Fresh crisis brewing!
Back to the past in West Asia?
West Asia could be rapidly hurtling towards a fresh spell of violent upheaval centred around Israel whose impact would be felt in far corners of the world.
Among the manufactured grievances cited in justification of jihadi terrorism is the ‘Palestinian issue’ – any recrudescence of violence in the Palestinian territories of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank on account of belligerent brinkmanship in the name of statehood would be seized upon by Islamists of all shades in all countries.
The attack on the Embassy of Israel in Cairo which resulted in the Israeli Ambassador and other diplomatic staff of the mission being evacuated and flown to Israel was a precursor to the unfolding drama at the UN whose General Assembly begins its annual session on September 19.
The PLO is pushing for recognition as a full member state by the UN with Turkey furiously lobbying support for the move. This could be Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s moment to seize the leadership of West Asia which till now rested with Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
Erdogan has lashed out at Israel at the Arab League, choosing to remain silent about the upheaval and its brutal suppression in Syria. If Erdogan succeeds, it would stymie Shia Iran’s efforts to emerge as the leader of Sunni Arabia.
Either way, Arabs seem to be surrendering the right to decide their destiny to the Turks and the Iranians. Meanwhile, the space for American intervention is disappearing rapidly.
Israel is understandably keen to prevent the PLO from going ahead with its move to secure the General Assembly’s recognition as a full state. Such unilateral declaration, if it were to happen, would kill all chances of a negotiated settlement and fan Palestinian adventurism, leading to both sides taking absolutist positions.
A last minute attempt by the Americans to resolve the emerging crisis is unlikely to succeed. The Palestinians are apparently playing for broke.
The PLO’s Ambassador to the UN has gone to the extent of outlining the main feature of the proposed ‘Palestine’: It would not allow any Jew within its territory, making it the first state to officially prohibit Jews since Hitler ordered Germany to be cleansed of Jews and made judenrein.
A flicker of hope of averting a full-blown crisis with global ramifications was offered on Wednesday by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who is said to have reiterated terms for resuming the negotiations that have remained stalled since last year on account of Jewish settlers persisting with building new settlements in the West Bank.
According to the Jerusalem Post:
The Palestinian Authority will agree to return to peace negotiations with Israel if only one of two criteria they had previously set as pre-conditions for talks are reached: An immediate halt to all settlement construction or an Israeli declaration that the borders of the Palestinian state will be based on the pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed upon land swaps, a senior aide to PA President Mahmoud Abbas told Army Radio on Wednesday.Will Israel, which has demonstrated wisdom in the face of Islamist belligerence in Egypt and declared that it remains committed to the Israel-Egypt Peace Accord, rise to the occasion and reach out to Abu Mazen? He still remains the best bet for achieving long-term peace through a negotiated settlement of a dispute that has festered too long and which needs to be prevented from being hijacked by Turkish and Iranian carpetbaggers.