This past Sunday, 18 professional pro-Palestinian international activists made a pathetic attempt to “run” the Israeli security sea blockade of the Gaza strip with four small yachts, in order to “bring much needed medical supplies to the “poor Gazans suffering under the brutal and oppressive Israeli occupation.”
Unlike a similar attempt in May 2010 (the Mavi Marmara incident), this time the lead boat, the Swedish-flagged Marianne, stopped in international waters when it was ordered to do so by Israeli naval commandos from the Shayetet 13 special forces, agreed to be peacefully boarded and was towed to the navy base at the port of Ashdod.
The other three small boats turned around and returned to Greece.
In Ashdod the activists aboard the Marianne were questioned then handed over to the immigration authorities, who took them to Ben-Gurion airport to be expelled. They were told that they are now blacklisted and could never return to Israel.
The Israeli citizens on board — including Joint Arab List Member of Knesset Basel Ghattas — were handed over to the Israeli police and Knesset authorities.
Prime Minister Netanyahu praised “the determined and effective detention of the passengers who tried to enter Gaza’s shores illegally. This flotilla is nothing but a display of hypocrisy and lies, which only helps the terrorist organization Hamas and ignores all the atrocities in our region.”
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon added: “This flotilla was not a humanitarian one and was not concerned for anyone’s welfare. The participants’ desire was to continue the campaign of Israel’s delegitimization. This is part of the spectacle of hypocrisy and lies of various bodies in the world, which prefer to strengthen and support a ruthless terrorist organization like Hamas.
“There is no siege on Gaza, and Israel is the only entity in the region that allows a constant entry of various commodities and the carrying out of humanitarian projects. But we have no intention of allowing any entity to smuggle weapons that will be directed against us.”
According to Israeli press reports, the Prime Minister’s Office on Sunday published a letter to be given to the activists upon their arrival. “It looks like you took a wrong turn,” read the letter. “Perhaps you meant to sail to a place not far from here — Syria. Where Assad’s regime is slaughtering its people on a daily basis, and this is done with the support of Iran’s murderous regime.”
As for the false premise that there is a shortage of basic goods, food, construction material, medicine, etc., here are statistics from only one day’s crossing of Gazans to and from Israel, and transfer of goods into Gaza. On June 14, 2015:
- 1,178 Gazans entered Israel via the Erez Crossing for business or medical reasons.
- 851 Gazans crossed back into the strip from Israel.
- Six ambulances transferred patients into Israel.
- 544 trucks carrying 16,982 tons of goods entered Gaza:
- 183 tons of gas for domestic use
- 225 thousand liters of oil
- 114 thousand liters of Benzene (for transportation)
- 71 thousand liters of heating fuel.
So as anyone can clearly see from the above, and from the fact that there is not one Israeli, soldier or civilian, anywhere in the Gaza Strip … It’s clear that:
- Gaza is not “occupied by Israel.”
- Israel is bending over backward to provide the Gazans with every basic humanitarian and medical need they have or request.
- The Israeli and Egyptian coastal security blockades are to prevent smuggling of terrorists, weapons and missiles into Gaza.
- This “flotilla” was simply an unnecessary publicity stunt to make Israel look bad … and nothing else.
Agree or disagree, that’s my opinion.