The Israeli raid on a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists attempting
to bring goods into Gaza and break Israel's blockade has provoked
a firestorm of international criticism
. The raid ended in the
deaths of 10 passengers on the flotilla and caused seven Israeli
soldiers to be wounded. Beyond the virtue of Israel's raid or the
flotilla itself, what effect will this have in the ongoing
Israel-Palestine peace process?
- White House Despairing on
Peace Prospects The New York Times' Helene Cooper writes, "While
the administration's public response was restrained, American officials
expressed dismay in private over not only the flotilla raid, with its
attendant deepening of Israel's isolation around the world, but also
over the timing of the crisis, which comes just as long-delayed
American-mediated indirect talks between Israelis and Palestinians were
getting under way."
- Israel Demonstrating Independence
AFCEA NightWatch's John McReary assesses, "US diplomacy for a Middle East peace plan is the
actual target of the Israeli naval action. Israel has just demonstrated
that the US cannot control Israel, undermining any confidence Arab
countries place in US promises relating to Israeli behavior. Israel
refuses to be bound by US promises [relating to the peace process]."
Sought to Further Peace Process by Dividing Israeli Politics
Stratfor's George Friedman explains,
"The flotilla was designed to achieve two ends. The first is to divide
Israel and Western governments by shifting public opinion against
Israel. The second is to create a political crisis inside Israel between
those who feel that Israel's increasing isolation over the Gaza issue
is dangerous versus those who think any weakening of resolve is
dangerous." The flotilla aimed to strengthen the Israeli political
opposition, which favors ending the siege of Gaza, by demonstrating that
the current leadership's hard line on Gaza is counterproductive.
Must Reevaluate Its Gaza Siege Ha'aretz's Aluf Benn asks, "What is the
purpose of the siege [of Gaza]? Is it just an automatic extension of the
previous government's policy, or does it have some practical aim? ...
the government needs to think about what advantage effect this has on
the national interest - and not just on its popularity in weekly opinion
polls. Did any of this happen?"
- Israel Making Itself a
'Pariah' The Guardian declares, "Nothing has
done more to establish Israel's status as a pariah state among its
neighbours than the actions of its armed forces." They write, "The fact
is that Israel has used its blockade not only to prevent Hamas from
rearming, but also to impose collective punishment - as a boot which it
applied to the Palestinian throat. This pressure on the jugular has the
opposite of its intended effect. Defiance has only grown in Gaza, and
the Islamic resistance movement is reaping the benefits - as any Fatah
man will admit."
- U.S. Won't Force Israel to Change The
UK Independent's Robert Fisk seethes, "Has
Israel lost it? Can the Gaza War of 2008-09 (1,300 dead) and the Lebanon
War of 2006 (1,006 dead) and all the other wars and now yesterday's
killings mean that the world will no longer accept Israel's rule? Don't
hold your breath. You only have to read the gutless White House
statement - that the Obama administration was 'working to understand the
circumstances surrounding the tragedy'. Not a single word of
- Tension With Turkey Could Bring International
Condemnation The New York Times' Sabrina Tavernise explains,
"One Turkish tactic will be to try to garner international condemnation
in order to change Israeli policies toward Gaza, namely its blockade,
Turkish analysts said. Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, flew
to New York to spearhead Turkey's efforts to call for a vote on the
matter in the United Nations. Turkey became a member of the Security
Council last year." Tavernise writes that Turkey "has long been Israel's
closest friend in the Muslim world" but that ties have deteriorated
sharply over Gaza and now the flotilla raid. Turkey could bring far
greater pressure on the Gaza issue.
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