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A pariah and a nuisance

 

Let's admit the unpleasant reality.


Israel is a pariah in the Middle East and a nuisance for the West.

The status of pariah is most apparent in the response of ranking Jordanians, as well as the mobs on its streets, to the killing of a young (30-something) Jordanian lower court judge during an incident at the border crossing while the Jordanian (of Palestinian origin) was on his way to visit his family in Nablus.

According to the IDF, the man attacked a soldier in the border facility with a club, and tried to seize his weapon. He  was initially shot in the legs and ultimately killed by another soldier.

A Palestinian witness claims that she saw shoving and then gun fire. Her view was that Israeli soldiers killed an Arab without provocation.

The man's family, speaking from Nablus, claimed what we hear from the families of virtually every Palestinian killed by the Israeli police or military. He was a good boy and honorable man, peace loving, and would not have done the things described by the Israelis.

Jordanians gathered outside the Israeli embassy in Amman and protested the killing. The Jordanian parliament, in full furor,  demanded an end to the peace agreement, the recall of the Jordanian ambassador to Israel, and the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. The Jordanian Prime Minister said that Israel was responsible for an ugly crime, and that Jordan would choose its course of action after the findings of an inquiry into the details.

Note the Prime Minister's condemnation before the findings of an inquiry.

Israel's Office of the Prime Minister issued its regrets and sorrow, and announced the appointment of a joint Israel-Jordan commission to clarify the details.

The IDF stood by its description of a Palestinian who was killed while trying to seize a soldier's weapon.
 
Israel as nuisance for the West appears most clearly with respect to Iran, and the failure of Israel's narrative to take hold.
 
On the day when Israel was portraying a shipment of weapons being sent from Syria on a complex route through Iraq and Iran, then by sea to Sudan for shipment onward, most likely to terrorist organizations in Gaza and/or Sinai, the Foreign Affairs representative of the European Union, Catherine Ashton, was pictured with head covering and her trademark obsequious smile,  meeting in Tehran with Iranians to move forward the accord that Europeans and Americans see as dealing with Iran's nuclear ambitions and reopening the Iranian market to foreign commerce
 
Israel's message about Iran's perfidy appears in the international media, but is not getting through  to key officials. They seem to be tolerating Israel's concern, and ignoring it. 
 
From what we hear about Iran's progress in refining uranium, it is too late for the military option earlier threatened by Benyamn Netanyahu, and kept "on the table" by Barack Obama, as part of Obama's repeated pledge that the United States would not allow Iran to achieve a nuclear weapons capacity.
 
Signs are a bit better on the Palestinian front.
 
Recent speeches by Palestine's "President" (West Bank only, and more than five years beyond the end of his term) rejecting the possibility of recognizing Israel as a "Jewish state" or "the state of the Jewish people," along with affirming his people's right of return. The latter contrasts sharply with his comments to Israeli students that he had no intention of flooding Israel with Palestinian refugees. Both his comments may have derailed John Kerry's aspirations for any productive talks. 
 
It may be too early to see any light in several days of Kerry's silence about Israel and Palestine. He may only be concentrating on the more pressing dynamics of Ukraine.
 
Indeed, the statuses of pariah or nuisance may be true, but not completely depressing.
 
Neither the Jordanian Parliament nor the Jordanian Prime Minister run that country's government. And the crowd outside the Israeli embassy was handled by Jordanian personnel without any action necessary by Israel's own security detail.
 
The peace with Jordan, like that with Egypt may be "cold." Israeli authorities urge Israelis to avoid visiting either country. We hear only of Israeli Jews taking the short trip across the border to Petra, in an area of Jordan with a sparse population and most of that not of Palestinian origin. 
 
Jordan's prime minister serves at the pleasure of the king, and the parliament is little more than a forum for representatives to express themselves. Commentators describe it as a safety valve, which the king allows to speak out and pass resolutions in order to relieve pressure from a restive population. Jordan has limited resources, is dependent on outside aid, two-thirds of its population is Palestinian, and is currently feeling the pressure of an estimated 1.2 million Syrians, many of them refugees from the chaos in their home country.
 
Israel's Prime Minister was quick to defuse whatever might emerge from the killing at the border  by expressing regrets and proposing a full inquiry. 
 
Jordanian-Israel cooperation has long served both countries, even prior to the formal treaty. The United States works with both countries, and the linkages are among the stabilizing elements in a region always on the verge of noisy riots and upset governments.
 
A day after the Jordanian Prime Minister accused Israel of criminality there appeared a report about Israeli firms using the Jordanian port of Aqaba for low cost shipments to the far east, as well as commerce with other Arab countries.
 
Despite Israel's service as a target of enmity in all the Muslim countries, a number of them deal with Israel out of sight of their mobs, who routinely burn Israeli flags and chant death to the Jews.
 
The Iranian front is also not completely dismal. While the US and European governments are working to renew business with Iran, there are substantial programs of military assistance to Israel, most notably from the United States and Germany, If Israel ultimately has to face a hateful Iran on the verge or over the verge of having nuclear weapons, it will do so with its own capacity to threaten Iran with sufficient destruction to keep that country's weapons in their bunkers. 
 
Ultimately Israel will rely on itself, doing what its government feels necessary, getting the help it can by means of argument, give and take, some of which is hidden to the public, and the help of friends. The country has friends. They include Jews and non-Jews, who help us for a variety of reasons. Some are Christians motivated by a spiritual affinity with Jews of the Holy Land; some are Jews who support Israel out of a sense of shared fate; some are the officials of powerful governments pursuing their self interest in ongoing programs of cooperation; and some are individuals who view Israel as a bastion of western civilization against the barbarians.
 
For those who think the word "barbarian" is a heavy violation of the politically correct and the sensitivities of Muslims, none other than the UK Prime Minister David Cameron used the adjective "barbaric" to describe the wanton disregard for civilians by the Jihadists who sent more than 60 rockets and mortars toward Israel during his visit to the country.
 
Israeli officials are aware of their tenuous political status among the nations. This shows itself in the measured responses it makes to upticks in Palestinian violence. The policy generally followed is tit for tat, meant to punish and indicate Israel's power, but not to escalate. Israel's self interest and Jewish norms may be somewhere in the consideration, but also is the concern not to upset the goyim by causing too much trouble.
 
An Israeli's view of the country as a pariah and nuisance is not a sign of low self esteem. It is a view of reality with respect to the shallow self interest of those who govern other countries, some of which have much greater power than possessed by Jews..
 
 
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