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MA#46  - JULY 2010

TURKEY & THE  

MARMARA FLOTILLA AFFAIR 

AT the end of May, a flotilla – a fleet of six - (three cargo and three passenger ships) – set sail from Europe and Turkey, with a goal of breaking through Israel’s three-year blockade of the Gaza coast. 

The ships carried 10,000 tons of “aid,” including a huge amount of cement, along with about 700 pro-Palestinian activists from more than thirty countries, the majority of whom were Turkish. Also included on the “passengers” list were nationals of US, UK, Greece, Canada, Belgium, Ireland, Australia, Algeria, Jordan and Kuwait, and a number of journalists, a Swedish author, and three German MPs.

The leading ship, with the most passengers, was named the Mavi Marmara. It was one of three Turkish vessels. The other three were organised by the Free Gaza Movement, an international coalition of activist groups.

Several days before the flotilla set sail, the two organizations – the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) – the latter known to have ties with internationally-recognized terrorist organizations – began announcing their intention to sail a flotilla of boats to Gaza in an attempt to breach the Israeli government’s blockade of the Strip.

Israel, which has long banned all maritime traffic to Gaza, in an effort to limit the amount of weapons being shipped into the Hamas  stronghold, made it clear it would not permit the ships to reach Gaza.

Hamas is a political-religious-military organisation that waged a bloody military coup against its senior Palestinian compatriots – the Fatah party – and took control of the Gaza Strip in mid 2007.

Hamas and other Palestinian groups then began a rocket war against Israel. More than 7,000 rockets were fired upon Israeli civilian population centers from Gaza, causing regular casualties and destruction.

The constant rocket attacks inevitably led to a crackdown on Gaza in Dec 2008-Jan 2009 – a 22-day war that left much of Gaza in ruins.

A blockade on Gaza was then imposed by Egypt also, because of its concern that Hamas, which is a creation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, could develop into an Iranian-backed terrorist state that would work together with the Brotherhood to topple the secular Egyptian government of President Hosni Mubarak.

As the Hamas charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, it will not recognise Israel – not even if the blockade is lifted.

The most significance part of this whole Marmara affair, from the prophetic point of view, is …

TURKEY’S INVOLVEMENT

If you look at the prophecy in Ezekiel 38, concerning the Northern Confederation led by Rosh (Russia), you will see that Turkey is embedded in this powerful endtime alliance:

“Son of man, set your face against Gog of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him, and say, The Sovereign Master, YHWH, says: Listen! I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal.

“I will turn you around, put hooks into your jaws and bring you out with your whole army - your horses and horsemen all fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing swords.

“Persia (Iran), Cush (Ethiopia), and Put (Libya) will be with them, all with shields and helmets; Gomer (Germany) also with all its troops; and Beth-Togarmah - (the House of Togarmah) - from the far north (Turkey and the Turkic people of Central Asia) with all its troops - many nations with you. Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them.” (Ezekiel 38:2-7)

Here we see the Turkic races linked with Russia and Iran in the endtime. Turkey will play a major role in the coming world war of the Great Tribulation.

The government of Turkey, which until 18 months ago, had been an ally of Israel, has become increasingly antagonistic towards the Jewish state in recent months, while at the same time moving deeper into the orbit of Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Hamas and Russia.

In May, Turkey confronted Israel and warned it not to try and stop the flotilla that was bound for Gaza.

Emboldened by Turkey’s support, the “activists” on the ships sailed to Cyprus and there prepared for the final leg of their voyage to Gaza.

Israel, making every effort to avoid a confrontation – short of backing down – invited the demonstrators to sail to the Israeli port of Ashdod from where their humanitarian supplies could be shipped overland to Gaza. The “peaceniks” refused, and on Sunday 30th May pushed towards Gaza.

An Israeli army spokesman called the Marmara affair “an act of terror on the high seas.” Far from being a humanitarian mission, the flotilla was sponsored personally by Turkish PM, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza, and to enable arms supplies and terrorists to reach the Strip without restriction. If the flotilla could not break the blockade, it would at least provoke a widely publicized inter-national incident with fatalities, and show Israel using strong-arm tactics against “unarmed peace-lovers.”

    ISRAEL - TURKEY  RELATIONS  

Turkey, a predominantly Muslim and historically secular country, has had decades of close military and trade ties with the U.S. and the Jewish state.

Turkey welcomed Jews fleeing Nazi persecution during the World War II and was among the first Muslim countries to recognize Israel in 1948. Subsequently, the Israeli and Turkish military forces worked closely together, and just recently, Israel completed an upgrade of Turkish tanks and warplanes worth more than $1 billion.

             RECEP TAYYIP ERDOGAN    

But relations between Israel’s year-old right-leaning government, and Turkey’s Islamic-rooted administration led by PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan who took power in 2002, have been deteriorating since Israel’s 3-week war in Gaza which began on December 27, 2008.

Last year, Erdogan berated Israel’s President Shimon Peres over the war in Gaza, at an international gathering in Davos, Switzerland.

Turkey has become increasingly assertive, diplomatically, in the Middle East, backing Iran’s attempts to quash new UN sanctions over its nuclear program, and trying to mediate Israeli talks with Syria which demand the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Golan Heights as a condition for peace.

Recently, Erdogan has been accusing the world of turning a blind eye to Israel’s nuclear program while Iran’s program is being scrutinized because of its membership in the International Atomic Energy Agency. Israel, which has not signed the non-proliferation treaty, he asserts, is “free to do whatever it wants.”

Now Erdogan says Turkey will continue to support the Palestinian people. “We will not turn our back on Palestine, Palestinians and Gaza,” he said. “No one should test Turkey’s patience. Turkey’s hostility is as strong as its friendship is valuable.”

Relations between Israel and Turkey, after reaching a high point in the early 2000s, now appear to be beyond repair. The flotilla affair was a culmination of the steep decline in Israeli-Turkish relations that started with the Gaza war. 

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED?

The flotilla cargo boats tried to run a military blockade that was established by Egypt and Israel to prevent the terrorist group Hamas from refortifying. The boats wanted to force their way into the port of Gaza. Or if they could not succeed in that, the flotilla was meant to draw the world’s attention to the blockaded Gaza.

The Israeli Navy repeatedly warned the ships not to run the blockade. But the flotilla, which was carrying items banned for entry into Gaza, ignored the warnings with the expectation that an international conflict would develop that could be used as a public relations lever against Israel.

Israel made repeated offers to the ships asking that they sail to the port of Ashdod and unload their cargo there. Israel guaranteed to pass on all of the items classified as humanitarian, through the crossing to the Gaza strip. As the ships would not comply, Israeli naval vessels were compelled to intercept the flotilla and board the ships to take control.

The passengers on five of the ships quietly surrendered; but on the sixth, the Marmara, the Israelis encountered a strong resistance. The militants in the flotilla clearly chose a path of confrontation.

The fight that followed was an orchestrated set-up by radicals from among the activists, to discredit Israel, and to create world sympathy for Gaza and Hamas.

ABOARD THE MARMARA

Three Israeli helicopters dropped 45 commandos onto the deck of the largest ship, the Marmara. As each soldier reached the deck, he was leapt upon by iron-bar wielding, chair-smashing, knife-stabbing and even gun-firing “activists.” They were met with a band of terrorists who had planned on lynching the Israeli commandos.

Israel said about 50 activists were deployed for battle, armed with clubs, baseball bats, steel rods, knives and clubs, and in some instances, guns, firebombs, and other weapons, and some were wearing gas masks.

The Israeli commandos were armed with paintball guns - non-lethal weapons normally used as a crowd-control tactic; and that are also used in a game in which people shoot balls of paint at each other. The commandos carried pistols but were ordered to use them only as a last resort. They were not expecting a violent resistance on the ships. 

Armed with knives, the terrorists overpowered the first of the commandos, throwing them to the deck, beating and knifing them, and trying to hang them. One soldier was thrown overboard and others jumped in the sea to escape. They were rescued by Israeli vessels.

It was only after one commando had been stabbed in the stomach and beaten unconscious, that the commandos were given the order to fire in self-defence.

An IDF spokesperson said it was a pre-planned violent attack. “You can easily see the footage in which our commandos were coming down from a helicopter and before even setting foot on the deck of the ship, each one of them was attacked severely by dozens of activists.” Seven Israelis were shot and wounded, two critically, by the terrorist’s weapons. They were rescued and ferried to Israeli hospitals by helicopter.

