October 2, 2012 / Ray Cook / Comments Off on Hamas reduces trade with Israel; Israel gives Gazan children free medical treatment
News this week that Hamas has halved the import of Israeli fruit, because to buy from Israel is to buy from the enemy. This move is part of the ‘resistance’. Only apples and bananas are now allowed in by Hamas. They want to cultivate their own fruit industry.
This is fine. It’s a great idea to be self-sufficient. But they are not so yet. In the meantime their own people will suffer price hikes and, presumably, as a result, many will go without this essential and important part of their diet.
Hang on a minute. Are we not being constantly told that it is Israel that is causing malnutrition because of the ‘blockade’? Is Israel not to blame for the black market in goods including foodstuffs?
But here we have Hamas punishing its own people for ideological reasons.
Of course, it will still be Israel’s fault. After all, were there no Zionist entity there would be no need for resistance and the benighted Gazans would have all the oranges and limes they could eat.
It is a shame that the Gazan authorities failed to stop the looting of millions of dollars worth of greenhouses which were actually purchased by American Jews from former Jewish settlers in Gaza. These American Jews then donated the greenhouses to the Palestinians of Gaza. They were all but destroyed in a matter of days in 2005.
And what do we now hear? Another flotilla is on its way from Europe in a further attempt to break the blockade and to keep Gaza in the news whilst Syria burns. Will they be bring fruit (not apples and bananas as they are clearly not yet ideologically tainted enough for Hamas to ban their import from Israel).
Is it not utterly extraordinary that Hamas imports anything at all from the evil Zionist entity? Is it not utterly extraordinary that the genocidal Zionist entity would want to feed the people it is trying to commit genocide against? Those Jews, eh. Anything to make a quick shekel.
But those genocidal Jews are really being outrageously cynical and hypocritical. They are actually saving the lives of Gazan children – for free! Is there no end to the lengths the Jews will go to whitewash their many crimes.
Mohamed and Hadeel (both 12), Hadeel’s brother Ahmad (15) and six-month-old Lian all suffer from kidney insufficiency and have been hospitalized for several months at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. They have been receiving lifesaving therapy while awaiting kidney transplants.
Image by Pioter Fliter courtesy of Rambam Medical Center
Mahdi Tarabia, head nurse of the Pediatric Nephrology Unit, explained that the treatment they need, peritoneal dialysis, is not available in the West Bank and Gaza, so medical authorities from these areas cooperate with Rambam to save children’s lives.
“The hemodialysis treatment that these children were given before their arrival at Rambam was associated with medical complications, resulting in a worsening of their condition and many hospitalizations,” he explained.
As opposed to hemodiaysis, where the blood is cleansed via an artificial kidney over the course of several hours a few times per week, in peritoneal dialysis the treatment is given through the abdomen overnight, not interfering with the child’s daytime activities. Each of the young patients’ families has been trained by Rambam’s staff to administer peritoneal dialysis.
The families received the equipment required for this treatment, and the solution used with it, from Teva Pharmaceuticals. The company will arrange to have supplies conveyed through the Erez checkpoint at the border of Israel and Gaza.
The three schoolchildren are soon due to be sent home, while the recently arrived baby still needs time to be stabilized.
Sometimes things are not quite as black and white the Palestinians and the media would like them to be.
This week we witnessed Mahmoud Abbas presenting his bid for recognition of a state of Palestine to the United Nations General Assembly.
We heard the rapturous applause he received entering the UNGA.
We heard the rather less rapturous greeting received by Israel Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu whose few supporters in the UNGA tried desperately to raise the decibels of applause.
It was clear that whatever the outcome of the Palestinian bid, there is no doubt it was a PR success for Abbas and has highlighted Israel’s growing isolation.
So let’s first look at Israel’s standing in the popularity stakes versus Turkey’s; once good friends, now anything but.
Israel’s support from the US was bolstered by President Obama’s speech where he signalled his country’s intention to use the veto in the UN Security Council, if necessary and a strong affirmation of the need to settle the conflict via negotiations. Canada has also come out strongly on Israel’s side.
The Europeans are fence-sitting, but Spain’s unexpected declaration confirming Israel as the Jewish national home was a welcome plus for Israel.
The UK is waiting to make its decision in the UNSC but will probably abstain whilst making the usual noises about Israel’s right to security. Other European countries, including France, have made similar declarations.
Any vote in the UNGA to enhance the Palestinian status from observer to non-member state will clearly demonstrate that the overwhelming majority of UN member states recognise the State of Palestine.
In short, the UN shennanigans of the PLO have further highighted Israel’s isolation and its reliance on the USA.
Recently, in Egypt, as a result of the Arab Spring, the long-standing peace agreement with Israel, a legally binding agreement, has been questioned. The pipeline which provides Israel with 20% of its gas has been blown up for a sixth time.
