Wow! - some headline - the mighty Israeli army cold bloodily executes peace activists.
Many are going gobble, savor and digest the above headline which will appear in all its ferocious forms in the world media. Good luck to those. For many others, those who are able to breath for a second before resorting to a default "Israel bash" mode, read on...
Since this incident is far from over, I am extremely cautious not to provide unofficial information that has not been categorically verified. For now, lets examine some of the known verified facts:
- During the planning stages, the Israel Defense Force and government repeatedly announced that unwarranted maritime vessels with unmonitored cargo will not be allowed to enter territorial waters.
- An alternative conventional and viable solution was proposed - the cargo would undergo security checks in Ashdod harbor and then be delivered by Israel. This solution was refused.
- Before the military operation, the flotilla was repeatedly requested to change course and warned of the takeover. The warnings and requests were met with clear defiance and refusals.
- Israeli soldiers were equipped with demonstration dispersion equipment in an effort to prevent using live ammunition.
- In video footage, it is clearly evident that the soldiers were attacked with iron bars and other material, yet did not hasten to open fire with live ammunition. In one case, a soldier is seen to be trying to ward off an attacker without making use of a weapon.
- Five our of the six vessels were overpowered without any show of violence on behalf of the activists and therefore, on these boats, no one was injured.
Fresh reports announce that the first wave of soldiers was not armed with live ammunition in an attempt to prevent unnecessary violence but rather with riot equipment. After almost being lynched (some of them jumped in the water to escape), the second wave of soldiers took control of the vessel. (Remember that these are highly trained navy commando seals).
No nation allows unmonitored cross border access. An alternative reasonable solution to pass humanitarian aid were offered but refused. Despite repeated warnings the organizers decided to defy orders and were thus overpowered. Only after the activists initiated violent attacks on the soldiers (clearly seen on video footage), and apparently shooting at soldiers from a seized weapon, did the Israeli soldiers justifiably use live ammunition on the Mari Marmara.
Was the purpose of this flotilla to send humanitarian aid into Gaza? Or, was it a provocation designed to de-legitimize Israel? Why were the "peace" activists on the Mari Marmara armed with axes, iron bars and clubs? Here is the footage of a "peace" activist stabbing a soldier!
(Courtesy of Israel Channel2 News)
The Turkish charity "IHH" is the organization behind this flotilla to send humanitarian aid sent to Gaza. Closely tied to Hamas (considered a terror organization by most of the international community) previous aid sent to the "people of Gaza" was in effect handed over to Hamas leadership (the IHH even confirms in a published document).
That is is for now - I'll keep you posted or revisit for updates.