خيبر خيبر يايهود جيش محمد سيعود
Initial reports are in that the Israeli Navy has boarded the Gaza aid flotilla and that there has been violence and casualties. It is regrettable. The protesters have allowed themselves to be co-opted in a media effort that somewhat masks the true nature of the underlying conflict. The aim, the organizers said, was to break through the “illegal” Israeli blockade “in non-violent direct action.” Israel was forced into a difficult conundrum where they faced humiliation if they had acceded and now certain censure for their efforts to enforce the blockade.
The IDF contacted the boats by radio, clarified that the Gaza Strip is a closed military zone and offered the sailors two options: to follow the navy to Ashdod Port or be commandeered by commandos, according to flotilla organizers. The initial contact took place about 200 km. off the Gaza Coast. The flotilla organizers chose to ignore the warnings. Confirmed reports and recordings point out that protesters on the ship were chanting “Khaybar Khaybar ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad saya’ud,” which means ‘Jews, remember Khaybar, the army of Muhammed is returning.’ Umar fought the battle of Khaybar against the resident jews, expelling them in 644 a.d.. The enmity between the peoples is obviously not a new thing.
This reminds me of the last time I was in Israel, for the length of Operation Desert Storm, when the Israeli Arab's chant was "Saddam, Saddam, ha habib, edroob, edroob, Tel Abib." Or "Saddam, our pal, bomb the shit out of Tel Aviv" to the non arab speaking reader. These chants arose when the scuds were pouring down, an event I personally witnessed. Reports state that Turkish protesters armed with knives, metal bars and sticks managed to wrestle away guns from the Israeli military in today's action. I am sure that we will soon hear that this is merely Israeli propaganda from the Mossad.
The whole flotilla was a well choreographed charade and publicity stunt. The reality is that Israel allows more aid to Gaza every week than was contained in the entire six ship convoy. The IDF issued the following statement:"We did not attack any boat, we merely fulfill the Israeli government's decision to prevent anyone from going into the Gaza strip without coordinating with Israel. The flotilla is a provocation made to de-legitimize Israel. Had they really wanted to deliver the cargo into Gaza they could have done so via Israel as it is done on a daily basis." The flotilla had been shadowed by gunships and repeatedly warned not to try to enter Israel's boundaries.
While Israel has a right to secure its territory and sovereign space, I am sure that the world media, which is overwhelmingly pro palestinian, will have a field day with this incident as another show of naked Israeli aggression and brutality. Another terrible P.R. blunder, but I wonder what options did they have?
Hamas and the people of Gaza claim the right to violently resist the occupation. When the Israelis did open the checkpoints they were immediately targeted by suicide bombers. But in the myopic view of the left, Israel should never respond to the suicide bombs or the Qassam rockets, since the casualty counts are relatively low and the efficacy of the rockets somewhat unreliable. And Jewish blood is regarded cheaply by the international community.
The 1.5 million palestinians living in Gaza claim that they need more access to goods for rebuilding, while the Israeli government says that they must continue the restrictions to keep more arms from flowing into the region. The people in Gaza are obviously suffering. And their leaders in Hamas bear the brunt of the blame for that suffering, continually hiding their rockets and aggression behind a mostly complicit civilian population and then crying foul. Until the Gazans accept Israel's right to exist and renounce their call for its destruction, it would be crazy and suicidal for Israel to furnish their enemies with the tools to destroy them.
The fact that Israel continues to operate as a jailer for a people left miserable by their long confinement is in the long run deadly for both sides. Israel runs the risk of being totally desensitized to the pain of the Gazans, and the Gazans continue to fester and boil and perpetuate a guerrilla war. There are no easy answers. Can any country offer up the keys to their own destruction to those that would annihilate them?
There are a lot of well meaning and caring people who empathize with the obscene squalor that the Palestinians must endure. It is tragic. But will picking sides in a sectarian blood feud further the goals of peace and stability in the region?