Israel and America’s Flotilla Follies (and How To Avoid Them in the Future)

This article is from The Objective Standard, Vol. 5, No. 2.

On May 31, 2010, a flotilla of six ships manned by alleged “peace activists” motored toward Gaza, which, since 2007, has been controlled by the Iranian-sponsored terrorist group Hamas. But because Hamas openly seeks to destroy Israel and has already fired “more than 4,000 rockets and mortar shells [into the state] from Gaza,”1 Israel has imposed a blockade on the region. The “peace activists” ostensibly sought to breach the blockade and reach Gaza to deliver “humanitarian aid.” Their real goal, however, was revealed by their own words and actions.

As Palestinian Media Watch reports, the day before the flotilla reached the blockade, Al-Jazeera TV filmed the “peace activists” chanting an Islamic battle cry: “[Remember] Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!”2 What is Khaibar?

Khaibar is the name of the last Jewish village defeated by Muhammad’s army in 628. Many Jews were killed in that battle, which marked the end of Jewish presence in Arabia. There are Muslims who see that as a precursor to future wars against Jews. At gatherings and rallies of [Islamists], this chant is often heard as a threat to Jews to expect to be defeated and killed again by Muslims.3

As the ships approached the blockade, the Israeli navy issued repeated warnings: “You are approaching an area of hostility which is under a naval blockade. The Gaza area, coastal region and Gaza harbor are closed to all maritime traffic.” The navy also emphasized:

The Israeli government supports delivery of humanitarian supplies to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, and invites you to enter the Ashdod port. Delivery of the supplies in accordance with the authority’s regulations [i.e., Israel’s prohibitions on materials that could help Hamas assault Israel] will be through the formal land crossings and under your observation, after which you can return to your home ports aboard the vessels on which you arrived.4

The “peace activists” replied: “Shut up. Go back to Auschwitz.”—“Our destination is Gaza.”—“We’re helping the Arabs go against the U.S. Don’t forget 9/11.”5

When the “peace activists” refused to cease and desist, Israeli commandos proceeded to board the boat called the Mavi Marmara, with the goal of steering it and the flotilla toward the port of Ashdod. As the commandos rappelled one by one onto the deck of the ship without firing a single shot, the “peace activists” attacked them with steel bars, wooden bats, chairs, chains, and knives.6 In clear self-defense, the commandos eventually opened fire, killing several of the “peace activists”—for which Israel has been nearly universally condemned as evil.

Observe that the “peace activists” were patently not concerned with delivering “humanitarian aid” to Gaza. If that had been their goal, they would have accepted Israel’s invitation to redirect the flotilla to Ashdod, which is just north of Gaza, and have the goods transferred to Gaza by land. The “peace activists” rejected the offer because their actual goal was to force Israel’s hand in order to discredit her in the eyes of the “international community.” This, in turn, was intended to pressure Israel to remove or loosen the blockade on Gaza and thus to clear the way for Iran and other anti-Israel regimes to deliver weapons to Hamas for use against Israel. . . .

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Endnotes

1 The Israel Project, http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/apps/nl/content2.asp?c=hsJPK0PIJpH&b=689705&ct=4966107 (note that this figure is from 2008). Accessed on June 10, 2010.

2 Video: “Gaza Flotilla Participants Invoked Killing of Jews,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3L7OV414Kk. Accessed on June 10, 2010.

3 “Gaza Flotilla Participants Created War Atmosphere before Confronting Israel,” Palestinian Media Watch, http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=2323. Accessed on June 10, 2010.

4 Video: “Israeli Navy Addresses a Ship in the Flotilla and Offers it to Dock in the Ashdod Port,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKOmLP4yHb4. Accessed on June 10, 2010.

5 “Flotilla Activists: Go Back to Auschwitz,” Jerusalem Post, http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?ID=177572. Videos: “Israeli Navy Addresses a Ship in the Flotilla and Offers it to Dock in the Ashdod Port,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKOmLP4yHb4; and “Flotilla Ship to Israeli Navy: ‘We’re Helping Arabs Go Against the US, Don’t Forget 9/11 Guys,’” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pxY7Q7CvQPQ. Accessed on June 10, 2010.

6 Video: “Close-Up Footage of Mavi Marmara Passengers Attacking IDF Soldiers,” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYjkLUcbJWo. Accessed on June 10, 2010.