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8 Feb, 2012 12:10

‘Israel a bully on the verge of global isolation’

Israel should put an end to pointedly hawkish political discourse towards Iran because a preemptive assault might cost it a loss of global legitimacy, warns Elan Baruch, a former Israeli ambassador to South Africa.

For Baruch, who recently resigned from government on grounds of principle, it is obvious that Iran is pursuing a position of a regional power “to serve interests that go beyond the immediate borders of Iran”. Primarily, Iranian politics is defensive and oriented towards self-protection, but for the domestic political discourse of Israel that is far from obvious.“[The Israeli] right wing has always profited from a nervous public mood on defense issues and a lot of what is said about Iran actually serves political ends,” angrily noted Baruch, proposing to stop it at once.He does not believe Iran would attack Israel first, but as for Israel’s preemptive strike on Iran – it will strip Tel Aviv of legitimacy on the international level, so Israel should avoid it at any cost.The idea that “whoever desires peace prepares for war” dominates now the Israeli political establishment, Baruch says.It is true that most of the older Israelis grew up with an idea of constantly being on alert, but it is not the case anymore.“Most Israelis live a life quite banal,” the former ambassador says, “but we are not naïve.”“Israelis believe that they can survive in the Middle East only if they are ready to fight for it.”Elan Baruch witnessed that most Israeli diplomats are professionals ready to deliver any message given to them.“There is a solid majority in the Foreign Ministry of Israel that is politically motivated to promote Israel in its rather hawkish position this government is pursuing,” he says.Elan Baruch warns that Israel is “in a danger zone to slide by default into manifestations of apartheid,” something Israelis seem not to care about.The American care for Israel appears to have been excessively deep, bringing fatigue of the Middle East to American politics.“God forbid that the US will be more reluctant to reach out to Israel.”The problem of the current Israeli foreign policy trend, according to Baruch, is that Tel Aviv leans on American Congress as “the single source of strength,” which is a dangerous tendency.Israel has been getting isolated on the international arena for intentionally promoting a new paradigm of Israel exclusively owning “over the entirety of the land of Israel, which comprises in the eyes of Palestinians the land of Palestine.“That paradigm is a dead end. It is immoral, morally and practically not sustainable. That is the reason why I left government,” Elan Baruch confessed.He predicts that despite the UN warning about possible new Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the politics of Israel encroachment into the West Bank and Gaza strip will continue.Israel does not look for allies, it looks for “partners of convenience,” believes Baruch, but it is doubtful that Israel can promote a regime change in certain countries, like Syria or Iran.