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Israel -Turkey: Together Again..? The Problems: Gaza, Syria, Russia, Cyprus…

Israel doesn’t seem ready for ending its Gaza blockade, just after the recent Netanyahu’s call to the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan:

Israel says deal with Turks does not require Gaza blockade end – Reuters

Israel did not commit to ending its Gaza blockade as part of reconciliation with Turkey and could clamp down even harder on the Palestinian enclave if security is threatened, a senior Israeli official said on Sunday. After Friday’s U.S.-brokered fence-mending announcement, Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Israel had met his demands it apologize for killing nine Turks aboard a Gaza-bound activist ship in 2010, pay compensation and ease the blockade. But during the almost three-year rift between the ex-allies, Erdogan had routinely insisted that Israel end the blockade. The rapprochement deal noted Israel’s relaxing of curbs on Gaza’s civilian imports in that period and pledged “to continue to work to improve” Palestinians’ humanitarian situation. ”If there is quiet, the processes easing the lives of Gazan residents will continue. And if there is Katyusha (rocket) fire, then these moves will be slowed and even stopped and, if necessary, even reversed,” Israeli national security adviser Yaakov Amidror said.

Obama in Israel 1

More importantly, Netanyhu’s call to Erdogan it was a personal test for Obama’s persuasion skills as the situation in Syria deteriorates and developments in Iran remain unclear:

Obama Shows Talent for Arm-Twisting, and Raises Hopes on Peace Effort – New York Times

There is little doubt that President Obama can deliver a memorable speech, as he did in Jerusalem last week about the need for peace. The big surprise on his trip to Israel and Jordan, which ended here on Saturday, is that he can also twist arms.  Mr. Obama’s success in persuading Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to apologize to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, healing a rift between the countries, is the kind of person-to-person deal-making that has eluded him with Republicans in Congress. But Mr. Obama kept prodding Mr. Netanyahu, senior advisers said, raising the importance of a makeup phone call every day he was in Jerusalem. He also worked on Mr. Erdogan, a prickly politician with whom Mr. Obama has cultivated a relationship since entering office. By the time they agreed to talk, Mr. Obama had fully embraced the role of Middle East mediator, warming up Mr. Erdogan before handing the phone to Mr. Netanyahu, who expressed regret for the deadly actions by Israeli commandos during a 2010 raid on a Turkish ship that was trying to breach a blockade of Gaza.

Israel, Turkey Begin To Heal Wounds From 2010 Gaza Flotilla Raid – Outside the Beltway

Under persistent prodding from President Obama, Israel and Turkey resolved a bitter three-year dispute on Friday with a diplomatic thaw that will help a fragile region confront Syria’s civil war, while handing the president a solid accomplishment as he closed out his visit to the Middle East. The breakthrough took place in the most improbable of surroundings: a trailer parked on the tarmac of Ben-Gurion International Airport. Moments before Mr. Obama left for Jordan, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu telephoned the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and apologized for deadly errors in Israel’s 2010 raid on a Turkish ship that was trying to bring aid to Palestinians in Gaza. After years of angrily demanding an apology, Mr. Erdogan accepted Mr. Netanyahu’s gesture, and both sides agreed to dispatch envoys to each other’s nations, having recalled them in 2011. The president’s involvement, a senior American official said, was crucial to both leaders, which is why Mr. Netanyahu scheduled the call before Mr. Obama’s departure from Israel. Mr. Erdogan insisted on speaking to Mr. Obama first before the president handed the phone over to Mr. Netanyahu. In the end, the call produced a win-win for all sides.

On the other hand, the real diplomatic impact of Netanyhu’s call to Erdogan remains still unclear given the delecate geopolitical balances in the region:

Israel cites “mistakes” in a 2009 raid on a Gaza-bound ship that killed 9 … – CNN

It wasn’t immediately clear what impact the conversation might have on a region that is already home to numerous crises — such as the deadly, two-year-long civil war in Syria and tensions over Iran’s nuclear programs. At the least, the movement toward mending a rift between two of Washington’s top allies appeared to be a boon for Obama, who said he’s been appealing to Netanyahu and Erdogan “for the last two years” for them to fix “this rupture.” ”There are obviously going to still be some significant disagreements … but they also have a wide range of shared interests, and they both happen to be extraordinarily strong partners and friends of ours,” Obama said at a press conference with Jordan’s King Abdullah II. “So it’s in the interest of the United States that they begin this process of getting their relationship back in order.”

Finally, Obama’s persuasive skills created a (positive) diplomatic atmosphere in the broader Middle East region, but the real problems reamain:

-The bloody violence in Syria escalates, with Russia not showing a real sign to remove its political and diplomatic support from Assad.

-It is certain that Israel is not going to lift its blogade in Gaza.

-The civil war escalation in Syria cause opposite geopolitical dynamics between Turkey and Russia.

-The new element in the delecate geopolitical balances in the region is Russia’s financial defeat in Cyprus, which may cause second thoughts both in Moscow and Brussels.

-The final impact of the Euro Zone’s economic war to the broader Middle East.



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