Caroline nails it for me.
Second, Israel should scale back the level of military assistance it receives from the US. While Obama was in Israel, he pledged to expand US military assistance to Israel in the coming years. By unilaterally scaling back US assistance and developing its domestic military industries, Israel would send a strong signal to its neighbors that it is not completely dependent on the US and as a consequence, the level of US support for Israel does not determine Israel’s capacity to continue to defend itself.
On a wider level, it is important for Israel to develop the means to end its dependency on the US. Under Obama, despite the support of the great majority of the public, the US has become an undependable ally to Israel, and indeed to the rest of the US’s allies as well. The more quickly Israel can minimize its dependence, the better it will be for Israel, for the US and for the stability of the region. The apology to Turkey was a strategic error. To minimize its consequences, Israel must boldly assert its interests in Syria, Iran, and throughout the region.
The Meaning and Consequences of Israel’s Apology to Turkey
US President Barack Obama was on the line when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for the deaths of nine Turkish protesters aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010.
For those who don’t remember, the Mavi Marmara was a Turkish ship that set sail in a bid to break Israel’s lawful maritime blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza’s coastline. When Israeli naval commandos boarded the ship to interdict it, passengers on deck attacked them – in breach of international maritime law. Soldiers were stabbed, bludgeoned and thrown overboard. In a misguided attempt to show the good faith of Israeli actions, the naval commandos were sent aboard the ship armed with paintball guns. As a consequence, the soldiers pressed to defend themselves. In the hand-to-hand combat that ensued, nine of the Turkish attackers were killed.
The Mavi Marmara was an eminently predictable fight. The Turkish group that hired the boat was an al-Qaeda-affiliated Turkish NGO named IHH. In 1999, the Turkish government was so wary of IHH that it barred the group from participating in relief efforts following a devastating earthquake.
IHH’s fortunes shifted with the rise of its fellow Islamists in the AKP Justice and Development Party led by Recep Tayip Erdogan. The AKP won the 2002 elections and has since been reelected twice.
By 2010, Prime Minster Erdogan had a long track record of anti-Israel actions. Indeed, by 2010, Erdogan had effectively destroyed the strategic alliance Israel had developed with Turkey since 1949. In 2006, Erdogan was the first major international leader and NATO member to host Hamas terror chief Ismail Haniyeh. The same year he allowed Iran to use Turkish territory to transfer weaponry to Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War.