For years Israel has acted as if the unconditional support of the US would be enough to shield it for ever from the consequences of its behaviour – which is why last week was an unusually traumatic one for them.
No suicide bombers detonated themselves and no rockets or mortar shells fell, but the double whammy of a Turkish snub and a UN Human Rights Council vote shook Israelis even more than any aimless shelling would have done. Those two events signal profound changes that leave Israel paying a growing political price for the attack last winter that killed some 1,400 Palestinians and reduced Gaza to rubble.
It was the brutal pummelling of Gaza that prompted Turkey’s democratically elected government to break the silence among the region’s moderates and stand up for the Palestinians. At the time, the prime minister, Recep Erdogan, condemned the Israeli actions as war crimes, in language deemed intemperate and inappropriate by western leaders.
Curiously, Erdogan’s “intemperate” language was endorsed by the findings of a UN Human Rights Council investigation headed by the Jewish South African judge Richard Goldstone, known as a friend of Israel – findings that were adopted by the Council on Friday despite the efforts of the US and France to shield Israel from being formally accused of war crimes in an international body. [continued…]