Usually, after attending to personal needs and putting on my glasses, my first stop of the morning is my computer. I check my email and the numerous lists and forums to which I belong, then check the Haaretz and Jerusalem Post English sites, The New York Times and the Washington Post.
The past couple of days, to keep my blood pressure more or less normal, I've avoided them. I don't know which upsets me more, the real implications of the Gaza flotilla, or Israel's response to it.
As is so often the case, the flotilla is merely a symptom of a much larger and more serious underlying condition, and for this one has to study history. It's not an accident that the Turks are funding the enterprise, and that should be worrying a lot of folks in Europe and the US.
Equally worrying is the degree to which Western countries are being hoodwinked in relation to the true situation in Gaza and the true aims of both Hamas and the so-called PA "government".
And lastly, just how dangerous it is for Israel to believe its own mythology.
The flotilla itself was created to be a provocation, not a solution, because the problem it ostensibly is addressing -- the lack of "humanitarian goods" in Gaza -- is a false one. The Jerusalem Post today has an article showing that the goods found on the boat have already been supplied by Israel for some time and there is no need for them to be brought specially now. Nor was there any reason for the ships not to have complied with Israel's demand that the flotilla dock at Ashdod for inspection. Israel announced prior to the sailing that it would transfer all humanitarian aid to Gaza. No, the organizers wanted to be martyred for a fake cause -- and Israel gave them what they wanted. Silly Israel.
What is going on now in the Middle East began around the time of the Crusades, although it can be argued that the real beginning began when Shi'a Islam split from Sunni Islam. During the Crusader period there was a virtual civil war between the two Islamic factions (which was one reason the Crusaders managed to succeed in the First Crusade). The Caliph in Baghdad was Shi'a; so was the Caliph in Cairo. The Sunnis, who had been ascendant, and were the majority, were, for a time, swept aside by the Shi'ite "heretics". But that had been reversed by the time the Ottoman Empire was established. But the Shi'ites have long memories, and a big chip on their shoulders.
It is important to remember that the Iranians, Syrians, and Turks are Muslims but not Arabs. Traditionally these countries, together [sometimes] with Iraq and Lebanon, have formed a distinct axis which is ethnically very different from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States. In the 1920s Kemal Ataturk forced Turkey, then the "Sick Man of Europe" to modernize, and become a secular state. But the West has largely rejected Turkey's overtures as inadequate, and there is an Islamic backlash growing. Iran has been all to eager to "assist" Turkey to find its true Islamic "self" because, together with Syria/Lebanon, that forms a bloc which  isolates Iraq, which is also a target for the nascent Iranian hegemony and renewed "Caliphate", and  can split the Islamic world in two. Iran's ultimate goal is to be the most powerful state in the Middle East. If Iran can site its missiles in Turkey, after Turkey expells NATO and the US bases there, it cripples the West's ability to control Afghanistan, or any other region nearby, and threatens Europe directly.
Hamas has come to make common cause with Hezbollah, as well as Al Qaeda, and therefore is allowing itself to be influenced and supported by Iran, possibly directly although I don't think that right now there is any real proof. So Iran's sinister finger must be sought when looking behind the scenes. Iran encourages Turkey, who funds the Gaza flotilla, to help Hamas. The fate of the Gazans is almost irrelevant. And anything which embarrasses the Israelis is just icing on the cake.
The timing is also interesting because Obama is hosting this "Jewish American Heritage Month" right now, because he desperately needs the Jewish vote in the US this November. Bibi is drumming up support for his policies in the States and is somewhat preoccupied. Whoever planned the Israeli response to the flotilla (assuming anyone actually did) was acting without guidance from the PM, and the Turkish organizers are not loath to embarrass Obama as well. In the Muslim world he is regarded as weak and ineffectual; a bit of a joke really.
For a long time, Israelis have patted themselves on the back and felt that they are very clever; certainly they are a lot cleverer than stupid Arabs. Unfortunately this in itself is a dangerous trap. Arabs are not very intelligent about certain things, but very shrewd indeed about some things, and not all Jews are intelligent at all. Arabs are very adept at telling others what they wish to hear, and do not scruple to lie. It's all part of the game, and of their culture. And they are believed by the gullible. I was told just the other day that Israel faked the Karin A incident, when a boat carrying 80 tons of arms tried to dock at Gaza and was seized by the Israeli Navy. Palestinians moan about how Israel "doesn't want peace" but use schoolbooks whose maps show Palestine from the Jordan to the Mediterranean and use the Arabic version of Sesame Street to extoll child martyrs and a Micky Mouse figure talks about murdering Jews. That's all right. They complain about security fences and borders keeping them out of Israel, but no Israeli dares go to Palestinian territory for fear of being lynched. They want free and unlimited access to Israeli territory but they claim to want their own sovereign state and don't want Jews in it. Borders work both ways, habibi.
The question remains what to do about future flotillas, because the Hamas folks are planning them. The first thing is that there must be no doubt that Israel will not allow them to dock at Gaza, but that it is made absolutely clear that all aid will be transshipped to Gaza after inspection at an Israeli port if the ships come in peacefully. If they do not, the aid will be confiscated or returned to its country of origin. Netanyahu should hold a prime time news conference with as much of the international media as possible and this message must be spread as widely and reiterated as often as possible. Foreign journalists, and UN observers, if it can be arranged, should be on Israeli navy ships. Live filming and broadcasting should begin from the first hailing of any flotilla vessel until it is escorted into port. If networks choose to put foreign correspondents on Palestinian ships but not on Israeli ships, the credentials of correspondents working in Israel should be revoked. [I also think the major news networks should have a correspondent resident in Shderot permanently, btw] If there is a live TV feed, it will be obvious who is attacking whom and with what. Israel has got to realize that the world wants to believe the worst of the Jews at all times. Film released after the event will be called "fake".
During the Second World War, the acronym SNAFU was common. It stands for "Situation Normal, All F**ked Up". It is still applicable.
|Your Brain is Green|