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Turkey’s Erdogan to Break Gaza Siege

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Turkey’s prime minister Erdogan on Gaza siege: “Enough!”

It’s typical of the NY Times in reporting a story that is injurious to Israel’s Occupation policy and strangulation of Gaza, that it would focus largely on the impact it will have internally on Palestinian politics.  Turkey’s prime minister Ergodan announced that he planned to visit Gaza.  This comes on the heels of a visit from the Qatari emir and his announcement that he’d be investing $400-million in rebuilding Gaza, which was decimated by Israel’s indiscriminate attack on the enclave’s civilian infrastructure during Operation Cast Lead.  That should’ve shamed both Israel and the Europeans.  The latter along with the UN had pledged to doing rebuilding of their own, which has largely been stymied by Israel’s continued blockade.

Now that Qatar has taken the lead, a more significant Middle Eastern power like Turkey can step up and do its part to show that Israel’s blockade serves no interest but that of Occupation powers who seek to paralyze the prospect of Palestinian unity.

As for the Times, Jodi Rudoren focused almost entirely on the blow that the upcoming trip would give to the PA and Fatah, which find it convenient to join in Israel’s attempt to ostracize Hamas.  Those who support the PA, including the Times, have a quaint notion that the PA is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, the address at which the conflict will be solved if it can ever be solved.

News hasn’t yet arrived that the Palestinians have two legitimate forces vying for power and that the attempt to stifle Hamas and isolate Gaza has run counter to the interests of those who really want to resolve the conflict.

All this will contribute to the slow lifting of the western siege against Gaza.  Next up, I expect Egypt’s president Morsi to make his own visit.  At that point, the west and Israel will be arrayed against the forces of the Arab Spring, who will be endorsing rapprochement between Palestinian factions, and the Arab League proposal to solve the conflict.  The rejectionists will be the U.S., Israel and the EU, who will be attempting to maintain their feeble, defanged siege.  It will be something like locking the barn door after the horses have escaped.

Presumably Erdogan will go to Gaza before the upcoming late January Israeli elections.  This will allow the ultra-nationalists, who offer permanent  rejectionism as Israel’s raison d’etre, to portray Turkey as the Muslim bully browbeating Israel into compromising its security needs and relaxing its hold on Gaza.  Turkey and Hamas get to score their points in the Arab world by upholding Muslim self-respect.  It’s a perfect storm of political posturing.

Given Israel’s firm rejectionist stance Erdogan’s visit will further isolate Israel within the Middle East and hopefully make its allies and enablers realize that Israel’s current Occupation policies are a losing horse.

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{ 44 comments… add one }

  • Davey November 2, 2012, 8:09 PM

    The $400 million will come in handy when the US stops its funding in the wake of the PA bid at the UN, not to mention the “punishment” that Israel will mete out once again at that point. But how will the money be deployed given the blockade and all? Israel stops building materials from entering, at least some building materials as I understand it. And if Turkey helps with re-building, won’t Israel just destroy it all again?

    • mary November 3, 2012, 12:35 AM

      They should be able to work with the UN to bring in the materials, which of course will have to still be approved by the Israeli government. I hope Israel doesn’t embarrass itself by not allowing the materials in. I am sure Erdogan knows what this entails and will take the appropriate steps.

  • Dr. Ibrahim Soudy November 2, 2012, 8:27 PM

    Just a few points to make:

    - Let’s keep in mind that the ultimate goal of the Zionists is to complete the “ethnic cleansing of Palestine”. Part of doing that is to literally give Gaza, with its 1.5 million Palestinians, to Egypt! Of course Israel would love to have the President of Egypt visit Gaza and they would even love it more if Egypt opens the borders with Gaza permanently (Gaza becoming part of Egypt).

    - Israel does every thing it can to make a viable Pelestinian state an “impossibility”. Those who keep talking about a two-state solution are simply not looking at reality. What Israel means by a State for the Palestinians is NOT what others think of a State! How could a state have no control over its borders, airspace, water, or not be allowed to have an army?!

    - The sad fact is not that Israel is committing suicide by its arrogance but that those who support it right or wrong are DESTROYING the U.S. itself in the process. Just remember who were pushing for the Iraq war and who are pushing now for an Iran war. Just keep track of the US national debt!

