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Posts Tagged ‘Turkey

Save the world from Zionism

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Aijaz Zaka Syed

Just when you think Israel cannot descend any lower, it surprises you with ever new depths of depravity. If anyone ever needed any more evidence about the absolutely evil, sick and homicidal nature of this regime, they got it last week. And if anyone still nurtured innocent hopes of peace and Israel’s commitment to the peace process, dialogue, two-state solution and all that balderdash, Israel showed them what it thinks of their fond hopes and aspirations.

When Huwaida Arraf, the fiery spirit behind the Free Gaza campaign and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement for Palestine, paid us a visit in Dubai last year with her equally committed husband Adam Shapiro, a Pakistani colleague and friend of mine who met and interviewed Huwaida with me, eagerly requested to be made part of her next aid mission to Gaza.

Huwaida, obviously uninitiated into the complexities of India-Pakistan relationship, promptly offered to put her on an Indian ship, saying some Indian friends were planning to join the Free Gaza mission with their own boat.

My Pakistani friend, ever proud of her national identity, was horrified at the suggestion. Nonetheless, she really wanted, like so many of us, to be part of the mission to break the inhuman siege of Gaza and its long suffering people. “It would be a great honour to die saving Palestinian lives,” said my friend, almost breathless with emotion.

I nodded in agreement. Little did we realise then the seriousness of our words and the dangerous nature of the mission undertaken by Huwaida, still in Israeli detention, and numerous other peace activists and conscience keepers of the world.

Perhaps not even those 700 plus noble souls on board the Freedom flotilla who defied great odds and put their own lives on the line to save those imprisoned in Gaza ever suspected that Israel could go to the extent of attacking ships full of peace activists and humanitarian aid. Especially when those on board included top international journalists and prominent personalities from 32 countries.

But when you are dealing with Israel anything is possible. Ask the Palestinians. The history of the state whose very birth was soaked in innocent blood is replete with unprecedented crimes against the Palestinian people and crimes against humanity that would even shame the Nazis.

From Dair Yassin massacre to the mass slaughter of Palestinian refugees in Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon, and from the Jenin refugee camp carnage to the total destruction of Gaza in 2008-09, Israel sets a new precedent with every new atrocity. Every crime appears to create a new history of oppression and abuse of human dignity. But what the Israelis have done this time around is shocking even from their own standards.

Even Nazis and the most depraved mass murderers in history respected certain red lines. They spared international peacemakers, the Red Cross and relief agencies. But then when it comes to the state of Israel there are no red lines. Nothing is sacrosanct. Everything and everyone is fair game.

From the shock-and-awe attack on the USS Liberty, a battleship belonging to its own ally, friend and protector that killed scores of US marines, to this assault on the Gaza relief flotilla killing 19 peace activists, most of them from another ally and friend, Turkey, Israel routinely kills at will and casually annihilates everyone and everything in its way.

More important, it always gets away with murder, just as it did earlier this year in Dubai using the passports and identities of people belonging to friendly countries to assassinate a top Hamas commander.

The question is how long will this go on? When is enough, enough for Israel’s protectors and the international community? How long can a tiny state with the population less than that of New York hold the entire world hostage?

Just like in those Hollywood features when a couple of lunatics hijack a plane full of passengers threatening to blow it up in air, Israel has hijacked our world and threatens to destroy it with its reckless actions and dangerous policies. Unless someone comes forward to take control of the plane before it blows up in air or crashes down to the ground, you can be as sure as hell we are all headed for the certain doom.

The brazen attack on the Freedom flotilla carrying 10,000 tonnes of food, medicines and other essentials to a starving, desperate population in Gaza is the plainest sign yet – if anyone ever needed it – that Israel is a clear and present danger to the peace and stability of our world.

This is not about Palestinians’ rights or their never-ending persecution at the hands of a racist, evil state any more. This is now about the shared future of our world. Israeli policies have become a cancer not just for the Middle East but the entire civilised world. They have emerged as the greatest challenge to all that we have come to believe in and respect: peace, justice, freedom, respect for the basic rights and the rule of law.

