Monday, March 25, 2013

What Follows Turkish/Israeli Reconciliation

What Follows Turkish/Israeli Reconciliation 

by Stephen Lendman

A separate article called it grand betrayal. Aggrieved families were denied justice. What's ahead matters most. Be concerned. Be very concerned.

Israel's the region's most powerful military force. It's nuclear armed and dangerous. Turkey has NATO's second largest standing army. Allied they're formidable and menacing. They give America more options. Doing so bodes ill regionally.

NATO commander Admiral James Stavridis said a more aggressive alliance posture could help break Syria's stalemate. It would help oust Assad.

He said so during Senate Armed Services Committee testimony. A range of options are being considered. NATO's ready to intervene if called on.

Saying so suggests escalation. It could come any time. Libya 2.0 may follow. Perhaps Turkey's reconciliation with Israel hastens it. Events going forward bear close watching.

On March 15, the Los Angeles Times said secret CIA Syrian plans include intelligence gathering, drone strikes, and seizing or destroying Assad's chemical weapons.

On March 22, the Wall Street Journal said CIA operatives are providing intelligence to US-backed insurgents.

"The expanded CIA role bolsters an effort by Western intelligence agencies to support the Syrian opposition with training in areas including weapons use, urban combat and countering spying by the regime."

Some observers believe Turkish/Israeli reconciliation hastens Assad's fall. 

Erdogan claims it advances the peace process. It's more hypocrisy than real. 

Erdogan knows but won't say. In April, he plans visiting Gaza and the West Bank.

Exchanging ambassadors depends on compensating families of Mavi Marmara victims, he said. He demanded Israel end Gaza's siege. It continues. 

He and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu claim Israel met all Turkish terms. They lied saying so.

On March 23, Erdogan addressed a Konya-Eskisehir high-speed train ceremony. He cited three conditions for normalizing Israeli relations:

  • formally apologizing for cold-blooded murder;

  • compensating victims' families; and

  • ending Gaza's siege.

Netanyahu apologized his way. It was woefully inadequate. It came too late to matter. It betrayed aggrieved family members. 

Compensation hasn't been paid. Doing so won't ease pain. Gaza's blockade continues. Israel's new Defense Minister, Moshe Yaalon, tightened it. He did so while Obama was in Israel. It went unnoticed. A humanitarian crisis persists.

Erdogan caved. He did so disgracefully. He said Israeli officials "expressed regret several times, refusing to offer a formal apology. But we insisted on an apology."

"All our demands have now been met with that apology which was offered the way we wanted."

"Israel also promised to improve the humanitarian situation in Palestine territories areas, including Gaza."

Israeli promises aren't worth the paper they're written on. Erdogan knows but didn't say. He "accepted the apology in the name of the Turkish people." He did so disingenuously.

Turkish and Israeli diplomats will meet shortly. They'll discuss compensating victims' families. Normalization will proceed gradually. Ambassadorial relations will be restored in due time.

Mossad-connected DEBKAfile (DF) said Turkey badly needed  normalized relations.

Its military depends on Israeli technology. Its drones are especially valued. Delivering Boeing AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) planes was delayed.

Boeing balked without Israel's consent. It designs a key component. Ankara needs delivery. They're for air defense. Without them, Turkey's advanced FBX radar system remains partly inoperable. 

Because of Syria's conflict, most Turkish exports go through Haifa and Ashdod. Earlier they went through Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

In 2011, Foreign Minister Davutoglu visited Damascus often. He expected to resolve conflict quickly. He hoped to settle Lebanese/Israeli disputes. One pertains to eastern Mediterranean oil and gas exploration. Turkey hopes to cash in. It wants to exploit a lucrative opportunity.

Turkey, Israel and Jordan border Syria. They're vulnerable to war fallout. Obama discussed this with King Hussein. He did so Friday in Amman. 

He explored options with Netanyahu. He presented a plan. It involves consolidating a US-led Turkish/Israeli/Jordanian headquarters. Six months ago, separate commands were established.

United they're able to deploy coordinated armed units. They can do so on land, sea and air. They can strike Syria if ordered. They can do so quickly. 

Turkish/Israeli friction prevented implementation. Resolving differences settles things. Intervening in Syria may follow. Events going forward bear close watching.

On March 22, Haaretz headlined "Israel's defense, political establishments understand Obama's not bluffing on Iran."

He'll deliver as promised. He's not "queasy" on "tough measures." He relentlessly targets America's enemies. Washington and Israel have common ones.

Israel spurns rule of law principles. It prefers likeminded allies.

It wants Washington's support "on operations and strike missions." It "welcome(s Obama's participation in) Defense Ministry" forums.

US "military preparations are now underway for a possible strike against Iran." Israel's been briefed. Plans and implementation are world's apart.

Washington's has longstanding plans to attack Iran. They've got them against other countries. They're updated as needed. Implementation may or may not follow.

Obama believes "a nuclear Iran will….overturn" a regional balance of power. Doing so threatens vital US interests. Military preparations are ready just in case.

An unnamed Israeli official said "Obama's administration prepared a pinpoint military option in the event the United States decides to attack" Iran. It's able to do so "without necessarily sparking a comprehensive regional war."

Attacking Iran assures a robust response. Regional war may follow. It risks going global. Claiming otherwise denies reality. 

Doug Dowd told Progressive Radio News Hour listeners that the next war may be the last. Humanity may not survive the onslaught. The risk is that great. He fears what lies ahead. So should everyone. 

Washington and Israel are rogue partners. They threaten humanity. They don't agree on everything. Differences mostly affect tactics and timing.

"The window of opportunity in which Israel can do significant damage to Iran is closing - if it isn't shut already," said Haaretz. 

"The Americans have vastly superior means and can operate for longer periods. Obama, therefore, is in no hurry and wants to fully exploit diplomatic channels first."

Netanyahu wants quicker action. He fears Obama won't deliver as promised. It "was evident in Obama's public appearances in Israel." Handshakes and smiles mean nothing.

Whether warmth about "my friend Bibi" was expressed behind closed doors, who knows. Both men dislike each other. It's no secret. Realpolitik matters most.

America's committed to Israel's security. It's dismissive about occupation harshness. It pays lip service settlement construction opposition. It lets Israel get away with murder. Palestinian rights don't matter. They never did. They don't now.

Turkish/Israeli reconciliation bodes ill for peace. It suggests more regional conflict. It remains to be seen what follows.

A Final Comment

MK Hanin Zoabi participated in the May 2010 Freedom Flotilla. She was aboard the Mavi Mamara. She knows firsthand what happened. She was lucky. She escaped unharmed. Netanyahu's apology isn't enough, she said. 

"We’re talking about human life and about the killing of nine political activists." She called for establishing an independent international commission inquiry.

"If Netanyahu wants to start a new phase with the world around him, and not simply be satisfied with the many hugs that Obama gave all around, he should know that he should direct his energies towards the Palestinian problem: the expulsion and the occupation, as his American friend said."

She called the Mavi Marmara massacre a "little crime."

"The biggest crime was and still is the siege and occupation of the Palestinian people," she said.

"You want to apologize? Apologize to those you've kept under siege, that those nine activists were killed on their behalf, and begin to understand that there is no possibility of a normal Israeli life when it is accompanied by the settlements, the occupation, the siege and the persecution."

Disingenuous apologies are meaningless. Turkish/Israeli reconciliation bodes ill. Palestinians gained nothing. Syria's conflict may escalate. Regional war may follow. Perhaps Washington and Israel plan it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Shameless NYT Defense of Obamacare

Shameless NYT Defense of Obamacare

by Stephen Lendman

Obamacare is a healthcare rationing scheme. It enriches insurers, drug companies and large hospital chains.

