BY YOEL MARCUS
The cancellation of the international air exercise with Turkey is no big deal. It harms the strategic interests and international standing of Turkey more than Israel. Even when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan explains his decision by saying the Israel Air Force killed children with phosphorous bombs during Operation Cast Lead, he is harming his country’s security interests more than Israel’s.
During the battles against the Kurds in southern Turkey, to say nothing of the Armenians, the cruelty involved would not put Turkey on the list of candidates for the Nobel Prize in Mercy. But don’t expect any television series on this subject in Istanbul.
The NATO air drill, with the participation of the American army, is first and foremost of benefit to Turkey’s security and its drive to join the European Union. But Turkey’s rapprochement with Syria brings it closer to the Axis of Evil than to the EU.
If Erdogan’s intention is to weaken the supreme authority of the Turkish army and its ability to defend democracy in that country, it may be wise to tell him now that he shouldn’t mess with Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s heritage – which entrusted the army with guarding both democracy and the secular nature of the regime.
Ataturk would turn over in his grave were he to find that the republic he founded is on its way to becoming part of the Axis of Evil.
Over the past year, Israel has found itself having to fight for its honor and reputation, and has become the world’s doormat. As if Israel’s history of wars (about one every six years), two intifadas and many terror attacks on its civilian population were not enough suffering, Hamas rained Qassam rockets and mortar shells on the communities in the south of the country for eight years.
No one spoke out against this, and no one’s conscience was pricked, not that of Erdogan or of any other bleeding hearts, wherever they may be.
Moreover, Hamas fighters carried out a massacre of Fatah supporters in Gaza and the entire world watched as the functionaries of Fatah were tossed to their deaths from the rooftops. Not one Islamic country demanded Hamas stop the massacre.
How is it that no Goldstone panels were set up to examine the destruction Hamas sowed in Gaza or the murderous attacks that the terrorist organizations perpetrated on women and children in the heart of Israel?
Just as Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak is busy arranging an agreement and turns out to be the most level-headed leader in the region, King Abdullah of Jordan suddenly warns us that he is planning to recall his ambassador to Amman.
With all due respect to his majesty, he should be more restrained in view of the constant threat that the Palestinians will flood his kingdom. He also has no reason to rejoice over the connection between Syria and Turkey. It was via Syria that Iran transported the missiles and weapons it sent to Hamas and Hezbollah. And it was Israel’s ultimatum that prevented a Syrian invasion of Jordan during Black September.
But now Israel finds itself having to defend its honor and reputation. What has happened? Is the whole world really against us once again?
In my opinion, only one thing has changed. It is the emergence of the “Obama effect,” similar to the theory that when a butterfly flaps its wings in Brazil it can cause a tornado in Texas.
In the eyes of Israel’s enemies, the election of Barack Obama has turned what was considered the unwavering American support of Israel into something that is not taken for granted any more. And when the nuclear-producing Ahmedinejad calls the Holocaust a lie, it is clear whom he is threatening.
The “Obama effect” is encouraging Iran. Dialogue? Go for it. The Iranians are known for their salesmanship – when someone asks the owner of a carpet store the time, he will end up buying three rugs before getting an answer.
Anyone who expected Obama to put Israel at the top of his priorities made a mistake. After eight months in the White House, one can see that his emissary George Mitchell has drawn a blank.
But Obama has no intention of subduing Israel. He is a president who believes in dialogue but who can be resolute when necessary. For Israel’s good.
Netanyahu took a giant step forward when he proposed two states for two peoples. But that is not enough for them and they want more and more. To be more accurate, they themselves do not know what they want.
Gaza will be just Gaza? And the West Bank will be just the West Bank? And will there be no union between them?
The problem is that there is no Palestinian leader today who can speak in the name of a Palestinian state. When they were at Camp David, Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat some 97 percent of the territories, and Arafat was the only person who had the authority to decide.
But instead of holding talks, he initiated the second intifada during which he himself died under mysterious circumstances.
Go to Washington, Bibi was advised time and again. He went and he came back; he went and came back and offered them what he had proposed during his speech at Bar-Ilan University.
Mahmoud Abbas is acting out of anger. The more we help the West Bank to flourish and to take care of its security, the more he bad-mouths us, and the same holds true of what he has done in the wake of the Goldstone report.
Still, the fact that the Palestinians are once again missing an opportunity does not free Netanyahu of the need to do everything possible to implement his plan for two states for two peoples. That is the only way for him to be recognized as Israel’s leader.
See Related: BARACK OBAMA PRESIDENCY
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