The IDF is well-versed in maritime and other law. Israel knows that it must apply its blockade unequivocally across the board, to all maritime traffic regardless of where it is from, if it is not to have an Iranian-armed next-door neighbour in Hamas. Hamas’ Charter sets out what it wants to be able to do to Israel and Israel cannot let that happen. This means that no matter how many boats attempt to run the blockade, however misplaced their righteous indignation when they are collared and arrested and sent home or banned for ten years from Israel; however violently they resist being boarded, Israel cannot afford to let them through, and not only because the first part of the Turkel Commission’s report of the enquiry by the UN into the last flotilla has ruled that the blockade of Gaza is legal.
Nevertheless in spite of warnings from the Israeli and US governments that participation in the “Freedom Flotilla 2″ would constitute an illegal act, boatloads of useful idiots for Islamism and more than a few from the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) will try to descend upon Gaza in the coming days from various countries.
Many have at least one thing in common – ignorance, wilful or genuine, of the true motives behind the over-publicised attempt to break the blockade of Gaza. Others hate Jews but would have us believe that their animus is directed against the “Zionist entity.”
Some, however, are not so easily fooled, or blind to the obvious even though they may support the flotilla. This from the Radio Nederlands webpage shows us how the scales fell from the eyes of this reporter and several others as they all jumped ship. Note in particular:
“.. Things started going wrong from the very beginning. During our first meeting on the Greek island of Corfu, we received the usual latest updates, and then one of the organisers informed us that one of the Dutch journalists had leaked secret information to the most popular Dutch daily about the mission. She was furious: No one is as open as the Free Gaza Foundation, she proclaimed indignantly.
“But I have worked as a journalist for the past 25 years, and never have I experienced such a closed organisation…”
“… After this welcoming message, she explained the ground rules to us. There were many, many non-negotiables. “If you don’t accept this, you can’t come along.” I wanted to make a video report, filming the two days of obligatory training sessions to convey a sense of how the activists were preparing for the mission. But the organisation declared numerous sessions off-limits. I and the other Dutch journalists present explained that we needed this footage to do our work. But she wouldn’t have it. “I have worked with CNN, Al Jazeera, BBC, and no one has been as demanding as you Dutch reporters.”
“Eventually there was a hand count and the activists voted us out of those sessions. We journalists all felt that a schism had been created for no reason. We also began to lose faith and trust in the organisation, both essential ingredients when undertaking such a risky trip….
“I expressed an interest in joining the mission earlier this year when I heard that the Dutch were going to send their own vessel to Gaza for the first time. There would be over 30 participants, including prominent members of Dutch society. An Italian delegation with 20 people would also take part.
“I then attended meeting after meeting in various cities in Holland. I had to be screened because – I was told – there were so many people wanting to travel to Gaza. When the organisers called to say I had passed the screening and been chosen as one of the select group of people who would set sail, I felt obliged to express my joy.”
“Now, back in the Netherlands, over three months later, I feel deceived. There never was a “select group”. There were no prominent Dutch figures interested in joining Freedom Flotilla2. Instead of 32 people from the Netherlands, the organisation managed to assemble just eight activists and four journalists. Yesterday [Monday], two more journalists decided to jump ship before the boat even left the port of Corfu.
“Since day one, journalists, including myself, asked questions about the Dutch organisation and the boat, for example about the funding. Even simple questions about the ship’s power supply for me to hook up my satellite transmitter. The answer was consistently: “I’ll get back to you about that” or “we don’t know”. I’m still waiting for answers…..”
Note also the persistence of the flotilla members’ delusions in spite of this journalist’s sensible advice. If his account is at all representative of the members’ experiences, it seems that this flotilla is the archetypal camel which started out as a horse but was designed by a committee.
Delve a little deeper than he did, however, and you come to the real motives behind this fun-loving, “peaceful” jaunt. The flotilla is organised by none other than Muhammad Sawalha, from the safety of the UK (the government of which allows him a free hand to do so whilst decrying the Islamist terrorism his organisation supports). Sawalha is the excessively litigious representative of the Ikhwan there.
Sawalha’s influence is great and stretches far. He has been allowed to get away with most of his activities because the strong suit of the Ikhwan and of other Islamist bodies in the UK is to despise western democracy on the one hand whilst using its laws to try to stifle debate about or criticism of their behaviour on the other (see AKUS’ article and also here, and here). As AKUS has said Muhammad Sawalha’s spiteful yet successful machinations behind the Spectator’s ignominious appeasement of his particularly repulsive form of Ikhwan bullying, would not be tolerated in the USA. However, the Ikhwan has the measure of the spinelessness of successive UK governments whose over-eager attempts to engage with Islamist extremists has blinded them to Islamist’s real agenda and has set a woeful precedent for more such goings on. The most polite explanation of the UK’s behaviour is that it cannot realise that it is sending mixed messages to Islamists, but this monumental oversight (if allowing an avowedly antisemitic Islamist into the UK after having issued an exclusion order against him only the previous week can be called a mere oversight) almost beggars belief!
Given that the “Freedom Flotilla 2″ is organised by Sawalha from the safe haven of the UK (the same Ikhwan who, remember, are brothers of Hamas) and is probably carrying Ikhwan members, can we really expect them to behave peacefully and respond peacefully to Israel’s demands to be allowed to board and to be towed into Ashdod? Hardly. Even the Guardian’s soul mate in Israel, Ha’aretz, ran a story which cast doubt on that. It matters little whether they are carrying letters, balloons, hearing aids, or tons of bubble gum – it is important to the Ikhwan that they break the blockade for the reasons I have set out above, and particularly in view of the following:
In January 3 2002, the Israeli Navy and Air Force seized the Karine-A, purchased by the Palestinian Authority and loaded with 50 tons of weaponry supplied by Iran and Hizb’allah, which it planned to transfer to the Palestinian Naval Police force on Gaza beach near El Arish. According to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
“…The shipment included both 122 mm and 107 mm Katyusha rockets, which have ranges of 20 and 8 kilometers respectively. It also contained 80 mm. and 120 mm. mortar shells, various types of anti-tank missiles, anti-tank mines, sniper rifles, Kalashnikov rifles and ammunition. From Gaza, the 122 mm. Katyushas could have threatened Ashkelon and other coastal cities; while from the West Bank, Ben-Gurion International Airport and several major Israeli cities would have been within their range….”
Also on board was equipment which could have facilitated seaborne attacks from Gaza against coastal cities in Israel.
On March 15 2011, Israeli Navy commandos seized a cargo ship, the German-owned “Victoria”, in the Mediterranean, while it was en route to Alexandria, from whence the Iranian arms and ammunition it was carrying would be smuggled into Gaza via tunnels from Egypt. Iran, of course, denied it had supplied the arms.
Arms and ammunition, almost certainly from Iran, continue to be smuggled into Gaza via tunnels from Egypt where the ships that transport them dock.
It should be evident that this apparently benign bunch of useful idiots is mere window dressing for the Ikhwan’s attempt to undermine the legality of the blockade. If they are allowed to break the blockade then Israel will not be able to apply it legally against the boatloads of arms and ammunition which will inevitably be sent by sea to Gaza from Iran in future.