Peace activists? More like 'peace' militants

Activists were interested in damaging Israel.

Gaza Flotilla 311 (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Gaza Flotilla 311
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
As expected, the provocation mounted by Muslim organizations inassociation with “peace activists” was successful beyond their wildestdreams: There were casualties. They can now continue pointing thefinger at Israel and blaming it for everything under the sun. Theorganizers of the flotilla, a fanatic Turkish organization known underthe initials IHH and its European partners, had repeatedly andexplicitly declared before setting out that their purpose was to breakthe Gaza siege and embarrass Israel.
The humanitarian suppliesbrought on board were just a ploy to hide their avowed objective.Israel did all it could to stop it. Appeals to Turkey went unheeded andthat country let the flotilla sail and gave its assistance. Israeloffered to have all humanitarian supplies brought to the Ashdod portwhere they could then be sent to Gaza through our crossings. Israelalso asked the “peace militants” to transmit a letter to captured IDFsoldier Gilad Schalit, who has been in Hamas custody for almost fouryears. The militants were not interested in any humanitarian operation.They wanted to carry out their joint Arab-European propaganda offensiveagainst Israel in order to delegitimize the Jewish state, deepen itsisolation and provoke an international outcry.
Weeks beforethe flotilla set sail the Arab media began broadcasting pictures of thepreparations together with aggressive declarations by the organizersand the usual slanders against Israel. European governments and mediadid not react nor did they heed the warnings issued by Israel.
Therewere no recommendations of caution, and no honest reporting on theactual situation in Gaza. Yet all knew that the blockade had startedbecause of the terror operations carried out by Hamas and the smugglingof weapons. All knew also that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza:Israel lets through dozens and sometimes hundreds of trucks laden withhumanitarian supplies on a daily basis.
Unfortunately we arethe target of an Arab and international propaganda offensivecharacterized by the deliberate refusal to present the Israelipositions and indeed anything positive about that country. This is“political correctness” in its starkest expression. The organizers ofthe so-called humanitarian operation understood only too well that theycould go on with their plans secure in the support of the Arab andEuropean media.
AND THEN it happened. These “peace militants”carefully planned their ambush. After having said repeatedly that theywould only pose passive resistance, they attacked the soldiers whoboarded the ship with guns, iron bars and knives and led to the direresults they were looking for.
Once again, they were fullyaware of the fact that Israel intended to lead the ships to the port ofAshdod, deliver the supplies to Gaza and send the participants back totheir country of origin. Such a solution would have been acceptable toboth parties. The militants would have claimed a moral victory andIsrael would have sustained its legitimate policy of controlling whatwent to the Gaza Strip. But this is not the way of the “peacemilitants” whose hatred towards Israel knows no bounds. They wanted tocause some damage, no matter the cost for them. After all, suicidebombing is the terrorist weapon of choice and the aim justifies themeans.
Did Israel have a choice? It had to stop the flotilla since no one knewwho the people on the ships were and what exactly they carried. Had theships been allowed to go through, others would have followed, perhapsbringing weapons (and who knows, maybe terrorists) to Hamas, aterrorist organization which has made its intent to destroy the Jewishstate clear.
Stopping the flotilla was Israel’s right under international law. Onecan also ask where all the peace organizations and their militants wereduring the eight years Hamas deluged the south with thousands ofrockets. Where were they when Schalit was taken? Where were they whenHamas took over the Gaza Strip in a bloody coup? Did they protest theslaughter that went on? Did they protest when so-called oppositionleaders were thrown off the roofs of tall buildings? Did they protestwhen other leaders had their kneecaps shot?
And so now we are facing a full-blown diplomatic crisis. Turkey willuse it to the full to harm Israel. Arab states – and Iran – will addfuel to the fire and clamor for the UN to step in and condemn Israel.The European Union will, as usual, put the blame squarely on us – andus alone. In fact it has already started, without waiting for the wholepicture to emerge.
It won’t be easy for us for two reasons. Our government failed toprepare adequately for the fallout and did not set in motion the mediablitz which would have presented our case more forcibly before theflotilla set out. And two – we can’t expect help or even assistancefrom anyone.
But if that’s the way it is, that’s the way it is. The biblical wordsfrom Numbers 23:9 come to mind: “Lo, the people shall dwell alone andshall not be reckoned among the nations.”
The writer is a former ambassador to Romania, Egypt and Swedenand a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.