Entry 9: The Gaza Flotilla

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called the IDF’s actions with regard to the Gaza flotilla a violation of International law and, “a bloody massacre.” 1 Such strong language might lead some to believe that the IDF carried out attacks against innocents, which couldn’t be further from the truth.  Israel warned Turkey nearly a week before the Flotilla reached Israel’s sovereign territory that it would only allow humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza through approved routes, specifically through the port of Ashdod. Even minutes before Israel boarded the flotilla on Monday it addressed (on tape, in English – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6jDIQr59Sk) the flotilla via radio and reiterated that Israel would only allow the aid in through approved channels, but this plea was disregarded. As Israel formally announced, “The organizers did not heed Israel’s efforts to prevent the boats from reaching Gaza through diplomatic dialogue, advance announcements, loudspeakers or radio messages. The organizers also rejected Israel’s offer to transfer the aid on board the vessels directly through Israel. They openly declared that their aim was to break the boycott.”

Were this “innocent” Flotilla in fact innocent, it would have come ashore at Ashdod and allowed Israel to search the cargo and deliver the humanitarian goods on board. This float was far from a humanitarian float, however. According to Defense officials, the IDF has identified roughly 50 passengers on the ship who could have terrorist connections with global-jihad affiliated groups. A number of other passengers who were searched by the IDF were found with thousands of dollars in cash on their persons, which was no doubt to be used to finance arms smuggling. During the IDF’s searches of the Mavi Marmara on Tuesday, it also discovered a cache of bulletproof vests, night vision goggles, and gas masks, hardly “humanitarian supplies.” 2 The latest reports have even shown that three of the four turkish passengers intended to die as martyrs.”Three of the four Turks killed in the Israeli attack on the “Freedom Flotilla” bound for the Gaza Strip wanted to die as Martyrs,” said their relatives and friends. 3

Despite the allegations of Turkey and numerous other countries, Israel acted in accordance with International law. Speaking to Channel 10 news on Monday night, Israel’s foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman pointed out that, “Israel is a sovereign state and cannot accept the undermining of its sovereignty. Israel has stopped ships in international waters before and when ships refuse to accede to warnings and obey instructions, we have the right to board them under international   law.” 4 The Israeli naval commandos refrained from using live fire until they had taken a beating, literally, and had been attacked with clubs, chains and knives for over forty minutes, according to the IDF’s report.  Any logical individual observing the footage cannot deny that the “innocent bystanders” were far from innocent. The footage clearly demonstrates the bystanders attacking the Israeli commandos seconds after they board the ship, which you can see for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1yS9Vs3Fzg . The commandos wielded toy paint guns. They did not board the boats with guns blazing shooting to kill as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan would like the UN Security Council to believe. Even when they did fire, they shot at the legs of their attackers rather than at their chests and head. The You Tube videos clearly show the so-called humanitarians attacking the soldiers as they slide down the ropes from their helicopter. The soldiers were assaulted within seconds of reaching the boat, not even having time to comprehend the facts on the ground that were so different from what they had been briefed on. These “peaceful protestors,” after having said repeatedly that they would only pose passive resistance, attacked the soldiers who boarded the ship with guns, iron bars and knives.” 5 Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev reported that when Israeli soldiers approached the Marmara, “the response was…brutal, deadly violence: knives, machetes, iron crowbars,” Regev said. “You just have to look at the injuries that our soldiers received.” 6

The Gaza flotilla is but one of countless examples of Israel’s extreme morality, showing the world once again that the IDF is the most moral army in the world, an army that is even willing to sacrifice its own soldiers rather than compromise its values. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu even decided that Israel will not prosecute nor continue to hold the participants it captured from the flotilla despite the fact that numerous protesters used deadly force against Israeli soldiers. Israel should be praised for the extreme restraint it demonstrated, not criticized. While the results were unfortunate, the blame for those killed and injured lies not on Israel but on those responsible for the Gaza flotilla who refused to stop at Ashdod, and on the violent protesters who viciously attacked Israeli soldiers.

1 – http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/middle-east/Turkish-PM-Slams-Israel-for-Bloody-Massacre-on-Ships-95310499.html

2- http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177169

3 – http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=2367

4 –  http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177047

5 – http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=177084

6 – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/01/AR2010060104000_2.html?hpid=topnews&sid=ST2010053101699

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