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Why Did Israel Commit the Crime? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The past few incidents have proven that the extremist camp has an amazing capability to provoke the masses, launch verbal battles, and impose its political agenda after that. With the skilled political insight it has, this camp knows the boundaries of the reaction of the other side, i.e. Israel, very well. It realizes that the flotilla’s actions would not break the blockade and it knows that if it really wants it, breaking the siege would be easy by firstly releasing the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit whose detainment is not worth all the daily suffering of over a million Palestinians. But it does not want to release Shalit because that would eliminate the tension, and there would be no blockade and clashes and it would cause problems for its own personal goals.

What would the Israelis have lost if they let the flotilla enter and come ashore and for the participants to give their passionate speeches and then sail back to their countries? The answer is nothing, especially as it is a symbolic flotilla that doesn’t break down walls or dig tunnels. They [the Israelis] want to sabotage the negotiations and it [the flotilla] wants to sabotage them as well and here the flotilla served both parties without any need for coordination or issuing statements. It could have allowed the ship to enter as it knows that that would not bring the siege to an end. In the past, cargo was allowed to enter and ships came and went and the blockade still continued. Israel realized that it could have prevented the flotilla by blocking the way with its naval forces. Israel could have escorted the flotilla to an Israeli port and detained the participants there. Its commandos could have stormed the ship and taken control of the ship without using live ammunition and by using teargas or rubber bullets for example, just as it usually does in extreme cases of confrontation with civilians and defenseless people. Despite the numerous options, the Israeli leadership chose [to carry out] an armed attack and it is evident that the instructions were to kill a number of defenseless passengers and in some cases the deadly bullets were fired directly at the head which confirms the deliberate intention to kill.

I am certain that the current extremist Israeli leadership finds that its best allies are the extremists in the region. The two parties are achieving the same goal; to thwart Obama’s plan. Israel believes that Monday’s crime may raise the reaction to violence and further tighten the noose on the Palestinians and believes that the operation will push the Arabs to reject the peaceful solution. Of course they have no alternative but to establish a Palestinian state and Iran and its allies believe the same thing and believe that Monday’s ordeal will besiege the moderate Arab states and will embarrass them politically, and will also cancel the new US project of negotiations. The Iranian camp itself imposes this on the region by achieving its other goals which of course do not include freeing Palestine or confronting Israel.

Why did Israel attack the flotilla in international waters and why didn’t it wait until it reached the regional waters of the Gaza Strip? The reason is that the Israeli leadership knows that the uproar would have been worse, the issue would have been more complicated, the moderate forces in the region would have been compelled to withdraw, and progress of negotiation would have been derailed and this is what might happen tomorrow. Because of the crime of killing demonstrators on board the Freedom Flotilla, the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will not be able to begin negotiations, which he approved shortly after Arab and international guarantees, reassurances and promises.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

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