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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Flotilla’

Hamas Official says Abbas May Visit Gaza with Erdogan

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, whom the Obama administration has praised for not publicly avowing violence like Hamas, may visit Gaza with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency.

“I believe if Erdogan comes to Gaza, he may accompany president Abu Mazen,” Ahmed Yousef, former senior political adviser to de facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, told the news agency hours after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu apologized to Erdogan for the clash on the high seas in May 2010.

Prime Minister Netanyahu communicated to Erdogan “an apology to the Turkish people for a mistake that could lead to loss of human life.,” referring to the clash on the Mavi Mamara ship that was manned by Turkish terrorists who falsely claimed they were trying to take humanitarian aid to Gaza, where a maritime blockade is in force against terrorists.

After the clash, in which IDF commandos were brutally attacked before they overcame the terrorists, the ship was brought to Ashdod, where no humanitarian aid was found on board.

Hamas said on Friday that Erdogan told its leader supreme Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal that Israel had promised to lift the maritime blockade and the alleged “siege” on Gaza. Israel has opened up land crossing to almost all goods and merchandise except for those directly involved in terror, such as explosives.

Erdogan has stated several times in the past year he would visit Gaza, and doing so now, after Netanyahu’s apology, would be considered a swift kick in the butt in return for Israel’s exercise in appeasing Turkish anger over the deaths of nine of the terrorists in the flotilla clash.

If Abbas were to visit, it would also be a kick in pants of the Obama administration. President Barack Obama showered Abbas with praise during his visit to Ramallah last Thursday, taking pains to try to prove that Abbas, as opposed to Hamas, is a true “partner” for peace with Israel.

Did Israel `Apologize’ to Turkey? Well, No, Not Exactly

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Israel apologizes to Turkey, reads every headline. That simply isn’t true in the sense it is taken to imply. To understand what happened one must examine the long negotiations on this issue.

The issue began when several ships were sent to break the Israeli sanctions on the Gaza Strip in May 2010. These sanctions were put on by Israel—Egypt, then under the government of President Husni Mubarak, had its own restrictions—against a radical Islamist regime in the Gaza Strip that openly rejected peace, used terrorism, and called for genocide against the Jews and the elimination of Israel.

This flotilla was not interested in helping the people of Gaza. It refused to land the cargos in Israel and have them passed across the border after inspection. Rather, the goal was to help Hamas. A key role in the flotilla was played by the IHH, an Islamist group that has been involved in terrorism, backed by Turkey’s government.

These ships were intercepted by Israel’s navy and after warnings were seized. On all of the ships this happened without any injuries except on the Mavi Marmara, where radical jihadists with weapons had sworn to fight. They attacked the arriving soldiers, injured several, and took a couple of soldiers hostage. At that time the soldiers opened fire and several Turkish citizens were killed.

It is important to understand that the flotilla issue was not the cause of Israel-Turkish problems, which had begun long before. The real basis was the election of an Islamist government in Turkey. Discussions inside the Israeli government for years had known Prime Minister Erdogan’s hatred for Israel but did not want to be seen as responsible for any breakdown of relations.

During the talks, Erdogan made three demands:

  • * Israel must apologize completely.
  • * Such an apology implies a legal responsibility to pay reparations.
  • * Erdogan insisted that Israel drop the embargo against the Gaza Strip.

Israel rejected these demands and instead offered:

* To say it regretted the clash and the loss of life. This is like saying: If I offended anyone I’m sorry.
* It offered to pay voluntarily as a humanitarian gesture, not as part of a guilty plea, the families of those killed.
* Israel rejected any change on its policy toward the Gaza Strip.

Erdogan angrily rejected Israel’s offer.

Now, a compromise has been reached, apparently with some help from President Barack Obama. The agreement, which includes restoring normal bilateral relations, has been portrayed as some sort of Israeli surrender.

That is simply not true. The agreement is much closer to Israel’s position. There is no change on Israel’s strategic policy toward the Gaza Strip at all. While the word “apology” appears in Netanyahu’s statement, it is notably directed at the Turkish people, not the government and is of the sorry if your feelings were hurt variety.

Moreover, Israel denied that it killed the Turkish citizens intentionally, a situation quite different from what Erdogan wanted, and offered to pay humanitarian assistance to families.

