Barnyard Frolics

#ErdoganInsultoftheDay :

The US loves Nutanyahoo more than you,
an extra-special relationship despite all you do,
so you’ll have to settle for second-best Merkel
and throwing your detractors into prison hell.

Hypocritical PolliesLudicrously, Germany retains an archaic law criminalising insults against foreign leaders which has enabled the litigious Erdogan to prosecute a German comedian who devised a satirical poem to test the limit of the German law. Eager to placate Turkey in order that it assist staunching the flow of refugees into Germany, Merkel has invoked this farcical anti-democratic law.

Whilst the poem may be very insulting indeed, political leaders getting their knickers in a knot over insults to the extent of imprisoning and prosecuting their lampooners is both sinister and side-splitting. Copping insults on the chin is obligatory for politicians who don’t wish to become global laughing stocks.

‘Among other things, the poem said Erdogan kicks Kurds, smacks Christians, all while watching child pornography. That’s one of the few lines we can repeat on NPR. It also imagines the Turkish president committing acts of bestiality.’

‘Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday authorised a Turkish demand for a German TV comedian to be prosecuted over a crude satirical poem about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a bitter row over free speech.’

‘Since becoming President in August 2014, Mr Erdogan has filed 1,845 court cases against individuals for insulting him.’

So sue me, Turdogan,
I’ll donate scatological verbosity
and poke fun at your litigious pomposity!

On Orientalism, Islam and Feminism

Runnig toward destinyOn World Bulletin, Levent Basturk provides analysis on the role of orientalist western disciplines on development within islamic countries, and how this phenomena serves capitalism, noting that:

“The Orientalist viewed Asiatic society as a society whose social structure was characterized by the absence of civil society. In other words, a network of institutions mediating between the individual and the state is absent. The conditions for Oriental despotism were created as a result of the absence of these institutions because the individual was exposed to the arbitrary rule of the despot. The absence of civil society simultaneously explained the failure of capitalist development outside Europe and the absence of democracy. Such an absence fortified the Orientalist explanation of Muslim psychology.

England was characterized by Marx as “the unconscious tool of history in bringing about … revolution.[19]

In light of this view, the societies of the Orient could only be changed and transformed by exogenous forces because of their internally static condition. This exogenous force is the destructive effect of capitalist imperialism and colonialism. What can be inferred from this belief is that the struggle of colonized nations against the historical growth of the capitalist mode of production was, by definition, a reactionary struggle. Like other major figures of sociology and political economy, Marx and Engels concluded that the economic backwardness of the Middle East resulted from the combination of social and political causes, of which the absence of a middle class of entrepreneurs was especially important.”

As a result of the information ‘revolution’, the insertion of the orientalist point of view is deepened because it is elites largely who have the access to the information network. What happens when knowledge and access to the net becomes further diffused? The Orient is strengthening its voice, regardless of impact by western capitalism.

With the rejection of the orientalist western Femen movement, for example, feminists within Islam assert the primacy of their narrative. As the Frustrated Arab highlights:

Simply stating that you are in solidarity, that you support a woman’s right to don the headscarf, remove it, cover/uncover etc. is in no way dubious. It is when aforementioned solidarity crosses the red line and veers into the seizure of native voices and the tokenization of these voices does this become intensely problematic, ineffective and perverse.

Also it has long been chronicled that women of colour are often left out of mainstream feminist discourse, unless it is by means of humanitarian imperialism channels where they are simply tokenised. Bell Hooks (Gloria Jean Watkins), a feminist, social activist, does a magnificent job describing this in much of her work.

In terms of the mounting questions in regards to how one is to raise awareness in light of such groups as FEMEN: you raise awareness by highlighting native voices, not co-opting them. It is your duty to amplify, not commandeer.

Lieberman to Guantanamo?

Israeli Parliamentary thug Avigdor Lieberman has done it again, clumsily threatening Turkey with arming the US terrorist group-designated PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, as well as using the Armenian genocide despicably to ignite the US congress against Turkey. These threats are likely to backfire heavily against Israel amongst the Turkish population who support their leaders’ firm stand on the Palmer Report. Erdogan consistently has demanded Israel apologise to the families of those it killed on the Mavi Marmara, pay them compensation and lift its illegal blockade on the people of Gaza. [UPDATE: Nutanyahoo has distanced himself from Lieberman’s extravagant threats.] {UPDATE 13/9/11 The PKK isn’t keen on Israel either: “PKK leader Murat Karay?lan told the pro-PKK Firat news agency on Monday that his group is a “principled organization” and that it is not a movement that “could be used against any state”]

As Israel strengthens its anti-Turkish hasbara, it is useful to be aware that some political interests in Turkey are either in concert with Israel and or use Israel for their own political ends against Erdogan and his party, the AKP. Turkey’s leaders have been explicit about the regional plan – the ‘zero problems with neighbours‘ policy – they are implementing. Maturely, the Turkish leadership is setting up strategic economic cooperation in order to harmonise and stabilise the region. These moves seem calculated to integrate with US hegemony and security concerns. Some of Turkey’s critics trivialise these initiatives as ‘neo-ottomanism’.

Turkey has a strategic interest in minimising Israeli belligerence which runs counter to regional security. Yet also, present Turkish leaders have displayed in common with the populace generally, an undeniably visceral reaction to Israeli crimes, notably on the international public stage from Erdogan’s walk-out at Davos following Israel’s Operation Cast Lead massacre.

Political analyst, Levent Basturk, explains the ethno-political context of PKK moves against the AKP-led Turkish government.

“This ethnicity issue in Turkey is definitely a “regime” issue. Unfortunately, the years of violence between the Kemalist regime and the PKK, which actually helped the cause of the status quo more than the Kurds, have created some sort of discontent among different groups, but seeing this conflict in terms of Turks vs Kurds is totally wrong.

First of all, the two populations are extremely mixed with each other. I am originally one of Eastern towns which is mixed with Kurds and Turks. If you look at the AKP leadership today, Erdogan is NOT ethnically Turkish; he is a Georgian. His wife is an Arab and he says this openly and publicly in demonstrations in mostly Turkish populated towns. And he is not losing votes, he’s gaining votes. The ministry of treasury, what could be the most valuable to a country other than this, is Kurdish, who addresses people in the local TV sometimes in Kurdish. I would say, at least one third of Erdogan’s cabinet are Kurdish. Don’t get me wrong. Turkey have always had Kurdish cabinet members. But here is the difference: these are the Kurds who don’t deny their Kurdishness, they even declare it proudly. AND the AKP party hierarchy includes many Kurds who don’t deny their Kurdishness. Let me add Erdogan’s advisors too. At least half of them are Kurdish. And one more note: outside Turkey, everyone is calling the Mavi Marmara victims Turkish, yet half of them were anti-PKK Kurds (pro-PKK Kurds in Israel celebrated the Mavi marmara massacre in front of the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv, youtube has the video).

Today, the city with most Kurdish population is NOT Diyarbakir or Erbil. It’s Istanbul. In Istanbul, the AKP is the most popular party among the Kurds. In the area which the PKK map shows as Kurdistan, in many cities the PKK-supported party doesn’t have even a serious presence. The area where they are popular is mostly the southeast. Even there, AKP is ahead of BDP in popular votes.
What has happened with minorities in Turkey has nothing to do with the Kurdish-Turkish divide. The problem was the nation-building project of the Young Turks in the last decade of the Ottomans and Mustafa Kemal following them. This is a complicated matter, which requires a book to explain. Amazingly, the ethnic Turkishness of some of the people who put this project into practice is a matter of dispute too! But they had a view of the world and wanted to design their society in accordance with it.

During the Mustafa Kemal era, after 1923, this project had two major components: secularism and being a Turk. Still, being a Turk was not again an ethnic category. It was actually being a good citizen and living in conformity of the norms of the new republic. If you were an ethnic Turk and didn’t fit those two categories, you were doomed too. Of course they denied the practice of any language other than Turkish. BUT they destroyed Turkish too. Today, a young person cannot understand books written 25 years ago properly. And don’t even mention the books written in the 60s, 50s and before. The idea, they said, was that the Persian and Arabic words must be eliminated from the Turkish language to create a national language. In fact, the main goal was to create a secular nation devoid of its historical Islamic roots and devoid of ties with the Islamic world because, otherwise, Turkey would not be able to catch up with contemporary western civilization. They were influenced by the French idea of “citizens of republic” not any sort of ethnic nationalism. This French idea of citizenship accepts every citizen as equal but denies the difference because you don’t need to be different if you are equal.

