June 9, 2010

Quid Pro Crossfire

Israel, escorted by a US/UK flotilla, may be setting up to break through the international blockade.

“Israel is expected to agree to a British proposal in which it will ease the Gaza blockade in exchange for international acceptance of Israel's internal investigation into the events that led up to the deaths of nine Turkish activists aboard a Gaza-bound flotilla last week,” the Haaretz reported soon after the Telegraph released its story.

A Western source close to international discussions with Israel said, "A quid pro quo deal is in the offing.”

With Turkey already amassing Muslim states to oppose the agreement, another US-Israeli backroom deal is unlikely to ease regional tensions. The goods that Israel will allow in are long overdue; many won’t see this as punishment. Turkey and company are surely pleased but they want more.

Doubtful too that Western favoritism will deter future aid ships. Israel has rejected an international naval force to inspect cargo, insisting control over Gaza’s waters. It can expect more ships soon.

At least one other quid pro quo is worth keeping an eye on. Were China and Russia to come down hard on a new round of Iranian sanctions, maybe America will press Israel for an international investigation. Washington has no reason to expect orders to be followed on Iran after silencing Beijing and Moscow on Israel.

As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threatened the harshest sanctions yet, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin “threatened to push for an international investigation into the flotilla incident at the UN.”

Seems that something has to give.

And it did. Roughly an hour later Britain denied the Telegraph report. A Foreign Ministry statement read, "We don't know where the idea of a quid pro quo came from… the Foreign Secretary has made clear that the current restrictions on Gaza must be lifted in line with UNSCR 1860."

Expect more propaganda in the coming days.

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