If You Can Read This, You Might Know What the Palmer Report Actually Said


Turkey has announced that it’s suspending military agreements with Israel and reducing diplomatic relations to “Second Secretary” level. I read the Palmer Report last night. As far as I know, it hasn’t been translated into Turkish. Judith, do you know if it’s been translated into Hebrew?

If it hasn’t been translated into either language, we can conclude that popular debate about it is taking place among journalists, academics, diplomats, Americans, and on Twitter. It takes even a very fluent reader of English who has followed this story closely since it began about two hours to read it carefully. 

All of this could make one quite despairing. I plan to cheer myself up with a deeper reading into some of the interesting questions raised by the report about the history of international maritime law. Arid intellectualism is looking better and better to me. 

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  1. Profile Photo Inactive

    News reports say that the report says, Israel had a right to establish the blockade, but they were reckless in the way they did it. That’s the one sentence version.

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    Claire, question: recently, I have seen Prime Minister Erdo─čan compared with Hitler. (Obviously a less centrist site than Ricochet.)

    I doubt very much that he is thinking of himself in those terms; but he does seem to be following the same kind of political policies as Hitler did as he was ascending to power.

    He is turning away from current allies toward some sort of idealistic nationalism that looks back at the Caliphate somewhat longingly. He is deliberately trashing relations with a stable and relatively honest Israel to forge new relationships with Arab states that are in total upheaval.

    Does he think he can bring all the discord of the various Muslim sects into line under his rule?

    I know my questions here reflect muddy thinking but I have no idea where (other than you trusted Claire) to turn for Turkey & Middle East 101.

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    As a related question to Philli,

    With Egypt’s detente with Israel already deteriorating, is Ergodan publicly ginning up Turkish hostility to Israel as a pretext for war? It seems that Ergodan would have quite a bit to gain in leading a new war against Israel – Turkey would seize leadership kudos from Iran and Saudi Arabia. Ergodan would burnish his Islamist credentials as the guy who shamed the secularists and their shameful friendliness towards the Jews, etc… All on the pretext of “Saving Palestinians” in Gaze.

    I’ll never understand why Israel didn’t just outrightly annex Gaza and the West Bank, would have stopped the nonsense years ago.

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    Your definition of “popular debate” differs somewhat from mine.

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    In the 1990s Samuel P. Huntington asked the question, ‘What if Turkey redefined itself? At some point Turkey could be willing to give up its frustrating and humiliating role as beggar pleading for membership in the West and to resume it much more impressive and elevated historical role as the principal interlocutor and antagonist of the West.

    Does this change of role not go a long way toward explaining Turkey’s actions?

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    Some background on Palmer of the Palmer report.

    Sir Geoffrey Winston Russell Palmer, KCMG AC, SC, and HM Privy Councillor, was a failed New Zealand Prime Minister of 1 year, of the Left Wing New Zealand Labour Party. (Of course Sir Geoffrey like some many left-wing politicians loves his honours, hence the alphabet after his name; although his party’s policy was to have dispensed with such an Honour list. Why Australia gave him an AC gong, is beyond me)

    Having served in the then NZ Labour Government’s strongly economic reformist period, Sir Geoffrey still proposed radical changes to the electoral process, created a a dirigiste idea of controlling access to natural resources with a guiding principle of sustainability, and extensive government control. Yes disparate contradictions appear to be part of his history.

    We all know what happens when governments are led by academic lawyers, whose theory exceeds their abilities. I suspect the extreme “human rights” ideals Sir Geoffrey expounds, made him a soft touch for this UN report. Little surprise on its findings.

    Now why was ex-Australian Prime Minister John Howard was not proposed for the job ?

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    Claire, I saw this announcement elsewhere and immediately came here to see what you had to say about it. My immediate reaction is that this is about 20 straws beyond the last one: It is time that Turkey is ejected from NATO before something really bad happens. I’m sorry to say that to you because I know you hold out great hope for what has been for many years a bastion of stability and sympathy for Western Ideals in the heart of the Islamic world. But this situation places Turkey and NATO on irreconcilable paths, and the privileges and general validation that country enjoys internationally as a NATO member are, in my mind, now in serious question, if they weren’t before (well, frankly they were).

    I seriously doubt Obama has the political will to push for this. On the slight chance that you come around to this view, would you say that we Canadians ought to be pressuring Harper, whose credentials as an active supporter of Israel internationally are unassailable, to take such action? Unquestionably it would shake NATO to the core, but we really need, I think, to define our allegiances clearly in the current climate.

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    I’ll assume you’re working on a much longer post about this, Claire. I don’t think I’m alone in regarding this situation with some alarm. The Turkey action is not isolated. I can only see it in context of the anti-Israel rumblings in Egypt and the almost certain shift in that country’s officialdom to a highly beligerent posture against the tiny democracy over the next few months.

    I don’t think I need special insight to see that this means, in the space of a few short months, Israel is moving from a position in which the two most powerful and moderate Islamic-majority countries in the immediate neighborhood have changed from actively supporting peace with her, to one in which both openly repudiate their former peace agreements and engage in covert, if not open, military aggression (or, perhaps to similar effect, merely provide support and encouragement for the smaller powers that do).

    I think it is incumbent upon Western nations to respond firmly, both diplomatically and in terms of larger alliances (like NATO), making their positions and intentions clear.

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