Contrary to the Free Gaza tools’ claims that Israel backed down from threats to deny them entry to Gaza only after we realized we could not operate outside of Israel’s territorial waters, the real reason has emerged.
And in another flying pig moment, it looks like soon-not-to-be Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made a correct decision.
A boat carrying 27 far-left protesters docked in Gaza Wednesday morning, after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reversed course and decided against barring the vessel’s entrance.
This was the third small boat chartered by the US-based Free Gaza movement that has sailed from Cyprus to Gaza to draw attention to the Israeli blockade of the Strip.
Two other boats that set sail together in August were also let in by the Israeli authorities, who wanted to deny the protesters publicity.
Government officials said that a decision was taken “at the highest governmental levels” a number of days ago to stop this new boat and arrest the protesters.
But Olmert – after consultations with Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi – changed the decision at the last moment, apparently concerned about the negative publicity.
Representatives of the National Information Directorate, as well as the media specialists at the Foreign Ministry, who were preparing for the boat to be intercepted at sea, were not involved in the consultations.
One senior government official said Israel’s decision to let the boat pass was made after it became clear exactly who and what were on the boat.
He also said Israel “wants to keep these agitators guessing, and not play into their hands.”
The official said that the decision to let the boat in Wednesday was made on a one-time basis, and did not represent a blanket policy. He added that no decision has been made whether Israel would allow the boat to sail back, as it did in August.
Now if the government would only take my advice. Which they don’t seem to be doing at this stage.
Olmert’s spokesman Mark Regev, meanwhile, said that the protesters and organizers of the boat were not the only ones who wanted a “free Gaza.”
“We are also interested in freeing Gaza,” Regev said. “We want to free the civilian population of the Gaza Strip from the authoritative, totalitarian, Taliban-type regime that is oppressing it.”
Acknowledging that the protesters and organizers of the boat want a “free Gaza” makes it sound like this is really all they want. We should be mentioning that really what they want is a”free palestine”, meaning the end of the state of Israel.