December 8, 2019

Winnipeg
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Editorial

Door is open

The Gaza flotilla was supposed to set sail Monday, bound for a deliberate confrontation with Israel. Instead, most of the ships involved — one of them ferrying about 30 Canadian activists — remained confined to port in Greece, Turkey and Cyprus. On Monday, eight of the 10 vessels involved were docked. The flotilla may not be finished yet, but Canadians who truly care about Gaza should hope it is.

The grounding of the flotilla and the scuppering of its intentions to bust the Israeli sea blockade of Gaza were the result of good diplomacy, good politics and common sense. Israel had worked diligently to get the Europeans to co-operate in preventing another confrontation like last year's disaster, when Israeli forces stopped a similar convoy of pro-Palestinian protesters and their ships. In that case, nine protesters were killed.

It was an incident Israel does not want repeated. Greece and Turkey, which at the moment have problems of their own — Greece is in economic collapse and approaching social chaos and Turkey is struggling to deal with a flood of refugees from a strife-torn Syria — chose not to aggravate the area's tensions to no good purpose.

And in fact, the flotilla serves no good purpose. The aid its organizers said they were delivering to Gaza could be delivered by other means. Israel has eased the restrictions on the land border with Gaza and promised to deliver the aid, as has the government of Greece.

That, of course, is not what the protesters are interested in. They are not so much pro-Palestinian, or concerned about the plight of the people in Gaza, as they are anti-Israel. The door is open to providing aid to Gaza. Truly concerned Canadians would use it, instead of seeking confrontation with Israel.

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Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board.

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