Universal, single-payer coverage alone works. Obama and complicit Democrats spurned it. 

They prioritize taxing more, rationing care, placing profits above human need, and forcing ordinary people to bear a greater burden than previously.

Not according to NYT editors. On March 23, they headlined "Report on Health Care Reform," saying:

Obama's Affordable Care Act delivered "considerable benefits (to) millions of people…."

It "thr(ew) a lifeline to people at high risk of losing insurance or being uninsured, including young adults and people with chronic health problems, and it has made a start toward reforming the costly, dysfunctional American health care system."

Fact check

Obamacare rips off most Americans. Wellpoint, Inc. wrote it. It's America's largest managed healthcare company. It benefits from provisions it included. So do other healthcare giants.

Higher costs are assured. Providers charge what they wish. Doing so deprives millions of vitally needed care. It's unaffordable.

On March 22, the Wall Street Journal headlined "Health Insurers Warn on Premiums." 

They said "premiums for many individuals and small businesses could increase sharply next year because of the health-care overhaul law, with the nation's biggest firm projecting that rates could more than double for some consumers buying their own plans."

Obama promised Americans affordable care. Insurance premiums would be lower, he said. Reality proves otherwise.

"(H)igher premiums have become the latest focal point of the political tussle over the health law."

UnitedHealth Group Inc. told brokers that "premiums for some consumers buying their plans could go up as much as 116%, and small business rates as much as 25% to 50%."

Estimates reflect higher medical costs. Obamacare provisions add more burdens. Other insurers project similar increases. They're "not being shy (about saying) premiums are going to increase in 2014."

Affordable care is a figure of speech. Reality prices millions out of coverage. Many others can't afford enough. Times editors mislead readers. Perhaps they don't care.

Obamacare denies more benefits than gained. Providers take full advantage. They game the system. They designed it. Profits are greater than ever. They're gotten by ripping off consumers.

Obamacare permits it. Affordable Care Act provisions assure it. Perhaps Times editors didn't notice.

"Although Republicans contend the law will drive up insurance premiums," they said, "thus far it seems to have reduced them."

The Journal and similar articles explain otherwise. Wendell Potter's a former health insurance company executive. He's now an outspoken critic. 

His book "Deadly Spin" reveals insider secrets. It's an "expose" and "stark warning." Industry spin "destort(s) democracy."

"Clandestine meetings….leave no paper trail." Third party front groups serve industry interests. Corporate giants want dirty secrets suppressed. At issue are high stakes and rising profits.

Industry propaganda betrays consumers. So do complicit politicians. Media scoundrels support what demands condemnation. Times editors are some of the worst.

Healthcare spending in America rises annually. It does so exponentially. Economic hard times constrained it modestly. In 2014 and thereafter, Affordable Care Act provisions reverse things. 

Projected costs will increase 7.4%. If insurance premiums rise sharply, they'll be much higher. Times editors didn't explain.

US healthcare is outrageously expensive. It's double the cost of other developed nations. It performs poorly by comparison. It does so in terms of life expectancy, infant mortality, preventive care, and affordable services.

Profiteers explain why. Private insurance costs billions. Doing so provides no care. Revenues go for PR, overhead, underwriting, billing, sales, huge profits, and outlandish executive pay and bonuses.

Doctors and hospitals maintain costly administrative staffs. They have to. Dealing with bureaucratic mandates requires it. Doing so wastes billions of dollars. It amounts to over 30% of healthcare spending. None provides vitally needed care.

Single payer works best. Potential savings exceeds $400 billion annually. It's enough to provide universal care. It's more affordable. It assures all medically necessary services.

They include doctor visits, hospital treatment, preventive care, long-term care, mental health, reproductive care, dental, vision, prescription drugs, and medical supplies.

Doctors can practice medicine unconstrained. Hospitals can function more efficiently. Patients can choose providers freely. Predatory private insurers aren't needed. Costs will be systemically controlled. Doing so is long overdue. 

