Real Security for Israel
Posted by Moran Banai
The Israeli raid of the ship the Mavi Marmara, which ended with the deaths of nine protestors, is a potent symbol of why Israel’s current policy toward the Gaza Strip is unsustainable. Right now Iranian ships are on their way to attempt to break the blockade, forcing what could be an ugly confrontation on the high seas between the two adversaries. Whether it will be governments or activists who try to force the situation, the Israeli government will have to decide over and over whether to stop the ships, which could result in similarly violent situations, or let them through, which would effectively break the naval blockade and undermine Israel’s ability to ensure that no weapons are brought into Gaza by sea.
What is now becoming more clear is that Israel’s Gaza policy also does not achieve its stated purposes. Isolating the people of Gaza has not made them less amenable to Hamas. Nor has it weakened Hamas. Nor will it make Israelis secure in the long term. As many people who care about Israel’s security, including President Obama, have begun to argue, the lesson learned from the Mavi Marmara incident is that Israel must rethink its strategy; it must develop a policy that lifts the closure on Gaza without harming Israeli security or accruing too much to the benefit of Hamas. Israel has begun to ameliorate the situation over the last few months in cooperation with the United States and others and it has sped that up further in the past few weeks. Now is the time for the world to build on this progress and work with Israel to change its policy.