatah, but the last time elections were held for positions in the Organisation was in 2005/2006. The leadership is weak and corrupt, and has achieved nothing tangible in terms of establishing a state for the Palestinians or gaining more rights for the people it supposedly represents.

    So, naturally, ordinary Palestinians prefer the Hamas militia to Fatah. At least, Hamas actually seems to be doing something to fight for Palestinian rights when it fires rockets into Israel, even if Gazans end up paying with their lives when Israel inevitably retaliates with its modern and powerful army.

    Over the decades, Arab states like Saudi Arabia have staunchly supported Palestine out of principle and solidarity with fellow Muslims. However, even Arabs want to move on from the endless Israel/Palestine conflict, which has created no winners. While Palestinians have nothing to offer Arab states, Israel (wealthy and economically vibrant) could be a great trade and military partner, as well as a bulwark against the hated Iran. Obviously, the rest of the world would like to move on too from the intractable problem.

    However, for the world to be truly able to move on from the Palestine morass, both Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation need mature, visionary politicians of goodwill who acknowledge that the only long-term solution is the establishment of two states which would fully respect the rights of their own and each other’s citizens, regardless of religion or ethnicity. Unfortunately, neither have politicians of this calibre at the moment. Expect to be writing about the latest iteration of this war in ten years’ time.

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