Physicians for a National Health Program's (PNHP) Dr. John Geyman says Obamacare "props up an inefficient and exploitive private health insurance industry." 

Vitally needed affordable care is denied. Millions are shut out unconscionably. Privatization games healthcare for profit. Market-based bureaucracy and fragmentation "worse(n) health outcomes." Americans pay more for less coverage.

Exorbitant premiums, high co-pays, and coverage gaps leave patients vulnerable to financial ruin in case of serious illness. Most personal bankruptcies result from medical costs too great to pay.

Decades of alternative plans failed. America experimented with HMOs, PPO's, high-deductible plans, health savings accounts, pay-for-performance, capitation and disease management. None worked.

Profits matter more than health. Providers game the system. Complicit politicians let them. Insurers are worst of all. They're predatory middlemen. They provide no care.

Single-payer works best. It's efficient, equitable, publicly accountable and affordable. Everyone in. No one out. Bureaucratic waste is eliminated. Illness assures treatment. 

Market-based fundamentalism prioritizes profits over care. Uninsured and underinsured numbers rose. Provider choices decreased. Consolidation created oligopolies. 

Escalating costs, public health, trauma centers, mental health services, long-term care, unaffordable services, frustrated physicians, and dissatisfied patients followed.

Times editors endorsed it. They did so unconscionably. They suppressed what readers most need to know. It's standard Times practice. It supports corporate interests. It spurns popular ones.

It claims Medicare and Social Security aren't sound for the long run. It lies saying so. Both programs work. Proper administration requires only minor adjustments. Privatization schemes fail. 

Times editors substitute managed news misinformation for truth. Their healthcare reform report card turned it on its head. It suppressed what most needs explaining.

Obamacare shifts costs to consumers, offers inadequate or unaffordable access, mandates higher deductibles, provides less coverage, leaves millions uninsured, leaves many more underinsured, and ends up doing more harm than good. 

Don't expect Times editors to explain. They support wealth, power and privilege. They betray regular readers in the process. An open letter challenged them. 

It urged them to act responsibly. It said doing so is its own reward. It said try it sometime and see. 

It asked why they support wrong over right. It said it's never too late to change. It proposed an offer too important to refuse. Try publishing "All the News That's Fit to Print" for real, it urged.

It touched the right nerves. It got widespread readership. It fell on deaf ears. It showed in claiming Obamacare works. It's a healthcare rationing system. It's for private enrichment. It bears repeating. Don't expect Times editors to explain.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Progressive Radio News Hour Guests for March 29, 30, and 31, 2013

Progressive Radio News Hour Guests for March 29, 30, and 31, 2013

Friday, March 29 at 10AM US Central time: Paul Craig Roberts

Roberts was former Assistant Treasury Secretary under Ronald Reagan, a Wall Street Journal Associate Editor, and holder of numerous academic appointments, including at Georgetown University's Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He now prominently criticizes destructive, repressive state policies, harming people everywhere.

Major world and national issues will be discussed.

Saturday, March 30 at noon US Central time: Stjepan Mestrovich

Mestrovic is Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University.

He was a consultant and expert witness for the International Court of the Tribunal for Yugoslavia. He provides similar services for US soldiers involved in court-martials and clemency hearings.

His books include "The Good Soldier on Trial: A Sociological Study of Misconduct by the US Military Pertaining to Operation Iron Triangle, Iraq." 

It deals with the conviction of Pfc. Corey Clagett for killing two unarmed Iraqis and trying to kill a third. Mestrovic testified on his behalf at his clemency hearing.

Major world and national issues will be discussed.

Sunday, March 32 at noon US Central time: Ellen Brown

Brown is a civil litigation attorney, distinguished author, and frequent writer on financial issues. A new edition of her important book, "Web of Debt," is a brilliant analysis of the private banking system, how it usurped money creation power, and how we can get it back.

She also heads the Public Banking Institute (PBI), an initiative to return power to the people where it belongs.

Her latest writing will be discussed.

Cyprus Seeks 11th Hour Deal

Cyprus Seeks 11th Hour Deal

by Stephen Lendman

When politicians conspire with bankers, ordinary people suffer most. Cypriot crisis conditions continue. One bad plan follows others.

The latest is unprecedented. Cypriot and Eurocrat officials are close to agreement. At issue is levying a one-time 20% tax on Bank of Cyprus deposits over 100,000 euros. Similar amounts in other banks will be assessed 4%.

Cyprus has to raise 5.8 billion euros by Monday. Otherwise emergency ECB funding will end. Eurocrats require it for a 10 billion euro bailout. 

On Sunday, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades will meet Eurocrats in Brussels. They have final say.

Cypriot legislators enacted nine related laws. They include non-cash transaction restrictions, freezing check cashing, limiting withdrawals, and converting checking accounts into fixed-term deposits.

Eurocrats demand more. They want their pound of flesh. Eurozone finance ministers scheduled an emergency Sunday evening Brussels meeting. IMF and ECB officials will join them.

Anastasiades will present his latest proposal. They have to agree. Cypriot parliament approval must follow. Events are fast moving. They bode ill for ordinary Cypriots.

Demonstrators protested outside the presidential palace. "Resign! Resign! they shouted. They fear lost jobs and hard times. Force-fed austerity assures it.

Cypriots face a Greek tragedy. Economist Yanis Varoufakis explained. Social conditions are appalling. Austerity "led to a depressed economy and a depressed population."

No "silver linings" exist. "Even profitable companies go under." Greek bank guarantees aren't accepted abroad. 

Manufacturers can't import raw materials on credit. Their ability to produce is compromised. They can't supply customers.

Failed banks, private sector retrenchment, "savage" public sector cutbacks, and "ridiculous new taxes" produced a "Winter of Discontent." It persists with no end.

It's having a "massive social impact." Poor and elderly people raid rubbish bins for food. Families can't pay rent, phone and utility bills.

Life in Athens is "heart wrenching." It's a "black hole" of despair. It's "sinking with incredible speed." What's ongoing "leaves no room for hope."

Athenians express "indignity, rage, resignation, determination, depression, exemplary solidarity, menacing misanthropy, racism, selflessness, and pain."

They discuss Greece's predicament everywhere. Sick people can't afford medicines. Hospitals and social insurance funds can't pay bills. Greece's healthcare system faces collapse.

"Pension and health funds (ran) out of money long ago." Venders demand payment in cash. Unemployment is appalling. So is growing poverty.

Greece faces a humanitarian crisis. Deprivation is extreme. It's "proliferating fast and catch(ing) up with the hitherto middle class."

Homeless families are commonplace. They've "fallen through society's cracks, perhaps irreversibly."

Athens faces potential social breakdown. Its social fabric is seriously damaged. It can get worse.

Families stick together best they can. Civility hasn't disappeared. People find innovative ways to cope. It's not easy. Options may run out. Help is nowhere in sight. Things go from bad to worse.

If they persist like now, "social breakdown is on the cards."

"The tragedy is that this crisis is destroying lives and generations unnecessarily." It shouldn't have happened but did.

Greece 2.0 threatens Cypriots. Eurocrat demands assure it. Varoufakis said Cyprus legislators offered them a way out three years ago. They countered with a "potentially destructive" alternative.

Parliamentarians vote on Monday. It remains to be seen if they'll "succumb to an even less rational deal."

When politicians propose stealing bank deposits, beware. Doing so reflects grand theft. It's unprecedented.

Savings are personal property. Using them for banker bailouts is unconscionable. What Cypriots face could happen anywhere. Spain and New Zealand suggested similar policies. 

