Israel Provokes Palestinians Despite Islamic State Threat: Mid-East States Unite to Ignore Peoples’ Interests
Sixteen year-old Mohammed Abu Khedair was kidnapped and brutally murdered by a group of young Israelis during the prelude to Israel’s 2014 offensive against the Gaza Strip. Showing an unusual level of empathy for their Palestinian cousins, even Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres felt the need to phone the victim’s parents to express their sympathy. Just over a year later, the Islamic State threat against Israel is greater than ever and the Israeli leadership has once again chosen to stoke up the fires of conflict. Clearly, hopes that the Palestinians and Israelis would be finally united by the Islamic State threat have not materialized. Unfortunately, it is for the same reason the Arab Spring revolutions, Turkish-Kurdish conflict, and other long running conflicts of the region will not be resolved by the Islamic State threat.
The murder of an 18-month old Palestinian toddler at the hands of Jewish extremists has driven outrage and calls for an end to the ethnic conflict and hatred. If history is to be repeated, the Palestinian People will grow increasingly outraged and lash out with ever intensifying displays of civil unrest. The Israeli government, in turn, will continue to refuse to recognize the provocative nature of its policies toward the Palestinian People then use the reaction of Palestinians to justify a massive security crackdown to crush the Palestinians into submission. The actions of Hamas or some other extremists will be used to justify a disproportionate offensive against the Palestinian People. Faced with the common threat of the Islamic State, the most pressing question is why do Israeli political leaders feel secure enough to further undermine any chance of cooperation with the Palestinians and the Muslim world.
Considering the globalizing nature of the Islamic identity, the democratization of the Middle Eastern Peoples, the unifying of Arab governments to address security threats in the Middle East and the threat of globalized terrorism, , i.e. the Islamic State, a failure to resolve its conflict with the Palestinian People will jeopardize the future of Israel. Quite frankly, taking a hardliner stance and engaging in destructive acts of war against the Palestinians is only going to unify the world against Israel in the long run. In an almost perverse irony, the Israeli leadership has taken this concern to heart, but appears to see the Islamic State as a distraction that will enable it to crackdown on the perceived security threats within the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
Just as the US-led Coalition against the Islamic State needs the cooperation of Turkey and Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan is using that need to justify his government’s crackdown on the Turkish Kurds, Israel appears to be using the same need to leverage Israeli cooperation on regional security issues, so Muslim governments will turn a blind eye to Israel’s conduct against the Palestinian People. Given the Iranian Nuclear Deal strengthens the hand of the Iranian government, it appears it to be designed to circumvent the interests of the Iranian Peoples and others. As such, this undermining, counterproductive, and undemocratic behavior is being enabled by Western support throughout the region. Although done out of convenience, it reinforces the very reasons groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State have enjoyed popular support throughout the region.
The Arab Spring Revolutions started out as a chance for a better future in a region dominated by populous poverty and all-powerful, self-serving governments, but the refusal of leaders to sacrifice their power and privilege has resulted in civil war. This has, in turn, afforded violent extremists the opportunity to spread like wildfire. Middle Eastern governments and world powers are, however using the present catastrophic threat faced by the region to neglect the very reasons the Arab Spring Revolutions began. The Arab Spring Revolutions started, because the Middle East was filled with ineffective, dysfunctional, self-serving, and unresponsive governments. The governments of the Middle East may be able to fend off the Islamic State by uniting today, but their failure to address the grievances and interests of their Peoples in era when they are globalizing and democratizing will only perpetuate conflict into the future.
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