Another Flotilla Standoff: The Audacity of Hate
The idea of bringing aide to the people of the Gaza Strip is a noble one. Although Israel withdrew its military and settler extremists out of the Gaza Strip in September 2005, it has maintained an ironclad military embargo that is starving the 1.5 million civilians who live in the coastal strip of Palestine.
Several times, activists have tried to break the Israeli siege. Last year, nine civilian activists were gunned down when their flotilla of boats approached the Gaza Strip. Israeli special forces assaulted the boats, claiming the civilians attacked them. This year, Israel got smart and worked through Greece to prevent the flotilla from embarking on its mission.
Ironically, the extremist activist Palestinians claim that more and more nations are championing their extremist agenda, but Greece is a good example of how that is just not true.
The activists say they want to help the people of the Gaza. The Israelis say they want to prevent Hamas from getting arms. Neither side is being honest, though.
The Israelis hate Palestinians. The government's policies reject Palestinian statehood rights. They claim they left Gaza, but the truth is they have put a chokehold on the area, turning it into an outdoor prison. At anytime, Israel can re-enter and wreak havoc.
The Israeli government's refusal to suspend expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank is a testament to its campaign to destroy the peace process. Refusing to recognize Palestinian rights is the equivalent of the Palestinian activists who reject Israel's right to exist.
The Palestinian activists are no different. They claim they are just bringing food, medicine and other supplies to the besieged people of the Gaza Strip, but the truth is the activists are merely exploiting Palestinian suffering as a political tool.
Greece is blocking 10 ships from sailing, but has offered to deliver the food, medicine and other supplies themselves through normal channels. Some of the ships are named "The Audacity of Hope" and "Tahrir" (liberation).
But relieving the suffering of the Gaza Palestinians is not really the goal of the activist leaders. In covering the standoff, Reuters News Agency reports: "In an effort to calm the activists, Greece offered to ferry the aid to Gaza in cooperation with the United Nations.
Greek Foreign Ministe Stavros Lambrinidis responded, "It is an offer that is always on the table and is still on the table."
Many of the Palestinians genuinely believe the lies from the flotilla leaders, that they seek to break the Israeli siege. The only thing they have broken is peace. Only achieving peace will end the suffering.
The purpose of the flotillas is to express their own selfish point. They hate Israel.
Even if Israel didn't pressure the weak Greek government and the ships got through, that would not be enough for the activist leaders who have misled the Palestinian people for years. They want confrontation with Israel to fan the flames of tension. They thrive on the oppression. If Palestinians are not suffering, they can't make their phony arguments to make Israel look bad in order to prevent peace. Israel's extremist government is clearly willing to play along.
Like the Israeli government, these activists oppose the peace process and the creation of two states. They reject the secular government in Palestine and have fought against it politically. They support Hamas, which has vowed to destroy Israel.
This standoff isn't about peace. It's not about security. It's not about easing suffering. This is about selfish, extremist politics. Israeli politics and Palestinian politics.
The activists are willing to serve up more martyrs to stoke the flames of hate against Israel and incite the Palestinians who are increasingly fatigued by the failed peace.
Greece should confiscate the supplies and deliver them to Gaza. Deny the activists their hunger for new Palestinian martyrs that can be exploited for activist gains and deny Israel its ongoing thirst for vengeance against Palestinians for refusing to give up their cause.
The activists would be angry with Greece, but they have no options except to simmer in their hatred and distract the Palestinian population away from another one of their failures.
This isn't about easing the suffering, and it's not about peace. They prolong the suffering by rejecting peace.
Most Palestinians and Israelis want a genuine peace. But we tire from the repeated failures of leadership that continues to sail on a political flotilla that can be more appropriately called "the audacity of hate."
To find out more about Ray Hanania, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com.
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