The issue is deep, so it’s impossible to explore it in every detail here. Let me mention the PKK version of the story: the PKK actually is an almost identical Kurdish imitation of the Kemalist model. That’s why it’s not very attractive to many Kurds as Kemalism has not been very attractive to many Turks. Those who call the PKK’s fight “Kurdish cause” are unfortunately looking at it from a certain ideological angle without looking at the reality on the ground.

Erdogan has done many things for the Kurdish issue; he says that they were not enough. BUt he says this clearly: the time of negation and assimilation is over. And he’s planning to have more reforms. There is criticism of him that he has been in power for almost a decade, yet he has done so little. This argument is missing a lot of things. Without depreciating the power of civilian and military bureaucracy he could not be able to do anything. There have been 7-8 coup attempts against him! Moreover, due to the violence since 1984, there is a discontent in the public. That must be handled carefully too. Today, the aim of the leadership of the BDP that refuses to take the oath in parliament is NOT really Kurdish rights! Their goal is to get the PKK leader, Ocalan, out of jail and they are playing with the Kurds for this purpose. Erdogan has mentioned many times: ‘I will have a new constitution and I want to negotiate with you’. But like the kemalists had Ataturk, the BDP has an atakurd, who is Ocalan. For them, the Kurdish matter is associated with getting him out of jail. Well, sorry foxes, this may happen perhaps 4-5 years later, but now, it’s almost impossible for the 90 percent of the people including more Kurds than the ones supporting Ocalan. There’s a lot to say, time is limited, space is not enough. These are my instant thoughts without giving much though about what I would say. So, if you don’t like them, don’t be quick in your judgement.

BUT LET ME SAY THIS CLEARLY: if anyone thinks Erdogan is acting as a Turkish nationalist or an ethnic Turk, they are wrong. He’s not an ethnic Turk and he has never been a Turkish nationalist in his life. Turkey is acting now this way under his leadership because Turkey has had a great social transformation within the last 3-4 decades. The old codes of society and state have changed. If you use the same parameters to judge Erdogan’s Turkey with old Turkey, you are wrong. He still has not entirely won his battle. That’s why you will see sometimes backward and forward steps. He may fail too. The fight is not over and the others want to return to power. Look at the criticism of the main opposition party CHP/RPP regarding developments after the Palmer report. They want to come back and their choice is Israel. I don’t think the PKK stands on the side of change in Turkey. It’s using the international public’s lack of information about what’s going on Turkey by giving an image that it’s same old turkey. No, the PKK is actually is part of the old Turkey with the Kemalist model it imitates and is on the side of Israel like the Kemalist party RPP/CHP.”

Related Links

Right-wing Israelis and the Kurds

These Israelis, Zionists and their friends only remember Kurds when their relations with Turkey are strained and when they are criticized by Turks. In other times, they are busy applauding Turkey, enjoying strong relations with and engaging in military co-operation with Turkey.

What is more, instead of supporting Turkish democracy in one way or another, these right-wing Zionists have always preferred to work with the anti-democratic Turkish generals and bombarded them with medals. These Israelis do not have any moral right to remind us of the Kurdish problem. Not because it does not exist, but because we are the ones who keep writing about it and criticizing what Israel’s good old friends in Turkey, the Kemalists, have done to the Kurds.

Netanyahu’s office distances itself from Foreign Minister’s planned measures against Turkey
Here comes the hasbaristic whining to divert from Israel’s crimes against humanity. Israel: Turkey threat of warships to Gaza ‘grave’ – and soon enough, the source of this hasbara is revealed by Today’s Zaman – this time it’s Al Jazeera and Reuters who have cobbled together Erdogan’s quotes out of context.
Palestinian civil society welcomes Turkey’s Decision to Suspend All Military Ties with Israel and Lower Diplomatic Relations
Why Turkey is bombing the PKK
Israel already arms the PKK according to this report
Palmer Report Release : Turkey Still Adamant
Waiting for the Palmer Report : Turkey Remains Firm
Good job IHH … Among possible suspects for flotilla criminal prosecutions: Peres, Netanyahu and Ashkenazi – Report: Turkey obtains names of flotilla raid soldiers

Palestine / Israel Links

Not content with exiling and impoverishing Palestinians, Jewish pro-Israel organisations want to prohibit their children’s art. h/t @Shunracat

Waiting for the Palmer Report : Turkey Remains Firm

In the past few weeks, the tumult of Israeli hasbara and magical thinking predicting the outcome of the delayed, dubious Palmer report into Israel’s attack of the MV Mavi Marmara and murder of 9 humanitarians on board, has been comically profuse.

Spokesman for the UN, Martin Nesirky on Tuesday said “the Secretary-General made clear that more time was needed; and when we get to that point we’ll let you know”.

In the UN notes of the press briefing by by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, the precise wording is this:

Question: Yes, it’s a follow-up to my earlier question. In the same BBC article there was — I am paraphrasing — but the article said that one of the reasons for more time being given for the report was that there were really frenetic negotiations going on between Turkey and Israel, and that the language could be toned down. If you’ve sent the report, can you tell me, is, was the language particularly harsh? And in what way does it need to be toned down? Is it the language itself, or is it a semantic thing or linguistic thing?

Spokesperson: Well, I haven’t sent the report, is the short answer. But what I would say is what we said at the time; and that is that there is clearly a need for the parties concerned to find consensus on the report, and the wording of the report. And that’s why more time was given.

Compare Haaretz, wherein the contents of the Palmer report are assumed before release:

Palmer says [sic] that although international law permits the interception of ships outside territorial waters, Israel should have taken control of the flotilla when the ships were closer to the limit of the naval blockade – 20 miles off the coast. Israel responded by saying that its interception of the flotilla so far from the coast was due to military and tactical considerations, following the organizers’ refusal to stop.

Meanwhile, the efforts to mend relations between Israel and Turkey have reached a deadlock yet again, said a senior political source in Jerusalem on Wednesday. According to the source, talks between Vice Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Turkish senior officials Wednesday in New York ended without conclusive results, and each side remains unrelenting in its stance.

“There is no agreement and no breakthrough on the horizon,” said the source. “Everything still depends on the (Turkish demand for an Israeli) apology. The report will be released soon and a compromise seems very unlikely.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has ordered the Turkish negotiation team not to back down from the demand for an official apology. Ya’alon told Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioglu that Israel will not apologize, but is willing to express sorrow for the flotilla’s tragic results.

Over the past two weeks there have been three rounds of negotiations between Ya’alon and Sinirlioglu – two of them took place in Europe and one in New York. They all ended in deadlock.

And the assumptions of Ynetnews:

‘Turkey is concerned over some of the clauses in the delayed report, which accuse the state of having ties with the IHH as well as direct involvement in the flotilla.

In addition, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stressed Wednesday that Ankara would continue to demand an apology and compensation for the nine casualties in the May 31 IDF flotilla raid.

Earlier Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said he does not believe Israel should offer such an apology. “There are some things I’m willing to discuss and some things I’m not willing to discuss. I will not have an apology harm Israel’s national dignity and I will not see IDF soldiers humiliated,” he said.

But Turkey remains adamant. “We have been saying the same thing since last year. Israel owes an apology and compensation. This is our principled stance on this matter,” he said.’

With Todays Zaman:

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, however, reiterated Turkey’s position that apology is a must to reestablish relations with Israel. “Israel slaughtered nine Turks, one of whom was a US citizen, in international waters,” Davutoglu said, while speaking at a joint press conference following talks with Mahmoud Jebril, chairman of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC), the Anatolia news agency reported.

“We said the same thing since last year. Israel must apologize and pay compensation for this issue,” he added.

And with AFP:

A UN-sponsored report accused Israel of using force prematurely and causing “unacceptable” deaths in its assault of a Gaza-bound ship that killed nine Turks over a year ago, a Turkish source said Thursday.

Israel refused to sign the report after a commission of inquiry concluded that its forces had acted in an “excessive” manner by swooping on the Mavi Marmara a long way from the Gaza Strip and without giving a final warning to the vessel.

