According to IDF sources, participants of the upcoming flotilla planning to set sail to the Gaza Strip in defiance of Israel’s sea blockade have prepared sacks filled with sulfur to pour on Israeli soldiers as they board the vessels. “This is a chemical weapon, and if poured on a soldier it can paralyze him,” a source told The Jerusalem Post. “If the sulfur is then lit on fire, the soldier will light up like a torch.”
Moreover, although reports earlier this month claimed that members of the Turkish terrorist group IHH would not participate in the flotilla, some members may be preparing to sail with the ships. A recent report by the German daily Bild revealed that Iranian spies falsified passports and travel documents for IHH flotilla organizers. The Mavi Marmara ship on which IHH members sailed to Gaza last summer was the only vessel in that flotilla to refuse to peacefully dock.
Weapons found aboard the Mavi Marmara.
At least one boat in this year’s flotilla has already set sail. On Saturday, a ship named “Dignity / Karama” left France and is on its way to meet with at least nine other vessels “in international waters from which the boats will sail all together towards Gaza.” Israel has spent time specifically preparing for the event with the hopes that its soldiers will be well equipped to deal with any situation that arises on board as the flotilla sails close to Gaza’s border. Israel has said it will stop any ship and has invited the vessels to dock in its port of Ashdod so that the goods aboard can be safely transferred to the Strip.
Israel has a right to protect itself and that is even more clear today than it was during the Mavi Marmara incident last year. At that time, Mubarak’s Egypt had a stake in maintaining a seal on Hamas in Gaza. But now that Israel’s once willing partner has been replaced, uncertainty over Egypt’s future and the extent to which it will cooperate on joint security matters remains high. All of which is to say that keeping weapons out of Hamas’s hands is an obvious Israeli priority and searching any cargo destined for the terrorist group is the government’s right and responsibility.