If the international community does not act now, it will pay a huge price – perhaps even higher than it paid in the last two Great Wars. It’s time to save the world from Israel and save the Zionist state from its own destructive self.

The terror on high seas has understandably outraged the world. This outrage of the global conscience must be channelled to confront the Zionist regime and end the seven decades of suffering of Palestinian people.

Just as the Soweto massacre gave birth to a global movement against the Apartheid regime in South Africa, eventually leading to its overthrow, this latest Israeli outrage and the sacrifices of numerous soldiers of peace must unleash an international movement against the Zionist oppression.

Tide has already turned against Israel, manifesting itself in millions of people around the world coming out on the streets, from Toronto to Tokyo, in spontaneous protests following the attack on the Gaza aid mission. It’s these voices of conscience that may have forced Israel’s European friends to condemn the terror on high seas in unequivocal terms.

Now President Barack Obama and his fellow Americans have to decide where they stand. Are they on the side of justice, freedom and an individual’s right to live with dignity or are they on the side of Israel, no matter how many innocents it kills and no matter what new lows of degeneracy it plumbs in its hubris?

Is President Obama willing to stand up for what he believes in? Or would he rather play safe to end up as yet another wimp in the White House dancing to Israel’s tunes? Whatever he eventually does, he must remember British historian and intellectual Edmund Burke’s warning: “All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

Are you going to act now, Mr President, or you too have chosen to “do nothing” like so many of your predecessors?


Gaza blockade must end, says Davutoğlu at UN meeting in İstanbul

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Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said Israel should respect the fundamental and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people and end the blockade on Gaza.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu (R) met with the head of the delegation of the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, Zahir Tanin, before Tuesday’s conference on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in İstanbul.

“Turkey does not want the current situation in Palestine that resembles a modern ghetto to continue and wants all practices that threaten humanitarian rights there to be stopped,” the top Turkish diplomat noted. “The blockade on Gaza must come to an end. This is and will be our policy,” he added.

Davutoğlu reiterated Turkey’s solidarity with the Palestinian people and support for them to have a normal life on the land in which they are the indigenous inhabitants. He was speaking at a press conference following the first session of a two-day meeting of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People that started in İstanbul on Tuesday. Davutoğlu said it was a significant development and also meaningful that the meeting had convened in Turkey.

The committee was established in 1975 as a subsidiary body to the UN General Assembly with a mandate to promote the Palestinians’ national rights.

Davutoğlu stressed that the Palestinian issue has an internationally strategic dimension, but for Turkey, it is, above all, a humanitarian issue. “We want the children of Gaza and the West Bank, just like children in other parts of the world, to look to the future with hope. We want Palestinian people to be allowed to be connected with the outside world so that they can fulfill their needs,” he added.

The Gaza Strip has been under a tightened Israeli and Egyptian economic blockade since 2007 when the Hamas movement took over the territory after being elected in the 2006 elections. The blockade was enforced to put pressure on Hamas and to stop weapons being smuggled in.

In response to a question regarding the Turkish government’s reaction if Israel prevents the humanitarian aid ships that will set sail for Gaza on Thursday from reaching their destination, Davutoğlu said they were not expecting a crisis over the matter. “We are hoping that tension will not arise over there. Similar civilian initiatives have been formulated at certain times relating to different issues in the past, too, and they were generally received with understanding because of their civilian character. We hope and expect Israel and the NGOs to behave with common sense here as well,” Davutoğlu said. The Israeli Defense Ministry earlier said they would prevent the fleet from arriving at the port of Gaza.

Nine ships will depart from Antalya to carry humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Volunteers from over 50 countries will be on board the ships in an attempt to show a civilian reaction to the blockade in Gaza.

Speaking to Today’s Zaman on the sidelines of the meeting, a foreign ministry official said it was not clear what would happen to the ships. “The thing is we do not have a rational government on the part of Israel, so we cannot anticipate what they will do,” the official said, also adding that they had underlined the move’s civilian character and explained to Israel that it was not an “armada.”