The source said Turkey’s refusal to sign off on the report stemmed from the fact that it did not say Israel’s blockade of Gaza was illegal. Over the past year, Ankara has repeatedly said it was demanding apologies and compensation from Israel for the victims’ families.

Key to any reconciliation is Turkey’s demand that Israel apologise for its actions.

But Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reiterated his opposition to such a step in remarks to the parliamentary Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee.

“We have no interest in a confrontation with Turkey and we are in favour of renewing our relations with Turkey; we have no territorial dispute with Turkey and we are ready to reach a compromise,” he said.

“We are not prepared to be dictated to and we are not prepared to be humiliated or to abandon our troops.

“An apology is not a compromise — in my view, it is humiliation and abandonment of our soldiers,” he continued.

Regardless of whether the tainted Palmer inquiry appointed at the request of Ban Ki Moon says so or not, Israel’s blockade of Gaza is illegal as the Turkish source above says.

At the end of May 2011, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu emphasised

Turkey’s demands that Israel should end its blockade of the Gaza Strip and apologize and pay compensation for the killing of the nine Turks during the IDF’s raid on flotilla ship the Mavi Marmara last year.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged governments on Friday to discourage activists from launching a second Gaza flotilla, but Ahmet Davutoglu said democratic governments had no right to stop their people from challenging an illegal blockade.

In a flagrant piratical foray in May 2010, Israel murdered 9 humanitarians in international waters although the MV Mavi Marmara and other flotilla boats were sailing away from Gaza at the time.

Since then, Turkey has “cancelled dozens of military agreements, war games and military projects with Israel” and cancelled a project to sell Israel water.

Given Ankara’s adamant stance and actions to date, it’s unlikely that Erdogan will relent. Israel needs Turkey far more than Turkey needs Israel – a major destination for Israeli exports, democratic Turkey is a vibrant, growing economy led by mature, diligent politicians with an ability to conciliate on Israel’s behalf. Turkey does need however the approval of the balance of the region where it is arranging trade ties and mediating conflicts, not to be confused with ‘neo-Ottomanism’, of which some naive western orientalists accuse it.


See later post “Palmer Report Release : Turkey Still Adamant”

UPDATE 29/8/11

Haaretz [Barak Ravid] is at it again, inferring Turkish government intent and actions without sources, this time imagining an already drawn up reconciliation agreement.

‘Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu suggested a few days ago that the Palmer Report on the Israel Defense Forces’ raid of a Gaza-bound flotilla in which nine Turkish activists were killed, be delayed by six months.

The suggestion was made to the Turkish government and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, but Haaretz has learned that the Turkish government rejected Netanyahu’s proposal, claiming it was not serious.

An outline of the reconciliation agreement has already been approved by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and includes a softened Israeli apology for the events that occurred onboard the ship, in return for normalized relations with Turkey and a commitment on Turkey’s behalf not to take legal proceedings personally against the Israeli soldiers and officers involved.

Then at the bottom of the story, there’s an inkling of reality:

An official in Jerusalem said that Netanyahu told Clinton that Israel does not oppose the publication of the Palmer Committee’s report, but that the date of the report’s release depends on Ban Ki-moon.’

Note also that Haaretz again omits the tripartite nature of Turkey’s demands, focusing on the apology.

JPost carries a Channel 2 story that Nutanyahoo is snivelling to the US to delay the report. It then blames Turkey for initial delays in releasing the report and speculates wildly that Turkey wants to bury the report.

Compare Today’s Zaman, which quotes AP:

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday stated that he has been postponing the delivery of a UN panel report about Israel’s raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla that killed nine Turkish activists.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Ban said the purpose of the delay was to give the two governments more time to reach a “harmonious agreement” on its findings.

“It is important that these two countries improve their bilateral relationship,” Ban said, adding, “That is why I have given additional time.”

Earlier last week, diplomats at the UN headquarters told the Anatolia news agency that the report could be presented to Ban by Sept. 2.

The UN assessment, titled the “Palmer Report,” is expected to clarify what happened aboard the Mavi Marmara humanitarian aid ship, which set sail from Turkey last May but was aggressively stopped by Israeli commandoes, resulting in the deaths of nine peace activists aboard the ship. In the process of warming up relations between Israel and Turkey, the Palmer Report has faced multiple delays since its initial date of release in February of this year to allow the countries to reconcile. However, while Turkey considers a formal apology and compensation for the loss of life on the boat necessary conditions for reconciliation, Israel defends the killings as self defense and pleas that the charity campaign was an attempt to intimidate Israel triggered by the Turkish government, which vehemently denies involvement in the process.

AP omits the third demand of the Turkish government – the end of Israel’s illegal blockade on Gaza.

The Journal of the Turkish Weekly quotes the TFM:

The report will be made public after Ban makes an assessment on it. The report will also assume an important role in Turkey’s stance regarding Israel.

On Monday, a spokesperson for the Turkish Foreign Ministry said that UN had postponed the release of its report on the flotilla attack upon Israel’s demand.

UPDATE 22/8/11

Triangulating again.

Yet again Haaretz is parroting the Israeli government line that Turkey asked for an extension for release of the Palmer report, while AFP via Maan reports Israel asked for one, just like all the other times!

Todays Zaman exposes Haaretz’s peculiar version and quotes the Turkish officials direct.

The release of the report was postponed and the request for the delay came from Israel, as in past postponements, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Selçuk Ünal said.

The Israeli side, on the other hand, has presented a different account, saying Turkey requested the postponement. On Sunday, Israeli newspaper Haaretz quoted an Israeli diplomatic source as saying Turkey asked for the postponement. The US government has expressed its support for the Turkish request to delay the report, and Israel has not opposed the move and the decision lies with the UN chief, Haaretz had said.

Hurriyet reports from an Op Ed that ‘Among the steps Turkey is considering to take if Israel rejects apologizing and paying compensation are downgrading diplomatic representation to the level of second secretary, suspending all political and economic relations.’ but no direct quote from Erdogan or Davugotlu.

Israeli rag, Globes quotes rightwing Hurriyet and Richard Silverstein picks up on the underlying meme.

On the 21st, Todays Zaman reported direct information from Erdogan and Davugotlu:

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated on July 23 that Turkey now intends to move on to “Plan B,” which will include a campaign against Israel to be carried out at UN institutions, legal action against senior Israeli figures in European courts, and military cooperation between Turkey and Israel being put on hold.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu warned Israel yesterday while on a trip to South Africa that relations between Turkey and Israel would only worsen if an apology was not forthcoming following the release of the Palmer report. He declared, “Relations will not remain as they are now. They will deteriorate even more, as the current situation cannot be sustained.”

UPDATE 11/8/11

Israel trying to bribe Turkey into waiving apology for Mavi Marmara killings (Heb)

Instead of an apology: Israel and Turkey offered to double the compensation
The new proposal was transferred to an informal channel, trying to bring Turkey to give up its demand for an apology from the flotilla to Gaza last year and U.S. pressure to reach an agreement. According to the initiative, Israel will pay 100 thousand dollars for each of the families of those killed and will express “deep sorrow”. Turkish response has been received

No decision on Turkey’s apology condition by Israeli ministers
Turkey condemns Israel’s decision to steal more Palestinian land for Jews-only housing
Turkey absent again from naval drills with Israel, US
Israel,Turkey Brace For UN Flotilla Report
Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Ya’alon lies:

“Turkish PM Erdogan desires nothing else but to humiliate Israel. It will bring him political dividends among his Islamic voters,” Ya’alon stated. “Erdogan does not guarantee that once Israel apologizes, relations between Israel and Turkey will be fully resumed. Turkey promises only to return the Turkish Ambassador to Israel. We can deal without him as well. Besides, it will be even worse if Israel apologizes.”

Israeli deputy PM: Turkey’s demand for apology rude


Today’s Zaman is quick off the mark with two stories on yet another delay in release of the Palmer Report! at Israel’s request.

The United Nations on Monday confirmed that the release of a UN report on a deadly Israeli raid that killed nine Turks aboard a pro-Palestinian activist ship last year would be postponed until late August.

UN spokesman Martin Nesirky gave no specific date for the much-delayed report, which Israeli officials said on Sunday was now expected on Aug. 20, a Saturday.

