David Meir-Levi: The Gaza Flotilla Confrontation: Facts vs. the Acaemicians
|No. 6947||July 6, 2010|
David Meir-Levi is SPME's Directors of Communications and Research
In mainstream media, at the UN, in the EU and in American academia, the responses to Israel’s boarding of the Mavi Marmara on May 31, 2010 have been characterized by inaccurate language and factual errors which misrepresent the flotilla confrontation and support an unwarranted delegitimization of Israel. As a result, some well-meaning but misinformed commentators and academics have drawn inaccurate conclusions despite the preponderance of evidence indicating this particular ship was loaded with enemy combatants and ready to ambush Israeli boarders... Yet, unfortunately, some are using this distorted information to promulgate anti-Israel sentiment
Academia’s Mis-representation of the event
In the aftermath of the Gaza flotilla confrontation, some professors of Middle East studies enthusiastically lined up to denounce Israel. Ignoring overwhelming video and documentary evidence of the activists' radical agenda and affinity for violence, these professors asserted that the “Freedom Flotilla” of the six Gaza-bound vessels sailed on a purely “humanitarian” mission. 
Mark LeVine, UC Irvine, eulogized the dead terrorists as “heroes…deserving of our tears and support…” 
Zachary Lockman, NYU, ignored all the evidence to the contrary and insists that the flotilla was merely bringing humanitarian aid. 
John Esposito, Georgetown University, distorted reality by whitewashing Hamas: “Hamas simply does not steal... thus any aid delivered to the UN will be respected.  Yet even traditionally anti-Israel institutions like the U.N. and the liberal British Guardian have noted that Hamas has illegally seized aid intended for Gaza's poor. 
Jennifer Loewenstein, associate director of the Middle East Studies Program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, arrogated to herself an unsubstantiated expertise in international law when she told the Islamic Republic of Iran's semi-official Press TV that “[t]he fact is that legally [the Israelis] have no defense. They violated international laws by attacking a non-violent humanitarian aid convoy to the Gaza Strip in International waters.” 
Fawaz Gerges, professor of Middle Eastern politics and international relations at the London School of Economics and Sarah Lawrence College, reveals his lack of legal expertise when he asserts that: “The killing of those activists, sad though it is, could easily serve as a framework to... force Israel to abide by international law.”  Gerges and Loewenstein apparently never heard of the Helsinki Principles on the Law of Maritime Neutrality, which support Israel’s actions on the high seas as completely legal and justified during war time. 
Bona fide scholars of international law support Israel’s actions. Ruth Wedgwood, who teaches international law and diplomacy at Johns Hopkins University, convincingly debunks the arguments of Zunes Gerges, and Loewenstein. “We had a blockade around Cuba in the Cuban Missile Crisis,” Wedgwood explains, noting that during that period, ships were boarded in international waters. “Under traditional law of the sea, you can visit and search before a boat gets to port.” 
No humanitarian crisis exists in the Gaza Strip.
Poverty most assuredly exists in the Gaza Strip. There is no perceptible economic development, no industry other than smuggling and the manufacture of rockets, and little opportunity. But the deprivation that Gazans suffer is by no means a humanitarian crisis. Ample photos show shops filled with food, bazaars over-flowing with fruits and vegetable and meats. Some of these photos are published in Arab news sources as well as in American ones. Even Palestinian Authority officials have spoken out to expose Hamas’ ruse, branding the “humanitarian crisis” as a fabrication of Hamas propaganda to provide an excuse for smuggling war materials into the Strip. 
Moreover, far from prohibiting the entry of food and humanitarian supplies, every day Israel facilitates the transfer of massive amounts of aid that residents of Gaza should receive for free-unless Hamas officials confiscate and sell them for money then used to buy weapons for their terrorist activities. 
If Gazans have inadequate money to buy the food filling shops and bazaar stalls, it is only because of the Hamas government’s decision to maintain a terrorist war against Israel and to subordinate all aspects of the Gaza economy to its terrorist goals. The reason that Israel maintains a firm blockade of the Gaza Strip is clear: it must deny Gaza’s Hamas rulers the goods that could be used in the purchase or manufacture of weapons of war.
Israel’s blockade is legal, rational, justified and effective.
