38. Leverage Israel-Turkey Normalization to Control Hamas and Advance Projects in Gaza and the West Bank

Israel and Turkey recently reestablished full diplomatic relations, including the appointment of an Israeli ambassador to Turkey for the first time since 2018. Yet Turkey still has extensive ties to Hamas, with Hamas officials operating on Turkish soil and overseeing Hamas operations in the West Bank and East Jerusalem from an office in Istanbul. The rapprochement between Israel and Turkey is an opportunity for the U.S. and Israel to jointly ask Turkey to shutter Hamas’ offices in Istanbul, mediate between Israel and Hamas when useful, and capitalize on Turkey’s interest in becoming an influential player in Gaza to promote development projects. Similarly, Turkey’s desire to remain a leading voice on the Palestinian cause should be used for advancing projects in the West Bank, such as the Jenin Industrial Free Zone. This industrial zone, developed by the Turkish company TOBB-BIS, has the potential to create tens of thousands of new jobs and boost manufacturing, GDP and exports, yet since its announcement in 2015 the project has stalled. Improved relations can jumpstart this project as well as others.