Should Israel have expressed regret when it should instead receive an apology from the Turkish government for helping to send terrorists to create a confrontation?

On purely moral grounds, no. Yet as I pointed out Israel did not abandon its long-standing position on the issue. It does not want an antagonism with the Turkish people nor one that will continue long after Erdogan and his regime are long out of office. Perhaps this was undertaken to make Obama happy and in exchange for U.S. benefits. But what has happened is far more complex than onlookers seem to be realizing.

Perhaps these seeming word games and niceties are beyond the interest or comprehension of many people, but everyone involved directly on this issue knows exactly what is happening. Erdogan knows very well that this was not a Turkish victory—except in public relations– though Israel won’t object to letting it be claimed as such.

Israel acted to try to reduce the tension with Turkey but without any illusions that the Erdogan regime would now be friendly. Indeed, there were implications that Erdogan was breaking his commitment on the deal. Immediately afterward, he said that a legal case against Israeli officers for alleged responsibility in the death of the Turks would continue and he was not yet sending back his ambassador to Israel. This might be posturing for a few hours or a real deal-breaker. We will see.

Obama’s role in this deal is not clear. (I have made clear to readers that I’m not just bashing Obama reflexively but I will also continue to analyze his actions as accurately as possible.) Did he put any pressure on Erdogan or Netanyahu? Did he promise either or both sides some benefits for making a deal? Not yet clear.

The danger is that this is the kind of arrangement that is all too common in the region. The media proclaim progress; the political leaders say what they want; but nothing changes in reality. One possibility is that Obama doesn’t understand (or doesn’t care) how deeply Erdogan’s anti-Israel feeling runs just as he doesn’t understand how deeply that is true for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Still, this deal is clearly in U.S. interests since it supposedly heals a rift between two countries that are close allies to itself in Washington’s eyes. As I said above, let’s see if this deal sticks or if there is any progress in fixing Israel-Turkey relations in the coming weeks.

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Run Zoabi, Run

Sunday, December 30th, 2012

In a very unsurprising move, the Supreme Court overruled the Central Elections Commission and determined that MK Hanin Zoabi of the Balad party can run in the upcoming elections.

Despite the Elections Commission being clearly right in saying she breached the requirements regarding who is not allowed to run, and the Supreme Court being clearly wrong in having overruled them, I probably have to support Zoabi’s right to run.

Zoabi, as you should recall, was an involved passenger on the Mavi Marmara blockade run attempt in 2010.

On the Mavi Marmara, a group of passengers, connected to the Turkish IHH (designated as a terror organization by Israel), attacked IDF naval troops, including with at least one gun, during their attempt to break the blockade of Hamas terror-controlled Gaza and provide aid to Israel’s enemy.

Zoabi set off a political storm in Israel with her participation on that particular boat.

So you must be asking yourself, why am I supporting her right to run in the Knesset, despite her association with known terrorists and attempting to aid the enemy?

After all, in Israel’s Elections Law it clearly states the following are the basis for individuals and parties not being allowed to run:

1. The rejection of Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish and democratic state.

2. Incitement of racism.

3. Support of the armed struggle of enemy states or terrorist organizations against the state of Israel.

4. A reasonable basis to conclude that the party will be used for illegal activities.

Zoabi seems to clearly be in violation of at least #1 and #3.

And the Balad party’s stated goal is the “struggle to transform the state of Israel into a democracy for all its citizens, irrespective of national or ethnic identity,” is clearly in violation of #1.

And its not like there isn’t history here.

You might recall the famous case of MK Azmi Bishara, not coincidentally, also from the Balad party.

Bishara ran away before he could be arrested for actively aiding Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War. And then the Knesset banned the Balad party, but once again the Supreme Court overruled them and let Balad run.

I have two reasons for this admittedly strange position.

The first is that it’s a badly written law.

It’s vague and it potentially chills free speech.

Parts of the law above are incredibly vague (such as #2), and there’s far too much wiggle room that allows it to be spuriously applied to any political enemy, such as the recent attempts to use it against Ben-Ari and Naftali Bennett, in an attempt to block them from running.

