A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
January 17, 2010 Israel and Haiti, Israel and Turkey, US and Iran
It's been an unusual week in Israel. It's been one of the few weeks I remember that most of the news broadcasts have not been about news in Israel, but events outside. The major story, has been Haiti, of course. Needless to say, the first few days were about the devastation itself. Shortly, the story began to highlight Israel’s efforts at relief, which included sending two EL AL 747s filled with an army unit that specializes in search and rescue, together with a full field hospital. It seems the search & rescue teams may have arrived too late to save very many, (since six days is the outside limit to when people can be found alive,) but the hospital is now fully operational and appears to be one of the few that have been successfully created. Listening to Israeli TV things seem even worse (as if that is possible) than is being reported through the US media. The major point Israeli correspondents stationed in Haiti are repeatedly reporting the difficulty created by the fact it seems there is absolutely no authority at all in Haiti. The Israeli commander on the ground, who has led many rescue missions all over the world, stated that this is the first time he and his team have come to a place and not found any official to talk to; nobody in charge.
The major story of the week relating to Israel were the ups and downs of Israel’s relations with Turkey. This was mostly a "down week", with a major incident earlier in the week, created by Israel’s deputy foreign minister, Danny Ayalon. Ayalon attacked Turkey, and its ambassador in very undiplomatic terms. The deputy foreign minister's anger was sparked by a portrayal of the Mossad on a Turkish TV show. Turkey almost withdrew its ambassador to Israel over Ayalon's statements and only relented after Ayalon apologized. Over the weekend Defense Minister Ehud Barak visited Turkey and met with the Turkish Defense Minister and Foreign Minister. At a joint press conference the Turkish Defense Minister called Israel a "strategic ally"".
In Israeli domestic news, all eyes seem to be directed at a lawsuit filed by Sara Netanyahu's former housekeeper, claiming she was abused by Mrs. Netanyahu. The issue would not be of any interest, except for the rumors that this pattern of behavior has been repeated many times and not only on the personal plane, but in the political realms as well.
A final comment for today is the problematic state of American actions against Iran. For all of the President's diplomacy-- it seems to have hit a wall when it comes to China. China seems uninterested in going ahead with sanctions, and the Iranians probably know it. But that will be a subject of a longer piece, at a later date.