If all goes the way sponsoring NGOs planned it, an eight-ship armada of activists is already enroute from Cyprus to break the "siege" of Gaza. Timed for the slow news cycles of the Memorial Day weekend in the United States, organizers, led by "peace crusaders" from Turkey, Greece, Ireland, Sweden and North America will unload 10,000 tons of construction material, school and medical supplies.
The organizers are not surprised that Israel has already notified the Irish, Turkish and Swedish ambassadors that the flotilla will not be allowed to disembark in Gaza.
They are probably counting on it so they can YouTube images to the world of the Israel Navy's barbaric maneuvers to thwart the SS Rachel Corrie, named for the anti-Israel American activists dispatched by the Palestinian-led International Solidarity Movement to Gaza. She died needlessly and tragically 'confronting' an Israeli bulldozer in 2003--another useful martyred poster child for "peace and justice."
Here's a sample of the rhetoric expressed by organizers and supporters:
Bolant Yilderim, the chairman of the IHH, a Turkish based pro-Palestinian organization that is spearheading the Gaza flotilla, said this at the ceremony launching their part of the armada. "Israel behaves like Hitler did towards the Jews. Hitler built concentration camps in Germany, and today the Zionist entity is building concentration camps in Palestine."
The launch in Turkey was also attended by Sheikh Raed Salah, leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, who has links to Hamas. His visceral Jew-hatred is often based on ancient blood libels: "We are not the ones who eat a meal based on bread and cheese in children's blood," he said in one of his speeches, and at another event he stated that the Jews are "butchers of pregnant women and babies... Thieves, you are the bacteria of all times... The Creator meant for you to be monkeys and losers... Victory is with the Muslims, from the Nile to the Euphrates."
So before anyone reaches for the proverbial handkerchief, a reality check about the carefully nurtured narrative not only in the Arab and Muslim world, but in mainstream Western media, that Gazans are "under siege" by callous Israel.
No one is starving in Gaza. Far from it. For anyone who can afford it you can make reservations, there are restaurants at The Greens Terrace Garden Cafe. Here's a video from 2008 showing political elite, led by top Palestinian leadership dining in style there.
For the rest of the populace chafing under the the autocratic rule of Hamas, there are plenty of consumer goods smuggled through massive tunnels connected to Egyptian territory as well as goods transiting through Israel. Yes, through Israel. I recently visited the Kerem Shalom Crossing, where Israel continues to forward humanitarian goods into Gaza, despite repeated violent attacks by Hamas to destroy it.
Here's what actually entered Gaza legally from Israel just last week of the "siege":
-- 637 truckloads, consisting of 14,069 tons of humanitarian aid. Among the goods for Gazan civilians were 810,209 liters of heavy duty diesel fuel; 21 truckloads of milk powder and baby food; 897 tons of cooking gas; 66 truckloads of fruits and vegetables; 51 truckloads of wheat; 27 truckloads of meat, chicken and fish products; 40 truckloads of dairy products; 117 truckloads of animal feed; 36 truckloads of hygiene products; 38 trucks of clothing; 22 trucks of sugar and 4 trucks of medicine and medical equipment.
In addition, 781 medical patients and accompanying individuals from the Gaza Strip crossed into Israel to receive treatment in various hospitals and 191 staff members of international organizations crossed into the Gaza Strip, and 202 crossed back from Gaza.
Numbers alone will never win the day against the imagery of an international "humanitarian" flotilla braving a naval blockade. But this high seas confrontation may actually play out a bit differently. There are reports that this time, Israeli civilians--people with their own story to tell-- are launching their own flotilla. They would be led by survivors of suicide bombings and families of the innocents who perished in the tsunami of terror that led to the erecting of the anti-Hamas fence in the first place.
Here's a partial list of carnage caused by over 70 attacks between just 2001 and 2004 that the that Israeli victims of terror will confront anti-Israel "peace" crusaders with :
• June 1, 2001 - 21 killed and 120 Israelis-mostly teenagers wounded outside a Tel Aviv disco.
• August 9, 2001 - 15 people were killed, including 7 children, and 130 injured in a suicide bombing at Sbarro's in downtown Jerusalem.
• December 1, 2001 - two genocide bombers detonated explosive devices on Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda's pedestrian mall on a Saturday night. A car bomb exploded nearby 20 minutes later. Ten people were killed, including many children, and 188 were injured.
• February 16, 2002 - A suicide bomber deliberately targeted Jewish children sitting at a pizzeria in the town of Karnei Shomron. Three children die and over 30 were wounded.
• March 9, 2002 - A suicide bomber kills 11 people and injures 54 in a crowded Cafe in Jerusalem.
• March 27, 2002 - At a Passover Seder in a Netanya hotel, a genocide bomber belonging to Fatah's Al-Aksa Martyrs detonated an explosive device, killing 22 and injuring 140, including many children and elderly.
• January 5, 2003 - 23 people were killed, and more than 80 were wounded when two Palestinian murderers blew themselves up near the old Tel Aviv bus station.
• June 11, 2003 - Sixteen Israelis were killed and more than 100 were wounded when a homicide bomber, dressed as an ultra-Orthodox Jew, detonated his explosives belt on a bus in downtown Jerusalem. Palestinian terrorists have attempted 11 homicide bombings and murdered 23 Israelis in the last 4 days, since Palestinians "accepted" the international "roadmap for peace."
• January 15, 2004 - Two Israeli soldiers, a border policeman, and a security guard for a private manpower company, were murdered by a female suicide bomber at the Erez Gaza crossing.
• September 1, 2004 - Two suicide bombers exploded almost simultaneously on two buses in central Beersheba, killing 16 innocents and wounding dozens.
And if their stories aren't enough, maybe Sderot's Amar family should join the flotilla. You remember the Amars. During the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, they were visited by candidate Barack Obama. He visited their family's home, which sustained a direct hit by a Qassam rocket. They could hold up Mr. Obama's quote, who said at the time, "if missiles were falling where my two daughters sleep, I would do everything in order to stop that."
Israel has now announced that the international humanitarian aid from the eight ships could be off-loaded in Ashdod and transferred into Gaza. Fair enough, but Israelis should demand that a special care package to Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped and held by Hamas for four years now, be added, to UNRWA's delivery.
So please spare us the crocodile tears. Israelis have nothing against the people of Gaza. In fact, in 2005, then Prime Minister Sharon unilaterally pulled out of the area, uprooting 9,000 Jewish civilian residents along the way. His goal was to jump start peace with the Palestinians. The only peace dividend for Southern Israel has been terror campaigns. It is Israel's fear that it's people will have to face another 7,000 terrorist missiles that had has led her to try to prevent the influx into Gaza of weapons but not food, fuel, or medical supplies. Under the same circumstances of years of attacks, no other government, not Turkish, Greek, Swedish, Irish or American would act any differently.
This Memorial Day weekend, just say no to the latest menu of lies Hamas and their international enablers have cooked up about Israel. And as the bigwigs of terror continue to dine at Gaza City's Greens Cafe, how about the Media to whipping up some recipes from the Cookbook of Inconvenient Truths?
Rabbi Abraham Cooper is the associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a leading Jewish human rights organization with over 400,000 family members.
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