On Monday, the “Freedom Flotilla” was on its way to the Gaza Strip with several boats. The vessels, flying the flags of the United States, Turkey, Greece, Comoros, Sweden, and Kiribati, set sail toward the Gaza Strip despite warnings by the Israeli military. An Irish ship and second American ship were unable to sail due to mechanical issues.
The ships held 663 people from 37 countries. They claimed that their goal was to bring humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. However, even leaders and participants admit that their primary goal was to bring media coverage to their attempts to break Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza. Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas terrorists, is a hotbed for attacks against Israel.
As the lead ship, the Mava Marmara, moved closer to the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Defense Forces ordered the ship to stop at 11:00pm local time on May 30th. The six ships were told to divert to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where the supplies on the ships would be inspected and delivered into Gaza. The Mava Marmara, a Turkish ship, continued forward anyway.
The Israeli Navy gave the following message to the captain of the Mava Marmara, a civilian cruise ship, not a supply ship:
“Mavi Marmara, you are approaching an area of hostilities which is under a naval blockade. The Gaza area coastal region and Gaza harbor are closed to all maritime traffic. 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 authorities’ regulations 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.”
The Mava Marmara replied negatively and continued on its course. At 4:00am local time on May 31st, members of Shayetet 13, an elite naval commando brigade, boarded the ship. They repelled from a helicopter armed with paintball guns as a primary weapon. Each also held a handgun.
As the Israelis boarded the ship, they were violently attacked. The attack was not physically provoked. Several videos have been released showing the brutal attacks against the Israeli soldiers.
This video, thanks to Elder of Zyion, shows the activists lining up to beat a soldier as he lands on the deck of the ship.
This video, also thanks to the Elder, shows the “peaceful activists” stabbing the soldiers.
This video is the most descriptive of the bunch. My friend Aylee shared this on Facebook.
It does not take a military analyst to see what happened. The passengers of the Turkish ship were not there for peaceful purposes. They were there to break the blockade and were fully prepared to violently attack anyone who tried to stop them.
Many countries and organizations have made huge accusations and demands because of Israel’s “attack” on the “peaceful” ships. However, Israel had every right and responsibility to take action against the activists. David at Treppenwitz did research into the entire blockade, and it is legal:
Actually, in technical/legal terms, it is not a blockade per se since although Israel handed over all of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority in 2005, we retained control of the airspace and borders (including both land and sea borders). [Note: This, not incidentally, is one of the reasons that our claims of no longer occupying Gaza are relatively weak.] But if we never relinquished control of the borders and airspace, is it legally a blockade? Not really. The result is the same (at least as far as Hamas is concerned), but blockading our own coast is not the same as if we were blockading another sovereign state.
While there are many countries around the world who do not support the so-called blockade of Gaza, few except NGOs and ‘interested parties’ use the term ‘illegal’ to describe it.
Essentially, the terrorists and terrorist supporters on the ship did exactly what they intended to do. They brought Israel under international scrutiny for enforcing a blockade on ship traffic into Gaza. Israel quickly turned over the goods to the people of Gaza, but even Hamas did not accept it.
So what can Israel do now? It has released the cargo into Gaza. It has deported, rather than prosecute, the violent offenders. Israel is playing diplomatic catch up to fix what has gone wrong. It is specifically trying to mend damaged ties with Turkey, a key Muslim ally.
But even Michael Moore’s website says exactly what needs to be said: “Israel has vowed to prevent the ships from docking in Gaza, offering instead to send the aid through its own crossings after carrying-out security checks.” Israeli forces were not out for blood. They were not out for violence. They were not carrying machine guns. They were attacked by terrorist supporters and defended themselves. Unfortunately, some of the attackers were killed in the process.
Navy Commandos: “Ship Activists Came for War” - Jerusalem Post
Flotilla Incident Complicates Relations with U.S. - Washington Post
The Maritime Blockade of Gaza – Legal Background - Israel Foreign Ministry
Gaza Flotilla Docks in Ashdod - Ha’aretz
Turkish Funds Helped Group Test Blockade of Gaza - New York Times
The Terror Finance Flotilla - Weekly Standard
Netanyahu: Blockade of Gaza Still Necessary - Ha’aretz