Is there a nuanced counterthreat to Turkey in Ayalon’s gestures to his Armenian counterpart, reported in JPost?:

‘Ayalon emphasized Israel and the Jewish people’s sensitivity to the “Armenian tragedy,” a reference to the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turks. The deputy foreign minister also stressed the importance Israel attributed to a continuation of developing ties and cooperation with Armenia.’


As should be crystal clear by now, Haaretz is unreliable on this issue. Today, it quotes Hurriyet saying:

The Turkish government has formulated a back-up plan that it has threatened to execute should Israel continue to refuse to apologize for the commando raid that killed nine Turkish pro-Palestinian activists aboard the Gaza-bound ship Mavi Marmara in May 2010.

This plan includes further downgrading relations with Israel which are already on shaky grounds …

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled the plan on Saturday at a press conference with his Jordanian counterpart Marouf Bakhit. The Turkish newspaper reported that one of the steps Turkey would take if Israel does not issue and apology is downgrade its diplomatic representation in Tel Aviv.

Ynet regurgitates Hurriyet, which is the mouthpiece of the Turkish rightwing, also.

Hurriyet reports, quoting mysterious sources on the content of Plan B:

“We are going to wait for their [Israel’s] decision for a period of time. Then [if no apology comes], we will surely implement our Plan B,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an told reporters Saturday at a joint press conference with Jordanian Prime Minister Maroof al-Bakhit.

According to information obtained by the Hürriyet Daily News, the “Plan B” mentioned by Erdo?an will have a strong impact on further degrading relations between the two countries. One of the most important moves would be further reducing Turkey’s level of diplomatic representation in Tel Aviv. After the Mavi Marmara incident, Turkey canceled the appointment of Kerim Uras as ambassador to Tel Aviv in a show of reaction. If Israel refuses to apologize, the current level of diplomatic representation, charge d’affairs, would be reduced to the level of second secretary.

Diplomatic sources told the Daily News on Sunday, however, that the government in Ankara was still hopeful about seeing an Israeli apology and that in order not to give a wrong message, Uras’ appointment to a post other than Israel had once again been postponed. Uras was excluded from the Foreign Ministry’s summer reshuffle, signaling that he would still be appointed to Tel Aviv if relations normalized.

Reducing Turkey’s diplomatic representation would also affect Israel’s plans to appoint an ambassador to Ankara in the upcoming months if current envoy Gabby Levy’s plans to return his country can be carried out. Israel fears its new envoy would not be able to get a credential from Ankara if relations remain frozen.

Trip to Gaza

Erdogan had previously announced plans to visit Gaza but said this trip had nothing to do with the current crisis with Israel. The Daily News has learned, however, that this was part of the government’s Plan B.

“We are not aiming to create an environment of tension. Our friends [in the Foreign Ministry] are going to be working on it and this trip [to Gaza] will be realized if these works reveal a positive development,” Erdo?an told reporters. “It would be wrong to consider this linked to apology, compensation or lifting [of the Gaza] blockade.”

Todays Zaman reported on Erdogan’s meeting with Bakhit but did not mention this Plan B, noting merely discussions on ‘developments in Palestine and its bid for United Nations membership’.

TZ fields a Reuters story on Lieberman, noting

Israel’s Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Sunday he would not quit the coalition government if it decides to apologise to Turkey for killing 9 Turks aboard a pro-Palestinian activist ship last year.

On Saturday, TZ relates how Erdogan spoke at a meeting where Abbas was also present:

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reiterated his country’s support for the Palestinian cause.

“We must find a solution to the Israel-Palestinian issue on the basis of a two-state model. East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state is what we desire,” Erdogan said, while repeating his intention to visit to Gaza, a trip he said would be unrelated to Turkey’s demand from Israel of an apology for the nine Turks killed when Israeli troops stormed a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.

Speaking just days before the submission of a UN report on the raid in May last year, Erdogan said Turkey would never forget the nine men and condemned the continuing blockade of Gaza as “illegal and inhuman.”

“Unless Israel officially apologizes for its unlawful action which is against international laws and humanitarian values, pays compensation for the families of those who lost their lives and lifts its embargo on Gaza, normalization of relations between the two countries is unthinkable,” he said.


In AFP, Israel’s childish tantrums and refusal to take responsibility for its actions continue as Erdogan remains adamant. Israel does make concrete mention of hush money though:

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday it was “unthinkable” for Ankara to normalise relations with Israel until it apologised over its bloody raid on a Turkish ship heading for Gaza.

“As long as Israel does not apologise to Turkey, pay compensation to the families of the victims and lift its blockage on the Gaza strip, a normalisation of relations is unthinkable,” he said at the opening of a meeting of Palestinian ambassadors here in the presence of president Mahmud Abbas.

On Thursday Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon insisted that Israel would not “take responsibility” for the deaths.

“We are not ready to apologise, as apologising is taking responsibility,” he told reporters in Jerusalem.

“We are ready to regret the loss of lives, we are ready to create a kind of humanitarian voluntary fund,” he said, explaining that if such a fund were set up by Ankara, Israel would be prepared to pay money into it.

But he said there would be no official apology nor direct compensation offered to the families of those killed or injured.

“A voluntary fund is acceptable, but compensation… means that you are responsible,” he said.

Reuters pads out the story with the usual Israeli “point of view” as if the facts of Israel’s murders are in doubt, but adds Erdogan’s upping of the ante:

“We must find a solution to the Israel-Palestinian issue on the basis of a two-state model. East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state is what we desire,” Erdogan said.

He also repeated his intention to visit Gaza, a trip he said would be unrelated to the apology issue.

JPost doesn’t mention the upping of the ante to East Jerusalem, rather focuses on Lieberman’s tantrum and Abbas’s position on declaring a state.

The Arab American News relates about Erdogan’s forthcoming Gaza visit, Lieberman’s tanty, no mention of East Jerusalem or Abbas.

A Hamas official in Gaza welcomed Erdogan’s intentions. “We welcome this visit by Mr. Erdogan, which will be historic if it goes ahead, as it shows Turkish support for the Palestinian cause and political and moral backing to break the political siege imposed on Gaza by Israel, Ismail Radwan told France Press Agency.

“This visit will encourage Arab and Muslim leaders to break the siege and visit the Gaza Strip,” he stressed.

Last month, Erdogan renewed a call on Israel to lift as soon as possible the inhumane and unlawful blockade of Gaza and allow the entry of goods, notably construction materials to rebuild infrastructure destroyed during the offensive attack ( in 2009).”

Haaretz mentions East Jerusalem, repeats Erdogan’s demands, Lieberman’s miffedness and regurgitates Weinstein’s worry about law suits if there was no apology – but no mention of money.

The Turkish prime minister said Turkey supports the Palestinian intention to seek UN recognition in September, and that the entire world should take action in order to remove the Gaza blockade. He added that Israel should accept the fact that East Jerusalem will be the capital of the Palestinian state. “Israel cannot stop the Palestinian people from creating a state,” he said.
On Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman condemned Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday for his inclination to agree to an Israeli apology to Turkey.

According to Jerusalem officials, Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein believes the UN investigation into the 2010 flotilla incident might prompt lawsuits against IDF soldiers. Therefore, he recommended Netanyahu reaching an understanding with Turkey, even if that means issuing an apology.

The officials added that Weinstein believes that if Turkey promises not to file lawsuits against IDF soldiers and officers that took part in the Marmara interception, Israel should consider apologizing for operational mistakes and misuse of force. The suggested apology would be a general one, and would not apply to stopping the flotilla or the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.

On the financial front, how would Turkey fare should Greece default – can the global loan sharks devalue Turkey’s currency if necessary to apply political pressure?

The flipside is that Greece could also derail the Turkish rebound. A Greek default could trigger a flight from investments seen as risky, depriving Turkey of the short-term funding it needs. That would undermine Erdogan’s claim to have ended a decades-old cycle of boom and bus

Today’s Zaman as usual is more informative than the rest put together, this time with several stories on the current events.

We discover in Senior Israeli ministers to render decision on Turkey’s apology conditions that Haaretz has lied about Turkey seeking ‘normalisation’:

The chief foreign policy adviser to Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has, meanwhile, denied a report that said his country aims to normalize relations with Israel “across the board,” saying an Israeli newspaper mischaracterized his comments on the topic.

