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Lift needless Gaza siege
By Ran Cohen
Ynet / Israel Opinion
8 June 2010
Israel must lift the Gaza blockade, which is motivated by vengeance alone. Should this be done wisely, we will ask international elements to monitor the transfer of goods into the Strip. If we choose any other option, the world will end up endorsing Hamas.
The government is making cardinal mistakes, on many fronts. Its members fail to understand that the blockade around Gaza has a time limit. A siege is effective for a week, month, two months, or three months. However, we cannot have a situation whereby a blockade is imposed around a million and a half people by a neighbor-rival with the world remaining silent.
We must come up with a solution and lift the blockade; in any case, no rival will be defeated this way.
As a member of the Secret Services subcommittee in the Knesset’s Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee for more than 10 years, I attempted to understand the excuses regarding our wish to prevent arms from coming into the Strip; this in fact serves as a pretext for continuing the blockade policy. After all, there is no shortage of weapons or explosives in the Strip. This isn’t a reason for imposing a naval blockade.
Our 7 geniuses
Israel is acting foolishly and wickedly. To use a slang term, the blockade aims to “screw them over.” Screw a million and a half people, most of them innocent, in one of the poorest and most crowded places in the world.
The government and the seven geniuses at the top fail to understand that one cannot deploy only brutal force vis-à-vis humanitarian moves, regardless of whether these are genuine moves or merely a show. A humanitarian act must be met with humanitarian language.
Hence, the flotilla affair is an opportunity to bring up our own humanitarian issue, which the whole world knows: Gilad Shalit. Upon the next flotilla’s arrival, we must announce that not only will we allow its members to enter Gaza; we will accompany them with our Navy. On condition we first get Gilad Shalit back.
If we get Gilad back – we won. If they refuse, the whole world will know who’s at fault here, who isn’t willing to show humanitarianism, and who’s just whining about their misfortune.
We must lift the blockade, and if we get Gilad Shalit back it will all be worth it. After all, we cannot only resort to brutal acts and then explain why we’re right and why the “terrorists are bad.” If we continue on the same path, we will create, with our own hands, a world that endorses Hamas, possibly against all logic.
Ran Cohen is an IDF colonel (res.) and a former minister on behalf of Meterz
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