Despite the contradictory statements issued by the Prime Minister’s Office yesterday, the general direction is clear. Whether the decision has already been made, as the English statement indicates, or will become official only at a later stage, as the Hebrew statement implies, Israel has folded.
The right flank of Netanyahu’s cabinet is far from thrilled with these steps, and the same goes for senior defense establishment officials. But when the Obama administration insists, the Netanyahu government gives in.
The recent cabinet discussions appear to be cementing Israel’s image in the Arab – and perhaps also the Western – world as a state that mainly understands the language of force.
The Turkish passengers who beat Israeli naval commandos with clubs on the deck of the Mavi Marmara have scored a victory. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will now be portrayed as the leader who broke Israel’s resistance.
But even so, a partial easing of the blockade at an inconvenient time is better than continuing the current flawed policy.