If Cypriot parliamentarians agree, why not. People will be told to accept a pound of flesh or lose everything. They'll be bullied to go along.

Bank runs, holidays, and contagion may become commonplace. People's savings are at risk. Once Cyprus accepts Eurocrat demands, the genie's out of the bottle. Grand theft can spread anywhere.

Depositor savings were once sacrosanct. No longer. If governments need cash, they're vulnerable. Bailing out bankers matters most. Money power controls things. 

Complicit politicians go along. People have no say. One observer said perhaps "banco de Mattress" will benefit. It's a deplorable testimony to today's times.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Grand Betrayal

Grand Betrayal

by Stephen Lendman

Turkey and Israel reconciled. Headlines announced it. They reflect grand betrayal. It's duplicitous. It's too little, too late. More on that below.

Israel bears full responsibility. Officials ordering nine cold-blooded murders remain unaccountable. Corpses won't be reborn. Family survivors aren't assuaged. They deserve better. They were promised justice. They're denied it.

On May 31, 2010, Israeli commandos interdicted Freedom Flotilla vessels. They did so lawlessly. They were in international waters. They tried bringing humanitarian aid to besieged Gazans. 

Nine Turkish nationals were slaughtered. They were marked for death. They were assassinated in cold blood. Dozens more were wounded. 

They were aboard the Mavi Marmara mother ship. Everyone on board was arrested. They were treated harshly in detention. Israel's unapologetic. Words claiming otherwise ring hollow.

Israel's assault was premeditated. It was well-planned. Unarmed, nonviolent activists were attacked. They tried breaking Israel's lawless blockade. High crimes followed.

A September 2010 UN Human Rights Council (HRC) fact-finding mission found Israel entirely culpable. It called its attack brutal and disproportionate.

Eye witness testimonies, forensic evidence, video footage, and other evidence documented it. 

HRC "concluded that a series of violations of international law, including international humanitarian and human rights law, were committed by the Israeli forces during the interception of the flotilla and during the detention of passengers in Israel prior to deportation."

"The preponderance of evidence from impeccable sources is far too overwhelming to come to a contrary opinion."

HRC called Israel's attack "piracy, (an) act of aggression, (a) brutal massacre, (an) act of terrorism, (a) war crime, (a) crime against humanity - unprovoked, unwarranted, atrocious, (and) brutal." 

It called activists onboard "peaceful, innocent, noble, unarmed, (and) defenseless."

Nine died doing what's right. Irrefutable evidence proved it. At the time, Netanyahu claimed otherwise. He lied. He called flotilla activists terrorists. 

He accused them of precipitating violence. Commandos had a right to defend themselves, he said. Blaming victims is official Israeli policy.

Netanyahu cited "unprecedented threats of war and terrorism."

It's essential to "defend (Israeli) security and protect its democratic values," he said.

He justified military action. He called it "a last resort, and the instructions were to conduct it with as little friction as possible."

Israeli commandos "conducted themselves in accordance with international law," he added.

They "displayed rare courage in fulfilling their mission and in defending themselves against a real threat to their lives. I have full confidence in our soldiers, and the State of Israel is proud of them."

Turkey put four senior IDF commanders on trial. They did so in absentia. 

Charges included voluntary manslaughter, attempted voluntary manslaughter, intentional injury, incitement to assault with a deadly weapon, robbery, abduction or confiscation of maritime vessels, property damage, false arrest, and mistreatment of prisoners.

Hundreds of complainants testified. What they said mattered. Conclusions from an internal Turkish investigation accused Israel of "banditry," "piracy," and "state-sponsored terrorism."

Clear evidence proved it. It doesn't matter. Israel remains unaccountable. Netanyahu and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan reconciled. All's forgiven.

They spoke for the first time since 2011. They let bygones be bygones. They agreed to normalize relations.

Erdogan cancelled legal proceedings. Cold-blooded killers are absolved. They're free to kill again. Israeli commanders can order targeted assassinations freely. It didn't have to be this way. Smart money said expect it.

