As many of you might already be aware, there are two boats, one Canadian and one Irish, currently in the Mediterranean heading to Gaza. These boats carry passengers from a range of countries, including Canada and the United States. The Israel Action Network is monitoring the situation and will update you as to important developments.
Who is behind these actions?
A number of organizations are responsible, all of which have strong anti-Israel positions and political agendas, including the “Free Gaza” movement, the Palestinian Solidarity Movement and Code Pink.
What are the motivations of the flotilla organizers?
Flotilla organizers are looking to make headlines and provoke a confrontation with Israel, more than they are interested in actually providing aid to the residents of Gaza. This is highlighted that the Egyptian government reopened its Rafah border crossing with Gaza and humanitarian shipments can enter Gaza without difficulty.
Also while there is considerable poverty in Gaza, largely the result of Hamas’ extremist policies and actions that have led to its international isolation, according to the Deputy of the Red Cross in Gaza, “there is no humanitarian crisis.”
Furthermore, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated that the flotilla and is neither “necessary” or “helpful.” Similarly, the U.S. Department of State has already spoken out about attempts to break the Israeli maritime blockade of Gaza, labeling it “provocative” and “irresponsible.” Furthermore, the United Nations Palmer Commission Report on the 31 May 2010 Flotilla incident, while objecting to some Israeli actions, upheld the legality of the blockade and harshly criticized flotilla organizers for this type of “reckless” behavior.
Is the Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza legal and justified?
Israel’s effort to examine the cargos on these ships is completely legal under international maritime law. The United Nations Palmer Commission Report on the 31 May 2010 Flotilla incident upheld the legality of this blockade as "Israel faces a security threat from violent groups in Gaza."
In light of the thousands of rockets fired from Gaza in recent years on Sderot and other vulnerable Israeli communities along with the continuing attempts by the Iranian regime to smuggle weapons to Hamas, Israel’s actions to defend the security of its citizens are understandable. Americans would expect the same of their government if ships from hostile sources were headed near our shores.
The Israeli Government has repeatedly said it is willing to transport all genuine humanitarian aid to Gaza, but flotilla organizers refuse to cooperate. Israel also allows for the transportation of construction material to institutions that will not divert it for violent purposes, such as UNRWA.