Like 9/11, WikiLeaks has been singularly good for Israel.
Asked on the night of September 11, 2001 what the terrorist attacks meant for U.S.-Israel relations, Benjamin Netanyahu, the then former prime minister, tactlessly but accurately replied, "It's very good." And on the day after WikiLeaks' publication of U.S. diplomatic cables, Netanyahu "strode" into a press conference at the Israeli Journalists Association, looking "undoubtedly delighted" with the group's latest embarrassment of U.S. President Barack Obama.
"Thanks to WikiLeaks," Aluf Benn wrote in Haaretz, "there is now no fear Washington will exert heavy pressure on Israel to freeze settlement construction or to accelerate negotiations on a withdrawal from the territories." Instead, also courtesy of WikiLeaks, the world's attention had been shifted exactly where a "vindicated" Netanyahu wanted it – toward Iran's non-existent nuclear weapons programme.
"Our region has been hostage to a narrative that is the result of 60 years of propaganda, which paints Israel as the greatest threat," Netanyahu told the assembled journalists. "In reality leaders understand that that view is bankrupt. For the first time in history there is agreement that Iran is the threat." While there is considerable dispute about the extent to which Arab leaders share Netanyahu's understanding of "the Iranian threat," the Arab public overwhelmingly considers Israel to be a far greater threat.
Nevertheless, according to Haaretz columnist Ari Shavit, Julian Assange "has shattered the accepted dogma on the understanding in the Middle East in the 21st century." WikiLeaks, crowed Shavit, "proved" that the Israeli occupation and colonisation of Palestine was not the main cause of instability in the Middle East. Instead, the secret cables "revealed" that "the entire Arab world" is concerned about "one problem only — Iran, Iran, Iran." Thus, Shavit concluded, the only way to bring peace to the region was to deal with "Iran first." Much more at:
Maidhc Ó Cathail is a freelance writer. His work has been published by Al Jazeera Magazine, Antiwar.com, Dissident Voice, Khaleej Times, Palestine Chronicle and many other publications. Read other articles by Maidhc.