The Freedom Flotilla Crisis – Exacerbating Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process

June 2, 2010

By Padmini Arhant

Israel is in spotlight for the recent intervention of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara originally scheduled to deliver humanitarian aid directly to the beleaguered Palestinian population in Gaza.

According to the worldwide reports, the Israeli Navy commandos stormed the ‘Freedom Flotilla,’ that was carrying humanitarian essentials like medical supplies, equipments, children’s toys other than cement and building materials on board to help the Gazans rebuild the enclave that has been under siege in the ongoing Israeli Palestinian conflict.

As a result, per IBA – Israel Broadcast Authority at least 15 international activists on the Turkish cruise liner have died and several including around seven Israeli soldiers are wounded from the skirmish,

That prompted the U.N. Security Council to convene an emergency session to express concern and regrets over the loss of lives in the clash between the Israeli forces and the Pro-Palestinian activists.

Israel’s blockade on Gaza subsequent to the 2008 Gaza invasion is claimed by Israel as a territorial trade embargo to weaken the Palestinian authority, Hamas and prohibit conventional weapons importation into Gaza from Iran, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Syria.

While Israel has adopted these measures to deter the possible arms shipment from its adversaries in the region, the joint display by Israel and its strongest ally, U.S. on October 22, 2009,

Titled –“Juniper Cobra 2009 – Reports stated that:

“U.S. and Israel conducted massive missile defense drills to create the world’s most sophisticated anti-missile umbrella to protect the Jewish State,”

Further, it emphasized that:

“Unlike past Juniper Cobras, this one will employ the widest spectrum of missile defense assets yet, including the US’s Aegis BMD ships, Patriot PAC-3 batteries, THAAD batteries, the mobile X-Band radar currently stationed in the Negev, and Israel’s own Arrow 2 batteries. Interoperability between allied systems is the main goal.”

United States does have a small military garrison at a strategic radar, X-band, stationed in Israel’s southern Negev desert.

“The Israel Defense Force can defend Israel alone,” Gavish said. “But it is good to know that U.S. capabilities are available.”

Despite the unflinching U.S. military aid to Israel and its nuclear capability, the Israeli policies against the Palestinian population under the “national security,” pretext in the Gaza war and,

Now in the Freedom flotilla raid is characteristic of the twentieth century Imperialism promoted into the twenty first century – through illegal invasion, occupation, oppression, persecution and denial of basic human rights in the modern civilization.

Israel’s persisting provocative actions in this instant along with Jewish settlements expansion in Palestinian territories, refusal to comply with international humanitarian law including the Geneva Convention violation as detailed in the “Goldstone Report,” are responsible for Israel’s self-inflicted insecurity.

Ironically, not long ago, Israel found an ally in Hamas when they both were implicated in the ‘Goldstone report,’ much to the frustration and disappointment of the West Bank authority – Fatah leader and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, in their successful attempt to evade the potential trial for war crimes by the offenders in the international court of justice.

Thus, proving that “politics finds strange partners.”

It’s apparent that the innocent civilians in Palestine and Israel were victims in the Gaza war with the perpetrators on both sides forging alliance to prevent prosecution in the U.N. sponsored investigation.

The independent investigation in the Freedom flotilla deaths and the Goldstone report on Gaza war deserve to be honored and executed.

Nevertheless, the Palestinian plight in the past six decades and their struggle for an independent state is nearing end due to the increased international awareness and solidarity to liberate Palestine from Israel.

Israel is at the crossroads amid widespread global disdain for the systemic abuse of power against Palestinians.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with the hard line Likud Party coalition partners advocating anti-democratic doctrine fail to recognize the mirage in the occupied land.

History is testimony to the fact that colonization eventually leads to emancipation.

Israeli check posts, blockades, military aggression, settlements has consumed the moderate and the conservative powers’ time and resources leaving Israel in self-bondage without truly experiencing the independent statehood granted in 1948.

Israel is perceived to exist in the shadow of the staunch supporter, the United States, in spite of the great many attributes within not optimized to attain peace and harmony with the fellow human beings – the Palestinians.

Rather than adopting the ‘Live and let Live,’ maxim, the prolonged annexation of boundaries from 1967 to until now has generated acrimony, bloodshed and perennial border disputes among Israel and Arab neighbors.

By enduring the generational loss in the quest for freedom that has sadly remained a fantasy among the young and the old on the Palestinian side and similarly the Israeli side deprived of normal existence from the fear of being attacked, the two-fold tragedy has a simple solution.

Signing the Israel and Palestinian Peace Treaty as outlined on several occasions.

1. Complete withdrawal of Israeli settlers and the military base from all Palestinian territories including the occupied peripheral lands since 1967.

2. Palestine is to be internationally recognized as a sovereign nation with East Jerusalem as the Capital for the independent state.

3. The policy restricting Palestinians the right to return to Israel would conversely apply to the Jewish settlers and Israeli citizens on the Palestinian land. Similar reciprocation applies to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s insistence to call Israel the ‘Jewish’ state.

Therefore, it’s very important to weigh the pros and cons of the harsh terms and conditions being imposed by the powerful against the powerless to avoid the inevitable backlash from such extemporaneous demands.

4. Palestinian and Arab nation’s reaffirmation of Israel as a sovereign nation in the Middle East along with a solemn oath to disavow violence in the form of suicide bombings, rocket firing and last but not the least any nuclear threats against Israel.

5. Free flow of Economic and Humanitarian aid to Palestine for reconstruction purpose, to commence effective immediately without Israeli authority intrusion.

6. Evidently, the International community seeks equal support from the United States and other economic powers to both Israel and Palestine to reflect fairness in the deal.

Finally, it’s imperative and incumbent on the U.S., the U.N.,the EU and the Arab league to be honest brokers in implementing the Peace Treaty to restore credibility in resolving international problems.

Palestinians and Israelis are entitled to a long lasting peace and a bright future. It’s time to set the differences aside and reconcile terms with reality that,

Future is determined by the present as time and tide waits for none.

The burden lies more on Israel as the occupying power in setting the corner stone for peaceful resolution in the age-old conflict.

Thank you.

Padmini Arhant


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