Has bringing Israel down to its knees and demanding an apology from her become an international sport? Is the sense that the respect the world once had for Israel is being eroded accurate?
It started with Operation Cast Lead, when Israel set out to defend its citizens in the face of incessant rocket fire from the Gaza Strip. During the fighting, civilians in Gaza were also hurt, although not deliberately. Israel was immediately asked to apologize, and it did so. I seem to recall that in some cases it even provided medical care as well as monetary compensation.
Next came the raid on the Marmara and subsequent affair. The Israeli government decided not to allow the Turkish vessel to enter the Gaza Port. Unarmed IDF soldiers attempted to stop the ship and during the takeover encountered armed protestors, which left our Navy Commandoes severely bruised and gravely wounded in some cases.
Yet then, a far-fetched thing happened – instead of condemning the violent protestors, the Turkish government demanded an apology from the government of Israel, with this initiative being led by Prime Minister Erdogan.
Turkey cooled the relationship with Israel to below zero temperatures and insists that the ties will not warm up without an apology. Israel needs to engage in dialogue with the Turks diplomatically, not necessarily using the blunt approach of our Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who also forces his views upon the prime minister and by doing so worsens the situation.
What about Egyptian apology?
As the world became accustomed to seeing Israel apologizing, Egypt joined the choir. The murderous offensive near Eilat that claimed the lives of eight Israelis, including soldiers and civilians, came out of Egyptian territory and Cairo cannot deny that. Israel responded with force, and regrettably Egyptian soldiers were killed. Only an in-depth probe would clarify why these soldiers, or their comrades, failed to prevent the terror cell from entering Israel via Egypt.
Instead of clarifying this issue and possibly apologizing to Israel over the fact that Sinai’s territory has turned into a main thoroughfare in transferring murderous weapons into the Strip, Egypt demanded an Israeli apology, announced that it would recall its ambassador from Tel Aviv, and failed to prevent protestors from entering the Israeli embassy compound in Cairo and removing the Israeli flag. Only an expression of regret by Defense Minister Ehud Barak kept Egypt’s ambassador here.
Peace with Egypt is important; so are our ties with Turkey. Both Cairo and Turkey refer to their honor being trampled upon. Yet nobody talks about Israel’s national honor, which has turned into a floor mat. We need to be reminded that we too have national honor, and the time has come for our leaders to defend it as well.
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