On Eve of UN Speech, is Prime Minister Netanyahu Looking Towards China?
A day before Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is due to address the United Nations General Assembly, his official Facebook page posted a picture of the leader on board an aircraft bound for the United States. In the image, posted to the left, Netanyahu appears to be preparing for his speech at the United Nations, together with an aide.
Interestingly, along with a pair of spectacles and a glass of water, there is a book lying on the Prime Minister’s table. The publication appears to be Henry Kissinger’s most recent offering, entitled, “On China.”
Although unlikely deliberate, I would take the liberty to interpret some China related messaging that Bibi theoretically might have wished to imply by the juxtaposition.
With America’s support for Israel in the world of International diplomacy cooling under the Obama administration, it would make sense for Israel to focus on strengthening its ties with other power states. China, may be a prime candidate, as its relationship with Israel has on the whole steadily strengthened over the twenty years since diplomatic relations were established. “You are our most important friend,” Israel could be seen to be saying to Obama, as a statement of independence, “but not our only ally.”
Just over a month ago, three Chinese warships docked in Israel as members of the People’s Liberation Army Navy began a 5-day stay, to celebrate diplomatic relations between China and Israel. Three months prior, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz toured the country, meeting with Chinese military and political officials.
It is important to note however that China’s position on Iran has been appalling, as a major Iranian oil client the country has been active in stalling sanctions efforts. China has backed some sanctions though, which as the New York Times reported, may have been a product of Israeli lobbying.
The positioning of the China book could also be interpreted to be sending the United States a message about Israel’s loyalty to America, and calling for the U.S. to return the favor in the Jewish State’s hour of need.
On more than one occasion Israel has cancelled lucrative military equipment deals with China at the behest of the U.S., damaging relations with the Chinese in favor of American goodwill. As the New York Times reported in 2010: “How much they value the relationship with the United States was underscored in 2000, when under American pressure Israel canceled a $1 billion arms deal, years in the making, to sell China an advanced airborne tracking system. Even though Israel later agreed to pay a $350 million penalty, the diplomatic damage was immense — and then compounded in 2005, when Washington blocked another Israeli arms deal with Beijing involving drone aircraft.”
“We have put our interests aside at your request,” Israel may wish to convey, “now please back us on Iran even if you perceive certain concerns in doing so.”
Below I have posted the message from the Prime Minister that appears alongside the picture:
Dear citizens of the State of Israel, I fly tonight to New York to represent the State of Israel upon the UN stage.
We, on the issue of Iran are all united in the objective of preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. On the day in which we pray to be inscribed in the Book of Life, Iran’s despotic regime that strives at every opportunity to condemn us to death was provided a stage.
On the eve of Yom Kippur, sacred to the Jewish people, the Iranian foe elected to call publicly before the entire world for our extinction. This is a black day for those who elected to remain in the hall and listen to these words of vituperation.
In the words which I will deliver before representatives of the countries of the UN General Assembly they will hear our response. As Prime Minister of the Jewish people’s state, I am operating in every way to ensure that Iran will not have nuclear weapons.
History has demonstrated that whoever sought to wipe us off the map failed in his endeavor, while the Jewish people overcame all obstacles.
We have established a glorious state that is one of the world’s most advanced countries. Israel is a modern and strong state thanks to the strength and talents of its citizens, and thanks to our belief in the righteousness of our path.
I extend my wishes that you may be inscribed for a good year.