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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Mavi Marmara’

Turkey’s President Erdogan Shakes Hands With Israel’s Female Diplomat, Shani Cooper

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shook hands Wednesday with Israel’s female interim head of its embassy in Ankara, Shani Cooper, who has been appointed to field the office until permanent ambassadors are appointed by the two countries.

The ceremonial handshake was part of a tradition carried out with the diplomatic corps each year to celebrate Turkey’s Victory Day on August 30.

This time, Erdogan specifically asked to welcome Cooper — a move seen by analysts as an effort to send a positive message to Israelis who are closely watching the Turkish leader in the wake of a six-year break in relations between the two countries.

Cooper responded warmly to the request, expressing Israel’s support for Erdogan and the Turkish nation.

Erdogan requested an interpreter, through whose services he responded with positive remarks on the diplomatic relations between the two countries. He wished Cooper good luck on her position as well.

Earlier in the day, Erdogan’s office sent the approved, signed agreement with Israel to the office of Turkey’s prime minister. Simultaneously in Israel, the government cabinet ministers also issued their final approval on the document as well.

The agreement is considered to be officially ratified and becomes effective after seven days if no objections are filed on either side.

Hana Levi Julian

Erdogan Formally Approves Turkey’s Normalization Deal With Israel

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan formally approved the country’s normalization deal with Israel on Wednesday (August 31), the state-run Anadolu Agency reports.

The agreement, signed by Turkish and Israeli negotiators on June 27, restores diplomatic ties between the two former allies after a hiatus of more than six years. Israeli charge d’affaires in Ankara, Amira Oron, said Monday (August 29) the two countries are expected to exchange ambassadors sometime within the next several weeks.

“The Law No. 6743 regarding the approval of the agreement between the Republic of Turkey and the State of Israel over compensation has been submitted to the Prime Ministry for promulgation,” a statement by the president’s office said.

Erdogan sent the agreement 12 days after it was officially approved by the Turkish parliament, and following its approval by Israeli cabinet ministers in late June.

The deal was ratified by Turkish lawmakers on August 19 after weeks of delay due to an attempted coup that failed to overthrow the Turkish government on July 15.

The agreement ends a period of rancor that followed an ugly incident in 2010 in which an illegal flotilla attempted to breach Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza. Among the six vessels participating in the incident was a Turkish ship. Israeli commandos boarding the vessel to redirect it to Ashdod port were attacked by armed “activists” who included Turkish citizens; the resulting clash left 10 Turks dead and numerous Israelis seriously wounded.

Turkey demanded an apology, payment of $20 million in compensation to the families of the dead and lifting of the blockade on Gaza in order to restore relations. “Ankara now considers these terms satisfied,” according to a report published Wednesday in the Hurriyet Daily News. “Israel will hand Turkey a ‘lump sum’ payment within 25 working days of the agreement coming into force, with families of the victims able to access the funds in due course.

“Both sides also agreed individual Israeli citizens or those acting on behalf of the Israeli government would not be held liable — either criminally or financially — for the raid,” according to the report.

Turkey has already been allowed to ship its own humanitarian aid into Gaza, and plans have been started for Ankara to build a hospital in the region.

Hana Levi Julian

Turkish Parliament Reviews Normalization Deal with Israel

Thursday, August 18th, 2016

The agreement to normalize ties between Turkey and Israel was formally submitted Wednesday (Aug. 17) to the Turkish Parliament in Ankara for review and a final vote of approval, or not, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

The debate on the issue has been delayed by several weeks due to last month’s failed attempt by part of the Turkish military to overthrow the government. Thousands of government employees and high-ranking officials were purged in the wake of the incident.

Tourism has taken a serious hit as a result of the coup and the ongoing purges, with numerous countries issuing advisories to its citizens against traveling to Istanbul, further damaging an already compromised economy. For this and other reasons, it is becoming more urgent than ever for Turkey to complete its agreement with Israel and improve its ties with Russia — which it is working on — as well as with others in the region.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a televised interview a week ago (Aug. 11) that the deal would be completed and signed before September, finalized by the Turkish Parliament “as soon as possible.”

Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News quoted Cavusoglu as saying during a joint news conference following a meeting with Palestinian Authority Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Ankara that Turkey is ‘eager to contribute to the Palestinian issue and the Middle East process.’ Cavusoglu added that Turkey had always ‘advocated a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue and would continue to contribute to permanent peace in the region.

“Now we have started a normalization process with Israel,” he said, according to Hurriyet. “According to our latest agreement, the two countries will mutually appoint ambassadors. After this step we will continue to support the Palestinian issue and the Middle East peace process.”

Upon ratification of the agreement by the Turkish Parliament, the two nations will exchange ambassadors to fully restore diplomatic ties. Turkey reportedly plans to build a hospital in Gaza and ratchet up efforts to build an industrial zone project in Jenin.

The deal to restore ties between the two countries was signed on June 28 after numerous repeated attempts to heal the wounds of a breach after a 2010 illegal flotilla that included a Turkish ship attempted to break the marine blockade on Gaza. Israeli commandos boarded the ship to redirect the vessel to Ashdod port, and a clash with armed “activists” ensued, leaving 10 Turks dead and numerous IDF commandos wounded.

Israeli and Turkish delegates spent the better part of 2015 and 2016 working on an agreement to renew the ties between their two nations.

At the end, Israel agreed to pay Turkey $20 million (17.8 million euros) within 25 days, in compensation to the families of those who died in the 2010 clash.

The legal case in Turkish court, targeting the Israeli commandos who boarded the Mavi Marmara flotilla vessel, will also be dropped, according to Anadolu news agency. In addition, individual Israeli nations will not be held criminally or financially liable for the incident.

Hana Levi Julian

Liberman, Bennett, Shaked to Vote Against Turkish Deal

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

So far, only two government ministers, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz and Housing Minister Yoav Galant, both from Likud, are on the record as supporting Prime Minister Netanyahu’s deal with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to pay upwards of $21 million as reparations to the families of anti-Zionist Turkish activists who attacked IDF soldiers with metal rods, rocks and knives when they attempted to take over the ship Mavi Marmara back in 2010. The deal also included a public apology (check) and easing the Israeli blockade on Gaza, which always ends up as a wise move when dealing with Hamas.

The loud objections from both sides of the aisle which the Netanyahu deal has raised on Monday may be the reason that four ministers Netanyahu was counting on to support him are yet to say anything on the subject: Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu), Aryeh Deri (Shas), Gilad Erdan (Likud) and Israel Katz (Likud). Meanwhile, three ministers have erected a strong front against the deal: Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beiteinu), Naftali Bennett (Habayit Hayehudi), and Ayelet Shaked (Habayit Hayehudi).

Liberman this week denied reports that he had committed to supporting the deal, as part of his entering the Netanyahu government. In closed sessions he went as far as to say that if he thins the deal is bad, he would vote against it.

Bennett said on Tuesday morning that “the State of Israel must not pay reparations to terrorists who tried to harm the IDF. A rapprochement with Turkey is important for this time and for the interests of the State of Israel, but paying reparations to terrorists is a dangerous precedent the State of Israel would regret in the future.”

A Channel 10 News survey released Monday showed that 56% of Israelis object to the deal with Turkey, and 67% believe it should have been conditioned on the return of the bodies of IDF soldiers in Hamas’ possession, as well as two Israeli civilians believed to be alive.

David Israel

Stop Whining: Arm Yourselves Against Anti-Israel (Campus and Other) Culture

Friday, April 1st, 2016

It’s a problem. With so many anti-Israel events, professors and organizations on campuses, even American students who want to stand up for Israel far too often find themselves unable to do it.

Part of the problem is that the anti-Israel forces are buttressed by the mainstream media. Plus, the few professors who are not on the anti-Israel side are often unwilling or unable to devote the kind of energy spent by the other side.

And sadly, it is perceived as more hip to attack Israel and instead support the Palestinian Arabs who are always portrayed, willingly, as victims. All of this has led to misinformation replacing the truth as the primary narrative about the Middle East conflict. It seems overwhelming.

But the truth is that every single concerned student, parent and grandparent can make a huge difference in the current anti-Israel campus climate. And that difference can and should start by utilizing a special tool when the students are in high school and middle school, or even earlier.

Plus, that tool is absolutely free and completely accessible.

