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The Flotilla War: What If?

On the night before the fateful morning, in which news of the botched Israeli commando raid against the Mavi Marmara broke out, I had a pleasant dream. In my dream, as is usually the case, something totally unexpected happened. Against character, Israel and its leaders had decided to let the flotilla, including its Turkish flagship, to sail through to the Gaza shore without any incident. The flotilla arrived at the shore to a great fanfare of jubilation from the crowd, who immediately began unloading the goods. Hamas declared victory over the Zionist regime’s blockade, and punctuated its declaration with rapid gunfire into the air. At sunset, an especially long muezzin calls came from the minarets, urging the faithful to gather at the mosques and say thankful prayers to Allah. The malnourished people of Gaza had nourished dinners that evening, and even had toothpaste to brush their teeth before going to bed. In the early morning hours Hamas, using the toothpaste to lubricate one of its Kassam rockets, blasted one into the air, which fell not on a field of barren land somewhere in the Negev desert but back at sea, causing no damage or injures.

The sound of the blast woke me up, however, producing a terrible ring in my ears. To calm my high-strung nerves, I stayed longer than usual awake in bed. And while at it, I thought to myself what if my dream was true, and what would be the consequences of such a dream. As for Israel, I fantasized that by some divine intervention its leaders would decide to show some uncharacteristic restrain, and instead of sending, as usual, a squadron of fighter planes to bomb the hell out of Hamas and the Gazan people in response to the kassam rocket, the government would just be convened to a special emergency meeting, only to announce at its end that—against all odds, and the regular, biblical “eye-to-eye” policy—Israel would temporarily be lifting the blockade as a show of good will towards the Gazan people, and that it would stay that way as long as PM Netanyahu is abroad, still visiting North America.

Netanyahu, following such a scenario, would receive a hero’s welcome on the front lawn of the White House. Not only this meeting would go on as scheduled, but it would turn out the exact opposite of the previous, unsuccessful one. President Obama, in front of a horde of world media reporters (including Helen Thomas, still), would praise Netanyahu and the Israeli government for the way they had handled the flotilla affair, and would promised full cooperation and support. Netanyahu, gleaming, would become the toast of the town. He would stay in Washington D.C. a week longer, and cash in on his newly found popularity with the American Media and the Jewish people, raising in a week almost a billion dollars in aid for Israel. At the same time in New York, a special meeting of the UN Security Council would praise Israel for its newly found tolerative policy, though it would still press Israel to relinquish once and for all the unnecessary, unsuccessful—by all measures, since it only solidified Hamas power and control over the people —Gaza blockade.

Back on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, Turkey was jubilant as well. The flotilla war and fiasco, feared for weeks by many, was prevented, and the ships were sailing peacefully back home. No one had died or had been injured. Turkey played its part to the hilt, and PM Erdogan announced a special tax relief to the multitude of Israelis about to come to Turkey for their annual summer vacation. He further congratulated the Israeli government’s decision to release its grip on the blockade, and declared an immediate resumption of the diplomatic talks between Israel and Syria, aimed at achieving a final, lasting peace on the Golan Heights. Moreover, he announced that Turkey will support the UN Security resolution for new sanctions on Iran, and will cut Turkey’s ties with that country, should it not comply with the demands of the resolution. Meanwhile, Netanyahu confirmed in Washington that he had talked with PM Erdogan, and will stop in Ankara on his way back to Jerusalem for a short visit.

Netanyahu’s advisers confirmed, furthermore, that he would stop also in Paris and London, where the European leaders and public at large couldn’t have been happier and more supportive of him suddenly. The European press kept showering Israel with uncharacteristic—the key word of the day here—praise, and with a renewed sense of optimism for peace in the Middle East. Of course, the “indirect” talks with the Palestinians became “direct” all of a sudden, and for the first item in a long time, a shimmering light began to flicker at the end of the dark tunnel of Jerusalem.

But then, most unfortunately, I made the crucial mistake and decided to get out of bed. I turned on my PC and TV. Immediately, I was flooded with the terrible news of what really happened—“Death on the High Seas”—and by all those YouTube videos from both sides. The bright morning became dark as night again. It was just a dream, apparently: Israel and its leaders were still operating under the mentality of the old “Commando Complex”. To my horror, I realized then that—true to form and character—the madness in Israel and in the Middle East would continue as usual. “The whole world is still against us,” as the Israelis are so fond of saying. And the rest is history.

* “Israel’s Commando Complex.” Please see Doron Rosnblum poignant article, under Media on the right sidebar.

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