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Examining Israel's claim to 'unilateral action'

Benjamin Netanyahu has once again created a hodgepodge consisting of the holocaust, the 'Iranian threat' and anti-Semitism in order to justify the possibility of Israel taking unilateral action against Iran, and describes Israel as ready to 'defend itself against Iran perpetrating another holocaust'.

The statements were made during Israel's holocaust remembrance and discourse on unilateral action against Iran may be perceived as another sliver of constant rhetoric. However, both Netanyahu and Shimon Peres have highlighted this historic memory to provide a precedent, thus amalgamating two different realities from separate eras – the holocaust and the 'state of Israel', to legitimise a possible attack on Iran.

The emphasis was on 'unilateral action'. By insisting upon this course of action, Israel is striving to create an illusion of necessity complemented by the novelty of such an action, thus implying a coercion to resort to such measures owing to the international community's reluctance to protect the Jewish state. Netanyahu declared, 'But at no stage will we abandon our fate into the hands of other countries, even our best friends'. The imagery of Israel patiently abiding by international law and discovering its isolation at a crucial stage has been used through this discourse, once again exhibiting callous detachment from its role in the Middle East.

Israel's attempts to distort its illegal occupation and incessant international law infringements are becoming monotonous. Despite its culture of hatred against Palestinians, Israeli leaders insist that Jews are facing increasing hostility from other nations and Iran in particular, going so far as to state 'The hate against Jews hasn't disappeared, but has morphed into a murderous hate against the Jewish state'. Social movements and activists have repeatedly disassociated themselves from anti-Semitism, yet Israel remains intentionally ensnared within the ambiguity with the aim of conjuring more 'enemies of the Jewish state'.

Unilateral action is far from alien to Israel. Its own brand of self-imposed impunity has sheltered the colonial occupation from facing justice over decades of human rights violation and in the name of security, is allowed to declare war against a country which is already surrounded by US military bases. In the name of preserving Zionism from any imminent or imaginary threat, Palestinians have been massacred and displaced with a precision which does not allow international leaders to resort to the genocide narrative. There has never been any serious attempt to delegitimize the Zionist state, despite the knowledge that Zionism was bolstered by its deconstruction of the already existing Palestinian state.

Israel's alleged political isolation is a formidable weapon in its reinvention of unilateral action. The divisive narrative alienates an indoctrinated populations which has learned to magnify the perception of threats whilst failing to recognise the imperialist-aided colonial annihilation of the population deceptively deemed obsolete to pave the way for a fabricated right to nationhood. Israel has never sought any resolution to justify its massacres and it is improbable that this tactic will change, precisely because the knowledge of being a major US ally in the region shrouds it with undeserved immunity.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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