The pro-Hamas flotilla of international ships planning to defy Israel’s lawful naval blockade of Gaza is getting underway, despite some delays caused by insurance and mechanical problems. Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was spot on when he told Israel Radio that the so-called Freedom Flotilla II participants are nothing more than “terror activists, seeking to create provocation and looking for blood.”
The merchant ships of Hamas propaganda are supporting the terrorist organization that is the governing authority in Gaza and whose covenant calls for the killing of all Jews, the destruction of Israel, and the replacement of Israel with an Islamic state. The flotilla’s purpose is to rally international public opinion against the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state, striving to achieve on the propaganda front what Hamas is aiming to do with rockets and suicide bombers.
Flotilla activists seek to create an international incident by replicating last year’s flotilla confrontation, which led to the deaths of nine Hamas-sympathizers on board a Turkish ship. These extremists attacked Israeli soldiers who were attempting to enforce Israel’s lawful maritime blockade. Israeli’s soldiers acted in self-defense.
At least one of the vessels due to participate in this year’s flotilla is reportedly carrying “sacks of dangerous chemical materials” to be used against the Israeli troops, according to Israeli intelligence. The flotilla organizers are making sure that members of sympathetic press agencies, such as Al-Jazeera, CNN, and NBC, will be on hand to beam Israel’s “brutal” response to the world.
These merchant ships of Hamas propaganda are not “the Freedom Riders of this era,” nor a continuation of the fight against slavery, as one of the American flotilla leaders, Alice Walker, tried insanely to claim:
When black people were enslaved for 300 years, it took a lot of people from outside our community to help free us. This is a fine tradition–going to help people who need us anywhere on the planet. I look at you in the room; if we have salvation as humankind, it is in the room.
The abolitionists and Freedom Riders risked their lives to peacefully secure freedom and civil rights for our nation’s African-Americans. It is an insult to their memories to equate them with the flotilla agitators who have aligned themselves with terrorists trying to kill Jews simply because they are Jews.
The flotilla organizers deny they are on the side of Hamas. They claim they are just ordinary people moved by the human suffering of the Gazan people and who want to do what they can to bring the suffering to an end. Yet the truth gets in the way of their fairy tales. For example, the Free Gaza Movement is an affiliate of the International Solidarity Movement, which opposes the existence of the Jewish state. Adam Shapiro, an American co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and leader of the Flotilla II brigade, had this to say about violence back in 2002:
Palestinian resistance must take on a variety of characteristics, both violent and nonviolent. But most importantly, it must develop a strategy involving both aspects.
Sounds like the model for Shapiro’s flotilla comrades to use in their upcoming manufactured confrontation with Israel’s defense forces.
Then there is Hamas activist and United Kingdom Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad Kazem Sawalha, who has been identified by Iranian media as the coordinator of the current Gaza flotilla. And there is the European Campaign To End The Siege On Gaza, which is playing a leading role in organizing the flotilla. It just happens to operate from the same address and has the same telephone number as the Palestinian Return Centre, which just happens to have strong ties to Hamas and the Global Muslim Brotherhood.
The flotilla is certainly not the humanitarian mission that some of its propagandists would have us believe. There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Recognizing that the humanitarian fiction is being exposed, the activist Palestinian lawyer Huwaida Arraf tried to change the subject. She admitted to a press conference that the flotilla is not about humanitarian aid after all. It is intended to support Palestinians’ demand for “liberation.”
Even Jamal El-Khoudary, chairman of the board of the Islamic University in Gaza who has led Gaza’s Popular Committee Against the Siege, conceded that the siege on goods is now mostly over. The flotilla participants and supporters know they can get whatever true humanitarian aid they wish to provide to the Gazan people delivered to them through internationally recognized channels.
As reported by The New York Times on June 25th:
For the past year, Israel has allowed most everything into Gaza but cement, steel and other construction material — other than for internationally supervised projects — because they are worried that such supplies can be used by Hamas for bunkers and bombs.
Humanitarian and consumer goods enter Gaza on a daily basis. The Israeli Defense Force itself transports to Gaza 5800 tons of goods a day, roughly double what the flotilla claims to be bringing.
Considering Hamas’s use of Gaza to launch more than 10,000 rockets into Israeli civilian populations, Hamas’s ongoing state of armed conflict against Israel (which it has vowed to destroy), and its blatant attempts to smuggle in arms by land and sea, Israel is fully entitled under international law to protect its citizens by inspecting goods entering Gaza to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas. This is the purpose of the naval blockade. Ships’ cargo is inspected and can be delivered to bona fide recipients in Gaza once it is determined that no arms and materials for military use are included. Regardless of the security risks, Israel has made sure that the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza continue to be met.
According to the Times, “health conditions remain better than across much of the developing world.” Unemployment is down and there has been a building boom in Gaza, as the Times goes on to describe:
Two luxury hotels are opening in Gaza this month. Thousands of new cars are plying the roads. A second shopping mall — with escalators imported from Israel — will open next month. Hundreds of homes and two dozen schools are about to go up. A Hamas-run farm where Jewish settlements once stood is producing enough fruit that Israeli imports are tapering off.
Serious problems persist in Gaza, to be sure. But they are largely of Hamas’s own making, as it focuses more on planning and launching attacks against Israel than taking care of its own people. The flotilla is nothing more than a propaganda diversion from that hard truth.
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.