Nine of the violent activists were killed, and a number were wounded. All of the dead were Turks, and all were on the Marmara, one of the three ships provided by  Insani  Yardim  Vakti (IHH)  which  has strong sympathies among Turkey’s ruling party, and according to Israel, has links to Hamas and al-Qaida.

In all, about 700 Israeli troops, including surveillance and support troops sailing in more than 20 Israeli vessels, took part in the takeover of the six ships.

The flotilla was told that a blockade was still in force over Gaza, and that the Israel border patrol was more than willing to allow the boats full passage into the sovereign waters of Israel, and to dock and unload in Ashdod. Then, after inspection, the goods would be transported directly to the Gaza Strip.

The problem was that the flotilla vessels were not humanitarian aid ships merely trying to send aid to the Gaza Strip.

THE TURKS, SENT TO BREAK THE GAZA SIEGE,

WERE PAID, AND ARMED!

Israel’s military has determined that scores of Turkish Islamists were paid and trained by elements close to their government to battle Israeli soldiers in Ankara’s effort to break the siege on the Gaza Strip. - The World Tribune

An Israeli naval admiral said about 40 men were armed with military-style gear and carried large sums of money.   “There is proof that dozens of people on the ship had connections with terrorist organizations from around the region and the world. Some of them were even known to us from past incidents they were involved in.”                                                                                                                                           - The Jerusalem Post

“NO INNOCENT PEOPLE WERE KILLED”

June 14/10. The nine Marmara “passengers” killed were all Turkish and members of a known violent group.  “No innocent people were killed, only the terrorists,” says Deputy Commander of the Navy Rear-Admiral Rani Ben-Yehuda.

“In future, the Israeli navy will operate under the assumption that provocateurs are aboard any ships that try to break the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip.”

ACTIVISTS ARRESTED AND DEPORTED

The six ships were all eventually escorted to Ashdod. Israel said 679 people were arrested, and were investigated by police for their roles in the violence aboard the ship. Within a few days almost all of them had been deported – some by land to Jordan. 

Turkey sent three planes to bring back the majority of the activists, including the wounded, and the bodies of the nine slain terrorists.  Erdogan snubbed an Israeli offer to fly back the Turkish wounded.

PROTESTORS AT “MARTYRS” FUNERAL

Thousands of Turks attended a funeral of the nine slain Marmara “heroes” at an Istanbul mosque. “May your martyrdom be blessed,” read a huge banner in the colors of the Palestinian flag that was hanging on the wall surrounding the mosque courtyard.

“Damn Israel! Israel is the angel of death!” chanted the crowd while waving Turkish and Palestinian flags, while pledging allegiance to Hamas. The NTV news channel put the number of the mourners at between 15,000 and 20,000. “We are all soldiers of Hamas,” the crowd shouted.

HAMAS REFUSES TO RECEIVE THE AID

After inspection, Israel packed the humanitarian aid taken from the activists’ flotilla and transferred it over land to Gaza; but there Hamas was unwilling to accept the cargo and the trucks filled with aid were not allowed to enter the Gaza Strip.

Hamas officials said they would not accept the items piecemeal. (They evidently want the cement and hardware.)  Among the items found on the flotilla included expired medications, clothing, blankets and toys.

ISRAEL BASHING

The result of the Marmara affair is another global round of Israel-bashing. That happens all the time. When it comes to the state of the hated Jews, the truth rarely finds acceptance in the court of international opinion.

Thanks largely to biased leftist media, many millions of people are primed and ready to believe the worst about the actions of Israel’s Jews. For the media it’s a case of, “Why let the facts get in the way of a convenient and expedient story that further feeds people’s prejudices and satisfies their twisted desires?”

THE IHH FRONT  - 

Insani Yardim Vakfi

The Marmara affair was instigated by terrorist planners in Turkey who have  connections  to  terrorist organizations through the IHH. 

The IHH is a “charity” that’s called the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief.  Despite its operating legally in Turkey, Israel has accused the Istanbul-based charity of being a front for Iran, al-Qaida and Hamas. Israel’s intelligence has found that IHH was a leading supporter of al-Qaida in its insurgency campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, and it has also supported Islamic fighters in Algeria, Bosnia, Chechnya, Libya and Syria.

Founded in 1992, IHH has been financed by Saudi Arabia, officials say.  In 2008, Israel banned IHH along with 35 Islamic charities linked to the Saudi-based Union of Good, deemed a terrorist organization by the United States.

Richard Spencer of The Daily Telegraph described the IHH, the main sponsor of the blockade runners, as “a radical Islamist group masquerading as a humanitarian agency.”

New York Democratic Senator, Charles Schumer, has added his voice to growing cries for an investigation of terrorist links to IHH. Schumer asked US S of S Hillary Clinton to “immediately conduct an investigation to determine if the IHH is currently – or has in the past – provided financial, logistical or material support to any terrorist organizations listed on the State Department’s list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations.”

COMMENT: The “humanitarian flotilla” was a long-planned event sponsored by a terrorist front, and was designed to provoke a fight. And in reality, the appeasement policy of the Obama Administration emboldened the terrorists to raise the stakes by launching a major assault on Israel.

FACTS ABOUT TURKEY

*    Given the human rights abuses rife in Turkey, including the de facto persecution of Christians, the suffering of the Kurds at the hands of the Turks (which Kurds claim is well beyond any self-defensive action taken by Israelis against Gazan Arabs), and given the Turkish holocaust perpetrated against the 2 million Christian Armenians that Turkey murdered without repentance – it is utterly hypocritical for an Islamic government of a nation with an ugly history of genocide, to condemn Israel for protecting itself.

* We are reminded that Turkey itself occupies a large part of “Kurdistan” and the European side of the Bosporus which, like Izmir and the northwest Turkish Coast, was stolen from Greece according to Greek Orthodox Church tradition and many modern Greek historians.

*    Turkey’s foolish actions must be seen in the light of Ezekiel 38. Turkey is undoubtedly setting itself up for defeat and humiliation in the Gog and Magog quagmire from which it will not escape.

*    It’s time for the West to recognize and acknowledge the new global reality: The present Turkish administration is no ally to Israel, the United States or any nation that values the principles of truth, justice and freedom.

A PUBLIC RELATIONS SUCCESS FOR HAMAS

The Marmara affair produced a Public Relations victory for Hamas - its biggest success since its forcible takeover of Gaza in 2007.

It was a victory, too, for foreign supporters of the Palestinian cause, particularly the Turkish government, which was an “unofficial sponsor” of the flotilla.

Sky News’ Dominic Waghorn said Israel had “handed an enormous PR victory to the Hamas.” Waghorn is oblivious it seems, to the fact that it is his and other international journalists’ skewed coverage of what occurred that has provided the PR victory for their Arab friends.

The protests across the world at the Israeli action will have achieved the Turkish aim of internationalising the Gaza issue rather than leave it as a cause that primarily concerns Muslim nations.

ARAB LEAGUE CHIEF’S VISIT TO GAZA    

     GRANTS LEGITIMACY TO HAMAS         AMR MOUSSA

June  13/10. The head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa, visited Gaza, effectively ending the Arab world’s isolation of Hamas, and placing the League at odds with the US view that Hamas should be shunned until it renounces violence and recognizes Israel. Amr Moussa held talks with Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyeh, who called the visit “historic,” and predicted it would advance the campaign to end Israel’s blockade of Gaza.

OBAMA PROVIDES $400,000,000 FOR GAZA

The visit of Mahmoud Abbas to the White House in June was supposed to be a triumphant visit, but it ended with the Palestinian president being forced to smile as Obama announced the US will provide $400 million in aid to Gaza. This generous gift will boost Hamas, Abbas’ sworn enemy who three years ago ran him and his Fatah henchmen out of Gaza.

THE WORLDWIDE BACKLASH

Condemnation of Israel began to resound around the world immediately after the flotilla was prevented from reaching Gaza. The killing of the Turkish activists by Israeli soldiers on the Marmara unleashed a new level of fury against Israel.

Turkey led the criticism, accusing Israel of committing a “massacre.”  PM Erdogan cried out that Israel would pay the price for its actions!

