Israeli and Turkish Think Tanks Confer in Tel Aviv in Advance of President Herzog’s Trip to Ankara

March 3 2022

On Thursday, experts from the Turkish Foundation for Political, Economic, and Social Research (known as SETA) will meet for a day-long conference at the Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies in Tel Aviv. As Tal Schneider explains, SETA is financed by the Turkish government and is known to be aligned with the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The meetings, which are closed to both the press and the public, may signal improving relations between the two countries; notably, the conference is scheduled to take place shortly before the Israeli president Isaac Herzog’s planned trip to meet with Erdogan in Turkey. Schneider reports:

The Times of Israel has learned that diplomats and governmental officials will participate in the conference, the purpose of which is to restore ties and connections among mid-level officials from the two countries. Topics scheduled for discussion include the schism between the two countries, the energy market, and other relevant matters.

The Israeli participants will be led by Hay Eytan Cohen Yanarocak and Nir Boms, both researchers at the Moshe Dayan center, while the Turkish side is to be led by SETA head Burhanettin Duran.

In late January, Duran published a paper on the SETA website that was also carried by the Turkey’s regime-supporting Daily Sabah newspaper, titled “Pursuit of normalization in Turkey-Israel relations.” In it he detailed how Turkey plans to open a new chapter in relations with the U.S., the European Union, Greece, Armenia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Isaac Herzog, Israel diplomacy, Turkey


The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy