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Turkey’s Terrorism Problem, and Israel’s

The New Year’s Eve shooting in Istanbul is additional grim testimony to the upsurge of terrorist attacks in Turkey over the past two years. Behind most of these attacks have been the PKK, a Kurdish separatist group, and Islamic State (IS), which has claimed responsibility for the most recent. Nimrod Goren explains Turkey’s vulnerability, and how its response might affect its relations with Israel:

The growing motivation of both [the PKK and IS] to carry out attacks against Turkey, alongside their easy access to the country in light of its long borders with Syria and Iraq, are the main reasons for the dramatic rise in terrorism in Turkey. Additionally, Turkey’s growing involvement in Syria, including in military operations that Turkey had avoided in the early years of the conflict, . . . increases the desire and the sense of urgency among its enemies to carry out attacks against it, on its territory.

The Turkish defense establishment has had difficulty responding to this phenomenon so far. The consequences of the attempted coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last July, including the arrests of military and police officers, are not making it any easier to deal with the problem. . . .

Turkey is dealing with these challenges at a time of ongoing tension with its traditional Western allies. While Turkey enjoys security cooperation with these countries by virtue of its NATO membership, it seems this is not enough.

Given Turkey’s reality, some expect that the reconciliation with Israel will help with the war on terrorism. Although the Israeli government is highlighting natural gas as the central factor in its decision to normalize relations with Turkey, Turkish interests [in reconciliation] were focused on renewed security cooperation with Israel.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: ISIS, Israel diplomacy, Kurds, Politics & Current Affairs, Terrorism, Turkey

Putting Aside the Pious Lies about the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Jan. 23 2018

In light of recent developments, including Mahmoud Abbas’s unusually frank speech to the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s leadership, Moshe Arens advocates jettisoning some frequently mouthed but clearly false assumptions about Israel’s situation, beginning with the idea that the U.S. should act as a neutral party in negotiations between Jerusalem and Ramallah. (Free registration may be required.)

The United States cannot be, and has never been, neutral in mediating the Israel-Palestinian conflict. It is the leader of the world’s democratic community of nations and cannot assume a neutral position between democratic Israel and the Palestinians, whether represented by an autocratic leadership that glorifies acts of terror or by Islamic fundamentalists who carry out acts of terror. . . .

In recent years the tectonic shifts in the Arab world, the lower price of oil, and the decreased importance attached to the Palestinian issue in much of the region, have essentially removed the main incentive the United States had in past years to stay involved in the conflict. . . .

Despite the conventional wisdom that the core issues—such as Jerusalem or the fate of Israeli settlements beyond the 1949 armistice lines—are the major stumbling blocks to an agreement, the issue for which there seems to be no solution in sight at the moment is making sure that any Israeli military withdrawal will not result in rockets being launched against Israel’s population centers from areas that are turned over to the Palestinians. . . .

Does that mean that Israel is left with a choice between a state with a Palestinian majority or an apartheid state, as claimed by Israel’s left? This imaginary dilemma is based on a deterministic theory of history, which disregards all other possible alternatives in the years to come, and on questionable demographic predictions. What the left is really saying is this: better rockets on Tel Aviv than a continuation of Israeli military control over Judea and Samaria. There is little support in Israel for that view.

Read more at Haaretz

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Mahmoud Abbas, Peace Process, US-Israel relations