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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.

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Fact 6: Israel regularly provides humanitarian aid to Gaza, and volunteering to get the humanitarian aid from the ships to Gaza was consistent with Israeli policy all along.

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And Fact 7, which is now coming to light several days after the initial and predictable barrage of criticism of Israel: Those on at least one of the ships planned all along to attack Israelis when they sought to enforce the embargo, and indeed, their attack on the Israelis was brutal.

This fact has been starkly captured in video widely circulating around the Internet, showing the vicious beatings initiated by those on board one of the ships against Israelis, who for their part had been instructed to refrain from using any force if at all possible. Indeed, in Israel the military is being criticized for failing to adequately prepare its naval personnel to anticipate the attacks on them from the boats, and for being too passive, and too trusting, in its approach to the flotilla.

As for the evidence that certain individuals of those responsible for orchestrating this tragedy are linked to Al Qaeda and other representatives of the worst forces on the planet, the next days will likely yield more information.

But the larger issue is this: Has the desire to blame Israel in certain quarters reached such an irrational frenzy that the fundamental facts of any issue relating to the Middle East conflict will reliably be overlooked? Are those who are committed to a fair-minded and reasonable analysis of that conflict prepared to insist that others who like nothing more than jumping to conclusions stop, pause, think, and consider the actual evidence?

There will always be those who don’t let facts to get in the way of their biases. But fair-minded people examine the evidence before forming conclusions, especially when emotions run high. Israel – and the cause of peace in the Middle East – is counting on them to do just that.

Nadav Tamir is the consul general at the consulate general of Israel to New England.