Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Fred Kaplan nails it

Fred Kaplan has the definitive accounting of the full cost -- to Israel -- of the political and military incompetence of the assault on the Mavi Marmara:
Here is how Hamas' interests have been served so far:
  • Under severe pressure, Egypt, which has blockaded Gaza by land for its own political reasons, has opened its borders (at least for now), a move that is likely to facilitate more weapons shipments than the most extreme estimates of potential smuggling from the Mavi Marmara would have supplied.
  • Turkey, the only predominantly Muslim country that regards Israel as an ally, has recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv amid massive anti-Israeli protests in the streets of Istanbul.
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was on his way to Washington to discuss the resumption of Palestinian peace talks with President Barack Obama, had to go home (for obvious reasons), and the prospect for renewed diplomacy—which had gained much support in the region—has, to say the least, diminished.
  • The case for tighter sanctions against Iran, to the extent that they involve sympathy with Israel's security concerns, has been dealt a setback, just as the U.N. nuclear agency has announced that Iran has enough fuel to build two A-bombs (though the fuel still needs to be enriched).
  • The U.N. Security Council has condemned Israel's actions, and countless aid groups, including no doubt several that are hostile to Israel, are sailing toward Gaza, as if to dare the Israelis to fire on them too and, in any case, to deal another blow against the legitimacy of the blockade.
In sum, in order to keep one ship from delivering aid directly to Hamas—and, as Ha'aretz put it, choosing "the worst of all possible options" to do so—Israel has plunged itself into the deepest state of isolation that it's experienced in years.
Kaplan is also masterful in his detailing of the political and military errors, as well as their effects.

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