Israel Faces Diplomatic Troubles; UN Vote Looms Closer
With the Arab Spring still going strong in some countries, Israel is finding itself increasingly isolated from its former neighbors and allies. Events last week have emphasized the deteriorating diplomatic relations across the Middle East as pressure mounts in anticipation of the Palestinian Unilateral Declaration of Independence scheduled to come to a vote at the United Nations by the end of the month.
On Friday evening, thousands of Egyptian protesters met at the Israeli embassy, tore down the security wall embracing the building, and shredded the Israeli flag. Saturday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered all diplomats to be evacuated. The protesters claim to have been motivated by the accidental killing of three Egyptian soldiers by the Israel Defense Forces last month. The protests at the embassy left three dead and more than 1,000 injured.
Grassroots anti-Israel sentiment continues to spread across the Middle East as we progress toward the UN vote. Jordan has reportedly increased security around its Israeli embassy in response to a Facebook event calling for a similar attack on September 15; more than 2,400 people have already indicated that they are "attending" this rally.
While it is easy to jump to the conclusion that all of the regional tension directed toward Israel is united, the activities in Egypt are different from those in Turkey. It is true that Turkish-Israeli diplomacy is quickly fizzling, but it is the Egyptian people who are demonstrating against the Israeli government. The burden now rests on the Egyptian government to protect both the security of its diplomats and its diplomatic relationship with Israel.
Katharine Nasielski is a 2011-2012 Eisendrath Legislative Assistant.