    - Israel has made it so clear that it has no interest in peace. If it really wanted that it would have run to accept the offer by the Arab League to have normal relations with ALL 22 Arab Countries if it returns all the land it took by force in 1967!!

    • mary November 3, 2012, 12:41 AM

      Egypt supposedly does not want Gaza.

      The US is not being destroyed by Israel. The “special relationship” between the two countries is improper and should end – the US should not be funneling billions of taxpayer dollars into Israel while Americans suffer from no health insurance, for example, and the US aids and abets Israel’s illegal and belligerent occupation of Palestine and siege on Gaza – but destruction? I don’t think so.

    • Davey November 4, 2012, 12:13 PM

      Was that the offer? How was it rejected? I guess I need to do some research.

  • Castellio November 2, 2012, 10:01 PM

    Dr. Soudy, the US debt is actually manageable. Its the rapid loss of moral bearings as shown in legislative, institutional, and media decay which will take its toll.

  • bluto November 3, 2012, 3:29 AM

    Great news – so how is Erdogan going to get into Gaza?

    As he threatened poor little Israel after what Israel did to the Mavi Marmara/Gaza Flotilla* – he should just sail into Gaza City with a Turkish destroyer

    What is Israel going to do then besides pee it’s pants

    Israel has no right to disallow Turkey’s or anyone else’s freedom of navigation into Gaza

    * he said the next aid shipment to Gaza would be protected by the Turkish Navy

    • mary November 3, 2012, 3:56 AM

      I imagine he will enter the same way everyone else does, Bluto.

      I do wonder what has taken him so long, though.

  • Deïr Yassin November 3, 2012, 3:45 AM

    Abu Mazen sells out his Right of Return on Israeli television. Well, he’s free to do so if he prefers to stay in his villa in Ramallah, but the ROR is an individual inalienable right.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RWa0hUcTUFA

    PS. When the emir of Qatar – not a poster-boy of mine though…. – was in Gaza, just a few days after Noam Chomsky, he insisted on the importance of intra-Palestinian reconciliation.That fact along with the 90 tons of medecine, and the 400 million dollars to reconstruct a small part of what the Israelis destroyed (evaluated to 2,3 billion Euros/? dollars) made his visit legitimate in the eyes of most Palestinians.

    • mary November 3, 2012, 3:58 AM

      Abu Mazen’s cheap political posturing doesn’t fool anyone. He condemned the shooting of rockets into Gaza, which was a divisive statement meant to curry favor with the Israelis. As always, he is a quisling.

  • Joel November 3, 2012, 9:46 AM

    [comment deleted as off-topic]

  • Joel November 3, 2012, 10:17 AM

    And when Syria lobs mortars into Turkey, Turkey retaliates with aircraft attacks on Syria.

    http://www.jpost.com/VideoArticles/Video/Article.aspx?id=286516

    • Richard Silverstein November 4, 2012, 12:43 AM

      Turkey recognizes Syrian sovereignty unlike Israel regarding Palestine. When Israel recognizes a Palestinian state as Turkey recognizes Syria then there’ll be no reason to launch missiles into southern Israel.

      • Nimrod November 4, 2012, 1:56 AM

        Does Turkey recognizes Syrian sovereignty over the Hatay Province?
        Have you ever heard of that area, of conquered 270 square kilometers?

  • JoeL November 4, 2012, 1:00 AM

    So two States who recognize each other’s sovereignty can still be hostile. BTW, the Israel’s and Palestinians have many more issues than just the recognition of sovereignty.

  • Tibor November 4, 2012, 3:32 AM

    The problem for Endogen is just how many balls he can keep simultaneously swinging in the air. He fully understands the limits in the US eyes of anti-Israel posturing – he keeps testing the limit but at some point it will surely be overly stretched (he underestimates the deep and intimate nature of its relationship with Israel). The Syria chaos may present him with uneasy dilemmas – direct (military etc.) and indirect (e.g. his relations with Iran). Cyprus and the gas exploration there, where also Israel and the Russians are involved, can develop into a major issue. The 20 million Kurds in Turkey, which are treated rather badly, is a constant time bomb that can explode right in the worst moment for him. And he has plenty of domestic explosive issues at home as the many journalists in jail, which undercuts its image in Europe. You can never know which new front is the one too many for your entire enterprise.

    • Richard Silverstein November 5, 2012, 12:58 AM

      It is remarkable for you to have such sympathy for Erdogan’s political future that you point out all these mines he must avoid to be successful. I’m really touched by how much you care.

      But actually, if you paid more attention to the minefield your own country faces & how badly it’s navigating its way through it, you’d be doing much better for yourself.

  • mary November 4, 2012, 4:41 AM

    Interesting how little anyone has to say about the topic of this blog, namely, Erdogan’s visit to Gaza. I recall that he promised to visit “very soon” back in September, 2011, and now he is finally getting back to thinking about it. I don’t know what is on his hidden agenda, but it’s worth bearing in mind that Hamas has repudiated Assad and his regime. I don’t think Erdogan’s visit is in any way a jab at the US but I think it is one that is long overdue at Israel, who has never gotten a proper butt kicking from anyone for killing those 9 activists aboard the Mavi Marmara.

  • dieter November 4, 2012, 5:19 AM

    Why should Europe or the US invest a single dime into a strip of desert controlled by radical Muslims? The Arab world has done its best to keep Palestine reservations and camps alive all over the regions for the last 60 years. Imagine if Austria still had camps in place for 10s of thousand Hungarians fleeing their homeland in 1956. Why are there still Palestine camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan? Why were these people not integrated into these societies or given passports? Why is Gaza not a part of Egypt? Palestinians are Arabs, speak the same language and pray to the same god as the people hosting them. All this misery has been kept alive for purely political reasons and as a thorn in Israel’s side. Isn’t the Arab world big and rich enough to integrate them? Erdogan’s policy has miserably failed so far. He now is surrounded by enemies. He’s all big words about Syria but his Army wouldn’t have a chance against the Syrian war machine…the Iranians and Russians would cut off Turkey’s gas and oil supplies over night. Greeks, Cypriots, Iraq and Israelis would be happy to see him fail. Erdogan is badmouthing the EU and China and hasn’t helped the US in Iraq but now expects NATO to support him. He hasn’t even settled differences with Armenia and still refuses to accept the genocide against these people and the Assyrian minority in the 1920s. The only friends remaining are Hamas, the muslim brotherhood, some other radicals and Barzani in Kurdistan….

    • Richard Silverstein November 5, 2012, 12:50 AM

      God, I don’t know why I even approved this comment. You’re so full of crap from A to Z. I just don’t have the cheyshek (“strength”) to deal with you. But hopefully others will correct the myriad idiocies you’ve uttered.

    • mary November 5, 2012, 3:56 AM

      Same old hasbara, this guy sounds like a settler. Arabs are not cattle; how dare you suggest that herding them together is a solution, yet you insist on a particular piece of land belonging only to Jews? You also don’t know the history of the events post-1948 and how the Arab countries were forbidden by the UN from integrating Palestinians or offering them citizenship. You also don’t know that Turkey has one of the strongest armies in the world and has more allies than Israel. This has to be one of the most idiotic comments I’ve seen in a long time, which is why I ignored it previously.

      • Davey November 5, 2012, 10:35 AM

        I count on this blog, Richard, Mary, Deir Yassim, and many others to help me cope with the misinformed and malignant. Thanks.

      • Deïr Yassin November 5, 2012, 5:31 PM

        @ Mary
        When you write “how Arab countries were forbidden by the UN from integrating Palestinians or offering them citizenship” which countries are you thinking of ?

        • mary November 5, 2012, 10:58 PM

          To be honest, I can’t remember any specifics other than Syria and Lebanon, and how Palestinians who fled there during the Nakba and requested citizenship were turned down. I read about it quite long time ago, in at least two different books, one of which might have been Ilan Pappe’s. (I want to say it was Alan Hart, but I’m not sure) I remember also that Britain and the US arranged this and also kept tight arms control in place. The purpose was to discourage Arab nationalism which they felt would be a threat to the newly formed Israel. This makes sense since Arab countries were desirous of obtaining economic aid and weapons, not wishing to arouse the ire of the powers that created the new Jewish state.

          • Deïr Yassin November 6, 2012, 4:11 AM

            The lack of citizenship in Lebanon or Syria has nothing to do with UN forbidding it, quite on the contrary, they would love to see the Palestinians taking citizenship in their host countries. That would ‘resolve’ the Palestinian question as far as the UN is concerned. Not to talk about the Israelis, of course.
            If Palestinian demand of citizenship is turned down, it’s a national matter in each country, in Lebanon where the debate was up in Parliament last year – again – it’s mainly not to destabilize the political system based on ethnic-religious affiliations. As Palestinians are overwhelmingly Sunni-Muslims, particularly some Christian factions have opposed their integration. On the other hand, Palestinians of Christian origin have easier obtained Lebanese citizenship.
            I’ve never heard or read anything about the UN being involved in the lack of citizenship anywhere in the Arab countries. The refusal of citizenship is supposed to be linked to the right of return, but it’s an excuse as the Right of Return is inalienable (cf. resolution 3236).

          • mary November 6, 2012, 7:00 AM

            It is true, I have read this in more than one place, and I will continue to try to find something on it that I can post. It is the reason there are still refugee camps, do you think these Palestinians chose to remain stateless for 64 years?

          • Deïr Yassin November 6, 2012, 10:11 AM

            @ Mary
            “Do you think these Palestinians chose to remain stateless for 64 years”
            I didn’t suggest anything like that. I reacted to your claim that “the Arab countries were forbidden by the UN from integrating Palestinians or offering them citizenship”. I say that it’s the different Arab countries who have decided not to give the Palestinians citizenship – for various reasons. First of all, particularly just after the Nakba, it would be implicitly recognizing the State of Israel. That’s also why the Arab countries voted against resolution 194 in 1948 but with resolution 3236 (1974), the Right of Return has become inalienable.
            Refugee camps and statelessness isn’t always linked. In Jordan, only a minority of the Palestinian refugees live in camps, and some camps are not really camps but rather neighbourhoods such as Yarmouk in Damascus.
            Lebanon is a particular case with discriminations in many aspects of life. If it was the UN forbidding Lebanon from granting Palestinians Lebanese citizenship, why has the same UN helped ten of thousands of Palestinians from Lebanon to a new life in Scandinavia (20.000-30.000 only in Denmark), Germany, Canada, even Chile.
            Just to show what I wrote before about obtaining the Lebanese citizenship depending on your religious background:
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_refugee#Lebanon
            Syria is different: except the citizenship, the Palestinians have all rights and can settle down freely, buy property etc but this is a Syrian, and not a UN decision.
            I’m not saying you’re wrong, I’m just very surprised because I’ve never heard anything about the UN being involved in preventing granting citizenship to Palestinian refugees.

          • mary November 6, 2012, 10:57 AM

            The more I think of it, the more I think it was in Hart’s book “Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews.” The idea was to discourage Arab nationalism, including recognizing that there was a Palestinian people, and went along with the UN plan to strictly control the influx of weapons into the Arab countries. I wish I had a copy of Hart’s book here; I would love to check and see if he was the one who wrote about this.

          • Deïr Yassin November 6, 2012, 12:44 PM

            It’s one of the books that I never got to read. It’s on a list getting longer and longer. Lots of things still has to be uncovered around the Palestinian issue – the UN vote in 1947, the black-mailing etc. The Zionist collusion with the Arab leaders at the time etc.
            I just can’t imagine why the UN would prevent the Palestinians from taking up citizenship in the various different Arab countries, whereas – to be honest – lots of Arab states had/has an interest in keeping the Palestinians stateless. I’ll never foregive the Syrian regime for accusing the Palestinians of being behind the first uprising in Latakia in the spring of 2011.
            A couple of days ago I came across this article, the photo just made me sick, it’s like taken out of the Nakba, 400.000 Palestinians who helped to built that country were expelled in one week only because Arafat and the PLO sided with Saddam Hussein. People lost everything, once again….
            http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=16412
            PS. Good luck with the US presidential race: may the best win. Haha….

