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Turkey, At Energy Crossroads, Sliding Towards Authoritarianism

The resignations of Turkey’s Prime…

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Iran And Turkey Court The KRG For Oil

In May, delegations from the…

Israel and Turkey - Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word

September promises to be an epochal month, as the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday night told U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a telephone call that he is determined to go to the United Nations to bid for a full membership at the annual gathering of world leaders at the UN General Assembly beginning 20 September, asking the Security Council to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines.

Palestinian Liberation Organization negotiator Saeb Erekat noted that 125 nations have already recognized the Palestinian state, adding that PA expected a total of 150 countries to support its initiative during the vote at the UN General Assembly.

Nimer Hammad, political adviser to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, told reporters that the PA was prepared to drop its statehood initiative if the US and Israel accepted the Palestinians’ two main demands, a full halt to settlement construction in the West Bank an East Jerusalem and international recognition of a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines.

Whatever occurs in the next two weeks, Israeli obduracy has guaranteed that a former Muslin ally will instead be a stalwart advocate for Palestinian rights. In this case, it’s not enough to use the metaphor of shooting oneself in the foot, its more appropriate to state that one as emptied an entire automatic weapon clip into one’s legs.

So, what Muslim state, the first to recognize Israel in 1949, which signed a military alliance in 1996 and a 2000 free trade agreement has broken ranks with Israel?

Turkey.

Why the bad blood?

Simple - on 31 May 2010 nine activists, eight Turkish citizens and a U.S. national, Furkan Dogan, were killed by Israeli IDF Shayetet 13 Naval Special Forces commandos in a raid on the Mavi Marmara, the largest ship in the "Gaza Freedom Flotilla," which was attempting to deliver humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip.

The attack occurred, according to the Israeli navy, 75 miles west of Gaza, at Latitude 32.64113 N Longitude 33.56727 E in international waters, well outside Israel’s self-proclaimed 20-mile exclusion zone, where it has blocked ships from entering Gazan waters since December 2008.

While the UN’s Palmer-Uribe UN Report, issued last week,  did criticize Israel's "excessive and unreasonable" attack on the Mavi Marmara, it nevertheless declared that Israel's naval blockade of Gaza is legitimate, even though the assault occurred well outside Israel’s self-proclaimed blockade zone.

Since then Turkey has demanded an apology, which Tel Aviv has steadfastly refused to give.
On 2 September Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu rejected the findings of the Palmer-Uribe UN report, announcing that “it’s time for Israel to pay a price.”

Accordingly, beginning on 7 September, diplomatic ties will be reduced to the lowest level, all Turkish-Israeli military agreements will be canceled and Turkey will seek legal redress for its citizens killed in the flotilla assault through international legal venues.

Davuto?lu reaffirmed that Turkey does not recognize Israel’s blockade of Gaza, which a UN Human Rights Council official fact-finding mission had also ruled to be illegal.

The Turkish stance has won support from some unexpected quarters. Former CIA analyst Kathleen Christison stated, "Most egregious is the Palmer Report's gratuitous assertion that Israel's naval blockade is 'a legitimate security measure' necessary to prevent the introduction of weapons into Gaza and that Israel's enforcement of the blockade 'complied with the requirements of international law'. This position is automatically biased toward Israel because it presumes that as an occupying power Israel has security needs that trump any security requirements of Gaza's occupied population. It justifies a blockade that in fact violates international law by imposing collective punishment on Gaza's imprisoned 1.6 million people."

Turkey has repeatedly sought an admission of responsibility of regret and restitution for the incident, which the Likud government of Benyamin Netanyahu has consitenty denied to give, stating that Israel acted within its rights of self defense, even though the tragedy occurred more than 50 miles outside Israel’s self-proclaimed blockade zone. Whatever Israel’s justification for its actions, the incontrovertible fact remains that its operation occurred well outside its zone of blockade, in international waters, an inconvenient fact that cannot be PR spun away, and an American citizen died in the process, a fact largely overlooked by the media.

Furkan Dogan was a U.S. citizen, born in Troy, New York, with a residency permit for Turkey and not a Turkish national. One can only speculate about the State Department response if Muslim extremists had killed a U.S. citizen in that volatile part of the world.

If nothing else, the imbroglio puts Israel’s and Lebanon’s and Cyprus’ hopes of exploiting eastern Mediterranean offshore energy fields on hold, as few will invest in such contested regions.

