Why Israel’s Decision To Prohibit Activists Entry to Bethlehem is a Mistake

Not just in my view, but in the view of this Israeli:

The global fly-in made huge headlines over the weekend. However, I failed to understand where exactly the threat to the State of Israel’s sovereignty hid this time. Let’s assume that hundreds of people characterizing themselves as pro-Palestinian peace activists would have arrived at Ben-Gurion Airport from all over the world. Let’s assume that they would have undergone the required screening and then continued by bus to Bethlehem, which is under Palestinian Authority control in any case.

Yes, let’s. What’s the big deal? Now it simply looks like Israel is desperately trying to hide something.

And then what? They would have joined rallies, delivered speeches, lit torches and marched. That is, they would have undertaken the customary ceremonies in such cases, before heading to various city hotels and going to sleep. What else can unarmed Europeans stuck in a small Judea and Samaria town do? The next day they would have visited some churches, ate kebabs and hummus, and in the absence of action would have likely returned to their home countries.

Exactly.

If we learned one bitter lesson from the Marmara affair, it’s the following: The media resonance of any humanitarian activity on behalf of Gaza/Palestine/territories is directly proportional to the level of Israeli objection to the move.

And that’s the sanest comment coming from the Israeli side so far. Israel has done itself no favor at all, even remotely, in slamming shut the door. Now it just for all the world seems like the bully that the Palestinians frequently say it is.

If we undertake immense efforts to prevent such activities, they will be making history even before they started. Yet if we handle such cases with what Jabotinsky referred to as “kind indifference,” they will make a very small impression.

He’s so right. It’s too bad Israel’s leaders aren’t as smart as he is.  As we say down here in the South, Israel has shot itself in the foot.

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