“The bottom line is that Turkey’s position is the same, and no normalization will happen until and unless Turkey’s three conditions are met,” Ibrahim Kalin said in an e-mail sent to The Washington Times on Thursday. In order to normalize relations, Turkey wants Israel to apologize for the killings, compensate the activists’ families and lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip. Haaretz wrote Wednesday that “Turkey intends to normalize its relations with Israel across the board.” It also quoted Kalin as saying “from the return of the [Turkish] ambassador, the renewal of joint military maneuvers, military and civilian cooperation, ministerial visits, to all other areas, relations will return to the way they were before the flotilla incident.”

Calling the report false, Kalin said he has “asked for a correction.”

“The Haaretz piece has completely twisted what I said and put their words into my mouth,” he told The Times.

Former Israeli minister: Lieberman is Israel’s tragedy (Greek?)
Lieberman aghast about possible apology to Turkey
Lieberman objection hampered Israeli apology twice in past

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to offer an apology to Turkey over a deadly flotilla raid on May 31, 2010 to restore strained relations, but withdrew twice at the last moment from signing an agreement to that effect due to opposition from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, according to the Israeli media.


In Haaretz, Lieberman moans about apologies and seeming ‘weak’ (weakness is an anti-zionist trait)

Lieberman stressed that an apology to Turkey would be surrendering to Ankara.

“If we wanted to apologize, we would have done so right after the flotilla. Israel is showing weakness, embarrassment, and an inability to withstand pressure,” he said.


JPost gets the Turkish position on the Palmer report right:

‘The Turks are demanding an Israeli apology for the incident and compensation payments to the family of the victims, as well as a lifting of the Gaza blockade.’

Haaretz regurgitates Hurriyet:

It is believed that Erdogan is using a Gaza visit as a bargaining chip to pressure Israel to accept an agreement that includes an apology for the killing of the flotilla activists.

The Hurriyet report cited diplomatic sources as saying that Erdogan had planned to enter Gaza at the Rafah Crossing on July 21 during a visit to Egypt.

On Tuesday, the Turkish representative on the UN commission investigating the flotilla told Haaretz that July 27 is the “last chance” to solve the crisis between Israel and Turkey.

Todays Zaman reports on Erdogan’s possible trip to Gaza:

“The definite time of our visit to Egypt has not been set yet, but we have a desire to visit Gaza after visiting Egypt,” Erdogan said on Tuesday in response to a question at a press conference before departing for the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) for an official visit.

Does Erdogan require Israel’s permission to visit Gaza? TZ says yes:

‘Yet, Israel’s consent is also needed for the visit as Gaza is under Israeli blockade, Safak wrote, citing again anonymous sources.’

The JPost says no:

“If he wants to go to Gaza, let him go,” one official said, who requested anonymity, adding that a trip there through Rafah does not need to be coordinated with Israel, and that a number of international diplomats and leaders – including EU Foreign- Policy Chief Catherine Ashton – have already made the trip.

Haaretz reports Turkey’s three conditions but spins the headling to amplify the Turkish carrot ‘Turkey set on fully mending ties with Israel, says Erdogan’s aide’:

Kalin emphasized that normalization between Israel and Turkey will not happen unless Turkey’s three conditions are met: an apology, compensation and the end of the Gaza blockade. He stressed that Turkey’s position on these conditions have not changed.


The zionist regime lies again about Turkish demands in regard to the May 2010 flotilla. (At the end of May, 2011, and reported in Jpost, the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu emphasised ‘Turkey’s demands that Israel should end its blockade of the Gaza Strip and apologize and pay compensation for the killing of the nine Turks during the IDF’s raid on flotilla ship the Mavi Marmara last year’.)

In Haaretz, Barak Ravid, who foamed about Arab states not issuing visas to Israeli journalists at the International Media Seminar on Peace in the Middle East, held in Budapest recently by the United Nations Department of Public Information also dissembles : U.S. scrambling to prevent Israel-Turkey ties from worsening

The Turkish president’s reaction was not different from the standard Turkish position on the matter to date. “If Israel apologizes for the killing of Turkish citizens on the Mavi Marmara and pays compensation, we will welcome this,” Gul said.

In contrast to the Israeli sources, Today’s Zaman is straightforward, confirming the evidence of Israel’s lies above, particularly the minimisation of the fact that Turkey is firm about illegality of the blockade. Clearly, Israel and its journalists are putting words in Turkey’s mouth by ommission:

The UN panel’s report accused Israel of using force prematurely and causing “unacceptable” deaths in its assault on the Mavi Marmara last May, an AFP report stated on July 6. “The report clearly indicates the responsibility of the Israeli soldiers, while also acknowledging that Israel has security concerns and the Gaza blockade is legal. However, we know that the Israeli blockade of Gaza amounts to collective punishment as it includes civilians, women and children who bear no responsibility for the perceived threat to Israel,” said Sanberk of the 90-plus page report.

He also said that even though these details are not clearly stated in the panel’s report, another UN body, the UN Human Rights Council fact-finding mission in Geneva, had said last October that Israel’s military violated international law during the raid. “The report said that the naval blockade was not legal. It is interesting to note that two bodies, both under the UN, have conflicting results in their reports,” Sanberk added. “I should stress that the report’s reference to the legality of the Gaza blockade is unacceptable to us. Furthermore, the report also highlights the responsibility of the Israeli soldiers for the deaths and injuries. Therefore, if Israel is ready for an apology and compensation, we are ready to leave the unfortunate event behind.”

I should stress that the reference to the legality of the Gaza blockade is unacceptable as other UN bodies challenge this view. As a maritime power with the longest coast in the Eastern Mediterranean, it is obviously unacceptable to us that a country be allowed to intercept ships according to its own interpretation of the law. The overarching rule of international law is freedom of navigation on the high seas. It’s the pillar of international law. Furthermore, the report also highlights the responsibility of the Israeli soldiers for the deaths and injuries. Therefore, if Israel is ready for an apology and compensation, we are ready to leave that unfortunate event behind.

The primary body pushing the idea of reconciliation with Turkey is the Israeli Defense Ministry, which wants to revive billions of dollars in frozen arms deals and exports with Turkey. Defense Minister Ehud Barak repeatedly called on the Israeli side to display a resolute position on burying hostilities. Barak, who has been touted as the most pro-Turkish minister in the current Israeli coalition government, said earlier this month that “reconciliation with Turkey is drawing near” and that Israel is very interested in “putting the past behind us.”

More from Today’s Zaman: But Israel’s hawkish Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is against the idea of apologizing to Turkey, claiming that this could lead to lawsuits against Israeli officials and commandos

Erdogan affirms Gaza visit – there may be some fresh vituperations born from recent experience landing in the Palmer report folks’ and Israel’s lap in the not too distant future.


Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has reiterated that Tel Aviv must formally apologize for its attack on a Gaza-bound Turkish aid flotilla last year.

Still the divergence of Turkish and Israeli media continues but to a lesser extent, with different versions of the same Reuters report, one of which the Haaretz version follows, quoting Barak, while the Todays Zaman version quotes Steinitz from an (earlier?) version, quoting an Israeli official saying the Palmer report has been finalised, and altering the end. Haaretz includes padding about concern for prosecution of Israel’s murderous soldiers:

Haaretz: Turkey PM: Israel must still apologize for last year’s Gaza flotilla raid

“Normalization of relations between the two countries is unthinkable unless Israel apologizes for this illegal act which is against all international law and values, pays compensation to the relatives of those who lost their lives in this atrocious event and lifts the embargo on Gaza,” Erdogan said, to the applause of his AK Party lawmakers.

On Thursday, an Israeli official said that a UN report on Israel’s interception of last year’s flotilla would be published on July 27 after delays to enable talks between Israel and Turkey.

In remarks to Channel 1 television on Friday night, Defense Minister Ehud Barak dismissed Erdogan’s call for an apology and said he expected the UN inquiry to vindicate Israel’s actions.

“Israel did not commit any crime … (in my opinion) the Palmer commission will (say) that Israel acted according to international law. The blockade is legal, stopping the ships is
legal, the use of force in these circumstances is justified,” Barak said.

Israeli officials have also voiced concern that the naval commandos who carried out the interception of the flotilla would be exposed to prosecution abroad because an apology would be seen as an admission of culpability. Israel has said that the commandos acted in self-defense after being attacked by passengers.

