There’s just a chance that, if Israel doesn’t lose its nerve, it could restore a climate of deterrence against seaborne provocations.
Victor Davis Hanson
National Review Online
04 June '10
Posted before Shabbat
A tiny flotilla of “peace ships” sets out to run an Israeli blockade of the Gaza coast. The Israeli strategy in response is intended to ensure that neither weapons nor terrorists enter the Hamas-held territory, at a time when Hamas is in a virtual war with Israel.
Once the ships neared the coast, the choices were not good. Either the Israelis could allow the ships through, rendering the blockade irrelevant and permitting dozens of unknown persons to enter Gaza, along with unspecified cargos — or the Israelis had to intervene, ensuring that at some point they might have to use force, perhaps against some passengers who were not entirely unarmed.
And once things reached that point, the militarily dominant Israelis had lost the public-relations war — at least as conventional wisdom defines it. The Gaza flotilla, then, joins a long list of incidents — intifadas, kidnappings, rocket attacks — in which the provocation proves minor in comparison with the hoped-for response.
The aim of such provocations is to create over time a narrative in which the Israelis appear to be bullying aggressors not worthy of global, and perhaps not even of Western, support. As these incidents continue, Israel’s enemies hope that at some point Israel will go too far, wear too thin the patience of the West, and finally lose the financial, military, and diplomatic support necessary for its very survival. That point has already been reached in Europe, and the Gaza-flotilla incident was aimed at doing the same within the United States — given the reset-button Middle East policy of President Obama.
(Read full article)
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