aAs he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven—Acts 9:3
On Friday, March 22, 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and apologized for the Israeli attack on Gaza’s Freedom Flotilla that caused the deaths of nine Turkish citizens. Afterwards, Netanyahu’s bureau released a statement.
A repentant Netanyahu is such an impossible thought that it is worth reproducing the core of his declaration: “The prime minister made it clear that the tragic results regarding the Mavi Marmara were unintentional and that Israel expresses regret over injuries and loss of life,” and “Prime Minister Netanyahu apologized to the Turkish people for any errors that could have led to loss of life and agreed to complete the agreement on compensation.” Is Netanyahu journeying his Road to Damascus? Is his apology sincere?
The idea is so ridiculous that even Israel didn’t attempt to claim that Netanyahu had seen the light and humbly apologizes from the bottom of his heart. The idea is so ridiculous that Israel formally disclosed its immediate reason. Netanyahu’s statement repeated President Obama’s words said on the same day, before leaving Israel.
President Obama revealed that Netanyahu and Erdogan had spoken by telephone; saying in his statement, “The United States deeply values our close partnerships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them in order to advance regional peace and security.” Netanyahu’s bureau statement said, “his [Netanyahu’s] commitment to working out the disagreements in order to advance peace and regional stability”. Netanyahu dropped his old gun-machine and is ready to crash the Road to Damascus with his shiny, new American tank.
Colonel Riad al-Asaad
On March 25, Colonel Riad al-Asaad, formerly head of the Free Syrian Army (the West-supported forces attacking Syria) lost a leg after a device exploded next to the car he was using. He is a former Syrian Air Force commander, who defected to the opposition in July 2011 and set up the Free Syrian Army a month later in Turkey. He was taken to a hospital in Turkey. The day before, Moaz al-Khatib resigned as head of the opposition National Coalition, the political body behind the Free Syrian Army. These dramatic events exposed one of the reasons for the Americans forcing Netanyahu to apologize. The second reason was to create security in the Mediterranean Eastern Basin, so that the USA will be able to profit from the gas there (see U.S. accomplishes takeover of the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Fields). Now Turkey and Israel are friends again, the escalating disputes over the gas would be resolved. America will harvest gas in eternal peace. Eternal? Just a sec, what about Syria?
Turkey and Iran are now cooperating in intelligence matters; Israel probably wouldn’t take the risk of unintentional leaks of military data through this option. Military cooperation between the countries will probably be restricted to the supply of equipment and multi-party exercises with the USA and NATO. There is a Hebrew saying “Kavdehu VeHashdehu” (“Honor him and suspect him”), which reflects the new relation. Turkey won’t be as trusted as before. Considering all these factors, what was the rush to normalize the situation? After all, it damages Netanyahu. His main partner, Avigdor Lieberman, has already defined Netanyahu’s apology “a serious error.” Is Netanyahu a neo-Samson saying “Let me die with the Turks?”
Netanyahu’s Road to Damascus
Roi Tov is a graduate—among others—of Tel Aviv University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. In addition to his memoir, Tov is published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Molecular Physics and other scientific journals. He won various travel writing and photography awards.
In his writings, he tries to reveal life in Israel as a Christian Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer—from human rights violations to the use of an extensive network of underground agents. He was recognized first as a refugee and subsequently as political prisoner of Bolivia.