This is an extraordinary hour long forum held at Davos about Gaza. The participants are Amr Mousa, Secretary General of the Arab League, Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary General of the UN, Recep Tayyip Erdogan who is PM of Turkey and Shimon Peres, president of Israel.
The first to speak was Ki-Moon, who was diplomatic but got in a couple of serious swipes at Israel. The next to speak was Erdogan who attacked Israel quite angrily and was then supported by Mousa. Peres was the last to speak and he spoke passionately and at length in response. He loses it a little at times, but his general presence is angry and combative. He starts talking around the 40th minute of this video but I strongly encourage you all to watch or listen to the entire clip.
At the end, Erdogan seeks to respond to Peres and is given an opportunity but when he starts to repeat himself after a couple of minutes, the moderator tries to stop him. Erdogan does not appreciate being told that he’s had his say and storms off angrily, claiming that Peres got twice as much time to speak. Not true. Still, the moment of peevishness is a serious diplomatic snafu for Israel which has has made serious efforts to engage Turkey as an ally in recent years. You can read more about it here.
Also today, a Spanish court has decided to consider whether several Israeli military men and Israel’s former Minister of Defense were guilty of “crimes against humanity” for a plane bombing of a building that held a prominent terrorist by the name of Shehadeh. In the bombing, a building collapsed and 14 civilians were killed and other injured. We will all get to watch now as the world puts Israel on trial.
Make no mistake, these are victories for Iran and for Hizbullah and Hamas. They are victories for undemocratic regimes which are being supported by the benign Western powers that have done little to stop these forces and have done much to support them (Germany supplies Iran with all sorts of technology, the EU gives billions to prop up the Palestinian leaderships, the UN has an entire section ironically focused on Human Rights that focuses on Israel and is run by anti-democratic regimes, UNWRA is the only UN organization focused on the plight of one group of refugees, etc.). These are victories that slowly chip away at Israel and weaken it, weaken its citizens’ resolve, weaken its confidence that it can prevail against the Arabs’ aggression and these are victories that turn Israel truly into a pariah state.
These are also victories for non-state actors that cynically use their civilian population as fodder and cover. They have perfected this system and have proven that if you don’t fight them you lose and if you do fight them, you lose more.
And all this after Israel LEFT Gaza. All this after Israel waited for years to respond to the rocket attacks.
Those of us who supported the exit from Gaza are watching and wondering what will happen if we support an exit from the West Bank. Will the Palestinians start firing from there with impunity as well?
UPDATE: Sadly, Shimon Peres called Edrogan and apologized.
“I am very sorry for what happened and friends could sometimes have an argument between themselves,” Peres told Erdogan during the telephone conversation. “I have always had a great respect for the Republic of Turkey and you as the prime minister. I consider myself as a friend of Turkey and Premier Erdogan.”
What the hell did he have to apologize about? Still, I guess he gets points for not letting ego get in the way of necessary diplomacy.