Global Insights: Geopolitical Consequences of Gaza Flotilla Incident

Global Insights: Geopolitical Consequences of Gaza Flotilla Incident

The international crisis resulting from Israel's interdiction yesterday of a humanitarian aid flotilla heading toward the blockaded Gaza Strip could have several consequences, few of them good for the United States, the Middle Eastern peace process, and many other parties.

First, the crisis could disrupt the indirect peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians that only just resumed a few weeks ago, after roughly 17 months of false starts and frustrated expectations. Many observers have noted that the Gaza flotilla confronted the Israeli government with a no-win situation. The same could be said for the choices now facing the Obama White House. If it backs Israeli's forceful response -- even silently, by declining to join in the international condemnation -- the Obama administration will weaken its credibility with Arabs as an acceptable mediator. If it criticizes the Israeli action, it will further alienate Israelis and American supporters of Israel, already distrustful of the sincerity and competence of the administration's Middle East policies.

The Memorial Day holiday, the administration's expression of deep regret over the loss of life, and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's decision to cancel a scheduled meeting with Obama in the White House today will only buy a limited amount of time before the administration will be confronted with significant dilemmas, including the potential decision of whether or not to veto a Security Council resolution sanctioning Israel for the incident. The extent of the damage to the proximity talks will become clearer on June 9, when Obama is scheduled to meet with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Even if the talks continue, the transition to direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians looks to be even more distant.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.