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The Great “Peace Flotilla” Ambush?
How Israel fell into a trap, carefully set by its enemies
A short while ago, a “peace flotilla” of six ships set out to bring relief to the so-called “beleaguered” Gaza Strip and to break a naval blockade that Israel had imposed. Five of the ships peacefully obeyed the instructions of the Israeli military to unload their cargo in Ashdod, an Israeli port. There the cargo was examined. That which was, indeed, peaceful cargo, was promptly transferred to Gaza. The sixth vessel, the MAVI MARMARA, offered violent resistance to the Israeli commandos who had boarded the vessel. A melee ensued in which nine of the “peace lovers,” all Turks, offered violent armed resistance and were killed.
What are the facts?
Sponsored and egged on by Turkey. This “peace flotilla” was sponsored by a Turkish terror organization disguised as a “charity” and encouraged and egged on by the Turkish government. Its principal purpose was not to bring supplies to Gaza, but to confront Israel, which had instituted a naval blockade against the Gaza Strip. It was a win-win situation for the flotilla: Either they would reach Gaza and thus accomplish their stated purpose or they would become “martyrs,” an almost more desirable outcome for this group.
Gaza is under the control of Hamas, which is considered to be a rogue terror regime by the United States and many other countries. It is sworn to the destruction of Israel. Israel, in a splendid gesture of good will, had abandoned Gaza, removed its military and evacuated all 9,000 of its citizens, who had lived there for generations. This gesture of good will was a futile one. Instead of showing any appreciation for Israel’s accommodation, the Hamas government of Gaza showed its “gratitude” by lobbing thousands of rockets on an almost daily basis into Israeli cities within its reach.
Hundreds of tunnels connect the Egyptian-controlled Sinai with Gaza. Huge amounts of contraband, including rockets and other weapons – virtually all of them of Iranian provenance – enter Gaza through these tunnels, under the benevolent neglect of the Egyptian military.
No hunger or emergency in Gaza. The clamor that Gaza needs outside help, that its inhabitants lack the essentials for leading a normal life, is simply not correct. It is a propaganda ploy to demonize Israel. There is no hunger in Gaza and no hardship other than that imposed by its terrorist government, whose only inalterable purpose is the destruction of Israel. Tens of thousands of truckloads of food, medicines, and other essentials are allowed into Gaza on a daily basis. There is no shortage of medicine. Gasoline and diesel oil are amply provided. Israel supplies electricity to the Strip. The only thing that Israel does not allow to enter is material that could be used to construct weaponry.
Every day all Gazans who need medical attention that is not available in the Strip are allowed passage to be treated (without cost, of course) in Israel’s world-class hospitals. It is remarkable that all this help is being extended while Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas over four years ago, is not allowed even a visit by the Red Cross.
The blockade of the Gaza coast is essential for preserving the peace. Had Israel allowed the “peace flotilla” to enter a Gaza port, it would inevitably have led the way to the establishment of a de facto Iranian port in the Mediterranean, 40 miles from Tel Aviv and not much farther from Jerusalem. It is quite likely that the cargo of the “peace flotilla” was indeed peaceful goods. But there can be no question at all that, once the blockade was broken or abandoned, subsequent shipments would have included Iranian armaments too bulky or too heavy to supply through the tunnels and, most likely, also well-equipped and well trained-Iranian military personnel. What country would possibly allow anything like that to happen?
It is, of course, most regrettable that the intervention of Israeli commandos to stop the “peace flotilla” caused the deaths of nine Turks. But it was unavoidable. The trained “activists” of the MAVI MARMARA confronted the Israelis with hatchets, spears, clubs, and firearms, threw one commando overboard, and insured that a fire fight could not be avoided. Nine deaths, nine martyrs, was the expected and ultimately desired result.
Israel acted exactly as it should have and as could have been expected. No country would allow a blockade to be broken. Can anybody imagine that, even without an established blockade being in place, the U.S. Coast Guard would allow a vessel of a foreign country to dock in an American port without obeying an order to stop and be searched if necessary? But the world got into an uproar, the U.N. went into overtime, and Turkey – the instigator of the whole affair – declared Israel to be a criminal nation and recalled its ambassador. All of this happened only a short time after North Korea, without provocation, torpedoed a South Korean vessel, causing the deaths of 46 sailors. The world barely noticed. Angry mobs did not parade through the capitals of the world and no North Korean flags were burned. But Israel’s effort to stop the “peace flotilla” exercised the irate attention of the whole world and cast righteous Israel (once again) in the role of villain. What a sham!