A terror attack near Eilat a few weeks ago was launched via Egypt and some of the participants may have been Egyptian. The subsequent tragic death of Eagyptian border police during the Israeli pursuit of the murderers of eight innocent people further enflamed sentiments in Egypt.
The attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo which almost resulted in the lynching of six Israeli security officers has emphasised an undercurrent of anti-Israel anti-Jewish sentiment in Egypt which is bubbling to the surface as new freedoms materialise.
Egypt will not even sell palm leaves to Israel for the Succot festival which comes immediately after Yom Kippur. A mean and childish act which pretty much tells you what ‘Cold Peace’ means.
In Jordan, King Abdullah appears to be keen to bolster his popularity in a country which is 80% Palestinian and whose people are also making noises about their own peace treaty with Israel.
And, most importantly, Israel’s long-standing friendship with Turkey is not only in ruins, but Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is pursuing a series of belligerent measure against Israel politically, economically, juridically and militarily.
Turkey’s actions are ostensibly in response to Israel’s refusal to apologise to Turkey for the death of nine Turkish passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara when Israel intercepted their boat in order to enforce its blockade of Gaza. But relations have been cooling for some time. The national affront which Turkey cites as its reasons for punishing Israel may be covering its drift away from Ataturk secularism toward a form of democratic Islamism.
However, Israel’s loss of Turkish friendship may have released it to forge other friendships which highlight Turkey’s growing isolation.
On the principal, it seems, that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, Greece, a country not previously known for its affection for Israel, has strengthened ties.
The forty-year-old festering European sore that is the division of Cyprus, which somehow remains firmly under the world’s radar, is an important issue for Greece and Turkey.
Israel has signed agreements with the (Greek) Cypriot’s to co-operate on gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean, angering the Turks who have made more belligerent noises about Turkish Cypriot rights to the potential bonanza in the seeming belief that only Turkey has any rights in this field.
Israel’s gas exploration is at a juncture of Lebanese, Israeli and Cypriot waters which Lebanon is disputing and Turkey, naturally, supports Lebanon’s position against Israel.
Israel has also been active in the new state of South Sudan quickly establishing diplomatic and commercial ties.
In West Africa there is a surprising rapprochement with Nigeria, a country with a large Muslim population and sectarian divisions.
Israel is a major trade partner with Turkey’s neighbour Armenia and has recently supported moves for recognition of the Armenian genocide, a move which Turkey cannot be expected to approve given its 100 yer denial of being the perpetrator of that genocide. Israel’s break in relations with Turkey have released it from the fear of causing offence to its former friend.
Moves by Prime Minister Erdogan to pressurise Azerbaijan to cut ties with Israel have, so far, not succeeded. Azerbaijan is an important link in the oil pipeline to Israel. Any moves to cut off that oil would be in contravention of international law and would have to be seen as an Act of War by Israel if Turkey should pursue that particular enterprise.
Israel remains one of only two countries whose citizens do not require visas to visit Azerbaijan.
Meanwhile the perceived thuggishness of Erdogan and his attempted bullying of Israel have done him no favours.
He has threatened the EU should Cyprus take the chair of the EU next year; a somewhat hollow threat coming from a country which still has plans to join the EU.
Turkey’s relationship with Iran is strained as both vie for power in the region and disagree about policy toward President Assad in Syria.
Recently, Turkey agreed to the placing of a NATO radar system as part of the West’s defence against, presumably, Iran furthering that country’s suspicions of its neighbour.
Erdogan’s visit to Egypt had a mixed reception once he berated them about democracy.
Turkey’s new policy to actively patrol the Eastern Mediterranean will send warning signs to Greece and Cyprus as well as Israel. The UK and Italy may also be nervous.
Incidents at the UN between Erdogan’s body guards and UN security as well as an attempted attack on Erdogan by an unknown assailant have all shored up the impression of his being part Mafioso part head of state.
So Turkey still has one foot in the West and one in the East and is playing the game well to the extent that the US and NATO seem unfazed by Turkey’s belligerence toward Israel and have asked the two countries to patch up their disagreement.
The US has agreed to drone sales to Turkey to replace its Israeli ones and NATO is shtum when it comes to the problematical membership of a country which has ties with Islamist regimes inimical to NATO.
But how many real friends does Turkey now have? Not Syria, not Iran, not Israel or Greece. If it carries on it will soon alert the Europeans and the US to pressurise it further to tone things down.
Turkey’s new-found nationalist pride which presents itself in the form of sabre-rattling and muscle-flexing on the international scene is a direct result of America’s and Europe’s perceived weakening due to financial disasters, low growth, potential inflation and increasing civil unrest. And you can add to that two pretty disastrous excursions in Iraw and Afghanistam which make further military adventures improbable.
Countries like Turkey and Iran sense a growing power vacuum and are testing the waters, literally, to see how far they can push before they meet resistance.
Any economic recovery in America and Europe would be a severe blow to countries waiting in the wings to pick the bones of Europe and the USA.
