By Haidar Eid, Gaza, Mondoweiss, 28 June 2016
Israel and Turkey have reached an agreement to normalize ties six years after an Israeli naval attack that killed 10 Turkish activists and 9 years after the imposition of a deadly siege that has left Gaza unlivable.
What do we, Palestinians of Gaza, feel about it?
To put it mildly, we are dismayed and angered as must be the families of the 10 victims of the Mavi Marmara incident. This deal leaves us under a hermetic, medieval siege that amounts to what the Israeli historian Ilan Pappe calls “incremental genocide.” Needless to say that the deal also violates the boycott guidelines which Palestinians civil society issued in 2005. In fact, it is not unlike normalizing diplomatic and economic ties with South African apartheid.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is the Turkish branch of Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) who ruled Egypt for a year and failed to open the Rafah crossing and lift the siege. Hamas, the Palestinian branch, has also added misery to the lives of the besieged of Gaza through its strict rule and absence of any political vision. Now, the Ikhwan of Turkey strike a deal with apartheid Israel at the expense of Palestinian basic rights!
To add insult to injury, Hamas has issued a statement “expressing its gratitude for Mr. Erdogan’s efforts to help the residents of Gaza, which are in line with Turkey’s principled support of the Palestinian cause”! And Hamas leader Ahmed Yousuf made it clear that “Turkey has done all it could to lift the siege and help the Palestinians of Gaza. The regional changes have made it change its policy and accept the easing of the siege instead! We can’t expect more than this from Turkey.” (my translation)
Defenders of the Turkish government, namely Islamists, are up in arms to justify the unjustifiable. The Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal has nothing to do with Gaza, and everything to do with Israel’s, and to some extent Turkey’s, interests.
In fact, the Ikhwan never fail to let you down. They don’t want to acknowledge that the Israel-Turkey reconciliation deal is a slap in the face of ethical and moral decency for the mere fact that Turkey has ended up asking for Israel’s help to lift the siege on Gaza.
So what does “lifting the siege” mean?
It basically means opening the six crossings to Gaza, the keys of which are in Israel’s hands, and allowing the flow of all kinds of goods, especially essentials, to and from Gaza; and providing Gaza with electricity and clean water; and guaranteeing the freedom of movement of the 2 million Palestinians of Gaza. This also means opening the Rafah crossing 24/7. This is the responsibility of the occupying power, namely Israel. But even this does not meet the minimum basic rights of the Palestinian people: freedom, equality, and justice. No normal relations with apartheid Israel should be resumed without the latter complying with International law that guarantees Palestinian basic rights.
A quick reading of the deal proves that it is a stab in the back of Gaza. Improving the conditions of oppression, or rather slowing down the genocide, is a form of complicity because Gaza for the Turkish government is just a humanitarian case. In a nutshell, the Turkish government has sold us out and wants us to be grateful!
The “incremental genocide” continues.
About Haidar Eid
Haidar Eid is Associate Professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University. He has written widely on the Arab-Israeli conflict, including articles published at Znet, Electronic Intifada, Palestine Chronicle, and Open Democracy. He has published papers on cultural Studies and literature in a number of journals, including Nebula, Journal of American Studies in Turkey, Cultural Logic, and the Journal of Comparative Literature.