VERY few countries in the world can be as powerful as the State of Israel. The Jewish state in the Middle East boasts arguably the most sophisticated military and economy.
Surrounded by hordes of Islamic states in the region, Israel uses religion as its magic wand to ward off any antagonism.
To criticise Israel is regarded as tantamount to being anti-Semitic. The charge is almost in the same level as treason, if not above. It implies that to condemn Israel is to condone Hitler’s diabolic systematic annihilation of Jews.
But the power of Israel not only emanates from the country’s uppermost economic and military development. It is premised on its very source – the US – the world’s only remaining superpower since the end of the Cold War at the turn of the 1990’s.
Washington not only arms Israel to the teeth. From one US administration after the other – Democrats or Republicans – the country’s foreign policy on Israel remain consistent and unwavering.
At the UN Security Council, Israel is guaranteed diplomatic immunity through America’s veto power. Countless binding adversarial UNSC resolutions against Israel have come to naught, thanks to the US veto power.
Being the surrogate of the US, the benefits for Israel are immeasurable. They range from dozens of billions of US dollars in annual flow of aid to the Jewish state, coupled with trading preferential treatment. Bilateral relations between Tel Aviv and Washington are not only cosy and romantic; they flourish at every turn and opportunity.
Since the Jewish state was established on the blood and annihilation of the Palestinians in 1948, Israel has thrived on nothing else but the subjugation of their fellow beings across the length and breadth of Palestine – from the river to the sea. I elect not to go back to 1967, another watershed moment – an interval in history during which the Jewish State annexed the humanity of the Palestinian people.
But then, why is the suffering of the Palestinians such a subject of apparent global indifference over so many years? Methinks because, since the end of WWII in 1945 when the US became a mighty superpower, Israel’s insulation from criticism, attack or diplomatic ramifications has featured among America’s top foreign policy objectives.
As the US set out to continue with its conquer and dominance of the international world order, closer ties with Israel has served to keep the entire Middle East under constant surveillance, monitoring and on any other convenient occasion, even military invasion.
Most people in the Islamic world across the Middle East loathe Israel ostensibly for the Jewish State’s illegal occupation of Palestine, and subjecting the oppressed Palestinian people to a form of apartheid that is far worse than that of South Africa pre-1994.
But in defence of Israel, Washington regularly points out that the detractors of Israel in the region resemble a blood-thirsty mob that is hell-bent on destroying the Jewish nation.It is a narrative that any sitting administration in Israel dangles effortlessly.
The incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving leader - has thrived on this narrative and truly has to be thankful to this dubious narrative for his political fortunes.
On the diplomatic side, the US hardly ever takes its foot “off the gas pedal”, as Americans say. In a matter of only 10 weeks, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has made a remarkable six visits to the Middle East, engaging in some diplomatic twiddle-twaddle that distracts displeased Islamic nations from demanding justice for Palestine.
As the sly tactics of Secretary Blinken hoodwinks the Arab world, it turns out that it creates a breathing space for Israel to continue with its systematic extinction of the Palestinians. Through it all, the international community appears to be accomplices to the genocide – by commission or omission.
Since the end of WWII and the formation of the United Nations, majority of the nations of the world had thought that the UN’s founding Charter that is premised on the ethos of multilateralism would foster global cooperation.
But lo and behold, the global system has systematically been tweaked and altered into what the US-led Global North describes as a “rules-based international world order”. Surreptitiously, this has replaced the multipolar world order with a unipolar one that is based on the “rules-based” world order of the powerful Western powers.
At the heart of this parallel global governance system that operates in juxtaposition to the UN is the US-led G7, a society of the world’s wealthiest economies that is exclusionary in nature, and operation.
Among them are the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Canada and Japan. Together, they represent a fraction of the world’s population but their collective economic power and cooperation has positioned them as a force to reckon with.
Together, they dominate the European Union (EU), an organisation of some 29 countries most of which are the relatively impoverished former members of the Soviet Union.
