Gaza’s Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh has got the bloody propaganda triumph he was preparing for when he told followers last week that whatever came of the Gaza “aid” flotilla, it would be a win for Hamas — whether the ships reached Gaza, or ended up in a showdown with the Israelis at sea.
At least 10 people, possibly more, are reported dead, after Israeli forces boarded one of the ships, the Mavi Marmara, to stop it running the Israeli blockade on the terrorist enclave of Gaza. The “peace activists” had advertised themselves (scroll down to point 8 in their “mission” statement) as adhering to “nonviolence and nonviolent resistance in word and deed at all times.” This turned out to be a brazen lie. Whatever the “aid” aboard the ship, the “peace activists” were waiting with knives and metal clubs, with which they attacked the Israelis. Though some of the details are still unclear, there are also reports that they made a grab for Israeli guns, and Real Clear Politics — which has posted IDF video footage — says they had firebombs ready as well. (Update: more details in IDF footage here).
Out of this came the headlines the organizers of this terror tour had been looking for. All the usual folks are shocked! shocked! that a deliberate provocation, staged with all sorts of planning by the faux-peace-pals of Hamas, turned into a violent showdown. Reuters reports that France is “profoundly shocked,” Europe “calls for inquiry,” and Turkey’s Iran-lovin’ Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is denouncing the Israelis for “state terrorism.” Washington “regrets loss of life” and is “examining circumstances” — though the basic circumstances here are no mystery whatsoever. They boil down to Israel being left by its craven Western allies to deal solo with the terrorism that boils out of Gaza, the support for that terrorism that flows from Syria and Iran, and the cheerleading — and apparently the helping hand — for this arrangement that emanates from the current Islamic leadership of Turkey.
The United Nations Security Council is of course being called into action. Who’s on that Council? Along with the U.S., the 15 members include China and Russia (both busy arming Iran), Brazil and Turkey (brokers of the recent joke uranium-swap deal that won’t stop the Iranian bomb), and Lebanon (home to the Iranian-fostered terrorist group Hezbollah, now rearming for its next assault on Israel). This is the crowd that has failed abysmally to contain the nuclear bomb projects of totalitarian North Korea and terror-sponsoring Iran. But in treating the self-choreographed mayhem of the Gaza flotilla as the world crisis of the hour, they have perhaps found a topic worthy of their talents.
Taking Washington at its word, that facts might actually matter, the place to start investigating is not with the beleaguered Israelis, but with the origins and funding of this self-styled “freedom flotilla” — which more aptly deserves renaming as the Gaza Terror Flotilla. It appears to have had a multitude of organizers and contributors, from a former prime minister of Malaysia, to — according to Al Jazeera — contributors in Bahrain, Kuwait, and that empire of Middle Eastern peace and stability, Yemen.
But one of the main players appears to be Turkey. It was a Turkish ship, the Mavi Marmara, which after a big sendoff from Turkey apparently took the lead in the flotilla, its passengers professing nonviolence while waiting with knives and metal cudgels to start a fight. And in Turkey, a lead player in this bloody exercise has been a Turkish foundation, the radical Islamist IHH, or Foundation for Human Rights, Liberties, and Humanitarian Relief. The IHH enjoys consultative status with the UN as a non-governmental organization, or NGO, has an office in Gaza, and has apparently been taking part in this Gaza stunt with the blessing of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. Far from serving as a seal of good housekeeping for the IHH, such ties ought to call into question the judgment of both the UN and Erdogan.
For details on what led a French magistrate in the 1990s to explore IHH connections to terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, a piece of required reading is a working paper released in 2006 by the Danish Institute for International Studies: “The Role of Islamic Charities in International Terrorist Recruitment and Financing.” The entire report is illuminating, but for the section on the IHH, scroll to pages 10-14. When this report was written, the IHH was active in providing “charitable donations” to what were then “rebel-dominated areas of restive Sunni central Iraq.”
The real crisis here is not the fate of the Gaza Terror Flotilla per se, whose organizers have now got the headlines they wanted. The blood is on their hands. The real crisis involves the profound unwisdom of a democratic world that finds it easier to criticize and condemn Israel than to face the mortal threats proliferating in the Middle East. While the headlines, the political grandstanders, and the UN Security Council now focus on this propaganda coup prepared by supporters of Hamas, Hezbollah is rearming in Lebanon, Turkey is engaged in a dangerous shift from its old alliances with the West toward new partnerships with Syria and Iran, and Iran continues its march toward the nuclear bomb. Does anyone in the West really believe that the threat here is to Israel alone? In this latest clash over the terrorist enclave of Gaza, the real question that wants answering is why did no democratic country send its ships to Israel’s aid, to make common cause against this terror-loving flotilla? Or — with the blessings of the UN, Turkey, and armed “peace activists” — are terrorist-run enclaves such as Gaza, dedicated to the extermination of entire nation states, now to become an accepted feature of the international system?