On the first day, May 31/10, around 10,000 Turks, carrying Palestinian and Turkish flags, marched in protest from the Israeli consulate in Istanbul to a main square, chanting, “Murderous Israel you will drown in the blood you shed!” Earlier the protesters tried to storm the Israel Consulate building, calling for it to be closed down.

       

Demonstrations against Israel were also staged immediately in Syrian and Lebanese towns, and then in many parts of the world, including Sydney and Melbourne, where pro-Palestinian movements have become very vocal.

The Iranian President, Ahmadinejad, declared that Israel is near the point of its total annihilation.

Russian PM, Vladimir Putin, also condemned Israel’s action.

Palestinian chief Mahmoud Abbas, also cried, “Israel has committed a massacre,” while his mouthpiece, Sa’eb Erekat, pronounced Israel guilty of “another war crime.” For good measure the PA/PLO immediately declared three days of mourning for those killed.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, responded by calling Israel’s actions a “criminal attack” that “should have convinced everyone that Zionism is the new and more violent face of fascism.” The ayatollah then went on to demand Prime Minister Netanyahu’s arrest and warned Israel that the Islamic nations’ “fury will uproot you.”

NEWS MEDIA SLANTED (as usual)

Of course, what pursued was the twisting of the Marmara story by the anti-Semitic media into a total fabrication as to what really happened on that ship. (Only in Satan’s world could the people of this earth have so much hate towards the people and nation chosen of Yahweh to ultimately bless the world.)

The BBC screamed: “Death as Israel storms aid ship.”

The CNN network said: “Israeli commandos killed at least 10 people in pre-dawn raids on a flotilla of six ships carrying aid for the Palestinian territory of Gaza…”

CNN also gave a platform to Gaza-based Hamas spokesman, Sami Abu Zuhri, who said: “The Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla is an ugly crime against international law and this reflects the nature of the criminal Israeli occupation.”

AMERICAN RESPONSE

President Obama voiced deep regret over the deadly raids, but expressed the importance of “learning all the facts and circumstances” surrounding the incident involving aid ships seeking access to the blockaded Gaza Strip.

But Mr. Obama’s mere characterization of the acts that led to the deaths in the Gaza flotilla as “tragic” unleashed a withering response from Liz Cheney, daughter of the former vice president. “There is no middle ground here,” she said in a statement. “Either the United States stands with the people of Israel in the war against radical Islamic terrorism, or we are providing encouragement to Israel’s enemies — and our own.”

US S of S Hilary Clinton supported a Security Council statement that condemned the “acts” that cost the lives of the pro-Palestinian activists off the Gaza coast. But US officials did not say whether they blamed Israel or the activists for the bloodshed.

The United States is attempting to remain neutral, refusing to condemn Israel, but likewise, refusing to condemn the actions of the flotilla “peace passengers.”

TOP U.S. DEMOCRATS:

“ISRAEL HAS RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF”

US Vice President Joe Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went on the offensive to defend Israel’s right to protect its territorial waters.

Biden told reporters that Israel was within its legal rights in stopping the Turkey-sponsored six-ship flotilla from violating its territorial waters and breaking its naval embargo on Gaza. Biden said during an interview on a television program, “You can argue whether Israel should have dropped people onto that ship or not – but the truth of the matter is, Israel has a right to know ... whether or not arms are being smuggled in.”

Pelosi refused to be drawn into the blame game, and emphasized that “Israel is our friend. I think with Israel we have a very close friendship, and to have a democratic Jewish state in that region is something that has been a goal of our foreign policy. It is something that is based on our national security interest; it is about us as much – even more – than it is about them. We all – many of us here – are striving for a two-state solution,” she added, “but it has to be a solution where there is security for both sides.”

EU PARLIAMENT BOILS OVER

The action on the Marmara brought immediate condemnation from the EU.  Diplomatic repercussions were immediate, with Israeli ambassadors being summoned in most European capitals. There were also violent demonstrations and much strong rhetoric from EU leaders.

European Council President, Herman Van Rompuy, called the loss of life during the raid, “inexplicable.”

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said that such acts “cannot be repeated.” “It is time for the international community and the parties (to the conflict) to realise that it is not possible to continue with these kinds of situations, which end in drama, violence, death, desolation and frustration,” he said. “The state of Israel is acting like a common terrorist. The international community cannot let this go on anymore.”

Luxembourg’s former economy minister, MEP Robert Goebbels, said: “It is a case for the International Criminal Court. The ICC has to look at this act of piracy in international waters,” he added. He went on to describe the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip as “a kind of gulag.”

BLAIR: “I AM 100% ON ISRAEL’S SIDE”

June 8/10.  Britain’s former-Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said in an interview with Channel 10, that he supports Israel’s right to self-defence, but he also favours an international probe into the deadly clash on the Marmara

While Blair stressed the need to launch an international, impartial probe into the incident, he assured that he wholeheartedly supports Israel’s right to self-defence. There are no questions at all. There have been rockets fired from Gaza, there are people in Gaza who want to kill innocent Israelis,” he said. “When it comes to security, I am one hundred percent on Israel’s side.”

EGYPT SILENT - AND NOT TARGETTED

While reports of national leaders condemning Israel for their actions have been prominent, little mention has been made of the fact that Egypt did not join in the condemnation. 

One report noted that Egypt had been silent - but it didn’t explain that Egypt had imposed a blockade on Gaza along with Israel because of Hamas being in control in Gaza! 

ISRAEL’S RESPONSE TO THE WORLDWIDE ONSLAUGHT

PM Netanyahu regretted the loss of life sustained by the international activists, but said the Israeli troops had the right to self-defence and were justified in defending themselves.

“They were mobbed, they were clubbed, they were beaten, stabbed, and shot at. There was an attempt to lynch them. Are these pacifists? The soldiers defended their lives with incomparable restraint. What would any other country do? At best, they would act in the same way - or much worse.”

He rejected world criticism saying that Israel must prevent Gaza’s militant Hamas rulers from rearming. “In Gaza, there is a terrorist state under Iranian sponsorship,” he said. “Opening a sea route to Gaza would present a grave danger to our citizens. Therefore we are maintaining our policy of a naval blockade.”

Mr Netanyahu exhibited stiff resolve in the deadly Gaza flotilla episode, saying, “The state of Israel faces an attack of international hypocrisy. This is not the first time we have faced this; two years ago we faced a massive attack of missiles fired by Hamas who hid behind civilians. Israel went to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties but who did the U.N. condemn?  It condemned Israel.”

Netanyahu said it was Israel’s duty to prevent rockets and other weapons being smuggled into Gaza to Hamas by Iran and others.  The flotilla, he argued, was not aiming to deliver humanitarian aid to Gazans but was trying to break the blockade. “This was not a love boat, this was a boat of hate!”

“If the blockade had been broken, hundreds of ships would have followed, with a scale of smuggling far greater than that possible in the tunnels.”

Netanyahu, who was in Ottawa, Canada, for engagements at the time of the incident, had planned to travel to Washington on 1st June, at the invitation of President Barack Obama who evidently wanted to make amends with him after a recent bad spate. But the meeting with Obama was cancelled due to the Gaza crisis.

MARK REGEV (Spokesman)

Israeli government spokesman, Mark Regev, accused the “peace activists” of hypocrisy, saying, “While they appear to use the language of human rights in their propaganda, it appears they have embraced the [Hamas] regime that has no respect for human rights whatsoever.”

DANNY AYALON

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said:  “The armada of hate and violence in support of the Hamas terror organization was a premeditated and outrageous provocation. The organizers are well-known for their ties to Global Jihad, al-Qaida and Hamas. They have a history of arms smuggling and deadly terror. On board the ship we found weapons that were prepared in advance and used against our forces. The organizers’ intent was violent, their method was violent, and unfortunately, the results were violent.”

Ayalon said that the Gaza flotilla did not heed Israel’s calls to halt its movement toward Gaza, and stressed that no sovereign country would have allowed such a provocation to take place. “We couldn’t allow the opening of a corridor of smuggling arms and terrorists.”

“We did everything to avoid this outcome. We repeatedly called upon the organizers and all those who were associated with them, through diplomatic channels and any other means we could, to stop this provocation.