It’s a law crying out for selective abuse, just as it was selectively abused in the past against another rightwing party who was becoming very popular, and yet it was never used against any leftwing anti-Jewish parties (such as Shinui) or anti-Settler parties (such as Meretz), no matter how racist they might be considered, nor despite their attempts to remove the Jewish component from Israel’s definition as a Jewish and democratic state.

In short, the law is poorly written, it is selectively applied, and until the law is fixed, it’s problematic to have it applied to anyone, since it can be used against any political enemy.

The second and perhaps more important reason is that the Knesset dropped the ball.

IHH is designated a terrorist organization.

Zoabi was on the boat with a terrorist organization to break the Israeli government’s lawful blockade on a terrorist entity.

Nu?

Why didn’t the Knesset do its equivalent of impeaching her?

Why did the government fail in its charges against her participation in the Mavi Marmara?

Simply because she claimed she was acting independent from the IHH! For heaven’s sake, why isn’t Zoabi sitting in jail?

But that’s only part of it.

The government dropped the ball, in another place. And perhaps not where you think.

The government also dropped the ball, because it still hasn’t fought the Supreme Court, and their self-assumed right to overrule any Knesset ruling they don’t like.

Until the Knesset decides to take a clear position that the Supreme Court is overstepping its bounds and taking on powers it doesn’t have, then the Knesset deserves every slap in the face it gets from the Supreme Court.

Israel Deports Estelle Infiltrators

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Israel deported 15 international protesters arrested for trying to infiltrate an Israeli security zone set up around Gaza with their flotilla, Estelle.

Infiltrators hailed from Greece, Norway, Sweden, Spain, and Canada.

Israeli naval commandos boarded Estelle on October 20.  Estelle is Swedish-owned, Finnish-flagged.

The attempt follows in the wake of the Mavi Marmara, a ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists who claimed to be carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza in May 2010.  When Israeli commandos boarded the illegal vessel, they were attacked by the activists who stabbed several and beat others with pipes and sticks.  Defending themselves against the attackers, soldiers killed nine Turkish activists before quelling the attack.

 

It’s A ‘Deir Yassin’ in Syria

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Assad is really in trouble now:

At least 10 Palestinian refugees were killed Wednesday in the Yarmouk refugee camp in Damascus, activists posting to a Facebook account for the camp reported.

According to media from the camp, 15-year-old Jalal Yousif Salih was shot dead by a Syrian government sniper near the Palestine Hospital in the camp. Photos of the victim were published before he was identified.  Another victim identified as 10-year-old Fadi Alaa al-Masri was shot dead in the al-Zein neighborhood.  Earlier, a body was found in the Black Stone neighborhood. The victim was later identified as Muhammad Shaaban.

An elderly man was also shot dead in the Deir Yasin neighborhood, according to activists. They identified him as 70-year-old Ahmad Abbas.

Visit Yisrael Medad’s Blog, My Right Word.

Turkey Blocks Israel from NATO Summit Over Mavi Marmara

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

Turkey will block Israel from participating in a NATO summit next month because the Jewish state has not responded for the killing of Turks who attacked Israeli naval officers boarding the illegal flotilla Mavi Marmara in May 2010.

Nine Turks were killed by naval commandos, when they attacked and began beating the soldiers as they attempted to board the ship to prevent it from illegally entering Israel’s waters as part of a protest effort to reach Gaza. Seven Israeli soldiers were injured by the attacking demonstrators.

Mavi Marmara Activists Prepare Weapons for IDF Embarkation

Since then, relations between Turkey and Israel have rapidly declined, with Turkey expelling the Israeli envoy and discontinuing military cooperation.

Turkey has demanded an official apology for the incident, as well as financial compensation.

A Turkish official told Reuters that while Israel is a member of the NATO alliance, “we deem it not appropriate for Israel to be around,” until it concedes to Turkish demands.

Report: Turkey Dropping Flotilla Suits

Friday, January 13th, 2012

According to sources in the US State Department, the Turkish government has ordered a halt on all legal proceedings against Israeli elements involved in the IDF raid on the Mavi Marmara ship in May 2010, Yediot Ahronoth reported Friday.

The sources said that the  Turkish Attorney General  instructed prosecutors of this shift in light of continuing US efforts to defuse tensions betweenIsrael and Turkey.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-turkey-dropping-flotilla-suits/2012/01/13/

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