It’s called the Jewish Virtual Library. It’s vast, it’s constantly updating and expanding, and it has just about everything you could possibly want to know about – and know well – waiting right there for your fingertips to guide you.

Before getting into the details and background, here’s a real-life example of the way in which the JVL makes all the difference.

CASE EXAMPLE: GAZA FLOTILLA

Over the past many months, emails sent and received by former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were made public. There was a searchable log of those thousands of emails in which there were many between Clinton and an adviser, Sidney Blumenthal, who discussed the topic of Israel, and a smaller but substantial subset dealt with the flotilla which tried to break the legal embargo of Gaza.

One of the boats in the flotilla refused to heed Israel’s legal demand that the ship dock at the port of Ashdod, just north of Gaza, rather than violate the embargo. Israeli soldiers then boarded that ship — the Mavi Marmara–  they were attacked, the soldiers responded, and several terrorists aboard the ship were killed. Blumenthal was apoplectic: blaming Israel and demanding U.S. punishment.

When writing about the incident on the Mediterranean, this reporter wanted to recheck the facts. A Google search immediately brought up an entry in Wikipedia. A few entries further down was the URL for the Jewish Virtual Library. The entries in the two sources of information were dramatically different. So much so that had one only read the Wikipedia entry, Israel was guilty of murdering freedom-lovers bringing aid to a besieged Gaza. A full account – which would lead to a very different understanding – is on the JVL.

The Jewish Virtual Library had a main entry on the incident – titled, “Gaza Flotilla Incident,” and within that entry are numerous links within the same site that take you to descriptions of the Gaza Blockade, more information about the Israeli Defense Forces, the port of Ashdod and the “elite naval commandos” who boarded the ship by rope from hovering helicopters.

The entry is only five paragraphs long, but beneath it is a cornucopia of linked-to riches: a fact sheet on the Gaza Flotilla (with many more links), interviews with Mavi Marmara crew members, relevant videos, Israeli statements issued about the incident, and international reactions and reports.

HOW TO MINE THE GOLD

It is indeed an information gold mine. And it is available to everyone who wants to educate themselves about just about anything having to do with Judaism, the Jewish State and the Jewish people.

The site is set up, visually, like a large library, with “rooms” to click on such as US-Israel Relations, History, Women (the icon is Golda Meir, who else?), the Holocaust, Israel, Politics, Biography, Vital Statistics and more. Each room contains endless entries with sub-links and fact sheets and videos and anything you could want.

But maybe you, loyal Israel supporter but but objective reader, worry that the JVL is just the other side of the anti-Israel coin? That is, that it is an advocacy tool which reveals only the information that exonerates Israel? That’s a reasonable concern, but it is put to rest by reading the account entries, and by the founder of the JVL.

THE BUILDER OF THE LIBRARY

Mitchell Bard is the founder and director of the JVL. The JewishPress.com spoke with him recently about how it all came about and how it keeps going.

Bard, a foreign policy analyst and author with a Ph.D. from the University of California at Los Angeles, said he began his work on this project back in 1997, when organizations were first discovering the world wide web. “People were rushing to put their organizational information online, and folks were just beginning to go to the web with research questions.”

“But,” Bard said, “There was almost nothing there, at least not about Jewish history.” What Bard could find wasn’t very good, so he decided to create a “one-stop shop, something particularly for students who were looking for answers to questions, especially about Israel.”

At the time Bard was already, as he still is today, the executive director of the American-Iraeli Cooperative Enterprise. Bard was not technically savvy at the time, but he knew he wanted to create a resource for students, one in which all the links were internal – with credited sources – so that students could most easily find the answers they seek all in one place.

Nearly ten years later Bard still is driven by the desire to put students’ needs first. If a student is looking for an answer and can’t find it on the JVL – which is hard to believe – Bard says he and his staff will find the answer and then include that in the library. Now Bard has two other full-time staff helping him with the enormous task.

There are nearly 30,000 entries, and 6,000 graphics, including excellent maps, with links to 15-16,000 websites in the JVL.

From where does the information come that appears in the JVL? “Carefully chosen articles, universities, governments, reputable news sources, we’re very careful about choosing only from reliable sources,” says Bard.

“We have a strong, credible track record,” he adds, sensitive to the concern some may have that the information is tilted towards Israel, “our reputation is good because of what we include and how the information is provided.”

