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Israel is facing diplomatic problems in every direction

October 19, 2022 at 1:18 pm

Embassy of Israel in Canada [Embassy of Israel in Canada]

Despite Israel’s efforts to strengthen its ties with countries around the world, it has recently been involved in several political crises. These have uncovered a big diplomatic failure, given that the countries it’s clashing with were some of its close political allies.

Tensions started east, with Russia. These increased after Moscow’s war on Ukraine and intensified further after Tel Aviv’s public condemnation of Russia’s bombing of Kyiv. The Russian embassy in Tel Aviv responded by highlighting what it says is Israel’s double standards. Tel Aviv, the embassy said, kept silent for eight months about the Ukrainian attacks in the Donbass and turned a blind eye to the recent deadly attacks against a refugee convoy in the Kharkiv region, the brutal killings of civilians by what it calls “neo-Nazis” and the attack on the bridge leading to Crimea.

Russian President Vladimir Putin's recognised two breakaway territories in Eastern Ukraine - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recognised two breakaway territories in Eastern Ukraine – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Some Israelis have called for providing additional military assistance to Ukraine after the recent Russian attack, but when Kyiv asked Washington to supply it with the Iron Dome system, Tel Aviv opposed the move fearful of Moscow’s reaction. Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has warned Israel that relations between Tel Aviv and Moscow would be destroyed if Israel provided military support to Ukraine.

Tensions are now escalating as Israel has adopted the Western position on Ukraine, which will have implications for the Israeli military operations in the depth of Syrian territory against Iranian bases.

Moving to the west, there are signs of a looming diplomatic crisis between Israel and Poland after the latter refused Israeli measures to secure the travel of its delegations to visit the Holocaust camps in Warsaw. Relations between the two countries had only just been restored after a halt for nearly a year over a new Polish law which limited property claims by Holocaust survivors.

The latest troubles come after the Israeli government assigned security services to escort Israelis travelling to Poland, angering Polish authorities, because such a step shows a lack of confidence in Polish security measures. Poland did not grant the Israeli security guards the required licences.

Israel has been organising trips to Poland for 40 years, with approximately 40,000 participants taking part each year.  The recent unrest over security may lead to them being called off all together.

Further west, a hidden crisis has escalated between Israel and Canada in light of the decision to reduce the security surrounding the Israeli embassy in the capital Ottawa. Canada has refused to hire a personal security guard for Israeli Ambassador Ronan Hoffman for nearly a year and is not responding to requests made by senior Israeli officials to meet and settle the matter.

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Israelis in Canada claim that anti-Israel incidents in Canada include vandalising synagogues and drawing swastikas in schools, while the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to comment on the security arrangements for its missions abroad.

This is not the first time that Israeli-Canadian relations have become tense, especially since Justin Trudeau, the leader of the Liberal Party, formed his government in 2015.

Trudeau’s arrival, despite his emphasis on the friendship with Israel, concerns Israelis who worry about possible intentions by him to change his policies, especially after the Canadian reactions to the European Union’s decision to label settlement products. The occupation fears that Ottawa will resume providing financial aid to UNRWA, after declaring that it does not recognise the sovereignty of the occupation on the occupied Syrian Golan Heights.

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