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Israel-Turkey Relations on Verge of Collapse: Ambassador Expelled



Israel’s diplomatic standing took a beating Tuesday following Monday’s violence on the Gaza-Israel border, as several European countries, as well as South Africa registered strong condemnations of what the South African foreign ministry called “violent Israeli aggression.”

In Europe, the Belgian Foreign Ministry has summoned Israeli Ambassador Simona Frenkel for a Wednesday morning meeting, in addition to Prime Minister Charles Michel’s call for an international inquiry. Ireland has also summoned the Israeli Ambassador for talks, and is expected to join the call for an international inquiry.

Across the Atlantic, the United States blocked an attempt by the United Nations Security Council to condemn Israel. But Nickolay Mladenov, the world body’s Special Coordinator For The Middle East Peace Process, told the Security Council that Gaza residents “survive in prison-like conditions, who live with no prospect for the day after,” and added that the international community has “an obligation to hear their plight.

“They have lived through three devastating conflicts. Their lives are marked by personal anguish, scarred by a national tragedy, marred by daily suffering caused by leaders, who use them for their own political ends. For ten years, they have lived under the control of Hamas… the Secretary-General and I have repeatedly called on all to exercise restraint, for all necessary steps to avoid an escalation and for all incidents to be fully investigated. I have engaged with all sides to this effect. Public statements and messages by Hamas indicate the intention to use mass protests to infiltrate into Israel and attack Israelis. Such statements and action endanger the lives of both Israelis and Palestinians and cannot be justified,” Mladenov said.

By far, the strongest reaction to Monday’s events came from Turkey, thrusting Israel’s diplomatic relations with Ankara into an uncertain future. Earlier Tuesday, Turkey expelled Israeli ambassador Eitan Na’eh, with Jerusalem responding by asking the Turkish Consul in the capital to return home.

Following the diplomatic exchange, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

launched a blistering verbal attack against Israel as well as Prime Minister Netanyahu, repeating his oft-stated allegation that Israel is an “apartheid state” and saying that Netanyahu “has the blood of Palestinians on his hands and can’t cover up crimes by attacking Turkey.

“Want a lesson in humanity? Read the 10 commandments,” Erdoğan Tweeted.

Netanyahu wasted little time returning fire, saying the Turkish president had no business preaching ethics to Israel because he is “one of Hamas’ biggest supporters, and therefore there is no doubt that he is an expert in terror and carnage.”

The diplomatic fist fight is not the first between Ankara and Jerusalem in recent years. In 2010, 10 Turkish nationals were killed in international waters during a flotilla mission to Gaza when IDF commandos took control of one of the flotilla ships, the Mavi Marmara. Turkey pulled its ambassador then as well, leading to several years of diplomatic silence that ended with a deal brokered by then-US President Barack Obama in 2016. Israel apologized to Turkey for the incident and agreed to pay $20 million in damages to the families of the victims.

Responding to Turkey’s recent actions, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that “Erdoğan is soaked in Hamas terrorism from head to toe. It was a big mistake to sign the Marmara reparations deal with him. At the time, I said that he (Erdoğan) would return to verbally attacking us before long, and I voted against that shameful agreement, which unfortunately passed in the Cabinet.”

By: Yona Schnitzer


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