Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Israel: the cost

In addition to being a singularly brutal act, Israel's attack on the Gaza Freedom flotilla may well constitute its most reckless, idiotic gambit to date. It has done irreparable damage to its relationship with one of longest standing regional allies, resulting in Turkey's decision to send armed naval ships along with future aid convoys to the Gaza strip. It has led Egypt to re-open the Rafah crossing indefinitely, thus effectively breaking the blockade. The opinion of Quartet leaders, whose assistance in enforcing the barricades and normalising Israel's behaviour, would appear to have been shifted pragmatically against continuing with the blockade policy. Tony Blair, the grotesque representative of the Quartet in the Middle East, has allowed that Israel must surely find a "better" way to "help" the people of Gaza. Now, it seems that Israel has been forced to agree to release all foreigners kidnapped from the flotilla by its armed forces. I have to suppose that this attack was supposed to terrorise pro-Palestinian activists, deter aid to Gaza, and deliver a rather unsubtle slap in the face to the Turkish leadership for having taken to criticising some of Israel's policies, notably Cast Lead. It was intended, I guess, to remind people who was boss. It would appear to have achieved just the opposite, and given the people of Gaza a potential breathing space.