3 smart takes on the #Gaza #flotilla debacle

Photo: Der Spiegel

With a h/t to Andrew Sullivan, The American Conservative’s Daniel Larison vs. Highclearling.com’s Jim Henley on whether Israel is “winning” with its bully-boy strategy. To summarize, Larison says Israel has the cost-benefit analysis vis-a-vis the U.S. and Turkey all wrong:

This reminds me of Cato’s line from the series Rome, “So, this is not a humiliating defeat at all, but rather a rare species of victory!” Count me as part of the “counterproductivity corps” if you like, but if this is what Israeli victory looks like they will not be able politically to endure many more such victories. Up to a point, Israel can keep acting with impunity regardless of what the rest of the world says as long as the U.S. continues to back it. However, at some point Israel will alienate enough other U.S. allies in sufficiently provocative ways that the U.S. will have to start choosing between keeping on good terms with those other allies or continuing to back Israel uncritically and automatically.

and Henley says it doesn’t matter, because if if it’s winning ugly, Israel is getting what it wants: all the territory, with or without Palestinians on it:

For all practical purposes, Israel has its original goal, formal control of all of Mandate Palestine west of the Jordan, within its grasp. Because it’s not completely insensible to global political reality, it can’t just annex the West Bank and be done with it, but it can plainly add any given piece of the West Bank to itself at any time. Roughly ten percent of Israel’s Jewish population lives in the West Bank or East Jerusalem. They’re not moving back. Israel does have to finesse the public-relations of the process, but the public relations are subordinate to the process. And Israel has to deal with the demographic issue: there are all these darn Palestinians. Everyone thinks that eventually Israel has to make nice with them somehow. Israeli actions suggest that Israel thinks it just needs them cowed and poor. And while a visible expulsion would look bad for the cameras, there’s always “encouraging” Palestinians to emigrate over time.

Which brings us back to Amos Oz’s plaintive column in the NY Times today, which raises the question of “winning all the land” in the end, is worth Israel’s soul:

Even if Israel seizes 100 more ships on their way to Gaza, even if Israel sends in troops to occupy the Gaza Strip 100 more times, no matter how often Israel deploys its military, police and covert power, force cannot solve the problem that we are not alone in this land, and the Palestinians are not alone in this land. We are not alone in Jerusalem and the Palestinians are not alone in Jerusalem. Until Israelis and Palestinians recognize the logical consequences of this simple fact, we will all live in a permanent state of siege — Gaza under an Israeli siege, Israel under an international and Arab siege.

Meanwhile, the new British P.M. is already showing himself willing to be far more blunt and forward leaning than the other member of the “special relationship.” David Cameron today:

The raid on the Gaza aid flotilla was “completely unacceptable” David Cameron said today.

In his first question time as Prime Minister, Mr Cameron said he deplored the loss of life.

“We should do everything we can to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he told a crowded Commons, moments before Foreign Secretary William Hague was due to make a statement on the killing of several civilians in the Israeli-led raid.

“Friends of Israel – and I count myself a friend of Israel – should be saying to the Israelis that the blockade actually strengthens Hamas’s grip on the economy and on Gaza, and it’s in their own interests to lift it and allow these vital supplies to get through.”

Refreshing candor, that.

Update on the Turkey-Israel crisis, plus arresting photos, from Der Spiegel. Meanwhile, Israel’s P.M. remains defiant, and the government there is accusing the flotilla passengers of being … surprise surprise, terrorists. And survivors of the Mavi Marmara are telling their stories.

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