The Meaning and Consequences of Israel’s Apology to Turkey

US President Barack Obama was on the line when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for the deaths of nine Turkish protesters aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010.

For those who don’t remember, the Mavi Marmara was a Turkish ship that set sail in a bid to break Israel’s lawful maritime blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza’s coastline. When Israeli naval commandos boarded the ship to interdict it, passengers on deck attacked them – in breach of international maritime law. Soldiers were stabbed, bludgeoned and thrown overboard. In a misguided attempt to show the good faith of Israeli actions, the naval commandos were sent aboard the ship armed with paintball guns. As a consequence, the soldiers were hard-pressed to defend themselves. In the hand-to-hand combat that ensued, nine of the Turkish attackers were killed.

The Mavi Marmara was an eminently predictable fight. The Turkish group that hired the boat was an al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkish NGO named IHH. In 1999, the Turkish government was so wary of IHH that it barred the group from participating in relief efforts following a devastating earthquake.

IHH’s fortunes shifted with the rise of its fellow Islamists in the AKP Justice and Development Party led by Recep Tayip Erdogan. The AKP won the 2002 elections and has since been reelected twice.

By 2010, Prime Minster Erdogan had a long track record of anti-Israel actions. Indeed, by 2010, Erdogan had effectively destroyed the strategic alliance Israel had developed with Turkey since 1949. In 2006, Erdogan was the first major international leader and NATO member to host Hamas terror chief Ismail Haniyeh. The same year he allowed Iran to use Turkish territory to transfer weaponry to Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War.

In 2008, Erdogan openly sided with Hamas against Israel in Operation Cast Lead. In 2009, he called President Shimon Peres a murderer to his face.

By the time the flotilla to Gaza was organized, Erdogan had used Turkey’s position as a NATO member to effectively end the US-led alliance’s cooperative relationship with Israel, by refusing to participate in military exercises with Israel.

Following the incident, rather than apologize for his allied NGO’s gross violation of international maritime law and acts of wanton aggression against Israeli forces, Erdogan doubled down. He removed Turkey’s ambassador from Israel. He demanded an apology as a condition for the restoration of relations. He had his court system open show trials against IDF soldiers and commanders. He stepped up his exploitation of Turkey’s NATO membership to block substantive military cooperation between Israel and NATO. And he cultivated close economic and political ties with Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.

At the same time, Erdogan has cultivated close ties with President Barack Obama and his administration, and has spent millions of dollars on lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill to neutralize congressional opposition to his hostile behavior towards Israel and the US.

For three years Israel refused to apologize to Turkey. And then Obama came to Israel for a visit, and before he left the country, he had Netanyahu on the phone with Erdogan, apologizing for the loss of life of the Turkish protesters who stabbed and bludgeoned Israeli soldiers. Netanyahu also offered restitution to their families.

Israeli President Shimon Peres sought to silence the public outcry in Israel against Netanyahu’s action by soothingly saying that it was done to bury the past and move on to a better day in relations with Turkey. IDF Chief of General Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz publicly backed Netanyahu’s actions, saying it was necessary to cultivate Turkish cooperation for dealing with the situation in Syria, which is rapidly spiraling out of control. Israeli and international concerns that all or parts of Syria’s massive arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, as well as its ballistic missiles, will fall into the hands of jihadist forces have risen as jihadists, allied with al-Qaeda, have come to dominate the opposition to the Syrian regime.

Israel’s own concerns regarding the civil war in Syria have also escalated as rebel forces – affiliated with al-Qaeda — have taken over sections of the border region. UN observer forces deployed along Israel’s border with Syria since 1974 have been fleeing in droves, for Israel and Jordan. Earlier in the month, rebel forces took dozens of observer forces from the Philippines hostage for several days.

Given the situation, the main questions that arise from Israel’s apology to Turkey are as follows: Is it truly a declaration with little intrinsic meaning, as Peres intimated? Should it simply be viewed as a means of overcoming a technical block to renewing Israel’s strategic alliance with Turkey? In other words, will the apology facilitate Turkish cooperation in stemming the rise of jihadist forces in Syria, and blocking the transfer of chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missiles to such actors? Finally, what does Obama’s central role in producing Israel’s apology say about his relationship with the Jewish state and the consequences of his visit on Israel’s alliance with the US and its position in the region? And finally, what steps should Israel consider in light of these consequences?

On Saturday, the Arab League convened in Doha, Qatar and discussed Israel’s apology to Turkey and its ramifications for pan-Arab policy. The Arab League member states considered the prospect of demanding similar apologies for its military operations in Lebanon, Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

The Arab League’s discussions point to the true ramifications of the apology for Israel. By apologizing for responding lawfully to unlawful aggression against the State of Israel and its armed forces, Israel did two things. First, Israel humiliated itself and its soldiers, and so projected an image of profound weakness. Due to this projected image, Israel has opened itself up to further demands for it to apologize for its other responses to acts of unlawful war and aggression against the state, its territory and its citizens from other aggressors. The Arab League like most of its member nations is in an official state of war with Israel. The Arabs wish to see Israel destroyed. Kicking a nation when it is down is a perfectly rational way for states that wish other states ill to behave. And so the Arab League’s action was eminently predictable.

As for the future of Israel-Turkish cooperation on Syria, two things must be borne in mind. First, on Saturday Erdogan claimed that Netanyahu’s apology was insufficient to restore Turkish-Israel relations. He claimed that before he could take any concrete actions to restore relations, Israel would first have to compensate the families of the passengers from the Mavi Marmara killed while assaulting IDF soldiers with deadly force.

Beyond that, it is far from clear that Turkey shares Israel’s interests in preventing the rise of a jihadist regime in Syria allied with al-Qaeda. More than any other actor, Erdogan has played a central role in enabling the early jihadist penetration and domination of the ranks of the US-supported Syrian opposition forces. It is far from clear that the man who enabled these jihadists to rise to power shares Israel’s interest in preventing them from seizing Syria’s weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, if Turkey does share Israel’s interest in preventing the Syrian opposition from taking control over the said arsenals, it would cooperate with Israel in accomplishing this goal with or without an Israeli apology for its takeover of the Mavi Marmara.