Obama pressured both men to reconcile. Netanyahu apologized his way. He expressed regret. He said Israel's investigation revealed operational errors. An official statement said they "led to loss of life."

Israeli murders are well planned. They're premeditated. They're not accidental. Israeli commandos had photos of targeted victims. They singled them out on board. 

They killed them at point blank range. Compensating family survivors doesn't wash. It won't return loved ones. Immunity from punishment is unconscionable.

Netanyahu "expressed regret for the deterioration in the relations between the two countries." He pledged to settle differences. He called "the tragic consequences of the Mavi Marmara unintentional." 

Israel "regrets any injury or loss of life," he said. He lied. He's a serial liar. He targets Palestinians ruthlessly. He spurns their rights. He orders Gazan humanitarian missions attacked.

Obama released an official statement, saying:

"The United States deeply values our close partnerships with both Turkey and Israel, and we attach great importance to the restoration of positive relations between them in order to advance regional peace and security."

"I am hopeful that today's exchange between the two leaders will enable them to engage in deeper cooperation on this and a range of other challenges and opportunities."

For months, Israeli and Turkish diplomats tried resolving differences. Ways discussed fell short. During a recent UN conference, Erdogan called Zionism a "crime against humanity." He compared it to fascism.

Relations deteriorated earlier. Oslo facilitated them. Underlying tensions persisted. Peace proved illusive. Israel precipitated the second Intifada.

At the time, then Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit criticized Israel harshly. The 2003 Iraq war caused friction. Both countries were positioned on opposite sides.

Israel wanted a regional rival eliminated. Turkey wanted status quo relations. It's against a de facto Kurdistan on its borders. It's got what it tried to prevent.

Israel's 2006 Lebanon war further heightened tensions. So did Cast Lead. Erdogan accused Israel of war crimes. He said illegal weapons were used.

He condemned Israel's lawless Lebanese overflights. They happen regularly. Sometimes they're multiple times daily. Erdogan called them "unacceptable action(s) threaten(ing) global peace."

He denounced regular Gaza attacks and incursions. He asked if Israel favors war or peace. They attack Palestinians disproportionately. They spurn UN resolutions. They do so with impunity.

"We can in no way approve of such an attitude," he said.

At the 2009 World Economic Forum, he and Shimon Peres clashed. After condemning Cast Lead, he stormed off the platform. 

Turkish/Israeli relations remained disrupted. Ongoing tensions persisted. Joint military exercises were cancelled.

Erdogan wants Gaza's siege ended. He calls Hamas Palestine's legitimate government. He called Netanyahu Israel's worst leader ever. He said discredited foreign minister Avivdor Lieberman is Israel's "greatest problem."

All's forgiven. One phone call did it. Heavy pressure preceded it. Perhaps another crisis awaits.

Turkey wants Middle East security. Israel threatens it. Both countries vie for regional dominance. At the same time, they  cooperate on military, intelligence and other strategic interests.

Turkey's a NATO member. Israel has partner status. It's short of full integration. Doing so obliges other members to participate in Israel's wars. 

They're premeditated. They're lawless. They're aggressive.

Netanyahu's office said normalizing Israeli/Turkish relations "can be very, very important for the future, regarding what happens with Syria, but not just what happens" there.

Tzipi Livni is Israel's new Justice Minister. She praised "restoration of a first-rate strategic dialogue." It forges a "camp of more moderate elements," she added. She said doing so helps confront Syria and Iran more effectively.

US pressure got Israel and Turkey to bend. Normalizing relations follows. It'll take time. Differences remain. Years of friction aren't overcome quickly. 

Both countries have common interests. Netanyahu and Erdogan agreed. They matter most. What's ahead remains to be seen. Best guess is continued regional conflict. It rages out-of-control with no end.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

Visit his blog site at 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.