Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hey WINEP: What About the Gazans?

In today's NYT appears an op-ed by two denizens of the Israel lobby's favorite think-tank (WINEP) encouraging the US to exercise its influence (say what?) to push Turkey and Israel toward a reconciliation on the matter of the Mavi Marmara incident.

If you've forgotten -  IDF commandos boarded a Turkish freighter that was trying to run Israel's blockade of Gaza and provide humanitarian assistance to its people.  The ensuing mayhem led to the deaths of nine on board (one of them a US citizen - not a peep from Mr. Obama's people) and the injuring of some of the commandos.  Since then, Turkey's government has demanded an apology from Mr. Netanyahu - unsurprisingly, to no avail.

Now, the afore-mentioned WINEPers (Messrs. Herzog and Cagaptay) insist that the time is right for a reconciliation, if only the US is willing to jump in and push the two sides together.  Their reasoning is strictly real politik: common interests in thwarting Iran's ambitions, common concerns about Syria and the Arab Spring in general.

But, as perhaps one ought to expect from the Likud's favorite think-tank in DC, not a word about why the Turkish flotilla was trying to run the blockade in the first place: to alleviate the suffering of the people of Gaza.

Nor is it surprising that the word "Palestinians" never appears in the op-ed.  The turbulence in Syria and Egypt (and Yemen), along with Bibi's constant hyper-inflating of the Iranian "nuclear threat," has provided perfect cover for the Israelis to keep Gaza in lock-down and off the media radar.

Something else that Herzog and Cagaptay don't address: Turkish public opinion and the possible reactions to a reconciliation with Israel.  What they outline as part of any deal includes essentially a non-apology apology from the Israel government, supposedly then opening the way to Israel and Turkey (as they put it) "making nice."

Somehow, I'm hard pressed to believe that that's gonna fly with the Turkish people . . . who, by the way, get to vote.

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