Hamas and Fatah officials have repeatedly declared publicly their objective: resistance until victory or martyrdom, and victory means the obliteration of Israel. At its very inception Hamas declared war on Israel and ever since has attacked Israeli military and civilians mercilessly. When Israel evacuated the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas declared a victory for terrorism and a commitment to maintain the terror war against Israel. Fatah and the PLO maintain a similar stance toward Israel, and both organizations’ charters call for the complete annihilation of the state of Israel and the genocide or exile of its Jews.  Hamas proceeded to carry out its threat with Qassam rockets and suicide bombers and sniper attacks and mines and kidnappings. To Hamas’ hostilities, Israel’s blockade is a legitimate response. Israel has frequently declared that if Hamas were to renounce terror and make peace, the blockade would be lifted, fences could come down, and the Gaza Strip would look more like today’s prosperous West Bank.
Given Hamas’ insistence on Israel’s destruction, and its relentless terrorist attacks, Israel’s blockade is rational, legal, and moral. International law acknowledges that all sovereign nations have the right to defend against aggressors; and Israel has a moral duty to protect its citizens. The blockade is also militarily effective, since it prevents, or at least limits, the entry of materials that could be used for military purposes against it.
Until the flotilla confrontation, Egypt had cooperated with Israel in this blockade, shutting down the Gaza Strip’s southwestern border and building a huge steel wall along its entire length. The rising power of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ sister organization, in Egypt is a clear and present danger to President Hosni Mubarak and his heir apparent, Jemail. Mubarak fears a Hamas-Brotherhood partnership and thus had, until the flotilla violence, a strong vested interest in keeping Hamas bottled up in the Gaza Strip.
The Mavi Mamara was a terrorist ship on a suicide mission.
Many people aboard the Mavi Marmara have been identified as having active affiliation with terrorist organizations. At least 40 are known members of the Turkish IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfi ‘Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief’), a so-called humanitarian organization with known ties to Hamas and el-Qaeda.  Several others are members of Hamas, el-Qaeda and Viva Palestina.  Participants in the on-board violence, including an Arab Muslim member of Israel’s parliament, expressed openly their intentions to engage Israel in combat. In videos made on board en route to the Gaza Strip, they declared their intention either to reach Gaza or enjoy martyrdom in combat with Israel. 
It seems clear that Turkey’s President Erdogan chose to ignore these terrorist connections. The IHH has long been recognized as a cover for terrorists. Many of its members have close ties with Hamas and el-Qaeda; and some are believed be involved in Hamas’ fundraising network. Jean Louis-Bruguiere, once France's top counter-terrorism magistrate, testified that the IHH was involved in the Al-Qaeda plot to attack the LAX airport in December 1999. In the 1990s, the IHH also financed jihadists in Chechnya, Bosnia, and Afghanistan. Moreover, the group is a member of a coalition known as the Union of Good (UOG), which, according to the U.S. Treasury Department, was “created by Hamas leadership to transfer funds to the terrorist organization.” UOG is led by Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, a Hamas supporter, leading Muslim Brotherhood theologian, and affiliate of el-Qaeda. IHH purchased the Mavi Marmara, organized the flotilla, and arranged for its departure from a Turkish port. 
Those on board the ship refused offers by Israel to dock at an Israeli port so their cargo could be examined and forwarded to Gaza. They rejected warnings to turn back. Instead of taking these opportunities to avert danger, they prepared for a deadly confrontation. Arab television showed one woman on board exulting: “We await one of two good things: to achieve martyrdom or reach the shore of Gaza.” Another passenger, Yemeni professor Abd al-Fatah Nu'man, pointed out that “These are people who wish to be martyred for the sake of Allah. As much as they want to reach Gaza, the other option is more desirable to them.” Michael Kiefer, an expert on Islam from Erfurt University, Germany, explained that the Turks on board were not peace activists but people advocating violence and revolutionary activity. 
One organizer of the flotilla, Greta Berlin, a 68-year-old American with a background in theater and communications, was candid enough to acknowledge that the flotilla’s primary purpose was not to deliver aid but to stop Israel from inspecting cargo heading for Gaza. 
The 40 terrorists boarded in Istanbul with no passports and no IDs. They did have in their possession tens of thousands of US dollars in cash and, as was later discovered, a huge cache of knives, axes, iron clubs, and perhaps hand-guns. Ushered on board without any security checks, they set up a control room on the ship, communicated with one another using walkie-talkies, and reported to and received instruction from the head of IHH, Bülent Yildirim. 