If Turkey sullies its good relations with Russia by trying to punch above its weight, then isolation would become a reality. However, recent commercial deals and mutual interests in the Caucasus make this a remote possibility. Nevertheless, Russia has sent warships to the Eastern Mediterranean to protect Cypriot gas exploration. Turkey will not want to confront Russia.
Turkey also has problems with Kurdish separatists, the PKK, and tensions with Iran or even Iraq could be problematical.
Turkey is in a unique position geographically and is seen and behaves as a conduit between the West and the Muslim world.
But if you judge each country by its real friends (whatever friend means in international relations) then it’s pretty even between Israel and Turkey.
It is a tragedy that a great country like Turkey seems to be determined to make waves in the Mediterranean as well in diplomatic circles rather than nurturing its ties with Israel, mending fences and performing an important role as a bridge between the West and the Islamic world.
Erdogan’s behaviour is anything but statesmanlike. His recent speech in the UN stating that Israel is still trading off the Holocaust as well as claims that Israel has killed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians place him as borderline antisemitic.
Although he may be a hero to those who like bashing Israel, to the rest of the world he is a dangerous man who could light the fuse of a new war in the Middle East.
It will be interesting to see how the two countries fare over the coming months as things develop in the Middle East, Europe and in the USA where President Obama’s hoped for second term looks to be in serious trouble.
Are we are seeing the beginning of a new polarised alignment of powers as the former hegemonies of the US and Europe are diluted?
A period of dangerous instability with Israel at the epicentre may be upon us.
It looks like the Middle East has found a new Nasser for the 21st century.
Turkey’s president, Recep Erdogan, has announced a series of military and civil measures and sanctions against Israel since the publication of the Palmer Report enquiry into the Mavi Marmara incident over a year ago.
Even before the report Erdogan was making bellicose noises.
It appears that Erdogan is using the incident and Israel’s refusal to apologise as an excuse not only to withdraw from his country’s long and happy friendship with Israel, but to promote himself as a champion of the one cause that unites the Arab and Muslim worlds – the Palestinian grievance with Israel.
Erdogan came to power with a decidedly Islamist agenda. Turkey has been a secular state ever since Kemal Attaturk established the new Turkey in the ruins of the Ottoman Empire after World War I. For decades Turkey was an example of how Islam can be a national religion and identity whilst retaining secularism.
Turkey’s record on human rights has not always been without blemish, but it is a member of NATO and would like to join the EU.
In April 2010 a so-called Freedom Flotilla of pro-Palestinian and anti-Zionist groups announced their intention to beat Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza and deliver ‘humanitarian aid’.
As it turned out, there was little aid of any use on the boats and it was not only clear but also admitted that the true reason was confrontation with Israel and to promote the anti-Zionist agenda.
What is also clear is that the lead boat, the Mavi Marmara, registered under the flag of the Cormoros, was owned and led by the Turkish Islamist group the IHH.
I will not rehearse events which are now well known and which I have written about here, here, and here and in several other posts.
Despite worldwide outcry and condemnation before the facts were known Israel always maintained that its soldiers fired as a last resort and in self-defence. This was the conclusion of a BBC documentary. This was broadly the conclusion of the Palmer Report whose main conclusions were reported by Honest Reporting here:
1. Israel’s blockade of Gaza is legal.
The fundamental principle of the freedom of navigation on the high seas is subject to only certain limited exceptions under international law. Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.
2. The Turkish IHH, which organized the flotilla, was looking for trouble with the IDF.
The majority of the flotilla participants had no violent intentions, but there exist serious questions about the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers, particularly IHH. The actions of the flotilla needlessly carried the potential for escalation.
3. The IDF used excessive force.
Israel’s decision to board the vessels with such substantial force at a great distance from the blockade zone and with no final warning immediately prior to the boarding was excessive and unreasonable . . . .
The loss of life and injuries resulting from the use of force by Israeli forces during the take-over of the Mavi Marmara was unacceptable. Nine passengers were killed and many others seriously wounded by Israeli forces. No satisfactory explanation has been provided to the Panel by Israel for any of the nine deaths.
4. IDF commandos defended themselves from pre-meditated violence.
Israeli Defense Forces personnel faced significant, organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers when they boarded the Mavi Marmara requiring them to use force for their own protection. Three soldiers were captured, mistreated, and placed at risk by those passengers. Several others were wounded.
5. Gaza aid should be delivered by land.
All humanitarian missions wishing to assist the Gaza population should do so through established procedures and the designated land crossings in consultation with the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
Despite this, Prime Minister Erdogan said that the report is worthless and ‘null and void’.
Erdogan knew what was in the report. He knew that both Israel and Turkey would be criticised and he knew that the criticism would be mainly against Turkey.
Well before the report was published Erdogan was demanding an apology for the killing of 8 Turks. If this apology were not received by the time the report was published he threatened a tsunami of measures against Israel and he is, if nothing else, true to his word.
But Erdogan has form, as it were.