    • Tibor November 5, 2012, 1:33 PM

      Dieter, what got into you man? You throw tons of truth onto people`s face just like that? Don`t you know how hazardous can rude awakening be for people? Some sensitivity and consideration please!

      • Richard Silverstein November 5, 2012, 5:45 PM

        “Truth,” huh? More like hasbara. One person’s truth is a multitude’s hasbara.

        • Tibor November 5, 2012, 11:05 PM

          But, Richard, I think there is a fundamental error here in viewing ‘Hasabra” and Truth as mutually exclusive. It may very well be that an argument used by Israel to explain its position is at the same time also what really goes on (even if it is unpalatable to certain eras and is contrary to the paradigms that those people have constructed for themselves as a matter of psychological comfort)

          • Richard Silverstein November 6, 2012, 1:46 PM

            The fact is that hasbara COULD contain truth (and should). But the reality is that it almost never does. And that’s the tragedy of Israel’s current policies & the way they’re presented to the public.

  • Davey November 4, 2012, 1:46 PM

    Isn’t it possible that Erdogan wants something from the US and is just threatening to stir up the anti-Israel issues? What is it he wants?

    • mary November 5, 2012, 12:11 AM

      Perhaps he is reminding the world that there is another country besidses Iran who will not kowtow to Israel. Perhaps he will push for lifting the siege on Gaza by diplomatic means, and facilitate trade. Perhaps he is thanking Hamas for not supporting Assad. Or perhaps none of the above.

  • A minor nit-pick November 4, 2012, 2:02 PM

    Richard, you said: “Those who support the PA, including the Times, have a quaint notion that the PA is the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinian people, the address at which the conflict will be solved if it can ever be solved.”

    That statement is not correct, because since 1993 the universally-recognized sole legitimate prepresentative of the Palestinian PEOPLE has been the PLO.

    Israel recognizes that, as does the USA, and the UN, and the EU.

    Heck, even Hamas and Fatah both accept that it’s only PLO officials who enter the negotiating tent.

    That’s why Israel only negotiates final-status issues with the likes of Abbas (Chairman of the PLO, as well as President of the PA), and/or Erakat (a senior PLO official, but who holds no office in the PA whatsoever).

    Israel will talk to PM Faayid on lots o’ topics, but they are topics to do with this endless occupation i.e. issues such as the paying of wages, or the issuing of permits, or to tell him why they aren’t transferring the tax receipts this month.

    But final-status issues? Israel will no more discuss those issues with the PA (or Fatah) than it will with Hamas.

    Or, put another way: politicial parties like Hamas and Fatah may argue about who should run the PA (which is less-than-a-government), but both those parties agree that the PLO must represent the Palestinian PEOPLE in “peace-talks”, precisely because the Palestinian PEOPLE are not just those who are in Gaza and the West Bank – there are also the Palestinian rotting away in refugee camps all over the M.E.

    And – with all the best will in the world – the PA can’t pretend it respresents *anyone* except those who live in the occupied territories.

    • Richard Silverstein November 5, 2012, 1:13 AM

      In technical terms, what you say it right. But in practical terms, Fatah right now is the PA & Fatah represents no one but the West Bank, if that. There can be no agreement that satisfies the interests/wishes of the Palestinians that doesn’t include all major factions. You could do that via a referendum, but I don’t see how you gain Hamas’ support by excluding them or claiming they’re not a legitimate partner or party.

      As for the PLO, I don’t see Hamas represented within the PLO. But Palestinians can correct me if I’m wrong. When the PLO can become a body representing all the major factions & not just Fatah and its allies, then it will be a serious, legitimate body.

  • A minor nit-pick November 5, 2012, 3:51 AM

    Richard says: “But in practical terms, Fatah right now is the PA & Fatah represents no one but the West Bank, if that.”

    Umm, I not sure that statement is correct either, since my understanding is that the office-holders of the PA in the West Bank are all APPOINTED by Abbas, and the deal struck with the EU/USA meant that his appointees are all technocrats.

    Heck, even the Prime Minister is not a member of Fatah, nor are any of his cabinet.

    But, yes, the Palestinian Authority only has “authority” over the West Bank, which is precisely why it does not even pretend that it represents the Palestinians in final-status talks with Israel i.e. it does not hide the fact that it “lacks the authority” to do so.