According to an unnamed journalist on board the Mavi Marmara, “The flotilla was organized with the support of the Turkish government, and Prime Minister Erdogan gave the instructions for it to set sail. That was despite the fact that everyone knew it would never reach its destination.” 
Once the ships had been escorted to the Israel port of Ashdod, some additional information emerged from the inspection of the flotilla's cargo. Of the six vessels in the flotilla, only three were cargo ships carrying humanitarian materials (the Gaza, Sofi and Defney). The Mavi Marmara and two other vessels were passenger ships carrying hundreds of civilians from various countries but no humanitarian aid.
Meanwhile, recent videos have disclosed that the two cargo vessels commandeered by the Israeli army were also carrying bullet proof vests, gas masks, and night-vision goggles. Large numbers of knives, metal bats, slingshots were found on the Mavi Marmara-hardly equipment needed for a humanitarian mission! Moreover, a field hospital had been set up on board, obviously in anticipation of the violent confrontation planned by the IHH operatives. 
It is also important to note that the captain of the Mavi Marmara was apparently unaware of the flotilla’s true purpose at the time of its departure. When that purpose later became known, he tried to interfere by throwing overboard some of the weapons brought on board by the terrorists. In response, to replace their jettisoned weapons, the terrorists cut off large pieces of the ship’s iron railing. 
In short, the Mavi Marmara was a floating ambush, organized and funded by Islamist allies of Hamas, manned with terrorists armed and ready to die battling the IDF, and launched with the goal of provoking an IDF response that the terrorists would escalate to violence and death. 
And Israel’s boarding party walked, or rappelled, right into that ambush. The rappelling soldiers were immediately attacked with metal bats, knives, and slingshots; some were thrown overboard while others were dragged to the ship’s hold to be held as hostage. Videos make clear that the Israeli boarders were attacked even before they gained the deck of the ship. The claim made by some that the Israeli boarders’ attack of innocent bystanders provoked the violent response of the men on deck armed with metal clubs and knives is contradicted by what is clearly documented in several videos. 
In fact, the Israelis had taken several measures to avoid provoking violence: the Israeli party boarded without riot gear or tear gas and descended one-by-one- into the waiting arms of terrorist assailants who at once attacked them with lethal intent. The IDF boarders were armed with standard-issue side arms (pistols) and paint ball guns! They were met with “peace activists” prepared for an assault, armed with sling shots, clubs, bats, and iron bars. It is clear that the “peace activists” intended from the onset to attack the soldiers. People knowingly breaking a blockade during war time knowingly incur the risk of encountering opposition from the country imposing the blockade. Armed soldiers are not attached with impunity.
Analysis of facts - 1: The Obvious
Flotilla’s motive not humanitarian but casus belli
The intent of the flotilla, far from attempting to avert a nonexistent humanitarian crisis, served two overt military and propaganda purposes: first, under the guise of being peace activists, to actually bring war equipment to Hamas; and second to create an international PR victory for Hamas, irrespective of successful blockade busting. If the IHH terrorists breeched the blockade and reached Gaza, they could celebrate a victory over Israel in the real sense that Hamas would gain military strength; and if they did not reach Gaza, then at least they would have created a dramatic episode providing occasion for them and their supporters to condemn Israel and deepen its isolation from the world community which has shown a predilection for accepting as reality Hamas’ PR lies and illusion. Irrespective of the outcome of a violent engagement with the IDF, the Hamas propaganda apparatus would turn that outcome into a PR victory, since any Arab blood shed by the IDF, no matter how justified in defense against terror attack, is spun by Hamas as massacre of Arab civilians or the murder of innocent people struggling valiantly for their natural right of national self-determination and political self-realization.
Since Israel’s blockade is clearly justified by the state of war between Hamas and Israel, busting the blockade was equally clearly an illegal act. It was also a bona fide casus belli carried out by Hamas and Turkey against Israel. Ultimately, it was a major propaganda extravaganza, creating a win for Hamas and a black eye for Israel.
