The organization that sent the Mavi Marmara ship to the Gaza Strip one year ago next month will do it again. IHH President Bulent Yildrim said on Thursday that his organization and the ship that was the scene of nine deaths last year would participate in an upcoming flotilla to Gaza, adding that the IHH will be “more prepared” than it was last year. The flotilla headed for Gaza will carry light aircraft.
Speaking at an event called the “Mavi Marmara Support and Solidarity Memorial Night,” Yildrim reportedly said that he “will show the whole world the true face of Israel,” noting that “Zionism has spread like a virus to humanity. We are not afraid to become martyrs,” he added. Dubbed “Freedom Flotilla 2,” the group of more than 15 vessels is slated to depart in the second half of May.
Weapons found aboard the Mavi Marmara
According to Israeli reports, the Mavi Marmara last year carried no humanitarian aid to Gaza, but did carry weapons, highlighting the fact that the ship’s planners intended on causing a scene and provoking a violent reaction from Israel. With the international response against Israel’s actions aboard the Marmara, and given the IHH president’s comments noted above, there’s no reason to doubt that the IHH is planning to replay last year’s events with the Freedom Flotilla 2 – even if that means people will die. In fact, the planners probably prefer it that way, as it will bring greater media attention and sympathy.
The international community, or at least the United States, should condemn the flotilla in advance. If the groups on board were truly interested in providing material assistance to Gazans, they would send their aid to Israel to be processed and cleared for entry into Gaza on land during one of the many humanitarian aid transfers Israel conducts each month. Of course, in the long run, if those organizing and participating in the flotilla really wanted to help Gazans, they would demand that Hamas abandon its platform that calls for Israel’s destruction, cease all acts of terror, and seek peace and co-existence with the Jewish State. It would be a surefire way to improve the lot of all Gazans.