In the days before hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists tried invade Israel on board an Air Flotilla, five managed to get past security and are on the loose inside Israel. The future of the Jewish state could be in jeopardy.
Noam Sheizaf reports:
Panic. There is no other way to describe the Israeli reaction to a plan organized by a few activists—no more than a thousand, according to the most generous estimates—to try and travel to the West Bank via Ben Gurion International Airport. A handful of those visitors arrived (five of them have already been deported), and it seems that the whole country has gone mad.
Haaretz has reported a special deployment of hundreds of police officers and special units both inside and outside the terminals, “in case one of the arrivals tries to set himself on fire.” The Petach Tikva court, in charge of the airport area, is to have more arrest judges on alert, and the minister for Hasbara (propaganda) Yuli Edelstein demanded that the government take no chances, “because we should remember what happened on 9/11.”
All this, lets not forget, in order to welcome between a few dozen to a few hundred Westerners (most of them quite old, according to reports), who would arrive on separate flights and on different hours, who went through extensive security checks before boarding their planes, and who openly declared their intentions to visit the Palestinian territories. This is the national threat that has captured all the headlines for some days now in a country armed with one of the strongest armies in the world as well as an extensive arsenal of nuclear bombs.
Gideon Levy writes:
The danger is tangible. It is approaching our shores at alarming speed. It is approaching us from the air, from the sea and from the land and nobody can stop it. Someone must do something, quickly. Warning, danger! Israel is losing its senses.
We had not yet finished celebrating our victories – killing those who sought to cross the border on Nakba Day, thwarting the flotilla to Gaza, not handing bodies over to the Palestinians and saving Amir Peretz from a British prison – when we were already forced to prepare for the next existential threat: activists flying in from Europe.
Here’s a safe bet: We’re going to win another sweeping victory. The public security minister said “hooligans,” the police commissioner promised that “we won’t treat them gently.” The prime minister held a special “security” consultation before taking off for Romania and hundreds of policemen and security guards, both uniformed and plainclothes, as well as Shin Bet and Mossad agents deployed in Ben-Gurion Airport.
Our next great victory is already assured. Early yesterday afternoon, our forces scored their first triumph on the battlefield: Five activists were expelled.
If it weren’t so sad, it would be funny. Israel is becoming grotesque. Nonviolent demonstrators, some of them well-wishers, who pose no threat to Israel’s security, wish to go to Gaza, some by sea and some by air. Yet they are being portrayed as enemies of the state and of the people, not to mention of all humanity. Israel is employing its entire arsenal of tricks to prevent them from carrying out their legitimate protest.
First Israel magnifies the danger, then it legitimizes all means against it. And finally, it glorifies the achievement of destroying it.
Meanwhile, a high profile panel of experts which recently met in Jerusalem debated whether President Obama is showing enough love for Israel.
Elliott Abrams, former senior White House adviser in the George W. Bush administration, asserted: “There is no great love in his heart for Israel.” At the same time, Abrams felt assured that America as a nation has enough love for Israel thanks to tens of millions of right-wing Christians who will only vote for pro-Israel candidates.
Members of the panel connected to the current administration countered that it too is overflowing with the devotion that Israelis have come to expect from Washington.
“The notion that Obama does not have the requisite love, or cares in his kishkas [guts], defies the facts,” said [former Florida Democratic Congressman Robert] Wexler, today the president of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace in Washington.
Former IDF spokesman Ruth Yaron countered that even with all that, Israelis want to feel the love, not just hear that the president has done a great deal for security cooperation.
“I’m not questioning his love,” she said. “I would say please make sure this love is not only felt, but also seen by countries around us.”
Without feeling secure in this love and a feeling that Israel will never be left to “walk alone,” the country would be less willing to take risks, Yaron said.
This dimension of the Israeli psyche – of wanting to feel, and not only hear, about the love – was dismissed as “neurosis” by [Martin] Indyk, who today is vice president of the Brookings Institution.
Saying that Obama is not a “warm and cuddly guy,” and calling him “no drama Obama,” Indyk said that the only intimate relationship Obama has with any foreign leader is with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.
Calling Yaron’s description of Israel’s psyche the picture of a “neurotic nation,” Indyk said, “It’s time to grow up. We should get over the question of whether he loves me or he loves me not, and focus on question of finding a solution to conflict with the Palestinians.
“When Israel decides by itself to solve that problem, it will have the overwhelmingly cuddly support of the US president.”