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The Freedom Flotilla: Reaching the Gaza Strip | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Before the Israeli attack on the Freedom Flotilla, some analysts anticipated that the extremist government in Israel would venture upon bombarding specific sites in Iran in August or November, thus presenting the US administration with a fait accompli and exerting pressure through the media and Congress on the Obama administration to back Israel in facing all potential reactions. But what happened to the Freedom Flotilla in international waters on Monday morning and the widespread global condemnation of Israel’s hostile behaviour might force the Hebrew state to freeze its agenda, at least temporarily. This Israeli government, which burnt many of its trump cards in the Mediterranean Sea, cannot now embark on a new adventure on the level of striking Iran.

Yes, the Israeli government managed to prevent the Freedom Flotilla reaching Gaza. However, it failed to stop the repercussions of bringing back the issue of Gaza to the minds and sentiments of millions of people around the world. Israel made a fatal error that caused the mask to slip off its ugly face and it now stands bare in front of its friends and foes. I believe that it is the first time Israel has faced worldwide anger on this scale. The German weekly magazine Der Spiegel described Israel’s predicament accurately by saying, “Israel has fallen into a trap,” and maintained that the Freedom Flotilla incident is a political catastrophe for Israel.

Israel has lost Turkey in this confrontation, as the Turkish public is furious with Israel because reports indicate that the majority of the victims of the Israeli naval attack were Turks. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s tone, and his description of what Israel did as an act of state terror and his assertion that Turkey will not stand for this, reflects the Turkish psychology, which is hypersensitive towards attempts to underestimate it, its power and its role that has grown increasingly effective over the past few years.

The current stage is a stage of media and diplomacy war. Israel has unleashed its diplomacy machine and media branches in a desperate attempt to justify its crime. Israel claims its soldiers resorted to their weapons in self defence and claimed that the Freedom Flotilla activists began the violence. However, the Israeli task will not be an easy one at all; this time, its rivals are not only Palestinians but they come from the dozens of countries that the Freedom Flotilla activists belong to.

Will the besieged population of the Gaza Strip, who are now mourning the Freedom Flotilla victims, say that after hardship comes ease?