Tzipi Livni: Israel shares same “values” as “moderate” Saudi Arabia

Tzipi Livni, seen with PA leader Mahmoud Abbas in 2007, still considers the PA to be Israel’s ally today. (Monika Flueckiger/Flickr)

Israeli war crimes fugitive and justice minister Tzipi Livni says that her country shares the same values with such “moderate” Arab regimes as Saudi Arabia, other autocratic Gulf states and the Egyptian dictatorship that massacred more than one thousand protestors in cold blood just over a year ago.

She also called Palestinian Authority de facto leader Mahmoud Abbas’ speech to the UN Generally Assembly – in which he accused Israel of “genocide” in Gaza – “horrific.”

Nonetheless she insisted that Abbas’ PA regime remained an Israeli ally.

Livni made her comments in an interview with Robert Siegel, host of NPR’s All Things Considered, in which she discussed Israel’s role in the US-assembled coalition of Arab autocracies to fight the “Islamic State” group that has taken over large swaths of Iraq and Syria.

Good guys, bad guys

Siegel summarized Israel’s position in these terms: “Here’s Israel’s situation in the region it seems. You’re worried about the very movements and the very countries that worry the Egyptians, the Saudis, the Jordanians, the United Arab Emirates, the Turks, to a great extent – without a Palestinian agreement, though, they can’t deal with you as a public ally and partner in the region. Are regional concerns strong enough to lead the Israelis to say we’ve got to – we have to get a deal with the Palestinians to be above-board players in the Middle East?”

Livni endorsed Siegel’s assessment, adding: “The world is divided between the good guys and the bad guys,” Livni said. “And we, Israel – of course, the United States – the legitimate Palestinian government, Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf States, we are part of the camp of so-called moderates or diplomatics against these terrorists.”

Livni said she looked forward to the day Israel could be a “public part of this coalition against the evil that we are facing in the region.”

“Evil”

Presumably the “evil” Livni was referring to includes the horrifying recent beheadings of Western journalists by the “Islamic State” group.

But it apparently does not include the “surge” in beheadings by Israel’s “moderate” Saudi regime allies for such alleged offenses as drug smuggling and “sorcery.”

According to Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia executed at least 19 people since 4 August this year by public beheading.

This is the same Saudi regime whose media fuels sectarianism and which along with other Arab Gulf Israeli allies has channeled or allowed huge flows of funding to the jihadist groups that Israel claims to oppose.

Nor does the “evil” Livni cites apparently include Israel’s own record of beheading Palestinian children, albeit using missiles and bombs rather than blades, in the context of its summertime massacre in Gaza which killed more than 2,100 people.

And it definitely doesn’t include the Egyptian military dictatorship’s massacre of at least 817 unarmed demonstrators in Cairo’s Rabia al-Adawiya square on 14 August 2013.

That premeditated atrocity, among other mass killings around the same time, was “one of the world’s largest killings of demonstrators in a single day in recent history,” according to Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch.

Shared values

That Israel shares “values” with such US-backed regimes should not surprise anyone. Israel, the US and their Arab client regimes have always been allied against the people of the region, against the Palestinians and against self-determination.

One area where the Saudi regime and Israel share a clear common cause is stoking regional sectarianism between members of the Sunni and Shia branches of Islam.

By pitting potential adversaries of Israel against each other, Israel is engaging in the classic colonial tactic of “divide and rule.”

This is why in his speech to the UN this week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu nominally condemned “Islamic State” – also known as ISIS or ISIL – but cautioned against “defeating ISIS” only to leave Iran strengthened.

Israel’s goal appears to be perpetual regional sectarian war, not anything recognizable as peace.

We should at least be grateful to Livni for clearing up the delusions some may still harbor that Israel is anything other than a fierce foe of democracy and a staunch ally of the most brutal and unsavory regimes.

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Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.