This domination by the few but powerful G7 group also dominate the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), where their wishes and desires easily translate into policies and resolutions. This reminds me of the English idiom that reads: “He who pays the piper, calls the tune.”
Operationally, the US grossly funds NATO and serves as a financial and economic heartbeat of the EU’s very sustainability. It is no wonder, therefore, that at the heart of the EU and NATO policies and resolutions are the fundamental interests of Washington’s foreign policy dictates.
When former US President Donald Trump re-focussed America’s foreign policy interests from global dominance to domestic politics fashioned on the slogan “Make America Great Again”, both the EU and NATO suffered tremendously and the underlying weaknesses around dichotomous approach to international and regional relations among member-states threatened their unity of purpose.
Worst still, when Trump pulled back America’s funding of NATO and implored all member-states to honour their financial commitments to the organisation the wheels almost came off!
Until, luckily, the choice of the Establishment in the form of President Joe Biden replaced Trump and breathed new life into the struggling strategic entities. The US resumed pumping money into the two organisations, thereby ascertaining that Washington’s foreign policy goals would be repositioned at the heart of both the EU and NATO once more, until to this date.
The looming spectre of a Trump’s return to the White House after the November elections in the US is a source of deep anguish and sleepless nights for many EU and NATO member-states.
At the top of their genuine reason to worry is a triumphant Trump’s return with a vengeance, as he will almost certainly stop the funding of the Ukraine war with Russia. Trump’s detractors in the Democratic Party already paint him as a dangerous pro-Russian, pro-Putin man who should not be trusted.
I paint this seldom explored status of Israel’s remarkable status as an “untouchable” in international relations within the context of the omnipotent power of the US in geopolitics.
Nations such as South Africa can invoke their morally upright status and approach global judicial institutions such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ), but as the world can see, already Israel has shoved a middle finger at the court’s ruling to stop the plausible genocide against the people of Gaza and the greater Palestine.
In fact, long before the ICJ could make any determination in the SA v/s Israel, Netanyahu had publicly vowed to carry on regardless. And, boy doesn’t he?
Tel Aviv is acutely aware about the extent and depth of their insulation from harm by big brother Washington. It is this assurance that sees Israel breaking every international humanitarian law with impunity.
The brazen fearlessness with which nearly 28,000 Palestinians have perished under Israel’s unwavering bombardment since October 7 is guaranteed to continue in spite of a growing chorus for a ceasefire from the civilised peoples of the world.
More than 11 000 Palestinian children including toddlers and new-born babies - plus nearly 10 000 women – mostly mothers and the pregnant, form a part of a rapidly growing list of innocent civilians that the world has all but turned their backs on.
Tens of thousands of innocent Palestinian civilians remain buried under the rubble, their bodies deteriorating helplessly whilst their loved ones scatter for cover like lost sheep.
Hospitals and medical staff lie in ruins, so are UN shelters, schools and refugee camps. Media workers, so far 122, have been killed in Israeli artillery and shelling since 7 October.
Trust me, if Washington so decides, and stop proving Israel with personnel, bombs and arms to kill the Palestinians, Netanyahu and his war cabinet would have no leg to stand on. Israel would simply be forced to bring their heinous genocidal military operation in Palestine to an abrupt halt.
Such is the power of only one nation – the US - in the entire universe. The power to decide who lives, and who dies. The power to play God, to play Allah. And the US has since delegated that authority to Israel in full glare of a stupefied international community.
The lingering falsehood that through the UN system all nations are equal has been laid bare for all to see by Israel’s go-to-hell attitude. The UN works at best when the US stands at its centre, calling the shots, such as condemning Russia’s war with Ukraine.
The loud cries of the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres remain inaudible in the wake of the unfolding genocide. His plea for Israel’s mercy – and by extension America’s – constantly falls on deaf ears.
It is the reality of our global governance system. As George Orwell noted in his seminal novel, Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”