Although Bard says the JVL has more than 950,000 monthly visitors, it is shocking that the numbers aren’t twice that. They should be. And people are still inclined to think of something called the “Jewish Virtual Library” as a place to look for questions about Jewish holidays, or for information about the Holocaust, two areas of the JVL which receive the most traffic.

What is the most common search? The answer Bard gives is absolutely appalling: “Was Adolph Hilter Jewish?” Adolph Hitler, in fact, is one of the most popular search terms.

There are still day school teachers who suggest Wikipedia as a source for research, and too few who even know about the JVL. That’s also appalling.

So here’s your task.

You need to educate yourself first about what is in the Jewish Virtual Library. Next, you need to make sure the history teachers who educate your children or grandchildren know about – and use and recommend – this resource. Third, you need to make sure your children and grandchildren, your spouse and your friends know about the JVL and regularly refer to it. This is a small sample of items about which Israel-supporters should and can know, because of the JVL: What are “the three Nos” at Khartoum? Why was the San Remo Conference so important? Are Israeli Arabs second class citizens? The history of the negotiations with the Palestinian Arabs? And there is so much more.

JVL should be the go-to source whenever you need the real facts about the past or present in Israel or any place in the Middle East related to Israel.  So when an issue about Israel comes up when you’re talking to your granddaughter, or explaining things at the next Faculty or Sisterhood or Men’s Club Meeting, don’t Google it.  JVL it.

 

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

The HillaryFiles Continue With More Israel Trash Talking From Blumenthal

Friday, March 4th, 2016

The second in a series.

On May 31, 2010, there was an historic confrontation between the Israeli Navy and six ships sailing from Turkey, seeking to blow up the internationally-recognized legal naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Starting the very morning of the incident, Sidney Blumenthal began emailing Hillary Clinton, haranguing her to treat this grave tragedy as a whip with which to lash Israel.

Blumenthal also sent screeds written by his unhinged son Max, who insisted that the entire incident was orchestrated in advance by a bloodthirsty Israel as a means to blow up the peace process.

But this confrontation, known as the Mavi Marmara raid – after the lead Turkish ship  – or as the Gaza Flotilla built to a crescendo when the IHH-terrorists aboard the ship ignored repeated warnings to change course and steer towards the Israeli coastal town of Ashdod, just north of Gaza. When the ships refused to heed the directions, elite IDF naval commandos were lowered from helicopters by ropes, onto the ship’s deck.

As soon as the Israelis landed aboard the Mavi Marmara, they were attacked by demonstrators who used clubs to beat them, as well as knives. Weapons were also stripped from the Israeli soldiers, and used against them. One wounded soldier had to be thrown over the deck to get him to the relative safety of the sea.

By the time the attack ended, seven IDF soldiers were wounded and nine Turkish citizens were killed when off-board soldiers came to their colleagues’ rescue.

Eight out of the nine who died aboard the ship were later identified as members of Turkish Islamist organizations. Half of those killed had written wills or informed others that they sought to die as martyrs. Not a single human rights activist were among the victims on May 31, as they all stayed below deck, choosing not to join in the fracas with the antagonists carrying an array of weapons.

Weapons taken from the Mavi Marmara. May 31, 2010.

Weapons taken from the Mavi Marmara. May 31, 2010.

Weapons removed from the Mavi Marmara. May 31, 2010.

Closer view of some weapons removed from the Mavi Marmara. May 31, 2010.

Early that very afternoon, Blumenthal père wrote to Clinton, viciously comparing the Flotilla raid to the 1976 Entebbe raid, in which Benjamin Netanyahu’s brother, Yoni, was tragically killed despite the complete success otherwise.

“The raid on the ship to Gaza resembles the raid on Entebbe, except that there are no hostages, no guns, it’s not in Africa, and it’s a fiasco; otherwise, it’s Entebbe,” Blumenthal wrote to Clinton. He went on, warning Clinton that the international press will want to know how the U.S. is going to respond to Israel’s calamitous actions, and pointed out that the U.S. shouldn’t look as though it was secretly supporting Israel on this.