Self defense against enemy combatants, not massacring “peace activists”
In light of the terrorists’ carefully choreographed plan to ambush an anticipated Israeli boarding party, it is then clear that the killing of these terrorists cannot be justly considered a massacre, nor a random shooting, nor an over-reaction by the IDF. The combatants knew that they were initiating a violent confrontation with the Israeli army. They had made preparations in advance for casualties and martyrdom. As the videos show, as each Israeli soldier descended from the helicopter onto the deck of the vessel, he was beset by four or five men armed with knives and clubs. At least two of these armed men succeeded in wresting side-arms from some IDF soldiers and began shooting at the Israelis. Recall, too, that the boarding party was armed with paint-ball guns and was quickly overpowered by the terrorist assault. The IDF forces in the nearby boats and helicopters had no choice but to intervene with live ammunition and kill the attackers of the IDF soldiers. No army in the world would have behaved differently, and no army throughout all of world history has ever behaved with the restraint shown by the IDF.
Analysis of the Facts - 2: The Not So Obvious
Why did Turkey support the blockade busting effort? As noted above, there can be no doubt that Erdogan knew of the flotilla’s PR and terrorist purposes. He cannot be unaware of the IHH’s terrorist connections or of the identities of at least some of the terrorists on board the Mavi Marmara. So why did he lend his country’s name and moral support to an act of war against Israel, Turkey’s long-standing ally?
There are three likely reasons: first, his popularity in polls has dropped substantially since he took over the leadership of Turkey. This drop, coming despite Turkey’s strong economic growth over the past decade, is believed to stem in part from resistance arising within the Turkish population and within the army to his pro-Islamist policies. Elections are coming up next year. Erdogan needs to improve his numbers. Unfortunately, enough Israel-hatred exists within Turkey’s rank-and-file Muslim population that showing strong support for Hamas is likely to improve Erdogan’s political position. 
Second, Turkey is up against stiff competition when it seeks to market its wares within the European Union. As a highly westernized Middle Eastern country, at one time quite eager for admission to the EU, Turkey has become a major supplier of manufactured goods to European countries. But Turkey faces stiff competition from EU manufacturing countries. No such competition, however, exists in the Arab and broader Muslim world. This means that goods manufactured in Turkey find ready markets and few, if any, competitors in Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, etc. But to market to these Arab and Muslim countries, Erdogan must display his Islamic and anti-Israel credentials. The best-or at least, easiest-way to do that is to support Israel’s enemies.
Third, and closely intertwined with the previous two, Erdogan needs an excuse to reverse Turkey’s long alliance with Israel in order to pursue the two goals noted above, and, perhaps as well, to position himself and his country as the next great Muslim world leader. Istanbul was once the seat of the Caliphate. The killing of Turkish citizens on the Mavi Marmara, spun as a massacre of innocent Turkish civilians, gives him just the excuse he needs; hence his sudden severing of commercial ties with Israel and withdrawal of the Turkish ambassador.
Unnamed American diplomatic sources informed one non-mainstream media outlet that President Obama had demanded that Israel “exercise extreme caution and restraint” and not use traditional non-lethal riot gear against the passengers, even after Israel shared with Obama its military intelligence that identified passengers of the Mavi Marmara as affiliated with the IHH and likely to offer violent resistance. Israeli sources indicate that Turkey’s Erdogan informed both Israel and the USA that no terrorists were on board the Mavi Marmara and Israel had no reasons to anticipate any violence.  Had the Israelis boarded the Mavi Marmara with appropriate non-lethal riot gear, high-pressure water hoses, tear gas and rubber bullets, it is very likely that the confrontation would have incurred no fatalities.
In a misguided effort to prevent a violent clash, the White House actually set the stage for a far more deadly situation by demanding that Israel ignore its own military intelligence -- and ignore as well the broadcasts of al-Jazeera which aired videos of the terrorists declaring their intentions while the vessel was en route -- and acquiesce to Obama’s political agenda as if Erdogan’s lies were truths.
Why more rocket attacks on Israel while it is pressured to ease the blockade?
As international reaction to the flotilla fiasco pressed Israel to lift the blockade, Qassam rockets were suddenly fired from Gaza into Israel. Why? If world pressure is working to relieve the blockade, fresh attacks on Israel would tend to strengthen Israel’s resolve and justify the blockade.
