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Netanyahu: 'You Don't Slit a Little Girl's Throat…!'

Will Israeli-Turkish Rapprochement Tie Hands of Hamas Terrorism from Gaza?

Israelis must brace up to terror attacks of one kind or another - it is part of the nation's struggle for survival. None are easy, but some hit harder than others.

Thursday morning 8:38 AM in Kiryat Arba in Judea-West Bank:

13-year-old Hallel Ariel was stabbed to death in her bedroom by Palestinian terrorist on June 30, 2016.

Thirteen-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel is sleeping in her bed alone in her home. The summer vacation has already begun and Hallel, an ardent dancer is sleeping-in after performing the night before in Jerusalem.

A seventeen-year-old Palestinian from the nearby town of Bani Na’im jumps over the Israeli security fence built around the community sounding the alarm at the security headquarters. The terrorist races to the nearest Israeli home and enters. It is still not clear if the door or a window was left open. Armed with a knife, he rushes to the children’s' room, where Hallel is apparently still sleeping, and stabs her eight times.

On hearing the alarm, several Israeli security guards rush to the Ariel home. One of them happens to be Hallel's frantic father. They break in and start searching. Hiding in Hallel's bedroom, the terrorist stabs one guard in the head before the second shoots him to death.

A medical team then arrives to start treating Hallel - but it is too late. She dies of her multiple stab wounds. One of medics is actually the wife of the wounded guard and starts treating him. She travels alongside him in the ambulance, holding a bandage on his stab wound as they race to a hospital in nearby Jerusalem. He is later declared to be out of danger. Later in the evening, hundreds of mourners attend Hallel Yafa's funeral.

This is part of Prime Minister Netanyahu's reaction:

       'This morning a terrorist sneaked into the bedroom of a thirteen-year-old girl, Hallel Yafa Ariel...You don't murder a sleeping child for peace. You don't slit a little girl's throat to protest a policy you don't like. You do this because you've been brainwashed. You've been brainwashed by a warped ideology that teaches you that this child isn't human'.

DE: Last week Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the EU Parliament in Brussels:

       'Israeli rabbis are telling settlers to poison Palestinian wells on the West Bank'.

Abbas received a standing ovation for his speech. Later Abbas issued a written statement retracting his charge that rabbis were telling Jews to poison wells - a throwback to the Middle Ages when Jews were accused of poisoning the wells of Christians.

And now it's the turn of Turkey's volatile President Tayyip Recep Erdogan! Turkey has followed in the footsteps of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Jordan by making friends with Israel. It's a spinoff from the US nuclear deal with Iran and the need for the Arab states to realign in the face of Iran's ascendancy in the region. Add to this the threat of Daesh as illustrated at Istanbul Airport this week. While Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu is being castigated daily in the West, Middle East leaders perceive him as a bulwark against Tehran and regional terrorism. Maybe the regional leaders know better than their counter-parts in Washington, London, Paris and Brussels. In other words, 'The enemy of my worst enemy is my friend!' In this vein, Iran is definitely the worst enemy, with Daesh a close second.

Non-Arab Turkey is a graphic case. After rising to power, Erdogan had visions, or rather delusions, of becoming the leader of the Sunni world in the monumental clash with Shiite Iran. His first move to make friends and influence people in the Arab world was to jettison Turkey's silent alliance with Israel. This was to be his calling card. But he totally misread the Arabs. How Erdogan ever thought he could foster relations with the radical Muslim Brotherhood in Cairo and nevertheless gain favor in the rest of the Arab world is a mystery. Egypt and Jordan enjoy a cool peace with Israel, and even Saudi Arabia has been having second thoughts - maybe Israel could be a friend and not a foe? Moreover, most Middle East experts agree that no matter how much the Arabs detest Shiite Iran, they will never accept a Turk as their leader. The Arabs still resent how they were dominated by the Turkish-Ottoman Empire.

Fast forward to the current chaos in the Middle East. All Erdogan had to show for his pitch to the Arabs was zilch. Even radical Hamas had turned to Tehran. Then Turkey's leader made his biggest blunder by daring to shoot down a Russian fighter that had strayed into Turkish air space. It was flying a mission over Syria in support of President Bashar Assad, yet another of Erdogan's bitter enemies. Predictably, President Putin taught Erdogan a painful lesson by imposing economic sanctions. Moreover, Turkey's strategic dependence on the supply of natural gas from Russia was probably keeping him awake at nights. So the time had come for the Turkish President to sit down and take a long, hard look at what he has achieved by dumping Israel and boosting his role in the region... zilch!

