Itamar Eichner, Yediot, May 12 2010 [page 15; Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]
Thirty-one countries voted on Monday unanimously to approve Israel’s inclusion in the OECD. It has now become apparent that this initiative was not thwarted due to a Turkish gesture and heavy American pressure behind the scenes.
According to OECD regulations, it is enough for one country to oppose for the inclusion to be canceled. Throughout the process, Israel refrained from contacting the Turks, for fear that they would ask for something in return.
And indeed, when the Americans requested their support, the Turks posed demands. One of them was for Israel to permit trailers donated by Turkey to be transferred to Gaza; the trailers have been waiting at the Ashdod port for months.
The Americans referred the request to Israel, but the latter refused to commit itself and promised to consider the request. At the same time, the Palestinians and representatives of Arab states applied heavy pressure on Turkey to oppose the initiative.
Israel, which was aware of the pressure, contacted several of the organization’s member states and asked them to clarify to the Turks that [Israel] would look unkindly upon foiling the initiative. In the end, the Turks voted in favor of Israel.
Yesterday, the Turks conveyed messages, and requested to reconsider the transfer of the trailers to Gaza — which would soften to some degree the criticism they suffered in the Arab world due to their support.
Along with this, the Turks explained, if Israel would permit the trailers to reach the Gaza Strip, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government would be able to assist in preventing the protest cruise of a Turkish Muslim organization to Gaza — a cruise that could develop into a diplomatic incident if seen through.