Here he is walking out on Israeli President Peres at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2009.
He accuses Israel of hypocrisy. He cites firstly the death of children (it’s always children) on a beach in Gaza supposedly from Israeli fire. Yet the ‘crime scene’ was quickly cleared by Palestinians and the IDF asserted that it did not shell the beach. There was a strong suspicion that this might have been a misdirected militant shell. But Erdogan does not give his supposed friend the benefit of the doubt.
Second he mentions two previous Israeli Prime Ministers saying they were happy when they entered Palestine in tanks. It is not clear which Prime Ministers he refers to or what he means by Palestine, but it was probably the Six Day War. Of course they were happy to force back the Jordanian armies from the West Bank and reunite Jerusalem. The notion of ‘Palestine’ that we have now did not exist in those days. The West Bank was occupied illegally by Jordan. I don’t recall the Palestinians complaining too much about that. Or maybe he is referring to tanks entering Gaza. Whatever he means, he is implying that Israelis are joyful aggressors rather than defenders fighting an existential threat.
He is angry with the crowd applauding Peres who spoke about peace but the willingness to defend against aggressive neighbours. He criticises the audience for applauding, in his interpretation, killing. He goes on to remind Peres of the commandment not to kill.
Hypocrisy appears to be writ large for Mr Erdogan. I’m sure the Kurds,the Armenians and the Cypriots know a thing or two about Turkey and killing. Only Israel is not allowed to defend itself.
This is not a very impressive performance from Erdogan who comes over as aggressive and claims that the chair of the meeting won’t let him speak.
This incident was the first clear indication that Erdogan did not much like his ‘friend’. As a result of this incident Erdogan was lionised across the Arab world and in the Palestinian territories for standing up to Peres.
Nevertheless, Turkey and Israel maintained relations, shared military manoeuvres, enjoyed mutual trade. Thousands of Israelis holidayed in Turkey.
But the die was cast.
Erdogan soon embarked on his project of being number one man in the Muslim world. He began cosying up to tyrants such as Ahmadinejad and Assad and making nice with Hugo Chavez.
His finest moment was a humanitarian award from Muammar Gadaffi.
He also sent envoys to Hamas in Gaza to tell them that Turkey was on their side and to enhance his reputation in the Arab world.
The European powers and the United States saw him, and, presumably, still do see him as the very embodiment of the Turkish nation which has a toe in Europe and the West, and a large land mass in the East.
Erdogan is a useful middleman, a secular Muslim, who could speak on equal terms with Israel and Iran. He was a key player, the perfect go-between.
Israel was not happy with some of the conclusions of the Palmer Report but feels, overall, vindicated by it.
As to the legalities or otherwise of the blockade, that would require a separate post on its own.
Suffice it to say that, lo and behold, as soon as Israel is in any way vindicated in its actions, up pops a new UN statement telling us it’s all wrong after all; the Blockade is illegal. And the perpetrator is none other than Richard Falk, Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights (there doesn’t appear to be one for Israeli human rights), and also Special Rapporteur for the Palestinian Territories, who also happens to be the author of a recent article which included a crude anti-Semitic cartoon, later withdrawn.
Falk is really likely to be unbiased, I guess, given his dual roles on behalf of Palestinians and a long track record of anti-Israel rhetoric and writing.
But back to Erdogan.
What the Turkish Prime Minister did and continues to do, on a daily basis, having failed to get Israel to apologise, is truly amazing.
Even the Palmer Report did not require an apology of Israel. Should Turkey not also apologise to Israel for more or less sponsoring a terrorist organisation to confront and provoke its supposed friend? Turkish nationals planned and executed a lethal, suicidal attack on IDF soldiers, and he believes Israel should apologise. No-one was harmed on any of the other boats where there was no violent resistance.
If these two nations were supposed friends, surely they can sort out their differences, admit mistakes and work to avoid future incidents which would endanger lives, innocent and otherwise.
But no, Israel’s ally and friend has unleashed a torrent of sanctions against Israel and here is this tragic litany which is unprecedented in the relations between states supposed to be allies:
Downgrading diplomatic status of Israeli embassy and expelling the ambassador
Saying that Turkey will now patrol the Eastern Mediterranean to protect shipping from Israeli aggression
Threatening Israel’s gas drilling agreements with Cyprus
Pursuing the prosecution of supposedly named Israeli soldiers in the Mavi MArmara incident whose identities were revealed to him by the IHH (how they would know any names apart from the ones of the soldiers they stabbed, battered and shot and dragged below decks, I have no idea)
Humiliating Israel tourists at Istanbul airport by having them strip searched
Threatening to escort Gaza ‘aid’ convoys and confront the Israeli navy
Calling the Palmer report on the Mavi Marmara ‘null and void’ and worthless
Confronting a tourist cruise ship headed for Greece which is childish and provocative
Changing its jet fighter software to identify Israeli navy and air force as ‘hostile’
Claiming the Mavi Marmara incident was a casus belli
Saying he is prepared for war with Israel
Says that Israel must ‘pay’ for its ‘terrorism’
And the latest atrocity – requiring Israeli citizens have visas to enter Turkey
This is the behaviour of megalomaniac more reminiscent of the last century than this. It is the behaviour of a child having a tantrum, not a serious politician.