A Turkish official told Reuters on Friday that it was Turkey’s view that the Palmer report should not deviate from the UN Human Rights Council report issued last September, which
branded both the blockade and the Israeli raid as “illegal”.

“We are expecting any legal element mentioned in the report regarding the blockade not to contradict the established rules of the international law and not to contradict the report published by the UN Human Rights’ Council,” the official, who requested anonymity, said.

Todays Zaman: Erdogan: Israel must apologise to normalise ties

“Normalisation of relations between the two countries is unthinkable unless Israel apologises for this illegal act which is against all international law and values, pays compensation to the relatives of those who lost their lives in this atrocious event and lifts the embargo on Gaza,” Erdogan said, to the applause of his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) lawmakers.

An Israeli official told Reuters on Thursday a UN report on the seizure was due to be published on July 27, after delays to enable further talks between Israel and Turkey.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, declined to discuss the findings of the committee set up by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and chaired by former New Zealand premier Geoffrey Palmer, saying only that they had been finalised.

But Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said earlier that previous drafts of the Palmer report indicated the panel would rule mostly in favour of Israel.

“From what we understand, the report justifies the (Gaza) blockade. It says the blockade is legitimate, that Israel took legitimate steps,” Steinitz, who sits in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s eight-member inner council, told reporters.

A Turkish official told Reuters on Friday that it was Turkey’s view that the Palmer report should not deviate from the UN Human Rights Council report issued last September, which branded both the blockade and the Israeli raid as “illegal”.

“We are expecting any legal element mentioned in the report regarding the blockade not to contradict the established rules of the international law and not to contradict the report published by the UN Human Rights’ Council,” the official, who requested anonymity, said.


Haaretz is now reporting that

But Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said earlier that previous drafts of the Palmer report indicated the panel would rule mostly in favor of Israel.

“From what we understand, the report justifies the [Gaza] blockade. It says the blockade is legitimate, that Israel took legitimate steps,” he told reporters.

Steinitz said the Palmer report would include “minor” criticism of the interception last year of the converted cruise ship Mavi Marmara as it tried to run the Gaza blockade.

The (Palmer) report’s compliance with international laws is very important to us, and an outcome that contradicts the UN Human Rights Commission report will be unacceptable,” Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Wednesday.

Ynet publishes a seriously neurotic, hysterical childish tantrum : Israel a battered wife?

Related Links

UN report on ‘Freedom Flotilla I’ was questioned from the start
Israel still callous on flotilla killing
Turkish deep state and Cyprus
The unlikely alliance between Greek activists and the Flotilla

After a week of anti-austerity demonstrations and flotilla training, activists from both camps have emerged unified in their claim that Greek government no longer represents its people; rather it is now beholden to the interests of foreign bodies, be it Israel or the International Monetary Fund.

Mavi Marmara Links

“Even before the second flotilla departs,

the US, Israel and Egypt made a deal to open the Rafah crossing so as to prevent our trip. That means perhaps Palestine will be all free if we just sail,” Bülent Yildirim, who heads the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHH), said on Sunday evening.

Israel has asked Turkey and European states to stop the flotilla but Turkey refuses to take any action, saying it is a civilian initiative. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu has recently urged Israel not to “repeat the same mistake” with regard to the second flotilla.

Mavi Marmara not joining Gaza flotilla for technical reasons, IHH says

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, who earlier said the government would not interfere with a civilian initiative, said this month that the organizers should wait to see how an Egyptian decision to lift the blockade of Gaza and a Palestinian reconciliation deal will affect the situation in Gaza.

Yildirim, speaking at a press conference in Istanbul, said the IHH decision not to send the Mavi Marmara to Gaza had nothing to do with the government, emphasizing that it is a purely technical decision. “There is absolutely no obstruction by the government,” he said.

The IHH President said the Mavi Marmara boat,

which was hard hit in the Israeli raid and is still being fixed, could not take part in the Freedom Flotilla II. “The Mavi Marmara will definitely set sail for Gaza when it completes repair and maintenance works.”
Each day a new problem is spotted in the Mavi Marmara which was badly damaged in the Israeli attack, Yildirim noted. “On Monday the boat will sail for testing. However, the ship is not seaworthy enough to sail to Gaza yet and we do not think it will be appropriate to postpone ‘the Freedom Flotilla II.’

Unless the embargo is lifted, the Mavi Marmara is definitely going to sail to Gaza after completion of repair works, the IHH chairman said. “We have not forgotten that we were attacked in open sea nor have we forgotten our nine martyrs or volunteer Ugur Suleyman Soylemez who is still in coma. World leaders should act to find the culprits. And if they fail to do so, there is still a Mediterranean to sail in. And the Mavi Marmara will not be unseaworthy forever. And we will not always be sad for not participating in this sacred flotilla. The day Mavi Marmara is fixed we will set sail.

Palestine / Israel Links

Actor in Israel gov’s new anti-flotilla vid said to be Haaretz employee (Updated)
Sexy Israel” getting treatment for flotilla nightmares
Film production company Zed Films behind “Sex with Psychologist” hasbara video
Anti-flotilla videos: don’t believe the hype – includes faulty MEMRI
From DC to Athens: LET THE BOATS SAIL!
Egypt independent trade unions endorse BDS
Tutu boosts Murdoch-battered BDS campaign in Sydney
Greek Police purchase 900,000 euros worth of chemicals from Israel, France and the United States
Activists Protest Ban Confining Gaza Freedom Flotilla to Port
What about the Jews on the US boat to Gaza?
Amira Hass:

‘The flotilla’s organizers added a term from the world of business and globalization to their description of Israel’s domination of the Palestinians. Israel, they said, was outsourcing the industry of the blockade on Gaza. In exchange for reward, a foreign government – Greece – took on an active role and adopted a deliberate policy of keeping the Gaza Strip one huge prison.

Logic dictates that a government whose policy validates anti-Semitic stereotypes ought to worry Israelis and Jews worldwide. But the Israeli government is doing what its voters want and believe in. For there is one stereotype that has not been recycled here: that of the wise Jew.
Outsourcing, aggressive and vocal diplomacy and ridiculous lies thwarted the flotilla, but they have not taken Gaza off the international agenda. If Israel – which knew full well that there was not one gram of explosives aboard the ships – had let them sail to Gaza, the flotilla would not have preoccupied the international media as it did. ‘

Letter: Independent Jewish Voices says it’s proud to sponsor flotilla to Gaza

a State Department cable written from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv in October 2008 and published by WikiLeaks sheds light on Israel’s claims about the economic situation in Gaza.

According to this cable:

Israeli officials have confirmed to Embassy officials on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy functioning at the lowest level possible consistent with avoiding a humanitarian crisis… Israeli officials have confirmed … on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.

Israel’s deliberate effort to keep Gaza’s economy “on the brink of collapse” is what is motivating participants in the Freedom Flotilla to break its illegal blockade.

Cablegate, Israel and Palestine

In his archived blog, Julian Assange describes the History of Warfare:

The history of warfare is similarly subdivided, although here the phases are Retribution, Anticipation, and Diplomacy. Thus:


I’m going to kill you because you killed my brother.


I’m going to kill you because I killed your brother.


I’m going to kill my brother and then kill you on the pretext that your brother did it.

Piquant, prophetic words in the light of the bloodletting proceeding the release of the first tranche of US diplomatic cables these are proving to be. The exercise of the serpentine craft of diplomacy will never be quite the same – after all, the US, who used its diplomats to spy upon their brethren, including in the UN, has been caught en flagrante. One would like to say one’s world view has been changed by the cables’ release, yet it hasn’t, it has been vindicated – global affairs managed by the hegemon are predicated on rewarding injustice, kleptocracy, avarice and sycophantic cowardice with arms sales and pandering, maintaining geostrategic imbalances which profit elites.

With the US baying for blood and Sweden in pursuit over charges claimed to be false by his lawyer, Julian Assange is now one of the most wanted men on the planet. Ecuador alone has offered him sanctuary, though now apparently withdrawn.

Here’s some significant cables of interest and news stories about the cables concerning Israel and Palestine.


What Israel fears – truth and justice:

On 16 Nov 09, Israel and the US collude over follow up to the Goldstone Report.

