Turkey sits in a likely position to perhaps best negotiate a cease-fire and a peace to the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has now claimed the lives of 172 Palestinians. Despite calls by the United Nations, the Vatican and the European Union for a cessation of hostilities, rockets continue to fall onto Israel and Palestinians continue to die in the current conflict that has now claimed a victim in the West Bank where Israeli troops shot dead a Palestinian stone thrower earlier today.
Turkey, which could emerge as a major purchaser of newly discovered Israeli oil and which has been engaging Israel in negotiations over the 2010 Israeli assault upon the Turkish aid ship Mavi Marmara, could become a useful credible negotiator between Israel and Hamas. An earlier peace brokered by Egypt has now been broken and Hamas's relationship with the current administration in Cairo is not good. Turkey's known assistance to the people of Gaza and its prospective purchase of Israeli energy, places Turkey in a key unique role to broker the peace of Gaza. But will Turkey want to accept this role given the potential political fall out at home it could render to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's re-election campaign? On the other hand, Erdogan could solidify himself at home and gain a broader Middle East appeal should Turkey be able to negotiate a Gaza peace successfully.