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Pakistan: What makes Israel take on Turkey.

Pakistan, June 20 -- ISRAELIS and their western friends never tire of repeating, as an indictment of the Arabs, the late Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban's saying that the Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. However, the same fans of Israel dare not utter the truth that the Zionist state never misses an opportunity to remind the world that it is a lawless enterprise that has yet to learn the fundamentals of international laws and conventions governing state conduct in the civilised world.

Israel's bestial piracy and vandalism in the early hours of May 31, on the high seas and in international waters, against the 'Peace Flotilla' of 700 human rights activists and volunteers from around the world - they represented 40 countries and every major religion, including Jews - is the latest instance of Israel wilfully flouting international law and, in the process, murdering innocent and unarmed people.

But it wasn't the first time that Israel mocked international convention, nor, one can rest assured with the benefit of hindsight on Israel's ignoble track record, will it be the last episode of a series that began with its questionable birth in 1948.

Israel was emboldened in its brazen flouting of civilised conduct when it wiped out scores of Palestinian villages and drove tens of thousands of their inhabitants into forced exile. The hapless Palestinians, to this day, may mourn that expulsion and massacre as a catastrophe - Nakaba in Arabic - but Israel's powerful western mentors - who were responsible for its birth in the first place - turned a blind eye to that tragedy, just because the victims were Palestinians.

That triggered Israel's rogue behaviour that has gone on unchecked and undiminished to date. Be that the 1967 war against its Arab neighbours; or the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, and occupation of South Lebanon until 2000, when Hezbollah forced it to vacate their land in humiliation; or yet-another invasion of Lebanon, in the summer of 2006, when Hezbollah again inflicted a crushing defeat on the invaders; or the massacre of the Palestinians in Gaza - 1400 of them slaughtered in cold blood and Gaza turned into a wasteland - as recently as December 2008, Israel was given a pass by its western mentors.

They just winked at the Israeli trashing of international law and convention as doting guardians would at the impishness of a naughty ward. George W. Bush, then in the twilight of his presidency, justified the massacre of the Gazans as an act of 'legitimate defence' by Israel. Canadian PM, Stephen Harper, a Bush clone, had no regrets describing it as a 'measured response' to Palestinian 'provocations.'

The only exception to this deplorable pattern of western complicity in Israeli crimes of the past half century was the moral high ground the US took when Israel, in compact with Britain and France, had invaded Egypt in 1956 to punish Gemal Nasser for nationalising the Suez Canal. President Eisenhower, then in command, forced the invaders to beat a hasty retreat. But since then the powerful Jewish lobby in the US, in cahoots with the 'military-industrial complex' that Eisenhower warned his people to be wary of, has seen to it that another Eisenhower should never be elected president.

Even on this occasion when Israel has been caught with its hands dipping in the blood of nine innocent victims of its trigger-happy commandos, defence of Israel in the US establishment and an obliging news media at its call, remains almost rock-solid.

The Obama administration has refused, point-blank, to condemn Israel for its brazen flouting of international law. When pressed to say whether it was going to condemn Israel for its crime, the White House spokesman argued that there was insufficient information to form that opinion. And the Obama supporters - whose numbers are shrinking by the day - were left wondering if they had really sent a moral crusader to the White House.

But the buck didn't stop there. As on so many occasions in the past, the US once again shielded its protege in the UN Security Council, where there was consensus among its other 14 members that Israel's arrogance needed to be condemned in so many words. Instead, the US twisted arms all around to make the council just squeak in the end with a watered-down 'statement' from its president in which Israel couldn't even be named for violating international law.

The Council president's original draft 'statement' wanted an impartial international tribunal to investigate the Israeli outrage. However, the US weighed in, as Israel expected, on its side, and scotched that move stating, instead, that the Israeli government should do it and Washington reposed full faith in its impartiality. This could easily be the joke of the century to expect a self-righteous Netanyahu to hold an honest investigation into murder committed by his commandos at his behest. He has arrogantly dismissed a plea by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon, for a UN enquiry into the bloody episode.

Contrast this with the latest Security Council resolution imposing stringent sanctions, the fourth in so many years, on Iran for not cooperating with its tormentors on its alleged nuclear programme.

The US moved heaven and earth to get these sanctions slapped on Iran, which Hillary Clinton takes pride in their being the most biting in history. One of her forebears in office, Madeleine Albright, took equal delight in keeping the Iraqis under similar sanctions for 13 long years that took a toll of 3 million Iraqi lives, including 1.5 million children.