Finally, Blumenthal pointed out the likelihood of harm to the peace process and to embarrassment to Obama just on the eve of Netanyahu’s visit. Blumenthal then suggestively asks, “Or are the Israelis bone stupid? I don’t think so. Cheers, Sid.” In other words, this is what the Israelis intended.

Clinton forwarded this email to her deputy chief of staff Jake Sullivan, with an “FYI” and “ITYS” notation.

By the next morning, Blumenthal had written a seven-point memo to Clinton suggesting ways in which she and the United States should respond to the flotilla incident. Amongst other points, he told her that “someone in authority needs to read Israel the riot act”; Michael Oren should be given the “full dress Biden treatment”; that the “Gaza embargo is obviously wildly counterproductive,” which “has to end” and that end “should begin now.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Analysis: Turkey Toning Down Hopes for Reconciliation With Israel

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

It appears that, like Israel, Turkey’s government is working to reduce expectations of a reconciliation between Ankara and Israel, just as Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has in Jerusalem.

The Ankara edition of ‘Today’s Zaman’ published an article Monday headlined: ‘Turkey FM says Israel wanted Erdogan ousted from power, put off deal.”

From the very first paragraph, the article laid the blame for any failure of reconciliation talks at Israel’s doorstep – as Turkey has consistently to this point.

“Turkey’s top diplomat has claimed that Israel has been cold to rapprochement with Turkey because of raised expectations about Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan being ousted from power,” the paper reported.

“Briefing lawmakers in Parliament last Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the framework agreement with Israel was already in place several years ago, saying his government has been in talks with the Israeli side on the same issues that were reported today. ‘In fact, there was a main agreement in place on all these issues, but why was Israel not approaching to [finalize the deal]?” he asked, adding that Israel has been waiting on the departure of Erdogan from power…’”

The foreign minister repeated Turkey’s conditions for the normalization of ties, which include the payment of compensation over the deaths of those who died in the 2010 Mavi Marmara debacle.

What is interesting and new is the position allegedly expressed by Cavusoglu, that Turkey insists on ‘lifting the Israeli embargo on Gaza (the use of language here, as with all diplomatic issues, is very important) and that “Turkey wants to help Gaza residents, including providing electricity to the strip.”

According to Today’s Zaman “the Turkish government’s priority is on lifting the embargo rather than the blockade and hopes to channel development assistance to rebuild Gaza.” (ed.-italics added)

This is the first time Turkey has changed its demand for Israel to drop its blockade of Gaza and instead moved to a request to lift the ’embargo,’ adding a suggestion that it be able to aid in supplying electricity to the enclave.

Despite Ankara’s leanings towards the Muslim Brotherhood, Turkey nevertheless might prove helpful in preventing Hamas from stealing the construction supplies that now go missing to rebuild military infrastructure rather than residential neighborhoods.

On the other hand, one must question whether Turkey is hoping to play a role in Gaza in order to establish a presence in the face of another recently-demoted former ally, Egypt. Israel has in the meanwhile strengthened its relations with Cairo, which has increasingly lost patience with Turkey’s foster son, Hamas.

Cavusoglu also revealed that Israeli officials have expressed concern Turkey would continue its public criticisms after a deal is finalized.

“If Israel continues to implement these policies, including illegal settlements and attacks on Palestine, then we’ll naturally criticize; we are very clear and open about this,” the Turkish foreign minister was quoted as saying.

And herein lies one of the problems: Turkey seems to feel free to interfere in the internal domestic national security issues of other sovereign nations but takes great umbrage when others do the same.

For instance, Ankara has no problem taking on the role of advocate for Hamas, the terrorist organization spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood that rules Gaza, and which has been responsible for countless mained, wounded and dead in Israel. Turkey even welcomed Hamas to establish its international headquarters in Istanbul.

But were another sovereign nation to take the same stance on behalf of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), the internationally-recognized terrorist group located in Turkey’s southeastern sector, one wonders how Ankara would respond.

Somehow, Turkey fails to see the parallel.

Negotiators from Ankara and Jerusalem are once more trying to work out a way to regain the relationship the former allies once enjoyed. It has been mutually rewarding and is now needed by both as the region faces an impending onslaught by the hordes of Da’esh (ISIS).

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/analysis-turkey-toning-down-hopes-for-reconciliation-with-israel/2016/02/16/

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