“The so-called humanitarian aid was not for a humanitarian purpose. Had it been for a humanitarian purpose, they would have accepted our offer to deliver all humanitarian supply through the appropriate channels which are used on a daily basis, as we make sure that Gaza will not be short of humanitarian supplies. On a daily basis, we do that. We asked them to send this through the appropriate channels, whether it’s the U.N., whether it’s the Red Cross, whether it’s our people, but to no avail.

They said repeatedly that their intent and purpose was to break the maritime blockade on Gaza.

“The maritime blockade on Gaza is very legal and justified by the terror that Hamas is applying in Gaza. Allowing these ships to go in an illegal way to Gaza would have opened, in fact, a corridor of smuggling arms and terrorists to Gaza, with the results, inevitable results, of many, many thousands of civilian deaths and violence all over the area.

“No sovereign country would tolerate such violence against its civilian population, against its sovereignty, against international law. And we in Israel call today upon all relevant parties and all relevant countries to work together on calming the situation.”

MICHAEL OREN (Israel Ambassador to US):

“We, too, want a free Gaza — a Gaza liberated from brutal Hamas rule — as well as an Israel freed from terrorist threats. But the real intent of breaking the embargo is to allow rockets to be transported to Gaza from Hamas’ suppliers in Syria and Iran.

Israel has a right and a duty to defend itself from Hamas and its backers. Our struggle is not with the people of Gaza but only with the radical regime that overthrew the legitimate Palestinian Authority and has pledged to seek Israel’s destruction.

Each day some 100 trucks, laden with food and medicine, enter Gaza from Israel. Israel has never banned food and medicine from Gaza, but only those items that can assist Hamas in reinforcing its illegal rule, or enabling it to achieve its stated goal of destroying Israel. If Hamas, which has fired more than 7,000 rockets at Israeli civilians, would renounce violence and join the peace process, then Israel would gladly remove all such restrictions. But Israel will also persist in denying advanced weaponry to Hamas.

At the same time, the Israeli government will vigorously pursue peace with the Palestinian Authority, which shares our need for defence against armed extremists. The real peace activists are those who support our vision of a two-state solution, not those supporting the terrorists bent on destroying it.” 

     THE TURKISH RESPONSE

The Turkish government seized on the outcome of the Marmara affair to accuse Israel of piracy, banditry and murder.

PM Erdogan furiously blamed Israel for a “bloody massacre” on ships that were taking “humanitarian aid” to Gaza that killed nine people, and said it deserves every kind of curse. He declared the two countries had reached a turning point in their long-standing alliance. “Today is a turning point in history. Nothing will be the same again,” he said, gesturing angrily with his voice shaking. He said the boarding of the Mediterranean flotilla was a crime against “international law, the conscience of humanity, and world peace.”

Erdogan angrily demanded that Israel immediately halt its “inhumane” blockade of Gaza. “Israel in no way can legitimize this murder, it cannot wash its hands of this blood. Israel cannot face the international community without expressing regret. Israel cannot ensure its security by drawing the hatred of the entire world,” Erdogan declared. (Quite an exaggeration!!)

He then went on to refer to Israel’s actions as “state sponsored terrorism” that would receive “the deserved response . . . using all possibilities offered.”

Turkey withdrew its ambassador to Israel immediately after the raid, scrapped three joint military exercises, and called the UN Security Council to an emergency meeting that demanded an impartial investigation.  

THE TURKISH SPIN

On the Marmara, a reporter for Turkish television was heard screaming into his camera: “These savages are killing people here, please help!”

The news flashed around the globe. That is to say, an uninformed and misinformed version of what was happening flew from network to network.

The headlines, reporting, condemnations and outrage voiced on the morning of May 31, 2010 were predictable – “Israel had attacked a sailing flotilla of peace activists who were simply seeking to take humanitarian aid to the suffering people of the Gaza Strip.  IDF soldiers had opened fire indiscriminately on the unresisting protestors, killing up to 19 of them.”

The reporting went on: “Israelis have dropped from a helicopter onto the deck of a Turkish ship and have immediately opened fire on unarmed civilians.”

Israel had deliberately “targeted innocent civilians,” claimed the troublemaking Turkey’s foreign ministry, warned of “irreparable consequences” to the two countries’ relations.

Rather than waiting until all of the facts emerged, Turkey rushed forward, revealing an all too eager desire to condemn Israel and further fan into flames the Muslim world’s enmity and rage. The bottom line is that Turkey is picking a fight. Rather than to seek peace in the region, Turkey is fanning the flames of an ancient hatred that needs little encouragement.

TURKEY’S FM CRITICIZES THE U.S.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, ratcheted up the pressure on the Obama administration to take a tougher stand against Israel, saying he was disappointed by what Ankara regards as a slow and tepid response by the international community to the raid by Israeli forces on a flotilla of Turkish aid ships. He demanded, ahead of a meeting with US S of S, Hilary Clinton, that the US condemn the raid - a measure the White House has not taken.

“I have to be frank; I am not very happy with the statement from Washington,” Davutoglu said in a meeting with a small group of reporters here. “We expect a clear condemnation.” He also expressed disappointment that it took 11 hours for the UN Security Council to come up with a statement condemning the raid, a thinly-veiled criticism of the US, which worked behind the scenes to weaken some of its language.

“We expect full solidarity with us,” Mr. Davutoglu said of the US response. “It should not seem like a choice between Turkey and Israel. It should be a choice between right and wrong, between legal and illegal.”

He called the raid a “criminal act,” saying that because it occurred in international waters, the ships were sovereign territory that couldn’t be legally boarded.

Davutoglu had the gall to liken the actions of Israel to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

In an effort to hide the Turkish government’s involvement, Davutoglu said that the Turkish government had intervened with the non-governmental organizations behind the flotilla before they approached Israel in hopes that a confrontation could be avoided, but it couldn’t directly order the groups to desist.

He said that in discussions with the NGOs, the Turkish government had been led to believe the flotilla would approach only Gazan waters, where they would protest Israel’s blockade before moving on to Israeli ports to unload their aid.

“We did our best to approach the Turkish NGOs to take this humanitarian aid to other ports,” he said. “We cannot control NGOs. Turkey is a democratic country; we can only try to convince.”

MORE ATTEMPTS TO BREAK BLOCKADE

Israel has pledged to halt new attempts by pro-Palestinian groups to sail more ships into Gaza.

The Free Gaza Movement said it would not be deterred, and that another cargo vessel was already off the coast of Italy en route to Gaza. A second boat carrying about three dozen passengers is expected to join it.

PM Erdogan made sure his close aides leaked word to the media that he was preparing a large wave of flotillas to challenge Israel’s blockade, to be escorted next time by armed Turkish warships with himself possibly on board.

Erdogan’s office in Ankara is passing out millions of dollars to the IHH, the Istanbul-based terrorist group linked to al-Qaida and Hamas, with orders to purchase 8 to10 large ships for a formidable fleet to challenge the Israeli Navy and its enforcement of the 20-mile blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also declared in an interview cited by Reuters, that Iran would be willing to send its Revolutionary Guard members to accompany further aid ships to Gaza.

 

IRANIAN SHIPS READY TO RUN THE BLOCKADE

June 11/10. Two Iranian ships that plan to head for Gaza escorted by “volunteer marines,” are waiting for their government’s approval to challenge Israel on the high seas. President Ahmadinejad says he wants to send the Iranian vessels “to teach Israelis a lesson.”

A Revolutionary Guard’s spokesman for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it was “Iran’s duty to defend the innocent people of Gaza.”

Ahmadinejad assured Turkish leaders on June 8 that the vessels due to enter the disputed waters within days will not shrink from a head-on clash with Israel’s Navy and Air Force exclusion forces. “We’ll breach the Gaza blockade,” the Iranian president vowed.

AHMADINEJAD:

FURTHER AGGRESSION WILL END ZIONIST REGIME 

Ahmadinejad also said that the Israeli commando raid on the international flotilla was “barbaric” and he called for the dismantling of the Zionist regime.  He warned that any further aggression by Israel “would bring about the demise of the Zionist regime.”

“With God’s help thousands of flotillas from all over the world will sail to Gaza,” he added.

The Israeli attack on the Gaza-bound flotilla sounded the death knell of the “Zionist regime,” Ahmadinejad told an enthusiastic crowd at Istanbul’s Abou Ayyoub Ansari Mosque.