The Old Testament, Hosea, Chapter 8 states, “Sow the wind, reap the whirlwind”

Along with the gusts of the Arab Spring sweeping the region, Netanyahu’s government had better be battening down its hatches for the self-induced squalls ahead. The tragedy for the region is that some of the tempest could have been avoided, but then, sorry does seem to be the hardest word in the Biblical land of “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

By. John C.K. Daly of OilPrice.com




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  • Anonymous on September 08 2011 said:
    I don't see the problem, John. The American people elected George W. Bush, and look what it cost them: war, recession and another incompetent president. Netanyahu is worse than Bush and Obama together, multiplied by ten. No rational man would have done what he did. A rational man would have apologized without delay. Whether he meant it or not is another matter.But, as you indicate, men reap what they sew.
  • Anonymous on September 08 2011 said:
    It takes a very brave man to say I am sorry. Cowards hide behind excuses and stories to try to excape responsibility. It's amazing how a country like Israel has no leader with testacular fortitude to say a simple sorry for a wrong it knows it has committed. Where is the Israel that told the world that it was brave. The Israel we see now is led by a bunch of cowards hiding behind the gray cloak of nationalism to commit atrocities.
  • Anonymous on September 09 2011 said:
    "activists"? Don't you mean terrorists? All they had to do was let the Israelis inspect the cargo and they would still be alive today.
  • Anonymous on September 09 2011 said:
    Israel is now almost the most isolated country in the world possibly with the exception of N.Korea and Albania...(?)Its beginning to pay for 64 years of arrogance and hubris towartds it neighbours. Now that Iran is in the islamist driving seat and Turkey is a fellow traveller, Israel has just one rather shaky umbilical cord to the US, and some friendship with a bankrupt Greece. Zionism is dead, most secular Istaelis (60%) would rather be in NY, LA, Miami etc. than in "a lousy country but its the only one we've got" (words of an Isrtaeli song from 2006). The IDF for all its hi-tech is a shadowe of its former self (watch 'Beaufort' the movie)Israel is being squeezed at the frontiers (all of them exc Jordan) abnd it is divided and at war with itself. Once the UN votes foir Palestine recognition...Get ready for a Third Exile...
  • Anonymous on September 09 2011 said:
    I find you comments biased in the extreme. That the Mavi Marmara was intercepted outside territorial waters is a non-issue since its terrorist ICC backers repeatedly stated their intention to violate Israeli law. Israel has every right to protect its people from rocket attacks from Gaza. These repeated attacks are unjustified and Israel does not occupy Gaza contrary to what you stated. There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza as shown on numerous youtube videos. So too one may view on youtube the sorry events leading up to this regrettable incident where lives were lost. You misstate the facts when you say the mainstream media has neglected this story as any perusal of the columnists of the NYT will show.Lastly Turkey is better advised to apologize for its Armenian genocide and its suppression of Kurdish nationalism before preaching morality to Israel. As the saying goes people who live in glass houses ...
  • Anonymous on September 10 2011 said:
    And perhaps Israel should apologise for the Palestinian Neqba and for keeping X million Palestinians in refugee camps for a few generations...Why do palestinians not legally have the same 'Right of return' as Jews? Why is it that 65 years of archeology has not dug up one single piece of evidence in Israel to show it was inhabited by Jews in ancient times? Why is it that Israel is stealing water from the West Bank water reserve underground and from rivers there because overuse of the NWC has turned the Kinneret fishless anfd almost unusable? Apart from the fact that Israel has sold half the kinneret water that it does not have, to Jordan 'for political reasons'...No more Kinneret no more Israel. Moshe you've done it to yourselves. Stop blaming the Arabs for responding...
  • Anonymous on September 10 2011 said:
    Phillip, hard to believe how brainwashed you are. half a dozen Arab states attacked Israel in 1948 when the British pulled out and you want the Jews to apologize. Second, show me one Palestinian refugee camp in Israel. There are none. They've become Israeli citizens with full rights. Right of return for Palestinians. How about to Jordan which was part of the mandate or better try making peace with Israel through compromise and return to your own state. Do you really think Israel is so stupid as to take in every so called Palestinian. As for Jewish historical claims, have you ever heard of the Bible. As for the Kinneret, you don't know what you're talking about.
  • Anonymous on September 11 2011 said:
    I see Moshe you are a very well informed person...Log onto Mekorot (Istraeli water company) website to learn about the Kinneret. Most Palestinians had homes in Jaffa, Haifa, and other towns and villages in Israel, not Jordan. Look up Nakba on the web and see how many Jewish and Israeli Jewish writwrs are telling that story.Refugee camps; I had an Israeli Jewish friend at school a Jabotinskyite who would tell me with pride how Israel was paying Palestinians to live in refugee camps. The ones whose villages were 'liberated' as he put it for the Jewish immigrants. About between 1/2 - 11/2 million in 1948.
