Evelyn Gordon, always worth a read, has an article in Commentary magazine online entitled “New Poll Shatters Myths on Gaza Blockade and Settlement Freeze.” Not only do I feel personally vindicated for my skepticism that the blockade on Gaza has failed to sour relations between Hamas and the Gazans; I am also heartened that despite what the media would have us believe about terror enjoying a happy home in the hearts of all Arabs who call themselves Palestinians, there is a sign that cooler heads exist within that population. The myths explored (or, in most cases, exploded) in the article include the following:
1) Israel’s blockade of Gaza in general, and its botched raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla in particular, has only strengthened Hamas.
2) Palestinians’ prime concern is ending Israeli settlement construction.
3) Israel’s war on Gaza last year was counterproductive.
Gordon concludes her piece with the following observation: “But here’s one thing that really is counterproductive: Western governments making policy based on what they want to believe rather than on the facts. Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.”
This is not to say that Arabs across Gaza, Judea and Samaria are clamoring to join hands with the Israelis and start a love train. Three Israeli policemen were attacked by Arabs last week near Hebron, wounding two and killing one, a probable result of the removal of the dozens of checkpoints that have been dismantled in this part of the country in recent months. Syria’s Bashar Asad appears to be looking for any excuse, however lame (the Mavi Marmara, to be exact) to threaten Israel with war this summer. And neighbors of ours, longtime Efrat residents, just sold their house and moved to Jerusalem stating as one reason for moving that they just can’t take another terror war out here. Indeed, the dramatic enlargement of the Emergency Medical Center here in Efrat with expanded 24/7 service, and the completion of a large chain grocery store a few minutes away at Gush Junction, may or may not be preparation for the next battening down of the hatches.
Hamas and Hizbullah can have only one goal in mind in their rearmament, and that is for another confrontation with Israel. Rumors abound as to the range of their rockets and which cities are most likely to be targeted. Ironically, in 2006, Efrat and many other settlements served as safe havens for Israelis who left their homes in the north until things quieted down: Israelis who until that experience had considered the settlements dangerous, and a nuisance. You live and learn.
Whatever grandiose plans the Arabs may or may not be hatching for summer fun, this poll is a ray of light for those who don’t automatically assume that Israel messes up everything, or that the media are always competent to present a true picture of the Middle East as it really is.
Hat tip: Yael V.