Monday, June 7, 2010

Israel and the aid convoy: How to make enemies

Israel's defiant reaction to the raid on the Gaza aid convoy is almost as appalling as the attack itself


The Guardian, Monday 7 June 2010

"....There are real questions to answer, such as testimony that shots were fired before the commandos hit the deck of the Mavi Marmara, that the victims had multiple gunshot wounds to the head, apparently contradicting the claim that commandos only fired in self-defence. There is also testimony that backs the claim that soldiers were seized and stripped of their weapons before others stormed aboard. This evidence is unlikely to be tested by an Israeli inquiry and the rest of the world, particularly the Muslim one, will conclude that it is because Israeli commanders have something to hide.

Turkey is unlikely to take the shooting of its citizens lying down. Even less so, now that the Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman has branded the Turkish prime minister Reccep Erdogan an Islamic extremist. This week Istanbul will host a Eurasian security summit, attended by eight presidents, which will rapidly turn into an international forum for condemning Israel and its illegal siege of Gaza. Alienating not only 72 million Turks, but the only Muslim member of Nato, will have repercussions for Israel that spread far and wide. Day by day, Israel is isolating itself both from international law and world opinion.

The cost of underwriting the self-destructive behaviour of its strategic partner in the Middle East is starting to mount exponentially in Washington. Both Barack Obama and General David Petraeus have adversely linked the Arab-Israeli conflict to America's own security interests. First came Mr Netanyahu's refusal to stop construction in Arab East Jerusalem; now Israel has picked a fight with a key Muslim ally. Israel's refusal to accept an international inquiry will only add weight to the view that it has become a strategic liability to the interests of the country that guarantees its survival. Mr Netanyahu would be foolish to assume that Mr Obama is not drawing the same conclusion."

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