How Israel Flotilla Crisis May Change Peace Process

Observers debate whether it makes peace more or less likely

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The Israeli raid on a flotilla of pro-Palestinian activists attempting to bring goods into Gaza and break Israel's blockade has provoked a firestorm of international criticism. The raid ended in the deaths of 10 passengers on the flotilla and caused seven Israeli soldiers to be wounded. Beyond the virtue of Israel's raid or the flotilla itself, what effect will this have in the ongoing Israel-Palestine peace process?

  • White House Despairing on Peace Prospects The New York Times' Helene Cooper writes, "While the administration's public response was restrained, American officials expressed dismay in private over not only the flotilla raid, with its attendant deepening of Israel's isolation around the world, but also over the timing of the crisis, which comes just as long-delayed American-mediated indirect talks between Israelis and Palestinians were getting under way."
  • Israel Demonstrating Independence AFCEA NightWatch's John McReary assesses, "US diplomacy for a Middle East peace plan is the actual target of the Israeli naval action. Israel has just demonstrated that the US cannot control Israel, undermining any confidence Arab countries place in US promises relating to Israeli behavior. Israel refuses to be bound by US promises [relating to the peace process]."
  • Flotilla Sought to Further Peace Process by Dividing Israeli Politics Stratfor's George Friedman explains, "The flotilla was designed to achieve two ends. The first is to divide Israel and Western governments by shifting public opinion against Israel. The second is to create a political crisis inside Israel between those who feel that Israel's increasing isolation over the Gaza issue is dangerous versus those who think any weakening of resolve is dangerous." The flotilla aimed to strengthen the Israeli political opposition, which favors ending the siege of Gaza, by demonstrating that the current leadership's hard line on Gaza is counterproductive.
  • Israel Must Reevaluate Its Gaza Siege Ha'aretz's Aluf Benn asks, "What is the purpose of the siege [of Gaza]? Is it just an automatic extension of the previous government's policy, or does it have some practical aim? ... the government needs to think about what advantage effect this has on the national interest - and not just on its popularity in weekly opinion polls. Did any of this happen?"
  • Israel Making Itself a 'Pariah' The Guardian declares, "Nothing has done more to establish Israel's status as a pariah state among its neighbours than the actions of its armed forces." They write, "The fact is that Israel has used its blockade not only to prevent Hamas from rearming, but also to impose collective punishment - as a boot which it applied to the Palestinian throat. This pressure on the jugular has the opposite of its intended effect. Defiance has only grown in Gaza, and the Islamic resistance movement is reaping the benefits - as any Fatah man will admit."
  • U.S. Won't Force Israel to Change The UK Independent's Robert Fisk seethes, "Has Israel lost it? Can the Gaza War of 2008-09 (1,300 dead) and the Lebanon War of 2006 (1,006 dead) and all the other wars and now yesterday's killings mean that the world will no longer accept Israel's rule? Don't hold your breath. You only have to read the gutless White House statement - that the Obama administration was 'working to understand the circumstances surrounding the tragedy'. Not a single word of condemnation."
  • Tension With Turkey Could Bring International Condemnation The New York Times' Sabrina Tavernise explains, "One Turkish tactic will be to try to garner international condemnation in order to change Israeli policies toward Gaza, namely its blockade, Turkish analysts said. Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, flew to New York to spearhead Turkey's efforts to call for a vote on the matter in the United Nations. Turkey became a member of the Security Council last year." Tavernise writes that Turkey "has long been Israel's closest friend in the Muslim world" but that ties have deteriorated sharply over Gaza and now the flotilla raid. Turkey could bring far greater pressure on the Gaza issue.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.