Based on the information available three days ago, honest people of goodwill might truly have believed that Israeli soldiers perpetrated an atrocity on innocent peace activists aboard the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara. The information that has since emerged precludes any such belief.
Anyone who still believes, for instance, that these “peace activists” actually had peaceful intentions should study new video footage (see below) uploaded by the Israeli army yesterday. Taken from the Marmara’s security cameras, it shows the “activists” preparing for battle by taking their weapons out of storage and putting them in easily accessible locales on deck, and occasionally brandishing them to get in the proper mood. In short, they did not attack the Israelis in self-defense; they had planned from the outset to do so. That is why they were able to launch the attack the moment the first soldier hit the deck, as a previously posted video shows.
The convoy’s Turkish organizer, Bulent Yildirim, also admitted today that the “activists” indeed seized the soldiers’ pistols, just as Israel claimed.
And anyone who still believes that Hamas cares a fig about the people of Gaza and their “humanitarian crisis” should study its decision not to let Israel transfer the flotilla’s aid cargo to Gaza. Hamas’s social welfare minister, Ahmed al-Kurd, said Hamas wouldn’t let the aid in unless (a) “Israel met all of the group’s conditions” and (b) it got permission from Turkey, where the flotilla was organized. A senior Israeli official from COGAT (the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories) asked the obvious question: “If the aid is so urgent, my question is, why are they not allowing it into Gaza?”
Incidentally, the aid totaled “between 70 and 80 truckloads,” the official said. COGAT oversees the transfer of “between 80 and 100 truckloads of humanitarian aid into Gaza every day.”
And anyone who still believes those “peace activists” aboard the Marmara actually care about the people of Gaza and their “humanitarian crisis” should ask himself why they have yet to protest Hamas’s refusal to let the aid in. After all, if their whole purpose was to help needy Gazans, shouldn’t they be a trifle upset that the aid isn’t reaching its intended destination?
Instead, they are actively assisting the obstruction: COGAT said convoy organizers have refused to tell it who the aid’s intended recipients are — information needed to ensure that the cargo reaches its intended destination.
Finally, anyone who still has doubts about which side in this story cares about human life and which doesn’t should ponder these statements by Nilufer Cetin, one of the Turkish activists aboard the ship. Cetin insisted that she was justified in bringing her baby along, even though “we were aware of the possible danger.” She also said that though her husband refused deportation and was thus still in Israel, she opted to return “after Israeli officials warned that jail would be too harsh for her child.”
So who was showing greater concern for the child’s welfare — the woman who deliberately brought him into danger, or the Israelis who persuaded her not to take him to jail?