´Preventing flytilla not necessarily best for Israel´ (YNetNews.Com -Yedioth Internet) Aviel Magnezi Published: 04.16.12, 09:14)
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Diplomats remain divided over whether success in preventing pro-
Palestinian fly-in serves Israel´s PR interests
Israel´s efforts to stop the pro-Palestinian ´flytilla´ have been
ruled successful, but there is still a difference of opinion among
Israeli officials as to whether the "stopgap solution" was effective,
or did it actually do Israeli PR more harm than good, in the long-run.
Israel´s diplomatic efforts vis-à-vis the European Union were largely
successful, as most European airlines refused to allow pro-
Palestinian activist to board their flights.
Despite organizers´ prediction that over 1,500 people will arrive in
Israel, only about 100 arrived and authorities refused the entry of
78 people; the majority of whom were detained and are now awaiting
Only a handful of activists eventually arrived in Bethlehem.
Former Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Liel believes the mass
security forces deployment at Ben Gurion International Airport shamed
Israel, while Zvi Mazael, former Israeli ambassador to Sweden, said
that refusing to allow the activists entry to Israel further impeded
the anti-Israeli bloc´s efforts to seek legitimization.
Liel cautioned that Israel´s reaction to what he called "a bunch of
students and elderly ladies from Europe, who only wanted to hoist a
sign in favor of a Palestinian state," was disproportionate.
"I don´t understand what´s the big deal. Why are we so afraid of
In the time that has passed since the first Gaza flotilla, Liel
noted, Israel has become exceptionally proficient at dealing with
such events. "But I want us to be different than the countries where
you can´t protest at the airport.
"This raving logistic success doesn’t make me happy… Trampling over
the right to say ´I support Palestine´ is exaggerated and
Mazael, however, disagrees. The former ambassador said he believes
there is great difference between pro-Palestinian acts and anti-
"Israel did well in preparing as it did and making sure that the
activists were refused entry.
"It´s important to understand that these were not peace activists but
provocateurs who only wish to see Israel isolated even further."
Mazael says the "flytilla" was the brainchild of Palestinian
elements, who "joined forces with European and American radical-Left
activists and are operating alongside innocent students, many of whom
don’t really understand the core of the conflict, Islam or why they
were dragged here.
"Israel prevented a potential PR catastrophe," he asserted, adding
that one of Jerusalem´s greatest achievements vis-à-vis the fly-in
was minimizing the global media´s interest in the move.
"The fact that nothing happened made it uninteresting to the media.
Any riot would have made headlines and have fueled the Arab deceit,
which is already backed by the European Left and naïveté. That´s a
very dangerous combination for Israel," he concluded. (Copyright 2012
© Yedioth Internet 04/16/12)
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