Israel’s recent foreign relations are fraught with uncertainty.
Longtime ally Turkey has distanced itself from Israel ever since the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) stormed a Turkish ship during the Gaza flotilla incident in 2010. Neighboring Syria is rioting under a general crackdown, and on top of that, Egyptian citizens mobbed the Israeli embassy in Cairo last week. The ambassador was forced to flee to Israel, according to Reuters.
This most recent incident is another warning sign of future conflicts and anger. There remains a flame that persistently smolders from Israel’s many unrestrained crackdowns on Palestinians. Unless Israel changes its self-defeating foreign and domestic policies, it invites future hostility to its people.
Israel’s main security concern is the West Bank and the Gaza Strip of Palestine – the border between Gaza and Egypt – because it conceals hundreds of tunnels beneath the dirt and sand. According to NPR, smuggling at this border is not just common, it’s a daily occurrence. According to Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, Egypt has been destroying the tunnels and plans to construct an iron wall that extends 20 to 30 meters underground.
According to the Huffington Post, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has been rallying support for the recognition of Palestine as a state for an upcoming meeting among United Nations (U.N.) leaders Sept. 20 – recognition Israel refuses to give.
It is unlikely Palestine will be recognized as a state by the U.N., as the U.S. holds veto power and is an ally to Israel. This has been the case in previous attempts to recognize Palestinian statehood. The ‘Six Day War’ in 1967 was started to liberate Palestine and get revenge against Israel’s incursions into the West Bank. The IDF attacked the West Bank to strike suspected terrorists. The IDF launched air strikes into Palestine in the last decade with a similar regard for international opinion.
Davutoglu’s comments have only further deteriorated relations between Israel and Turkey. Turkish news outlet Today’s Zaman speculated Sunday about reports that Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was considering negotiating with or arming the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a known terrorist group. According to Haaretz, Davutoglu said during a press conference, “No one will be able to blackmail us. We hope Israel’s denial (of supporting the PKK) will also be accompanied by actions.”
Israel continues to stumble from one diplomatic faux paus to another. However, Israel is tolerated because its military prowess is superior to most of its neighbors, both in technology and training. Globalfirepower.com compares nations on respective military strength, and of Israel’s neighbors, only Turkey was rated higher. Nonetheless, Israel possesses more aircraft than Turkey and has received $3 billion in U.S. aid annually since 1985, according to globalfirepower.com.
In light of the Arab Spring, the recent wave of revolutions across the Middle East, Palestinians appear more destitute than ever. They were left out of the Arab Spring, but they are no less deserving of political and economic freedoms. Israel will isolate itself diplomatically if it refuses to negotiate. As strong as the IDF is, Israel can still lose a war if it has no allies.