DG Buchris also compared Israeli operations in Gaza to U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and stated that Israel would do whatever was necessary to protect its population. In response, ASD Vershbow recalled U.S. support for Israel in handling of the Goldstone report, and offered to share U.S. experience in investigating incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan as the GOI considered whether to conduct an additional investigation.

In the same cable,

Amos Gilad acknowledged the sometimes difficult position the U.S. finds itself in given its global interests, and conceded that Israel’s security focus is so narrow that its QME concerns often clash with broader American security interests in the region.

Two days later, there’s a hush up of US bunker busting bombs delivery to Israel along with other qualitative military edge revelations (18 Nov 09)

The Goldstone Report is a key threat (Dec 09)

‘Netanyahu commented that Israel currently faces three principal threats: Iran’s nuclear program, missile proliferation and the Goldstone Report.’

Netanyahu lies about Arab “Street” support for overthrow of Iran (really only 10% think Iran is a danger), indicates Israel’s ‘support’ of the PA and conflation of ‘peace’ with Iran’s supposed ambitions, (Dec09)

¶5. (C) Netanyahu said the West Bank had remained quiet during Operation Cast Lead because the Palestinians do not want to live under Hamas’ rule. He asserted that according to recent polls, Abu Mazen and Fatah would easily win an election, even in Gaza. Netanyahu stressed that he was not pushing for the Palestinians to hold elections, but was instead focused on promoting the expansion of the West Bank economy by removing both physical and bureaucratic obstacles. He acknowledged that the PA is “doing a good job” on security, though he added that PA leaders are not aware of everything Israel is doing to support the PA’s security. If we could add a political process to the cooperation that currently exists, we could get security, economic development, and peace. Netanyahu warned, however, that if Iran gets a nuclear bomb, the peace process would be “washed away.” Even Israel’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan would come under enormous pressure.

¶7. (C) Representative Israel asked Netanyahu about the timetable for Iran to achieve a nuclear weapon. Netanyahu responded that Iran has the capability now to make one bomb or they could wait and make several bombs in a year or two. It is important to bear in mind that the Iranian regime was exposed as a fraud during their presidential elections. The Iranian people detest the regime and have shown great courage
in the streets. The exposure of the Qom facility also helped convince doubters in the international community that Iran has a weapons program. Iran has a weak economy and a fractured political system, so it is vulnerable to sanctions. The time to act diplomatically is now, Netanyahu said, adding that we still have a year or two to stop the Iranian program. Netanyahu said he thought President Obama understands Iran perfectly. The Arab leaders hope Iran will be stopped, there is broad Arab and European support for “vigorous steps.” Chairman Skelton asked whether the Arabs would state their support publicly. Netanyahu replied they might not, but it would not make a large difference since the Arab “street” will not rise up in support of the Iranian regime.

Egyptian complicity with fostering collaborator PA – brief to Petraeus (July 09)

Soliman explained that Egypt’s three primary objectives with the Palestinians were to maintain calm in Gaza, undermine Hamas, and build popular support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. On Gaza, Soliman said Egypt worked closely with Israel to coordinate humanitarian assistance shipments and was encouraging the Israelis to allow more assistance into Gaza. Soliman said he was still seeking a “tahdiya” (calm) agreement between Hamas and Israel, but noted that Israel’s lack of a Gaza strategy and desire to keep Hamas under pressure made any agreement difficult.

US National HUMINT Collection Directive for spying on ‘views, plans and tactics of the Palestinian Authority,
including its representative to the UN, to gain support in the UNSC, UNGA, or UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for its strategies and positions on Palestinian-Israeli issues, including from Russia and EU countries, especially France, Germany, and UK; views of Secretary General,s Special Envoy and UNSC on possible settlement of the Shab’a Farms dispute to include Syria/Lebanon border demarcation; Secretariat views regarding water management as part of the Middle East Peace Process, including domestic and regional competition for allocation; Quartet views on Syria’s policies and approach toward Israel and Palestinians and on Syrian motives behind and efforts to subvert or support Israeli-Palestinian negotiations; UN efforts to influence negotiating positions on territorial boundaries, water resources and management, and right of return; views, plans and tactics of HAMAS to gain support in the UNSC or UNGA for its strategies and positions on HAMAS-Israeli issues, and on HAMAS-Palestinian Authority issues, including from Russia, China, Iran, and EU countries, especially France, Germany, and the UK; Information on UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) activities in Gaza, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank, and its relations with HAMAS/Hizballah; Plans and intentions of member states to support/oppose US priority to reduce the number of Middle East resolutions’. (July 09)

As the Guardian affirms, “Humint is part of the CIA, which deals with overseas spying overseas and is one of at least 12 US intelligence agencies.”

US State biographic reporting on Palestinians (Oct 08)

More posturing:

Lieberman tells Russia Israel was not intending to attack Iran while Russian Lavrov tells Lieberman the US attack of Iraq was ‘a “present” to Iran (June 09)

“Qatari diplomats.. had to cross through Israel – Egypt would not allow them to enter Gaza from Rafah” (Mar 09)

“Netanyahu insisted not one [Palestinian] refugee could ever return” (Apr 07)

“Only Israeli military operations against Hamas in the West Bank prevent them from expanding control beyond Gaza, lamented Dagan, without which Fatah would fall within one month and Abbas would join his “mysteriously wealthy” son in Qatar.” (Mar 07)

In June 09,Barak describes Pakistan as his “private nightmare”, urged US to confront Iran – in July 07, Dagan previously saw “a Pakistan ruled by radical Islamists with a nuclear arsenal at their disposal as his biggest nightmare”

In April 09, Netanyahu’s vision of a Palestinian faux statelet – “without the power to enter into treaties” is revealed. He didn’t mention this in his unctuous Bar Ilan speech in June 09, whilst later claiming on 23 December 09 that ‘the Bar Ilan address last June had been difficult for him’.

Netanyahu’s excuse for continuing brutal occupation in April 09 – ‘if Israel withdrew from the West Bank, Hamas would take over’

Throughout the cables, Israel links ‘peace’ with Palestinians with the US confronting Iran repeatedly.

On 23 December 09, Netanyahu affirms this linkage: .

Netanyahu listed steps the GOI has taken to support Abu Mazen, noting that the PA is “doing a good job” on security. A nuclear Iran, however, would “wash away” all progress as well as undermining Israel’s peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. Netanyahu said that Iran is vulnerable to sanctions and urged the U.S. to increase the pressure on Iran, with like-minded countries if Russia and China will not support new sanctions in the Security Council. Netanyahu commented that there is broader Arab and European support for tough sanctions than in the past, although the Arabs may not say so publicly.

The myth that the “Palestine-Israel question is central” is also peddled by Arab dictatorships to gullible Americans – as long as the so-called peace process is a US priority, Arab regimes will continue their con job. (April 09)

On 13 February, 2010, Qatar’s Amir suggests

“Israelis are also using Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons as a diversion from settling matters with the Palestinians. The historical backdrop of Arab-Persian relations does not help.”

Amir also says

Hamas will accept the 1967 border with Israel, but will not say it publicly so as to lose popular Palestinian support. … Qatar can help move Hamas, because Qatar does not “play in their internal politics.” That does not mean Qatar shares Hamas’ ideology.

Kerry lays down the US terms

Senator Kerry noted that one of the biggest problems for Israel is the potential return of 5-6 million Palestinian refugees. The parties broached the return issue in discussions at Taba and agreed that the right of Palestinian return would be subject to later negotiation, pointed out the Chairman. If we can proceed from that point on the right of return, the Senator believes there is an “artful way” to frame the negotiations on borders, land swaps, and Jerusalem as a shared capital.

In November 09, Gilad suggests Egypt’s role in pushing reconciliation between Hamas and the PA is ‘not helpful and often counterproductive, but that he expects Egypt to continue floating the idea at future junctures.’

Israeli MFA Hadas boasts of Gulf Arabs “They believe Israel can work magic” because of the US special relationship (Mar 09)

Did Sharon’s antagonism and tilt toward Iran in March 2005 trigger a reignition of the Arab dictatorships’ hostility against Iran? Sharon was concerned the US stance would move toward the EU’s.

