Recently, the President of the EU Parliament, Martin Schulz, visited Israel and gave an address to the Israeli Knesset which greatly offended his Israeli/Jewish hosts (first link). One faction of the Knesset even walked out on his speech. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu criticized Schulz’s speech, and the Knesset’s Speaker gave him a personal lecture about Schulz’s facts being wrong (second link). One Israeli Cabinet Minister stated that the EU leader’s speech proved “that we should trust only ourselves and not rely on others,” and he referenced the Holocaust in his response to the EU leader’s offensive speech. The first link refers to the EU leader’s speech as “downright ugly.” In an amazing confession of his ineptitude, the EU leader “admitted to not having checked the figures [that offended the Israelis] himself.”
This matter has consequences. The Israelis have already been all but forsaken by the USA under President Obama. Now they face an EU leader who very strongly came across as anti-Israeli during his state visit to Israel. The cabinet minister above stated essentially that Israel must “go it alone” in its global policy. If the Israelis are driven into such an isolationist mindset, they may as well do whatever they want whenever they want in the world and basically say to the USA and the EU: “Go jump in a lake” (I think stronger terminology would be appropriate to the situation but I’m afraid the words that come to mind might offend some readers). Israeli-American and Israeli-EU relations may be reaching this point. However, Israel still has some friends among individual NATO/European nations. Greece is a strong Israeli ally and Germany has been favorable to the Israelis in building and funding the strategic Dolphin-class submarines for Israel.
Put yourself in Benjamin Netanyahu’s position. He can no longer rely on the USA and the EU also seems to now be increasingly anti-Israeli/anti-Jewish. Netanyahu has always struck me as a pragmatic nationalist. He knows Israel needs to find new allies. The EU Parliament leader’s offensive speech just gave more impetus to Netanyahu seeking an alliance with the Saudis, the Egyptians, Jordanians and other Sunni Moslem nations against the Shiite Iranian alliance of Iran, Iraq’s central government, Syria’s Assad government, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. A recent post included a link to an interview with a Saudi Royal Prince whose comments indicated that such an alliance was in the making. The big losers in the Mideast may be the Palestinians. The Saudis have no desire to fund Hamas (Gaza) now that it has radicalized and is an enemy of the Egyptian army. The Fatah Palestinians in the West Bank are notorious for overplaying their hand. The Saudis must put their own survival interests far ahead of any Palestinian interests.
Netanyahu may come to a decision that an open alliance with the Saudis and the Sunni Moslems is in Israel’s national interests. Saudi Arabia already has a peace plan on the table which offers the Israelis full recognition as a Jewish state and normalization of relations with many Moslem nations if the Israelis accept a Palestinian state. The Saudi proposal has been on the table for some time and it is now more likely that both Israel and Saudi Arabia might “tweak” that agreement into new terms which will be barely acceptable to the Saudis, hated by the Palestinians and barely swallowed by the Israelis. What if the Israelis and Saudis conclude an agreement wherein the Israelis recognize a Palestinian state which would be demilitarized and administered in some fashion by Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. This would disarm the Palestinians and prevent them from becoming a radicalized proxy for Iran. Since Hamas/Gaza is allied to Jihadis in the Sinai peninsula who are attacking and killing Egyptian policemen and troops, such an agreement could recognize the right of Egypt to enter and “police” the Gaza Strip. This could result in Hamas being defanged and squeezed between Egypt and Israel, an outcome desirable to Egypt, Israel and the Saudis. Keep in mind I’m not predicting these things specifically. I’m suggesting some aspects of what might already be topics for discussion behind closed doors among representatives of Israel, Egypt, the Saudis and Jordan. Given Israel’s growing alienation from its old allies in the USA and western world, Israel must seek new allies. Given the Saudi disgust with the American policies under Obama, they need new allies. If an agreement something like the one suggested above took place, it would vastly and immediately boost the national security interests of Israel, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan as well as any other Sunni nations that would likely sign on quickly if the Saudis took the lead.
The senseless speech by the EU leader to Israel’s Knesset could hasten the pace of any such discussions.