Like Turkey, Iran displays an appalling hypocrisy. Iran murders innocent civilians, supports terrorism and pursues an illegal nuclear program, and calls for the annihilation of both the US and Israel - (the big and the small satans). The world largely ignores Iran’s severe misbehavior, while accusing Israel of acts against humanity.

ISRAELI TROOPS TAKE OVER

 THE RACHEL CORRIE

June 5/10.  Israeli troops took control of another aid ship that was trying to break the Gaza blockade.

When the Irish-owned Rachel Corrie refused to change direction, Israel’s soldiers boarded the ship, but did not meet any resistance.  The ship was taken to the Israeli port of Ashdod.

Speaking after he was updated on the peaceful takeover of the Gaza bound aid ship “Rachel Corrie,”  Benjamin Netanyahu again said that Israel would “not allow the establishment of an Iranian port in Gaza.”

   MORE AID SHIPS AFTER WORLD CUP      AL-ZAHAR

June 29/10. Israel should expect at least eight more humanitarian ships to be headed for Gaza after the World Cup. Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar told the British newspaper, The Independent, "more ships than you expected” will head for Gaza in August during Ramadan.  The World Cup competition ends July 11.

LEGAL IMPLICATIONS

The Marmara raid has set off a legal debate over whether Israel acted illegally by confronting ships in international waters. Israel’s Justice Ministry issued a statement saying the actions were permissible under international law since the vessels were clearly headed toward a hostile territory.

Joe Powderly, an international law researcher at the T.M.C. Asser Institute in the Netherlands, rejected claims by some critics that Israel committed an act of piracy.

But Turkey’s state prosecutors are instructed to prepare charges of murder and piracy on the high seas against the Israel’s prime minister, defense minister, and the chief of staff. 

SOME FACTS ABOUT LEGALITY

*    Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza is legal according to articles 93-104 of the 1994 San Remo treaty on maritime warfare. Israel told the flotilla it was about to enter conflict waters and was not permitted to do so. The ships informed Israel of their intent to enter these waters. Israel commandeered the ships, according to Article 98 of the above-mentioned treaty.

*    It was only after activists took guns from Israeli soldiers and used them against those soldiers that Israel opened fire. The Fourth Geneva Convention is clear about this. Article 5 states that if a civilian takes up arms against a soldier, the civilian becomes a combatant.

*    The situation on the boats is thus clear. The boats were attempting to break a military blockade. After issuing a warning, the soldiers attempted to commandeer the boats, and were set upon by the activists. At a certain point, which came after activists opened fire on Israeli troops, these troops felt their lives were in imminent danger. They thus fired in order to defend themselves.

MORE BACKGROUND TO GAZA SITUATION

Here are some of the hard facts:

*    In 2005, Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in a misplaced attempt to bring peace with the Palestinians, only to see the Gaza Strip freedom immediately misused to attack Israel with rockets supplied by Iran.

*    Since Hamas seized control from Fatah in 2007, it has been the de facto sovereign power of Gaza. As sovereign, it has launched attacks against Israel. And as such, Israel declared itself to be in a state of war against Hamas-run Gaza. Israel has frequently stated that when Hamas agrees to live in peace with Israel, peaceful relations will ensue.

*    Due to this state of war, Israel enforces a military and naval blockade. The blockade is not designed to starve Gaza into submission; it is designed to deny Hamas the ability to fight effectively.

*    Article 23 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (which concerns the protection of civilians during warfare) makes clear that if goods entering enemy territory contribute to the enemy’s war effort, they can be blocked.

*    Israel enforces a maritime blockade because Hamas has previously shipped in weapons. Israel wants all goods going into Gaza to cross Gaza-Israel land borders. That way, Israel can inspect the goods, ensure there are no weapons or war materials in them, and then send them through.

*    According to one report, in the past 18 months alone, close to 1 million tons of humanitarian supplies have entered Gaza from Israel. The Gaza Strip is the home to 1.5 million people. This means the Gaza Strip may be the most aid-rich piece of territory on the earth.

*    Reports of people suffering in Gaza are exaggerated. Every type of commodity is smuggled into the territory by way of the Gaza-Egypt border tunnels.

*    Israel regularly allows Gazans with serious health conditions, to enter Israel for treatment.

*    There are hardships for some, just as there are in every country, but the tragedy is that the hardship in Gaza is a direct result of the Fatah regime of Mahmoud Abbas and his predecessor Yasser Arafat stealing, pilfering, embezzling, misappropriating, and misallocating  the  huge  amount  of  international financial aid foolishly provided by the US, European governments, and the UN.

*    Much of the materials shipped into Gaza are routinely seized and used for construction of rocket-launching bunkers positions to attack Israeli civilians.

*    Both tunnels and sea routes of access to Gaza have furnished Iran with the means of smuggling in many weapons of terror.

THE GAZA EMBARGO FURORE

The flotilla organisers can take credit for stirring up a storm inside Israel, and in other nations, over the Gaza embargo, which was imposed after Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Israel continues to permit entry into Gaza of humanitarian goods such as food, medicine and clothing. But it banned armaments and building materials such as concrete on the grounds that Hamas could use the material for building bunkers.

Hamas, unlike the Palestinian Authority, refuses to recognise Israel and is publicly committed to its destruction.  This is the basic problem. If Gaza’s Palestinian rulers were willing to accept the presence of Israel in the Middle East, and had a mind to negotiate a mutually acceptable solution, the problem could be solved.  But they are not willing!

Hamas, like the Muslim Brotherhood, and al-Qaida, and Hizb’ullah, and Iran, are not moderates.  None of them want to live in proximity to the Jewish state. They want to annihilate Israel.

This animosity, of course, goes back 4000 years, to Ishmael and Isaac, the sons of Abraham. As the Scriptures have recorded:

“The Angel of YHWH also said to her (Hagar), ‘Look, you are with child, and you will bear a son; and you shall call his name Ishmael, because YHWH has given heed to your affliction. He will be a wild type of a man, his hand will be against everyone, and everyone’s hand will be against him. And he will live in hostility towards all his brothers’.”         (Genesis 16:11-12)

And then God also said:

“And as for Ishmael, I have heard you. Watch! I will bless him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly. He shall become the father of twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation. But My covenant I will establish with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this set time next year.” (Genesis 17:20-21)

Ishmael was half Egyptian - his mother Hagar was Egyptian, and his 12 sons were therefore 3/4 Egyptians.  They integrated with other Arab nationalities; and they have been blessed with much of the oil wealth of the world.  But Ishmael’s hand is constantly against his brothers, everyone – especially Israel.

Cairo is distrustful of Hamas because of its ties to the banned Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and therefore it has also closed its border to the Gaza Strip. Egypt does not want to see a radical Iranian-backed terrorist state on its northern border.

DEMANDS TO LIFT THE GAZA BLOCKADE

Israel says it allows about 15,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid into Gaza every week, but the UN says this is less than a quarter of what is needed.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has demanded that Israel lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip immediately, calling the siege “counter-productive, unsustainable and wrong.”

Deputy UN chief Oscar Fernandez-Taranco said the deaths could have been avoided if only Israel had lifted its blockade. (It can also be said that the deaths could have been avoided if the “activists” had not been hell-bent on hating Israel!)

Deceived by patently hysterical headlines flashing around the world, officials like Catherine Ashton, the EU’s head for Foreign Affairs, and senior UN figures Robert Serry and Filippo Grandi, laid the blame for the whole affair at Israel’s door and demanded Israel immediately lift the blockade of Gaza.

The new British FM, John Haig, also called on Israel to open all the crossings for a free flow of aid into Gaza.

In  remarks  to  reporters  at  the US State  Department, Hilary Clinton did not call for an end to the blockade, but she pressed Israel to allow greater access for humanitarian relief supplies, “including reconstruction and building supplies.” But in a jab at Israel, Clinton said the situation in Gaza is “unsustainable and unacceptable.”

EGYPT OPENS GAZA BORDER

Soon after the Marmara affair, Egypt decided to lift its closure on the Gaza Strip indefinitely.

