What's the connection between the masses demanding social justice Saturday night and the worsening relations with Turkey and the expected recognition in the United Nations of a Palestinian state? What does Tel Aviv's Kikar Hamedina have to do with Istanbul's Taksim Square and Ramallah's Manara Square? What does the debate between supporters and opponents of shattering the budgetary framework have to do with the Palestinians' budget deficit or the downgrading of relations with Ankara? The return of the ambassador and his deputy to Israel will save the state two fine salaries and make a little more money available for free education for toddlers.
With all due respect to Turkey (we haven't shown any; remember the low-chair affair ), the Israeli people will survive even without an ambassador and deputy ambassador in Ankara. No disaster will happen if the United Nations we so disparage throws the Palestinians a bone and a few young men march toward the settlements. Our highly trained soldiers will charge, the settlers' dogs will jump them and all will be well.
Right? Wrong. The crisis in relations with Turkey is a red alert of the attacks we're in for on the diplomatic, security and economic fronts. It will affect the lives of 450,000 protesters and many more people who demanded social justice from their living room couches.
Government spokesmen went from TV studio to TV studio over the weekend to explain that the avalanche between Ankara and Jerusalem has nothing at all to do with the apology affair, but rather with the type of regime Turkey has. That could be. But if the Netanyahu government had thawed the negotiations on the end of the occupation and prevented the crisis that led the Palestinians to the United Nations, Turkey might not have had to make such a major issue out of the flotilla.
When Turkey called its ambassador home, it showed the way for the ambassadors of Egypt and Jordan in Israel, and that's just the beginning. After the United Nations fulfills the Palestinians' request for a state, the Palestinians won't be able to consider themselves a temporary entity called the "Palestinian Authority." How will the French react to Israel's refusal to allow Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to return from an official visit to Paris with a passport from independent Palestine?
Abbas is 76 yeas old. His close associates are certain that since the United Nations will show Israel the way out of the occupation, Abbas will find his way out of the Muqata. The veteran Fatah activist Jibril Rajoub recently told a group of Israelis visiting Abbas' office that sitting in front of them was the last partner to a two-state solution. Indeed, it's hard to find a Palestinian leader who is prepared to state publicly that his presence in Ramallah is also an expression of the fulfillment of the right of return. (Hamas websites have excoriated Abbas for saying this. )
The young people from Rothschild Boulevard should keep their tents handy. They will need them soon, when they're sent to guard their brethren, the settlers. Those who don't want to deal with the occupation today will be dealt with by the occupation tomorrow. And if protesters don't have the time to address marginal issues like universal justice, they should ask their economists how much the looming international crisis will cost us.
Turkey's threat to confiscate Israeli goods is only the first step. In the first quarter of the year Turkey imported around half a billion dollars in goods from Israel - only two other countries import more.
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz might remember the anti-Semitic statement by Gen. Evelyn Barker, the commander of the British Mandate forces in Palestine, that the way to punish the Jews was by striking at their pockets. Steinitz is threatening to freeze the Palestinians' tax money as punishment for their move in the United Nations. Last week he threw the Palestinians down the stairs, and after them the American ambassador, along with their request to expedite the transfer of their money - yes, theirs - so they can pay their salaries early because of the holiday. That's what is done to bad children.
Not even a doctor of philosophy can answer the question of who will pay the salaries of the Palestinian teachers, police and doctors after the PA announces it is disbanding and the donor countries turn off the faucet ($1.5 billion a year ). Will Steinitz send tax clerks to collect money from the merchants of Hebron to cover the Palestinian deficit (about half a billion dollars )? From what budget provision do the social protesters propose funding the damage from the diplomatic and security tsunami?
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