Contrasting Türkiye and US approaches to Israel-Palestine conflict
Israel has been subjecting Gaza to a total blockade and heavy bombardment for more than a week. While the non-Western world speaks out against those measures, U.S. President Joe Biden offered his unconditional support to Tel Aviv – a development that threatens to cause the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to result in more devastation.
With Türkiye reaching out to Hamas in an attempt to secure the release of Israeli civilians, Israel Katz, the Israeli energy minister, announced that his country would not provide electricity or water to the Gaza Strip until Hamas agreed to release the hostages.
The Israeli government’s apparent disregard for civilians signals that Tel Aviv remains committed to a “disproportionate response.” Unwilling to suffer a similar attack ever again, the country obviously does not care about the negative reactions to its policy.
There is talk of a ground operation in Gaza, the possibility of Hezbollah opening a new front, fresh attacks against Syria, and the further deterioration of the conditions in the West Bank – all of which would have a negative impact. The region might thus experience the horrors stemming from such ambitious attempts at deterrence.
According to Thursday’s media reports, Israel struck the Damascus and Aleppo airports. That development highlights the possibility of tensions between Tel Aviv and Tehran, resulting in a regional conflict.
Although the United Nations raises the issue of “humanitarian aid” to Gaza, Francesca Albanese, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian Territory, warned that deliberately starving the residents of Gaza would amount to a crime against humanity. Yet the United States and the European Union do not seem interested in stopping the clashes, the massacres or human rights violations.
Holding a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken merely said that how Israel exercised its right to self-defense mattered – which was almost as weak a statement as Biden’s reference to the rules of war. To make matters worse, Blinken effectively endorsed Netanyahu’s claim that Hamas and Daesh were no different. Let us recall that the Israeli prime minister has been pledging to kill all Hamas members and sanctioning anyone who harbors them.
More and more observers point out that Washington’s increasing military footprint in the region encourages Israel to seek revenge and drive 2.3 million Palestinians from Gaza – instead of preventing the ongoing clashes from spreading to Lebanon, Syria and beyond.
Whereas Hamas holds hostage approximately 100 Israelis, the entire population of Gaza becomes the target of “war crimes and crimes against humanity.” That is why President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched a major diplomatic initiative to reverse the course of events. Criticizing Washington’s approach to the crisis, he mobilizes the regional powers and asks Israel to stop its blockade and bombardment.
U.S. inertia toward conflict
At a time when the international order allegedly shifts toward multipolarity, the U.S. does nothing to stop the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and even condones violations of the rules of war and human rights – a crisis with long-term repercussions. As the Biden administration’s claim to “global leadership” ends with another fiasco, the current situation effectively promotes toxic ideas that will benefit anti-Western radical movements and organizations for decades.
Having done nothing to help Palestine exercise its right to statehood, as recognized by the U.N., the U.S. creates an atmosphere that will empower countries like China, Russia and Iran by failing to stop Israel.
Fixated on domestic politics, the Biden administration adopts an approach that puts its allies in the Arab and Muslim worlds and countries pursuing normalization with Israel in a difficult situation. That is where Türkiye distinguishes itself from the rest. President Erdoğan sets an example to the world by making a diplomatic effort for peace amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, just as he did in Ukraine, highlighting his pioneering leadership.
Erdoğan initially condemned Hamas for killing civilians and asked for restraint from both sides. In response to Israel’s total blockade and heavy bombardment, which resulted in civilian casualties, the Turkish leader urged Israel to “act like a state, not an organization.” At the same time, Erdoğan has been in contact with all parties to stop the fighting and secure the release of civilian hostages.
By contrast, the U.S., which remains a superpower, makes no effort to stop Israel from running into the dead end of deterrence due to its severe trauma.
Still, most of the world agrees with what the political parties currently represented at the Turkish Parliament stated on Thursday: there will be no peace nor security in our region in the absence of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.