Turkey Forced Israel to Release All Flotilla Prisoners
Dimi Remez brings word of some startling Israeli reports explaining Israel’s sudden about face in agreeing to release all prisoners held from the Gaza flotilla. Prime minister Erdogan demanded that Israel release all Turkish prisoners, wounded and killed. He threatened to break off diplomatic relations if Israel refused. And finally he sent three military planes to Israel before Israel agreed to his ultimatum. Now that’s a man of action. Keep in mind that as recently as a few hours before this Israel was telling the world it couldn’t possibly release them because Israeli law required that those illegally entering the country (!) first be detained for 42 hours before they could be released.
First Yediot’s report:
Yesterday, the Turkish authorities demanded that Israel release all 350 of the Turkish citizens who were among the 600 foreign detainees. For this purpose, the Turks sent three military planes to Israel and demanded to be given all the injured and detained persons and the bodies of those who were killed.
And then Maariv’s:
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has managed to really frighten Israel. Yesterday evening Israel announced that it would deport all the Turkish flotilla detainees, including those suspected of participating in the lynch of the IDF commandos.
Through his Foreign Minister, Erdogan transmitted a message to Israel in two stages: first, he demanded that all the wounded, along with those that did not participate in the attack on the soldiers, be deported immediately; later he demanded that all the hundreds of Turkish civilians held in Beersheva — about 350 — be repatriated immediately. He even sent for this purpose two military ambulance planes and threatened that if his demand was not met, it would be impossible to repair relations between the two countries.
For over three hours, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Ministers of the Security-Diplomatic cabinet discussed the issue. Ministers Yitzhak Aharonivitch, Yaakov Neeman and Benny Begin were against the release; Ministers Ehud Barak, Eli Yishai and Avigdor Lieberman were for it; in the end Netanyahu decided — all would be released, or deported. The result would be the same: None would be prosecuted.
The deportation was already beginning, as buses transported the Turks to Ben Gurion Airport. The minute a plane filled-up, it took off.
When I reported on this development yesterday I knew that Bibi would never have agreed to such a thing on his own. I knew there had to be extraordinary pressure from some external actor. I’d hoped possibly it would’ve been Barack Obama. But his statements so far including as recently as this morning have been hopelessly limp and tone deaf. It turns out Turkey itself intervened and forced Bibi’s hand. And so as not to appear to be yielding to Turkey (and because all the other countries whose nationals were imprisoned would’ve demanded the same outcome), Bibi decided to release everyone.
Extraordinary. And further proof in case you needed any that Turkey has become, almost by accident, a leading player in the Israeli-Arab conflict. This article in the Washington Post analyzes that nation’s new stature in international affairs. Israel will have to reckon with this new development. If it doesn’t and decides to go off half-cocked into its next military adventure, it may find some very strong men in Turkish military uniforms that it will have to deal with.
Now a few words on my weak-kneed president: the latest from him is that while we fully expect Israel to mount a full, credible investigation of this “unfortunate incident,” we’re prepared to see some sort of international involvement. Don’t ask me what this means. I’m sure even Obama doesn’t have a clue. As for ending the siege of Gaza: fuhgedaboudit. Obama ain’t goin’ there. No way, no how. Too touchy. Too many Aipac directed voters to worry about. Obama will just wait for this to play out and hope it goes away. After all, he’s got to stick his finger in an oil well before the entire Gulf coast votes solid Republican in the next election.
Hey, I sympathize. I really do. But what will it take for him to exercise some real leadership? A major military incident between Israel and Turkey? Will that do?
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- Israel deports last of flotilla activists (guardian.co.uk)
26 thoughts on “Turkey Forced Israel to Release All Flotilla Prisoners – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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I hope Erdogan keeps riding this. And I hope he doesn’t overplay his hand. He’s taking a big risk, given the wiliness of Israel: you never know what kind of career-destroying fiction they will come up with.
I realize this is small potatoes this week, but apparently Goldstone is in the process of being kicked off the Board at Hebrew University:
PS: It seems I’m not the only one who’s a bit worried on behalf of Erdogan and Turkey:
The commanding officer of the raid says, “They wanted to kill us.”
Let’s see now, hot-shot Israeli commandos rappel down ropes in the middle of the night, with dozens of IDF warships around, helicopter overhead, armed to the teeth, in the context of Israeli invasion of Gaza a few months earlier, blockaded Gaza, Zionist-stolen land and dispossessed Palestinians, etc.,etc. and the Captain of the raiders kvetches that the bad men wanted to kill them, the commandos.
Reminds me of a skit wherein the prosecutor demands of the innocent, “Did you or did you not place your head directly in the path of swinging club?”
I do think that in his heart of hearts Obama knows better, but American politics is American politics (until blogs like this change public opinion). So there it is:
“U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday defended Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip and its decision to intercept the pro-Palestinian flotilla bringing humanitarian aid to the coastal territory, though he did not go so far as to defend the Israel Navy raid that killed nine people two days earlier.”
‘Turkey has become by accident…’
As I recall, back before the days of Attaturk (who Erdogan despises) Turkey ruled Gaza and the whole area for a long time (I would say imperialistically).
Erdogan remembers the Turkish-run Caliphate. No accident.
He must be a lot older than he looks.
Attaturk is considered the father of modern day Turkey. Despite the fact that Attaturk was a devout secularist, I strongly doubt Erdogan “despises” him & would be interested to see if you can support that statement.
Ah, so Erdogan’s goal is to re-establish the Ottoman Empire. That’s about as credible as the idea that I’m going to win the lottery tomorrow. No, it’s less credible than that. Much less.
