Later this month there will be another flotilla sailing towards Gaza trying to end the Israeli naval blockade. With the Rafah crossing with Egypt now open, why is the 2011 flotilla happening?
The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas unveiled a monument to nine Turkish activists killed last year during the Israeli raid on the flotilla seeking to break Israel's naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh led Tuesday's ceremony at Gaza City's harbor, on the first anniversary of the May 31, 2010 raid, in which Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish aid ship, the Mavi Marmara.
The monument, situated in a brand new public park, stands 10-meters high and features nine metal sails with a world globe on top.
This statue looks as if one of the Hamas rockets is sticking out of the earth after being fired. The globe appears as a statement of world domination.
Getting beyond the significance of its meaning, I have to wonder how these poor, poor people who are living is such squalor can afford such a park, a monument, the uniforms (on the sailors who have no navy), not to mention those beautiful buildings in the background. Yes, the Gaza Strip is doing quite well, but that is another story for another time.
Israel has been preparing - as well as training - to block the second aid flotilla which is due to sail from Turkey to Gaza, one year after last year’s deadly confrontation. This year’s flotilla will have up to 15 ships from at least 14 countries.
According to the Jerusalem Post, there are training programs and changes for this year’s flotilla,
This time around, the navy has been preparing rigorously for the operation, enlisting all of its Flotilla 13 commandos from the reserves and running different training models with various scenarios, from passive resistance – such as sit-downs – to potential gunfights and booby-trapped ships.
In addition to Flotilla 13 – better known as the Shayetet – the ships will be boarded by members of the Border Police’s Yasam Unit and the Prisons Service elite Masada Unit, both known for their expertise in crowd control and the use of non-lethal means to quell violent riots.
But it doesn’t end with just “non-lethal means”,
The teams will be supported by snipers – whose job will be to neutralize violent protesters before the commandos board the ships – with dogs from Oketz, the IDF’s canine unit, and operators from Yahalom, the elite unit from the Engineering Corps.
Thus far, France, Germany, Britain, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, Norway, Holland, Switzerland, Greece, Sweden, Spain, Canada and the United States have ships involved with passengers possibly reaching 1000 or more.
According to the Israel National News report,
A ship flying US colors and carrying 34 passengers is set to joint this year's Gaza-bound, IHH-sponsored “Freedom Flotilla 2” in June.
This year's American vessel, named The Audacity of Hope after US President Barack Obama’s best-selling book, is being organized by an American group called “US Boat to Gaza.”
Obama links to the Audacity do not end there, however. Prof. Rashid Khalidi, director of the Middle East Institute at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, and a friend from Obama’s time in Chicago, is among the supporters of an appeal launched by the group last week.
Talk about “audacity”; why is another flotilla even necessary? On Saturday May, 28 Egypt opened the Rafah border crossing with Gaza after four years.
The closing of the border 4 years ago by Egypt was done to put pressure on Hamas after they won the election of 2007 becoming the ruling body in the Gaza Strip. This was done under the previous government of Hosni Mubarak, but now that he has been ousted…
The border between Egypt and Gaza is now open once again. Back on April 30 the Haaretz reported a warning from Egypt to its ally Israel,
Chief of Staff of the Egyptian Armed Forces General Sami Anan warned Israel against interfering with Egypt's plan to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza on a permanent basis, saying it was not a matter of Israel's concern.
Rafah's opening would be a violation of an agreement reached in 2005 between the United States, Israel, Egypt, and the European Union, which gives EU monitors access to the crossing. The monitors were to reassure Israel that weapons and militants wouldn't get into Gaza after its pullout from the territory in the fall of 2005.
The Jerusalem Post article from May 28 explained the possibilities of weapons now crossing freely,
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom slammed the planned reopening as “dangerous,” and urged the international community to prevent it.
The reopening of the sensitive border crossing – especially without any independent monitoring – could enable Hamas to transfer into Gaza larger quantities of weapons, as well as terrorists who underwent training in Syria and Lebanon, the officer said.
“There are already vast quantities of weaponry being smuggled into the Gaza Strip via the tunnels under the border with Egypt,” the officer said. “If the border is opened, we can assume that still larger amounts will be brought in.”
The U.S. government is even trying to stop the upcoming flotilla. Ynet news reported on June 3,
The American administration is considering offering the Turkish government a deal, which would see Ankara hosting a peace conference attended by Israel and the Palestinian Authority in exchange for restoring its relations with Jerusalem and stopping the Gaza-bound flotilla planned for late June, Turkish newspaper Zaman reported Friday.
I am not sure how offering the Turks a peace conference will in any way sway them to try to stop the flotilla, but thanks U.S.A.
Why, if the border is open, is there any need for this so called “humanitarian aid”? Since the closing of the borders both Israel and Egypt have been allowing aid through, so long as the items could not be utilized for weapons or weapons manufacturing. This never mattered to any of the “rights” groups that have supported the flotillas.
Even State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner stated last week,
"there are established and efficient mechanisms for getting humanitarian assistance through to Gaza, and that’s been our message consistently".
As recently as March of this year Israel seized cargo bound for Gaza on the German-owned "Victoria". This ship started in Syria, stopped in Turkey and was headed for Egypt with weapons on board that were meant for Hamas in Gaza.