So if interests, rather than sentiments dictate Turkey’s actions on Syria, as they dictate the interests of the Arab League in kicking Israel when it is perceived as being down, what does Obama’s central role in compelling Israel to apologize to Turkey tell us about his attitude towards Israel and how his attitude towards Israel is perceived by Israel’s neighbors, including Iran?

By forcing Israel to apologize to Turkey, Obama effectively forced Israel to acknowledge that it is in the wrong for lawful actions by its military taken in defense of international law and of Israel’s national security. That is, Obama sided with the aggressor – Turkey – over the victim – Israel. And in so doing, he signaled, deliberately or inadvertently, to the rest of Israel’s neighbors that the US is no longer siding with Israel in regional disputes. As a consequence, they now feel that it is reasonable for them to press their advantage and demand further Israeli apologies for daring to defend itself from their aggression.

Whether or not Obama meant to send this message, this is a direct consequence of his visit. Now Israel needs to consider its options for moving forward. For Israel’s allies in Congress, it is important to take a strong position on the issue. Members of Congress and Senate would do well to pass resolutions stating their conviction that Israel, while within its own rights to apologize, operated with reasonable force and wholly in accordance with international law in its interdiction of the Mavi Marmara, which was on an illegal voyage to provide aid and comfort for an internationally recognized terrorist organization in contravention of binding UN Security Council resolution 1379 from September 2001, which prohibits the proffering of such aid. Congress should enjoin the administration to issue a declaration noting US support for Israel in its actions to defend itself from aggression in all forms, including from Hamas-controlled Gaza.

Second, Israel should scale back the level of military assistance it receives from the US. While Obama was in Israel, he pledged to expand US military assistance to Israel in the coming years. By unilaterally scaling back US assistance and developing its domestic military industries, Israel would send a strong signal to its neighbors that it is not completely dependent on the US and as a consequence, the level of US support for Israel does not determine Israel’s capacity to continue to defend itself.

On a wider level, it is important for Israel to develop the means to end its dependency on the US. Under Obama, despite the support of the great majority of the public, the US has become an undependable ally to Israel, and indeed to the rest of the US’s allies as well. The more quickly Israel can minimize its dependence, the better it will be for Israel, for the US and for the stability of the region. The apology to Turkey was a strategic error. To minimize its consequences, Israel must boldly assert its interests in Syria, Iran, and throughout the region.

See below: Latma’s “We Con the World” as a reminder of who we’re dealing with when it comes to the Gaza Flotilla participants:

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.  

  • Larry

    The obamessiah is big on unlawful actions when they further his agenda.

    I wonder just what combination of strong arming and blackmail he used to get this absolutely useless and meaningless apology.

    • Mark

      I agree Obama must have used strong arm tactics and blackmail to force Netanyahu (who is no peace at any price type) to make his apology. Netanyahu is no fool. It's clear to me that Obama and his pro-terrorist friends in the U.S and throughout the Arab world want to weaken Israel and strengthen Israel's enemies in the Middle East, Europe and the U.S. itself. Israel's supporters here in the U.S. must demand that Israel must be treated as an ally by the U.S. and that Israel has every right to defend itself from Arab, Turkish or any other terrorists or that attack Israel and Israel's legitimate efforts to stop aid to terrorists in Gaza.

    • M.Sphardi

      We will get to a point where we cannot accept Erdogan's terms further and have to decline with the clear message that his demands could never,with any dignity, be accepted by anyone. We should send a long,clear message to the people of Turkey and the Arab world that although we are interested in harmonious relationships, we, like they, have our integrity and self-respect. An occasional message of warmth should be extended to the Turkish people who should know that their regimes may come and go, but our long term friendship does not.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    In real terms, not only did PM Netanyahu sully the honor of the nation (my blood is boiling), but he shot a bow, deep into the hearts of those who risk their lives to defend the nation! Shayetet 13, do not forgive, do not forget!

    Not only that, but he opened the floodgates to "demand" "apologies" for any action, offensive or defensive, which results in harm to Israel's enemies. What kind of leader behaves this way? Well, a spineless and feckless one, one who believes that a short respite of pressure from Washington will somehow ease things. Not only that, but he has the temerity to sell it as "necessary", all due to Syria's upheaval and beyond.

    The fact of the matter is that Turkey needs Israel, not the other way around. They are in desperate need of replacement parts for aircraft etc, and breaking off relations with Israel cost them nation-saving upgrades! So, instead of leveraging THAT against Turkey, Netanyahu does the two step shuffle, both for the Islamist-in-Chief & Erdogan. Much of this brouhaha was about Israel submitting to Muslim dictates.

    He (and others too) is unworthy of leading the nation of Israel – http://adinakutnicki.com/2013/03/21/israels-leade

    Adina kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • ismail

      turks never need and never needid israil and never will need israil look turks past history the israilis all wayw needid the turks and the ottoman turks ect ect ho needs a tiny state country
      and come to parts you say there is other countrys to buy parts from i thing turks schould not buy any thing from israil full stop.

      • stern

        Okay, no more Israeli weapons for Turkey. No more Israeli medical breakthroughs for Turkey. No more Israeli aid when Turkey suffers disasters like earthquakes. You may not know it Ismael, but Turkey is a huge beneficiary of Israeli goodwill and progress.

      • Cassandra

        You are a total moron Ismael. Look at the thruth for once in your miserable Muslim life. Obama is a scoundrel and went to Israel to create problems Islam and Obama are demoniac entities that should be exterminated. There you have it,

      • Indioviejo

        Turkey is the epitome of Muslim Imperialism. History shows why the Ottomans went to the crapper. Islam is incapable of stimulating independent thought let alone inventions of any kind. In comparison to Israel and the Jews, Muslims pale and fade.

      • Choi

        F.U. &TURKEY!

      • defcon 4

        Don't Turkish men, much like Afghani, Iranian and Paki men, like little boys?

    • EthanP

      While you are correct, we should remember that Israel is not placed to ignore pressure from the EU and especially the US. Bibi didn't wake up and decide to do this. I just hope he got a good price.

      • ziontruth

        "…we should remember that Israel is not placed to ignore pressure from the EU and especially the US."

        Israel will have to do exactly that if it is to survive. Pragmatism is the Jewish State's undoing.

