Most Israelis greeted Netanyahu’s apology to Turkey for “operational errors” in the Mavi Marmara episode with mixed feelings to say the least. After various op-eds and articles assured us that the apology was simply in order to enable relations with Turkey to get back on track so that the two countries could cooperate on energy policy and countering the violence spilling into both countries from Syria, not to mention combating the malign influence of Iran on the entire region, the “frog” was swallowed.
As we learned last week, the apology didn’t have the desired effect at all, and the families of the Mavi Marmara victims said they were going to continue suing Israel even if they receive compensation. they didn’t say they were going to forego the compensation and sue. No, they want their money anyway. Then they’ll sue.
If we were inclined to give the benefit of the doubt, we could write off this spiteful attitude as the hurt feelings of individual families.
However yesterday we learned that Turkey has once again refused to allow Israel to participate in a NATO meeting:
An initiative to bring Israel and six Arab countries’ ministers together under NATO’s Mediterranean Dialogue group for the first time since 2008 has been nixed by Turkey and Egypt, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported Saturday.
“The general-secretary was planning to invite the foreign ministers of the Mediterranean Dialogue countries on the sidelines of the NATO foreign ministers meeting scheduled for April 23 but Turkey objected to the idea,” a Western diplomat told Hürriyet.
However, Ankara rejected the claim. “It’s not right that we have objected. This sort of meeting was not held since 2008 because of the political problems between Israel and Arab countries. At this stage, such a meeting would not be useful,” a Turkish official told Hurriyet.
Hmm. Saying that such a meeting would not be useful is most definitely the diplomatic equivalent of objecting. Not objecting would be to say “Yes, we welcome Israel’s participation”. The Turks are simply liars.
He further noted that Egypt and Tunisia, two members of the Mediterranean Dialogue, did not want to hold such meeting at this stage either.
So much for the democratic Arab Spring then, and its ostensible warming up to the West. Pathetic.
Established in 2004, the Mediterranean Dialogue brings Israel, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, Algeria and Jordan together with the purpose of contributing to regional security and stability.
However, the last time the group met at the foreign ministerial level was 2008 – a reflection of the ongoing dispute between Israel and the Arab world.
I would think it’s more a reflection of the internecine Arab blood-letting under the guise of the Arab Spring.
Western powers hoped Mediterranean Dialogue meetings could be resumed at the ministerial level following Israel’s apology to Turkey.
We’ll know better next time, won’t we.
The final paragraph quoted from Hurriyet reflects the warped thinking of Israel’s enemies;
Hurriyet estimated that even if Ankara did not object to the idea due to Israel’s participation, nixing the meeting is mostly to the disadvantage of Israel, which is the most eager member of the dialogue group.
Israel may be eager to join in order to bring about peace and stability to the region. But the Arabs (I include Turkey in this shorthand description) should not kid themselves that Israel will do absolutely anything to join. The people who would most gain from such a meeting are the Arab states themselves who are undergoing huge turmoil, not to mention bloodbaths and other violence against their citizens.
Israel is an island of peace, tranquility, stability and democracy and that won’t change because of a petty spiteful refusal from Turkey and its small-minded allies to allow Israel to join in a regional peace forum.
The biggest losers, as ever, are the Arabs and Turkey themselves.