PHOTO: In response to the Gaza flotilla incident, groups on the far left and far right have renewed their call to end all U.S. aid to Israel. They want the Gaza blockade to end, but have no response when asked how weapons shipments can be kept from terrorist groups.
The Israeli Defense Force (IDF) is today reporting that 40 people on the main Gaza flotilla ship were Al Qaeda or Hamas members. Al Qaeda is an ally of Hamas whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel.
The IDF says they were carrying a large amount of cash and “The terrorists were equipped with bullet proof vests, night-vision goggles, and weapons.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu just said “This was not a flotilla for peace, but instead was a violent and organized force. . . Within Gaza there is a terror state aided by Iran.”
After 48 hours of investigations it is now clear the real purpose of the Gaza flotilla was not to deliver “humanitarian” supplies. They clearly wanted provoke a confrontation, and they said their goal was “breaking Israel’s siege.”
The offer by Israel and Egypt to send the supplies to Gaza by land was flatly rejected. It is estimated that 80% of Gaza imports are through underground tunnels on the Egyptian border. Egypt repeatedly says it is trying to control its border and they are constructing an underground barrier along the seven-mile border to stop the tunnels.
Is the Blockade Legal, and Why is it Necessary?
The blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza is fully supported under international law, and it is necessary because the terrorist group is constantly trying to import weapons. An IDF spokesman said “If this blockade is broken, every man, woman and child in Israel will pay a price.”
Many liberal activists such as Glenn Greewald on MSNBC, Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation magazine, former Rep. Cynthia McKinney (D-GA) and Rep. Barney Franks (D-MA) are now criticizing the blockade. Bin Laden sent emissaries to Hamas They want Israel to negotiate with Hamas to end the blockade, but that would only result in more weapons for Hamas. Hamas is still refusing to release Gilad Shalit, an IDF soldier it has held captive for the last four years.
Leslie Gelb, the former New York Times columnist, and president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, was quick criticize them. He said “Only knee-jerk left-wingers and the usual legion of poseurs” would condemn the blockade. When the United States and Britain went to war with Germany and Japan they also blockaded them. The action was never considered illegal even though it took place on the high seas in international waters.
Why is the UN Role Disturbing?
The UN Security Council has passed a resolution on the flotilla which turned out to be better than original reports. It criticized Israel but it was also critical of Turkey and Hamas. Unfortunately the resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council was far worse and it calls for an independent investigation.
Today the Washington Post said it hoped the UN action does “not lead to another one-sided setup like the United Nations’ Goldstone commission, whose report on Israel’s 2008 invasion of Gaza has become another weapon in the international campaign to de-legitimize the Jewish state.”
Iran is the Real Problem
The Gaza situation is obviously a serious concern but Israel’s major problem is Iran. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas says his people have been “hijacked, at the hands of the Iranians.” A few days ago he told an Egyptian television station that “the decision-making power is not in our hands.” Nor, he said, is the “Palestinian people’s unity.”
Hamas announced last week that it would boycott the upcoming Palestinian municipal elections, because they view the Palestinian Authority (PA) as being part of an “unconstitutional government.” PA security forces have arrested dozens of Hamas supporters in the West Bank in response to the boycott.
The dire message from Abbas is that the Palestinian future is in Tehran’s hands. There will be no meaningful progress in the peace process until Iran ends it support of Hamas. Abbas also says “the second Intifada was the biggest mistake of our lives.”