16:56 GMT +323 July 2018
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    Opinion

    THE MIDDLE EAST FLARES UP AGAIN

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    MOSCOW (RIA Novosti commentator Andrei Pravov) - The UN Security Council resolution censuring Israel's actions in Gaza has reportedly been met with a mixed response in Israel.

    The left-wing forces of the country certainly supported this criticism and immediately organised protests in Tel Aviv against the continuation of the "anti-terrorist operation" in the south of the Gaza Strip. As for the right-wingers, they were more concerned about the US position on the UN Security Council than helicopters and tanks opening fire on a Palestinian procession in Rafah, which killed over ten children and teenagers. This time, the Americans, in an unprecedented move, did not veto the resolution but only abstained from voting. The United States had previously vetoed resolutions condemning Israel over 30 times in a row.

    Right-wing Israelis have never accepted and are not going to accept any criticism of Israel's actions in Palestinian territories, as this commentator repeatedly witnessed during his work as a RIA Novosti correspondent in Tel Aviv. Naturally, the only possible exception is criticism levelled at indecision, added to the demand for tougher measures against the Palestinians.

    These tough measures include, for example, calls to eliminate the Palestinian Authority as a hotbed of terrorism, to divide Palestinian territories into several enclaves and to expel the PNA leadership headed by Yassir Arafat to one or several Arab countries. Jordan is the most often mentioned destination, and Israeli right-wingers do not seem to worry about what King Abdallah II thinks about the prospect.

    The right-wing Israelis often say that there is no room for two nations in the narrow stretch between the Jordan and the Mediterranean. Hence, only those who demonstrate the most resolve and might will stay there.

    According to many estimates, Israel's right-wing camp is so accustomed to the United States' support that it sometimes does not comply with Washington's momentary interests. For example, when the votes were cast for the Security Council resolution, the Americans were most likely guided by the need not to spoil their relations with Arabs completely, because they were being desperately cursed in the Middle East anyway after attacking a wedding in Iraq. Had the US delegates to the UN supported the shelling in Gaza, the indignation would have increased even further. However, many believe that the Americans' lone abstention was already more than enough. All the other 14 members supported the UN resolution censuring Israel's actions.

    Furthermore, all UN Security Council members, except the US, also opposed the Israelis' destruction of Palestinian houses in Rafah, which left about 1,600 people homeless in southern Gaza.

    In particular, Russia's acting permanent representative to the UN Alexander Konuzin said on Wednesday, "Israel has the right to defend its citizens, but this right should be used in accordance with international and humanitarian norms, above all, the Geneva conventions." He went on to say, "Israel's destruction of Palestinian houses only aggravates the humanitarian crisis on Palestinian territories." Now that apart from destroying Palestinian houses, Israel has attacked Palestinian protesters, the Palestinians will undoubtedly avenge themselves. In other words, Israel is facing an increasing threat of new terrorist acts. Many observers believe, though, that after the bombing of the wedding, the possibility of attacks on Americans in Iraq and not only there, has grown as well, and will be followed by new retaliation. This leaves the Middle East crisis entering a new spiral. In the given situation, the international community should take urgent peacekeeping measures in the region, if not a series of them, to prevent the confrontation from reaching the point of no return. Above all, pressure should be brought to bear on those who feel they can use force to solve the Middle East's complicated problems.

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