As a UC Santa Barbara alumni studying government and diplomacy abroad in Israel, I have had the opportunity to experience the current debacle of the Gaza Flotilla from a unique viewpoint. I have been able to engage in the debate from various perspectives and have the need to address some crucial issues and facts which are not being made clear.
What I have most issue with is that people fail to realize that Israel transfers about 15,000 tons of supplies and humanitarian aid every week to the people of Gaza. As part of Israel’s continuous efforts to supply the people in Gaza with humanitarian aid, Israel offered to dock the flotilla in Ashdod port and to transfer the aid to Gaza. However, the flotilla refused. As one flotilla organizer said, “We fully intend to go to Gaza regardless of any intimidation or threats of violence against us; they are going to have to forcefully stop us.”
If the true purpose of these “peace activists” was to give humanitarian aid to Gaza, they would have agreed to the transfer right from the beginning. The flotilla’s declining to dock in Ashdod proves the true purpose of the flotilla was to break the blockade on Gaza, a war crime in itself.
On five boats that were boarded, the protestors complied and were safely let to shore. One boat – the Mavi Marmara – did not comply, and that is the boat where the violence took place.
It should be remembered that in 2005, Israel left Gaza in hopes of peace, and in return received more than 10,000 rockets and terrorist attacks. Israel has sought peace and compromise with its neighbors for all of its 62 years and it will continue to do so. Since Gaza was taken over by Hamas terrorists in a violent coup d’état in 2007, Israel maintains a maritime blockade on Gaza to ensure that weapons are not brought in by Hamas to use in attacks against Israel.
It is clear that this flotilla was meant to provoke. It was funded and organized by a Turkish Islamist organization (IHH) that has links to fundamentalist jihadi groups. Those on board carried out pre-planned violence, armed with knives and metal bars. Any police force in the world would respond to this aggression; the provocation is the reason for this regrettable outcome. No country would allow illegal entry of any vessel into their waters without a security check.
So my question is, why is Israel being attacked? If you lived next to a terrorist occupied land that was constantly sending rockets into your home, what would you want your country to do? As President Obama once said, during his 2008 visit to Sderot, a city bordering Gaza, “If somebody was sending rockets into my house, where my two daughters sleep at night, I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing.”—Maya Liss