New space has opened up to mediate between Israel and Palestine
Egypt has gained some credibility on Israel-Palestine, an opportunity that Turkey could have snapped up.
The impact of the ceasefire in Gaza still echoes after President Joe Biden has had six phone calls with Benjamin Netanyahu in 11 days. Some Middle Eastern experts in Washington,DC criticise President Biden for turning a blind eye and staying silent about the incidents that took place in the first week.
However, some experts congratulated him, especially some Democrats, for releasing the tension with heavy diplomacy. There are two important points in Biden’s pro-Israel speech: “We will continue to support Israel and enhance its defense, and there will be no peace until the countries in the region recognize Israel’s right to exist as a sovereign Jewish state.”
Furthermore, although the Biden Administration wants a two-state solution, we can see that it is impossible to implement it. The situation in Congress has become more dramatic after recent resolutions.
While 14 out of 435 Members of Congress have signed the joint resolution proposing to stop arms sales to Israel, 105 members have signed the simple resolution condemning Hamas and proposing to continue supporting Israel’s security.
In the 100-seat Senate, while ten senators have signed the simple resolution in favour of enhancing diplomatic efforts between Israel and Palestine (S.Res. 225), 31 senators signed the simple resolution promoting Israel as the USA’s biggest ally in the region.
A 46-page report titled “U.S. Foreign Aid to Israel,” prepared by the American Congressional Research Service, shows in great detail that the amount of US aid to Israel between 1946 and 2018 was $236 billion. As you may recall, a 10-year security Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the American and Israeli governments on September 14, 2016, which granted Israel $38 billion military aid ($33 billion Foreign Military Financing Grants subsidised by Congress and $5 billion missile defense appropriations) between 2019 and 2028.
On top of all that, Biden has approved a $735 million arms sale, and Congress failed to reach the necessary numbers to veto it.
US Secretary of State Blinken has already paid a visit to Israeli and Palestinian authorities on Wednesday and Thursday and will also visit Egypt and Jordan. Egypt is a special favourite of the Biden administration now due to its key role in the ceasefire.
Considering what happened in 2014 in Gaza, the West today ignores incidents at first, and then draws a line only when the tensions increase.
If you remember in 2014, Israeli bombardment of Gaza and Hamas retaliation continued for 51 days. More than 2,100 Palestinians, including 530 children and 302 women, were killed during the attacks and more than 10,000 Palestinians were injured.
On the Israeli side, 70 people, including 64 soldiers, were killed, and 720 people were wounded.
In the 1970s, Turkey had assumed the role taken nowadays by Egypt but Egypt has now increased its credibility on the issue in the international arena. Turkey could have been a credible mediator if it had wanted to help Palestinians. However, according to community members, Ankara has missed an opportunity as it has trust issues with Israel.
Lastly, I personally watched the Israel-Palestine debates at the UN General Assembly. I had a chance to talk to the Turkish and American delegation representatives and the ambassadors who serve at the United Nations. The UN, the most important international organisation in the world, has become an authority with no ability to find solutions. We witnessed the attitude of the organisation when the Israeli Ambassador left the conference hall as the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu was delivering a speech. We were hopeful for the improvement of relations between Turkey and Israel and even Azerbaijan stated that it wanted to be a mediator between two countries.
Even if Turkey has taken all the right steps in a humanitarian sense, it is crucial that it employs an anti-sentimental approach in its foreign policy without burning any bridges.