Two cargo ships and five smaller boats carrying hundreds of international peace activists as well as some 10,000 tons of construction material, medical equipment and school supplies prepare for the final leg of their attempt at busting Israel’s embargo on the Gaza Strip Friday morning. Named the ‘Freedom Flotilla,’ this is the ninth attempt by pro-Palestinian activists to land in Gaza since their first such sea voyage in August 2008. Five of those tries proved successful after Israel allowed them to sail through the IDF-imposed sea blockade.
However, according to a report released by the Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center, while the flotilla’s organizers present themselves as human rights advocates, they, in reality, cooperate with Muslim extremists and human rights violators. Indeed, Mahmad Tzoalha and Sahar Albirawi, two top Hamas terrorists who today operate in Great Britain, and Hamam Said, a leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, participated in Turkey’s flotilla launching ceremony. Moreover, Bolant Yilderim, chairman of the IHH (the Turkish based pro-Palestinian organization spearheading the Gaza flotilla), said in his speech at the ceremony that “Israel behaves like Hitler did towards the Jews. Hitler built concentration camps in Germany, and today the Zionist entity is building concentration camps in Palestine.”
Meanwhile, Israel is preparing to stop the flotilla from landing in Gaza. If and when the ships enter, they will be stopped by Naval Commando forces and Navy missile boats, and their passengers will be transferred to a special facility in Ashdod. From there, passengers will be turned over to the Israel Interior Ministry and Immigration authorities and then sent back to the countries from which they came. Israeli security will also take the cargo and, after security checks, will transfer the goods to Gaza.
While the project is being billed as an effort to bring much needed humanitarian supplies into Gaza, existing land crossings are more than capable of meeting Gaza’s needs. According to Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor, 15,000 tons of supplies enter Gaza each week, including meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, milk powder, baby food, wheat and other staples. In addition, building materials are allowed in when monitored by international organizations to ensure that the materials are not used by Hamas to fortify their bunkers. Palmor said the flotilla organizers are aware that land crossing remain the most efficient way of transferring goods, but that “they are less interested in bringing in aid than in promoting their radical agenda.”
Indeed, as Col. Reuven Ehrlich, a former member of the Israeli Intelligence Corps, said: “If the goal of the flotilla was humanitarian, they would have let Israel transfer the aid through, and would not have attempted to infiltrate the Gaza Strip in an illegal way. Their only goal is to generate a provocation aimed at embarrassing Israel and the IDF, and to aid Hamas and the Hamas government in the Gaza Strip.”