The 2011 Flotilla II: 9 Basic Facts
The flotilla organizers blatantly violate international law by trying to breach a legal maritime blockade. According to international and customary law, Israel has the legal right to impose a land and naval blockade on Hamas-controlled Gaza. Hamas is openly dedicated to Israel’s destruction, has been in an ongoing state of armed conflict against Israel, and has fired over 10,000 rockets into Israeli civilian centers. Israel has the legal right and responsibility to protect its citizens by inspecting goods entering Gaza to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas.
The flotilla organizers intend to aid and support Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organization by members of the international community, including the U.S., Canada, Israel, the EU, Japan, and Jordan. Hamas’ founding document calls for the murder of Jews, the “obliteration” of Israel, and Israel’s replacement with an Islamist theocracy.
The flotilla organizers are trying to provoke a violent confrontation. If they were sincerely concerned about humanitarian aid for Gazans, they would deliver it through official Israeli entry points. Israel has repeatedly offered to deliver goods after officially inspecting them for weapons. The organizers have refused to comply. Instead, they hope their provocative, hostile breach of the blockade will compel Israel to use force and make Israel look like an aggressor.
Gazans are not facing a humanitarian emergency that justifies breaching the blockade. Humanitarian and consumer goods enter Gaza on a daily basis. UN officials repeatedly confirm that there is an ample supply of food and consumer goods. Israel only limits the entry of dual-purpose goods that could be used for weapons. International statistics indicate that Gazans have a higher standard of living than people in nearly all of Africa, including South Africa, as well as parts of Asia and the Middle East. In fact, Gaza faces a glut of goods, not a shortage of goods, according to recent press reports.
Hamas, not Israel, has caused the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza. Hamas has chosen war against Israel instead of peaceful coexistence. It has imposed a repressive, dictatorial, fundamentalist regime on Gaza residents and has murdered its political rivals.
Flotilla organizers claim to be “nonviolent peace activists” and “human rights activists.” They are not. They are members of extremist organizations that support terrorist groups and are dedicated to the destruction of Israel. The Free Gaza Movement is an affiliate of the International Solidarity Movement, which opposes the existence of the Jewish state. The IHH (Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation) is a Turkish Islamist organization with links to jihadist organizations in Bosnia, Syria, Iraq, Libya, and elsewhere.
If flotilla organizers really were peace and human rights activists, they would not go to Gaza but to Libya or Syria, where the brutal Assad regime has arrested, tortured, and murdered thousands of nonviolent, freedom-seeking demonstrators and has caused thousands of others to become refugees.
The flotilla organizers are violating, not upholding, one of the most fundamental human rights—a nation’s right and responsibility to protect itself from enemies bent on murdering its citizens and destroying its state. “As a country, we will never tolerate our security being threatened, nor stand idly by when our people have been killed. We will be relentless in defense of our citizens.” —U.S. President Barack Obama, May 1, 2011
International leaders oppose the flotilla:
US: “[G]roups and individuals who seek to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions. … We want to just reiterate that there are established and efficient mechanisms for getting humanitarian assistance through to Gaza.” —U.S. State Department Spokesman Mark Toner, June 1, 2011
UN: “The secretary-general called on all governments concerned to use their influence to discourage such flotillas, which carry the potential to escalate into violent conflict.” —Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, May 27, 2011
Canada: “Unauthorized efforts to deliver aid are provocative and, ultimately, unhelpful to the people of Gaza. Canada recognizes Israel’s legitimate security concerns and its right to protect itself and its residents from attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups, including by preventing the smuggling of weapons.” — Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, May 28, 2011
France: “[T]he boarding of any naval vessels which are known to have the intention of breaking the naval blockade imposed on Gaza is strongly discouraged, given the security risks associated with such an undertaking.” —Official Statement
EU: “I don’t consider a flotilla to be the right response.” —Catherine Ashton, EU High Commissioner for Foreign Policy
Turkey: “We are reconsidering our plans [about participating in the flotilla]. … From our point of view, the developments in neighboring Syria are critically important.” —IHH Board Member Hüseyin Oruç, June 14
Background on the 2010 Flotilla:
Israel offered to have the ships dock in Ashdod port and to transfer the aid to Gaza. This offer was made again and again. Five boats complied and were safely led to shore. The sixth boat refused.
The sixth boat – the Turkish Mavi Marmara – is the boat where the violence took place.#Armed with knives and metal bars, those on board the Marmara carried out pre-planned violence. A mob of extremists attacked each Israeli soldier. They threw one soldier off the top deck of the ship.
The Turkish boat was sent to provoke – it was funded and organized by a Turkish Islamist organization, the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), that has links to fundamentalist jihadi groups.
Israel transfers about 15,000 tons of supplies and humanitarian aid every week to the people of Gaza.
Israel said it will deliver any humanitarian aid that was in the boats to Gaza along with its own daily delivery of aid.
Israel left Gaza in hopes of peace in 2005 and, in return, received more than 8,000 rockets and terrorist attacks. Israel has sought peace and compromise with its neighbors for all of its 62 years, and it will continue to do so.
Hamas is responsible for the suffering of both Palestinians and Israelis. Their racist charter calls for Islamic domination; their stance is unchanged, and they repress any Palestinians that try and counter their regime.