Though this is not a political blog, I can't help but comment on the events of today. I am aware of how the world perceives us and the truth is I am outraged by it. Today's tragedy was preceded by a clear intention to provoke and ambush the Israeli Navy; and resulted in the lynching of our soldiers.
Our army has a right to defend our country. Weapons smuggling into Gaza, run by Hamas, a terrorist organization, is not a secret. The Israelis told the people on that ship that their aid could be sent into Gaza after it was inspected. They refused. Here's a look at some of their "peace activists":
And this guy looks like a real humanitarian, no?
I received an e-mail from Rabbi Hershel Billet, Rabbi of the Young Israel of Woodmere, sent out to the community. I thought it described the situation quite well and he kindly allowed me to post it here:
NEWS ALERT:BACKGROUND ON FLOTILLA INCIDENT
As many of you may be aware, a major confrontation took place off Israel's coast
earlier today. We wanted to bring you the most up-to-date information from
JFNA's Israel office, for your background. We have summarized the major points
below. This is followed by additional facts and links to other important
materials on this incident.
* Early this morning (May 31), Israel Defense Forces naval forces
intercepted six ships attempting to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
* The intercept took place after numerous warnings from Israel and the
Israel Navy that were issued prior to the action. The Israel Navy requested the
ships to redirect toward Ashdod where they would be
able to unload their cargo which would then be transferred to Gaza over land
after undergoing security inspections. The IDF stressed that the passengers
could then return to their point of departure on the same vessels.
* During the interception of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked
the IDF naval personnel with live gunfire as well as light weaponry including knives, crowbars and clubs. The demonstrators had clearly prepared weapons in advance for this specific purpose.
* According to reports from sea, on board the flotilla that was seeking to
break the maritime closure on the Gaza Strip, IDF forces apprehended two violent
activists holding pistols. These militants apparently grabbed the pistols from
IDF forces and opened fire on the soldiers.
* The activists were carrying 10,000 tons of reported aid to Gaza. Israel
provides 15,000 tons of aid weekly to Gaza.
* As a result of this life-threatening activity, naval forces employed
riot dispersal means, including, when they determined that their lives were in
immediate danger, live fire. According to initial reports, these events resulted
in over 10 deaths among the demonstrators and numerous injured.
* A number of Israeli naval personnel were injured, some from gunfire and
others from knives and crowbars. Two of the soldiers are moderately wounded and
the remainder sustained light injuries.
* All of the injured, Israelis and foreigners, are currently being
evacuated by a fleet of IDF helicopters to hospitals in Israel.
* Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that some of the participants
onboard the ships had planned a lynch-mob attack, using lethal force on the
* The events are still unfolding. Israeli Naval commander, Vice Admiral
Eliezer Marom is overseeing the activities.
* In the coming hours, the ships will be directed to the Ashdod port,
while IDF naval forces will perform security checks in order to identify the
people on board the ships and their equipment.
* The IDF naval operation was carried out under orders from the political
leadership to halt the flotilla from reaching the Gaza Strip and breaching the
Other important facts:
* The provocateurs were organized by an Islamist organization that has
links to fundamentalist jihadi groups.
* The extremists brought small children on board knowing that they
intended to violate international maritime law.
* The activists were carrying 10,000 tons of what they said was aid.
Israel transfers about 15,000 tons of supplies and humanitarian aid every week
to the people of Gaza.
* "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," said one
of the flotilla’s organizers.
* Using the Arabic term ‘intifada,’ Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said
"We call on all Arabs and Muslims to rise up in front of Zionist embassies
across the whole world.
* Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said this week: "If the ships reach Gaza it
is a victory; if they are intercepted, it will be a victory too.
* Israel left Gaza in hopes of peace in 2005 and in return received more
than 10,000 rockets and terrorist attacks.
* Israel has said that it will deliver any humanitarian aid to Gaza, as it
* No country would allow illegal entry of any vessel into their waters
without a security check.
* Earlier this week, Noam Shalit, father of Hamas-held Israeli soldier Gilad
Shalit, approached the flotilla's organizers asking them to take supplies to
Gilad. He was refused.
Just another day in the Holy Land.
(Oh, and yeah, Jameel is the one to go to for up-to-the-minute reporting as the situation continues to unfold).
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