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Steve Walt writes about the significance of Turkey’s rage at Israel over Gaza, from a realist perspective. He notes that Turkey has been Israel’s strongest ally in the Muslim world, and a US ally too. His piece is titled, "The Price of Occupation." Make no mistake: Gaza is occupied.

Israel’s defenders often claim that it is a major strategic asset for the United States, but Israel’s pariah status within the region reduces its strategic value significantly. It explains why Israel could not participate in the 1991 or 2003 wars with Iraq, and why it is difficult for Arab governments who share Israel’s concerns about Iran to openly collaborate with Israel or United States to address that issue. And make no mistake: The occupation is now the main barrier to Israel’s full acceptance within the region, as the 2007 Arab League peace plan makes clear. If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were resolved and Israel had normal relations with the Arab world, then the United States would not pay a diplomatic price for backing Israel so strongly and Israel could join forces with us (and with other regional powers) when common challenges arose. Ending the occupation would also safeguard Israel’s relations with countries like Turkey, instead of undermining them. In addition to its obvious human costs, in short, the occupation is a strategic liability for Israel and the United States.

Barack Obama spoke the truth when he said that a "two-state solution is in Israel’s interest, the Palestinians’ interest, America’s interest, and the world’s interest." Unfortunately, the U.S. president’s actions to date have not brought that goal any closer.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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