Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has achieved one of those rare political feats at which he is surprisingly and sadly adept – taking a difficult situation and turning it into an unmitigated disaster. Barely more than a week after the mob attack on a squad of Israeli commandos by the passengers of a flotilla bound for Gaza to break the siege, Netanyahu announced that the blockade would be partially lifted, and promptly declared to the Knesset that “Today, after we lifted the civilian blockade of Gaza there is no reason or justification for further flotillas,” as if there had been a justification for them in the first place. Or, for that matter, as if reason or justice made any difference to those who organize and participate in them. Moving from obtuse to embarrassing, the PM elaborated, “These flotillas are organized by those who oppose peace, not those who support it. These people just want to break the security blockade,” as though we were not already well aware of this.
Needless to say, Netanyahu’s words, as they usually do, failed completely to mitigate the obvious consequences of his actions. These became clear almost immediately, as those with Israel’s worst interests at heart rushed to announce their victory.