With the excessive changes in the Middle East, the heat is on for Israel. With rising discontent in the region, shaken foundations between Israel and Turkey and the Palestinians’ potential declaration of statehood later this month, there must be significant changes in the worldwide Middle Eastern policy.
The significant changes and new challenges in the Middle East are sending a clear and direct message to the state of Israel – the days of violating international law are over. Turkey has been the leading icon for change in Israel, beginning with the walkout during the World Economic Forum Summit in summer 2009 in protest of Israeli President Shimon Peres’ change of narrative on the Israeli-Palestinian issue, according to Al-Jazeera. Relations were further smeared after Israeli commandos raided the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara in 2010.
But perhaps the most symbolic challenge to Israel’s policy is the Palestinians declaration to pursue the Israeli-Palestinian case before the United Nations later this month. The word “symbolic” should be stressed, as the U.N. Security Council’s actual approval of a potential Palestinian state shouldn’t be anticipated.
What should be apparent, however, is this is a message is sent toward Israel – there will be no more embarrassing concessions, such as those apparent in the infamous Palestinian Papers. Though there are still differences between the various parties in the West Bank and Gaza, the Palestinian cause will be unquestionably legitimized. The likely acceptance of a two-thirds majority vote in the General Assembly will lead to the categorization of Palestine as an “observer state” – or further, bring Israel to the International Criminal Court for the various violations of international law such as the illegal blockade of Gaza, the construction of an illegal barrier, construction of illegal settlements and other violations.
The Western governments must also be aware of the position of their strategic ally. The United States has the impressive resume of vetoing more than 100 resolutions critical of Israel since 1972 and supplying it with around $3 billion annually, according to Amnesty International. A more balanced foreign policy must be redesigned to accept America – and other Western governments, for that matter – as an honest partner for peace.
It is absolutely critical that the Israeli and Arab youth within the region and abroad have a thorough understanding of the current situation in the Middle East. In understanding the complexities in the region, youths can surely work toward a peaceful and progressive model.
According to Al-Jazeera, the Young Mizrahis – Jews of Middle Eastern and North African origins – is one Israeli group saluting the current uprisings in the Middle East. In an open letter, the Mizrahis state, “We have faith in intra-regional dialogue … as a catalyst towards renewing the Andalusian model of Muslim-Jewish-Christian partnership, God willing, inshallah.” And I reaffirm, Inshallah.
Nader Hasan is a senior is majoring in international affairs and religious studies.