How to deal with the next Gaza-bound flotilla
Op-ed: Instead of taking over the Zaytouna-Oliva boat and reminding the world of the Gaza blockade, Israel could have acted differently. Why confront a small group of women and turn them into heroes? We could have turned them into what they really are: Useful idiots.
Why, a close friend asked me, are we doing this to ourselves? It was at the end of the day in which – contrary to what many, including myself, thought – the interception of the Gaza-bound Zaytouna-Oliva boat by the Israeli Navy had fallen off the global agenda.
It’s true that bombings of civilians are going on incessantly in Aleppo, Syria, and it’s true that more than 10 million people, about half of Syria’s residents, have become refugees; it’s true that Islamic terror claimed more than 1,000 victims around the world only last month – but it’s so good to be able to go back to Israel’s wrongs. It’s so good that there is a small boat of Hamas supporters disguised as “peace activists.”
The Gaza-bound flotilla received international media coverage, especially when Roger Waters joined the party and announced that Pink Floyd was reuniting for a special performance for the boat’s passengers. What did we gain from that, asked my friend, who was listening to foreign media reports. Instead of taking over the boat and reminding the world of the Gaza blockade, which turns into a siege when translated into foreign languages, Israel could have acted differently. Why confront a small group of women and turn them into heroes? We could have turned them into what they really are: Useful idiots.
Want to enter Gaza? Go right ahead. We’ll even equip you with medicine and tomato boxes. It’s true that hundreds of Israeli trucks transfer goods into the strip every day, but if you want more – be our guest.
We could have taken the same opportunity to do other things. For example, to equip them with an official letter from the Israeli government, something that would be photographed well on the media. A letter adorned with arabesques in dozens of languages. And if Israel were smart, not only would it not have prevented media coverage, it would have invited a distinguished delegation of journalists from around the world to cover the delivery of the letter.
And what would be the content? Well, the following things should have been written: “The State of Israel wants prosperity and welfare for the strip’s residents. For that purpose, Hamas is required to accept the simple formula of demilitarization in exchange for reconstruction. Instead of investing in tunnels of death, instead of investing in the production of rockets directed at innocent civilians, it is possible to turn over a new leaf of cooperation, of economic investments, of project building. Israel is not interested in a blockade.
“The key to end the blockade is in Hamas’ hands. There is no need for exhausting discussions. The principles have already been set by the international community through the Quartet. The moment Hamas agrees, Israel is committed to end the blockade. Please, dear women, if you are activists for peace, rather than for strengthening jihad and hatred, relay this message to the strip’s residents and Hamas leaders. Israel is ready for a reconciliation. The ball is in Hamas’ court. If it chooses to continue the rocket fire and to rob the cement transferred by Israel in order to build tunnels of death, the blockade will continue. If it seeks welfare, peace and an end to the blockade, it could happen within 24 hours.”
Israel could have taken the same opportunity to ask the distinguished women to visit the two Israelis held in the Hamas prison. After all, we are talking about a humanitarian mission. At least that’s what the women on the boat claimed.
Wait just one minute, the opponents will say. What do we need another show for? Well, we do, and more and more, because these women and these flotillas are creating an inverted display. Through one action, which would not have harmed any Israeli interest – as they are not transferring rockets or secrets – we could have exposed both the foolishness of the flotilla’s participants and the real face of Hamas, which is insisting on an industry of death rather than on welfare, which wants a blockade rather than a reconciliation.
It’s not too late to do so. The next ship is already getting organized. And all these ships are doing an excellent job serving the Hamas propaganda. They are creating a false pretense of a cruel and aggressive state against miserable and hungry residents. Israel has failed to deal with the propaganda-related side of these flotillas. The approach can be changed. The question is: Is there anyone willing to stray from the routine?