‘The MFA’s office director for the Gulf states said that Israel would maintain its low-profile diplomatic activities, such as supplying IAEA members with intelligence material related to the Iranian program. She said the MFA believes that any overt Israeli pressure would backfire, leading to a surge of Arab support for Iran and focusing attention on Israel’s own nuclear activities.’ The US embassy noted: “At the same time, we should recognize that Israeli intelligence briefings will understandably focus on worst-case scenarios and may not match current USG assessments.”

Just two months later,

“MbZ [Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed] appeared convinced that it was only a matter of time before Israel or the U.S. would strike Iranian nuclear facility targets. U.S. installations in the Gulf could be targeted by Iran in the aftermath of such an action, he warned. MbZ agreed with the USG,s tough line with Tehran and the Europeans. A nuclear-armed Iran would destabilize the Gulf region and possibly allow terrorist access to WMD. MbZ asked Lt. Gen. Dunn whether it would be possible for anyone to “take out” all locations of concern in Iran via air power; Lt. Gen. Dunn voiced doubt that this would be possible given the dispersed locations. “Then it will take ground forces!” MbZ exclaimed. Ambassador noted that the UAE’s Director of Military Intelligence, BG Essa al Mazrouei, would pay counterpart visits this week to CENTCOM, J-2, DIA, and CIA for discussions on Iran and Iraq-related matters. MbZ said he looked forward to sharing “contingency planning” scenarios in future conversations.”

Years later in April 09 , the UAE is rewarded by Clinton for its services to empire.

The Secretary expressed the Administration’s commitment to the U.S.-UAE Agreement for Cooperation on the Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (aka 123 Agreement). She emphasized that our goal is to get the agreement completed as smoothly as possible. AbZ said that he is delighted with the progress on the agreement. He added that the UAE’s goal is to create a gold standard for a nuclear power program. Then, because of the strong commitments the UAE has made, it will be impossible to have improper use of its nuclear facilities.

¶6. (S) Turning to the need to be prepared to respond to Congress, the Secretary committed to form a State Department committee including H, NEA and ISN to work on the notification. The Secretary noted the importance of implementing the UAE export control law and continued UAE efforts against illicit Iranian trade and Iranian front companies. The Secretary encouraged action on nonproliferation treaty commitments as especially helpful actions the UAE could take to support our efforts. AbZ noted that the UAE would formally join the additional protocol on April 8.

¶7. (S) AbZ agreed that the August 2007 export control law had some “loopholes” and said that the UAE Cabinet “revisited” the issue last week. Otaiba said that AbZ had personally intervened to ensure timely action. Otaiba elaborated that the committee charged with implementing the export control law will have its first meeting later this month to begin operations.

¶8. (S) Otaiba noted that, even in the absence of a formal implementation committee, the UAE is taking action – citing a recent case involving German-made Siemens computers and a Chinese ship bound for Iran interdicted in port in the UAE.

In July 07 : ‘According to Dagan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf States all fear Iran, but want someone else “to do the job for them.”‘

Noted that in contradiction to oft-repeated public claims, Mossad chief, Dagan denied the existence of Al Qaeda in the OPT in 05: ‘he feels that most Palestinians are not searching for “foreign flags,” such as al-Qaeda, under which to rally, because those inclined to do so are already being well-mobilized under existing groups in the West Bank and Gaza.’ (Mar 05)

Israel, a Promised Land For Organised Crime (15 May 09) :

Organized crime (OC) has longstanding roots in Israel, but in recent years there has been a sharp increase in the reach and impact of OC networks. In seeking a competitive advantage in such lucrative trades as narcotics and prostitution, Israeli crime groups have demonstrated their ability and willingness to engage in violent attacks on each other with little regard for innocent bystanders. The Israeli National Police (INP) and the courts have engaged in a vigorous campaign against organized crime leaders, including the creation of a new specialized anti-OC unit, but they remain unable to cope with the full scope of the problem. Organized crime in Israel now has global reach, with direct impact inside the United States. Post is currently utilizing all available tools to deny Israeli OC figures access to the United States in order to prevent them from furthering their criminal activities on U.S. soil.

19th Russian property in Jerusalem and the West Bank returned by PA and Israel [my comment: what about return of similar Palestinian property with deeds?] (11 July 08)

xxxxx told us that the return of historically Russian property in the Holy Land was a symbol of Russia’s post-Soviet cultural and religious renaissance. The properties, which had either been abandoned by the USSR or sold to Israel, would be used for facilities for religious pilgrims and tourists, as well as Russian language schools and clinics that would benefit local residents, including the large number of Russian-speaking Israelis.

The MFA was also considering establishing a consulate at the compound in Jerusalem.xxxxx said that at present Russia had only its Embassy in Tel Aviv and a small Mission in Ramallah to handle relations
with the PA. A presence in Jerusalem would help provide assistance to the many Russian citizens living in Israel as well as Russian tourists, whose numbers, presently estimated at 200,000 per year, were expected to grow significantly after the Russian-Israeli agreement to end visa requirements became operative in September.

Is this consular presence a toehold for future duplicitous assertion by Israel of Jerusalem as its capital?

Israeli is annoyed with the loss of influence of the military in Turkey (Nov 09)

News Stories:

Haaretz: WikiLeaks exposé: Israel tried to coordinate Gaza war with Abbas

Israel consulted Egypt, Fatah on Gaza war: WikiLeaks

Israel asked PA to retake Gaza after war – Ma’an News Agency

In Haaretz, Abbas denies he was informed about the Cast Lead attack.

Juan Cole on Israel’s racist moan about its jewish majority demographics being endangered by the threat of Iran which Israel itself beats up.

Richard Silverstein picks up several more revelations about Israel’s posturing and maleficence toward Palestinians from the cables.

Antoun Issa: Understanding Wikileaks

Robert Fisk: Now we know. America really doesn’t care about injustice in the Middle East. Fisk picks up on Netanyahu’s demonical concept of a bantustan Palestinian state mentioned above:

There’s a wonderful moment in the cables when the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, explains to a US congressional delegation on 28 April last year that “a Palestinian state must be demilitarised, without control of its airspace and electro-magnetic field [sic], and without the power to enter into treaties or control its border”. Well goodbye, then, to the “viable” (ergo Lord Blair of Isfahan) Palestinian state we all supposedly want. And the US Congress lads and ladies appear to have said nothing.

Woolly Days: Wikileaks cable reveals Syria’s price for US support

Democracy Now: U.S. Facing Global Diplomatic Crisis Following Massive WikiLeaks Release of Secret Diplomatic Cables Vid and transcript with ‘a roundtable discussion with Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg; Greg Mitchell, who writes the Media Fix blog at The Nation; Carne Ross, a British diplomat for 15 years who resigned before the Iraq war; and As’ad AbuKhalil, a professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus.’

Jeff Sparrow on The Drum:

But when it comes to governments, the old adage is spot on. With the WikiLeaks cables, we’re not discussing personal modesty. We’re talking about decisions with real implications for a world we all have to live in.

No-one wants to see Robert Gibbs naked. But, however embarrassing the US spokespeople might find it, WikiLeaks’s enhanced pat-down is a good thing for democracy.

There’s some junk that just needs to be touched.

Maan Newsagency: Germany urged US to threaten Israel with UN vote:

Two weeks before Israel froze most settlement construction in November 2009, a senior German official urged the US to threaten Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with diplomatic pressure.

German National Security Adviser Christoph Heusgen suggested that if Netanyahu did not agree to a moratorium, Washington could withdraw its support for blocking a vote on Richard Goldstone’s UN fact-finding mission report at the UN Security Council, US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks say.

Haaretz: The chief of Pakistan’s spy agency said he had contacted Israeli officials to head off potential attacks on Israeli targets in India, according to an October 2009 U.S. diplomatic cable.

Pasha asked Ambassador to convey to Washington that he had followed up on threat information that an attack would be launched against India between September-November. He had been in direct touch with the Israelis on possible threats against Israeli targets in India.

Antony Loewenstein Unleashed : Where’s the media’s backbone over WikiLeaks?

Assange makes no secret of wanting to harm the image of the US and lessen American power. Indeed, in an interview this week with America’s ABC he said that Washington simply wasn’t credible when they claimed the release of documents would hurt individuals.

“US officials have for 50 years trotted out this line when they are afraid the public is going to see how they really behave”, Assange said.

James Petras: Wikileaks, Corea del Norte y atentados en Irán

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