Surprise! Violence erupts, Israel condemned

Here we go again.

Israeli forces and pro-Palestinian activists clash, leaving nine activists dead and seven Israeli soldiers injured. Israel says it acted in self-defense, while Palestinian leaders charge Israel with launching a pre-meditated attack on an aid mission to Gaza.

That the facts surrounding the skirmish on the seas around Gaza are in dispute did not, of course, prevent the all-too-predictable global response to any episode of Israeli-Palestinian conflict – outsized and singularly focused condemnation of the Jewish State, with nary a critical word for the other side.

Turkey summoned its Israeli ambassador, cancelled three joint military exercises with Israel, urged Israel to apologize and warned of “irreversible consequences in our relations;” Greece summoned its Israeli ambassador, postponed a visit of the Israeli Joint Chiefs and ended a military exercise with Israel; Sweden summoned its Israeli ambassador and urged a “strong European reaction;” the United Nations expressed “shock;” and its Security Council “condemned” Israel’s action.

The United States took a decidedly neutral position, saying it “deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained and is currently working to understand the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.”

Yes, let’s understand the circumstances.

Let’s survey the public information, courtesy of mainstream news outlets, Palestinian Media Watch, the Middle East Media Research Institute, and YouTube – to which all of the global leaders from whom we have heard presumably have access – and see whether their Israelbashing is justified.

Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza in 2006 after the terrorist group Hamas won elections in the Palestinian territories, tightening it in 2007 when Hamas took over Gaza. After enduring thousands of rockets fired from Gaza into its southern region, Israel announced it would search all ships headed to Gaza to ensure that none of them carries weapons or equipment that would threaten the Jewish state.

Nevertheless, 15,000 tons of humanitarian aid reaches Gaza each week through other channels, Israeli officials said.

Early Monday morning, Israeli forces stopped a convoy of six ships that left Cyprus a day earlier for Gaza with 600 passengers from more than 20 countries and more than 10,000 tons of aid, according to the convoy’s organizers – the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish-based Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), the latter of which reportedly has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, helps fund Hamas and helped plan a foiled attack on the Los Angeles airport in 1999.

Five of the six ships allowed Israeli forces to search its goods. Passengers on the sixth, however, reacted differently, according to Israel, beating, clubbing, and stabbing its soldiers with an assortment of switchblade knives, slingshots, and metal balls and bats and forcing the soldiers to defend themselves. YouTube video that purports to show Israel’s boarding of the ship seems to confirm its contentions.

OK, now let’s take a look at more of the circumstantial evidence.

The Washington Post said the activists planned the “Freedom Flotilla” for a year, sought the participation of international parliamentarians and support from Turkey’s government, turned down Israeli offers to unload the boats in Israel and deliver the goods by truck to Gaza, and set sail with great fanfare from European ports last week.

CNN said the passengers wanted to raise awareness of what they called Israel’s “illegal siege of Gaza.”

Al-Jazeera TV recorded those on the convoy chanting a well-known Islamic battle cry: “Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews,” referring to the last Jewish village that was defeated by Muhammad’s army in 628, marking the end of a Jewish presence in Arabia. “The army of Muhammad will return,” they continued.

Al-Jazeera recorded a female passenger proclaiming, “Right now we face one of two happy endings: Either martyrdom or reaching Gaza.”

Did the participants expect violence? Apparently so.

“The flotilla includes hundreds of Arab and foreign solidarity activists from more than 40 countries,” Al-Jazeera reported over the weekend. “They have announced their determination to use resistance to any attempt at piracy by the Israeli occupation.”

On Hamas’ Al Aqsa TV, Gaza-based Yemeni professor Abd Al-Fatah Nu’man said of the activists, “With what will they wage resistance? With their fingernails. These are people who wish to be martyred for the sake of Allah. As much as they want to reach Gaza, the other option is more desirable to them.”

Clearly, the activists had more on their minds than humanitarian aid. They ignored Israeli offers to deliver it through other means, opting for a confrontation and welcoming the violence they apparently initiated.

Now, as usual, the global community backs the forces of destruction against a democratic state that seeks to protect its people.

Yawn.