Even though it has cool relations with Hamas, Egypt said it was opening the Rafah crossing on the Gaza border for the first time in more than a year, to allow in humanitarian aid in from Egypt. (Of course, the 1000 or more tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border enables a huge amount of equipment of every type to be brought in.) Egypt’s latest action set off a mad rush to the crossing by thousands of Gazan residents.

On the first day, several thousand — some in cars with suitcases piled on their roofs, others on foot — rushed to the Egyptian border, hoping to take advantage of a rare chance to escape. After milling about for several hours, they were sent home by Hamas security forces. Evidently, Egypt has yet to permit fully free passage into its territory.

The only Gazans allowed into Sinai (Egypt) are those with specially obtained permits, including sick people, students and others who receive the approval of the Egyptian security forces.

It seems that thousands of Palestinians have now crossed into Sinai after months of not being able to leave Gaza.

In practice, the Egyptian regime was Israel’s partner in instituting the blockade.  While allowing humanitarian aid into Gaza via Rafah, Egypt, like Israel, does not permit construction materials to pass.

Before lifting the closure, Egypt did not allow students and ill Palestinians to leave Gaza, though it did grant entry to Palestinians who obtained special permits. Cairo also limited entry to Hamas legislators as part of its blockade.

The new measures are still unclear as Egypt reiterated its position that the Rafah crossing would be opened and closed according to the terms stipulated in the border-passage agreement signed with Israel and the European Union.

This agreement states that the Rafah crossing must be staffed by a contingent of forces from the Palestinian Authority’s Presidential Guard (which is loyal to PA President Mahmoud Abbas), and a European supervisory force.

Due to the rift between Hamas and Abbas-Fatah factions, no agreement has been reached over the stationing of the Presidential Guard.

The PA is dissatisfied with Egypt’s decision to reopen Rafah because it fears the move will further enable Hamas to solidify its rule over the Gaza Strip, and eventually plot a coup against the West Bank.

 

EU PRESSES ISRAEL TO LIFT BLOCKADE 

June 14/10.  The European Union is pressing Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza, saying it is “unacceptable.”  EU members met in Luxembourg to discuss ways in which Europe could renew its role in helping super-vise Gaza’s volatile border crossings.

Mideast mediator Tony Blair said he hopes Israel will soon ease the three-year-old blockade by allowing commercial goods and reconstruction materials to flow into the Palestinian territory.

  ISRAEL – EUROPEAN  RELATIONS   

Israel’s relations with the EU and other world powers have taken a battering in the wake of the flotilla action. But Israel’s relations with the European Union were already fragile before Marmara.

The relationship between the EU and Israel was severely damaged by Israel’s execution of the 2008 Gaza war, but it had been recovering slowly despite on-going concerns over Israel’s settlements building plans.

Now the naval operation against the Gaza aid flotilla may have damaged ties between the two sides.

In spite of this, experts believe Israel will not buckle under growing pressure.

ISRAEL CONSIDERS WAYS TO EASE BLOCKADE

Netanyahu said: “Our policy was and will continue to be that Israel would let humanitarian aid, any kind of goods that are meant for peace, to the civilian population of Gaza,” he said.

“We have no problems with the people of Gaza. We do have a conflict with the terrorist regime of Hamas, supported by Iran. We want to maintain a situation where we prevent weapons and war materials from coming into Gaza, but allow humanitarian aid to go to the population of Gaza.”

Amidst the rising tension, Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, indicated Israel would consider ways to ease the blockade to allow more goods into Gaza — a policy that has been quietly under way in recent months.

“We have been expanding the assistance that has been going into the Gaza Strip — both the volume and the variety of goods — and we have an ongoing dialogue with the international community,” he said.

The furore over the blockade has raised questions in Israel as to whether the embargo is politically cost-effective.

 

“TO END THE GAZA BLOCKADE, GRANT GILAD SHALIT HIS RIGHTS”

   

Gilad Shalit remains held in total isolation in Gaza with no access to the International Red Cross or other humanitarian bodies, contrary to the Geneva Convention.  Since his capture, Hamas has provided only two indications that Gilad is still alive – a recorded message of his voice released two years ago and a video of him released last October.

Hamas has refused Israeli offers to free up to 1,000 terrorists and prisoners in exchange for Shalit.  Hamas wants hundreds of hard-core terrorists released as well.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said; “If Hamas truly wants to end the blockade on Gaza, there is an easy way to do so  -  allow the Red Cross to visit kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. Granting visits to Shalit, as required by international law, is “the minimal condition for lifting the blockade,” he said.

“As long as this condition is not fulfilled, there is no reason to change the situation,” Lieberman declared.

Defence Minister Ehud Barak says there will be a change in Israel’s embargo policy if Hamas frees the captured Israeli soldier it holds, Gilad Shalit, and terminates all terrorist activity.

UN SECURITY COUNCIL INSISTS ON INTERNATIONAL INQUIRY

June 1/10.  The UN Security Council has called for an impartial inquiry into Israel’s raid on the Gaza-bound   flotilla. Condemning Israel’s “acts” which led to the deaths of nine “civilian activists,” a UN statement said the investigation should be “prompt, impartial, credible and transparent.”  But there was no mention made of links between terrorist groups and the IHH.

The UN statement was the result of a compromise between Turkey and the US. Obama supported the call for “a credible, impartial and transparent investigation” of the event, but refused to condemn Israel or take the inquiry out of its hands. Turkey, however, was reluctant to water down its scathing criticism of Israel.

The compromise took out direct condemnation of Israel and removed references to an international investigation. It also weakened demands for an end to the economic blockade of Gaza that the activists were trying to break, but the incident has refocused inter-national attention on the siege, and many states have renewed calls for it to be lifted.

Though Israel allows thousands of tons of supplies into Gaza on a weekly-basis, The New York Times said the UN resolution also called for a “sustained and regular flow of goods and people to Gaza, as well as unimpeded provision and distribution of humanitarian assistance throughout Gaza.”

ISRAEL APPPOINTS INVESTIGATIVE PANEL

The Israeli Cabinet approved an investigation into the Marmara Affair in an effort to counter international criticism. It is to be led by a retired Supreme Court justice, and would include several respected international participants.

The Obama administration, however, is reportedly saying that the Israeli–appointed investigation is not good enough to satisfy the international community, or the Obama White House. 

THE RADICALISATION OF TURKEY

The Israeli and Turkish militaries have worked closely together for many years. Their bilateral trade at present stands around $2.6 billion — roughly one percent of Turkey’s overall trade.  Recently Israel completed an upgrade of Turkish tanks and warplanes worth more than $1 billion.

This predominantly Muslim and historically secular country has had decades of close military and trade ties with the US and the Jewish state.  And it has traditionally been Israel’s only Muslim ally.

Turkey was westward-looking, when it became a member of NATO.

In 2002, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Recep Erdogan came to office. The AKP was formed out of old Islamist parties but it trod warily in its early years in office. Previous Islamist governments had been overturned by the Turkish military, which sees itself as the guardian of Kemal Ataturk’s secular republic.

     Mustafa Kemal Ataturk was a powerful Turkish army officer, and revolutionary statesman. Following the defeat of the Ottoman Empire, he led the Turkish National Movement in a War of Independence. He founded the Republic of Turkey, and became its first president.

Over the past few years, however, the AKP has neutralised the military, silenced much of the independent media, and slowly weakened secularism.

As NATO’s only Muslim member, Turkey has sought to raise its international profile in recent years. Positioned close to countries along the Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, where most of the world’s oil and gas is found, Turkey holds geostrategic value in a conflict-prone region.

It wants to join the European Union and become a major regional power, shedding the straitjacket of its Cold War era role as an ally of the West.

But critics caution that Erdogan’s Islamist-leaning government risks tilting too far in trying to forge stronger ties with Middle East governments that the West does not trust.

Erdogan is now supporting Iran’s nuclear program, and is also building relationships with Syria, Lebanon, Russia and Brazil.

A decade ago, Turkey’s agenda was liberalisation, European Union membership, and close military co-operation with Israel. Now its agenda is hostility to the West, denunciation of Israel and creeping Islamisation.

Recently it has hosted Hamas visits and its leaders make frequent visits themselves to Iran and Syria, and Erdogan has joined with Brazil in offering to reprocess Iran’s nuclear fuel to avoid UN sanctions on Iran.

The way the Turkish administration has used the Marmara affair to turn its people against Israel was skilful and speaks of deep planning.

