Diplomatic moves continue amid tension

Diplomatic moves continue amid tension
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Amid the tension, the US Middle East envoy George Mitchell has not given up on peace negotiations.

On his latest visit meeting both Israeli and Palestinian leaders, he said this week’s tragedy could not be allowed to get out of control and erode what he called the ‘limited but real progress’ that had been made.

The Israelis said that despite recent events they hoped to continue taking part in proximity talks which would lead to direct negotiations.

The international quartet’s Middle East envoy Tony Blair was among several leaders this week who called on Israel to change its policy.

“My view is that the blocade of Gaza has got to change, to stop. We need a different policy for Gaza, we need a better policy for Gaza, but we needed that even before this incident occurred,” he said.

Israel’s relations with Turkey could be permanently damaged by this weeks events. Its one-time ally is now reducing ties to a minimum.

For analyst Ayse Karabat, relations between the two governments are beyond repair.

“Now the Turkish government is openly urging the Israeli society to change their own government… So in short I think these two governments, I mean the Turkish government and the Israeli government, they cannot fit into the Middle East at the same time.”

Instead, Turkey finds itself honoured in the Gaza strip, where it has become a champion of the Palestinian cause. The country’s flags now take pride of place alongside other souvenirs.

The Turkish government gave tacit support to the aid flotilla, but Israel accuses the organisation behind it of backing terrorism.

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