Monday, August 06, 2012

Barry Rubin: Who’s Really Isolated? He Who Misunderstands Middle East Realities

by Barry Rubin
One of the mantras from Israel’s supposed foreign well-wishers is that the country is now “isolated.” You can tell the hostile ones because they quickly add that this alleged isolation is Israel’s own fault.
Sure, on the surface the first proposition makes sense. Israel has lost its two main regional friends—Turkey and Egypt—which are now hostile. The United States under its current government—but doesn’t President Barack Obama love Israel?—is no longer reliable. Isn't rather notable that despite these two countries turning totally against Israel this has had zero effect on the Obama Administration's totally positive policy toward both, a list to which could be added the Hizballah regime in Lebanon mentioned above. Perhaps the U.S. election in November will change this situation but there's nothing Israel can do about that.

Yet none of this is in fact Israel’s fault.
The Turkish people elected and reelected a subtly Islamist regime that loathes Israel for reasons having nothing to do with Israel. The Egyptian people elected an openly Islamist regime that loathes Israel for reasons having nothing to do with Israel. The problem is the ideology of the rulers. And the same thing applies to the United States, doesn’t it? At least in Egypt the armed forces are holding back the Muslim Brotherhood.

Erdogan, al-Mursi, and Obama are not really reacting to some Israeli mistaken policy and the problems won’t be solved by more unilateral Israeli concessions. Indeed, given the dangers of the situation—and most Israelis appreciate this—such give aways are out of the question. Nothing Israel does will fix the problem and any retreats will make matters worse.

Nor is anything Israel does likely to move negotiations with the Palestinian Authority ahead by even an inch (or, if you prefer, a centimeter).

So the situation isn’t wonderful on the surface and anyone who reads the newspapers and develops great theories in his own mind can reach that conclusion.

Yet the following development, for example, is more important than all of the anti-Israel media articles and boycott campaigns of the last year put together: This week the European Union is offering Israel upgraded relations in 60 different areas, removing all obstacles against Israel having full access to European government-controlled markets and cooperation with nine EU agencies, including Europol and the European Space Agency.

But let’s look deeper, specifically at the situation immediately on Israel’s borders, to see if things are as bad as they might seem.
Continue reading Who’s Really Isolated? He Who Misunderstands Middle East Realities

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His latest book is Israel: An Introduction, was published by Yale University Press in January 2012. You can read more of Barry Rubin's posts at Rubin Reportsand  Rubin Reports, on Pajamas Media

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