Posts Tagged ‘Gaza blockade’

Good out of tragedy? Turkey and Israel after the earthquake

October 25, 2011

“Earthquake diplomacy” is a term coined after two huge earthquakes struck first Turkey, then Greece in 1999. Putting aside years of mutual distrust, the Greek government immediately offered aid to Turkey when a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck the major Turkish city of Izmit, with severe damage as far as Istanbul. Two weeks later a 5.9 earthquake struck in Athens, and the Turks quickly reciprocated. Ordinary Turks and Greeks rushed to donate blood and money to their stricken neighbors. Official relations between the two countries warmed considerably.

Now earthquake diplomacy may heal relations between former allies Turkey and Israel, seriously breached this May when Israeli forces attacked a Turkish ship attempting to run an Israeli blockade of Gaza, killing nine Turks in a botched attempt to take over the ship.

When a 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck eastern Turkey last week, killing hundreds and destroying thousands of homes, Israeli President Peres was the first to offer aid to his counterpart, Turkish President Gul. (more…)

Israel whistles, the United States comes running. No matter what’s right

September 23, 2011

Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, told a cheering UN General Assembly today, “I do not believe that anyone with a shred of conscience can reject our application for full admission to the United Nations.”

Who can disagree? The government of Israel, for one. And if the GOI objects, the American right will come right along. And so, sadly, will President Obama. Conscience takes a back seat when votes are about to be counted.

Obama’s speech to the UN was a craven surrender to the Israeli government’s demand that we oppose the Palestinian request. This is an ethical disaster, as well as a realpolitik one. It will wipe out the good will Obama earned with his earlier calls for honorable treatment of the Palestinians and his once-brave insistence on a halt to Israeli expansion into the West Bank. Forgotten, too, will be his siding with the Arab Spring, outweighed as it is among most Muslims and young people everywhere (including in Israel) by his opposition to Palestinian rights.

Obama did have support for his position. To Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Obama’s speech was a “badge of honor.” This is the same Netanyahu that President Clinton blamed, as recently as yesterday, for preventing a peace deal.

Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman liked the speech even more, telling a news conference, “I congratulate President Obama, and I am ready to sign on this speech with both hands.” Lieberman is widely despised in Israel as a racist for his proposal to rid Israel of its Arab citizens by “redrawing its map to ‘exchange’ part of the Arab population and create a more ‘homogenous Jewish state,’ as a solution to Israel’s Arab minority ‘problem.’ ”

Having sabotaged Israel’s own relations with Turkey over Israeli refusal to apologize for killing nine Turkish activists running the Gaza blockade, Israel is now sabotaging American relations with the entire Muslim world, which will have a hard time accepting that America preaches freedom for all, but not for occupied Palestine.


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