Hindsight and Options: Israel vs. The Gaza Peace Flotilla

An article by Yossi Sarid over on Haaretz.com, entitled Seven idiots in the cabinet, makes a well-stated commentary on the recent deadly encounter between Israeli forces and floating peace flotilla. In his piece, he states

Had we simply let the flotilla reach Gaza - an option that was proposed - a cry of victory would indeed have erupted from the other side, but it would have died out in a day or two. But the Israel of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Barak, of ministers Moshe Ya'alon and Benny Begin, Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and Eli Yishai and even Dan Meridor, is vying with Hamas and Hezbollah over who can produce the most resounding demonstrations of strength - which amount to nothing but humiliating evidence of weakness.

There's more, and over the fold I'll share the thought that I had with regard to a possible alternative course of action. It won't undo the current mess, but perhaps it could provide a viable option toward preventing future ones.

He continues with a passionate and plaintive cry:

What ought to come next is a demand for a probe, but it seems pointless. Stupidity knows no bounds, and it is a ministerial prerogative. And what is boundless is also unfathomable.

So the septet will persist in its evil ways, endangering us more than any ship could, for madness will rule us. That gang in Jerusalem will insist on drowning us again and again, for there is no courage to change even after all the disasters.

While his last bit about "courage to change even after all the disasters" reminds me of the current GOP incarnation's unwillingness to help clean up the mess left behind by their previous Administration and majority control here in the US, it also sparked a thought that pertains to the Israel/Gaza situation on the whole, and specifically how this incident may have enabled both major parties to claim victory.

Here's the scenario I'd propose:

  • Israel's navy meets the flotilla and performs a perfunctory search for any "contraband" as part of their claim of self-defense and due diligence;
  • The flotilla, ideally carrying no contraband, willingly allows the search;
  • The Israeli navy then withdraws troops from the ships but provides an escort to a point at Gaza that is mutually agreed upon.

If the overall intent wasn't to simply prevent aid of any sort from reaching the women and children of Gaza under any circumstances, then this could have been a win-win situation for both.

And now, since I've oversimplified the potential complexities, let's hear why my proposal may or may not be a good idea, and whether it would have better served Israel to show restraint in this way. Please comment in light of Mr. Sarid's article and add your thoughts on that, too.

It's a touchy situation all around, and I've seen a lot of differing opinions with various contrasting opinions, so please keep it civil.

Hat-tip to my friend Lesley for pointing out the article.

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