Israel is doing its best to heal its relationship with Turkey, despite Ankara's continuing to harass Israel in the international arena, most recently through attempts to block the Jewish State’s participation in NATO activities.
While Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan maintains his blustering stance against Jerusalem, Israel is once more attempting to rebuild diplomatic ties by agreeing to allow Turkey to ship building materials to Gaza.
Maj.-Gen. Eitan Dangot, Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (CoGAT), on Monday approved a request by the Turkish government to send construction materials, medical equipment and 20 engineers and other experts into Gaza.
The shipments and personnel are being sent as part of a plan to build a new hospital for central Gaza residents on the ruins of the former Jewish community of Netzarim, located in the Gush Katif region.
The CoGAT approval came as a continued attempt by Israel to warm relations with Turkey following the deterioration of diplomatic ties with Ankara. The breakdown in relations came in the wake of Israel’s 2008-2009 3-week counter-terror mini-war against Hamas (Operation Cast Lead) and the May 2010 incident aboard the Turkish Mavi Marmara flotilla vessel in which nine armed terror activists were killed after attacking IDF commandos. The vessel was one of six that illegally attempted to breach Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza, claiming to be carrying humanitarian aid to the region’s residents. The Mavi Marmara was found to be carrying no aid whatsoever in its hold upon subsequent inspection in Ashdod port.
Eran Lerman, deputy head of the National Security Council, meanwhile told the annual meeting of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations in Jerusalem on Monday that Turkey should be told its attempts to block Israel’s participation are only damaging NATO’S capacity, rather than hurting Israel.
It is not proper, said Lerman, for a member of NATO – which has supplied Turkey with Patriot missiles and soldiers to protect its citizens from Syrian missile fire spilling out of its next door neighbor’s civil war – to undermine the capacity of the alliance to which it belongs.
Nevertheless, “the economic relationship is better than ever, and there is a realization in Turkey that there are things in common,” Lerman noted.