When I saw these headlines this morning, I knew something was amiss:
At Least 10 Are Killed as Israel Halts Flotilla With Gaza Aid
Israeli soldiers kill at least 10 protesters on boat carrying supplies to Gaza
Israel Attacks Palestinian Aid Flotilla
Deaths as Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship
Israel has one of the best-trained, most disciplined special forces groups in the world. How could they have opened fire on a “flotilla” of completely innocent peace activists, considering that they’ve dealt with these people before and knew they were coming?
As so often happens, I was right. There was something amiss — the whole story. We are now learning, thanks to more circumspect news outlets like YNet News, that the Israeli boarding team was attacked the very second it reached the deck of the ship.
A few minutes before the takeover attempt aboard the Marmara got underway, the operation commander was told that 20 people were waiting on the deck where a helicopter was to deploy the first team of the elite Flotilla 13 unit. The original plan was to disembark on the top deck, and from there rush to the vessel’s bridge and order the Marmara’s captain to stop.
Officials estimated that passengers will show slight resistance, and possibly minor violence; for that reason, the operation’s commander decided to bring the helicopter directly above the top deck. The first rope that soldiers used in order to descend down to the ship was wrested away by activists, most of them Turks, and tied to an antenna with the hopes of bringing the chopper down. However, Flotilla 13 fighters decided to carry on.
Navy commandoes slid down to the vessel one by one, yet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly, yet they attempted to fight back.
According to the report, the soldiers fired back only after the “peace activists” attacked them, took at least one weapon from the team, and threw a soldier 30 feet from the upper deck of the ship. This video bears out the Israeli report.
This video gives a better look at what happened to the first Israeli down the rope.
See those guns the soldiers are pointing at the guys who just beat the heck out of their compatriots? Those are paintball guns. The real guns hadn’t even come out yet. Well, not out of Israeli holsters, at least.
Remember that all the Israelis asked of the flotilla was that it either subject itself to a cargo inspection where it was or off-load the materials legally and in accordance to established law at the port of Ashdod. That wasn’t good enough. Indeed, from what I’ve seen, the ship was full of terrorists intent on making Israel look like the bad guy in the eyes of the international community and the Al-Jazeera accounts of this story prove that without question.
World leaders have taken the Islamist’s bait and are condemning Israel in their usual knee-jerk fashion, without a moment’s though to whether “>the whole thing was a set-up. The Muslim world has, on cue, taken to the streets for their usual rioting and mayhem. Prime Minister Netanyahu has cancelled a White House visit (that would have accomplished nothing given that President Obama refuses to treat him as a friend or ally) and the blogosphere has divided itself along the usual Israel/Islamist lines.
What does it all mean? Really, I don’t know that it means anything. This is the same old story that plays out on a very regular basis. Hamas or Hezbollah or some other Islamist hate group goads Israel into defending itself. Israel does so, usually but not always with heroic restraint, and gets a face full of the world’s vitriol. It used to be that our only steadfast ally in the Middle East could rely on us to back them up but these days they can’t even rely on that.
I know two things for sure. First, Gaza is not the House of Woe that the Islamists say it is. No area that boasts its own Olympic-sized swimming pool (in the middle of a desert, yet) and a top-flight restaurant that does booming business is on the edge of ruin. Second, there is no doubt in my mind that Hamas, Hezbollah, et. al. could stop the killing right now by laying down their arms. Israel could do the same, but the killing would take a little time to stop. After all, slaughtering every Jew in the region isn’t the work of one day.
Now why hasn’t that happened? Why hasn’t Hamas simply stopped lobbing rockets at kids and gotten down to the serious and worthwhile business of governing Gaza competently, for the benefit of those who live there? Why does Hezbollah, flush with Iranian cash and acting on the orders of Mad Mahmoud and the Mullahs sue for peace immediately, knowing the weight of the world would guarantee it?
Why didn’t they dock the flotilla at Ashdod?