The Flotilla and the Gaza Blockade
The Flotilla has often been used by anti-Israel proponents, as an example of Israel’s indiscriminate use of force, war crimes and disregards for civilian, humanitarian life. The true aim of this Flotilla was to break the Naval blockade enforced on Gaza since 2007, as a result of Hamas’ rise to power.
Hamas is recognized as a terrorist organization in many countries in the world. It is the organization within the territories, which has spearheaded numerous terrorist attacks, on Israeli citizens and on an almost continuous basis fires rockets indiscriminately into Israeli civilian territory. Hamas was founded on the belief that Israel has no right to exist, and any methods available are to be used to bring about the Jewish States demise. These sentiments are very well expressed in the Hamas Charter . To this day, Hamas refuses to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist.
It is understandable, that with such a neighbor, maintaining a naval blockade, is of utmost importance to the protection of civilian lives within Israel. What is commonly forgotten, or neglected, is the fact that both Israel and Egypt enforce the blockade. Israel in the North and Egypt in the South. A United Nations investigative committee in September 2011 concluded in the Palmer Report, that the Naval blockade is legal.
In June 2010 Israel eased the blockade for non-military goods. Israel does allow the passage of thousands of tons of aid (medical, construction, food, etc) through the Kerem Shalom border crossing on a daily basis. Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing to women of all ages, men below 18 years and men over 40 years, in May 2011. It still does restrict movement of goods into and out of Gaza.
On the 31st May 2010 six ships as part of a flotilla left Turkey on their way to Gaza in order to break this legal Naval blockade. This Flotilla was organized, primarily, by the Turkish non-governmental organization -Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH). This “Humanitarian” aid group is a well documented ally of Hamas and al-Qaeda, and was identified in the trial of the “millennium bomber” as playing a key role in the plot to blow up Los Angeles airport. On board one of the ships, the Mavi Marmara, were active terrorists who had been allowed to board without inspection in Istanbul and vowed on departure to become jihadist martyrs.
As the flotilla approached the area of the blockade, Israel repeatedly requested the ships reroute themselves to an Israeli port in Ashdod. There the goods would be unloaded, checked and sent to Gaza. This request was refused. In order to enforce this legal blockade, Israeli forces were left with no choice but to board the flotilla ships.
During the operation, flotilla members on the ship, the Mavi Marmara, violently attacked the Israel Defense Force personell with weapons, which included knives, metal rods, clubs and reportedly live gunfire. The soldiers were armed with paintball guns. In the resulting confrontation eight flotilla members were killed and more were wounded. At least seven Israeli soldiers were wounded, two critically. This loss of life was regrettable but could have been prevented with due co-operations from the flotilla members.
The aim of this Flotilla was clear from the outset. It was another way of delegitimizing Israel, through denying her, her right of self-defense. The journalists on board the ship were waiting for a show, and in due course they got the footage they wanted. The very fact that there were journalists on this ship from the outset, points to the try intentions of the participants. It was never truely about “humanitarian aid”. This farce of a set up, drew world wide condemnation of Israel well before any facts were uncovered. It once again drew attention to the impossible position Israel is in; damned if she does, and damned if she doesn’t!