When mass murder was rampant in Rwanda, did the “International Solidarity Movement” run supply flotillas? What would Kamal Ataturk have done if a civilian flotilla were sent to Armenia while the Turks were committing genocide there? When President John F. Kennedy blockaded Cuba, would anyone have tried running a flotilla through to Havana? If they had, what would the U.S. Navy have done if they refused to stop? Has anyone tried running a parade of boats to Guantanamo Bay to assure that America’s Gitmo prisoners are well provided for? If America ultimately maximizes sanctions against Iran, blockading Ahmadinejad’s ports, how will we respond to flotillas seeking to ram through?
Israel seems positioned as the target of every bully or wannabe-tough-guy who wishes to dabble in social justice. She is perceived as the kid with thick-framed glasses whose lunch money is easiest to steal. For left-anarchist groups like the International Solidarity Movement, Israel is the target for a radical-chic war game, perhaps to alleviate students’ residual stress from just-completed final exams. Many of them may have been unaware that the International Solidarity Movement is a front group created by Palestinian Arabs, funded by Palestinian Arabs, with direct ties to Arab terrorists. Even so, a hint of the flotilla’s unilaterally hostile agenda against Israel should have been apparent when ISM leaders refused a plea from the parents of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli kidnapped by Hamas in June 2006, to transmit a letter and package to him if they arrived in Gaza.
Israel disappointed the naifs who were lured by ISM as window dressing for the flotilla confrontation. Israel is a real country with real people who have real hopes for happiness and real aspirations for peace. Her borders are open to tourists. Her cafes and night clubs are vibrant and safe. People in her land – even outsiders – can think what they want, say what they want, even politically mobilize as they want. They have protests running all over the country. Try that in Iran.
When three youngsters inadvertently hike into Iranian territory, they end up in prison – and they remain incarcerated there for a year and more. Two American journalists journey into North Korea, and promptly are locked up in jail, unable to leave until an American President personally flies in to beg the country’s dictator personally to free them. An American journalist travels into Pakistan to conduct an interview and is butchered by Moslem fanatics. An American innocent goes into Iraq and gets himself beheaded by Islamofascists.
As juxtaposed against the real murderous oppressors of the world, Israel seems a safe place to bring one’s Berkeley activism onto the world scene for a week on the high seas after final exams. No one tells the American activists that those “freedom songs” the ringleaders are singing in Arabic actually are lyrics about massacring Jews. Unknown to the volunteers, the “peace activists” already have armed themselves with metal pipes, baseball bats, slingshots and marbles, and firebombs for the real action they are planning for the cruise. Instead, the naïve board the flotilla, cheerfully thinking: “Let’s run through a naval blockade today – won’t that be fun?”
Well, no, that won’t be fun. Israel’s neighbors have forced her to learn to survive amid a sea of hostility, surrounded by more than twenty countries that want to destroy her. Her border problems are not illegal immigrants trying to run a porous fence from one side, while people on the other side bring in all these dimes that jam up vending machines. Rather, she is bordered by the worst gang of murderous cutthroats to have run a polity since, perhaps, Attila the Hun. For Hamas, death is an industry.
Hamas runs Gaza. Hamas is so murderous that terrorists from Yasser Arafat’s Fatah gang have fled. The nominal “President” of the “Palestine Authority,” Mahmoud Abbas stays out of Gaza because he expects he will get butchered there if he shows up. In Gaza, the internationally outlawed Hamas terror organization rules the streets, arbitrarily tortures and takes Arab Moslem opponents off to their deaths, and rules a veritable Gangland.
Hamas came into power because Israel, in one of its idyllic moments, opted unilaterally to “take a risk for peace” and abandoned all Israeli assets and properties in Gaza, forcibly uprooted and removed all Israeli citizens resident there, even dug up deceased Jews for reburial outside Gaza, and handed Gaza to Mahmoud Abbas. He lost it soon after to the Hamas thugs, as they seized power and killed Abbas’s own terrorists. Hamas then converted the Gaza region into an armed camp.
Hamas receives international funds in the hundreds of millions of dollars and euros – and the money goes disproportionately for weapons like the rockets that Hamas incessantly shoots into Israel. To get even more weapons, Hamas has constructed a labyrinth of subterranean tunnels beneath its border with Egypt and even taxes weapons smugglers for the privilege. Hamas needs those tunnels because even Egypt has to blockade Gaza.
Israel is compelled to blockade Gaza at this time. Countries like Syria and Iran already supply deadly military weaponry to Nasrallah’s Hezbollah, along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. Having shot at Israel everything they had in 2006, Hezbollah finally sued for a truce when she ran out of weapons. Israel was assured that an emergency United Nations peacekeeping force would enter the terrain, and Hezbollah would not be re-supplied. Yet, today, Hezbollah has restocked so completely, with the aid of Iran and Syria, that she is more heavily armed than she was in 2006.
Israel cannot control the borders throughout Lebanon and therefore is stymied in relying on the United Nations to do what the UN never could achieve. By contrast, Israel can prevent Gaza from being stockpiled similarly, and she is obligated to protect her citizens.. In January 2002, a cargo ship the Karin-A, sailed for Gaza, ostensibly loaded with civilian supplies – food, flowers, children’s books. When Israel’s navy boarded the ship in the Red Sea, they instead found the vessel loaded chock-full with rockets, grenades, and anti-tank missiles. That is why Israel blockades and needs to blockade Gaza.
Even so, despite nonsensical slanders against Israel, ample food supplies are evident throughout Gaza. Medical supplies get through. So do fancy restaurants and Olympic-sized swimming pools.
When college youngsters decide that it would be romantic to get out their Ché Guevara t-shirts and play “freedom fighter” – maybe even get some great cell phone photos for friends, some great tweets, and even a “How-I-Spent-My-Summer” experience to “ace” a college termpaper back home for their class in “The Politics of Liberation” – they need to understand that Israel is not on summer break.
Next time, try Darfur.
Dov Fischer is a legal affairs consultant and adjunct professor of the law of civil procedure and advanced torts. He was formerly Chief Articles Editor of UCLA Law Review and writes extensively on political, cultural, and religious issues. He is author of General Sharon’s War Against Time Magazine and blogs at www.rabbidov.com