Op-Ed: The Flytilla's Fabulous Failure
Andrew HershThe writer is a leader of the Israel Awareness Commission, which helps to promote pro-Israel advocacy, counter bias, lies, half-truths, hypocrisy, and slander against Israel on college campuses in the U.S. and across social media platforms.
April 15th was a typical day for most Israelis. They woke up in the morning, went about their business, heard about the failed anti-Israel provocation through the media, and then ended the day with a few rockets from Gaza.
Now of course, most countries wouldn’t consider this normal by any means. But then again, most countries don’t grapple with narrow-minded protestors who deny that country a right to exist.
The event was a miserable failure, just like the previous month’s “Global March to Jerusalem,” which boasted it would have a million protestors. Not only did many Arab governments limit the protestors (including Hamas), but the numbers of protestors were in the single percentages compared to the million protestors they were expecting.
And then there are the weekly riots at cities such as Bil’in, where “nonviolent” protestors throw stones at IDF soldiers. Countless IDF soldiers have been injured by stone-throwers, and the tragic deaths of Asher Palmer and his infant son were caused by stones thrown at his car. Ed Koch, the former mayor of New York, was injured in 1991 by these stone-throwers, requiring nine stitches to heal the injury.
All of these events have something in common. They are not major events, and consistently fail, yet nearly every month a new event pops up. Some years, when they can’t think of anything original, they take an old event (such as a flotilla) and put a spin on it (a “flytilla”). Why? As the Israeli government pointed out in their sarcastic letter to the flytilla activists, they could’ve chosen to protest Syria, which was less than 100 miles away, or perhaps Hamas control of Gaza. Of course, should they have chosen to fly to Syria, or enter Gaza, they would’ve immediately been killed by government thugs or sent to prison indefinitely. That really should tell them all they need to know about which country to protest…
Yet they chose Israel, the country in which only .3% of Muslims have been killed since 1948 (out of all Muslims killed since 1948), or one out of every 315 fatalities. Again, why?
The answer is clear and simple – pure hatred and intolerance. When the protestors chant “Free free Palestine,” what are they referring to? Are they referring to Gaza and Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”)?
Clearly not. Gaza functions as an autonomous region governed by Hamas with their own set of oppressive laws and police. As determined in the Oslo Accords, signed by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority (P.A.), the P.A. has full control over Area A, governmental control over Area B and only 4%live in AreaC, that is controlled by Israel. indeed has its own system of law, governing council (although P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas’ term has expired), and police.
What are they referring to? The answer is clearer when they chant “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” It brings to mind a similar chant, “We will throw the Jews into the sea,” which the Arab leaders stated in 1948 when they launched a genocidal war of destruction on Israel. To these ignorant protestors, there is no room in the Middle East for a democratic, Jewish state that provides equality and protection for all its citizens. Instead, they’d rather see Israel turned into a hellhole governed by Hamas, similar to the Taliban regime.
These protestors oppose the very existence of a legitimate country, and complain that they are denied entry into that country! While they claim to support international law, and frequently cite U.N. resolutions that deem the settlements “illegal,” they neglect other aspects of international law, such as the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Conference, the League of Nations, and the United Nations (as well as the U.S. Congress) reaffirming the right for the Jews to exercise their legal right of self-determination and establish a homeland in the geographical area Palestine.
The provocateurs don’t support a negotiated solution that helps resolve the conflict, nor do they facilitate this in any way. Most people that you encounter will support a negotiated solution, as well as the leaders of the Western world, and even some Arab countries. These rioters represent a fringe, radical minority. But they are a minority bent on making noise – a lot of it.
When Mahmoud Abbas sees these hecklers, he wonders why he should engage in negotiations with Israel when these protestors will criticize Israel 24/7 anyway. This is the logic behind his U.N. publicity stunt – why should he settle for a deal with Israel when the U.N. can give him a better deal? Why be less pro-Palestinian than the U.N.?And when Hamas sees these protestors, many of whom openly embrace Hamas and pose for the camera with Hamas leaders, a burden is lifted from them. They can fire rockets into Israel and remain confident that media outlets such as The Guardian will emphasize the legitimate Israeli counter-attack on the Hamas terrorists. Is this how members of the free Western world are supposed to behave? By supporting terrorism and/or supporting intransigence?
And yet, there is good news. Israel is here to stay, whether a few narrow-minded lunatics like it or not. Because they oppose the right of a sovereign country to exist, their efforts will constantly fail. Israel is always one step, if not two steps, ahead of them, and will always take the necessary action to prevent their disturbances.
It is one thing to protest in a Palestinian village on a microphone. It’s another to interrupt an international airport. Although these protestors hate the fact that Israel is a sovereign legitimate country, at the end of the day they are slapped in the face when this sovereign country makes a sovereign decision not to allow these activists into its home. In fact, many countries would have engaged in similar behavior, and all have the legal basis for doing so.
According to American law, the U.S. has the right to deny entry to anyone engaging in “other unlawful activity (such as causing a disturbance at an international airport)…or any activity a purpose of which is the opposition to, or the control or overthrow of, the Government of the United States by force, violence, or other unlawful means, is inadmissible (“from the river to the sea”). American law also allows for the right to deny entry to “a political, social, or other group that endorses or espouses terrorist activity.” That includes the ISM (International Solidarity Movement) and many other anti-Israel groups. And interestingly enough, the law states that “An alien who is an officer, official, representative, or spokesman of the Palestine Liberation Organization is considered, for purposes of this chapter, to be engaged in a terrorist activity.”
The United Kingdom goes even farther, and states that “Grounds on which entry clearance or leave to enter the United Kingdom is to be refused… where the Secretary of State has personally directed that the exclusion of a person from the United Kingdom is conducive to the public good.” Planning disruptions at an international airport and rioting against the legitimacy of a country in that country isn’t exactly conducive to the public good.
And what about Israeli law? Perhaps some Palestinians associated with the flytilla have an actual right to enter Israel and visit family in Ramallah. According to the U.S. Passport Service Guide, “In most cases, such individuals will be required by Israeli authorities to enter the West Bank via the Allenby Bridge (also known as King Hussein Bridge) border crossing with Jordan, rather than entering Israel via Ben Gurion International Airport unless they obtain a transit permit for that purpose in advance.”
The whole purpose of the flytilla is to act defy the Israeli government and enter via Ben Gurion Airport, rather than the Allenby Bridge. That would sure spoil all the fun!
“Even if they have entered Israel via Ben Gurion Airport, they may be required to depart via the Allenby Bridge. Upon arrival at any of the Ports of Entry, such persons may wish to consider asking Israeli immigration authorities from where they will be required to depart.” So even if they do arrive via Ben Gurion Airport, they may have to depart.
The flytilla was a massive failure. About forty activists made it to Ben Gurion Airport and were detained or deported, while only three managed to slip out of the airport. And yet, the organizers hailed this as a success. If this is a success, then what is a failure? It reminds me of Nasrallah exclaiming at the end of the Second Lebanon War that it was a massive success for Hezbollah and Lebanon, despite the fact that much of Lebanon was destroyed and needed to be rebuilt. Perhaps the flytilla organizers learned from him…
The hatred of these activists clouds any logical and rational thought. There will be more events like this in the future, all equally as disastrous. Simply put, so long as they continue to harbor such immense detestation, they will continue to fail. So long as they continue to reject the legitimacy of a sovereign country, they will continue to fail. So long as they act hypocritically and protest against the best country in the region, which goes to great lengths to minimize civilian casualties, they will continue to fail.
But as long as they continue to harbor this animosity, the prospects for peace will once again fail.