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    Why couldn’t Ivan Prado enter Israel?

    Güven Sak, PhD15 May 2010 - Okunma Sayısı: 1577


    This was featured on the Israeli Haaretz newspaper, last week. According to this, Spanish Ivan Prado was intervened at the Ben Gurion Airport and was denied entry Israel. The news said Ivan Prado was a famous Spanish clown and he did not go there to do sightseeing in Israel. What he wanted to do was to go to Ramallah, the capital of Palestine. His intention was to organize an International Clowns Conference. He was going to see an authorized person for this intention. There were various comments on the matter on the internet: On the one hand there were the ones who found it tragic that a clown was not let inside Israel and Ramallah while there were already so many of them around, and the ones who tried to make people notice Prado's anti-Israeli opinions, on the other. Everything I could find was based on Israeli web sites, I should note. The Arabs didn't make any comments on the matter. There were numerous rumours, but everyone agreed on one thing: The fact that a clown trying to enter Israel was not let doing so for 'security measures' hadn't been good for Israel. On one of the Israeli web sites that I saw, there was a photo of Ivan Prado, practising his profession with a big red ball on his nose, and he was carrying on his back a ten years-old boy. The text below said: 'Spanish clown training Palestinian children to become terrorists.' Looking at the picture, one realizes how important it is for the measures taken to be equivalent to the situation in question. This is why experiences are so important.

    Now, let us deduce two results from this 'ordinary nuisance'. Then, we will underline how Prime Minister Fayyad, over in Palestine, has been building the Palestine government while we are concerned with Hamas in Gazza. I don't know if you heard, while Hamas is playing around in the sand in Gazza, the most wisely drafted boycott campaign of Palestinian state is being carried out in West Bank. The ones who only focus on Gazza, miss out what has been going on in West Bank, and they are making a mistake, by doing so. For the ones who wonder, today I'm reporting from the Southern front, ladies and gentlemen.

    Those of you who have entered Israel from the Ben Gurion Airport before, will best understand what Ivan Prado had to go through. Israel, as far as I'm concerned, is the only country where it takes a great deal of effort both to enter and to leave. It is very easy to enter Armenia, who has no diplomatic relations with Turkey whatsoever; even if you get a visa once you land in the Yerevan Airport. Ben Gurion, however, is extremely difficult, even if you have someone to help you. It is the safety concerns of Israel that makes entry from Ben Gurion, so difficult. In order to understand the source of these safety concerns of Israel, one should tour above Israel with a helicopter. The small size of the country is the primary reason for the country's safety concerns, and it is best to see this from above, to be able to perceive. One who tours up above will understand the reason of existence of the Israel-Palestine matter, the source of the safety concerns of Israel and the difficulties of a two-state solution. For those of you who don't, I recommend this helicopter tour. It is impossible not to understand. This, is the first point to be underlined when looked at this 'ordinary nuisance'.

    Here is the second: the Ben Gurion Airport is the first and the shortcut way of entering Palestine. What this means is; it is not possible to go to Ramallah without passing through the Israeli security controls. This, of course, is not fair to Palestine. But what lies beneath this unfairness is again, that safety concerns. It is what makes the entry to Palestine problematic, that makes the two-state solution difficult. Is it groundless? It is not. Is it bad? It is. So, what is the solution? The solution is, founding Palestine state immediately and unilaterally, without waiting for the approval of Israel. This is the only way to abolish the unfairness. The only possible way for two states to live side by side on such a narrow coastline is both of them being strong and effective. Letting romance aside, I think the issue is exactly this. And this is the second point that should be kept in mind, concerning this 'ordinary nuisance'.

    Moving on to the steps taken in order to found Palestine state in West Bank: I think this matter has not been discussed as much as needed in Turkey in foreign policy design, lately. Prime Minister Fayyad has been taking concrete steps in realising a two-step solution. He has been carrying out the two projects he put into action towards the end of 2009, together. He has not only been forming the institutional infrastructure of Palestine state, but also carrying out a large-scale campaign in order for the goods that are manufactured in the Israeli settlements in West Bank, which he declared unlawful, to be boycotted. The Palestine side seems to have taken control of the matter for the first time, at least from the beginning of the Oslo process. It is taking action, expressing its choices. The campaign also supports the process of state building. Fayyad is not just talking, he also acts. He doesn't destroy anything, he doesn't attack around, he doesn't set a conflict-based policy. He builds Palestine state step-by-step. He is doing the right thing.

    Approximately 25 thousand Palestinians work in the Israeli factories in Israeli settlings, established on the Palestine region of the In West Bank. The region is defined in the ILO reports as a grey area where Israeli labour laws are not exercised. The pro-peace Israelis and the Palestinians see these factories as representatives of colonialism. However, employment is important to the Palestinians in that region. Still, Fayyad and the Minister of Economy, Hasan Abu Libdeh have first started a campaign in West Bank, Palestine, 'we say no to the goods produced in illegal settlements'. They arranged a set of meetings in which these goods are burned all together. Then, they obstructed new workers from being employed in such 'illegal' factories. Finally, President of the Palestinian National Authority, Abu Mazen, asked the Israeli Arabs to 'listen to their consciences', and this way the campaign got larger. With the Israeli Arabs on board, a 20% contraction in the market emerged. The same campaign is now expanding towards European countries. A similar demand was communicated to Turkey, as well. What does this mean? This means opening the door for the Palestinian enterprises in many sectors. The Prime Minister is trying to found the Palestinian market along with the Palestinian state. He is trying to separate the two economies without separating the two countries. It looks like this can be bad for the Israeli enterprises in the short-term but good for a two-state solution in the medium-term.

    Fayyad really is building Palestine state in West Bank. This is very positive for Israel, the region, and also for Turkey. Positive things should be supported.

    Regards from the Southern front.


    This commentary was published in Referans daily on 15.05.2010