Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Israel betrayed by world powers, says scholar

Barbara Yaffe, Calgary Herald

Israelis are aware Canada is their new best friend, but no longer care so much about western support, says influential Middle Eastern writer Barry Rubin.

The American-born terrorism expert, who lives in Tel Aviv, is in Canada to launch a speaking tour sponsored by the Torontobased Centre for Israeli and Jewish Affairs.

Israelis are "very aware" of and happy about Canada's support, Rubin reports.
Other western nations that support Israel include New Zealand, Poland, the Czech Republic, Italy, Germany and the Netherlands, he says.

Commenting on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's newly revealed unpopularity with the French and American presidents, Rubin said Nicolas Sarkozy's negative view of the Israeli PM comes as a surprise. Barack Obama's doesn't.

Rubin says the American government has betrayed Israel's interests.

The director of the Global Research for International Affairs Centre and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs wrote this week: "The Obama administration has openly sided with Israel's enemies.

I don't mean the Palestinian Authority or Saudi Arabia.

That would be tolerable. We're talking here about openly genocidal, anti-Semitic groups . . . the Muslim Brotherhood, Hezbollah and the Taliban (moderate wing)."

Rubin says it's mainly media, academia and elite groups leading the PR charge against Israel. But they don't necessarily reflect broader public opinion.

In any event, Israelis have learned to rely on their own judgment, after having been disappointed by those from whom they expected support.

"A country that's under attack from radical Islamists and terrorists, facing a resurgence of anti-Semitism, a country that has . . . pulled out of Lebanon, pulled out of the Gaza Strip. And after all that, we're more hated than ever?"

Rubin says there is "zero" chance peace talks with the Palestinians will resume. "It's over, it's done with, it's dead."

Palestinians, he says, continue to seek the end of the Jewish state, mandated in 1948 by the United Nations. Israelis no longer see Palestinians as partners for peace because Palestinians want only "total victory" - an end to Israel.

If Palestinians genuinely wanted an end to Israeli settlements, Rubin says, they'd negotiate for a peace deal that would mandate an end to Jewish settlements on land designated for Palestinians, and result in removal of any settlements on such designated land.

Israelis increasingly are prepared to live long-term with the current situation, says Rubin, noting recent poll results - 88 per cent of Israelis think Israel is a good place to live and 66 per cent don't foresee a peace deal with Palestinians.

Israel's situation has lately become more dire, he says.

"We're in the beginning of a new era in Middle East history. We are in a period of revolutionary Islam.

"For the next 20 to 50 years, there is going to be civil war and bloodshed in Muslim-majority countries, which in part will keep them too busy to attack Israel."

Bloodshed will arise as a result of power struggle between Arab nationalists and Islamists, he said.

On Iran's nuclear capability, Rubin believes it will be three to six years before Tehran will have enough nuclear weapons and delivery mechanisms to take out the 12 or so Israeli sites required to prevent massive retaliation. He doesn't believe Israel is preparing in the near term to attack Iran.

Given regional mayhem, it's inappropriate at the moment to ask Israelis for concessions. And, with the rise of revolutionary Islam, "The Arab-Israeli conflict is not the central issue of the region, hasn't been for years."

Barbara Yaffe is a columnist with the Vancouver Sun.

Read more: http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/Yaffe+Israel+betrayed+world+powers+says+scholar/5703318/story.html#ixzz1dkL3yKlq

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