Israeli/Turkish/Palestinian Tensions – by Stephen Lendman
Issues affecting Palestinians include:
• statehood within 1967 borders (22% of historic Palestine);
• East Jerusalem as its capital;
• full de jure UN membership;
• 44 years of illegal occupation;
• decades of unresolved Israeli crimes of war and against humanity;
• daily land theft and dispossessions;
• illegal detentions and torture;
• argeted assassinations;
• horrific levels of oppression and persecution overall; and
• many other longstanding festering grievances.
For Turkey, relations have deteriorated for years. Cast Lead exacerbated them. So did murdering nine Turkish nationals on May 31, 2010, aboard the Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship.
On September 12, Today’s Zaman (a Turkish English language broadsheet) headlined, “Erdogan: Mavi Marmara raid was ’cause for war,’ ” saying:
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said:
“The May 31, 2010 (incident), the attack that took place in international waters, did not comply with international law. In fact, it was a cause for war. However, befitting Turkey’s grandness (sic), we decided to act with patience.”
He added more, saying Turkish warships will now patrol Eastern Mediterranean waters. Their mission will include escorting future Gaza humanitarian aid ships.
After Israel refused to apologize for the killings, Turkey expelled its ambassador, imposed sanctions, and suspended military agreements. It also said it’ll enforce free Eastern Mediterranean navigation.
Erdogan emphasized that “Turkish ships, I mean military ships, more often (will patrol) international waters in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially in (Turkey’s) exclusive economic zone.”
Israeli bullying no longer will be tolerated.
Erdogan also challenged a Cyprus plan to explore offshore Eastern Mediterranean gas fields bordering Israeli waters, saying they belong to Turkish occupied northern Cyprus.
In August, Israel and Cyprus discussed offshore energy exploration cooperation, Netanyahu citing “overlapping interests.”
Erdogan responded, saying:
“You know that Israel has begun to declare that it has the right to act in exclusive economic areas of the Mediterranean. You will see that it will not be the owner of this right, because Turkey, as a guarantor of the Turkish republic of north Cyprus, has taken steps in the area, and it will be decisive and hold fast to the right to monitor international waters in the eastern Mediterranean.”
By acting lawlessly and refusing to apologize, Israel “condemn(ed) itself to isolation.”
While not wanting to jeopardize relations with Washington, Turkey’s exerting its influence as a regional power. It has enough military might to back up its words with muscle. It includes 650,000 troops, second largest NATO force after America.
Israel, of course, is a powerhouse in its own right, including nuclear weapons and delivery systems to launch them.
Forced Displacements While Disingenuously Talking Peace
Almost daily, Israel proves its rogue credentials. It’s a regional menace threatening peace and security. Then it wonders why affected nations and people react adversely.
Poor Israel! Why is it so misunderstood? Perhaps because Palestinians and regional neighbors long ago acknowledged its lawless disregard for international law, norms and standards.
Israeli/Palestinian peace talks are a case in point. They’ve been stillborn since inception and remain so, disingenuous rhetoric notwithstanding.
Nonetheless, Israel “resurrects” them strategically to change the subject, as well as pressure Palestinians to accept subjugation, not freedom on their own land in their own country.
Moreover, Washington lurks menacingly in the wings, backing up Israel’s muscle with its own, and no shyness about using it.
At issue today is growing Israeli isolation ahead of Mahmoud Abbas petitioning the UN for statehood and UN membership.
He’s doing it even though smart money wagers he’ll accept less than Palestinians deserve, leaving them back at square one. Bet on it!
On September 13, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid headlined, “Israeli intelligence urges return to peace talks with Palestinians,” saying:
“In recent weeks, the Foreign Ministry, Military Intelligence, the Shin Bet security service and the Mossad” distributed documents, saying negotiations will “tone down tensions and anger against Israel.”
In recent cabinet meetings, discussions focused around restarting what never before worked because Israel won’t tolerate peace – just its appearance, an illusion to continue illegal military occupation.
Nonetheless, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told ministers:
“By sharpening tensions with the Palestinians, we are inviting (greater) isolation on Israel.”
Meanwhile, Spain, France, and Catherine Ashton (EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) are trying to negotiate a “package deal” to have all 27 EU member states support “upgrading the PA to the status of a non-permanent member of the UN.”
In other words, they back the status quo despite Palestinians deserving better. At the same time, they want Washington to abstain on UN membership and continue financial aid in return for Abbas promising not to sue Israel in the International Criminal Court (ICC).
They may, in fact, get what’s totally unacceptable by hook, crook, or even threatening NATO intervention if Palestinians dare demand their rights.
Ravid reported that Abbas, knowing he faces a US Security Council veto (even though illegal and without teeth, as previous articles explained), “decided to turn to the UN General Assembly….in order to seek the support of (EU) member states in the vote.”
Specific negotiated issues include:
• Palestinians settling for permanent observer status, not full membership;
• all or most EU nations supporting it without agreeing to recognize Palestine on a bilateral level;
• Palestinians resuming no peace/peace negotiations, without preconditions, with no chance for an equitable resolution because Israel won’t permit it;
• Palestine’s General Assembly petition “will be balanced and will combine elements of” Obama’s May 19, 2011 speech, “and the conclusion of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council of December 2009.”
