Most media articles and Internet postings on the attempt to bring boats of ‘activists’ and ‘aid’ into Gaza all start with the flotilla itself and don’t examine why it was sent.
There is much more to the story than six ships carrying goods into Gaza, but that’s where the majority of the media accounts will be focused. Ignored will be the gigantic anti-Israel Islamist-Turkish-Western Leftist coalition of over two hundred organizations giving it their support. This anti-Israel coalition of international terrorist affiliated groups made common cause with the brutal regime that rules Gaza, Hamas, and is similarly dedicated to the destruction of Israel. While an orchestrated media effort is now working overtime to embarrass Israel, little is said about the disingenuous reasons for creating the flotilla in the first place.
‘End the blockade’ is the phrase used to justify the flotilla’s mission; but Israel provides literally tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza on a regular basis and facilitates the ability for others to do the same. Every day there is food, medicine and consumer goods trucked into Gaza from Israel. Medical aid is proffered as well. Gaza is not starving. A strange blockade indeed.
Israel also offered to bring the cargo on these six ships into Gaza via its established gateways where it could be screened for weapons and explosives. Israel’s procedures are set up so that rockets, like the ones bombarding Israeli civilians every day, weren’t part of any shipments allowed into Gaza. Egypt also offered to expedite delivery of the cargo on these ships. But then again, it is not about ‘humanitarian aid.’ It is about the right to freely send weapons into Gaza that is at issue here. It’s clear that this spectacle was designed to isolate Israel and in so doing question her legitimacy. Israel’s choices in dealing with this tactic were limited to defining the degree of force she could use to assert her right to defend herself.
Criticism of Israel comes from both sides: she didn’t come on strong enough or she used too much force. This further focuses the debate, not on the rockets that fly into Israel from Gaza on a regular basis, but on the means Israel used to retain her rights.
One of the more frequent historical analogies being used by some analysts is that of the Exodus, the blockade busting ship made famous in Leon Uris’ novel. The public relations equation has been advanced so Israel is portrayed this time as the strong power, and the wrongly described “non violent humanitarians” on the flotilla are cast as the weak and persecuted victims. The context of the two events, however, is markedly different. Israel’s asserting her right to defend her own people and borders by standing up to a terrorist organization bent on her destruction is far different than Great Britain’s actions as an occupying power attempting to hold on to a mandate over land with which she had no claim. ‘Occupation,’ though, is the Hamas narrative that is now being disseminated around the world – and this incident furthers their assault on the truth.
One comparison we won’t see is between this event and the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the United States Navy turned away a Soviet force attempting to bring nuclear capable missiles to Cuba. The United States risked nuclear war to assert her rights just as Israel risks world-wide opprobrium and isolation to maintain hers.
To focus only on the flotilla and the events that ensued while ignoring the context in which it was positioned is to implicitly deny Israel the right to defend herself and to tacitly join with those who challenge her right to exist.