The stage was set. The glittering waters of the Red Sea and the picturesque mountains of Edom provided a beautiful backdrop for the grand show that was about to begin. Military attaches and foreign reporters sat facing rows of perfectly sorted missiles and enlarged images of printed shipping manifests. And orchestrating the entire show – was a talented orator and a self-proclaimed champion of Israel.
But the world wasn’t buying. Precisely at the moment Prime Minister Netanyahu tore the mask off the face of the Iranian regime, exposing it for what it really is – a conniving force of evil bent on terrorizing the world, European Union’s High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, was shaking the hand of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran. The world media hardly covered the event, and many foreign reporters in Israel chose not to join the party.
While there can be no doubt that from a military perspective the seizure of the Klos C cargo ship was a success, politically speaking, and perhaps also personally for Netanyahu himself – operation “Full Disclosure” was a failure.
The main purpose of the operation, as proclaimed by Netanyahu, was to remove the “threat hanging over the heads of Israel’s citizens”. This purpose was accomplished by a spectacular show of military action based on top-notch intelligence. From this point though – it all went south.
The purpose of the public-relations efforts that followed the operation was to reveal to the world the “true face of Iran” as one who grossly violates international law even while conducting talks with world powers, or in other words – prove the world is wrong in trusting the Iranians. This attempt failed miserably. The reasons abound – the world is busy negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program and is not interested in hearing the flaws of its current strategy. The world is tired of the Middle East and of Netanyahu’s endless doomsday prophecies. The truth may indeed be on Israel’s side, but this is of little consequence as long as Netanyahu is not trusted. The world, hypocritical as it may be, is tired of Netanyahu’s ambiguous peacemaking, negotiating on the one hand and leading unprecedented construction in the West Bank on the other.
As I watched the crowds cheering the return of the flotilla, the staged videos and photo ops, Netanyahu taking a bullet from the exhibition as a souvenir – I couldn’t help reminisce about different days when Israel kept a lid on its military operations. Somehow, despite the cloak and dagger, Israel’s adversaries knew exactly who and what had hit them.