Piloting the American thrust against Iran in the Security Council debate, the US Permanent Representative to UN, Susan Rice - who seems to have imbibed a lot of Condi Rice - vociferously argued that Iran must be punished for violating international will. But she didn't say a word about the world's leading violator of international will, Israel, which has disdained dozens of UN resolutions and, as recently demonstrated, cares two hoots for international law. Israel's contumacy isn't violation in Washington's lexicon.

But its unflagging partisanship aside, Israel has undeniably bitten much more than it could chew in its murder on the high seas of peace activists from Turkey.

For the first time in living memory, the outrage against Israel's wanton disrespect to international law and dictates of civilised human conduct is universal, except in North America where reactionaries are in charge and still inclined to condone murder by Israel as 'self defence.' The mealy-mouthed pundits still harping on the jaded symphony of Israel being a victim are now sounding sadly out of tune with the times. One can't help feeling sorry for the likes of a former Canadian ambassador to UN propounding a convoluted thesis in a newspaper column that Turkey invited the Israeli wrath upon its citizens because Prime Minister Erdogan - an Islamist in the eyes of these Israel-friendly pundits - wanted to enlist the support of the liberals in Turkey in order to wean Turkey away from Israel. So, the sickening logic says Erdogan used those Turkish volunteers on board the lead ship of the flotilla as baits to provoke Israel.

Taking on Turkey is Netanyahu's ultimate madness, to put it mildly.

Along with Egypt, Turkey is the only one of Muslim states in the world with formal diplomatic ties with Israel. Turkish-Israeli ties were forged when Turkey was under the shadow of its Bonapartist generals who arrogated to themselves the right to dictate state policies. The relationship flourished under Ankara's then unstinted reliance on Washington's patronage. But Turkey has since put paid to that period of national shame. Erdogan has revived that self-respect and confidence the Turks had missed since the days of Ataturk.

Erdogan had the courage to refuse George W. Bush's bribe to let him use Turkish land to invade Iraq; and he didn't shrink from calling Israel's mass murder of the Palestinians in Gaza, as such, when Shimon Peres, another Zionist in Netanyahu's mould, tried to collar him in Davos last year.

Erdogan, with his finger on the nation's pulse, has been guilty of lending a voice to the Turkish people who rightly felt horrified at the brutal muzzling of their Palestinian brethren under Israeli occupation. So Erdogan is unlikely to succumb to Netanyahu's hubris, or resile from his demand for a public apology from Netanyahu as price for maintaining diplomatic relations.

Netanyahu's western friends may wonder why he should have felt the need to provoke the Turks by attacking a peaceful convoy of humanitarian workers on the high seas.

But there's hardly a puzzle in it for those knowing this war-monger's character. He is desperate to convince Washington to let him have a go at Iran the way Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor outside Baghdad in 1980. Little wonder, therefore about the timing of his attack on the peace flotilla led by the Turks. Netanyahu was smarting ever since Erdogan, along with the Brazilian President, journeyed to Tehran to sign a nuclear deal with President Ahmedinejad, clearing the way for Iranian enriched uranium to be reprocessed in Turkey.

Netanyahu must have seen in the trilateral deal his trump card slipping out of his hands. How would he, now, twist Obama's arm to give him a free hand to rain terror on Tehran? His convoluted sense must have convinced him that he could prevail on Obama - whose moral punditry of the campaign has been deserting him at a pace that is alarming to his supporters - if Turkey was painted in the same colours in Washington as Iran.

No wonder the American news media is giving ample space to Netanyahu's description of the flotilla's peace volunteers as "dozens of thugs."

But irrespective of how Obama faces up to Netanyahu's blackmail, the Israeli people, as a nation, are showing increasing signs of becoming militarists. Israel, over the years has transformed itself into a society in which military worship is a norm and every act of murder by its ruthless war-machine - whether on land, sea or in the sky - is hailed as an act of bravado.

This cynical belief in Israel's infallibility - 'Israel can do no wrong' - has been whetted by unstinted American patronage even when Israel's crimes may speak for themselves.

The outcome of it is narcissistic arrogance that prohibits any introspection or criticism. The latest opinion poll by the Israeli newspaper, Maariv, has found 89 per cent of Israelis against Netanyahu resigning over this episode's fallout.

A nation that lives by the sword deserves to die by falling on it, which is increasingly the case with Israel under its Zionist leadership. The ancient Greeks were right in their dictum: 'those whom gods wish to destroy they make them mad first.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from The Friday Times. For more information on news feed please contact Sarabjit Jagirdar at

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Publication:The Friday Times (Lahore, Pakistan)
Date:Jun 20, 2010
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