If you were running Israel, what would you have done?
About the flotilla of "peace activists" organized by a Turkish "philanthropic" and "humanitarian" entity closely tied to jihadist terror groups such as al Qaeda. The flotilla set out to provoke an incident by running the blockade of Gaza imposed in 2007.
Well, how about just lifting the blockade?
Egypt and Israel put the blockade in place following the takeover of Gaza by Hamas -- an Iranian-backed terrorist bunch dedicated to wiping out Israel. To lift the blockade would effectively sanction the rearming of Hamas, meaning more Hamas assaults on Israel.
So why not blow up the ships while still in their ports of origin, as Israel did in 1988 -- with no loss of life? Or why not board them farther out to sea as Israel did in 2006, check them out for contraband, and -- if finding none -- let them proceed?
No good explanation. The Israelis did board this time but by commandos rappelling from helos rather than by troops boarding from warships. In the latest incident, the "peaceniks" on one ship pummeled the boarding commandos, causing an international incident in which just about everyone is blasting Israel.
Nothing new in that. Israel's behavior is consistently unconscionable.
Not only that. Consider this -- by Ronen Bergman, a senior military and political analyst for the Israeli daily 'Yedioth Ahronoth'. Seeing in the incident a "new degree of fatigue in Israeli governing circles," Bergman writes: "The leadership of the country has given up what it has concluded is ultimately a Sisyphean attempt to accommodate world opinion. Isolation is no longer a threat to be fought, their thinking seems to go, because Israel is terminally isolated. What remains is to concentrate exclusively on what is best for Israel's survival, shedding any regard for the opinion of others."
It is difficult not to sympathize with Israeli siege fatigue. On practically every level, the country has been under siege since its creation 62 years ago after the Holocaust. This was a set-up. Israel did ask the flotilla with its 10,000 tons of cargo to divert to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where the cargo could be examined and true humanitarian aid then could be transshipped to Gaza. The flotilla declined, and the helo-boarding went badly.
The Israelis should have known it would.
Perhaps so. Still, the provocateurs shouldn't go home to parades -- and by their actions shouldn't win a lifting of the blockade.
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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