Mavi Marmara Raid 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Israel’s preferred strategy for dealing with crises – blame everything on everyone else – may make Israelis feel good but sure doesn’t do much to make Israel safer. In fact, in case Israelis haven’t noticed, it’s actually increasing hostility toward them throughout the region.
In Egypt, the new-forming government is becoming less and less friendly, as evidenced by the recent attacks against the Israeli embassy in Cairo.
Turkey, once Israel’s strongest Islamic ally, has done a complete about-face, expelling Israel’s ambassador, freezing military cooperation and increasing the anti-Israel rhetoric.
Why? Well, Turkey asked Israel to apologize for its role in what should have been little more than a political public relations stunt to protest against Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
While the United Nations report on the incident recognized Israel’s
right to enforce the embargo against the Gaza Strip to protect itself
from Hamas, it also criticized Israel for its use of excessive military
force. During the raid on the Mavi Marmara
, nine Turkish nationals,
including American citizen Fulkan Dugan, were killed by Israeli
Israel’s refusal to apologize for their deaths, or for the death of
American activist Rachel Corrie in 2003 for that matter, echoes the
refusal of Arab terrorists to apologize for the deaths of Israelis.
Rather than weigh its own errors, Israel’s government chose to pander to public sentiment.
After all, Turks don’t vote in Israeli elections. Israelis do.
Adding insult to injury, Israel’s notorious foreign minister, Avigdor
Lieberman, then declared that Turkey was responsible for the Armenian
Lieberman wants the world to know that Turkey is responsible for the
massacre of millions of Armenians, a chapter of history the Israelis,
and much of the world, has mostly ignored for generations. Seriously –
is Lieberman saying that the reason the Jewish state didn’t bring this
up before was because Turkey was an important strategic ally? Is
morality just a weapon in the political war of words? I thought Israelis
prided themselves in standing up for what was right.
For all Lieberman’s rhetoric, which clearly has the backing of the
government and many Israelis, the truth is that all Israel had to do to
avoid this latest mess was to tell the Turks they were sorry. Sorry for
killing the civilians on the Mavi Marmara
, a ship that was a threat not
because it carried weapons to be used against Israel but because of its
PR value to the growing pro-Palestinian movement.
To apologize would have been the simplest solution, but then Israel has a
history of avoiding the simple things that could help bring it peace.
Not apologizing to Turkey is no different in that regard than not
freezing settlement expansion to save the prospects of peace with the
Instead of seeking peace, Israel is empowering its enemies.