How can Turkey remain a member of NATO when it is clearly trying to provoke Israel into a reaction it can use as an excuse to ‘punish’ her.?
What would happen if Turkey attacked Israel on some pretext? What would the US do?
What will the Greeks’ and Cypriots’ reaction be to Turkey’s sabre-rattling? What about the Italians?
Turkey has the second largest fleet in NATO after the US. Israel is no match for this navy. In the air Israel may have an advantage but who even wants to contemplate such a ludicrous scenario.
If you ignore bullies sometimes they just go away, but often they will ramp up the aggro to assert themselves. Erdogan is asserting a new Turkish nationalism.
Such a situation was hardly imaginable in the Bush era. But the US and the Europeans have economic problems whilst Turkey is booming. There may be frantic activity behind the scenes; many statements coming out of Ankara are often ‘clarified’.
If Erdogan is playing a game of brinksmanship it is not a very wise course of action given the volatility of the region.
What’s also certain is that some of the countermeasures mooted on the Israeli side, if they are true, such as supporting the PKK, the Kurdish separatist party which is designated a terrorist organisation, would be even more damaging to Israel and morally reprehensible.
There is no way Israel can give any succour to a terrorist organisation. This would be terribly wrong. If this is just Foreign Minister Lieberman’s rantings then he needs to be controlled or sacked.
Israel should avoid provocation, use the opportunity to cement ties with Greece and even Armenia and maybe think about counter-prosecution of the Turkish government for sponsoring the breaking of a legal blockade. Is that not also a casus belli?
It may even be worth the risk for Israel to pre-empt Turkey and go to the International Court and seek a ruling which no-one could then gainsay.
Let’s hope the Turkish people have enough sense to get rid of Erdogan at the next election. They deserve better.
If Erdogan pushes too far he may end up being cut off from Europe like his Ottoman predecessors.
If he’s not careful Turkey may well end up cooking its own goose.
UPDATE: Apparently Israeli jets and ships are being identified as ‘neutral’ not ‘hostile’ and not as I stated above.
Also – an interesting analysis in the Daily beast by Owen Matthews gives a less dramatic view than me.
The much vaunted Flotilla 2 failed to get beyond Greek waters. The Mavi Marmara, star of Flotilla 1 was withdrawn under pressure from the Turkish government and the original 1500 became only a few hundred which rapidly dwindled to nothing.
Israel actually succeeded in bringing Greece and Turkey together in preventing a confrontation at sea!
And now the ongoing aerial assault on Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, know as ‘Flytilla’ or ‘Airtilla’ has also foundered as France, the Netherlands and others prevent ‘activists’ intent on causing trouble, from flying to Israel.
Meanwhile at Ben Gurion, those who have managed to land find themselves at a remote terminal, well away from the main tourist area, and are either put on the next flight or arrested.
Israel has every right to deny entry to anyone it pleases, for whatever reason it chooses as a sovereign nation. These ‘activists’ are intent on challenging Israel’s sovereignty, not helping Palestinians.
You can find it in their rhetoric; they are flying to ‘Lyd’ airport in ‘Palestine’. Get it? Israel is Palestine. They are not coming to protest blockades, sieges or occupation, they are coming to delegitimise Israel itself.
Those taking part in both fiascos are a bunch of self-righteous hypocrites. They wouldn’t even allow their so-called fig-leaf humanitarian aid to be shipped to Israel and then taken by the Israelis into Gaza.
They came intent on breaking one blockade and then ended up having to contend with two as the Greek port authorities blocked their departure or chased them as they tried to slip away.
There was even the irony of Gazans staging demonstrations against the Greek blockade.
Following the hashtags #flotilla2 and #flotilla or #freedomfllotilla required enormous will power not to put two fingers down one’s throat one minute and the same two fingers at their tweets the next.
All sorts of hilarious conspiracy theories floated like so much flotsam to the surface of the twitosphere: The Israelis bribed the Greeks who needed the money; the Israelis had sabotaged two boats even though the Turks, of all people, denied this; the Greeks had to do what the EU wanted because of their debt crisis; yada, yada.
They convinced themselves that the Greek people were with them and their government had been suborned by those dirty Zionists.
They are a bunch of whining hypocrites. They fly into the only country in the region that tolerates free speech, almost to the point of stupidity, to try to prove that Israel is an apartheid state. Then they act in a way, and with a declared intention, that guarantees they will be expelled or arrested or both so they can whine a bit more about how Israel is a ‘police state’ not a ‘true democracy’, and closes down free speech. You get the idea? They are excrement-stirrers.
