Israelis Stop Hamas Blockade Run
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air has a very good summary of points about the Hamas-backed attempt to break the maritime blockade of Gaza on May 31. The summary includes links on the Turkish â€œaidâ€ group, Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), and its associations with the Muslim Brotherhood and all the usual suspects of Islamist terror (including the Millennium bombing plot in 1999). There is convincing video footage of the fight mounted by the peace activists â€“ using knives, metal pipe, handguns, stun grenades, and incendiary devices â€“ against the Israeli commandos boarding M/V Mavi Marmara, the Turkish ferry used as the flotillaâ€™s flagship. Probably the best compliment I can give Edâ€™s post is that it doesnâ€™t adopt the credulous, pro-activist editorial perspective of virtually all the mainstream media outlets.
There is good reason not to. For one thing, the fingerprints of Hamas are all over this blockade-running attempt. IHH, a key organizer of the flotilla, has longstanding ties to Hamas that include establishing an IHH office in Gaza and setting up celebrated meetings between its leader, Bulent Yildirim, and Hamas leaders Khaled Meshal and Ismail Haniyeh. Moreover, British participation in the flotilla was organized by British Hamas leader Mohammed Sawalha, among other Hamas links to the European flotilla participants (laid out here).
Flotilla spokesmen told Islamic media repeatedly in the weeks before the attempt that their purpose was to break the blockade. Israel, of course, regularly allows aid convoys into Gaza; the Israelis offered to accept the humanitarian cargo in Ashdod and have it convoyed into Gaza over land. But IHH leaders stated that they hoped to widen the rift between Israel and Turkey by inciting Israel to take military action against the flotilla.
A roundup at the Standard blog
Power Line has video and links
Melanie Phillips: "This was an Islamist terror ambush"
Gazaâ€™s markets are full of produce, thousands of tons of supplies are travelling into Gaza every week through the Israeli-controlled border crossings, and there is no starvation or humanitarian crisis. It was always obvious that the flotilla was not the humanitarian exercise it was said to be. Here is footage of the IDF offering to dock the Marmara -- the main flotilla ship -- at Ashdod and transfer its supplies and being told â€˜Negative, negative, our destination is Gazaâ€™.
And now we can see that the real purpose of this invasion -- backed by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a radical Islamic organization outlawed by Israel in 2008 for allegedly serving as a major component in Hamasâ€™s global fund-raising machine -- was to incite a violent uprising in the Middle East and across the Islamic world. As I write, reports are coming in of Arab rioting in Jerusalem.
The notion â€“ uncritically swallowed by the lazy, ignorant and bigoted BBC and other western media â€“ that the flotilla organisers are â€˜peace activistsâ€™ is simply ludicrous.
The chorus of condemnations raining down on Jerusalem only hours after the incident shows the depth of anti-Israeli passion around the world, as governments, NGOs, and UN officials are all chiming in with the usual refrains about the use of â€œdisproportionateâ€ force, as well as the myth about the shipsâ€™ seeking to alleviate a humanitarian crisis in a region where food and medical supplies are not barred by the Israeli and Egyptian blockade, which is aimed at forcing Hamas to either step down from power or recognize Israel.
But while Israeli spokesmen will be scrambling to tell their side of the story in the coming days, the spotlight on â€œliberal Zionistsâ€ will be crucial in determining not only the way American Jewry responds to the crisis but also the reaction from the Obama administration.
As with the case of Israelâ€™s December 2008 counterattack on terrorist strongholds in Gaza after years of ceaseless missile attacks on its southern towns and villages, todayâ€™s naval confrontation offers American Jews a stark choice. They can back Israel or Hamas.
Spiegel Online: Israel Falls into the Trap
Veteran Israel journalist Ron Ben-Yishai at YNet describes IDF soldiers who were ill-prepared for having to disperse a violent response. â€œDonâ€™t shoot, donâ€™t shoot,â€ the soldiers yelled to each other as they were attacked, picked off one by one as they landed on the deck, still believing they were dealing with innocent ideologues rather than orchestrated violence. â€œNavy commandoes slid down to the vessel one by one,â€ Ben-Yishai reports, â€œyet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly.â€ Later on, caches were found on board containing more weapons. Whatâ€™s clear is that these people were prepared for a fight - peace activists, indeed.
UPDATE: A good friend of mine is a nurse who was on duty in the emergency room at a Jerusalem hospital when some of the injured â€œactivistsâ€ were brought in. She tells me that many of them are wearing camouflage. â€œNot sure they were official Turkish army clothes,â€ she says, â€œbut they werenâ€™t civilian dress, thatâ€™s for sure.â€
UPDATE 6/1: Jim Geraghty (from email newsletter Morning Jolt)
Digesting all this, I'm left wondering . . . the world has a lot of Rachel Corries, doesn't it? An armored bulldozer with momentum is not persuaded by your shining moral clarity. Bullets do not alter their courses because you are an outsider trying to make a bold statement about the necessity of peace in a region that hasn't known it in centuries. And when the Israeli Navy says "Stop," they're not joking around. You may think their order to stop is the most unjust thing since the last issue that got you to stand around and chant at a building, but ignoring it brings predictable hard consequences. Reality doesn't care whether or not you think it's fair. (I notice a large chunk of this crowd were Turks. I suspect these Turkish civilians got what they wanted: a chance to fight Jews.)