The Gaza Blockade, the “Peace” Flotilla and What Lies Between (Part 1)

When I switched on the radio Monday morning, the first thing I heard was that Israeli naval commandos had boarded the so-called "humanitarian aid" ship Mavi Marmara and that there was an unspecified number of dead and wounded, on both sides. By evening, it was clear that what had ensued was a major international incident. It was hard to resist the temptation to sit down at my computer and start blogging right away. I did resist it, however (with great difficulty), because – as regular readers of this blog will know – I prefer to check all my facts, rather than simply shoot my mouth off (unlike some bloggers, such as the obsessively anti-Israel, self-hating Jew Richard Silverstein).

The facts are these. A flotilla of ships, claiming to be carrying "humanitarian aid" and to be manned by "peace activists", set sail for Gaza in order to break the Israeli naval blockade, imposed by Israel in order to prevent military supplies being smuggled into Hamastan (aka Gaza) under the guise of "essential supplies". Now, let’s be clear about one thing. First of all, the "siege of Gaza" (as the "peace activists" like to call it) was not solely an Israeli operation. Egypt also closed its border with Gaza. Only Israel was internationally blamed and vilified for doing so, however. Secondly, essential supplies (by which I mean food, medicine, etc. but not including such items as could be used for military purposes)  have been entering Gaza on a daily basis from the Israeli side of the border.
Be that as it may, the Palestinians, together with a vast network of supporters from all over the world (not all of them innocent "peace activists", as we shall see later on) decided to "break the siege". The flotilla’s spokeswoman, virulent anti-Israel propagandist Greta Berlin, stated in an interview to AFP on May 27: "

This mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies, it’s about breaking Israel’s siege…" (May 27, AFP). In short, what the organizers wanted was to create an international incident, which would permanently end the naval blockade and allow a regular supply of weapons to be smuggled into Gaza by sea. (In the north, across the Lebanese border, there is already a regular supply of weapons being smuggled to Hizbollah, under the noses – or possibly even with the connivance of – UN observers, in defiance of the ceasefire which ended the second Lebanon War.)

Well, they certainly succeeded in provoking an international incident – and, I must say, I do think we might have handed the situation better, by sabotaging their propellers or stretching huge nets across their paths (which would have had the same effect) but instead, we chose to send in the Naval Commando. Unfortunately – and here was our biggest mistake – we sent them in equipped to deal with demonstrators – albeit violent demonstrators – but demonstrators nonetheless, and what we encountered was militarily trained mercenaries, who, as it later transpired, had thrown any identifying documents overboard but who each had envelopes containing about $10,000 in cash in their pockets.  These men attacked the Israeli commandos, who were armed with paintguns (used for breaking up demonstrations) and handguns (strapped to their ankles), as soon as the latter rappelled to the deck of the ship from helicopters. Now, you can imagine my dismay, on Monday morning when I heard an interview with the mendacious Ms. Berlin, who claimed that the flotilla organizers had installed 3 cameras on each ship which were transmitting live at the time the Israeli commandos first boarded the ship and that the live feed showed the Israelis landing on the deck and immediately opening fire. I asked myself, how could this be possible? For days before, we had been told that the Navy had been instructed to use the maximum restraint in carrying out their mission. Had someone become jittery and lost control?

I needn’t have worried – at least, not on that score. Our troops carried out their orders to the letter and only opened fire after they were attacked with clubs, crowbars, knives, iron chains – in short, anything that came to hand. The live feed from the ship mentioned by Ms Berlin proves, in fact, that the woman is an unprincipled liar. See for yourselves:

a) First of all, the Israel Navy warns the Mavi Marmara not to attempt to enter the port of Gaza and suggests that they land at the port of Ashdod, after which they will be allowed to transfer the cargo to Gaza by the official land crossings (which would allow Israeli inspection of the cargo and prevention of the transfer of weapons and other supplies which could be used for military purposes). The offer is rejected.



b) Meanwhile, on board the Mavi Marmara, the "peace activists" prepare for confrontation with Israeli forces: 



c) The so-called "peace activists" attack Israeli forces coming alongside the Mavi Marmara before a single Israeli commando boards the ship:                          


d) Next, the Israeli commandos attempt to board by rappelling down ropes from helicopters, and are promptly attacked by the "peace activists" with knives, crowbars and even firearms. Some of the guns were weapons seized from Israeli commandos who were almost lynched by the "peace activists" but it appears the "peace activists" also had their own firearms, as spent ammunition was found from weapons not used by the IDF:



And here, we can see the "peace activists" attacking the Israeli commandos, in film shot on board the Mavi Marmara, with film from the IDF surveillance cameras embedded, to further clarify the situation.



Following is the testimony of one of the commandos who took part in the operation:


Further evidence points to the fact that not only did the "peace activists" try to kill Israeli commandos, they also had the intention of kidnapping one or more of them.  Al-Jazeera cameraman, André Abou-Khalil, who was on board the Mavi Marmara, has confirmed, in an interview with Reuters, that 4 commandos from the first wave to board the ship, were attacked, beaten up with clubs and iron crowbars and forcibly held below until rescued by their comrades.

If anyone has any further doubts as to the true intentions of the organizers of this so-called aid flotilla, I would like to remind them that, not only did they refuse an Israeli offer to unload their cargo at Ashdod Port and transfer it to Gaza via the land crossings, after inspection by Israeli authorities, but that after the ship was, in fact brought to Ashdod and its cargo inspected (and items which could be used for military/terrorist purposes were confiscated), the Israeli Authorities loaded it up on lorries and conveyed it to the border point – where the Hamas authorities refused to accept it!   So now we must ask ourselves, was this "humanitarian aid" really needed at all? Are the people of Gaza really starving? Is there, in fact, a humanitarian crisis there? Or was this not all, rather, yet another Pallywood production, engineered from start to finish by Hamas, with the aim of making Israel look bad (in which, alas, they succeeded) so as to break a legal naval blockade which is preventing them from bringing arms freely into Gaza?        

I have more – much, much more – to say on this subject, but as it is nearly midnight, I will call it a day. My next post will deal with the legality of the blockade, the realities of life in the Gaza Strip and more besides.

Watch this space…..         



About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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2 Responses to The Gaza Blockade, the “Peace” Flotilla and What Lies Between (Part 1)

  1. GreatGranny says:

    I knew you would have the truth and I appreciate you for sharing. I\’ll look for forward to your next post. I hope and pray that you will always be safe and of course Possum and Pixie.

  2. Patricia says:

    Shimona, I think of you often…it\’s a dangerous time…take care over there…we are hanging on here and learning as much as we can…

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