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Yalla Peace: The blame game
By RAY HANANIA
09/13/2011 Jerusalem Post/Creators Syndicate
Israel’s refusal to apologize to Turkey echoes the refusal of Arab terrorists to apologize for the deaths of Israelis.
Israel’s preferred strategy for dealing with crises – blame everything on everyone else – may make Israelis feel good but sure doesn’t do much to make Israel safer. In fact, in case Israelis haven’t noticed, it’s actually increasing hostility toward them throughout the region.
In Egypt, the new-forming government is becoming less and less friendly, as evidenced by the recent attacks against the Israeli embassy in Cairo.
Turkey, once Israel’s strongest Islamic ally, has done a complete about-face, expelling Israel’s ambassador, freezing military cooperation and increasing the anti-Israel rhetoric.
Why? Well, Turkey asked Israel to apologize for its role in what should have been little more than a political public relations stunt to protest against Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
While the United Nations report on the incident recognized Israel’s right to enforce the embargo against the Gaza Strip to protect itself from Hamas, it also criticized Israel for its use of excessive military force. During the raid on the Mavi Marmara, nine Turkish nationals, including American citizen Fulkan Dugan, were killed by Israeli commandoes.
Israel’s refusal to apologize for their deaths, or for the death of American activist Rachel Corrie in 2003 for that matter, echoes the refusal of Arab terrorists to apologize for the deaths of Israelis.
Rather than weigh its own errors, Israel’s government chose to pander to public sentiment.
After all, Turks don’t vote in Israeli elections. Israelis do.
Adding insult to injury, Israel’s notorious foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, then declared that Turkey was responsible for the Armenian holocaust.
Lieberman wants the world to know that Turkey is responsible for the massacre of millions of Armenians, a chapter of history the Israelis, and much of the world, has mostly ignored for generations. Seriously – is Lieberman saying that the reason the Jewish state didn’t bring this up before was because Turkey was an important strategic ally? Is morality just a weapon in the political war of words? I thought Israelis prided themselves in standing up for what was right.
For all Lieberman’s rhetoric, which clearly has the backing of the government and many Israelis, the truth is that all Israel had to do to avoid this latest mess was to tell the Turks they were sorry. Sorry for killing the civilians on the Mavi Marmara, a ship that was a threat not because it carried weapons to be used against Israel but because of its PR value to the growing pro-Palestinian movement.
To apologize would have been the simplest solution, but then Israel has a history of avoiding the simple things that could help bring it peace. Not apologizing to Turkey is no different in that regard than not freezing settlement expansion to save the prospects of peace with the Palestinians.
Instead of seeking peace, Israel is empowering its enemies.
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and media commentator. He can be reached at www.hanania.com.)
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Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.
Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.
Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.
His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania
Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com