Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon admitted in his speech at the annual AIPAC conference, the largest Zionist lobby supporting Israel in the US, that the overthrow of Mohamed Morsi and the installation of Egyptian President Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi was planned, in cooperation with generals in the Egyptian and Gulf armies and intelligence agencies. He also said that Israel’s interests will always be served by having military regimes in the Arab world, especially in Egypt. He apologised that the military regimes usually disregard democracy in Egypt but called on the lobby to provide more support for Al-Sisi. Ya’alon also explicitly said: “We decided to allow General Al-Sisi, who was the defence minister at the time, to take over power by mobilising the army in order to become a president. The West should consider this of strategic interest for them as well.”
This is not the first testimony made by the Israeli occupation’s generals and rabbis regarding the need to keep Al-Sisi as president of Egypt in order to serve Israel’s interests. The archive of relations between the two countries is full of flattery and statements of complete support for this government, which Israel has dreamed about for years, according to Wael Qandil. The coup was an opportunity for Israel to practice its extortion in order to continue its normalisation strategy.
With regards to relations between Arab countries and Israel, normalisation means that these countries, or their institutions or figures carrying out cooperative projects, have economic and trade exchanges and spread the culture of acceptance of the enemy in a context of political poisoning and cultural normalisation while the occupation continues. Normalisation in this case not only means allowing for natural relations to develop between the oppressor and the oppressed in the absence of justice and continued occupation and settlement activity. It also means that those who normalise relations with Israel are voluntarily stripping Israel of its label as an enemy and instead accuses those resisting the Israeli occupation of hostility.
One of the ironic things we are hearing today, despite the crimes committed by Israel, are dangerous statements made by Arab leaders and PA officials, as well as a chorus of Arab writers and intellectuals who have become “Zionised”. They are trying to change the label of “enemy” given to Israel into other attributes associated with partnership or friendship. Normalisation and lifting the boycott is an old Israeli dream since the establishment of their state in occupied Palestine. This vision consists of establishing normal and ordinary relations between the two sides, just like any relation between two sides during a time of peace, bonded together by respect and love, without any form of contradiction or hostility.
We can all see the magnitude of the normalisation of Egyptian and Israeli relations since the 3 July 2013 coup, on the political, economic, security and defence levels, as well as on the cultural level, as many Egyptian intellectuals, media personalities and sports figures have publicly called for normalisation on all levels.
The normalisation operations have reached an extraordinary level where relations between the two countries have surpassed the normal relations between most nations. Frankly, it has reached a level closer to dependency on the enemy and nothing proves this more than the almost regular official and unofficial statements made by Israeli officials gloating about this.
In the past, we used to criticise the Egyptian and Arab media for its lack of interest in the boycott campaign against Israel and the multi-national companies supporting Israel, which are located in all Arab countries. Now, we have different media platforms through which we can activate this campaign in an organised manner and on a long term basis by means of various media mechanisms.
For example, we can start by adopting one united campaign that is coordinated through these platforms. It will involve regular programmes to oppose the normalisation operations occurring on various levels. Each programme can address one of the levels, including the political, economic, security, defence, cultural and sports level.
We can also start by organising specialised programmes that aim to reactivate the means of resistance in the nation, including the economic boycott of Israel and the countries supporting Israel or the multi-national companies located in all Arab and Muslim countries.
We base all of our activities on the fact that Israel is a Zionist colonial enemy entity that has seized the land of another nation. It is not a friend or neighbour, as the coup-led government treats it or how some Egyptian and Arab intellectuals claim. Israel is a colonial entity represented by an armed gang that established a state by force, murder, expulsion, confiscation, displacement and other means of colonisation.
There is no difference in our eyes between the companies that provide services to the Israeli masses and the companies that provide services to the Israeli army or Israeli settlements. Equally, there is no difference between the gang that seizes land and kills children and the armed settlers in civilian and military clothing. We must remember that the recruitment system in Israel is based on the idea of the “People’s Army” in which everyone participates and is mobilised during times of danger.
Shame on any Arab, Christian or Muslim, who allows companies that provide services to Israelis to exist in their country, especially companies working in the food, drink and telecommunications sector, which are all matters the Arabs can find alternatives for. In fact, the alternatives are already present and all the Arabs need is the will to take effective action towards boycott.
In addition to this, we can also talk about Israel’s continued adoption of the settlement policy which violates all international laws, including the laws that recognise the reality of colonialism. Companies such as Orange provide services to Israeli settlements that are illegally established based on international law and are internationally condemned.
There is a universal disapproval of Israel’s expansionist settlement policies exercised on Palestinian land. This disapproval is being expressed by the international public opinion, not the governments, and therefore we can coordinate with the leaders of the campaigns launched in Europe and across the world in this regard, making it a joint campaign launched from the inside and the outside.
The triangle of normalisation is represented by the coup, its “Zionised” supporters and the normalisation tools, and therefore, resisting normalisation is part of resisting the coup.
Translated from Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, 18 March 2016.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.