In 2010 the world was captivated by the Gaza Flotillas, when a small group of civilian ships filled with “peace activists” tried to “break the siege on Gaza”.
Many will be aware of the incident when Israel boarded the ships in 2010 and on one of the boats were met with considerable armed resistance. We will not go into the details of that flotilla in this article, but while the media and anti-Israel groups painted Israel as the bad guys and the people on board as “innocent peace activists”, the reality was quite different.
This week we saw another flotilla try to reach Gaza. However, the word “flotilla” (which means, small group of boats) is not accurate in this case as it was just a single yacht, the Zaytouna-Oliva. The second boat that embarked in the “flotilla” had engine problems and had to stop its journey part way through.
On board the Zaytouna-Oliva were thirteen women activists from thirteen countries and included Northern Ireland’s 1976 Nobel peace prize winner Mairead Maguire, along with an Olympic athlete, politicians and others. They claimed they were attempting to challenge the blockade and deliver “a message of hope and freedom to people of Gaza.”
They used social media as their platform to spread their message and posted videos of them singing (which is actually very nice) and reported back information as regularly as they could.
— refaatesque (@ThisIsGaZa) October 6, 2016
It is important to note that along with these tweets, they also broadcast their planned route and exact location on Google maps. Now, if someone was trying to sneak past the Israeli navy and evade being caught, the last thing would be to broadcast the exact location to the world.
— Women's Boat To Gaza (@GazaFFlotilla) October 5, 2016
It begs the question: Did they really intend to break through the blockade or was their plan to be “captured” all along?
In Gaza pictures and videos were being broadcast of Palestinians standing on the beach with messages and flags ready to welcome the boat. There were two aims for this mission. If they succeeded in reaching Gaza, they would be labelled as heroes for “breaking” the blockade. On top of this they would make the Israeli navy look a little stupid because they failed to stop a boat of women from reaching Gaza. And if Israel did stop them, then again, they would be able to paint Israel as the bad guys. We suspect this was their ultimate aim, because the headlines are much more appealing.
The latter of those two scenarios is what happened in the end. The Women’s Boat to Gaza “mission control” lost communication and, after not regaining contact for some time, assumed that the Israeli navy had found them.
The Women’s Boat to Gaza Twitter account was ready and waiting for this scenario with “SOS” video messages recorded before the ladies departed. In the video message words such as “kidnapped” and “illegal” were thrown around and the Israel Defense Forces were renamed the “Israeli Occupation Forces”, as they commonly are in anti-Israel propaganda.
The video also included a message from Ann Wright, a retired US army colonel and former US diplomat, who was on board and who urged people to “call the president of the United States” and her “former boss” (who it doesn’t appear was her former boss) John Kerry.
They were right. While the communication line went silent from the Zaytouna-Oliva the Israeli navy were taking action.
In a brilliant move by Israel, knowing that the protest boat was carrying only women, the Israeli navy intercepted the boat using only female combat troops and cadets. They did this in order to diffuse any tensions and managed to reroute the boat without incident.
As Aussie Dave from Israellycool put it: “Sending in women to perform the interception was a brilliant move by the Israeli navy. They clearly knew the “activists” on board had one sole purpose – to generate negative publicity against Israel (after all, they had no humanitarian aid on board the ship!). Or showboating, if you will. Think about how sick that is for a second – it shows their motivation is hatred for Israel, NOT love for the Gazans.”
As soon as the official news broke that Israel had in fact rerouted the boat to Ashdod, and that the women would be deported on arrival in Israel, the media took the story around the world. Fortunately, the news was not broadcast by mainstream media as much as the women had hoped.
As expected, after being caught the hysterical reaction from the activists was to accuse Israel of crimes. “We were arrested, kidnapped, illegally, in international waters and taken against our wish into Israel,” Ms Maguire, the Nobel Laurette, said.
The Israeli Defence Forces said of the incident that the boat was intercepted in international waters after “exhausting all diplomatic channels” and that the operation was “uneventful”.
It described the Gaza maritime blockade as lawful and said the women refused to change course when asked.
There was no aid on the boat. It was confirmed in an interview when a spokesperson for the boat clearly states, “we don’t have any supplies on the boat. We don’t carry any aid”, after an interviewer incorrectly assumes there is aid on board.
You can watch the video below.
It seems they are stepping away from the usual line of accusation against Israel where they claim Israel is cutting off the Palestinians from any outside aid and as a result Israel is making the people of Gaza suffer. These lies were not used in this case as the reality is Israel is delivering over 20,000 tons worth of aid into Gaza every day.
A Hamas representative also stated that they don’t want aid, or as he put it, “food for their bellies”, they just want to end the blockade. Why is that? Because as soon as the blockade stops and boats are allowed free access to Gaza, you can be sure that weapons for Hamas terrorists will arrive shortly after. This is the whole reason the blockade exists in the first place.
If these so called “peace activists” truly wanted peace, we would suggest to them that they might want to considering going to Gaza by legal routes and taking with them a message to Hamas that tells them to stop building tunnels, to stop teaching their children to hate, to stop inciting violence against Israeli civilians and to reject their extremist ideologies.
However, it seems that is a far off dream. Instead of promoting true peace, they instead attack the only democracy in the Middle East and one of the few places in the world where Jews, Muslims and Christians live side by side in peace.
There are no flotillas to Syria or North Korea. There is no “Solidarity Campaign” for the tens-of-thousands of Christians and Muslims who are dying each month throughout the Middle East. Yet they attack the only country in the Middle East where both Muslims and Christians are free to live in peace and security.
These flotillas are nothing more than publicity stunts, the results of which only serve to further the goals of Hamas, increase negative feeling towards Israel and fuel anti-Semitism around the world.
We desire peace in the region just as these activists do, but they are acting on the wrong side of peace. If they truly want to end the blockade, then they need to take it up with Hamas.