What do Greece and Gaza have in common? Both face financial ruin because they refuse to honor the terms of their lenders and potential sponsors.
In the case of Greece, the Eurozone countries and the International Monetary Fund have come up with billions in bail-out money on condition that the country implement an austerity program that brings its deficit under control. The “proud” Greeks refuse to honor the agreement — they appear to be outraged that Europe would have the temerity to even ask them to do so — and are, as a result, staring into an economic abyss that could spell ruin for millions of people.
Gaza, which Israel evacuated lock, stock and barrel 10 years ago, could have likewise received billions in aid. The condition? That its rulers put aside their pathologic hatred of Jews and focus on building a vibrant economy. After all, they had a start: greenhouses left from Gush Katif that produced export-quality tomatoes and other produce that fetched top dollar. They had worked in those hothouses as laborers (in the good old days when they earned a steady income); now they could take them over and turn their own profits.
But just like the Greeks were incapable of imposing fiscal discipline and working harder, the Gazans just couldn’t control their Jew-hatred. The arms business — tunnel digging, missiles, military training camps — became the leading exports, unfortunately to Israel, instead of fruits and vegetables.
But there is one difference between Greece and Gaza. When Greece thumbs its nose at the world and declares that it refuses to honor what it views as “humiliating” terms, the world simply pulls the plug. What’s going to happen to the poor, the elderly, the children? That’s the problem of the Greek government and people; failing to honor agreements has consequences.
However, when it comes to Gaza, instead of the world admonishing Hamas for failing to implement a little “terror austerity,” it suddenly forgets about all the rules of responsibility. Agreements? Whoever said that aid to Gaza should be dependent on Hamas acting responsibly and not firing thousands of missiles at Jews? Don’t forget: There are hungry children in Gaza! (In the case of Gaza, unlike Greece, it doesn’t matter that the rulers have only themselves to blame.)
This week’s “aid” flotilla was part of this overall farce. It had nothing to do with humanitarian aid. As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu pointed out, if the organizers were truly motivated by humanitarian concerns, they would have headed a few hundred miles north to Syria, where “over 300,000 people have been slaughtered, millions have lost their homes and millions have been exiled from their country.”
Moreover, the notion that Gaza is blockaded is a lie. Israel permits 800 truck-loads a day of basic necessities and equipment, including cement that is meant for rebuilding but can, and is, being used for building tunnels. In all, Israel has delivered 1.6 million tons of material to Gaza, more than any other country, and 500,000 times more than the laughable aid that was on board the ships of the flotilla.
But Israel will not allow unsupervised vessels to reach the Gaza coast. It has experience with ships like Karine-A and others that were loaded with missiles and weapons, and has no intention of allowing Iran to send weapons by sea.
Greece and Gaza converged this week, when the crisis in Athens somewhat distracted the world media from the antics of the extreme-leftist provocateurs.
Baruch Hashem, this week’s flotilla was turned back without incident. But more will come, because there is no shortage of anti-Semites masquerading as great humanitarians.
While Israel can do nothing to completely shut them down, there are two steps that can and should be taken immediately.
One, it is untenable that an Israeli Arab MK, who is paid a very generous salary by the Israeli taxpayer, should be allowed to participate in an action that is meant to harm the state. That’s axiomatic for just about any democracy in the world.
Second, it has been disclosed that the French government has supported “The Platform of French NGOs for Palestine,” one of the groups behind the flotilla. The Platform, an umbrella organization for more than 40 anti-Israel groups, is active in the BDS campaign against Israel and demands an end to all agreements and relations between the European Union and Israel.
In March 2014, the French-taxpayer-supported Agence Française de Développement approved a three-year grant of 225,000 euros ($252,000) to the Platform, which supported its anti-Israel activities.
The past has seen legislative efforts to demand accountability of foreign-funded NGOs and curb their anti-Israel activities. But these have been voted down. A new bid is underway to get them passed. It’s time for the Knesset to act responsibly and pass them into law.