Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Flotilla Fiction and Folly

May 12, 2015

A cargo ship (it looks more like a boat) from Ship to Gaza, a Swedish organization, has embarked on its journey to break Israel's naval blockade of Gaza. This is the first boat of the Freedom Flotilla III to leave for Gaza on that mission. A similar attempt in 2010 (Freedom Flotilla I) was unsuccessful and resulted in the death of nine Turkish nationals when Israeli naval commandos boarded a flotilla ship to prevent it from breaking the blockade and were met with violent resistance. Thankfully, Israel, in keeping with its prior practice, has clearly stated that it will not allow any boats or ships from the Freedom Flotilla III to break the blockade. With the painful reality of Israel's war with Hamas in the summer of 2014 and fundamental Islamic terrorists on the warpath worldwide, Israel really has no choice. Nor does Egypt and it too is holding firm on its land blockade of Gaza. Yet there are groups like Ship to Gaza that will engage in fiction and folly no matter what.

Ship to Gaza calls for the end of Israel's naval and land blockade of Gaza, the building of a new seaport in Gaza and a passageway between Gaza and the West Bank. Or, in other words, Israel's demise. Although inexcusably ignored by groups like Ship to Gaza, the blockades are designed to stop attacks by terrorist regimes such as Iran and terrorist groups such as Hamas, which is based in Gaza. To portray Israel as the villain is disingenuous and confuses good and evil. Israel unilaterally and unconditionally left Gaza in 2005. Israel had every interest in seeing Gaza succeed as it took its good faith, one-sided actions hoping to find peace. The Palestinians, of their own volition, then elected Hamas over Fatah. Following a violent civil war, Hamas gained control of Gaza and Fatah gained control of the West Bank. Instead of peace, the Palestinians in Gaza repaid Israel with rocket and mortar fire targeted at its innocent civilians.

Israel's security concerns again proved to be spot on during its most recent war with Hamas, as it became painfully obvious that Hamas was doing exactly what Israel feared. Hamas had used international aid and resources to construct an infrastructure of terror in Gaza. Homes, schools, mosques, hospitals and tunnels were all part of this terrorist infrastructure. Yet, even during this war, Israel continued to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. As new international aid goes into rebuilding Gaza yet again, there already are reports that instead of building an infrastructure for prosperity, Hamas is diverting the resources to construct new tunnels of death. For some reason though, Ship to Gaza does not have any qualms about that. May I suggest that Ship to Gaza update the timeline on its website, which stops in November 2012, to include all of these pertinent facts. Although they run counter to its fiction, I am sure that it can spin them enough, like its presentation of other facts on its website, to dilute the truth. If they really wanted to help Gaza, groups like Ship to Gaza should advocate for the removal of Hamas and demand that any international aid be used for humanitarian and non-violent purposes in Gaza. Legitimate outrage of these groups should be directed at the waste of the vast sums of money given freely and unconditionally to the terrorists in Gaza, which results in the unprovoked targeting of innocent Israelis.

In addition to Iranian-backed Hamas in Gaza, Israel has to contend with Iranian-backed Hezbollah on its border with Lebanon. Various terrorist groups have been vying for control in Syria across from Israel's Golan Heights. Syria itself is in the midst of a civil war where it is estimated that well over 200,000 people have been killed. There are reports that the Iranian-backed Assad regime in Syria is again using chemical weapons on its people. Iran is belligerently gaining more and more control in the region and is seeking to become a nuclear-armed world power. IS, like Iran, is trying to establish an Islamic caliphate and is successfully expanding its reach. Radical Islamic terrorists are spilling innocent blood in Africa. These radical terrorists are killing innocent people of all religions across the globe. But to groups like Ship to Gaza, it is Israel's self-defense and self-preservation that are the world's greatest injustices.

Contrary to the claims of Ship to Gaza and similar organizations, from what we have witnessed repeatedly over time, the ending of the naval blockade and building of a new seaport would not help Palestinians in Gaza, but rather would make it easier for Iran to accomplish its express mission of annihilating Israel. Instead of having to make an effort to smuggle illegal arms to Hamas like it does now, Iran simply would be able to put them on cargo or military ships and dock the ships at the port. Iran also would be able to import terrorist fighters into Gaza via the port. The same risks would exist from the numerous other terrorist groups. And this is not just hypothetical. Israel has intercepted illegal arms transfers and terrorists by sea in the past. Interestingly, Saudi Arabia recently imposed a blockade on Yemen specifically to prevent shipments of arms from Iran to Yemen's Houthi rebels. The people of Yemen have been devastated by this blockade. But there do not appear to be any Ships to Yemen.

The thought of connecting Gaza and the West Bank to provide for a Palestinian passageway is frightening. That passageway would cut right across Israel. There would be no more need for tunnels as the terrorists would just be invited in. There are very good reasons why Israel has a border fence and strategic land crossings with the Palestinians. Israel has learned the hard way at the hands of terrorists and murderers of its innocent civilians that there is a real need to restrict Palestinian access into Israel. It is now feeling the effects of terrorism in Jerusalem from Israeli Arabs. The answer is not to grant more access.

Neither Israel nor any other free nation should have to promote the well-being of another people, especially one that elects to be governed by a terrorist group, at the expense of sacrificing the safety and survival of its own people. Nor should terrorists be rewarded for their acts of violence. For Israel to take the actions that groups like Ship to Gaza would like to see would result in Israel's destruction. There are plenty of legitimate places in the world where these groups can send their ships to combat real abuse and oppression. I would be interested in seeing the reception their flotilla would receive in, let's say, Iran. Bon voyage.

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