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The Dissenters are in Shock - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Anybody observing our region today will notice that everybody is racing to ride the waves in order to join the Freedom Flotilla and proclaim themselves as heroes by reaching the Gaza shores and breaking the Gaza blockade. The best example of this are Iran, Hezbollah, and Syria, who have rushed to join Turkey in the procession of Gaza defenders, however there is an important point that we must pay attention to.

The process of breaking the Gaza blockade which has begun in earnest, with the international community now beginning to talk about the need to end this blockade – with the Syrian President in Turkey yesterday describing the Freedom Flotilla as being “a mark of distinction in the history and geography of the region” – was not the result of rockets fired by the Hamas movement, or “bluster” from Hassan Nasrallah, or Iran’s alleged missiles or “pure” wealth”, or as a result of efforts by “resistance” or “dissenter” States that preach this resistance or dissent in the Arab world, such as Syria. Rather this operation to put an end to the Gaza blockade, and the resultant international condemnation of Israel, and the difficult position that the country now finds itself in, was the result of a peaceful mass movement by activists from across the world on a peaceful civilian ship which did not contain any soldiers or rockets.

This ship, or the Freedom Flotilla, was not a military operation, but was a peaceful civilian operation which embarrassed Israel in front of the international community, and caused it to be under siege, politically and in the media, rather than Gaza alone being under siege. The Americans have spoken frankly about the need to end the blockade, as have the Europeans, and the Israelis have submitted to this international pressure and have begun to talk about a partial end to this blockade in order to reduce the angry international reaction and in an attempt to improve Israel’s negative image. As we mentioned previously, all of this was not as a result of the dissenters or the resistance, for we have seen nothing from the “dissenters” or the “resistance” other than talk, fiery rhetoric, and posturing; they are not the ones who embarrassed Israel and [attempted] to lift the Gaza blockade, rather those who are responsible for all of this are peaceful activists, in what the Syrian President described as a “historic example.”

Therefore the Freedom Flotilla is evidence that moderation, logic, and peaceful activism, is more effective than false slogans, fiery rhetoric, or [firing] rockets. The Freedom Flotilla embarrassed Israel in front of the international community, both politically and in the media, and it also embarrassed the dissenters and those who call for resistance in the region. Therefore it is not strange that they are rushing today to ride the waves [in order to join the Freedom Flotilla] and that they have wrapped themselves in Ataturk’s red flag, searching for a role, and seeking to hijack the current scene in order to claim an illusionary victory in the operation to break the Gaza blockade in order to confirm the sincerity of their approach which is based solely upon slogans.

The bottom line here is that it was not rockets or bloodshed that broke the Gaza blockade but rather it was peaceful civilian action by activists from all over the world, and this is clear evidence that the peaceful approach is more effective against Israel than the rhetoric and slogans of the dissenters, who are in shock today, and want to swap their fiery rhetoric and slogans for ships. So have we learnt this lesson?

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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