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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 writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
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, Hanania 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. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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