In other words, while petitioning for recognition within 1967 borders, it appears Abbas will agree to unacceptable land swaps.
By so doing, he’ll accept both status quo recognition surrender along with Palestinian statehood on worthless cantonized scrub land. A bantustan state.
Again he’ll reveal his collaborationist credentials, selling out his people for whatever ways he benefits.
He’s done it before so often, so it shouldn’t surprise now. But it should be strongly condemned and rejected.
At minimum, Palestinians deserve all land within 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as their capital – nothing less now or ever.
Settlers could then choose either to become citizens of Palestine, or retain their current status in a foreign country under its laws, not Israel’s.
Doing what’s right, however, was never Abbas’ long suit. In days, it appears he’ll again prove what Palestinians and their supporters already should know.
Israel will wiggle out of another tough spot. Palestinians will end up with nothing. They’ll still be occupied. Their land will keep being stolen. Their rights will be entirely denied.
Justice again won’t be delayed. It’ll be disgracefully denied with Palestinian Authority compliance, at least from Abbas, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, and other PA Israeli collaborators, selling out their people for their own self-interest. On its own, Israel does it belligerently.
Displacing Bedouin Arab Israeli Citizens
On September 12, Ma’an News said Israel’s cabinet voted to displace tens of thousands of Negev Bedouin Arab Israeli citizens, offering them inadequate financial help to relocate.
“Around 160,000 Bedouins live in Israel.” Over half live in so-called unrecognized villages without municipal water, electricity, and other essential services because Israel refuses to provide them.
Many are also deeply impoverished, struggling daily to get by. Israel now agreed to make their lot tougher by stealing their land and property, in return for forced displacement.
Amnesty International (AI) condemned the plan, saying it “includes the forceful evacuation of thousands of Bedouins from their homes,” calling it “a significant blow to (their) right to adequate accommodation.”
It’s that and much more. It’s destroying a way of life, as well as spurning the rights of its own citizens lawlessly.
The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) expressed righteous indignation. So did Bimkom-Planners for Planning Rights in a joint statement, denouncing “continued discrimination of the Bedouin community.”
Tens of thousands of Israeli citizens will be lawlessly uprooted from their homes – “against their will and in clear violation of their historical and proprietary rights to the land.”
The so-called Prawer Plan facilitates state-sponsored discrimination, “disregard(ing) one of the most disenfranchised communities in Israel, during a period in which (an internal) mass protest movement” demands social justice for ALL Israelis.
Affected are 35 Negev Bedouin villages. They had no say in government policy. Since 1948, they’ve “suffer(ed) from severe neglect and lack of infrastructure….”
The Prawer Plan contradicts Goldberg Commission findings, calling Bedouin treatment unjust and ineffective. It also ecommended injustices be corrected by recognizing their communities as they exist.
“ACRI and Bimkom insist that only a master plan based on respect for human rights of the Bedouin population, and that includes them in the decision-making process with bring about a lasting and holistic solution in the Negev that will contribute to the betterment of all who live there, both Arabs and Jews.”
Israel wants none of it. It refuses to end 44 years of illegal occupation. Again, it’s about to deny Palestinian statehood and full UN membership, and its Gaza siege keeps suffocating over 1.6 million Palestinians who deserve freedom, not de facto imprisonment.
Israel’s Gaza Closure Policy
On September 12, the Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement published Freedom of Information Act obtained documents, disclosing Israel’s Gaza siege policy in its own words. Included were previously unknown details.
“Despite (introduced) measures to ‘ease’ the closure, introduced in July 2010….there has been no change” in policy regarding free movement between Gaza, Israel, and the West Bank.
Exceptions include a handful of merchants with Israeli-issued permits. However, even they so far can’t exercise the right Israel granted them.
• movement restrictions affect categories of people, not individuals based on security concerns;
• Gaza soccer players may access the West Bank, not students to attend universities or most Gazans needing medical care unavailable at home;
• Gaza residents can’t relocate to West Bank areas for family reunification or other reasons;
• Gaza students awarded Fulbright scholarships can’t leave to accept them;
• Israel continues to prohibit construction materials and anything called “dual use” from entering Gaza; “dual use” is anything Israel says it is;
• With few exceptions, exports are prohibited; and
• Overall, isolation under siege is rigorously enforced; violators caught are arrested or shot.
A Final Comment
Israel wants it both ways. It demands Palestinians agree to their own occupation, subjugation, persecution, and continued status quo affording them no rights. At the same time, it talks peace.
The hypocrisy requires no comment, except to say they have a willing collaborator in Abbas. He’s again about to back-stab his people like at Oslo as chief Palestinian negotiator, and numerous times thereafter, acting as Israel’s enforcer.
In days, when he petitions the UN, he’ll again prove his illegitimacy. His term of office also expired in January 2009, over two and half years ago.
Yet he remains in office, backed by Israel and Washington for obvious reasons while Palestine’s legitimate government is persecuted, terrorized and isolated in Gaza.
As long as repressive conditions continue, Palestinians won’t ever be free, even if granted statehood and full UN membership.
They’d still be no match for Israel’s military might and no shyness about using it. Not to mention the world community turning a blind eye to its worst crimes.
Issue one thus demands changing that to give Palestinians rights they’ve long been denied.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.