This is an extension of the assault on Israel’s borders on the ‘Naksa’ demonstrations in the Golan. Let me repeat: they are coming from foreign countries to demonstrate, demonise and delegitimise the state. Why should they be tolerated? Which country would tolerate this?
Let me see them fly into Lhasa not Gaza and see what happens. Let them try to fly to Grozny. Let’s see how much luck they have in Damascus or Beirut or Alexandria.
The irony is that Ben Gurion in Tel Aviv is one of the few places where they know they are safe to fly to because they know, despite their declarations, that Israel is not a police state, that it will not treat them as harshly as other states. They pretend to be brave but they are really cowards.
There is a tremendous feeling in the pro-Israel community that this time Israel used diplomacy well and played the activists’ game better than they did. No-one has been hurt, let alone killed; no real confrontation and best of all, the flotillards have gone home (well apart from a small boat that evaded the Greeks) as sick as a Captain Flint.
Yes, the futile flytillaniks still arrive at Ben Gurion as dozens continue to be killed in Syria every day.
Here are some others’ views of this week’s events:
even better from Israel’s perspective, the attempt at a second flotilla has prompted the arrival of a new ally: Greece. The Greek coastguard has been vigilant in intercepting three would-be flotilla boats and watching the remaining seven in Greek ports. Last week, IDF helicopters were part of a large military exercise with the Greek army, after which Israeli PM Binyamin Netanyahu thanked Greek PM George Papandreou for all his help.
Some activists have responded with pure antisemitism, arguing that the impoverished Greeks have caved in to Israel’s financial power.
The Greeks’ behaviour has not escaped Erdogan’s notice and has resulted in a form of bidding war between the two leaders to help Israel stop the flotilla. As a senior IDF officer told the Jewish Chronicle this week: “We will make peace with the Palestinians long before the Greeks and Turks resolve their differences.”
He speculates about why Flotilla 2 has failed where Flotilla 1 succeeded. He puts Turkey at the centre of the reasons for failure:
With Turkey unwilling to play along and a coming UN report endorsing Israel’s blockade as legal, the Greek government similarly had enough cover to go after the boats and their activists. If the blockade is legal for the UN, blocking the flotilla in Greece is just as legal.
And he also notes elements of anti-Semitic canards in the flotillards pathetic excuses:
Angry flotilla participants have variously blamed the Greek government for preventing their departure – with one activist bordering on the usual anti-Semitic imagery and saying that Greece caved in to Israel due to its economic circumstances.
The idea that helping Israel against the flotilla could bring financial respite to the Greek economy is ludicrous – Israel would have to single handedly control the IMF, the World Bank and the European Investment Bank– and possibly the Bundesbank too – in order to deliver the additional help that Greece may need to avoid default.
That this idea was voiced at all reveals the activists’ conspiratorial mind set.
Yes, folks. The blockade of Gaza is legal. The UN says so. And if the flotillards want to ignore the UN they can’t accuse Israel of doing the same without an enormous dollop of hypocrisy.
This is a cross post by Dr Rivka Shpak Lissak first posted at her RSL website.
This is a short cri-de-coeur from an Israeli academic and writer. Of course, there is a lot more to these activists than their hypocrisy. They are ideologically driven to destroy Israel and replace it with another failed Arab state.
True activists with genuine humanitarian objectives should be entitled not to be told to ‘go home’ as Dr Lissak angrily advises the flotillards. These were not humanitarians, these people are politically motivated, self-righteous, useful idiots who will be the first to be thrown off the tops of buildings if their beloved Hamas were ever to have control of ‘Palestine’.
To All the So Called “Human Rights Activists”
Did You Solve All the Problems At Home That You Have Started Telling Us How to Solve Ours?
People from France, Britain, Sweeden, Norway, USA and other Western Countries have formed organizations with the intention to join the Palestinians in their campaign against Israel, blaming Israel for the situation in Gaza and the West Bank.
If these people are so eager to help solve the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, they should hear both sides before making up their minds.
Did they come to Israel to learn about its society, to meet people of different views about the conflict?
How can they be so sure that they have all the information if they never even tried to listen to the Israeli side?
But above all:
Have these people solved all the problems of their own societies that they can come to the Middle East to advise us how to solve our problems?
What about the Muslims who live in European countries? Are all the socio-economic and other problems solved?
What about the socio-economic problems of the lower classes in the USA and Canada?
What about the minorities in these countries? Are all their problems taken care of?
It’s very easy to be a “human rights activist” telling others what they should do. It’s easier to get involved in others’ problems than with your own.
In short, go home and deal with your own problems and let us deal with ours.
How fortunate we are to have someone as eloquent and analytically rigorous as the writer Howard Jacobson to debunk anti-Israel hypocrites.
In another of his brilliant tours de force he takes his fellow write Alice Walker to task about her participation in the second Gaza Flotilla. Jacobson lays bear the hypocrisy of Walker and all those who sail with her.
