Last year’s deadly Gaza flotilla was a clear win for the Palestinians in their long conflict with Israel. This year’s version is shaping up as another. Ostensibly, the flotillas are about breaking Israel’s blockade of Gaza and bringing needed aid to the 1.5 million people there. In reality they are about political pressure and public opinion.The problem with Wolkam’s worldview is that it is not rooted in the reality. Last year’s flotilla was not a resounding political success for the Palestinians.
As such, they are David and Goliath contests that Israel cannot easily win. For in the flotilla sagas, Israel is by definition Goliath. If it forcibly stops ships bearing aid, as it did last year at a cost of nine dead protesters, it risks being painted a bully.
The images of Israeli marines boarding the ships armed with paintball guns and being senseless bludgeoned by armed thugs peace activists was not a win-win for the Palestinians or their public relation efforts. In fact, I am still humming Latma’s break out You Tube hit, ‘We Con the World’ by the Flotilla Choir.
The Israelis, for all their alleged ruthlessness, could not have staged a better photo-op than the reality - which was of armed peace activists running amuck with weapons. Of course, it does tend to tarnish your peace ‘creds’ when you harbour a convicted terrorist hijacker among your ranks. This is probably why this year’s flotilla stuck to a bona fide Hamas member instead.
And I wouldn’t risk throwing around the term ‘bully’ around so freely or someone might want to question the contingent of Dutch reporters who abandoned the opportunity of being embedded with the middle aged pacifists on board the flotilla and ask - ‘why?’. Of course, this also raises the sticky issue of what restrictions did the Toronto Star’s embedded journalist agree to for the ‘privilege’ of reporting live amongst the so-called Canadian contingent present on the Tahrir.
The danger of asking questions is how easily one question can easily spawn other equally uncomfortable questions. For example, someone might just resurrect this relatively current Jerusalem Post’s article and point out; if the Red Cross preventatives in the Gaza Strip do not believe there is a humanitarian crisis why does The Toronto Star and the flotilla organizers insist there is a need for humanitarian supplies….
Of course, Walkom – not being one to get bogged down by reality continues thus,
Israel says its Gaza blockade is meant to forestall rocket attacks. Palestinians call it collective punishment.Now there are two possibilities why Walkom writes that the Israel blockade is ‘meant to forestall rocket attacks’. Either he doesn’t really know why the Israelis began the blockage or he is deliberately attempting to mislead the readership of the Toronto Star.
Simply put, the Israelis instituted the blockage of the Gaza Strip not because of rocket attacks launched by the Hamas government exclusively against Israeli civilians or even for the raid across the Israeli border by PRC members to abduct an Israeli solider in order to extort and blackmail the Israeli government into releasing duly convicted Palestinian terrorists. These acts alone are considered enough of a 'casus belli' for war among any normal nations; although, neither of these reasons are the cause of the Israeli blockage against the Gaza Strip.
The Israelis instituted the blockade against the Gaza Strip once Hamas successfully staged a violent bloody coup and overthrew the democratically elected leadership of the Palestinian Authority. Hamas has no legal democratically elected authority to legislate or govern the Gaza Strip and the blockade was instituted by the Israeli government because Hamas, as a political entity remains committed to the use of terrorism to achieve its political aim and the destruction of the Israeli state.
Meanwhile, Gaza’s economy has been virtually destroyed. The blockade has stifled exports, effectively killing what had been a flourishing fruit and vegetable sector. It has decimated the fishing industry.I would suggest if anyone killed the flourishing fruit and vegetable sector of the Gaza Strip; the Palestinians should shoulder far more blame than the Israeli blockade.
When the Israeli blockade was instituted in June 2007; the agricultural industry of the Gaza Strip was already decimated. The Israelis had disengaged from the Gaza Strip in August 2005 and handed over to the Palestinian Authority a multi-million dollar agricultural industry with complete functioning infrastructure.
Instead of practicing good husbandry skills, the Palestinian Authority allowed the greenhouses of the Gaza Strip to be destroyed and looted. The Israelis had literally made the desert bloom but you cannot do so without the green houses and a complex irrigation system. I can’t speak with any authority on the fishing industry but I wouldn’t be surprised that to learn the Palestinians have mishandled their fishing industry much like they have mishandled and abused their own agricultural industry.
As the Star’s Jim Rankin has reported, those aboard the Canadian ship, Tahrir, are by and large middle-aged pacifists. One may disagree with their politics. But they hardly seem dangerous.The flotilla activist may present the visual optics of middle-aged pacifists but make no mistake - this group is most certainly dangerous since the flotilla is actively providing cover and offering political safe refuge to one of the more vicious and ruthless military dictatorships within the Mid-East neighborhood.
If the flotilla membership was seriously concerned with the welfare of ordinary Palestinians of the Gaza Strip; they should be protesting and demanding Hamas give up military control of the Gaza Strip. Of course, no fun would be had - since there would be no
What is more disturbing to me, is the fact that the editors of the Toronto Star should know all these same facts, and yet, they still published Wolkam's dribble anyway.