        "I just hope he got a good price."

        Like heck he did. Even if, say, Obama promised to help with Iran, when the time comes it'll be clear he lied.

    • deborah

      beautifully said.What has been shown to all is that we the jewish people are poundable. This was an existential mistake. Also what Caroline forgot to mention is the demand to lift the sea embargo- Turkey wants access to Gaza, for its port

  • Mladen Andrijasevic

    If this apology to Turkey does not turn out to be somehow linked to Obama’s open or tacit support in facing Iran then this apology will turn out to be Netanyahu’s biggest blunder yet.

  • harrylies

    Obama did not hold a gun to Netanyahus' head. He called the Turkish PM on his own will.

    • Larry

      Where you there?

      No, didn't think so.

      And if you believe that, I have a couple of bridges to sell you here in Australia, slightly used, good earners, only fallen down once each.

    • Mladen Andrijasevic

      Yeah, right. After three years of refusing to apologize he suddenly decided to do so while Obama was here. What a coincidence!

      • Choi

        Not only THERE but MONITORING the call,after PLACING IT!

    • Drakken

      Your naivity is absolutely breathtaking ! You refuse to believe what is clearly in front of you in the false hope that somehow peace may be achieved.

    • AnOrdinaryMan

      Nonsense. If you lived in a tough neighborhood, surrounded by neighbors that hated you; who constantly harassed your children, tripped off your burglar alarm, and sometimes used your house for target practice with their guns; what would you do if an erstwhile friend placed enormous pressure on you for some kind of concession? Carolyn Glick is right; Israel is more alone now than ever, and must find a way to be even more self-sufficient than they already are. This being said, I think Netanyahu made the wrong choice; but I still respect him.

      • Ghostwriter

        I agree with much of what you say,AnOrdinaryMan. Most of us in America support Israel. President Obama needs a reality check but I doubt he'll get it any time soon.

        • defcon 4

          I think your assumption that Obama doesn't know what's going on is in error.

  • Anamah

    Like the scorpion this is his nature… his malignant nature.

  • Rita

    Obama is either a thorougly nasty piece of work, or a fullblooded idiot. But, as the man said:

    When the consequences of incompetence (ignorance,cowardice et al) become indistinguishable from the consequences of malice, it is wiser and safer to assume malice.

    As to Netanyahu: :( What kind of blackmail did you give into? Better tell us or we will think so much less of you.

    • AnOrdinaryMan

      In Obama's case, it's definitely malice. Remember, he sat in a front row pew and listened to one of America's most notorious anti-Semites, for 20 years, and didn't even disagree with him.(Jeremiah Wright)

      • cjk

        Even more malicious and unforgivable is that he raised two children in such an evil, racist atmosphere.

      • defcon 4

        I read somewhere that Oprah Winfrey attended the same church, at the same time as Obama, and stopped attending within a month. Oprah for POTUS!

    • Ghostwriter

      At least Oprah did the right thing and left. If President Obama had any sense,he would have left long ago.

  • SHmuelHalevi

    The terrible harm planned by Netanyahu and Livni-peres has not started in earnest yet but is fast approaching. We warned for years about the treacherous, false even treasonous nature of that element. Regretfully to no avail.
    Just as the disgraces USED the soldiers of SHAYETET 13 and then betrayed them, they will do the same to anyone "led" by the trash in control.
    FREEZE is already on or has never stopped.
    Har Habait is being negotiated with Jordan and other islamics.
    Destruction of Jwish locations a foregone conclussion.
    Jeruslame at its heart will be abandoned.
    Iran is homefree on nuclear weapons.
    The only solution is for the people to act and remove that element from government.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      You are probably correct but Jerusalem abandoned, I doubt that will ever happen.
      William

  • Underzog

    Bibi cannot handle internatonal affairs very well. As someone pointed out, he is a technocrat who has helped the economy, but Israel obviously needs more than that. As for the U.S. putting pressure on Israel, America will collapse in a few years. Bibi should've tried to keep that in mind before he caved as he did.

  • Abdul Razaq

    better to stay away from Er DOG an, you can not trust such nation or people.

  • WildJew

    "Israel should scale back the level of military assistance it receives from the US…On a wider level, it is important for Israel to develop the means to end its dependency on the US…."

    Good plan. Some have been suggesting this for many years. Aid comes with strings attached. Foreign aid is not given gratis.

    • Raymond in DC

      That's going to prove even harder now due to yet another price Israel is paying for Obama's visit: resumption of the "tax payments" to the Palestinian authority. Interrupted just a few months ago (with a "one-time payment" in January, it amounts to roughly $100 million per month. From this, the PA is expected to pay its bills. But they're a billion or so in arrears to pay Israel and Israel firms for electricity, fuel, medical and other services. So Israel, currently figuring out how to*cut* outlays (including defense) to narrow its budget shortfall, will have even less to do for itself what it now does with US funds.

      This is playing out almost exactly as I'd predicted (and feared). While some were pushing Obama to show his support by finally visiting Israel, I was certain Obama would expect Israel to return that gesture with serious concessions. This is just one. The apology to Obama's BFF Erdogan is another. Yet to come are probably prisoner releases and territorial concessions , not to mention a construction freeze – all this to persuade Abbas to come sit and talk. All very disheartening.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      The problem is that the snowball is rolling down the hill into hot water without control and
      it is not time to learn to swim, the IDF should take over the government and take on
      the inevitable task coming in and picking up speed……………………….The Islamists need
      to pump themselves up before attacking, playing soft does not delay it only fills in
      the dots……………………William

      • ziontruth

        "…the IDF should take over the government…"

        The IDF has its own share of delusional Leftist concessionists, especially at its top levels. A military coup would therefore achieve nothing.

        • WilliamJamesWard

          Sorry to hear that but thier must be Israeli Patriots who are without delusion and
          are able and willing to end the 'prolong and prolong the enevitable past the point
          that it becomes a weakening syndrome" . If Israel looses it's freedom, so goes
          the World for the rest of the good that is left and evil, preposterous and vile
          sions of the dark side will rule………………………William

  • richard sherman

    YONI NETANYAHU gave his life at Entebbe in 1976 to preserve and defend Zionism. BIBI NETANYAHU apologized to a man who declared " Zionism to be a crime against humanity". Hashem will never forgive BIBI.

    • Rostislav

      It seems that Mr. Netaniahu is ready any minute to say his most profound excuses for his brother's illegal flight to Entebbe too – of course if Mr. Hussein Obama would order it. For the spineless enthusiasts of "higher political considerations", like Bibi, words "conscience" or "decency" mean nothing, so the next logical step of the Jerusalem dhimmies would be to bring their sincere apologies to the SS-mannen, wounded or killed during the Warsaw ghetto uprising, with all the due compensations to their poor families – just "to bury the past and move on to a better day in relations with Germany"… My, what a shame, what an utter lack of respect to the memory of his own gallant brother, to his own nation, to his own country's future! Rostislav, Saint-Petersburg, Russia.

      • WilliamJamesWard

        The dissapointment is felt around the World within right thinking minds…………William

  • Lan Astaslem

    Turkey deserved an apology like hitler did because a few Jews left auschwitz messy.

  • g_jochnowitz

    Turkey, it seems, has chickened out.
    What a foul fowl. http://www.algemeiner.com/2013/03/24/erdogan-says
    Erdogan is spitting in Obama's face. Nobody will ever notice.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    Why does Israel apologize to its Islamic enemies? Israel's Islamic enemies will never stop waging jihad against Israel and also all other infidel countries as well since to do so is haram, i.e., a blasphemous offense punishable by death under the dictates of Islam. Hence, weigh the aforementioned with the prospects of the so-called Palestinians ever making peace with Israel. It will never happen as long as Islam dominates that society. Indeed, the so-called Palestinians are the Islamic patsies of the entire worldwide ummah.

    I mean look at Europe, can anyone point to a shining example of Muslim immigrants actually assimilating, integrating, and matriculating into productive and contributing members of their new host societies? If so…please point to it, because I have been looking and I can't find one.

    When dealing with non-violent jihadists that pursue jihad via stealth and deception, actions speak much louder than words, and all Muslims in the world either are violent jihadists, a tiny minority, or non-violent jihadists, the vast overwhelming majority. Otherwise, they are blasphemous apostates that per the dictates of Islam must be executed. Indeed, the first and foremost requirement of Islam is the total, complete, and unconditional submission to the will of Allah, i.e., sharia. Hence, all Muslims are sharia compliant Muslims or blasphemous apostates, and if they are the latter, then again per the dictates of Islam they must be executed.

    • EthanP

      We both know why. Israel must do what her big brother says to. That simple.

      • Lan Astaslem

        Israel has always been held up to higher standards than other nations.

        • ziontruth

          It's time Israel put a stop to this. Her enemies accuse her of "monstrosity" while knowing full well how lenient and gentle the Jewish State is, to her detriment. Israel through no-holds-barred action must make her enemies realize what "monstrosity" really means.

          • defcon 4

            But if you become as bad as your enemies then what's the point?

          • ziontruth

            "But if you become as bad as your enemies then what's the point?"

            The survival of your nation, that's the point. Not getting hoist on your own petard. Not having "We were better than them" on your epitaph.

            The Jewish nation's mission isn't to be an exemplar of gentleness and meekness toward the other nations—if it were, the entire book of Joshua wouldn't make any sense at all. Now that the 2000 years of exile are over, the Jews are supposed to reestablish sovereignty over the Land of Israel by any means possible. Without heed to what the other nations say or do. Without caring about the price paid by the other side. Anything less, any concessions to pragmatism, goes against Jewish values.

    • WilliamJamesWard

      It is quite clear that todays answers to the problems of Israel dealing with the Middle
      Easter Islamist States are coming out of the looney bin. If Netanyahu thinks confuse and
      conquor will work it is a mistake, dealing with the devil of Sharia is only possible by
      not giving in to it one inch, never accepting it's precepts and absolutely not bowing to
      the Mad Mullahs and political demons, only instantly overpowering force and no
      Mr. Nice guy will prevail. When you are right you never need to make apologies and
      never need to weaken your hand, evil and good have nothing in common and will
      never be joined in any way but war which declares strength as the path to success.
      Time for Israel to roll out the Nuclear weapons and make ultimatums while watching
      the rats scurry, Iran and North Korea need to vanish……………………..William

  • EthanP

    This is what happens when Israel is totally dependent on US military aid and political good will.
    Turkey should be the one to say "sorry". This will assuredly make matters worse. Islamist Turkey is not interested in better relations with Israel. This only makes Israel and Bibi look weak. In a neighborhood where weakness means death.

    • gee59

      Actually the US dependent on Israeli technology. We export far more than we receive

  • Peter B

    "As a consequence, they now feel that it is reasonable for them to press their advantage and demand further Israeli apologies for daring to defend itself from their aggression.
    Whether or not Obama meant to send this message, this is a direct consequence of his visit."

    That is likely only a side benefit for Obama. He would, I think, prefer that Israel be the one to deal with the Iranian nuclear program. Permission to do so is likely one of the few things that would have led Netanyahu to this publicly humiliating change of course. The apology is preparing the ground for the US's participation – more in sorrow than in anger, of course – in the harsh international response that will surely come in the event that Israel's move succeeds; that will, Obama hopes, open the door to a rapprochement with the Arab world that will be cemented by the US forcing Israel to accept the Saudi Plan. Remember the infamous map which leaked out before Obama's visit?

  • teq

    I'm disappointed in Bibi, but not that surprised. Ever since he caved in last December and didn't finish the job with the latter-day "Amalakites" he seems to have lost a certain "spirit". He starts to look like King Saul in 1Samuel 15 and this is what happens when a leader caves in to the enemy and refuses to carry out the Lord's instructions. We all know that Israel is in an impossible position and cannot fight the whole world — UNLESS the Lord is with her. With God, the impossible is doable. Without God, nothing is possible, not even if the entire world is for you.
    Bibi is not a believer and that's the problem. No unbeliever can successfully govern Israel because only with the Grace of God can anyone beat the odds that Israel is presently facing.
    I don't know what to do except pray…

    • Trevor

      "No unbeliever can successfully govern Israel…"

      In that case, it would have to be a Messianic Jew….Now tell me. How many Messianic Jews have previously governed Israel?

      "..because only with the Grace of God can anyone beat the odds that Israel is presently facing."

      What odds? Israel is the nuclear superpower in the region.

    • Arlie

      Excellent reply.

    • Ghostwriter

      Well,Trev and Arlie,I don't see the Israelis planning to blow up their neighbors,like they do to them ALL the time.

  • Trevor

    "the Mavi Marmara was a Turkish ship that set sail in a bid to break Israel’s lawful maritime blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza’s coastline."

    Define "lawful"?

    "When Israeli naval commandos boarded the ship to interdict it, passengers on deck attacked them – in breach of international maritime law."

    Define the "breach of international maritime law."?

    • home schooling

      Look it up, stupid!

      • Trevor

        Point me in the "right" direction…ie. where can i find the applicable laws?

    • Gamaliel

      define idiot

      • Trevor

        "define idiot"

        'Gamaliel'!

    • Drakken

      It is rather amusing to see a doo gooder libtard like you lecturing the rest of us on international law, the last I looked, we are citizens of sovereign countries where our laws and interests take precedence over anything so called international. You may be a citizen of the world, I am not and never will be.

      • Trevor

        Drakken, since you're special and apparently never read the article. Here's a question just for you.

        "..in breach of international maritime law".

        Which international maritime law was breached?

        Ps didn't the attack take place in 'International waters'?

        • Drakken

          No maritime law was breached knucklehead, when suspected arms are headed to a certain country, that country has every right to search it. Pretty bloody simple isn't it. Especial when said country is an islamist hellhole.

          • Trevor

            "Telegram for Mongo"

            Ok, you're too thick to grasp the above so let me point you in the right direction.

            It isn't me you're disagreeing with it's the writer of the above piece Caroline Glick….Mkay!

            Don't you just love it when extremist idiots argue against their fellow extremist idiots and don't even realise it!

          • defcon 4

            Um Israel has, on at least one previous occasions, boarded a "humanitarian" ship bound for Gaza and found mass quantities of alleged "humanitarian aid" for Gaza that consisted of 7.62mm ammunition and RPG rounds.

    • gee59

      San Remo Martime Treaty – try reading for a change. It is black letter international law. Turkey violated it and Israel enforce it

      • Trevor

        "San Remo Martime Treaty"

        Quote please?

        • Trevor

          gee?

          • gee59

            No – I refuse to do that because then I could be accused of changing it or selective quotes.

            You have the name of the treaty – it is available on line – go read for yourself

          • Trevor

            lol. Translation of the above "i've only heard about 'San Remo' from my Hasbara colleagues but have never read it for myself."

            Btw, i have read the treaty…

          • gee59

            Translation you cannot comprehend basic English

            67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

            (a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;
            (b) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;
            (c) act as auxiliaries to the enemy s armed forces;
            (d) are incorporated into or assist the enemy s intelligence system;
            (e) sail under convoy of enemy warships or military aircraft; or
            (f) otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy s military action, e.g., by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces to first place passengers and crew in a place of safety. Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, off-load, or take other precautions.

            The "flotilla" was in breach of articles 67a, 67b and 67c. Yes they could be sunk WITHOUT a warning.

            By the way the ICC does not have any authority over Israel – you might want to take that reading comprehension I was talking about. Israel is not a member of the Rome Statute because their citizens are not allowed to be members of that Apartheid Regime.

          • Trevor

            "There are however fundamental flaws in this line of argument. It falls completely on one fact alone. San Remo only applies to blockade in times of armed conflict. Israel is not currently engaged in an armed conflict, and presumably does not wish to be. San Remo does not confer any right to impose a permanent blockade outwith times of armed conflict, and in fact specifically excludes as illegal a general blockade on an entire population."

          • Trevor

            Part V Section II (95) of the San Remo Manual states that a blockade must be effective and cannot let certain vessels in while rejecting others. Israel has, since the start of the blockade, permitted certain ships to enter while not permitting others. Of the numerous trips staged by the Free Gaza Movement, several earlier trips have been permitted to reach Gaza through the blockade, where as others were not. All of these ships were carrying flags of “neutral states.” This inconsistency is contrary to Part V Section II (100 & 101) which states that the blockading party must treat ships of neutrally flagged states equally, and is a clear indication that the nature of the blockade is not legal.

            The blockade is also in violation of Part V Section II (102) which prohibits blockades that:

            a.) have the sole purpose of starving the civilian population or denying it other objects essential to its survival; or

            b.)the damage to the civilian population is, or may be expected to be, excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the blockade.

          • gee59

            Wrong across the board. First off Hamas has declared it is at war and is attacking Israel so it is an armed conflict. Second nothing in the treaty says that it must be an armed conflict only a declared blockade.

            The part about allowing boats – sorry incorrect. Israel has not allowed ANY boats through once it declared a blockade. Wrong yet again.

            As for the starving people – to date (since 1967) not one person has starved in Gaza – in fact they export food.

            No damage to any civilians due to the blockade whatsoever.

            You are usual lie through your teeth to change the facts. You may be entitled to your own opinions – but not your own facts.

            Like you Guardian – you lie and then lie about your lies

          • Trevor

            Give details ie time and place when Gaza declared war on Israel?

            "The part about allowing boats – sorry incorrect. Israel has not allowed ANY boats through once it declared a blockade. Wrong yet again."

            Really? Never heard of 'SS Free Gaza or the SS Liberty'?

            Or maybe you never heard this statement,

            "They wanted provocation at sea, but they won't get it. We know who the passengers are and what they are bringing with them and so we have no problem letting them through."

            Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Aviv Shiron

            I think i've had enough of your idiocy for one day at least.

            "No damage to any civilians due to the blockade whatsoever."

            Never heard of collective punishment either then?

            Sure Israel should stop arms from reaching Gaza and Hamas but the lists of banned goods contained many foodstuffs. In fact, it was even worked out as to how many calories Gazans should be allowed each day. I believe it was called "putting Gazans on a diet"….That right there has nothing to do with stopping arms reaching Gaza and Hamas….It's collective punishment!

            Either you're one sick puppy or just a plain old ignoramus….Or a compulsive, Hasbarist, liar.

            I think it's the latter…

          • gee59

            Wow you really can't read can you?

            From the Palmer Report:
            The Blockade
            20.
            The Turkish Commission does not accept that Israel’s naval blockade is lawful and puts the term in quotation marks throughout it's reports. Its conclusions with respect to the issue of the blockade can be summarized as follows. The restrictions imposed by Israel on goods entering Gaza by land, and the naval blockade over the waters off Gaza
            constitute a single “blockade”. The blockade has been continuously in force in fact at least since 2007, despite the changing descriptions given to it by Israel.

            Whoops – the UN does agree with your lies. Sorry about the facts.

            As Hamas and it's thousands of declarations of war. Let's start with the Hamas Charter – ever heard of it? Have you read it? Do you comprehend it? It calls for the genocide of all Jews in the world. And that is not a declaration of war? Only to a racist moron. How about 12,000 rockets on Israeli towns and cities? Those aren't acts of war? In whose deluded mind?

            Collective punishment – 12,000 rockets isn't collective punishment? Only a racist like you would state something as stupid as stopping a war crime to be a war crime, how truly stupid you are.

            UNRWA is claiming that the people in Gaza suffer from obesity and morons are claiming that the Arabs are starving – even while they EXPORT food.

            Idiocy – you are the picture of it. When in doubt you lie, you lie 100% of the time and then invent new lies. The only reason you lie is because not a single fact agrees with your stupidity.

          • Trevor

            Was the blockade in place August 2008?

            If you can bring yourself to give an honest answer we can continue. However, i'm not interested in your lying ways or your shop worn Hasbara.

            Adios.

          • gee59

            Take a reading comprehension class. The answer is in the Palmer Commission Report and it is posted above.

            See what reading trash like the Guardian does to lowering your intelligence – you can't even comprehend plain English

          • Trevor

            "The answer is in the Palmer Commission Report and it is posted above."

            Was the blockade in place August 2008?

            I want you to give an answer…yes or no?

            You can't tjough…can you. Because if you do the following comment by yourself is proven to be a lie [which i already know it is but we need you to give some honesty to that lying tongue of yours]

            "The part about allowing boats – sorry incorrect. Israel has not allowed ANY boats through once it declared a blockade. Wrong yet again."

  • EdwinS

    Gotta feel sorry for Bibi – his critics dont seem to acknowledge that politics – 'the art of the possible' – only allows one to use presently available tresources – not 'what should be' but 'what is'.
    An apology to Erdogan is a cheap price for any strategic advantage that might derive…

    • russianman

      I hope you are right. I like Bibi.

    • ziontruth

      "An apology to Erdogan is a cheap price…"

      The heck it is.

      This is the Middle East. In the Middle East, if you're not right then you're not wise either. Apologies don't come cheap—their price is that of your blood being considered free for the taking by all. Bibi's decision was treasonous.

  • Paul

    I use to respect Bibi.No more.If Israel is still in existence 5 years from now I will be very surprised.Israelis have lost their metal.They have become guilt ridden pacifists.

  • Gamaliel

    Obama began by apologizing for America. Now he has made Netanyahu apologize for Israelis defending themselves. It would be nice if instead he apologized to America for raising our debt by trillions of dollars.

  • Choi

    AMAZING!
    The second I hit 'submit comment" THIS appears:"This comment has been deleted by the administrator."
    I've gone through THIS with the THIRD PARTY Administrator BEFORE!
    They must be looking over our shoulders AS WE TYPE in the Comment Box
    AGAIN,ADMINISTRATOR: David Horowitz STANDS FOR FREE SPEECH.
    EXPLAIN,HOW YOU DELETE SOMETHING THE VERY SECOND IT'S POSTED!!

    • John Stone

      Well, in my case some of the stuff gets posted, some of it gets delayed and some of it disappears. I can see no pattern in it. Some websites will challenge any post with particular words. So… who knows.

    • defcon 4

      Usually, I can figure out why my comments are deleted. PC usually figures as the chief cause. Considering how fast it happens it has to be the results of some sort of parsing 'bot looking for keywords. My most recent instant deletion was due to a misspelling of the word Shiite.

  • Choi

    @FPM:
    Time to DELETE your Administrator of THIS SITE and get a NEW Site Administrator who does NOT CENSOR YOUR READERS' Comments.

    • defcon 4

      Chances are it's not even a human being doing the deletions but a pre-programmed bot.

  • Drakken

    Congradulations Israel, you have just made the muslims look at you with renewed vigor, you have showed weakness and they will of course try to take a mile. You now have made war all but enevitable with the savages. The muslims are now drooling with anticipation for the great jihad that has been promised them from their false devils prophet.

    • defcon 4

      Netanyahu is always stuck between a rock and hard place. I'd bet some sort of blackmail on the part of the zero was involved as well. What would YOU have recommended he do in this situation?

      • ziontruth

        "What would YOU have recommended he do in this situation?"

        Told Obama to shove it. To take all the "aid" (extortion really) and shove it in his face.

        Israel doesn't need America's help, not even on Iran. Regarding that, all Israel needs is an unobstructed flight path. In order to clear such a path in the face of those, like Zbigniew (may he go to hell soon, amen), who raise some interesting suggestions like shooting down Israel's planes, Israel has only to remind the world of the Samson Option: Any country to blame for Israel's demise will see its local Geiger counters jump off the scale.

        • defcon 4

          But is it worth it to expend what little good will capital you have over an apology? Especially considering we don't know that kind of strong arm tactics were employed by the zero.

    • ziontruth

      Sad as it is for me to say, but there's no denying the truth: You are simply correct.

  • RebeccaJean

    Now that Obama and the stench of sulphur that follows him has returned to the United States, I hope Netanyahu gets up off his knees and says no Israeli money will every be paid to Turkey as "reparations" for the lawful act of interdicting a terrorist chartered ship that attempted to break an Israeli blockade. Even the leftwing U.N. agreed that Israel had the right to the blockade. One of the few things they got right. If Edrogan can move the goalposts, Netanyahu can take back his apology.

    • AnOrdinaryMan

      Great idea.

    • defcon 4

      Taking back his apology would look immature on the world stage.

  • DP111

    One thing that Israel has never understood, is that America's influence with the Islamic world rests on the recognition that it is the only country that has influence to extract concessions from Israel.

    Two things follow from this

    1. The more Israel gives away, the less it will have, and thus less influence it has with America.

    2. The more America forces Israel to give, the less influence it has with the Arabs as well as Israel.

    It is therefore not in the interest of America to force Israel to give anything.

    If Israel shows its displeasure at the one sided concessions that America demands from Israel, and walks away, then America has no hand to play, and the Arabs/Turks know it as well.

    Another thing. Obama is desperate to show the Arab/Muslim world that he is their true friend. The corollary is that he is no friend of Israel. There is no need for Israel to do any favours for a man who is not a friend of Israel. The more Kerry, Biden and Obama loudly protest that they are true friends of Israel, the more reason there is to be suspicious of them.

  • DP111

    Netanyahu should never have apologised to Turkey, as it knocks away the support that Israel has in Congress and Senate, and gives the houses little room for showing their support for Israel in this situation.

    From what I see, Netanyahu is an honourable man. But this is of no help when dealing with shysters in the White House or Istanbul.

    • defcon 4

      I had thought the capital of Turkey was Ankara?

  • Ron Radosh

    As usual, this is an excellent analysis. I have one question for you, Caroline. According to the report by Eli Lake- http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/03/23/… Obama had nothing to do with pressuring Bibi to make that phone call, and that it was worded carefully to avoid what most people think the apology was.
    Of course, this could be Oren putting the best face forward on behalf of spinning the deal, his role as Ambassador to the US. Other reports in various papers today present arguments that Israel did not really make a blanket apology.
    Finally, doesn't Erdogan's walking back on the agreement so quickly make it clear to the world that it is not Israel who is responsible for not trying to mend fences, which is a positive thing?
    Best,
    Ron

  • Aisha22

    Apologizing to bullies has never stopped aggression yet. Hurting bullies works a lot better.

    • defcon 4

      Maybe the next Turkish flag blockade runner should be sent to the bottom of the Med w/an apology letter.

  • LindaRivera

    As many others have, I have seen the video and photos on the internet of the Muslim savages attacking the IDF soldiers. The Muslim attackers MUST be tried in court!

    IDF, You are my HEROES!
    My love, best wishes and undying appreciation to the IDF – Wonderful DEFENDERS of the Free World's people!

    • Drakken

      The hell with trying them in court, the only good islamist jihadist, is a dead islamist jihadist.

  • LindaRivera

    Obama visits Israel and a major VICTORY for totalitarian, global Islam is achieved. Every non-Muslim is betrayed! Netanyahu apologized to Turkey for IDF Defenders of the Free World defending themselves from savage Muslim attackers (it's on video). Netanyahu agreed to pay compensation!

    The terrifying message to the world's Muslims is: You have the right to attack non-Muslim innocents and if non-Muslims defend themselves, non-Muslims will have to pay compensation. ENCOURAGING Muslims to increase their attacks on non-Muslims!

    The constant BETRAYALS by Western leaders must stop! We are in URGENT need of a new, strong, ETHICAL leader to arise who will defend and protect the Free World's non-Muslims!

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Strange how it is in these times that power is not in the hands of the strong but in the hands
      of weak minded foolish diletants and people that are sick in the head………..William

      • LindaRivera

        Our treasonous Western leaders – American, European, British, Australian, et al, all appear to have the same goal: Islamic conquest of our countries.

  • George

    Excellent article. Ironically, late last week, someone wrote an article on the American Thinker dealing with Erdogan's anti-Zionism remarks just last month. It appears that the situation between Turkey and Israel is out of control. Glick is correct. Netanyahu's apology was a very bad mistake.

  • George

    If anyone is interested in the article about Erdogan and his anti-Zionist comments, please see:
    http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/03/turkeys_er

    The writer documents Turkish war crimes against Armenian, Greeks and Kurds.

    • VoiceOfReason

      What else do you expect from an zionist conservative publication. Using unsubstantiated "genocide" claims the author is trying to discredit Turkey and Erdogan, who is by the way trying hard to establish peace with Kurdish people living in Turkey by giving PKK's former leader his freedom, who is currently incarcerated in a Turkish prison, despite the fact that many Turkish soldiers and sivilians were killed by PKK terrorists for many years. Kurds, under Erdogan's leadership can now speak their own language, have their own Kurdish language radio/tv broadcasts and have the same rights and obligations within the Republic of Turkey as a Turkish citizen. PPK leaders declared cease-fire and peace with Turkey. This is hardly the work of "savages" as Erdogan and Turkey are called by some ignorant posters here.

      • Ghostwriter

        Well,I've come to expect very little from Israel bashers like "VoiceOfReason" who should rename himself "VoiceOfIsraelHatred",by the way. All they do is attack a country the size of New Jersey simply for defending itself from people who want to destroy them. All they do is blame "Zionism" and stuff like that when what Israel's enemies want to do is blow it right off the face of the earth. But,people like him don't care about Israelis. To them,they have no right to exist. They only have the right to be targets for people like "VoiceOfReason" who sounds anything but reasonable to Israelis.

      • defcon 4

        Yeah the Armenian Genocide is "unsubstantiated". How would you like to meet some of my Armenian friends and tell them what happened to their families is "unsubstantiated"?

  • Questions

    Where did Netanyahu get the reputation as a Tough Guy? He certainly didn't show that side of himself this time.

    • ziontruth

      "Where did Netanyahu get the reputation as a Tough Guy?"

      About the time Obama got his first term and American conservatives understandably wished to have a model leader to look up to in depressing times.

      Sorry, friends. While Netanyahu doesn't act in malice against his country like your Marxist politbüro chief does, he's no model leader. In fact, the free world hasn't seen a leader who truly acts for the interests of his country since Serbia's one in the 1990s, and he was quickly put down by President Inflated Sausage at the behest of the Islamic Oil Lobby. The world will have to wait.

  • John Stone

    The US does this kind of stuff a lot. We give aid to countries that rant against us in the UN. I am not sure if it is a good idea or not. With regard to Turkey, my base instinct is that Israel should not have apologized. Accepting blame whether justified or not is not usually a good idea. It costs you a little something and generally you get nothing for it. Obama's apology tours are an easy example of how it is unwise. Surely there is no gain and if anything they have set us back.

  • Silverio Facundo

    The lack of world leaders is sadly highy manifest in both Israel and the USA. The two only real western-values champions left in the world are guided by minuscule men. We are living in obscure times and the future gets darker and darker as months and years go by. Few people, and not a single leader, seems to grasp the enormous danger that islam and fascist left-wing so called "liberals" are bringing upon the world.

    By giving in to Erdogan, Israel has pushed the shovel into the ground a few more inches. Erdogan is no different from Ahmadinejad or Morsi or Mahmud Abbas. He is an islamist advancing the islamist agenda hell bent in conquering and destroying the world as we know it. Unable to defeat Israel fair and square in a frontal battle, they have chosen the proxy way, via diffamation, delegitimization and isolation. And sadly, they are winning. Israel in the group of nations is now perceived as an occupier, a murderer and a country that has its days numbered.

    Now it seems that only China stands in the way of allowing islam to conquer the major world powers. Europe is gone, the USA is run by a proto-islamist, Israel will soon be history, sliced into pieces by the peace-achievers, and Russia is half islamic by now, specially its army. Lets hope that the Chinese are able to stop this tidal wave of darkness and backwardness named islam that is set to engulf the world.

  • Grant

    I won't hold my breath for Zero making the Turks apologize for the Armenian Genocide.

    • defcon 4

      Especially considering its illegal to even discuss the Armenian Genocide in Turkey…

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Erdogan and the Turkish thugs need to be destroyed, Obama needs to be impeached and
    Netanyahu needs to appologize to his Nation and resign now. Israel has another David
    somewhere in the ranks and this political insanity must end with Israel reasserting as the
    heavy hitter in the Middle East. Damn the Islamist murdering thugs, what in hell is the
    Israeli leadership thinking, trying to lead from thier behind like Obama…………….Willia

  • John Stone

    I do not like comparing anybody with Hitler because really there is no other leader like Hitler. But because I happen to be familiar with Hitler's methods, I can not help but notice similarities. Apparently because of bent of personality, Hitler used a combination of bluster and threat. He was also a man apart who could on occasion be charming. The only European leader who actually came out well dealing with Hitler was his fellow dictator Franco of Spain. The democratic leaders that dealt with him, for the most part, just got pushed around. Churchill did well enough, but only came into major power after the war had already started.

    Islam on an institutional level is like Hitler was on a personal level, a mixture of bluster and threat. They may be accommodating verbally, but they never really at peace with their neighbors. Those with the good luck to have superior force need either to kick the crap out of the house of Islam, or make it plain that there is a willingness to do it. That will buy you a truce, not peace, and any other alternative is worse.

  • pierce

    Of all the things Barack Obama has done while serving as our President, this is perhaps the most constructive.
    The Turkish people, and the Israeli's have the most to lose by not speaking to each other.
    The middle east is a tinder box that can explode at a moments notice, and I would not want to see Israel annihilated. They and the Turks are our only friends in the region. The two societies are different, but not members of the Arab Spring which benefits both, and us, Again accolades to Obama, lets hope it works.

    • defcon 4

      Ah yes the "friendly" Turks. The Turks who are the sexual slavery capital of Europe. The Turks who deny their genocide of 2.5 million Armenian and Assyrian Christians. The Turks who persecuted the *very few* Christians and Jews who live among them. The Turks who, when two synagogues were blown up on the same day in Turkey and 26 people killed, proceeded to hand down sentences of from three to six years to the muslime perps and call it justice.

  • VoiceOfReason

    Israel simply did what he needed to do, this is a move in the right direction, never mind the uber nationalistic comments made here, a lot of them do not understand the importance of diplomacy in intl relations. Guns aren't always the solution to every problem.

  • Forrelli

    Always remember that God is in charge of it all, and He will never forsake you, as He says in Joshua 1.

  • Nursecrd

    That Netanyahu rolled over at the behest of Obozo and apologized to a neo-Islamist state tells me there is a problem. Israel, as it is suggested in the article and some of the posts, needs to rely more on itself and less on the U.S. Israel owes nothing to the neo-Islamist Turks, apology or reparations. The neo-Islamist Turkish government supported the blockade breaking in the first place and they should apologize to their own people and pay them reparations instead of Israel.

    The blockade of Gaza is legal and that blockade is in place because Hamas, by virtue of their own actions, put it there. It is unfortunate that the left wing media holds so much sway and through their biased reporting continues to fuel a sticky situation in the middle east.

  • RCCA

    As an American I do not feel it is my right to advise or critique the government of Israel or the decisions the State of Israel makes. Furthermore, I personally am not in the least impressed by the importance of the apology Israel made. Certainly, Israel had already expressed regret over the loss of life. And subsequent flotillas were handled quite differently which indicates to me that Israel learned a lesson on how to avoid a similar disaster. No matter, I have no concern or doubt about Israel's resolve in doing whatever is necessary to defend itself, regardless of what anybody says or thinks.
    But I do agree that obviously Israel would be better off not needing the assistance of the US, and eventually when that happens, we won't see so much debate and advice coming from the US.

  • LindaRivera

    Why is VIOLENT War aggressor, Turkey, a member of NATO? End Muslim Turkey's ILLEGAL occupation of Cyprus!

    • WilliamJamesWard

      Because NATO has been debased by leftist leaders…………………William

  • Reuven

    I'm ashamed of Bibi who is acting like a ghetto Jew. Only harm to Israel will come from his apology.

  • Joel Shapiro

    Why is there no movement to demand apologies TO Israel FROM the Muslims nations? Where are their apologies for war, creating refugees, Apartheid type policies against Jews (and other religions), supporting terrorism, routinely lying to western media, and so on?

  • artcohn

    Explicitly, Netanyahu's statement does not apologize for the Israel commandos upholding its legal blockade, but for the poor uncoordinated way in which the commandos' operation was done. While the internet was rife about the IHH terrorists being on board, that information did not seem to have reached the commandos, as they were not fully prepared for the terrorists attack on them. If they had been, it is likely that they would have boarded the ship so overwhelmingly that the terrorists would have hid themselves, and not attacked the commandos. as they boarded

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