The activists leading the flotilla carrying medicine, food and building supplies to the suffering civilians in the Gaza Strip got exactly what they wanted. The IDF, stained by the indictment of the Goldstone Report, obliged them without hesitation.
Both sides are at fault in this confrontation. The activists are against peace, and want Israel to turn the clock back to 1948, while Israel wants to pretend the Palestinians don’t exist.
The flotilla was a bad idea from the start – not that supplies shouldn’t be brought in, but because the organizers knew full well that the purpose was to embarrass Israel politically. They knew that Israel might attack the convoy, and that’s why they chose to attempt to break the blockade rather than even try to negotiate.
But that’s always been the problem. People like that don’t want
negotiations. When Palestinians and Israelis were negotiating, they were opposing the Oslo Accords, doing everything they could to stop them. And they stood by while Hamas, a terrorist organization which is also partly to blame for the suffering of the citizens of the Gaza Strip, used suicide bombings and brainwashed teenagers to kill themselves and to take innocent Israeli civilians with them.
As it stands, nine civilians aboard the flotilla were killed, although that number is not definite.
Israel’s military stormed the ship and for Israelis to claim they didn’t expect violence under those circumstances is ridiculous.
What could and should have been done?
First, the civilians should have negotiated with Israel rather than staging this dramatic PR drive. But Hamas refuses to do so, and the 1.5 million Palestinian civilians living in the Gaza Strip are as much a prisoner of Hamas’s distorted religious oppression as they are of Israel’s blockade.
Negotiation, not confrontation, is the answer. Discussions with Israel would have worked because Israel will never bend to the failed pressures of the Palestinian extremists. The activists who openly denounce Israeli military excesses are silent when it comes to Hamas excesses.
IT IS this hypocrisy that creates such tragedies. The activists have always been willing to have civilians die to make their case against Israel because the Arab world has been a huge failure from the start. The Arab League is a bad joke. It couldn’t argue its way out of a paper bag, but it sure knows how to act after the fact.
Meanwhile, innocent people die, including many of those who joined the flotilla believing, wrongly, that confronting Israel at sea would be the right strategy to break the blockade. But we know history, and confrontations with Israel always end up badly for the Arabs, and even worse for the Palestinians.
The extremists point to the fact that Turkey, Israel’s largest Muslim ally, is breaking off relations with Israel, but the truth is that this shift began long ago.
Rather than bring relief to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the flotilla brought more death and violence. It achieved the international condemnation of Israel it sought, remaining silent when Hamas terrorists attack and murder Israelis.
The Israelis, too, should be ashamed of their policies, which have
abandoned moral principles and instead exploit Palestinian extremism.
This Israeli practice of using Palestinian extremism to justify
excessive brutality is shameful.
Israel claims it wants peace, but the government seems to prefer
confrontations, and the oppression of the Palestinians in the Gaza
Strip. Let’s face it folks, the people of Europe can scream all they
want about Israel’s actions, but until the United States steps up to
become a true arbiter of peace, this conflict will continue to rage.
And the activists who knowingly play into the hands of Israel’s military responses are doing nothing to achieve peace.
These activists do not want peace based on compromise, and it is clear
this Israeli government does not want peace based on compromise either.
Both find it far easier to continue the carnage and spin their stories.
The writer is an award-winning Palestinian columnist. He can be reached at