The Gaza raid raises questions of Israeli competency

As the flames of the Gaza political firestorm die down, they threaten to extinguish with them the very idea of Israeli competency.

From the hand-caught-in-the-cookie-jar Dubai assassination in January, to the epic timing blunder on settlement expansion in March, the Israelis seems to be walking into an Abba Eban quote once directed at the Arabs: "They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

What is shocking about this flotilla fiasco is the ease with which it could have been prevented. At the very least, Israel could have neutralized much of the PR fallout. Instead, they chose to play right into a hostile provocation and give Hamas - and make no mistake, this boat was representing Hamas - a decisive political victory.

For starters, Israel could have presented footage of their requests to the flotilla that it divert to Ashdod, where the cargo could be inspected and then transported to Gaza. The video had already been released via YouTube, but the Israelis decided not to push it. As a result, it was almost completely swept aside in the massive wave of propaganda following the assault.

It is no secret that the media looks to the parties involved with the conflict for queues on what to broadcast. Anything the Israeli government chose to highlight in its defense would have been picked up, at least by some of the more competitive cable news channels.   

Israel could have aggressively and preemptively pushed the videos of "peace activists" chanting intifada war-cries  about killing Jews and wishing for martyrdom. Instead, they pushed silence, the political equivalent of a "slow plea of guilty" for whatever action they were to take.

As for the incident itself, Israel could have released video immediately of what happened. This would immediately contradict the claims that they boarded and violently opened fire on nonviolent protestors. Instead, they sat on it for precious hours, waiting to release the footage for Israel's nightly news cycle.

By then, it was too late - Israel had been judged, found guilty and sentenced the world over, a frustrating but predictable consequence of skipping its own trial.
As the flames of the Gaza political firestorm die down, they threaten to extinguish with them the very idea of Israeli competency.

From the hand-caught-in-the-cookie-jar Dubai assassination in January, to the epic timing blunder on settlement expansion in March, the Israelis seems to be walking into an Abba Eban quote once directed at the Arabs: "They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity."

What is shocking about this flotilla fiasco is the ease with which it could have been prevented. At the very least, Israel could have neutralized much of the PR fallout. Instead, they chose to play right into a hostile provocation and give Hamas - and make no mistake, this boat was representing Hamas - a decisive political victory.

For starters, Israel could have presented footage of their requests to the flotilla that it divert to Ashdod, where the cargo could be inspected and then transported to Gaza. The video had already been released via YouTube, but the Israelis decided not to push it. As a result, it was almost completely swept aside in the massive wave of propaganda following the assault.

It is no secret that the media looks to the parties involved with the conflict for queues on what to broadcast. Anything the Israeli government chose to highlight in its defense would have been picked up, at least by some of the more competitive cable news channels.   

Israel could have aggressively and preemptively pushed the videos of "peace activists" chanting intifada war-cries  about killing Jews and wishing for martyrdom. Instead, they pushed silence, the political equivalent of a "slow plea of guilty" for whatever action they were to take.

As for the incident itself, Israel could have released video immediately of what happened. This would immediately contradict the claims that they boarded and violently opened fire on nonviolent protestors. Instead, they sat on it for precious hours, waiting to release the footage for Israel's nightly news cycle.

By then, it was too late - Israel had been judged, found guilty and sentenced the world over, a frustrating but predictable consequence of skipping its own trial.

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