During the past half century while Israel was being isolated by Arab nations, the Muslim nation of Turkey maintained close working relations and the military forces of both countries even worked on joint exercises. Israel last month decided to invade Gaza and end rocket attacks regardless of the diplomatic cost of such an operation. At the Davos conference, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Edogan clashed with Israeli President Shimon Peres over the Gaza invasion. The Israeli leader defended the invasion on ground it was done to halt rocket attacks. “What would you do, ” he asked Erdogan, “if you were to have in Istanbul every night a hundred rockets?” This incited within the Turkish leader an angry reaction, “I know very well how you hit and killed children on the beaches.”
The end result of the Gaza operation was to further isolate Israel from the world. It has become the greatest public relations disasters in the history of Israel. The issue is not so much about halting rocket attacks, but the METHOD USED TO END ROCKET ATTACKS. Firing heavy artillery into areas containing many civilians on ground that Israeli soldiers must be protected is a violation of international law which requires caution in such operations. To argue the life of one Israeli soldier is worth the death of ten children is not a morally defensible view.
The world agrees that Israel has a right to defend itself against rocket attacks. Perhaps, the Gaza operation should have been focused on destroying tunnels being used to smuggle goods. Perhaps, the Israel government could have worked to have Turkish soldiers assume control of Gaza crossings in exchange for a guarantee that rocket attacks would end. There were many options and failure of Israel to utilize them has resulted in diplomatic isolation.