The Six-Day War's Legacy in Sinai

The Six-Day War's 50th anniversary will generate an overabundance of commentary about the war's legacy on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Most scholarship will focus on the continued challenges of Israeli occupation in the West Bank and Jerusalem, however there are valuable lessons that Read more

Trump in Israel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

  President Donald Trump was in Israel for all of twenty-eight hours, and yet even within that short window of time he managed to till a significant amount of discursive soil. Dozens of analysts and commentators will offer their thoughts Read more

Erdogan, Jerusalem, and the End of the Honeymoon

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's statements at the International Forum on al-Quds Waqf (held in Istanbul) received international media coverage when he attacked Israeli policy in Jerusalem, compared the situation in the West Bank with Apartheid South Africa, and called for Read more

The Curious Case of Michael Flynn, Turkey, and Israeli gas

President Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn has been at the epicenter of an ongoing story for the last few weeks. While I don't want to rehash what has already been reported, I did find one particular nugget Read more

Four Years of Futility

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

Unbeknownst to most of the world, the 4th anniversary of the Gaza flotilla raid has come and gone. Even within Turkish society the affair has become a sideshow – May 31 is about Gezi Park, not what happened to some boat hundreds of miles away. And while events were held in Istanbul and Gaza to memorialize the nine (now ten) passengers who died aboard the Mavi Marmara in 2010, the international media barely gave it coverage.

This, of course, is a very good thing.*

The time has come to make amends. Read more

Israel’s knee-jerk reaction to Palestinian unity

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel |  
PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas's Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas’s Prime Minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh.

In response to news of a Hamas-Fatah unity deal, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and almost every major minister in his cabinet issued statements that slammed the Palestinian move.

“Abbas has chosen Hamas and not peace. Whoever chooses Hamas does not want peace,” Netanyahu said in a press release. Read more

Interview with i24 News

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

Here is an interview I conducted with i24 news on Turkey’s recent municipal elections and it’s impact on Turkey-Israel relations.

Hope you enjoy.

For Netanyahu, security trumps rapprochement with Turkey

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

The ongoing drama between Israel and Turkey seems to be approaching its final act.

However, even though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Anadolu Agency (AA) that Israel desires positive relations with Turkey and hopes reconciliation will arrive in the near future, the circumstances under which those statements were given – while exposing an alleged Iranian arms shipment to the Gaza Strip – speaks volumes about his position toward rapprochement. For the two former partners to officially bury the hatchet, a creative solution must be found to solving Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s demand that Israel lift its blockade on the Gaza Strip. Read more

Don’t trip at the finish line!

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

Israel and Turkey seem so close to rapprochement, you can almost smell the baklava in the air.

Nearly four years have passed since Israeli commandos, while boarding the Turkish vessel MV Mavi Marmara, the flagship of a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying humanitarian aid and no small number of anti-Israel belligerents, killed nine passengers in their attempt to seize the ship. Four miserable years of disputed investigations, sober negotiations, and incendiary comments by Israeli and Turkish politicians alike followed.

Now it appears that an agreement, which calls for Israel to pay $20 million in compensation to the families of those slain on the ill-fated ship, has been drafted and is now waiting approval from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Read more

Angry Birds: Freedom of the Press in Israel and Turkey

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

“Freedom of the press” has been a hot topic this week in Turkey and Israel. Although the conversation in each country is unique, and the tactics employed to limit media freedom varies, it is nevertheless discouraging to witness the fragility of democracy when executive power goes unchecked. Read more

Grounds for Reconciliation? Turkish Coffee as Israeli Peacemaker

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

A bag of Israeli-branded "Turkish" coffee

I was watching TV yesterday when I stumbled across this commercial, made by Strauss Group, an international food & beverage company and one of Israel’s most well-known brands globally. Read more

Remembering Ariel Sharon: A Collection of Op-Eds

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel |  

sharon

The death of Ariel Sharon has resulted in the publication of a wide range of opinion columns and articles about the impact of his career on Israeli history and the Jewish world. If anything, it proves that his influence was far-reaching, complicated, if at times controversial.

I have collected a number of pieces that have been published online and provided links to them (in bold). I encourage reading them – the conclusions you reach are entirely your own: Read more

Ariel Sharon, Bulldozer of Israel

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel |  
Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon touring Beaufort fortress after its capture in June 1982 (IDF Archive)

Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon touring Beaufort fortress after its capture in June 1982 (IDF Archive)

I come to bury Ariel Sharon, not exclusively to praise him, though it feels almost obligatory to poetically eulogize Israel’s now-deceased 11th prime minister. Eight years have passed since a massive stroke left him comatose, and no doubt many of the obits one can read in the dozens of major newspapers around the world were in fact written in 2006, so I hope to use a bit of hindsight while remembering one of Israel’s greatest figures. Read more

A War on Christmas in the Middle East?

Posted on by Gabriel in Israel, Turkey |  

Holiday madness has arrived early in the Middle East. On Sunday, Israel’s Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein rejected a fellow MK’s request for an official Christmas tree to be displayed in parliament during the holiday season. Meanwhile, in certain neighborhoods of Istanbul – a metropolis that has thoroughly embraced the commercial spirit of Christmas and New Year’s – there have been local efforts to “ban Santa.” Protestors held up signs reading “Christmas is a coup against Islam.” (For more on the changing attitudes towards Christmas in Turkey today, read this piece by Pinar Tremblay.) Read more