Saturday, September 10, 2011

Israel's Escalating Isolation

From the Israeli press, via War in Context, a report that Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman intends to go after Turkey by

  • consulting with the head of the Armenian lobby in the US as a step toward encouraging Congress to pass a resolution condemning Turkey's refusal to acknowledge the Armenian genocide during World War I
  • providing encouragement and assistance to the Kurdish nationalist/terrorist group the PKK, with which Turkey is now in a virtual state of war.

As Paul Woodward notes as WiC,

The PKK is a “U.S. Government Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations” in the State Department’s current list of foreign terrorist organizations [2]. In the event that Israel starts providing the PKK with weapons, Israel itself will need to be considered for inclusion in the State Department’s list of State Sponsors of Terrorism. Were it to be listed, this would mean that it would be illegal for the United States to continue providing military aid and economic assistance to Israel.

I'm sure that our AIPAC-bought Congress will be quick to consider an Armenian genocide resolution, and I also suspect that as they paint Turkey's leader Mr. Erdogan as the newest incarnation of Islamist/terrorist/anti-Israel "evil," they may opt to take the PKK off the list of foreign terror organizations.  Except that Turkey will have something to say about that.  Turkey only this week agreed to host a missile-defense radar system that the US has been pushing as a poke in the eye of Iran.  They have the option of changing their minds.

And on top of the news that the Israeli embassy staff has fled Cairo in the wake of demonstrators' takeover of the building, and that the nations of the UN General Assembly will almost certainly grant observer status to a new state of Palestine (which opens up new avenues - such as the International Criminal Court - with which to pressure and further isolate Israel), it's obvious that Israel's isolation in the region is worsening by the day.  Israel might be able to fix its rupture with Turkey by giving Mr. Erdogan the apology he has demanded for the IDF's killing of nine Turkish citizens on the Mavi Marmara, which was intercepted while trying to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza several months ago; but Mr. Netanyahu has proclaimed, very publicly and very emotionally, that no such apology will be forthcoming.  The next flotilla to depart from Turkey to run the blockade will be escorted by Turkish warships.   Meanwhile, Turkey is very publicly courting the Egyptian military government.  The generals may not be buying all that Mr. Erdogan wants to sell, but the fact of the matter is that Erdogan is a hero on the very angry Egyptian street.  They would reject Erdogan's embrace at their own peril.

Someone needs to fold; and Turkey seems to have the better cards, and the regional momentum.  Israel . . . not so much.  Meanwhile, the US can do little more than implore, wring its hands, and - as we noted above - take rash actions in Congress that will likely keep the AIPAC campaign funds rolling in, even as history passes the US by.

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