Then the wheel was coming full circle. Lo and behold, he saw the light! There was Turkey's former ally – Israel, which he had written off years ago when he started out on his forlorn odyssey. In that interim, Erdogan had nearly come to blows with Israel back in May 2010 when the Turkish cargo vessel Mavi Marmara tried to break the Israeli Navy's legal blockade of Gaza that was imposed to prevent Hamas smuggling in more rockets to fire at Israel. At that time, Erdogan had actually given his quiet consent by not preventing the voyage that contravened international law. When the Israeli naval commander ordered the Mavi Marmara to either change course or stop and be searched or be escorted to the Israeli port of Ashdod and unload its cargo there to be shipped on to Gaza, the cryptic reply came back loud and clear from the Mavi Marmara: 'Shut up! Go back to Auschwitz!'

Israeli commandos then boarded the ship by slipping down ropes from helicopters. They were met by militants on the deck wielding knives, crowbars and clubs. Ten Turkish citizens were killed and a number of Israeli soldiers injured. Erdogan blew his stack and things turned from bad to worse. But now six years later, Erdogan's new realpolitik has wound up back in Israel of all places! Moreover the Jewish state is about to start developing its offshore natural gas fields for export. This really caught his attention; Israel could be an alternative to Turkey's dependency on natural gas from Russia.

Although relations have been very strained since Erdogan's anti-Israeli pivot seven years ago, trade ties have not been affected. Cars and refrigerators assembled in Turkey are best sellers in Israel. Nor is there bad blood between Israelis and Turks. In the good old days hundred of thousands of Israeli tourists visited Turkey annually - this is likely to happen again, if Erdogan can prevent Daesh suicide bombers from blowing themselves up in his country.

Israelis tend to see Erdogan as a sort of tyrant who has a tendency to fly off the handle from time to time. In his latest caper, Erdogan has just blasted the IHH organization that tried to sail the Mavi Marmara to Gaza ten years ago. This in response to the IHH criticizing the Turkish President for renewing ties with Israel. In a public speech, he hauled IHH over the coals for not seeking his permission in the first place. Now he would supply far more aid to Gaza than IHH without all the hullabaloo with Israel.

Having said all this, where does it leave Hamas and Israel? All along, every morning hundreds of Israeli trucks line the road to Gaza delivering loads of supplies to Gaza. Nonetheless, the standard of living in Gaza is very low with a dire need for housing. The agreement with Turkey is expected to boost the aid significantly with foreign vessels off-loading their cargoes in the Israeli port of Ashdod while Israel's naval blockade continues. In the near future this is expected to improve the lot of the Palestinians in Gaza. Now it stands to reason that this will put pressure on Hamas and other 'rogue' terrorists to abstain from again rocketing Israel.

Just imagine foreign vessels unloading their cargoes for Gaza in the Israeli port of Ashdod while terrorists inside Gaza are launching rockets at Ashdod in return. Or truck convoys driving on the way to Gaza with foreign aid while rockets go flying overhead in the opposite direction into Israel. And make no mistake - the aid issue could turn into a big deal There's talk of housing construction, a power plant and a water desalination project for Gaza in the pipeline.

Question: What will the new aid deal mean for the Hamas digging of attack tunnels into Israel? So far there has been no word about this threat. This has been a source of tension recently because Hamas objects to Israel's current operations to seek out and destroy the tunnels.

Israeli reaction: Israel is to pay $21 million dollars to the families of the Turks killed in the clash on the Mavi Marmara. Bibi's deal with Erdogan was passed easily in the security cabinet by a vote of 7-3. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Jewish Home ministers Naftali Bennett Ayalet Shaked voted against for two reasons. First the Turks who ran Israel's legal blockade violated international law and did not deserve to be paid compensation. More importantly, although Gaza would now benefit by a massive increase in foreign aid, Erdogan had not persuaded Hamas to return the bodies of two IDF soldiers who were killed when the Palestinians violated a UN ceasefire in the war two years ago. Two other Israeli civilians are also being held by Hamas.

But if the agreement with Turkey can prevent or even delay another war with Gaza, it could save more Israeli lives. On this score, the strategic importance of renewed relations with Turkey certainly justifies it, although the families of the missing are sorely disappointed that they did not get back their loved ones. Turkey has undertaken to keep working to do so but no one is holding their breath.

 David Essing

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