Jerusalem attempts to navigate Russian-American-Israeli triangle over Ukraine conflict
Kiev gets tired of Jerusalem’s balancing act
The clouds of war over Ukraine darken as Russian forces amass on the borders, on three sides, and Western media speculate on exactly when “D-Day ” to arrive at.
Western diplomats are leaving and foreign governments, including Israel, are urgently calling on their citizens to return home, much to the frustration of Ukrainians, who believe that Kiev will not be bombed or occupied, and that war with Russia will not is just one of many possibilities.
In addition to issuing the travel warning to its citizens, Israel also evacuated the families of diplomats from Kyiv. Interestingly, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem cited “the worsening situation in Ukraine,” without mentioning Russia or a possible war between it and Ukraine. Since 2015, when Russia intervened in the war in Syria, Israel has been coordinating its combat activities there with the Russian army command. Israel’s freedom of action in the skies over Syria largely depends on this coordination.
Unlike other Western countries, Israel is very careful walking a tightrope between Russia and Ukraine. As President Joe Biden warns the world of “Russian aggression,” Israel is focusing on a possible evacuation of Israelis and Jews and providing humanitarian aid.
However, it seems that Kiev is getting tired of this balancing act. Yevgen Korniychuk, the Ukrainian ambassador to Tel Aviv, recently criticized Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and accused him of having “adopted the rhetoric of the Kremlin”.
“If war breaks out in Europe, I suggest that Israel will be left alone to face the Iranian threat,” Korniychuk said. He was later summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem for a reprimand appeal.
At this critical moment, Israel, as an integral part of the family of liberal states and the Western world, cannot stand aside and watch the relentless preparations for war from afar.
On Sunday, Israel’s Friends of Ukraine organization called on the government to “join a number of Western countries in an effort to prevent war between Russia and Ukraine.”
The statement, which was posted on social media and sent to the offices of the prime minister, foreign minister and defense minister, presented a moral argument in support of Ukraine.
“As Israelis and Jews, we have known the horrors and disasters of wars, we understand the importance and the value of the support of friendly countries. … After all, the lessons of history have already taught us that the ‘Indifference, sideways gazing or attempts to appease the aggressor always lead to disaster,’ the statement said.
“We are aware of the complexity of the security situation in the Middle East and of the policy of ambiguity that Israel pursues while refraining from supporting either side in the conflict between Russia and the ‘Ukraine. But at this critical moment, Israel, as an integral part of the family of liberal states and the Western world, cannot stand aside and watch the relentless preparations for war from afar,” the Friends appeal continued. Israelis from Ukraine.
So far, there is no change in the Israeli position. But what will Israel do if the worst-case scenario occurs? If the situation spirals out of control and hostilities erupt and shake the ground in Ukraine, will Israel maintain its neutrality and remain silent to appease the Russians?
The Russians want to drive a wedge between the United States and Europe, between Western Europe and Eastern Europe. … I believe that now Israel will have to position itself where it belongs, with the United States.
Dr Vera Michlin-Shapir, a visiting fellow at the King’s Center for Strategic Communications in London, believes that the current conflict is much more than a regional brawl, but rather a tectonic clash between Russia and the West, which will make it much more difficult for Israel to maintain its balancing act.
“Russia wants to position itself as a great power. For this to happen, he aims to weaken the current great power – the collective West, meaning the United States, Europe and NATO. The Russians want to drive a wedge between the United States and Europe, between Western Europe and Eastern Europe,” Michlin-Shapir said.
“Ideally, they want to move the United States away from Europe and promote their project of a ‘new European architecture’ which will eventually be led by Russia. I believe that now Israel will have to position itself where it belongs, with the United States,” she said.
Michlin-Shapir, who recently co-authored with Ofer Fridman an analysis entitled “Smoke and mirrors: Western misperceptions of Russia in Ukraine”, which was published by the Institute of Modern Russia, thinks the West is wrong to using the dichotomous lens of war and peace in Ukraine, and assuming the Kremlin does the same.
“In reality, the Russian strategic mindset is more flexible, as it views the notions of war and peace as existing on a continuum,” Michlin-Shapir said. The current crisis will have many ups and downs, and this reality could allow Israel to use its influence and strategic place in the Russian-Ukrainian-American triangle, she continued.
“It is not unreasonable that in the future Israel can create new spaces for dialogue. But Israel must first mature as a diplomatic force. Yes, he has to take Syria into account, but now that Israel is playing with the big powers, he has to get tough and put his strategic alliances – especially his alliance with the United States – on the table,” Michlin said. Shapir to the media. Line.
The weakness of the United States in the Middle East will increase and the Iranians could get closer to Russia. In fact, there could be a direct link between the rapid US withdrawal from Afghanistan and current events in Ukraine.
Dr. Evgeny Klauber, an expert on the countries of the former Soviet Union from Tel Aviv University, warns that whether or not Israel remains silent on the war in Ukraine, the consequences of this conflict are already inevitable . According to him, war can still be avoided or limited to areas of eastern Ukraine, but even this possibility has already led to major developments in the Middle East.
“In the current situation, the weakness of the United States in the Middle East will increase and the Iranians could get closer to Russia. In fact, there could be a direct link between the rapid US withdrawal from Afghanistan and current events in Ukraine. The Middle East will also feel the fire; it’s inevitable,” Klauber said.