Opinion | Columnists

Does Israel rule the world?

With many of the major powers bowing to Tel Aviv, those aboard the Freedom Flotilla should be praised for risking their lives

  • By Linda S. Heard, Special to Gulf News
  • Published: 00:00 June 1, 2010
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Guillermo munro/©Gulf News
  • Why are so many nations bending to Israel's will or staying silent on its crimes? What is it about this minuscule country that enables it to have so much control on decisions made by larger and more powerful nations?

Yesterday, the Israeli military attacked and boarded one of the Turkish aid ships sailing to Gaza as part of a flotilla, killing 19 and injuring many more. As this occurred in international waters, it is not only an act of piracy but could also be construed as an ‘act of war'. This attack on unarmed civilian men and women illustrates the moral depths to which the Jewish state has sunk. An Al Jazeera reporter on board the vessel says the Israelis fired live bullets even after a white flag was hoisted. This atrocity and the potential fall-out should merit loud condemnation from the international community ... but don't hold your breath! We have yet to witness the extent of Turkey's response.

Why are so many nations bending to Israel's will or staying silent on its crimes? What is it about this minuscule country that enables it to have so much control on decisions made by larger and more powerful nations? It refuses to abide by international laws and treaties. It illegally occupies great swathes of Palestinian land and it's imposing an illegal blockade on Gaza. Moreover, it is the only country that could get away with assassinating its enemies on foreign soil.

If any other country or territory with a smaller population than New York behaved as outrageously as Israel, it would be isolated, boycotted and, perhaps, even invaded. Yet, Israel gets away with ignoring a long list of UN Security Council resolutions — as opposed to Saddam's Iraq, which was invaded, plundered and occupied on those same grounds.

Israel has a stockpile of undeclared nuclear weapons and, as documentation recently released by Pretoria confirms, was prepared to sell nuclear warheads and technology to South Africa during apartheid; a reality that counters US claims that Israel is a responsible democracy that would never supply weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to rogue states. Iran, on the other hand, which does not have nuclear weapons — and, unlike Israel, is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — is being subjected to UN sanctions.

Last Friday, all 189 signatories to the NPT — including the US — agreed to hold a conference during 2012 "on the establishment of a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons ..." Sounds good! President Barack Obama has espoused the idea of a nuclear-free Middle East. The entire Arab world has been pushing for a nuclear-free Middle East and Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has long called for a nuclear-free region.

But wait! The usual suspect, Israel, is none too pleased because it believes it is being singled out. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has described the call as "deeply flawed and hypocritical", while his office has issued a statement that reads: "As a non-signatory state of the NPT, Israel is not obligated by the decisions of this conference, which has no authority over Israel".

No surprise there! But then Obama promptly does an about-turn, saying, "We strongly oppose efforts to single-out Israel and will oppose actions that jeopardise Israel's security". His message begs the question, how on earth can the region ever be free of nuclear weapons if Israel is kept out of the equation when it is the only nuclear country in the area?

Change of heart

Now here's a turn of events that makes me wonder whether America's capital city is actually Tel Aviv. When the proposed uranium swap between Iran and Brazil that is slated to take place on Turkish soil was recently announced, the White House dismissed it as a delaying tactic on the part of Tehran and began to pressurise UN Security Council members to agree to a new round of anti-Iranian sanctions. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says a proposal that buys time for Iran "makes the world more dangerous, not less".

In response, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the US and its allies of "lacking a fair and sincere approach". He is absolutely right and it appears that the Brazilian president agrees with him.

In a break from protocol, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has leaked a letter he received from his US counterpart in April this year in which Obama warmly supported the uranium swap, provided Iran were to agree to Turkey holding its low-enriched uranium "in escrow" for up to a year.

"Iran has never pursued the ‘escrow' compromise and has provided no credible explanation for its rejection," Obama wrote. Now that Tehran has rubber-stamped the very procedure Obama advocated in the missive, it seems that he is unable to take ‘yes' for an answer. Could it be because Netanyahu has denounced the fuel deal as "trickery" intended to avoid international sanctions?

The US is far from being the only country allowing Israel to call the tune. Greek Cypriot authorities attempted to prevent a group that included 17 Irish, Bulgarian and Swedish members of parliament from travelling on small ferry boats to join the aid flotilla attempting to break the siege of Gaza in order to protect the island's "vital interests".

When much of the western world bows and scrapes in front of the Israeli standard, those aboard ships in the Flotilla should be applauded for risking their lives to do what is right. It's beyond time that the international community grew a backbone and followed suit!


- Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She can be contacted at: lheard@gulfnews.com. Some of the comments may be considered for publication.