The flotilla tragedy reaped all kinds of other benefits for global Islamists as well.

ISRAEL’S BREAKUP WITH TURKEY

Ten years ago, Turkey’s current behaviour would have been unthinkable. Ankara was Israel’s best friend in a region where every other neighbour wished, to one degree or another, the Jewish state’s destruction. Even when Erdogan’s AKP was elected to power eight years ago, the experts assured us there was no need to worry.

If anyone had suggested at that time, that in six years’ time  the  Turkish  PM  would  be  telling  the  Israeli President to his face that; “I know very well how you kill children on beaches,” the opinion would have been dismissed as a fantasy.  But it happened. Erdogan shouted those words to Shimon Peres at Davos last year.

The breakup of the Israel-Turkey strategic alliance was triggered by the 22-day action in Gaza in Dec 08 - Jan 09. Now the Marmara affair may have caused irreparable harm to Israel’s relations with Turkey because so many of those onboard were Turkish.

The high-profile attempt to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, comes as Erdogan is engaged in a major diplomatic drive to restore Turkey’s ascendancy in the Middle East and Central Asia.

US Defence Minister Robert Gates said that the EU’s refusal to accept Turkey as a member is partly to blame for Ankara’s rapprochement towards Islamic states and its deteriorating relations with Israel.

THE END OF MILITARY AND INTELLIGENCE COOPERATION

Israel had counted on Turkey’s cooperation in containing a nuclear Iran, and may even have entertained hopes of using Turkish air space for air strikes to knock out the Islamic republic’s nuclear infrastructure.

It certainly relied on Turkey’s intelligence service to counter Iran’s clandestine operations in the region and for keeping track of Islamist operatives.

Israel’s 60 years of secret military and intelligence cooperation, including the 14 years of a military cooperation pact with Turkey that was signed in 1996, has now come to an end.

The co-operation was invaluable for Israel, and would be at this critical juncture when it could find itself at war with Iran. But now they see Turkey’s leader supporting Iran’s right to conduct a nuclear program and offering to help Tehran get the Americans off its back.

Israel’s loss is compounded by Erdogan’s success in dominating Turkey’s military, the long time arbiter of Turkish politics.

Turkey’s generals were the strongest supporters of the alliance with Israel. Now that Erdogan has tamed them with a wave of arrests over an alleged coup plot, there seems to be no prospect of reviving the alliance.  Source: http://www.spacewar.com

Turkish President Abdullah Gul said that the Israeli raid had delivered a heavy blow to bilateral ties and said his country would never forgive its estranged regional ally. “From now on, Turkish-Israeli ties will never be the same. This incident has left an irreparable and deep scar” on relations, he said in televised remarks. The raid “is not an issue that can be forgotten ... or be covered up ... Turkey will never forgive this attack.”

Ankara has already recalled its ambassador to Tel Aviv and scrapped joint military exercises with Israel in an angry response to the raid.

THE TURKISH-IRANIAN ALLIANCE IS ALARMING

Greg Sheridan, Foreign editor of The Australian, writes: (June 2/10): “We may be witnessing a profound reshaping of the Middle East strategic order, and therefore the global strategic order.”

Debkafile says the explosive developments of the last few weeks, primarily the meteoric rise of a thrusting partnership between the two non-Arab powers, Turkey and Iran, have badly rattled Arab capitals, especially when they see the Obama administration and Netanyahu government immersed in tying themselves and each other in knots over the format of an inquiry into the Turkish flotilla incident.

In the Middle East meanwhile, events are rushing forward with explosive haste, impelled by the Turkish-led flotilla for breaking the Gaza blockade and the Israeli commando raid to intercept it.

The rise of the Turkish-Iranian alliance has not only thrust America and Israel to the wings of the Middle East stage, but is deeply alarming Cairo, Riyadh, the Gulf Emirates and even Syria. They suddenly see PM Erdogan and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad dictating the region’s agenda with no one there to stop them.

Within days, the balance of power in the region has been reshuffled to extend way beyond Tehran’s hand on Hizb’allah’s levers in Beirut and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza. Iran has acquired an important member of NATO as a proactive ally.

TURKEY IS NOW CALLING FOR A JIHAD AGAINST ISRAEL

Support for Turkey is at an all-time high in the Arab world. No ruling Arab leader is as popular as the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose discourse amounts to calls for a jihad against Israel.

Israel’s relations with Ankara – military, economic, and tourist (Israelis once flocked to Turkey) – have been sacrificed on the altar of Turkey’s retrograde aspiration to lead the Islamic world and establish itself along with Iran as an alternative to American power. Turkey is once again turning eastwards.

It is difficult to imagine that Turkey would be engaging in this kind of behaviour if the US had demonstrated world leadership and not abandoned the field to the likes of Erdogan.

Israel will now be closely examining its relationship with Turkey. Jews in Turkey are now afraid to leave their homes. Israel has withdrawn the families of its diplomats out of fear for their safety.

Israel has had excellent relations with the armed forces of Turkey, but those secular forces have had their wings clipped by a massive assault against them when several military officers and others were accused of trying to overthrow Erdogan’s party.

Turkey’s over-the-top behaviour has Israelis scratching their heads. Do the Turks really want an Iranian port in Gaza, on the Mediterranean? And for that matter, do the western countries which have so widely castigated Israel, want that?

Spurned by the EU where it has applied for membership, and ruled by an Islamist party with delusions of grandeur, Turkey is determined to lead the Muslim world once more and is promoting a clash of civilizations in order to compete strategically with the US. Turkey is no longer a friend, but is not yet an enemy of the US. It is a “frenemy.”  - source - www.guardian.co.uk

Many don’t understand why Turkey has moved away from the West and into the arms of Islamic Iran, Hizb’allah and Hamas.  The answer is two-fold; first, they really had no choice for it is prophesied in Ezekiel 38.5; and second, they have also been convinced that Israel will be defeated this time, and they want to be on the side they think will win. 

Erdogan is now willing to lead the charge, and we are hearing that Iran and Turkey together will send more ships to break the Gaza blockade; this time with naval escort. That will be an act of war. 

TRADE FLOURISHES AS SYRIA BEFRIENDS OLD FOE TURKEY

A warming of once-chilly Turkish-Syrian ties has unleashed a one-way trade boom. A trade deal activated two years ago has cut tariffs and reduced smuggling. Visa requirements were abolished.

Turkey’s popularity in Syria soared after the Marmara affair on May 31.

“Turkey now has a stake in the Palestinian cause, and Syria stands to gain,” a diplomat said. “It will now be more difficult for Israel to launch any military action against Syria.”

The furore over the flotilla interception has also deflected attention from Israeli and US pressure on Damascus over its alleged arms supplies to the Lebanese Shi’ite Hizb’allah group.   - www.news.yahoo.com

God says: “A day of Yahweh is coming … I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city.”… “When the power of the holy people has been broken, all these things will be completed.” … “At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”                                                                                       (Zechariah 14:1-2; Daniel 12:7b; Luke 21:27-28)

TURKEY WANTS “ARAB FREE TRADE ZONE”

June10/10. PM Erdogan wants to boost trade with neighbours, and has agreed to set up a free trade zone with three of its Arab neighbours - Syria, Lebanon and Jordan.  The aim is to create a free trade and travel zone to improve economic relations between Turkey, and the rest of the region.

Turkey remains eager to join the European Union, but its newly developed relations with the Iran axis, will not instill confidence in the EU, or in NATO. Turkey’s EU bid has already stalled over the divided island of Cyprus.                                                                                                                                           - source: http://news.bbc.co.uk

ABBAS DEMANDS ‘BOLD U.S. DECISIONS’

Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, accused Israel of “state terrorism” over the violent seizure of the Marmara flotilla.

Abbas, who has a personal terrorist background, and who is head of Fatah and its terrorist Al-Aqsa Brigades, does not accuse his Hamas enemy of terrorism. But he cannot refrain from accusing Israel of waging “state terrorism!”  He says ..

“The Palestinian people were facing state terrorism when Israel attacked the Freedom Flotilla. The Palestinian people and the entire world are confronted with this terrorism,” he said. “We saw terrorism against innocent volunteers and we have seen daily examples of terrorism with the killings and the expulsions from houses, the confiscation of lands and the siege on Gaza.

