As if there weren’t enough trouble in the world, it’s “Freedom Flotilla” season again in the Middle East. Self-declared “freedom activists” are again maneuvering to score big propaganda points by trying to break the Israeli naval blockade meant to stop the flow of weapons into Gaza — the Palestinian enclave ruled by the Iranian-backed terrorist group, Hamas. In Turkey, such activists are marking the first anniversary of the May 31, 2010 confrontation aboard the Turkish flagship of last year’s flotilla, the Mavi Marmara, in which some of the erstwhile peaceniks aboard the vessel turned out to be thugs wielding clubs and knives. They attacked the Israelis trying to enforce the blockade; nine “peace” activists died and seven Israeli commandos were wounded.
Plans are now taking shape for another flotilla to sail for Gaza, sometime in June. A major organizer of last year’s flotilla, the terror-linked Turkish nonprofit known as IHH, is seeking preliminary applications for people who want to join this year’s excursion to bait and besmirch Israel and support Iranian-backed Hamas. The IHH site lists some who have already signed up, including a number of Americans described as planning to sail aboard a U.S.-flagged ship called the Audacity of Hope.
Whatever the lofty intentions under which some of the dupes among this crowd might sail, the effect is to support the terrorist rulers of Gaza — who have recently, once again, ratcheted up their rocket and mortar bombardments of Israel, and, as clients of Iran, may be planning worse. Which is the reason for the Israeli blockade in the first place. Recall that in 2005, hoping for peaceful coexistence, Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, forcibly evicting even those Israelis who refused to leave their homes there. The Palestinians of Gaza did not respond with peace. They voted into power Hamas, which is dedicated in its charter to the eradication of Israel. They launched thousands of attacks on Israel. Gaza’s real problem is not the Israeli blockade, or a lack of supplies, but its predatory devotion to the aims of terrorizing and destroying the democratic state of Israel. In the name of humanitarian aid, United Nations agencies and assorted charities have been pouring resources into Gaza for years (much of that provided by American and European taxpayers). Attempts to shred the Israeli blockade do not add up to humanitarian help; they add up to support for terror-loving Hamas.
If anyone involved in the launching of this “Freedom Flotilla II” really wants to do some good in this world, there is another piece of turf along the eastern Mediterranean coast they could aim for. It’s a place where a blockade of sorts has been imposed not by Israel, but by the country’s own government — which is now preventing entry by anyone likely to report back on the atrocities within. It’s a country where Iran has been sending in the thugs of its elite Quds force to help crush an uprising of people calling for an end to decades of dynastic totalitarian rule. It’s a place where international peace activists hoping to galvanize world opinion with a high-profile boat trip might usefully attempt a landing and display of solidarity, if only to let the world witness the response.
That place is Syria. It is, of course, less attractive to these flotilla types for a number of reasons. One is that Syrian security forces are likely to be a lot less considerate than Israeli commandos. Your average peace activist who might try sailing forthrightly to the rescue of Syria’s beleaguered demonstrators is more likely to get shot in the head than briefly detained and then repatriated, which is what Israel did last year with those of the flotilla passengers who actually remained peaceful. And of course a “Freedom Flotilla” aiming to draw world attention to Syria might actually end up striking a blow for freedom — as opposed to scoring a propaganda coup for the terrorists of Hamas by grandstanding on the high seas about Gaza. But don’t hold your breath. Freedom is not what these flotillas are about.