Comments (8)

  1. Added 17:07 June 1, 2010

    Israel is doing what ever it can and one a small nation on the other hand we as Muslims and the leaders of the Muslim countries especially in the Middle East have to think why? They need to show some courage, just like the people onboard that Aid Flotilla bound for Gaza. thy knew its dangerous but they went not to fight, just to do the right thing and show the whole world that what Israel is doing is wrong. At least they need to condemn this strongly and boycott Israel and break any relationship (if they have) with Israel and get united to put their case strongly in the UN. its not enough to say "we condemn it" cos people are dying and families are being ruined on daily basis.

    Salman, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 15:15 June 1, 2010

    Hello world, why are you fst asleep??? Wake up, wake up. The whole world, stand up against te most attrocious and the dangerous regim in the world Esrael.... Whenever any where in the world, when a muslim arguiably get caught for any reasons, right of the entire world media will just broadcast it telling, Islamic terrorist, Islamic terrorism.... WHat is this country doing??? The entire country, all the rulers of the country is nothing other than the dirtiest terrorists... israel should be punished.... With US support they are ruling the world, the entire International rules, they just break without any issues... No one to question them.... At least the Arab world should unite [against] the dirtiest country in the world... OH! U.S, and your president,,, are you not seing this news?? Any where in the world, you are jsut againt Muslim... Stop this... Islam i for the Well being of the human being, try to understand the religious teachings.... I condemn the attack with the heaviest word available to condemn.

    Noushad, Kerala, India

  3. Added 14:36 June 1, 2010

    IT is NOT a question! IT IS A FACT!!...AMERICANS=JEWISH----RULE THE WORLD. Hats off Turkey for action taken so far and real shame to the ARAB world who sits back and watch :-(

    Kate, Dubai, Afghanistan

  4. Added 11:55 June 1, 2010

    Israel not only have economical power in her hands but also the only super power of the world i.e. America. So why should Israel care about the international law. We have jungle law in this world where might is right.

    Anonymous Reader, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 11:34 June 1, 2010

    I have watched the video of this said assult this morning on CNN. As what I have seen during the time that the Israeli troops are sliding down from the helicopter down to the ship many people are already handed with metal pipes and started to hit the soldiers even before they landed. There was even one video there that 3 guys are hitting 1 soldier.. As per Mr. Netanyahus interview they have instructed the soldiers to use only their guns if their lives are at stake. However, the details or the facts of the interest on why this things had to happen is something that we would really need to find out. My point is we should get down to the REAL FACTS, I mean the real ones.. before publicising anything.

    Ivy, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 11:18 June 1, 2010

    Israel is hated by its neighbours because of its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands. It hated by its neighbours because it has ruined the lives of Palestinians. It hated by its neighbours because it has forced so innocent Palestinians out of their ancestors' homes and lands, and flagrantly refused them the right of return. It hated by its neighbours because of its daily torture, killing and humiliation of the children and women of Palestine. We could go on and on about why Israel has been hated by its neighbours.

    TA, Auckland, New Zealand

  7. Added 09:47 June 1, 2010

    You started your article with saying: "With many of the major powers bowing to Tel Aviv, Does Israel rule the world?" You said it all. We know very well the foreign policy of US is 100% dictated by Israel through AIPAC. The US political establishment particularly Democrats are very weak and volunaber to AIPAC and its influence. However UK & France are bowing to Tel Aviv as well. If you want to compare the commercial trade between Israel, UK, France & US all together and only should I say US and Qatar as an example you find the latter is much more. So Arab world specially GCC are very important surplus market to US, UK & France. But Arab countries including GCC do not have any political weight in today's world. Israelian-Palestinian conflict will be resolved when the Arab world gain some political voice in the international community. Regarding the Israeli assault on the ship some Turkish analysts interpreted the assault as a deliberate warning from the Israeli government towards Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist-rooted administration. Everybody knows that Israel has a professional army. It could have intervened without causing casualties if it wanted. It preferred to act in this way to send a message to Turkey.

    Peter, Dubai, United Kingdom

  8. Added 06:31 June 1, 2010

    While I don't agree with many of Israel's actions, including this latest assault on the aid ships, it is very clear to me why they can get away with what they do. As someone who has taught children in this country for several years, I now understand. Israel is surrounded by hate. Children growing up are taught to hate Israel and Jews alike. They don't know why they hate, they just know that they should. Children grow into adults: adults who hate. These adults become the decision makers of the region: decision makers who hate. If Israel did not have the backing of the West, then its hate-filled neighbours would consider trying to destroy Israel and Israelis for good. And so Israel is allowed by the west to do what it pleases because the West has weighed their options and decided that it's better that Israel continue to commit infraction after infraction than for it to be destroyed by hateful neighbours.

    Ed Segio, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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