  • Anonymous on September 11 2011 said:
    Read van Creveld, Dutch Jewish prof at the UofJerusalem about the real War of Independance (book;'The Sword and the Olive'). Arab brigades ill equipped, badly led, squabbling leadership, against a relatively well equipped, led and motivated Jewish military thatb included a nascent airforce. Read the book if you don't believe me!The Bible; God gives the Promised Land to Abraham and ALL his descendants; about 52 tribes of Semites of which only 2 were Israelite... Read Gen:17. Without blinkers... And I repeat, 65 years of digging for acheology in Israel has revealed NO material evidence of specific Israelite settlemernt (no written evidence). Pretty flimsy ground for a successful Zionist state. Secular Zionism is dead. The secular Jewish state is making its own war on the religious Zionists. Visit www.Chamish.com for that...
  • Anonymous on September 11 2011 said:
    Israel is a world leader in water reclamation. I repeat there are no Palestinian refugee camps in Israel. All have been resettled and given citizenship. You will find refugee camps in Gaza, of course, which Hamas maintains for propaganda and incitement. The Arabs who left in 1948 fled because they were afraid that the Jews would do to them what they planned to do to the Jews. Genesis 21:12 "In Isaac shall be called your seed." Look, Islam has twenty plus countries,over a billion adherents. Do the world a favor and leave the Jews alone or we'll see who sows the whirlwind.
  • Anonymous on September 11 2011 said:
    I am not used to read comments from a so well informed bunch of readers. So I will write in this comment for once only about feelings: When you are walking from Tel Aviv to the south passing jaffa you will meet many many arabs young and old from refuge camps sitting full of saddness at the beach and you realize that their love for their lost land about which their parents and grandparents are telling them their beautiful stories for decades already is as big as the love of the jews for the same land. If empathy measures the size of the ability to live what does all this pain of these people says about the people who can't or wont see it? And does the little daily killing of empathy really doesn't effect the soul of israel? If you love Israel you are afraid!
  • Anonymous on September 11 2011 said:
    The Arab's problems are not the jews. But the Arabs have to have an scape goat so they don't have to look inward at their own problems.
  • Anonymous on September 12 2011 said:
    Ah Moshe, I see we have an observant member of the Jewish faith here. If you bother to look up Israel water resources you will see that reclamation accounts for maybe 10-20% of Israel water use, and much of that is only fit for agricultural usage, not direct human consumption. I didn't say refugee camps In ISRAEL; you said that. From Wiki: "UNRWA recognizes facilities in 59 designated refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip". "The number of registered Palestine refugees (RPR) has subsequently grown from 914,000 in 1950 to more than 4.6 million in 2009.[1]"Why murder and displace a bunch of Arabs who never vdid you any harm? Sorry about the term murder but the Naqba was about murder, nethnic cleansing. Ask modern Israeli Jewish historians of that period.
  • Anonymous on September 12 2011 said:
    Moshe; FYI, from Wiki;The New Historians (Hebrew: ???????????? ???????, HaHistoryonim HaHadashim) are a loosely-defined group of Israeli historians who have challenged traditional versions of Israeli history, including Israel's role in the Palestinian Exodus in 1948 and Arab willingness to discuss peace. The term was coined in 1988 by one of the leading New Historians, Benny Morris. According to Ethan Bronner of The New York Times, the New Historians sought to advance the peace process.[1]Much of the primary source material used by the group comes from Israeli government papers declassified thirty years after the founding of Israel.[2] Morris, Ilan Pappé, Avi Shlaim, Tom Segev, Hillel Cohen, Baruch Kimmerling[3] and (retrospectively) Simha Flapan are counted among the "new historians."
  • Anonymous on September 12 2011 said:
    For many of us, hope is or has been just as important as reality. Despite being expelled from engineering school for poor scholarship. and some very bad experiences in the army, I never found myself thinking that the future was hopeless. Consequently, when I began to write professor in front of my name, it was no big deal.I can't see how anybody in or near Israel has a lot of hope when a man like Netanyahu can be elected the head of a country. Its the same thing in the US for many people: what was the point in reelecting George W. Bush. He just ruined the economy, The thing that has gone wrong is the lousy education offered most children in many countries, which takes away options when they grow older.Instead of staring at the ocean, Palestinian children should be at the table in their kitchens doing math problems. And when they arn't doing that taking exercise. That's the cure for sadness, and not sad stories.
  • Anonymous on September 12 2011 said:
    I interpret your last post to mean you've been reduced to incoherent babbling and you give up. Shalom.
  • Anonymous on September 13 2011 said:
    Moshe: Shalom :-)

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