Between elections, forming a new Government, and Obama's visit, there was almost a total disregard of the nastiness of the environment within which Israel lives. Now matters seem to be heating up and at least some people are taking serious notice of the situation. Curiously, one of the tense spots in the region appeared, at the end of last week to have quieted down as a result of Obama's intercession, yet nowTurkey appears to be unsettled again as well.
Sadly, if indeed Turkey' Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan persists in ratcheting up the price for a resumption of normal Israel-Turkey relations, not only will he unnecessarily put the entire region through a heightened level of unnecessary stress and danger; but he may have actually confirmed to President Obama precisely the difficulty Israel has in trusting deals conducted with Muslim countries. The U.S. has failed to grasp that problem for years in Pakistan, now after the President publicly negotiated an Israeli apology to Turkey, it had been expected that the two countries were agreed to resume relations as they were before the Mavi Marmara incident. Now the Turkish leader seems set to place new conditions and further roadblocks before he will consider the return to prior relations. Ironically, this is precisely a moment–specifically given what might be developing in Iranand Syria– that Turkey could actually benefit greatly from a joint strategy between Israel and Turkey.
Wednesday's Haaretz carried an extraordinary op-Ed column by Moshe Arens, a former Israeli Defense Minister, Foreign Minister, Ambassador to Washington, and very close Likud ally of Menachem Begin ,commenting on the Obama visit. Entitled Obama-friendship and empathy, Arens, not one to offer praise casually, sounded clearly confident that a new relationship had arrived. Said Arens:
No doubt, there has been a reset in the U.S.-Israel relationship.