Ahmet Turan Ayhan, writing in the Turkish newspaper, Zaman, argues an Israel conflict with Turkey is an act of suicide since the Israelis need their friendship with a powerful Muslim nation in the region which has consistently adopted a cooperative attitude towards peace in the Middle East. He believes Barack Obama begins his presidency with the initial problem of undoing the past eight years of Bush that have caused considerable mistrust of the United States by Muslim nations. Among the issues dividing Muslim people and the United States has been the Bush policy of giving unqualified support to Israel even as that nation expanded its territory by seizing land on the West Bank and pushing into east Jerusalem. The Israel belief it could do as it pleases has even caused its friend, Turkey, to turn aside and demand an end of the oppression of Palestinians.
The invasion of Gaza was probably among the most inept blunders on the part of Israel during its entire history. It received the semblance of having accomplished something while the reality was to further antagonize Muslim moderates. Can Barack Obama stand up to the Israel government and fight for a peace that entails ending the West Bank settlements and allowing Muslims a fair share in the governance of Jerusalem?
The Middle East needs American leadership that is fair and balanced. It needs a new policy which reaches out to Iran in a peaceful manner and it requires placing barriers to Israel expansion in Palestinian areas. Can Barack Obama take that leadership role?