Another flotilla stand-off: The audacity of hate

The only thing the activists want is to fan the flames of regional extremism.

Canadian boat Tahrir flotilla_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
Canadian boat Tahrir flotilla_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
The idea of bringing aide to the people of Gaza is a noble one. Although Israel withdrew its military and settler extremists from the Gaza Strip in September 2005, it has maintained an iron-clad military embargo.
Several times, activists have tried to break the Israeli siege. Last year, nine were gunned down when their flotilla approached the Gaza Strip. Israeli special forces assaulted the boats, claiming the civilians aboard attacked them. This year, Israel got smart and worked through Greece to prevent a second flotilla from embarking on its mission.
Ironically, Palestinian activists claim that more and more nations are championing their extremist agenda, but Greece is proof that this is just not true.
The activists say they want to help the people of the Gaza. The Israelis say they want to prevent Hamas from getting arms.
Neither side is being honest.
The Israelis hate Palestinians. The government’s policies reject Palestinian statehood rights. Israelis claim they left Gaza, but the truth is they have put a choke-hold on the area, turning it into an outdoor prison. At anytime, Israel can reenter and wreak havoc.
Israel’s refusal to suspend expansion of illegal settlements in the West Bank is a testament to its governmet’s campaign to destroy the peace process. Refusing to recognize Palestinian rights is the equivalent of the Palestinian activists who reject Israel’s right to exist.
THE PALESTINIAN activists are no different. They claim they are just bringing food, medicine and other supplies to the besieged people of the Gaza Strip, but the truth is they are merely exploiting Palestinian suffering as a political tool.
Greece is blocking 10 ships from sailing, but has offered to deliver the food, medicine and other supplies through normal channels. Some of the ships are named The Audacity of Hope, and Tahrir (Liberation).
But relieving the suffering of the Palestinians in Gaza is not really the goal of the activist leaders. In covering the stand-off, Reuters reports: “In an effort to calm the activists, Greece offered to ferry the aid to Gaza in cooperation with the United Nations. The activists turned the offer down, saying this was ‘insufficient,’ as their mission was also about the rights of the Palestinian people and not just about aid.”
Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Lambrinides responded, “It is an offer that is always on the table, and is still on the table.”
Many Palestinians genuinely believe the lies of the flotilla leaders, that they seek to break the Israeli siege. The only thing they have broken is peace. Only achieving peace will end the suffering.
The purpose of the flotillas is to express their own selfish hatred of Israel.
Even if Israel didn’t pressure the Greek government and the ships got through, that would not be enough for the leaders who have misled the Palestinian people for years. They want confrontation with Israel.
They thrive on the ‘oppression.’ If Palestinians are not suffering, they can’t make their phony arguments to make Israel look bad. Israel’s extremist government is clearly willing to play along.
Like the Israeli government, these activists oppose the peace process and the creation of two states. They reject the secular government in Palestine, and have fought against it politically. They support Hamas, which has vowed to destroy the Jewish state.
THIS STAND-OFF isn’t about peace. It’s not about security. It’s not about easing suffering. This is about selfish, extremist politics, Israeli and Palestinian.
The activists are hoping to create more martyrs to stoke the flames of hate against Israel and incite the Palestinians who are increasingly fatigued by the failed peace.
Greece should confiscate the supplies and deliver them to Gaza; deny the activists their hunger for new Palestinian martyrs and deny Israel its ongoing thirst for vengeance against Palestinians for refusing to give up their cause.
The activists would be angry with Greece, but they have no option except to simmer in their hatred.
Most Palestinians and Israelis want a genuine peace. But we’re tired of the repeated failures of leaders who continue to sail on a political flotilla that can be more appropriately called “the audacity of hate.”
The writer is an award-winning columnist and Palestinian activist. He can be reached at