By Fahmi Huwaidi
The Muslim and Arab world must thank the organisers of the Freedom Flotilla for waking us out of our coma and reminding us that the situation in Gaza is unacceptable and has been for far too long. The scandalous attack and hijacking of the humanitarian flotilla has propelled the immoral blockade of Gaza back into the headlines. In the process, it has exposed the silence and complicity of much of the Arab media and regimes which have helped the Israeli blockade.
A huge effort has been exerted over the past four years to convince the world that the blockade is normal and anyone trying to break it is a criminal; this includes fabricated charges laid against people and prosecuting them for trying to get humanitarian aid through the blockade. A colleague, Magdi Hussein, is serving three years in prison for such a "crime". All of this has been part of the wider campaign to convince the Arab world in particular to accept peace talks, believe that Israel's nuclear weapons are benign and regard Iran and its nuclear programme as the real threat.
All of this has now collapsed, without any meaningful role played by the Arabs. Honourable people from the West have taken on the task of rejecting the siege of Gaza, carrying aid with their own hands and shaming the Palestinians' Arab "brothers" as they have done so. While we accepted the siege and generally forgot about it, they took action to break it. The culmination of their efforts was the murderous assault last week in which nine brave men lost their lives to Israeli aggression. This has exposed – again – the ugly face of democratic Israel for the whole world to see, and brought shame to those who support the Jewish state, including the so-called moderates who are its allies.
It is true that Israeli aggression is not a new phenomenon, but it was the sheer stupidity of the assault on the Mavi Marvara that surprises us. The Israeli political and military hierarchy thought that killing activists on an aid convoy would deter others and crush their spirit. Not only was this an attack in international waters but it was also against civilians from forty countries around the world, including the USA, Israel's main sponsor and ally. The naked arrogance of Israel's official defence of its blatant breaches of international law has blinded its government and military establishment to the fact that there is only one loser in all of this and that's the Jewish state. It has lost its main ally in the Middle East, Turkey, and the Palestinian struggle for justice has millions of new supporters around the world, with Israel's allies adding their voices to calls for the siege on Gaza to be lifted. Every cloud has a silver lining and the cloud of last week's vicious assault is no exception.
Source: Al-Sharq Qatari newspaper
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