    Richard: “There can be no agreement that satisfies the interests/wishes of the Palestinians that doesn’t include all major factions.”

    Oh, look, I agree completely with that statement, as does Fatah and Hamas.

    But this is a chicken-and-eggs problem i.e. SOMEONE has to talk to Israel regarding what is (and what isn’t) in that final-status agreement, and both Fatah and Hamas agree that this “somebody” is the Palestine Liberation Organization.

    The only difference is that Fatah – by definition – is already on-board with whatever draft agreement Abbas strikes with Bibi, whereas Hamas insists that any such agreement must be ratified by a referendum.

    Or, put another way: no matter how much argy-bargy goes on behind the scenes (and this happens with both sides, of course) there is only one “voice” on both sides of the table when Palestine Talks To Israel, and those are:
    1) The Palestine Liberation Organization, and
    2) The Government of Israel.

    But Bibi is under the same restraint as Abbas i.e. Bibi can “agree” to withdraw from the entire West Bank, but if he does that then there is no way he will be able to avoid becoming the victim of either a military coup or an assassination attempt, whichever comes first.

    Richard: “As for the PLO, I don’t see Hamas represented within the PLO.”

    True enough, because the EU/USA will certainly pull the plug on Abbas if he agreed to that.
    But, then again, I don’t see Kadima represented in The Government of Israel either.

    But I’ll repeat this point: Hamas has said – repeatedly – that they are happy to see the PLO negotiate on behalf of the Palestinian People so long as everyone understands that:
    1) Any proposed agreement is put to a referendum and
    2) Hamas will accept that proposal If and ONLY IF that referendum is held.

    Richard: “When the PLO can become a body representing all the major factions & not just Fatah and its allies, then it will be a serious, legitimate body.”

    Well, look, you are setting a bar that even Netanyahu could not jump over i.e. nobody disputes that he has the authority to negotiate a final status agreement on behalf of “Israel”, even though nobody would argue that this Likud-led coalition is “a body representing all the major factions”.

    It isn’t. That’s why there is an “opposition”.

  • mary November 6, 2012, 11:03 AM

    This may help to explain why the UN likes having Palestinian refugees:

    http://www.middleeastpiece.com/arabrefugees_whystillhere.html

    • Piotr Berman November 6, 2012, 4:07 PM

      mary, this is extremely suspicious website. Not only it is Hasbarah, it is fully anonymous Hasbarah. “UN” of course is not an entity that “may like something” but an organization of states with very disparate goals.

      It is quite instructive to read the “piece” about the “dubious” number of refugees. Among various quibblings “how could it happen that as Israel kept expelling Palestinians the number of refugees was growing”, there are total howlers, like a conjecture that some Lebanese pretend to be Palestinians — given extreme limitations put on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, only peculiarly insane people would do so.

      • mary November 7, 2012, 2:07 AM

        I know what I posted. What I wanted to point out is the mindset behind the refugee problem. Many Palestinians I have spoken with have shared the opinion that the occupation has become an industry – it supports the population, brings donations into the NGO’s, and the downside is that it all maintains the status quo. Aid is aid – it is not reform or liberation. NGO’s may be supporting the continuation of the occupation, and this is also why the problem of refugees remains unsolved.

    • Davey November 6, 2012, 5:53 PM

      Yes, it is hasbara and anonymous. The “facts” are wrong. It is claimed that the dispossession of Palestinian Arabs was a consequence of the war launched against the new state of Israel wherein the land was confiscated. In fact, 400,000 Palestinians were “cleansed” in the period between the end of the mandate and the declaration of the State of Israel, i.e. the majority of the Arab population before any Arab army invaded the new state or the land that was the mandate previously.

      (Mary — I could be surprised you would cite this site, so to speak, but I think you may be anxious about the hoopla made of the comment about UN and the refugee status of displaced Arabs and did not read enough of the material.With respect to that matter, I doubt that any party was interested in changing the “refugee” status of these people but Israel as it embodied the grievance, which was apparently later described as “inalienable.”)

      • mary November 7, 2012, 2:09 AM

        Sorry I should have explained why I was posting it.

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