Hamas, Israel, and the Gaza flotilla: seven facts you need to know
Amid a barrage of criticism of Israel, fair-minded observers should consider these seven facts before judging the flotilla raid.
In the torrent of rage and confusion generated by the loss of life when the Israeli Navy enforced the embargo on the Gaza Strip this week, there has been a regrettable overlooking of certain fundamental facts. As is so frequently the case, these facts have gotten buried in the rubble of political rhetoric. In order to prevent this incident from having a deleterious effect on the peace process going forward, the following must be understood:Skip to next paragraph
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Fact 1: The Gaza Strip is an armed camp, ruled with an iron fist by a repressive Hamas regime that has not only repeatedly pledged itself to the annihilation of Israel and the torpedoing of any prospects for Middle East peace, but has made good on its pledges by firing approximately 10,000 missiles, rockets, and mortar bombs at Israeli civilians over the past several years for the express purpose of killing or wounding those civilians or, at a minimum, terrifying them.
Fact 3: When faced with an armed enemy committed to its destruction, which has done its very best to make war against Israeli civilians, Israel has two choices: to try to protect its civilians from those attacks, or to simply shrug its shoulders and hope that the attacks stop. There is, quite simply, no nation on earth that would choose the latter course, and no reasonable and fair-minded person who would expect it to.
Fact 4: In an effort to stop the missiles from being manufactured and used against it, and only for that reason, Israel has been forced to try to keep the materials used for that purpose out of the Gaza Strip. This is an obvious step needed to prevent the kind of war that caused so much destruction in 2008, when the increase in attacks by Hamas and its allies against Israeli civilians eventually triggered an Israeli response to stop them. There can be no real doubt that Israel is entitled to keep weapons of war from being used against it.
Fact 5: Israel repeatedly, and expressly, made clear to those who organized the effort to break the embargo that it would willingly take all of the humanitarian aid that was on their boats and transfer it to Gaza, without delay. All that Israel wanted was to be able to ensure that materials were, in fact, humanitarian aid, rather than the sorts of materials used for launching attacks that are supplied to Hamas by the Iranians and others. The organizers of the flotilla refused – because, of course, getting humanitarian aid to Gaza was not what their gambit was really about.