Analysis: The case for Israel


All friends of Israel must feel regret for the loss of life as well as embarrassment over the bungled operation that led to the deaths of pro-Palestinian activists. But that should not be confused with an admission of guilt about an illegal or unjustified use of force.

The blockade that Israel has attempted to impose on Gaza and its methods of enforcement are both legal and moral. The storm of criticism now raining down upon Israel must be seen for what it is: the successful outcome of planned provocation whose goal was to help legitimise the rule of the Islamist terrorist group Hamas over Gaza and to break international efforts to isolate it.

The Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation that organised the flotilla is an extremist group with ties to Hamas and many on board were Hamas supporters who planned violence. During an Al Jazeera report from one of the ships before the confrontation, the "humanitarians" chanted Islamist slogans about killing the Jews.

More to the point, there is no shortage of food or medicine in Gaza. Israel has always let such goods through the border and the flow of aid via UNRWA - the UN body tasked with feeding the poor there - is undiminished.

The Israeli and Egyptian blockade has certainly made the already miserable existence led by Gaza's inhabitants more uncomfortable, but that is not the same as the crisis Hamas's foreign cheerleaders have falsely alleged.

There is no shortage of food in Gaza

Furthermore, the blockade is legitimate. The rule of Hamas, which seized power in a coup in 2007, is a threat to both Israel and the Palestinians themselves. That is why both Israel and Egypt, as well as many Western nations, approved sanctions on Gaza as an attempt to force the group to step down, or at least give up its quest for Israel's violent elimination.

Though a rough ceasefire currently exists along the Gaza border, Hamas remains an armed belligerent whose aim is to visit destruction on Israel. The blockade's goal is to prevent it from importing arms from Iran, and to stop it trying to further fortify the area. As the nation directly threatened by Hamas, Israel has every right to try and stem the flow of weapons and construction materials to Gaza.

Those who now call for the lifting of the blockade must understand that they are granting Hamas a crucial victory and putting paid to any hopes that it can be curbed. Taking such a stand is not merely harmful to Israel, it dooms the Palestinians in Gaza and perhaps eventually in the West Bank to a future in which their fate will be controlled by an Islamist terror group.

Those who self-righteously criticise Israel in this case are not helping the cause of peace or humanity. They are merely the "useful idiots" of Hamas.

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