By Nicola Nasser*
Israel has carved economic inroads into Asia deep enough to compromise the traditional Asian political support for Arabs. If this trend continues, the growing economic Israeli-Asian relations could in no time translate into political ties that would neutralize Asia in the Arab-Israeli conflict.
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu's official visit to Japan from May 11-15 is not an historic breakthrough per se in bilateral relations that date back to 1952.
Neither is the normalization of relations in "a matter of weeks" between Israel and Turkey, which was the first major Muslim country to recognize the State of Israel in 1949, as promised by the Turkish premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan on last April 27.
However both events should highlight the historic breakthrough Israel has discreetly and quietly achieved in pivoting to Asia, once an Arab reservoir of support in their conflict with Israel over Palestine.
"For the first time, in 2014, Israeli exports with Asia will exceed trade with the US, pushing it from second to third place (behind the EU)," director of the Foreign Trade Administration at Israel's Ministry of the Economy, Ohad Cohen, was quoted as saying by Israeli "Globes" on April 27.
While opening more trade attache' offices in Asia, the Israeli Ministry of the Economy has closed a number of European trade offices in Austria, Hungary, Finland and Sweden "in order to refocus on emerging markets," Cohen explained.
"Today we have five offices in China, three in India, and we have added attache' in Vietnam and an office in Manila," he added.