Aid and charity shipments to Hamas as a way to delegitimize Israel

The organizers of “aid ships” have hit on an ideal concept, to fuel the ongoing effort to delegitimize Israel.

Israeli navy vessels escort a Lebanese boat (top R) carrying aid supplies for the Gaza Strip near the port of the coastal Israeli city of Ashdod on February 5, 2009.

Israel is gearing up for the arrival of a number of new flotillas – representing the new strategy of using NGOs as a way of bringing down the state in the world’s eyes.

Israeli authorities will spend this weekend awaiting the arrival of the next flotilla, either from Iran or, more likely, from Lebanon. Over the past few days, a few reservists from the naval commando unit have been called up for service.

For the moment, the political echelon’s directive to stop the ships remains in force. It took almost a year to organize the Turkish flotilla to Gaza. If Israel had not fallen into the trap set for it by the ships’ organizers, they would probably not have had enough money available from donations to launch more ships so soon.

The Lebanese who are behind the new flotilla have been disseminating misinformation in an effort to disrupt Israel’s efforts to intercept the vessels. Looking a bit further ahead, Israel is concerned about the month of August, when Ramadan falls this year – a propitious time for flotillas to set sail from a number of countries.

The organizers have hit on an ideal concept, which not only promises to entangle Israel again and again but makes a meaningful contribution to the ongoing effort to delegitimize the country.

If Israel enjoyed a brief golden age in terms of the attitude of the international community (after the Gaza withdrawal in 2005), since Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009 we have been sliding down a slippery slope.

In the past few years, Israeli and foreign scholars have been engaged in describing and explaining the significant change that has occurred in how war is waged. In the Middle East, at least, it seems that in recent decades, states have retreated from direct confrontation, instead leaving that task to extremist organizations, such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Al-Qaida.

The delegitimization campaign may reflect another passing of the baton, this time to civilian NGOs. There was no point in looking for smuggled missiles aboard the Mavi Marmara. The most effective weapons on the ship were the cameras and the resulting images that were broadcast to the Muslim world and to Europe. This is a new form of struggle, and Israel still hardly knows how to cope with it.

Source: Israeli daily Haaretz.

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