Thursday, June 8, 2023 -
Print Edition

The dead serious circus of the Free Gaza Movement

Pleased to introduce: the Free Gaza Movement. This creative, ill intentioned band of left-wing Palestinian sympathizers announced weeks ago its intent to sail to Gaza. It would be taking journalists on its boats. The movement’s goal was to provoke Israel into stopping its boats and handing the movement a free media circus, demon- strating Israel’s persecution of the Palestinians — i.e., Israel’s protection of her own borders against the importation of weapons for terrorists.

Well, Israel didn’t bite. Israel let the boats through. The media circus didn’t materialize, as very few newspapers covered it, and those that did “buried” the story.

Meanwhile, the movement did not bring weapons this time — because it didn’t have to. All it had to do was to demonstrate that Israel will not stop boats in her territorial waters if, by doing so, there is a threat of bad publicity on the world stage.

But the price that Israel paid for letting the boats through “on a one-time basis” was high. Hezbollah took notice when Israel, under Ehud Barak, withdrew from Lebanon in 2000 without demanding anything in return. Hezbollah saw this as a blatant sign of weakness and began to prepare for war. That war came in 2006.

Whether Israel is, in fact, weak is not the point. Arabs see Israel’s unilateral concessions as weakness and act upon this perception. In fact, Israel couldn’t stop Hezbollah’s missiles from raining down on her northern towns in summer, 2006.

Israel sent another message of weakness when Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, also without demanding anything in return. Hamas saw this as a blatant sign of weakness and prepared for war. That came a few months later when thousands of missiles began to rain down on the Israeli town of Sderot, just over the Gaza border. By her unilateral withdrawal from Gaza, Israel undermined her security.

The only way for Israel to secure her border with Gaza now would be to retake Gaza — a bloody military operation — or to sign a ceasefire, which Israel did. And which is allowing Hamas to build up her weaponry dramatically. Why? Because Israel played the nice guy “for peace.”

What Israel (and those who pressure her) see as concessions for peace, Arab states and Arab terrorists see as weakness and vulnerability. As if Israel’s abandonment of her sovereignty over her territorial waters to the Free Gaza Movement were not bad enough, Israel released 200 Palestinian prisoners this week — including murderers.

Ronald Reagan once famously asked, “Are you better off now than you were four years ago?” The answer was that people were better off now, and he won reelection in 1984 by a landslide. We ask: Does Israel have more peace —or less peace — than she had eight years ago, before her unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza?

If this were put to a vote, the answer would be “less peace” by a landslide.

Leave a Reply