Israel-Turkey standoff

The UN report on the Turkish-led aid flotilla has run into controversy. It has been dubbed as a document sans consensus. Both the Israeli and Turkish members of the panel that authored the report distanced themselves from it as it said that Israeli commandos faced “organised and violent resistance from a group of passengers” while Israeli forces acted with “excessive and unreasonable force”. The UN report becomes meaningless once the two countries disassociated themselves from it. Turkey demanded that Israel apologise for killing innocent passengers, pay compensation and take steps regarding the blockade. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country would not apologise over the incident as it “has the full and basic right to defend itself”. In the wake of this confrontation, Turkey suspended military agreements with Israel and its foreign minister announced: “Turkey-Israel diplomatic relations have been reduced to a second secretary level. All personnel above the second secretary level will be sent home by Wednesday at the latest.” Turkey will now challenge Israel’s Gaza blockade in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The tone of exchanges between the two countries has become increasingly bitter, which is why the UN, European nations and the US have asked the two countries to mend their relations and repair ties. Turkey was one of the few Muslim countries that had diplomatic relations with Israel but now it has stood up against Israeli arrogance and for its own citizens.

The Gaza blockade has no justification in international law and is completely illegal despite Israel’s stand that it is necessary to prevent Hamas from obtaining weapons. Even if Hamas is able to get weapons if the blockade is removed, that is no reason to collectively punish the Palestinians on the basis of this assumption. The way Israel handled the aid flotilla incident, attacking the flotilla when it was far outside Israel's exclusion zone off the Gaza coast, was the way the Zionist state usually handles such situations. Turkey has quite rightly disagreed with the UN report but the pressure on both countries shows that the west’s interests in the region are under threat from this breach between two allies. Using excessive force for Israel’s self-conceived notion of security is not justified under any circumstances. But as has been seen in the past, the west turns a blind eye to Israel’s human rights violations while pressurising the Palestinians unduly. It is time for the UN to demand that Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza be lifted and the world should back the UN on this. Tyranny by any country, no matter how powerful, should never be tolerated.

(my editorial in Daily Times)

Comments

Anonymous said…
A biased post. So typical of the Muslim mind set. What is the locus of Turkey or its citizens to try and breach a blockade? Secondly, why should Israel have waited for the flotilla to actually enter Israeli waters or EEZ when the intention of the flotilla was to breach an Israeli blockade. Talking of arrogance and tyranny, first have a look at Iranian President and the Turkish PM's statements vis-a-vis Israel before passing comments on Israel.

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