Diplomacy

If Israel Were a Normal Country

If Israel were a normal country, having the United States place its embassy in its capital city would not be newsworthy.

If Israel were a normal country, that its negotiating partner regularly threatens violence would stir up outrage.

If Israel were a normal country, the fact that its enemies hijack international organizations in order to deny its history would offend any fair-minded individual.

If Israel were a normal country, everyone would be offended that another country would tell its athletes to throw matches, so they wouldn’t have to face Israeli competitors. People would also be enraged that Israeli athletes could not identify their nation of origin in certain countries. That’s usually an arrangement for a country that violates norms of competition, not a country whose biggest sin is existing.

If Israel were a normal country, its doctors, who have treated thousands of citizens of an enemy country when the rest of the world is allowing hundreds of thousands to die violently, would win the Nobel Peace Prize.

If Israel were a normal country, its critics would recognize that the three times it made territorial concessions for peace — the withdrawal from the major Palestinian West Bank population centers in 1995 was followed by a series of terror attacks in February and March 1996; the 2000 withdrawal from southern Lebanon was followed by the growth of Hezbollah’s strength and arsenal; the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza emboldened Hamas leading to three wars over the next decade —  it paid a heavy price. Even though the withdrawal from the Sinai has led to a stable peace with Egypt, the Sinai has become home to a virulent ISIS franchise.

If Israel were a normal country, it would be recognized for its effort to share agricultural know-how and water technology to impoverished countries.

But Israel is not a normal country. Today, the United Nations Security Council is meeting to discuss what the Palestinian Authority calls an “extremely dangerous situation, which constitutes a threat to international peace and security.” With “dangerous situation” they mean that President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that the U.S. recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that he intends to move the embassy to Jerusalem – in other words, he said he would treat Israel like any other nation in the world.

Given the hue and cry raised by Israel’s enemies – and even some purported friends like the United Kingdom and France – you might think that Trump had ordered bombs dropped on civilians. But the objections were not for any loss of life, but for the intent to move a building and treat Israel normally.

It is ironic that members of the Security Council are now judging Israel. Israel, if it were to join the Security Council, would have to do it as a member of Europe or other regions, not as a member of the Asia and Africa region where it belongs, because the Muslim world objects to its membership in the group. The Security Council, rather than serving as “a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations,” by its very structure serves to legitimize prejudice and division.

Worse, the Security Council has failed to protect the hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians killed and millions more displaced in the brutal civil war waged by the regime’s President Bashar al-Assad, aided by Iran and Russia. The Security Council did worse than not protect the Syrians.

Nearly two years ago, it endorsed the nuclear deal with Iran. The agreement freed up billions, much of which has been used by Iran to bolster Assad. So not only has the Security Council failed to protect the Syrian people, it has severely damaged “international peace and security,” by accelerating the death and destruction visited upon Syria.

And the Security Council that has failed so miserably in Syria, now sits in judgment against Israel, a country that has actually saved thousands of Syrians, ostensibly their enemies, and promoting, by the way, “international peace and security.” And it sits in judgment this week, as news emerged that Israel has established a maternity hospital in Syrian territory because the American president noted that Israel should be treated like a normal country.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that there was a need to act because Trump’s declaration goes “against international law and all the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council.”

Two years ago, the very same Security Council wiped Iran’s record clean of its serial violations of “international law and all the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council” even after the International Atomic Energy Agency affirmed that Iran had a nuclear weapons program until at least 2009 – six years longer than previously believed.

Even as Iran had its record wiped clean by the nuclear deal, it was called upon by resolutions not to develop ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear warheads, a demand that Iran continues to defy without consequence.

And Hezbollah, like its patron Iran, sworn to Israel’s destruction, has amassed an arsenal and effectively taken control of Lebanon, all in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolution 1701, which said that no group other than the Lebanese government should be armed.

So Israel’s enemies continue to get stronger, threatening “international peace and security” generally — and Israel quite specifically — but Macron is exercised only over President Trump’s declaration that Israel should be treated like a normal country.

Lastly, the real danger to the Palestinian Authority is to its false narrative that “Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood.” It is a distorted history that it has pursued in international organizations like UNESCO, where it has gotten resolutions passed to deny 3,000 years of Jewish history, rather than negotiate in good faith with the Israelis. Former Israeli ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren, recently observed in a conference call with The Israel Project that, in the past 8+ years, the PA has spent all of six hours negotiating with Israel.

Abandoning those parts of its ideology, which deny Israel’s legitimacy, was a prerequisite for Israel accepting the Palestinians as negotiating partners. The PA’s efforts at rewriting 3,000 years of Jewish history should lead to condemnation and isolation from enlightened nations like the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Sweden. But instead, they embrace the PA in response to a move that says that Israel should be treated like a normal country.

[Photo: Trey Gowdy Official / YouTube ]