Sunday, February 01, 2009

Sensitive Turks

The Turks were proud of their role as mediators between the Israeli and the Syrians. The Turks thought that because of this role Israel would turn to them to help mediate between Hamas and the Israelis, but Israel relied on Egypt. In certain ways, this was a Turkish opportunity to enter the world’s diplomatic stage, and perhaps gain some ground acting as a leader in the Middle East.

The Turks were snubbed. This ‘insult’ may have had a hand in what the Turkish PM did in Davos, and earlier in statements about Israel’s bombing in Gaza, and present statements about Palestinians being in an ‘Israeli open air prison.’ The PM is running for re-election, and would have been better served at the polls had Israel provided him with the ‘honor’ of a middle east mediator. The Turks hold grudges. What we saw at Davos, and earlier, since Israel ignored Turkish entreaties to mediate with Hams, may just be Turkish hubris.

Turkey, meanwhile, is still purchasing Israeli pilot-less drones and other weapons.

Year ago reporters working at Israel radio were warned never to say anything about Turkey because invariably the Turkish Embassy would call up to complain, no matter what was said.

A grad missile struck the coastal town of Ashkelon today, causing no injuries. Four mortars were also fired from Gaza, one falling near a kindergarten. Israeli leaders, Barak, Olmert and Livni all promised to respond. Olmert said Israel’s response would be ‘disproportionate.’

The troika all said that Israel would never negotiate with Hamas.

Israel is still taking serious flak over the operation in Gaza, even though Hamas continues firing missiles into Israel.

Hamas reportedly agreed to a “lull” to last one year, starting this Thursday. The deal was worked out with the Egyptians as mediators.

A synagogue in Caracas, Venezuela was vandalized on Friday when a group of armed men scaled a wall to the synagogue neutralized the guards, then proceeded to pull out the Torah scrolls from the ark, and scrawl anti-Semitic graffiti, including “Death to the Jews.” Boliva has joined Venezuela in anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli statements.

Israeli commentators say that the Communist outlook of these countries has set their anti-Semitic tone. One Latin American expert said these countries would have been better served making friends with Israel not Iran.