Close your eyes, breathe in deeply, now exhale slowly… That was easy, wasn’t it? Not for everyone…
JERUSALEM – Amid the pomp and circumstance during President Obama’s three-day visit to Israel, Obama, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State John Kerry quietly worked on several diplomatic initiatives that could spur far-reaching changes in the Middle East.
Less than an hour before Shabbat last week, the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office said that the U.S. had facilitated a direct conversation between Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in which Netanyahu formally apologized to Erdogan for the 2010 “tragic loss of life” aboard a Turkish flotilla, the Mavi Marmara. Israeli commandos raided the ship as it tried to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza to deliver supplies. Nine people were killed in clashes on board.
The formal apology was supported by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, but was soundly criticized by former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman and several HaBayit HaYehudi Knesset members. HaBayit HaYehudi, led by Minister of Economics and Trade Naftali Bennett, is a member of the governing coalition.
Erdogan told Netanyahu that he accepted the apology and would work to restore diplomatic relations with Israel. The two, along with Obama, said that the longstanding relationship between Turkey and Israel was vital to the region in the midst of the Syrian civil war. NATO and American forces have dispatched missile batteries and other personnel in Israel and Turkey, and are poised for possible military action if the forces of Syria’s beleaguered president, Bashar Assad, or radical anti-Assad rebels use or transfer chemical weapons in the conflict.
An Israeli intelligence official told Israel’s Channel 10 News that they are all but certain that Assad’s forces used chemical weapons against civilians and rebels over the past few weeks. Israel fears that Assad will transfer chemical weapons and long- range rockets to Hizbullah, which attempted over the weekend to stage a political coup in Lebanon. Sources report that nearly 50,000 Hizbullah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces are fighting alongside Assad’s forces in Syria.
Secretary of State Kerry stayed behind in Israel after the Obama visit and shuttled between Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman, Jordan. He is seeking to create the groundwork for a peace summit in Jordan featuring Kerry, Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah II. And the Turkish media reported that Erdogan is preparing for a trip to Gaza and Ramallah in an effort to push the split Palestinian leadership – Fatah and Hamas – into uniting behind the idea of restarting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Obama told Abbas that he must recognize Israel as “a Jewish state” and restart negotiations with Netanyahu as soon as possible – without any preconditions. In a related note, Erdogan said that his diplomatic initiative has the support of the emir of Qatar, who has strong ties with the Hamas leadership while also possessing a secret back-channel relationship with Israel.
Reports circulating in the Israeli media say that Netanyahu and King Abdullah have held secret meetings in the past year in order to coordinate their positions vis-à-vis the deteriorating situation in Syria and the threats to their borders. They are also exploring ways to restart the peace process.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
The airport workers; committees new excuse to shut down the airport is to hold a solidarity strike with the Israel Broadcasting Authority.
The daily also accuses the US of being the “biggest settlement country” that “enslaves millions of Hispanics.”
Swiss Ambassador Portrays U.S. and Iran as doves of peace defecating on Netanyahu.
The boundary, enabling Jewish students to carry on Shabbat, will be made of plastic “lechies” on utility poles.
A growing number of Arabs in Gaza are calling on people to burn down Hamas institutions.
An Oxford University professor’s new book uncovers what most Israelis know – that the Americans are not “Wild West” cowboys.
A report by the entity responsible for ensuring the peaceful development of nuclear energy worldwide and the one upon which the world depends for monitoring Iran’s nuclear activity revealed that over the past few months Iran has been working on and adding to a building at its Parchin site. Parchin is an Iranian military complex located southeast of Tehran. It […]
Israeli artists build an ice wall at the Davidson Center, near the Kotel in Jerusalem. The wall was based on a piece by American artist Allan Kaprow who built something similar in Israel, in 1980, perpendicular to the Temple Mount. Photos by Yonatan Sindel / Flash90.
About 30 protesters from the Jewish Defense League on Wednesday evening stood at a picket line holding Israeli and Canadian flags outside billionaire Bernard (Barry) Sherman’s north Toronto home during his cocktail fundraiser for the Liberal party.
Mughassil, 48, is believed to be the leader of the Iran-supported Hezbollah Al-Hejaz group.
The Donald and the Cruz together against Iran on Sept. 9 at D.C. rally.
Iranian born Tennor Ramtin Ghazavi, a frequent performer at Italy’s La Scala, on Tuesday told San Jose Mercury News that the Islamic revolution that removed the Shah in 1979 “takes a dim view” of most musical forms, including opera.
For a state that goes out of its way to discriminate in favor of one group, Israel receives high grades in treatment of immigrants of all colors and creeds, beating out the UK, the US and Saudi Arabia.
As of Tuesday, all IDF forces operating in Gaza withdrew and redeployed to holding positions around Gaza.
The sophisticated cement tunnels, which cost hundreds of millions of dollars, were reportedly built with Qatari government funds.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the nation on Tuesday afternoon that if the rocket fire did not stop by Tuesday evening, he would order “an even harsher” military response.
“They were abducted and murdered in cold blood by human animals,” Netanyahu said shortly after the bodies were found.
Awad had been released as part of the Gilad Shalit kidnapping deal. Mizrachi’s widow, Hadas, told Israeli reporters that she had opposed the release of murderers as part of any kidnapping deal, and that Awad “deserved the death penalty so he wouldn’t kill again.”
If the abductors’ goal was to force Israeli authorities to release long-serving Palestinian prisoners, the effort backfired as Israeli forces are quickly rolling up what was left of Hamas in the West Bank and are reportedly contemplating the overthrow of the Hamas leadership in Gaza should harm come to the three teenagers.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/obama-and-bibi-raise-the-intensity-of-mideast-diplomacy/2013/03/25/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: