What Israel Gains from Reconciliation with Turkey

Nov. 17 2022

Three weeks ago, the Israeli defense minister Benny Gantz visited Ankara, where he met with his Turkish counterpart as well as with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in what seemed a further step toward reconciliation between the two countries. Yet Turkey still refuses to accede to Jerusalem’s requests that it expel Hamas from its territory. Ankara, now reeling from a terrorist attack, has been in a difficult position both economically and diplomatically for some time, and it is easy to see how it might benefit from mending fences with one of the strongest powers in the region. But what, asks Eran Lerman, is in it for Israel?

Clearly, at the core of the two countries’ mutual concern at this point is the growing challenge posed by reckless Iranian conduct. In recent months, this has become a highly specific threat to basic Turkish interests, creating common ground with Israel. The immediate trigger for this new impetus for cooperation was the effort by Iranian agents to use Turkish soil for attacks on Israeli citizens—tourists or businesspeople visiting Istanbul—as an act of revenge against Israel’s alleged complicity in the killing of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps operatives on Iranian soil.

The Iranian challenge to both countries is not, however, confined to such terror tactics. Israel and Turkey (and Pakistan as well) share an ally currently under active Iranian threat—Azerbaijan. It is close to Turkey in language, culture, and heritage as well in strategic terms. At the same time, since its independence in 1992, it has been a friend (and energy supplier) of Israel and a significant client of Israel’s defense industries. Following the Azeri success in the Nagorno-Karabakh War of autumn 2020, both Turkish and Israeli flags could be seen in the streets of Baku.

Within the last few months, Iranian threats against Azerbaijan have become more intense, backed by force concentrations and military exercises at the border.

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Read more at Jerusalem Strategic Tribune

More about: Azerbaijan, Benny Gantz, Iran, Israeli Security, Turkey

 

The Palestinian Authority Is Part of the Problem, Not the Solution

Jan. 31 2023

On Thursday, Palestinian Authority (PA) officials announced that they had ceased all security cooperation with Israel; the next two days saw two deadly terrorist attacks in Jerusalem. But the PA has in the past made numerous threats that it will sever its ties with the Israeli government, and has so far never made good on them. Efraim Inbar poses a different set of questions: does cooperation with Palestinian leaders who actively encourage—and provide financial incentives for—the murder of Jews really help Israel protect its citizens? And might there be a better alternative?

The PA leader Mahmoud Abbas seems unable to rule effectively, i.e., to maintain a modicum of law and order in the territories under his control. He lost Gaza to Hamas in 2007, and we now see the “Lebanonization” of the PA taking place in the West Bank: the emergence of myriad armed groups, with some displaying only limited loyalty to the PA, and others, especially the Islamists, trying to undermine the current regime.

[The PA’s] education system and media continue propagating tremendous hostility toward Jews while blaming Israel for all Palestinian problems. Security cooperation with Israel primarily concerns apprehending armed activists of the Islamist opposition, as the PA often turns a blind eye to terrorist activities against Israel. In short, Abbas and his coterie are part of the problem, not of the solution. Jerusalem should thus think twice about promoting efforts to preserve PA rule and prevent a descent into chaos while rejecting the reoccupation of the West Bank.

Chaos is indeed not a pleasant prospect. Chaos in the territories poses a security problem to Israel, but one that will be mitigated if the various Palestinian militias vying for influence compete with each other. A succession struggle following the death of Abbas could divert attention from fighting hated Israel and prevent coordination in the low-intensity conflict against it. In addition, anarchy in the territories may give Israel a freer hand in dealing with the terrorists.

Furthermore, chaos might ultimately yield positive results. The collapse of the PA will weaken the Palestinian national movement, which heretofore has been a source of endemic violence and is a recipe for regional instability in the future.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror