Can Israel mediate Ukraine peace while pursuing war on Palestinians?
As Russia invades the Ukraine committing war crimes against civilians in an attempt to expand the regime’s repressive Communist grip, Israel has offered to mediate the conflict between the two countries. No country understands the issues involved of “occupation,” of “refugees” and “extra-judicial” and war- crimes better than Israel. It’s ironic that the world seems more concerned when occupation, refugees and war crimes involve White ethnics and not involve Christian and Muslim Arabs of Palestine.
By Ray Hanania
Israel’s government is never without its hypocritical surprises. This week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett offered to mediate the Ukraine crisis during a conversation this week with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It makes sense Israel would try to get involved. No country knows about occupying, oppressing and extra-judicial killings more than Israel’s government.
I was under the impression that the word “occupation” doesn’t exist in Israel’s government vocabulary. They have spent millions to fund propaganda to erase the word “occupation” and replace it with the word “disputed.”
Maybe Bennett is doing it because Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy (Zelensky) is Jewish and Russian President Vladimir Putin has, ridiculously, called Zelenskyy’s government “neo-Nazis.”
Some media reported that Zelenskyy personally asked Israel’s government to step in as a mediator.
When the mediation effort didn’t work, Israel’s government quickly denounced Russia’s invasion. Russian responded by slamming Israel for its “occupation” of the Golan Heights.
Bennett and many Israelis were wondering what Russia was talking about. Occupation? It doesn’t exist.
It’s hard to take Bennett or Israel’s government seriously, though.
Bennett also offered to take in Ukraine refugees. “Refugees” is another word Israel has erased from its government vocabulary.
Israel refuses to recognize the rights of Palestinian “refugees,” but has been on the forefront always offering to take in refugees from foreign places like Syria, Sudan, Afghanistan and elsewhere and offering to help them. Israel donated $500,000 to the UN refugee fund to help Afghan refugees.
A lot of people are not taking Israel’s track record too seriously. Back in 2018, when Benjamin Netanyahu was Prime Minister, Israel complained there were “too many” African refugees and migrants in the country. About 38,000. Israel had expelled 20,000 others at the time and were holding 1,420 in detention, another talent Israel’s government has mastered.
The West is very hypocritical. This week, images of Palestinian Ahed Tamimi protesting against Israel’s occupation in 2018 were circulated on social media as images of a Ukrainian woman protesting against the Russia occupation. The images were cheered by hundreds of thousands of people, until they realized they weren’t criticizing Russia, they were criticizing Israel … the world was silent when the unarmed Tamimi stood up to the armed Israeli military …
It was so bad Israel offered to pay the African migrants to leave, something that was offered during the segregation period in America before civil rights and human rights were reinforced.
Israel specifically said they would help Syrian refugees but would not allow them to enter Israel, back in 2018, too.
This is all touchy, of course, because when Israel imposed itself on Palestine in 1948, with the muscle of the United Nations and the United States, and many nations that were accepting foreign aid from America, some 800,000 Christian and Muslim Palestinians were forced from the country at gunpoint, fleeing to refugee camps.
It happened again in 1967, when Israel attacked the Jordanian-held West Bank and East Jerusalem, in much the same manner that Russian invaded the Ukraine, Crimea, Kazakhstan and Georgia.
An additional 300,000 Christian and Muslim Palestinians fled the Israeli onslaught, many for a second time, and many more who were children of the 1948 refugee generation.
What Israel’s government should do, however, is to offer to mediate the conflict with the Palestinians and to address the suffering of the Palestinian refugees who have grown to more than 7 million over the many decades.
If they could resolve that “occupation” crisis or that “refugee” issue, it might encourage Russia and Ukraine to take Israel more seriously.
But there are many other issues that Israel needs to clarify, too, before it can expect to be taken seriously as a mediator or major international conflicts.
Although if I were Ukrainian, I might be skeptical of anything Israel’s government does. Israel is the master of “extra-judicial” killings. They shoot and kill suspects even before the suspects are given trials or indicted or convicted in the courts.
Palestinian suspects in Israel are detained without ever having the right to defend themselves.
The issue of extra-judicial killings is in fact a war crime, and is allegedly taking place or intended to take place in the Ukraine. It’s even considered a form of genocide and “crimes against humanity.”
Israel’s government probably believes the public gesture would enhance its reputation of being a peace-loving nation. No doubt the government would spend millions in propaganda communications spending to reinforce this humanitarian PR spin.
Even with all the factual and reality hurdles facing Israel’s government over the issue of occupation, refugees, and extra-judicial killings, the idea that representatives of the Ukraine and Russia might meet in “occupied” Jerusalem with Israeli leaders mediating the “occupation” is just too intriguing to simply brush off.
It probably wouldn’t work, though, given the intense anger between Ukraine and Russia caused by the violence.
But it would put a unique spotlight on Israel’s government and its hypocrisies on issues of occupation, refugees and extra-judicial killings.
The worst case scenario, if mediation didn’t work, is that it might initiate an important and badly needed international discussion about how Israel manipulates concepts for its own personal benefit, or how it really thinks about occupation, refugees and extra-judicial murder.
Though, in order to be moral and effective, the Arab World will have to also set aside its own biases as they navigate towards Israel and away from justice for Palestine.
( Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter. A political analyst and CEO of Urban Strategies Group, Hanania’s opinion columns on mainstream issues are published in the Southwest News Newspaper Group in the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News, The Reporter Newspapers. His Middle East columns are published in the Arab News. For more information on Ray Hanania visit www.Hanania.com or email him at email@example.com.)
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