What strikes me about much of what I see in the world press and the crocodile tears shed by the misguided of the world for the “peace activists” killed by Israeli commandos on the Mavi Marmara, is the clear lack of knowledge of history and even of basic facts of the region.
Common complaints are that Israel is choking the life out of poor Gaza, with no reasonable justification, and that Israel is using disproportionate levels of force.
My initial reaction is “WTF???”, but since obviously, that doesn’t really address the issues, let’s move beyond that reaction, and list a few facts. These facts are easy to verify, so I won’t put links, although if you can’t find data with a simple click on Google, let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction.
- Israel and the ruling regime in Gaza (Hamas) are in a DECLARED state of war. Hamas has declared war against Israel, formally. Their charter calls for Israel’s destruction.
- Hamas has launched over 6000 rockets at Southern Israel since Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza in September, 2005.
- Israel waited until January, 2009 to take significant action to try to stop the continuous bombardment from Gaza. This means that they sustained rocket fire to their civilian population centers for over 3 years before responding seriously. The response (invasion of Gaza) was taken after many, many warnings to Hamas that it was coming.
- Before and during the invasion, Israel telephoned, emailed, and leafletted residents of Gaza, warning them of imminent bombings of their areas, in an effort to reduce civilian casualties.
- Hamas has made significant and frequent efforts to obtain advanced, long-range weapons with which to reach additional Israeli population centers. Israel has stopped several ships containing massive amounts of weaponry.
- As a result of Hamas’ declared war and their continuing efforts to obtain weapons, Israel and Egypt instituted a blockade of Gaza. The blockade is both on land and sea.
- The Israeli land blockade allows about 15,000 TONS of humanitarian aid to pass into Gaza weekly, including food, medical supplies, clothing, and many more categories.
- Israel’s blockade by sea is LEGAL, and is a common tactic taken by entities at war with one another. It is designed to prevent weapons that would be used against Israel from reaching those who would use them.
- The recent flotilla that attempted to “break the blockade” (a quote by its organizers) was warned numerous times that they were in a war zone, and were not going to be allowed to pass without their cargoes being verified first for absence of weapons.
- The organizers of the flotilla refused to be diverted to an Israeli port, although Israel publicly and frequently offered to let them move their “aid” to Gaza after Israel verified there were no weapons on board.
- Israel may have been assured by Turkey’s Prime Minister (there is some speculation about this – it is not a fact I could verify to date) that the passengers were all non-violent, peaceful activists, and as a result, Israel did not expect or prepare for violent resistance to being boarded.
- On the sixth ship, the Mavi Marmara, there was a large contingent of mainly Turkish men, trained in combat and armed with knives, ax handles, metal pipes, etc.
- When Israeli troops, armed primarily with paintball guns and pistols for backup, rappelled onto the deck from helicopters, they were violently attacked, their pistols stolen, and shots fired at them from their own pistols, which they had not fired.
- Eventually, the Israeli troops took control, but only after 9 of the Turks were shot dead.
- Israel’s actions, while probably poorly planned, were LEGAL based on the Helsinki Principles on the Law of Maritime Neutrality, to which most of the nations (with seaports) of the world are signatories, including Israel. Israel has an absolute legal right to interdict ships attempting to run their blockade.
- The world’s reaction was predictable – instant condemnation of Israel, calls for investigation of the “facts”, even though the condemnations were already made and repeated by major media around the world, even in the face of video supporting the facts as I’ve laid them out above.
So, where does that leave us?
Wondering why the world is always ready to think the worst of Israel, regardless of facts easily verified by anyone with a computer and a connection to the internet.
The public grasp of history (or lack thereof) is appalling, but the parallel lack of knowledge by those paid to inform us of facts and those elected by us to govern is inexcusable.
When I watch the news and see mobs of Muslims calling publicly “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) and calling for eradication of Israel, killing of Jews everywhere, when I read about Jews being attacked on the streets of Europe, synagogues being defaced, and read that absolute bullshit that many believe about Israel, I’m truly stunned and amazed.
I can only conclude that those who stridently call for Israel’s destruction and cheer on the Islamic regimes that oppose Israel are in favor of misogynistic policies suppressing women, gays, and non-Muslims. What other conclusion might one reach?