The Israeli/Egyptian blockade of Gaza is of ongoing concern to the international community and has reached a new phase this week where Israeli forces attempted to reroute ships of peace activists carrying humanitarian aid leaving from Cyprus.
On one of the flotillas ships, activists attacked soldiers with clubs and knives attempting to lynch them resulting in a violent struggle leaving several activists dead and injured.
The allegations against Israel, and the picture presented by the international media that the Israeli Navy in the early hours of the morning, in international waters attacked and killed international civilians, preventing them from delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza is hard for a rational being to digest why Israel would do that with intent.
When the news broke out yesterday morning I opened up all the news websites, starting with Haaretz, Yediot Ahronot, Jerusalem Post and then BBC, the Guardian and the other western news agency’s. Where I found plenty of diverse information on the issue, what was more interesting was how an (Israeli) friend of mine whose friend works on the news desk for Sky news simply would not believe my friend when discussing the issue, and for some reason wouldn’t take into account any sources found in the Israeli press, for he didn’t trust their reliability, including from the left wing papers such as Haaretz, and people wonder why many Israelis do not like the BBC or the foreign media very much.
Norman Finkelstein in an interview with Russia Today described Israel as a ‘Lunatic State.’ We hear world leaders criticizing the operation and once again questioning whether or not it was ‘disproportionate’ or not, and activists calling Israel a ‘terrorist state’ that cannot be trusted to have Nuclear weapons who are threatening Iran and Hezbullah.
Much of what I have to say about all this has already been said. There are a few questions one needs to ask and a few points to be made regarding these allegations.
First of all Israel did not deny the delivery of the aid on the ships to Gaza. One needs to remember that Hamas does pose a security threat to Israel and consistently has violated the rights and freedoms of the people living in Gaza. We have seen in the past the attempted delivery of weapons to Gaza smuggled through with humanitarian aid. Israel therefore checks everything going into Gaza. Israel told the Flotilla to dock in Ashdod and that the aid will be delivered via land.
What is quite questionable is why all the other ships apart from one, behaved like peace activists would when the Navy arrived to stop the ships and why on another the Israelis were met with violent hostilities by supposedly peace activists who seemed to possess a number of weapons, which is something peace activists usually of a pacifist nature would not have.
I am not suggesting that everyone who took part in this activity to bring aid to Gaza were terrorists, but that some clearly had motives other than the delivery of humanitarian aid.
The BBC has been reporting on British participants on the ships, speaking to their family members testifying that their relatives were completely peaceful people with no violent intentions whatsoever. Well this is probably true, but there were a number of different people of different nationalities, religions and ethnic groups on those ships and I do not believe that to be the case for everyone.
The image that has been created here is once again the shielding of terrorist’s behind peace activists this time. In my last article I spoke about how the Palestinians have lost the military war with Israel, but are winning the diplomatic war. The media war is a harder fight for Israel to win. If in the second intifada we saw terrorists willing to kill themselves as long as they killed Israeli civilians too, we are now witnessing a new form of terrorism where one would prefer to not only be killed but would actually prefer to not kill anyone else in the process, because this new form of terrorism combines both Demonstrative terrorism with Suicidal terrorism giving them the best of both worlds. It should come as no shock that people would be willing to martyr themselves for a political cause, the second intifada proved that.
It should also not come as a surprise that the perpetrators of such a stunt would not necessarily be Palestinians. During the second intifada two suicide bombers from Britain arrived in Israel, spent the night in the youth hostel HaYarkon 48 and then blew themselves up in the bar and restaurant Mikes Place the following day.
The new strategy of the supposed pro-Palestinian supporters is essentially genius. Israel must not fall into the mindset though of isolating itself due to a perceived position of helplessness and doomed no matter what it does, however much she may feel that is the case.
People fear the Palestinian’s unilaterally declaring their independence and being recognized but I believe that that is exactly what Israel needs right now. If the Palestinians achieve independence, and become an independent member of the United Nations, they and their Hamas led government will too be bound to abide by the Geneva conventions and International Law, and will have to recognize and respect Israel’s sovereignty otherwise it is considered a breach of International law to threaten the sovereignty and legitimacy of another UN member.
Whilst Hamas in spite of its fanatical nature are somewhat protected by international law in their right as an occupied people to defend themselves from an occupying power. Israel and Egypt still control Gaza’s land, sea and air-space, as this weeks episode again has demonstrated and the violence against Israel coming from rockets is a result of an illegal blockade and an attempt to defend their humanitarian rights being limited to them by the controlling power. But this conflict in law would transform the terms if they had independence. Were the Palestinians independent, Hamas terrorism would be essentially the elected government of one nation not recognizing the legitimacy of another, and every rocket attack would be regarded as aggression and a declaration of war.
Palestinian terrorists have now found the most beneficial balance for their cause through the combination of martyrdom and publicity. We should expect to see more events of this nature in the future. For people who are willing to die for a cause with the objective of defeating Israel diplomatically it is better to get killed than die whilst attempting to kill others. The diplomatic war has the power to restrain Israel’s military capability when successful. Israel needs to find a far more creative strategy to improve its position, its success in deterring Palestinian terrorism through security policies has been successful, but could be reversed due to its failure in the diplomatic sphere.