Davutoğlu assessed the Palestinian issue in the speech he delivered at the meeting’s first session. He started his address by acknowledging the Palestinians’ long-standing plight. “Today, the fulfillment of the rightful aspirations of the Palestinian people to establish a homeland has become all the more essential. There is no more room to maneuver to further deny their legitimate rights,” he said. In that regard, he noted that the launching of proximity talks between Palestine and Israel was a positive step. He stressed the significance of the maintenance of talks and said unilateral and provocative actions should not be allowed to disrupt the process. “Especially, Israel should be obliged to act with common sense so as not to hinder the re-launching of the direct talks,” he stated, adding that a substantial part of the burden has to be shouldered by the international community.

“There should be a strong international commitment toward Palestinian statehood with clear objectives, clear terms of reference for the negotiations and time frames,” Davutoğlu said.

He expressed his hopes for the prospect of peace in the Middle East in general, too. “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, while the optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty,” he said, and added that he preferred to be an optimist. “I firmly believe that it is high time for all of us to unite our ranks and overcome the hurdles along our way to create a peaceful, secure, stable and prosperous region which we all deserve,” he concluded.

Israeli media slam govt handling of row with Turkey

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by Jean-Luc Renaudie Jean-luc Renaudie

JERUSALEM (AFP) – The Israeli media on Thursday slammed the government’s handling of a diplomatic row with Turkey in which it humiliated Ankara’s ambassador and then retreated with public apologies.

The front page of the “Israel HaYom” showing Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon sitting with the Turkish Ambassador Ahmet Celikkol in Jerusalem with an arrow showing “the height of humiliation” alongside a headline reading “War of Insults”. The Israeli media has slammed the government’s handling of a diplomatic row with Turkey. (AFP/File)

“The policy of ‘no more grovelling’ led by Foreign Minister (Avigdor) Lieberman, was transformed within a matter of days into a situation in which Israel was forced to dispatch an official and diplomatic apology,” Israel’s Maariv newspaper said in an article entitled “Capitulation.”

The spat again turned the spotlight on the controversial minister, an ultra-nationalist who has said Israel should strike back at international criticism and defend its “national honour.”

Under pressure from President Shimon Peres, Lieberman’s deputy Danny Ayalon issued a formal apology late on Wednesday as Turkey threatened to withdraw its envoy.

Ayalon on Monday had publicly dressed down Turkey’s ambassador to Israel, Oguz Celikkol, over a Turkish television series depicting Mossad agents as baby-snatchers.

Amnon Abramovitch, a television commentator on Israel’s Channel Two, criticised the “infantile conduct” of the government and a commentator on Israel’s military radio referred to the “humiliation after the humiliation.”

The centrist opposition Kadima party joined in criticising the government, with senior official Haim Ramon saying it “should also send a letter of apology to the Israeli people following the humiliation we have suffered.”

A spokesman for Israel’s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted the protest was justified but said “the style and the procedure that were used were not appropriate and apologies were due.”

“The prime minister hopes the affair is behind us,” the spokesman, Nir Hefetz, told public radio.

An editorial in the left-leaning Haaretz meanwhile came to the defence of Ayalon and Lieberman, both members of the ultra-nationalist Israel Beitenu (Israel Our Home) party, for defending Israel’s “honour.”

“The competition between ex-diplomats, politicians, broadcasters and pundits to be the rudest in criticising the pair brings back memories of the times when anyone who publicly sought to restore the honour of the Jewish people was shouted down by a meek and frightened establishment for fear of angering the gentiles and bringing disaster upon the community,” it said.

“Lieberman… the outsider, who represents a national agenda, is a bull in the china shop of the foreign ministry, the DNA of which is stamped with restraint, apologetics and lip-biting.”

Turkey has been Israel’s main regional ally since the two signed a military cooperation pact in 1996, but relations were poisoned by Ankara’s severe criticism of Israel’s Gaza offensive in December 2008 and January 2009.

The series that sparked the row showed a Turkish secret agent storming an Israeli diplomatic mission to rescue a Turkish boy kidnapped by Mossad agents, an episode Israel slammed for portraying Israel and Jews “as baby-snatchers and war criminals.”

Written by rohitkumarsviews

January 18, 2010 at 7:57 am