As explained in Haaretz the list of items found were,
Six Chinese C-704 anti-ship missiles in ready to be launched containers, 230 mortar shells with a range of up to ten kilometers, 2,260 smaller mortars, and 74,889 bullets for Kalashnikov rifles. That is some “humanitarian aid” for sure.
The article further explained that these weapons started in Iran,
"To all those who questioned and attacked and criticized Israel for stopping Gaza-bound ships in order to check them, here is the answer," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at Ashdod port, where the guided missiles, artillery rounds and assault-rifle ammunition were laid out.
"Their origin is in Iran, they passed through Syria and were en route to terror elements in Gaza. But their ultimate target was Israeli civilians," Netanyahu said. "It is our duty, not just our right, to stop these ships and remove their weaponry."
Both Israel and Egypt have worked together in the past to keep weapons from making it into Gaza via the tunnels from the Egyptian side. But once again, the border is wide open.
Since both Israel and Egypt have allowed aid to pass through even while the border was closed and now that the Egyptian side has been re-opened, what is the purpose of the flotilla?
There can be only one reason to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Provocation. This needs to be put to rest once and for all.
This is just another way for Hamas to make Israel look like the bad guy. Israel is keeping down the poor Palestinians once again. Never mind that Israel unilaterally pulled out of the Gaza Strip in 2005, well ahead of schedule, as rockets from Hamas continued to rain down inside Israel.
If anything happens with this flotilla round, the whole world will once again blame Israel. No matter the circumstances, Israel will be chastised by all from the European Union to the UN.
Last year the Israelis that boarded the Mavi Marmara carried paint ball guns and side arms. It wasn’t until after they were attacked by the “humanitarian activists” with everything from knives, metal pipes, axes, gun fire and even flash grenades, wounding seven Israeli soldiers, that they returned fire in self-defense.
During State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner’s comments last week he explained what could happen with provocation,
"We have made clear through the past year that groups and individuals who seek to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions that entail a risk to their safety. I think I’ve talked about this specifically."
The bottom line is aid that is needed is getting in to Gaza, apparently even weapons get in. Now the Rafah border crossing is open with Egypt, but groups organizing the flotilla such as the Turkish IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfi, IHH, “humanitarian relief fund”) will continue to push Israel to the point of self-defense and then scream to the world how Israel used excessive violence, etc.
According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center,
IHH is a radical Islamic organization which was established in 1992 and formally registered in Istanbul in 1995. It is headed by Bülent Yildirim.
IHH’s orientation is radical-Islamic and anti-American, and it is close to the Muslim Brotherhood (Hamas’ parent movement). IHH supports Hamas and does not hide the connection between them. Hamas also considers its links to IHH and Turkey to be extremely important, and regards Turkey as a target audience for its propaganda network (Palestine-Information, Hamas’ main website, has a Turkish version, and as of the end of 2009, the website of its military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, has also appeared in Turkish).
After this article was complete and ready to go off to the editor, Israel was dealing with “Naksa Day”, the anniversary of the start of the 1967 Six-Day War. It needs to be pointed out that “Naksa Day” is just more of the same. It is just a repeat of “Nakba Day” from back on May 15 and more provocation.
This is a flotilla by land attempting to achieve the same as the ones by sea. As the Haaretz reported yesterday afternoon,
Israel Defense Forces soldiers opened fire at hundreds of Syrian-Palestinians amassing near Israel's border with Syria on the Golan Heights on Sunday, firing tear gas and other demonstration dispersal weaponry in an attempt to break up rallies marking Naksa Day, the anniversary of the start of the 1967 Six-Day War.
Reports by Syrian media claimed that between six and 20 protesters were killed, with 227 others wounded. 500 Syrian-Palestinians were reported to have arrived at the border, hiding from IDF fire in a ditch dug by the army after the Nakba Day protests on May 15, approximately 20 meters from the border fence.
The Jerusalem Post reports how land mines that were set off by the protesters also caused many of the casualties,
A second demonstration was observed on the Syrian border in Kunetra, where 200 to 300 demonstrators amassed. Four land mines exploded in the area after Syrian rioters threw Molotov cocktails at IDF forces. The cocktails exploded in a field, starting a fire which then set off the mines on the Syrian side of the border. The IDF was unaware of the number of casualties caused by the explosions.
Syria and Israel are technically still at war since 1967. As tragic as it is that people are being injured and killed, those attempting to cross the border are doing so from enemy territory.
These same border crossing attempts are happening in the West Bank as well,
Roughly 250 Palestinians demonstrated at the Kalandia Checkpoint in northern Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon on Naksa Day, the English date of the 1967 Six Day War which Palestinians refer to as “Al-Naksa” or “the setback.” The demonstrators tried to cross into Israel by foot at the checkpoint around noon, and threw rocks, Molotov cocktails, and burning tires at the army and border police forces.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated in response,
"To my regret, today there are extremists around us trying to breach our borders, and threaten our towns and citizens. We will not allow this," Netanyahu told his cabinet.
"Like any country in the world, Israel has the right and obligation to guard and defend its borders."
So as the flotilla sails towards Gaza knowing it will get a response from Israel and once it does its best to provoke Israel to violence and hopes that someone dies, because they of course would be a martyr and make for great headlines, let’s remember their ties to both the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas.
They don’t give a rat’s butt about aid to the Palestinian people, they hope and pray to Allah that it will turn ugly and people will die. After all, it will be Israel’s fault once again and they can always build more memorials.
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