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      Shalom: Multiple Probes on Flotilla Make Israel Look Weak

      Vice Prime Minister criticizes his own government for decision to relax Gaza blockade, appoint Turkel committee.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 8/8/2010, 6:56 PM / Last Update: 8/8/2010, 7:32 PM

      Yoni Kempinski

      Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom (Likud) criticized the government he is a part of for its recent decisions regarding Gaza, saying that they exuded weakness and increased Israel's vulnerability.

      Shalom singled out the decision to establish multiple committees of inquiry regarding the Gaza flotilla incident, and the relaxation of the blockade of Gaza following the naval confrontation that left nine terrorists dead.

      These decisions, Shalom said in a closed-door meeting, weaken Israel and have the effect of inviting further pressure on it. 

      Shalom said he had known that bad things would happen when the government decided to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria. “As I warned on the day before the approval of the plan to freeze construction in Judea and Samaria,” he said, “the freeze decision brought pressure against construction in Jerusalem and did not bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table.”   

      Only the strong survive
      The State of Israel has been exuding weakness for years and has followed a policy that strengthens Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah's 'spider-web' theory, Shalom said – in a reference to a statement by Nasrallah that Israel's supposed strength was an illusion, and that it could be torn apart like a spider web.   

      "In Hizbullah's view,” he explained, “it was their struggle against the IDF that brought about the retreat from Lebanon, which brought the second Intifadah. In Hamas's view, the missile fire on Israel brought the Disengagement, which brought about the Cast Lead offensive.”

      "Despite our genuine desire for peace, we must recognize the fact that we live in a tough neighborhood and that only the strong survive.” 

      Shalom said that Israel should strive for peace through strength, and through determinedly insisting on safeguarding its national and security interests. Attempts at “courtship” only invite pressure from our enemies, he added, and Israel should strengthen the moderate states while striking the axis of evil of Hamas and Hizbullah.