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Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is facing increasing diplomatic pressure to secure a peace agreement with Palestine.Yesterday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul directly linked the unrest in the Middle East to Israel’s relations with Palestine.
In an op-ed piece for The New York Times, Mr. Gul asserts that Israel will have to sign a peace treaty to ensure its safety in the changing Middle East.
In such a context, Israel cannot afford to be perceived as an apartheid island surrounded by an Arab sea of anger and hostility. Many Israeli leaders are aware of this challenge and therefore believe that creating an independent Palestinian state is imperative. A dignified and viable Palestine, living side by side with Israel, will not diminish the security of Israel, but fortify it.
Turkey thinks strategically about the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, not only because it knows that a peaceful Middle East would be to its benefit, but also because it believes that Israeli-Palestinian peace would benefit the rest of the world.
…Moreover, it is my firm conviction that the United States has a long-overdue responsibility to side with international law and fairness when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. The international community wants the United States to act as an impartial and effective mediator between Israel and the Palestinians, just as it did a decade ago. Securing a lasting peace in the Middle East is the greatest favour Washington can do for Israel.
It will be almost impossible for Israel to deal with the emerging democratic and demographic currents in the absence of a peace agreement with the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world. Turkey, conscious of its own responsibility, stands ready to help.
Israeli-Turkish ties have been strained since Israel’s attack on a Gaza bound Turkish aid flotilla last year that killed nine people. President Obama has urged Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to improve relations with Israel.
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