Terror Entity Now An Isolated And Despised Pariah
Israel watches its old alliances crumble
"Israel has been at peace with Egypt, its oldest Arab ally, since Jimmy Carter’s triumphant summit at Camp David paved the way for a treaty that has been in many ways the bedrock of the country’s security, guaranteeing peace on its remote southern border. Jordan eventually followed suit, signing a peace treaty of its own, while Turkey strengthened another vital alliance, giving Israel the support of a heavy-hitting Muslim power in the region.
The rest of the Arab world still seemed implacable, but one by one its dictators, despite the anger of their populations, found it pragmatic to reach an accommodation of sorts with Israel, tolerating the interloper in their midst even if not accepting it. Even Syria, which technically remains at war with Israel, found it preferable to keep the peace despite the continued Israeli occupation of the Golan Heights, captured during the Six Day War of 1967.
But, with alarming speed, all these gains now seem in jeopardy, leaving Israel terrified that the jungle is creeping back once more. This month has already proved one of the most nettlesome in Israel’s recent history – with worse to come before it is over, as the Palestinian leadership heads to the United Nations with a potentially explosive application for statehood.
One vital friendship seems already to be over. At the beginning of the month, Turkey, a crucial military and commercial ally, announced the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, a downgrading of diplomatic relations and a suspension of defence ties. The crisis has been brewing for a long time, even before Israeli forces killed nine Turkish activists in a botched raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla last year.
Turkey’s sanctions were ostensibly the result of Mr Netanyahu’s refusal to apologise for the incident, which outraged many ordinary Turks. But other factors are at play as well. Tired of the European Union’s rejection of his advances, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s mildly Islamist prime minister, is attempting to regain some of his country’s influence in the Ottoman Empire’s old Arab fiefs. By presenting himself as the champion of the Palestinians’ plight, particularly in Gaza, he is tapping into one of the most emotive issues in the Arab world and winning huge popularity as a result."