Human beings are seldom more dangerous than when they are sentimentally overcome by the goodness of their own intentions. That Alice Walker believes it is right to join the Freedom Flotilla II to Gaza I do not have the slightest doubt. But beyond associating her decision with Gandhi, Martin Luther King and very nearly, when she talks about the preciousness of children, Jesus Christ, she fails to give a single convincing reason for it…
The boat on which Alice Walker will be traveling is called The Audacity of Hope. Forgive me for seeing a measure of self- importance in that reference…
Hamas, we are often told, is the elected government of Gaza, a government that fairly represents the wishes of its people. In which case we must assume that Hamas’s implacable hostility towards Israel fairly represents the implacable hostility felt by the people of Gaza. Are Alice Walker’s letters of love and ‘solidarity’ solid with the people of Gaza in that hostility?..
Alice Walker might be feeling good about herself, but by giving the Palestinians the same old false comfort we’ve been doling out for more than half a century, and by allowing the Israelis to dismiss it as yet another act of misguided and uncomprehending adventurism — further evidence that its fears go unheeded – her political gesture only worsens the situation. The parties to this conflict need to be brought together not divided: but those who speak disingenuously of love will engender only further hatred.
The Jerusalem Post reports that Turkey plans to send five ships and a submarine to join a naval operation to enforce an arms embargo off Libya.
You couldn’t make it up, as they say.
This is the same Turkey that condemned Israel for intercepting the so-called ‘humanitarian’ flotilla last year which resulted in the death of 9 IHH Islamist activists.
This UN blockade is OK because NATO is enforcing UN resolution 1973.
Israel’s blockade is deemed illegal by all those for whom it is convenient to believe this fantasy.
Israel has about as much chance of having a UN Resolution in its favour to protect it from murderous rocket fire as Ahmadinejad converting to Judaism
So Libya is to be prevented from receiving arms.
Israel is criticised and demonised for trying to prevent Hamas from receiving arms by, inter alia, stopping ships such as the Mavi Marmara and, more recently, the Victoria.
I now keenly await the IHH and other humanitarian organisations that are so keen on breaking the Gaza blockade to send a flotilla with humanitarian aid to Tripoli and refuse to comply with orders to stop and be searched. And should they attack and attempt to kill the Turkish or other coalition naval personnel who try to board their boats?
I eagerly await the UN’s enquiry into the violent suppression of the popular demonstrations in Libya.
According to the latest reports there was what has been characterised as a ‘massacre’ by the BBC in Benghazi. At least 200 protesters have been killed.
But not just killed but executed by snipers with deliberately lethal shots to the head and heart.
As we know, the UN was very keen to demand a rapid enquiry into Israel’s interception of a so-called humanitarian flotilla intent on breaking Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. Nine ‘activists’ were killed, eight of whom were associated with the IHH, an Islamist organisation with close links to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.
In this incident Israeli commandos boarded the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, where they were subject to a prepared attack by a mob wielding iron bars, knives, and, apparently, at least one firearm. In an act of self-defence the Israelis shot and killed 9 activists at close quarters. Several were reported to have been shot in the head.
The world was up in arms that such ‘unarmed’ humanitarians were ‘attacked’ by Israeli soldiers.
I have already written about this incident and a recent report by the Israeli Turkel commission exonerated the IDF. A Turkish report was also produced which came to a completely opposite conclusion that the deaths were deliberate; an absurdity quite happily accepted by the Muslim world.
Israel faced worldwide condemnation, and pressure was brought to ease the embargo of goods entering Gaza.
Let’s remind ourselves that even if you take the worst view of this incident, Israel killed 9 activists protesting against Israel’s policy in Gaza.
Yet, in Libya, we already have at least 300 casualties, killed for protesting about the policies of their own government, killed deliberately, not in a physical struggle, but at distance by snipers. Killed by their own government for having the audacity to want freedom and democracy.
How much worse is the action of the Libyans in Benghazi and elsewhere than the actions of Israel even interpreted at its worst?
By any system of logic and fairness or consistency the UN must require that Libya immediately investigate these killings. And while they are at it, maybe they can ask the Egyptians to investigate more than 300 deaths or the Bahrainis to investigate the live ammunition used against its citizens, killing several.
The test of a UN that is not biased and is not obsessed with demonising Israel, initiating resolutions and investigations into every state action, would be for there to be equal treatment of the egregious actions of Arab governments.
The UN Human Rights Council has condemned Libya, Bahrain and Yemen, but what actions will they actually take?
In the UK and elsewhere, will academics break of contact with their counterparts in Arab countries whose governments suppress their people with such ruthlessness?
Will Trades Unions vote to divest from these same countries and to cut off co-operation with their fellow unionists?
Those who tell us Israel is not treated differently from other countries and is not held to higher standards, now have their chance to prove it.
UPDATE The speed of events in Libya may well mean that there is nothing left of the Gadaffi regime before too long. (22.00 20 Feb 11)
A few days ago I happened to be watching, once again, the documentary about Live Aid first shown 5 years ago on the 20th anniversary of the event.
