The New York Daily News called it “an assault.” The New York Times described it as a “deadly commando raid.” The Los Angeles Times called it a “hard-line response.” And at first glance, the vision of an elite unit of Israeli soldiers, guns raised, sliding onto the deck of seemingly harmless ship filled with Palestinian humanitarians, seemed to be everything the media claimed it to be: A heavily armed Jewish country picking on the defenseless, poor Arabs, held hostage by a senseless war. This is the vision cast by numerous newspaper accounts of Israel’s military response to the six ships who willfully floated near Israel’s borders in the early hours of May 31. The flotilla (which incidentally is Spanish for small fleet of warships) sailed from Turkey amid weeks of activist frenzy. The people and the money behind the flotilla may have said they were there for humanitarian reasons but their real, expressed goal was to test Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Israel and the Gaza Strip
To understand what exactly happened on May 31 you have to go back to 2006. Well, you could go back to Muhammad’s time, or Jesus’ time, or Moses’ time or even Abraham’s time (thank you Abraham and Hagar for starting this religious war). But this blog isn’t log enough so let’s just go back to 2006. This was the year that Hamas, defined by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist group, swept “democratic,” elections in the West Bank. The group, which has repeatedly denounced Israel’s right to exist, not just in the Middle East, but as a state, gained 76 of 132 seats in the Palestinian parliament. The next year, more than 2,000 rockets were fired into Israel from its Hamas-led neighbor in the Gaza Strip. To give you a sense of place here, on the left of Israel is Gaza. On the right is the Palestinian stronghold the West Bank. The Gaza strip is the 25-mile stretch of land that runs along Israel’s border and barely touches the south of Egypt. Israel is like the lobster in the pot surrounded on all sides by boiling water. After Hamas took charge and the rockets started flying Israel instituted a naval blockade to stop rockets, military weapons and other munitions from flowing into Gaza to be used by Jewish-hating terrorist.
Israel and Gaza Like America and Cuba
This action has become infamous as the Israeli blockade on Gaza. There has been many cries for Israel to lift the blockade. Palestinian activists and the predicable liberation groups who call for Israel to lift the blockade. They act as if the blockade is an act of aggression instead of one of defense. But what would you do if you were a bleeding fish surrounded by swimming sharks? If you tried to put up a sand barrier between you and sharks and if you trained your military to protect that sand barrier would you be wrong? I can see if Israel was surrounded by a bunch of girl scouts. But the terrorists who continue to shoot rockets from Gaza, even though there is a blockade and even though there was a short lived war between the sides last year, aren’t girl scouts. They are beholden to a theocracy that says the only solution is to wipe Israel off the map. Israel isn’t not off putting for creating a blockade. Just ask JFK. In 1962, President Kennedy ordered a naval blockade of Cuba without Cuba even firing a shot. It was a preemptive action against a country 90-miles just south of our border and their cozy partnership with communist Russian. Think about it. Cuba is 90 miles from the U.S. Gaza is only inches from Israel.
A blockade is a military decision. It is not some diplomatic policy chess move to be taken lightly. Historians say President Kennedy agonized over the blockade decision because he knew that if it was broken war would be eminent. He did not do it lightly and neither did Israel.
Israel and the Gaza strip War
So as the news accounts portray the “flotilla,” as something akin to the harmless humanitarian shipments of food and water from smiling blue-and-white t-shirt wearing UNICEF workers my BS (blowing smoke) meter begins to rise. The occupants of the flotilla were hard-core Palestinian activists who, according to Israel, were armed with knives, clubs and other weapons in anticipation of a military interception. People say Israeli soldiers shot first and were in the wrong. But I say, if you intentionally cross a naval blockade, a military declaration of defense, you are making an aggressive move against a sovereign nation and well, you know what that means.
Israel and Gaza and War on Spin
I’m a Jesus freak so I tend to want peace instead of violence. However, if I was the only black gal in a country filled with Klansmen who wielded nuclear weapons I might have another philosophy. Israel has chosen its path. It has chosen to defend itself against the millions who seek her destruction. And lest you think Israel is paranoid there have been And as a sovereign nation it has the right to do so. I’m not ignoring the suffering of the 1.5 million Palestinians trapped in Gaza. But Israel is not their problem. Their Arab brothers are. If they want peace in the Middle East then they need to hold their Hamas leadership, their brothers and sisters and all they know to the claims of their religion of peace. When violence erupts we should not blame the victim for defending herself. We should look at the aggressor and ask why are they allowed to act with impunity.