Jerusalem Post editorial: Ghattas’s mission

In effect Ghattas thumbs his nose insolently at the state to which he owes at least a modicum of loyalty and whose taxpayers bankroll his parliamentary presumptuousness.

MK Bassel Ghattas (photo credit: KNESSET CHANNEL)
MK Bassel Ghattas
(photo credit: KNESSET CHANNEL)
Before flying off to Greece last Sunday, MK Basel Ghattas (Joint List) dispatched a letter to the prime minister and defense minister informing them that he intends to board one of three “humanitarian aid” ships provocatively making their way to Gaza. “There is no reason to stop us from delivering assistance.... Netanyahu and Ya’alon will bear full responsibility if they entangle Israel in a severe international crisis,” Ghattas wrote.
His communication is meant as legal protection, should he face indictment for colluding with the enemy, and as a propaganda proclamation that he is merely joining “a civilian flotilla, a peace flotilla, geared to focus public and international attention on the circumstances of 1.8 million Palestinians who live in abominable prison-like conditions resulting from Israel’s siege.”
In effect Ghattas thumbs his nose insolently at the state to which he owes at least a modicum of loyalty and whose taxpayers bankroll his parliamentary presumptuousness.
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Doubtless, the government’s knee-jerk inclination is to do nothing about the flotilla which is on its way from Sweden to Gaza. If they only could, our policy-makers would wish away the still-evolving sequel to the 2010 Mavi Marmara episode.
Like its predecessor, the current scenario is scripted as a deliberate provocation from which Israel cannot emerge unscathed. The choices before Israel are mostly bad.
Letting the boats into Gaza would effectively break Israel’s own very justified and vital blockade of the terrorist fiefdom. This would mean flinging open the gates to unrestricted imports of weaponry and strategic construction supplies. Not a shred of Israel’s deterrent would survive.
The ideal solution is to somehow stop the boats, preferably before they depart their last port of call in Greece. But unless an understanding is achieved with the (currently otherwise preoccupied) Athens authorities, odds are that the flotilla might burgeon into a mega-embarrassment for Israel.
Since Israel’s enemies – from European BDS ranks and all the way to Hamas or kindred Islamic fanatics – all cynically exploit the human rights idiom, their obvious aim is to acutely discomfit Israel, tarnish its image even further and pillory it in international forums.
That is the flotilla’s agenda. It isn’t, as deceptively claimed, to bring humanitarian aid to purportedly besieged civilians. That entire depiction is fraudulent.
Anyone who cares to know the truth is aware that, each day, Israel sends massive amounts of foodstuffs, medications and even cement into Gaza (which are likely used to construct more attack tunnels deep into Israeli moshavim).
From its outset, the flotilla was intended for one purpose only: to goad Israel into confrontation – and any sort of confrontation is a win-win proposition for the organizers, regardless of the eventual outcome. As in the Mavi Marmara precedent, the provocateurs are out to net lucrative propaganda profits.
And that’s the reason an Israeli MK is on board, as in the Mavi Marmara model. Five years ago MK Haneen Zoabi, who like Ghattas belongs to the extremist Balad component of the Joint List, sailed on the Mavi Marmara with convicted terrorist collaborator Raed Salah of the Islamic Movement’s northern branch. Both are reported to have egged on attacks against Israeli commandos charged with intercepting the flotilla.
Ghattas is a fitting understudy for Zoabi, famous for his in-your-face vituperation of Israel on any issue. He does it with less sophistication than Zoabi but with abundant aggression, vulgarity and bluster.
Zoabi was let off the legal hook because Israeli officialdom preferred to avoid judicial tussles. The result of that miscalculation is now Ghattas’s insolence.
Empowered by Zoabi’s escape from justice, he, too, treats his Knesset membership as a get-out-of-jail-free card. Arab politicians like Ghattas capitalize on radicalizing their constituents. If he is allowed to get away with his brazen abrasiveness and vitriolic defiance of this country’s most basic interests, Israel would in fact be demonstrating its official failure of nerve.
Israel’s Arab sector would unavoidably conclude that the state is afraid and that there are no limits to the sedition that the timid state will tolerate. The ramifications could be disastrous. Our very rule of law is at stake.