The End of Erdogan Might Not Be Good News for Jerusalem

With national elections coming in less than two weeks, Recep Tayyip Erdogan faces perhaps the most serious electoral threat of his career as Turkey’s president. Although Erdogan’s hostility toward Israel has contributed to the decline in relations between the two countries, there is little reason to believe his successor will be any better. A new government might even set back the tenuous reconciliation between the two countries. Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak writes:

The leader of the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, has managed to coalesce the six opposition parties and form the National Alliance. The various elements of the bloc have deep ideological divisions. . . . This is perhaps the “Anyone but Erdogan” coalition.

You could be forgiven for thinking Erdogan’s potential downfall would be good for Israel. But with the National Alliance including figures like former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Temel Karamollaoğlu, the head of the . . . main Islamic opposition party, it would be premature to say that the president’s departure would usher in improved ties between Jerusalem and Ankara. Davutoğlu has been fiercely opposed to the normalization with Israel and Karamollaoğlu wants to sever bilateral relations altogether.

In any event, a new Turkish leadership will not create a golden age for Turkey-Israel relations in the near term. In fact, the opposite may be true: Kılıçdaroğlu could try to rally his fragile coalition by burnishing his anti-Israel credentials. There are signs this is already happening. . . . Israel must be extra careful in its handling of the unpredictable new-old political players.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security