Dave Boxthorn, that’s a foolish comment. The man was getting back his dead, wounded, and illegally imprisoned. Why are you talking about the Caliphate for God’s sake? Get real.
As for America, a nice, well spoken, weak leader chosen by a nation in pain. Now what? The pain just deepens, the lies grow thicker, the future ever more dim.
The Prime Minister of Turkey makes two calls to Israel and gets results. The President of the United States only gets insults and problems from Israel.
Yesterday Tony Jones of the Australian ABC’s “Lateline” interviewed the German parliamentarian Annette Groth who was among the peace activists. Though she was below deck to escape the attackers she rubbished the idea that these were set upon with iron bars. As far as she knows there were only two and a half wooden clubs around (that ‘half’ is a curious detail but makes, somehow, her account more authentic – a precise people those Germans).
She spoke to a camera man about that now notorious Israeli video in which you see club swinging persons presumed to be the activists. His opinion was that the thing was doctored, as I have suspected all along. People who forge passports “in the national interest” wouldn’t hesitate to doctor a video.
Groth said that their trouble is now that the Israelis confiscated all their photographic material so that they don’t have anything to back up their side of the story with.
Here is the video of the interview:-
I also wonder about that picture of a bearded man wielding a knife that you see everywhere now. The caption in Haaretz reads: “An activist on board the Gaza flotilla holding a knife after Israel Navy commandos boarded their ship on May 31, 2010.”
How on earth can this description be correct? The picture was clearly taken during some kind of photo session, as there is a group of relaxed photographers hanging around on all sides. One of them, who was obviously standing in front of the man, took this picture. The journalists on the boat would have long been chased downstairs after the Israeli commando’s boarded the boat, so this caption makes absolutely no sense. Also, the picture is steady and in focus, quite different from the images of the raid we have seen so far.
Was this caption provided by the IDF spokesperson that, according to Haaretz, also provided the picture? And was this caption simply adopted by Haaretz without question?
If so, this is already one proven IDF lie.
Who took the photo? It’s ridiculous hasbara.
I suspect that with or without the activists’ photos and video, there is a lot of explaining to do.
So here it is (from Mohamed Vall, reporter for Al Jazeera who was on the Mavi Marmara): “I have been shown the picture of a Yemeni man – and this is ridiculous – who was on the ship and most people know that every Yemeni in the world has a Yemeni style knife, that is a cultural thing and does not have anything to do with violence.
I understand now that in Israel they are trying to make a big deal about that, saying that the boat was full of violent people and just because of that one man.”
What do these propagandists take us for? It may be a minor little trick, but it has just made them lose the last bit of credibilty with me.
This will be hard to explain:
A U.S. citizen who lived in Turkey is among the nine people killed when Israeli commandos stormed a Turkish aid ship heading for the Gaza Strip, officials said today. The victim was identified as Furkan Dogan, 19, a Turkish-American. A forensic report said he was shot at close range, with four bullets in his head and one in his chest, according to the Anatolian news agency.
RE: “As for ending the siege of Gaza: fuhgedaboudit. Obama ain’t goin’ there. No way, no how. Too touchy. Too many Aipac directed voters to worry about…” – Silverstein
Money makes the world go around
The world go around
The world go around
Money makes the world go around
It makes the world go ’round.
A mark, a yen, a buck, or a pound
A buck or a pound
A buck or a pound
Is all that makes the world go around,
That clinking clanking sound
Can make the world go ’round…
“Money” ~ Liza Minnelli, Joel Grey (02:56) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkRIbUT6u7Q
P.S. MO’ MONEY ~ The Wayans Bros. (03:32) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jukQX2pl2Q
For those of you who insist these were all peace activists:
“Israel claims.” So this means it’s true, right? Give us a break.
I would have thought that Obama would have at least made a show of concern about the well-being of the activists, and paid some attention to their side of the story, but the way he is handling this reminds me of the time he gave an MP3 player to Queen Elizabeth. Tacky, utterly insensitive and politically tone deaf.
In Israel you hear a lot that “Arabs understand only force”.
Well, at the very least it takes one to know one.
Mary, is that fair on Obama? I read that he rang Erdogan to ‘express his deep condolences’ with the loss of life and injuries. Also, his Secretary of State said recently that the situation in Gaza was ‘unsustainable and unacceptable’. This can of course be read in various ways but I take it that she was referring to the Israeli blockade. And she wouldn’t say such a thing unless she had Obama’s imprimatur for it.
Sadly it is also true that the US has blocked or has attempted to block an international inquiry into the massacre because the local authorities must have a chance to do so first. Yeah, fat chance.
Arie, they’re commenting on the situation, not what happened to our activists and how they were brutally murdered by a lawless regime running roughshod over international laws.
No condemnation of Israel’s actions, only on the “unfortunate situation” in Gaza.
first I wanted to say that I like your blog a lot. I don’t always agree with everything, but I have started to regard it as a good alternative news source to the conventional media.
Maybe you have some insight about the role of Egypt in the whole story:
Don’t you actually think that the fact that Egypt has opened the border with Gaza temporarily means that the siege has de-facto ended with the help of Mubarak? If this is the case, I believe that the international efforts to help Gaza should be routed through Egypt from now on. It sounds to me that the aid will have a larger chance of arriving to Gaza that way.
Doyle McManus writes in the LA Times that the White House hopes that backing Israel now will pay off on issues that are more important than the immediate controversy.
That approach has never worked in the past. America (and my own cute little Netherlands) keep backing, and backing, and backing, and backing, and backing Israel, over and over again, hoping that advice from a friend will be listened to. It never happens.