Jagdish N Singh
It is heartening to note that there has hardly been any subaltern level protest in the Arab world over the recent establishment of diplomatic ties between the United Arab Emirates and the Jewish State of Israel. A prominent Middle East observer says that protests, even among ordinary Palestinians, have been minuscule. Peoples in the Arab world are no longer ‘clamouring’ for any false pan-Arab / pan-Islamic unity.
One would suggest Abu Dhabi and Jerusalem must use this atmosphere to focus on the all-inclusive peace, welfare, development, education, and equality in the region. Besides, the two capitals must invest in neutralising the influence whatever of the elements, such as Hamas, the Palestinian Authority, the grand mufti of Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque, Muslim Brotherhood, the Iranian regime and the Turkish presidency, which have been highly critical of the UAE-Israel peace treaty.
Knowledgeable sources say Ankara’s diplomatic conduct under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan amounts to sheer hypocrisy. Apparently, Turkish supremo supports the Islamic Movement within Israel. He presents himself as a defender of the Palestinians and their al-Aqsa Mosque. Turkey today hosts Hamas operatives against Israel.
In line with this, President Erdogan has threatened to cut his country’s ties with the UAE over the latter’s peace treaty with Israel. His spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said, "History will not forget those who betray the Palestinian people and sell out the Palestinian cause….Turkey will continue to stand by the Palestinian people."
But Ankara itself has had a special relationship with Jerusalem. Contemporary history bears out Turkey was neutral during the Arab-Israeli war of 1948. Turkey was the first Muslim state to establish diplomatic ties with Israel way back in 1949. Since then it has long been highly accommodative of Israel. In 1951, Turkey joined the Western powers to protest against Egypt’s decision to deny Israeli ships passage through the Suez Canal. In 1954, then Turkish Premier Adnan Menderes called on Arab states to recognize Israel. In 1958, Israeli leaders David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir, along with their then IDF Chief of Staff, landed in Istanbul on a historic secret mission aimed at enhancing cultural and intelligence cooperation between Jerusalem and Ankara. The Mossad opened its station in Turkey in the early 1950s.
(The writer is a Delhi-based journalist)