Like millions of people on the actual day, I was enjoying the performances until we got to the part where they showed the film of the starving Ethiopian children and experienced again the horror of millions of people dying from famine, whilst we in the first world get increasingly obese.
And then it struck me; here was a genuine disaster where the whole world was mobilised by the efforts of one inspired man. So if Gaza is such a humanitarian disaster, and if people are really starving as so many in the anti-Israel organisations and commentators and journalists would have us believe, where are the images? Why are there no Live Aid type concerts? Where is the international outrage? Not the outrage of those with a political agenda, but the outrage which comes of genuine humanitarian concern?
As ever, I do not deny that many in Gaza do not have the greatest standard of living or quality of life, but is it not telling that the world actually understands real disasters, such as Haiti and the Pakistan floods. The world realises that the difficulties in Gaza, though real, are not in the same league as Haiti or Pakistan, let alone Ethiopia.
The only people fixated on trying to tell us that there is a humanitarian issue worthy of international attention are the flotillaniks and aid organisations whose agenda is to break the blockade, embarrass Israel and keep Gaza on the UN agenda. They are doing a fine job, often aided by UNWRA, but it does seem to me that the message that there is a humanitarian disaster worthy of the name is growing a little weak. And the idea that it is only Israel that is responsible for the conditions in Gaza is also beginning to pale.
Let’s not forget that Egypt also has a land embargo and one third of Gaza’s border is with Egypt.
Israel delivers thousands of tonnes of food and other aid and equipment every week through crossing points. Israel delivers electricity through its grid. Israel provides medical aid to thousands of Gazans a year. Shops in Gaza are well-stocked with food and white goods.
Yet Hamas, the rulers of Gaza, declare that their goal is to destroy Israel but complain that Israel is a little wary of the free passage of marine traffic into the Gaza strip. What nation in history whose enemy declared that its goal was to destroy it has provided the means for that enemy’s people to survive, although not thrive? And these are the same people who voted Hamas into power in the first place.
We hear how Gaza is a prison camp, that there is a humanitarian disaster, that Israel must end the ‘siege’. Bear in mind, also, that Hamas holds Gilad Shalit captive without access to the Red Cross. Bear in mind that rockets are fired daily into Southern Israel. Still Israel sends in the trucks.
How many countries have organised food aid for Gaza? How many worldwide broadcast concerts have the pro-Palestinian groups in Europe arranged to raise money?
So, as I said, I was thinking, maybe the world is not fooled. Maybe they actually understand it’s more about politics and less about suffering. Aid convoys and flotillas may have a small effect on the conditions in Gaza but their real purpose is political, not humanitarian.
No, the Gazan people are pretty well provided for by UNWRA, the EU, the United States and Israel. If they could get rid of Hamas, they might actually begin to thrive.
Brilliant speech by Trevor S. Norwitz reported on UN Watch.
It completely demolishes the absurdity of the UNHRC, the Goldstone Report, the so-called Flotilla Inquiry and the abuse of laws designed to protect democracies from the very people that are now using those same laws to attack those democracies.
This is highlighted on the sane website here: “Cuba Organizing Rogue Speakers’ List of Hardliners in Bid to Ambush U.S. at Friday’s U.N. Review”, where an alliance of the far Left dictators and Venezuela are attempting to dominate the UN Review in order to attack the US.
The US is not and should not be immune from criticism, but unlike most of the countries doing the hatchet job on the US’s reputation, the US is a democracy with a strong record on self-examination and self-criticism and responding, sometimes tardily, to misdemeanours of its armed forces. It is, therefore, monstrous, that Iran and Cuba can point an accusing finger at the US when their record on human rights, especially Iran’s, is abysmal.
It appears that the UN and its instruments are now an international union of nations inimical to democracy and peace who use the organs of the UN to spout lies and hypocrisy.
Is it not about time the UN took more robust action and limited its councils to true democracies rather than than allowing them to become propaganda weapons for serial human rights abusers?
The Norwitz speech is as strong a condemnation of the Flotilla Inquiry farce as I have seen.
Here’s a flavour of the speech:
Almost anything created for a good purpose can be abused or even “weaponized”: think of an ice-pick, a candlestick, a box-cutter knife, an airplane, a shoe, a pair of underpants.
And not just physical objects. We have seen the abuse of almost every institution invented by man: democracy (think of Venezuela, Iran, the Weimar Republic); education (look at Gaza under Hamas or the PLO, Apartheid South Africa); religion (no examples needed).
It should be no surprise then that the law – one of humanity’s greatest achievements, designed for the creation of ordered societies, the establishment and maintenance of justice and the determination and protection of truth – is also susceptible to abuse.
Today what is really under attack is perhaps the most fundamental value in our Western culture: truth. And it is ironic in the extreme that it is the law, which was created and designed to be the servant and protector of truth, that is the enemy’s weapon of choice to undermine the truth.