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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Israel's Big Gaza Mistake-Assuming the Flotilla Was Peaceful

By Barry Rubin

A lot of people are criticizing Israel for not handling the operation to stop the Gaza flotilla properly by not being properly prepared, messing up the attack, etc. But there is an important point being missed here.

Israel's error was precisely to assume what the foreign media, governments, and its critics generally are still claiming: Oh, this is just a bunch of peaceful humanitarians so they certainly won't attack us and have weapons.

In other words, Israel's critics can take no comfort from the mess-up because they still believe in the very same idea that led to the clash in the first place.

Also remember that on five ships where Israel used precisely the same methods there was zero violence. That tells something important, too: the sixth ship was loaded with the organizers and they were determined to have violence. That was a large part of the purpose of the whole operation.

Indeed, here is a statement made over the Hamas television station, al-Aqsa, May 30, the day before the confrontation:

"The [Gaza] flotilla commander said yesterday: 'We will not allow the Zionists to get near us and we will use resistance against them.'How will they wage resistance? They will resist with their fingernails. They are people who seek Martyrdom for Allah, as much as they want to reach Gaza, but the first [Martyrdom] is more desirable."

Note that this was the commander of the entire operation. But on most of the ships the people were well-intentioned "peace activists" engaged in a very bad, anti-peace cause. They launched no attack and none of them were hurt in the tiniest way.

So it doesn't tell anything about the nature of Israel or the methods used to point to the violence.
Remember you heard it here first: A lot of countries are setting themselves up as victims for similar treatment in future by so richly rewarding this propaganda con-game.

Here's an analysis on some of those involved, with a heavy concentration of Muslim Brotherhood activists and other radical Islamists.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). His new edited books include Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict and Crisis; Guide to Islamist Movements; Conflict and Insurgency in the Middle East; The West and the Middle East (four volumes); and The Muslim Brotherhood. To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books.

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