Nobody in this country wanted to see blood being spilled; neither that of soldiers nor that of the “liberal” lynch mob. Yet this is war; there are casualties.
Many questions can be raised regarding the military tactic, available intelligence information, and the operational alternatives (those who are waiting around the corner, your time shall come with all the inquiries and committees.) Yet our main mistake as a nation is the conception: The Swiss terminology that somehow took hold in the Middle East.
While groups of hooligans were getting organized in Turkey, here in Israel we referred to it as a “peaceful mission.” While they were planning how to beat up soldiers with bats, we dealt with the essence of the humanitarian aid. It wasn’t hard to realize that there was no connection whatsoever between persistent provocateur Raed Salah and concern for Gaza’s residents.
It was hard to ignore the fact that those supposedly wishing to quickly provide aid to the besieged Gazans were delayed in Cyprus in order to grant media interviews. The members of these “concerned organizations” could have transferred their goods in numerous ways (some of them via the IDF, directly) yet they preferred to harm Israel’s image. Who cares about food for the besieged when one can produce a solid provocation?
So what are we supposed to do next time? Try the exact same thing? Detain them aggressively, without batting an eyelid?
The naval blockade around Gaza was imposed because Hamas established a threatening Iranian outpost right under our nose. As long as the State of Israel has not given up on the effort to curb the military buildup in Gaza, as long as we did not give up on the right of southern residents to live peacefully, and as long as we have an interest in avoiding rockets aimed at Tel Aviv, there is no choice but to screen whatever comes into the Strip.
It doesn’t look good and the images it produces aren’t pretty, yet the lives of Israeli citizens are more important than any scathing diplomatic protest. And yes, insisting on life here has its price. I simply prefer that the other side pay it.