“We ask the world, how long will this go on? When will this tyranny and occupation end, and when will Israel respect the freedom of the Palestinian people?”

Abbas hailed Turkey’s harsh response to the raid on the aid flotilla, and said he will ask US President Barack Obama during their scheduled meeting in Washington to take “bold decisions” to change the face of the region, and end the suffering and the pain and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land.”

Abbas added that he hoped to see the Middle East transformed “from a region of terrorism, as they call it, to a region of building and of peace, and to give an opportunity for the whole world to participate in the peace process.”

ABBAS’ SHOW OF “PALESTINIAN UNITY”

MITCHELL &  ABBAS

June 18/10. The latest is that Mahmoud Abbas told US envoy George Mitchell that Washington must press Israel to completely lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip.  He stressed that lifting the blockade would favour a restart of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Although Fatah, Abbas’ political party, was ousted from Gaza by a violent coup led by Hamas in mid-2007 that left dozens of Fatah leaders and police dead; and although there is a continuous conflict between the two parties; and while Hamas is working to take over the West Bank also; and while Fatah is arresting Hamas conspirators, Abbas feels compelled to defend the terror organisation that is constantly working to destroy him and his party.  That’s the price of “Palestinian unity.”

Gaza is already a threat to Fatah as well as to Israel. But much of the world is being convinced that Hamas is Mother Theresa. Get real, Mr Abbas! The world is now beginning to back your enemy! The writing is on your wall!

THE VATICAN:

“ISRAEL’S PALESTINIAN OCCUPATION UNJUST”

Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories is a “political injustice,” according to a leaked Vatican working document for the forthcoming Middle East Synod of Bishops meeting. “The Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories makes daily life difficult for freedom of movement, the economy and social and religious life.”  - CathNews 

THE MARMARA AFFAIR – A LESSON FOR ISRAEL

For Israel, the maritime confrontation was an extremely embarrassing event that played out in a way no one expected. The sight of naval commandos being clubbed to the deck as they landed on the Marmara was a shock for Israelis.

The naval commando unit is one of Israel’s most elite military forces and its exploits are renowned. It has been extensively used to thwart arms smuggling and terror operations. Last year it was involved in a long-range action in Sudan to stop an arms convoy bound from Iran to the Gaza Strip.

The Marmara affair was a messy operation, however, in the long run the incident may reinforce Israel’s deterrent image, a keystone of its security structure. Israel made clear that it would enforce its declared policies - in this case regarding Gaza - regardless of the price it had to pay in the form of international goodwill.

But a lesson for Israel, one that is relearned periodically through the years, is that in the Middle East, at least, a credible projection of strength is basic to peace.

Had Israel reacted more forcefully to previous Hizb’allah provocations, including earlier cross-border kidnappings of soldiers, peace would likely have been achieved on the Lebanese border without need of the 2006 war.

If Israel had carried out a significant incursion into Gaza earlier, Operation Cast Lead would probably have been unnecessary.

If the Marmara flotilla had been permitted to reach Gaza, it could have opened the way to regular maritime shipping, including war material, to the Hamas port. It also would have shown Israel to be a paper tiger unable to enforce its own blockade. Paper tigers do not last long in this region.

SO WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN TO US?

It means the time is much later than most of us think!  These are extremely dangerous times. As the apostle Paul foretold:

“Realize this, that in the last days perilous times will come.” (2 Timothy 3:1)

Turkey’s alliance with Iran is a deepening threat to world peace; but this alliance is just one part of a much wider alliance which is growing, and includes Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Russia, Pakistan, North Korea, China, Brazil, Venezuela and several other South American and Caribbean nations, Central Asian nations, as well as most of the Arab world, and African nations, including Libya, Zimbabwe, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

True, this is not yet one great solid military block. All these parties have their own goals; and there are many issues in between the various constituents of this potential “confederation.” But they are all sharing a radical, anti-Western and anti-Israel vision.

Also alarming is the fact that leaders of the “free world,” under a guise of concern for the “desperately suffering Gazans,” are now siding with, and legitimatizing the Hamas regime which until recently was regarded as a terrorist organisation.

For the ordinary Palestinian people who are truly suffering under the Hamas regime, we can truly feel sympathy.  They need to be free from that oppressive terrorist regime.  Of course, popular Hamas was voted into power, just like many popular Western leaders who have ultimately betrayed and disillusioned their electorates.

But it is not merely tiny Gaza that is now at issue.

Day by day, the nation of Israel is finding itself more and more alone. The anti-Semitism and hypocrisy of the nations are growing, and even in the US, the present administration is deliberately missing the opportunity to stand for what is right. Now more than ever, Israel needs friends; courageous, genuine and loyal friends.

Israel will very soon be forced into one more major conflict with its neighbours, and that will be horrific for all involved. But a regional conflict is not my main concern.  What is ahead is a nuclear world war – a tribulation war that is coming on the whole world as a judgment upon the nations because of their rejection of God’s Anointed One – the Messiah – Y’shua – Jesus Christ. For the nations today are gripped by anti-Yahweh, anti-Israel, and anti-Christ fever.

“The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers take counsel together against YHWH and against His Anointed - His Messiah: ‘Let us break Their chains,’ they say, ‘and throw off Their fetters!’” (Psalm 2:2-3)

                            

Regarding Abraham, and the nation of Israel, Yahweh the Almighty has said:

“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you, and make your name great; and you will be a blessing. And I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’” (Genesis 12:2-3)

Since Barack Obama turned against God’s Word, and against God’s plans for His covenant Land, Israel, the United States has suffered the greatest environmental catastrophe in its history.  And the BP oil disaster is far from over.  Many scientists are afraid of where this awful tragedy is going. Mr Obama, you haven’t seen anything yet!  

I am not trying to be a prophet when I say that the US will one day be split into two by a massive earthquake in California.  American scientists have been predicting that for many years.  (Another “small” quake - 5.9 – rattled California today as I type - 15 June.

And it is not a big surprise that the European Union (including Britain), which has become glaringly anti-Israel, has fallen into a massive financial crisis that is threatening to split the EU into two. And it was not a surprise that all Europe was seriously affected by the massive Iceland volcano that covered the Continent with dangerous ash, and grounded thousands of planes.

Alarming events are racing ahead in all of our nations, causing people to ask, “What’s the World coming to?” 

My reader, it all means that we are in the end times, and the climax of the age draws nearer every day.

There are two pieces of good news I leave with you.

1.THE GOOD NEWS ... is that the Messiah died for our sins, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Cor 15:1-4).  And, “God has made this Y’shua whom you crucified, both Master and Messiah.” (Acts 2:36)

“If you confess with your mouth Y’shua as Lord - your Master and Saviour, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved ... for whoever will call upon the Name of Y’shua the Heavenly Master will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)

If you have not received Y’shua, Jesus, as your own personal Saviour, I urge you to believe in Him today. Give your life to Him now. Tomorrow may be too late!

     2.  THE GOOD NEWS FOR THOSE WHO ARE “IN CHRIST”  

     The Saviour’s imminent return is definite!

“Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. ‘In My Father’s House are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you, for I am going there to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, so that you also may be where I am.” (John 14:1-3)

“Because you have kept the word of My endurance (My endurance – My sacrifice, enduring all the way to death on the cross for your redemption), I also will keep you from the hour of trial which is about to come upon the whole world, to try those who live on the earth. I am coming quickly.” (Revelation 3:10-11)

“For the Master Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet call of God. Then the dead in Christ - those who died with faith in the Messiah - shall rise first. Then we, the living believers who remain, will simultaneously be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Master in the air. And so we will be with the Master for ever. Therefore comfort and encourage one another with these words.”  (1 Thessalonians 4:16-18)

A final word from Scripture to all of us:

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise, but as wise, redeeming and making the most of the time - buying up each opportunity, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of YHWH the LORD is. Do not get drunk with wine, for that leads to unrestrained behaviour, to a breakdown of morals and to wastage. Instead be filled with the Holy Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs; singing and making songs of praise in your heart to the LORD; always giving thanks to God our Father for everything, in the Name of our Master, Y’shua the Anointed.” (Ephesians 5:15-20)

Amen!  And God bless you and keep you 

at peace in the Messiah in these crucial times!

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The One who is coming will come, He will not delay