Home > Egypt, Gaza, Israel, Palestinian Authority, Turkey, United Kingdom, United Nations > IDF copies British Navy in winning and and losing

IDF copies British Navy in winning and and losing

J. Zel Lurie

By J. Zel Lurie

DELRAY BEACH, Florida–Why does the Israel Navy’s killing  civilian protesters on the high seas remind me of the brutal actions of the British Navy in combating the ships of Aliya Bet in 1947?
There is no comparison in quantity or quality between the two events but both won the battle and lost the war.
Aliya Bet  was a glorious struggle to breach the British blockade of Palestine and we won. I was the Executive Director of Americans for Hagana in 1947.
With millions of dollars provided by American Jews, the Hagana bought ships, manned them with volunteers and succeeded in bringing 70,000 Jews to the shores of  Palestine between the end of the war in Europe in the spring of 1945 and the War of Independence three years later.
About half  of the boats were intercepted by British destroyers. When the Brits boarded a vessel they were met with what was described in London as “deadly missiles” which turned out to be gefilte fish cans.
The Brits opened fire “in self defense.”  Their actions were completely legal as was the interception of the Gaza-bound flotilla by the naval commandos of the IDF.
But legality did not save the British from universal condemnation. They lost the moral authority which they had won by their steadfastness during the Nazi blitz. They gave up Palestine as of May 15, 1948 when  Israel was founded and won 78 percent of Palestine.
Legality will not save the Israel Navy from universal condemnation for killing and wounding scores of  civilian passengers armed with bats and a couple of knives.
Nor will it save the blockade of Gaza which the Turkish-led protesters were trying to breach.
The blockade does nothing for Israel’s security. It did not stop the rockets. It was a political move to  bring down the Hamas government. I have always opposed it as collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinians. It hasn’t worked for three years and should have been abandoned long ago.
Hamas has thrived under the blockade while 1.5 million Palestinians have suffered untold miseries.
M.J. Rosenberg in Foreign Policy Matters writes that 8 out of 10 Gazans is dependent on foreign aid for survival.
The World Food Program, Rosenberg continues, estimates that Gaza needs 400 trucks a day to provide basic nutritional needs. Israel has been allowing 175 trucks a week, not a day, to enter Gaza.
Rosenberg continues:  “95 percent of Gaza’s water does not meet  World Health Organization standards. Anemia in childen under 5 is estimated at 48 percent.”
In the bombing of Gaza last year, the industrial zone was destroyed and over 100,00 jobs were lost. One-third of the schools were turned into rubble. Nothing can be rebuilt because Israel does not allow cement to be imported.
At the United Nations, the State Department, which had supported the blockade, changed its mind. The American representative said that the blockade was “not sustainable.”
Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, who has been a mainstay of the blockade, has also reversed course. He  opened a crossing point into Egypt so a limited number of Gazans are escaping the vast prison in which they have been confined for three years.
Mubarak has indicated that he will permit “humanitarian aid.”  It is my hope that before long truckloads of Egyptian cement will cross the border and Gazans will begin to rebuild.
Hamas is strong and will become stronger.  Perhaps they will then be ready to negotiate the release of Gilad Shalit.
That would be a silver lining to a disaster caused by the arrogance  of Israel’s leaders, in particular Defense Minister Ehud Barak of Labor.
Ehud Barak had been  warned by a Labor Knesset member. This was not a security matter, she pointed out. The use of force to stop the ships would be counterproductive.
She was right. Barak should have remembered the fate of the British who shot protesters armed with cans of gefilte fish. He did not.
The Free Gaza Movement, which is led by a small band of fanatical Moslem Turks with plenty of money, has more ships ready to sail.  Will they be stopped?  Can Obama and Mubarak convince the arrogant Israelis to change their tactics? We may know the answer before this column appears in print.

Lurie is a freelance writer based in Del Ray Beach.  His articles appear regularly in the Jewish Journal of South Florida

  1. carol ann goldstein
    June 14, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    I totally agree with J. Zel Lurie, I wish he were the Prime Minister of Israel and finally create that 2 state solution to include the West Bank and Gaza.

  2. June 14, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Hard to believe these comments. Delusional would be the kindest qualifier. Looking forward to the day Egyptian cement is back in? So Hamas can rebuild its network of fortifications and the whole cycle of firing rockets can start anew? 100,000 jobs lost in Gaza? Why should it be Israel’s concern? Gaza is already taken care of by the international community, which allows it to maintain its aggressive stance towards israel. How about looking at the problem from the other end, i.e. admitting that they were militarily defeated and draw the obvious conclusions: it’s time to make peace with Israel. THEN the blockade (and the fence) can be brought down, not before. But noooo, that is never in the cards. Let’s talk instead about all the misery brought on the 1.5 million Gazans by Hamas… and hold Israel responsible. That makes sense! By adding his voice to the humanitarian blackmail, Lurie ends up supporting the continuation of the Hamas regime, which means more hardships for the population it controls. Tellingly enough, he has nothing better to suggest than demand that Israel lifts the blockade. Great. Hasn’t the debacle of leaving Gaza without asking for anything in exchange taught him (and everyone else) anything? Unbelievable.

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