Along the 10-mile strip of border between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai, Hamas operatives have dug as many as 1,000 tunnels. Originally used for smuggling terrorists and arms into Gaza, they now also serve as channels for importing various commodities, cars, fridges, washing machines, goats, cows, wood, cooking oil, petrol, water purifiers, wheelchairs, military supplies prohibited by Israel, and whatever else may sell for a profit. The tunnel enterprise is estimated to amount to a $100 million economy. Hamas approves, monitors, and taxes each tunnel, which averages about $200,000 to build. 
Consequently, it is likely that Gaza tunnelers have a vested interest in keeping up the blockade. But these entrepreneurial tunnelers cannot act alone in the Gaza Strip. Tunnel-owner Abu Ali acknowledged that Hamas leadership must be behind the rockets, or at least acquiesce to them: “No one can fire rockets unless Hamas and the factions of Hamas approve,” he says. 
In short, Hamas does not want to end the blockade. The recent rocket attacks are Hamas’ way to assure the continuance of the state of war and of the blockade, prolonging the lucrative smuggling enterprise as a money-making life-line for Hamas and permitting Hamas to milk the PR value of running the blockade for all it is worth. 
Mainstream Media Contributing to the Distortion of Facts
Among the most sacrosanct of professional ethics to which journalists must adhere is checking sources. Yet none but a lone Israeli news site revealed that a supposedly key witness to the boarding of the Mavi Marmara was lying through her teeth.
U.S. Army Col. (Ret.) Ann Wright, on a speaking tour of the United States on behalf of Code Pink, bills herself as an ‘eyewitness’ to the IDF raid on the Mavi Marmara and the “murder” of “nine innocent civilians.” In an interview with Aaron Lerner of IMRA, however, she admits that because she was on a different ship, the Challenger, at the time of the attack, 4:30 a.m., when it was still dark, she did not actually see the clash between the IDF soldiers and the armed passengers on board the Mavi Marmara  …..eyewitness?
There is even ample evidence of the fabrication of news releases about the incident. Reuters admits that before it sent its news photos to its clients, it cropped photos of the terrorists attacking the Israeli soldiers, eliminating incriminating elements such as attackers holding knives, blood pouring from Israeli soldiers’ wounds, and individual Israeli soldiers surrounded by five or six terrorists. 
Reuters claims that it was just cropping the edges of the photos to prepare them for publication; but The New York Times cannot come up with an excuse for its blatant lie: “The Israelis claim that Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) is a dangerous organization with terrorist links. They have yet to offer any evidence to support that charge.”  How could the Times ignore, or be ignorant of, the abundance of evidence adumbrated above for IHH’s links to Hamas and el-Qaeda? 
Double standard, surreal perspective
Natan Sharansky reminds us that Israel is continually held to a “double standard” in his 3D Model of anti-Israel rhetoric.  The reaction of the UN, the EU, and faculty and students on many U.S. campuses to the Mavi Marmara violence can be described only as “surreal.”  It is not just that Israelis are held to a different-and immeasurably higher-standard than the rest of humanity. Israel is now being judged in the absence of any objective standard whatsoever. As Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said last week, it seems that in the court of world opinion Israel is now “guilty until proven guilty.” 
The treatment meted out to Israel in some mainstream media and academic circles is qualitatively and quantitatively different from the treatment reserved for any other nation. There is an almost hysterical obsession with Israel, and a sustained and frenzied onslaught of lies, distortions, and fabrications aimed at delegitimizing and even demonizing Israel. Even the great progressive causes of the past, such as the campaign against apartheid South Africa, never provoked such hyperbole. 
This “surreal” standard for Israel stands in stark contradistinction to the way in which much of mainstream media, the UN, and some academicians deal with the bona fide violations of international law and crimes against humanity that are rampant in the world but remain largely unexamined, uncondemned, and unresisted.  The tyrannies and war crimes and other excesses of the present are not reported on, much less critiqued. No demonstrations are held anywhere in the world against Islamic dictatorships. Feminists in the West ignore the enslavement of millions of women who live without any legal protection and suffer the brutality of genital mutilation and gender apartheid in much of the Muslim world. 
And then there is Hamas: virtually no attention in any quarter is given to Hamas’ abysmal human rights record, its endless violation of international law by intentionally targeting Israeli civilians in a sustained terror war, its endlessly and vociferously ballyhooed commitment to the destruction of a sovereign state and the genocide of its Jews, and its brutal treatment of its own Palestinian people in Gaza. Most journalists, commentators, and academicians are silent on these issues. Even worse: some label Hamas a democratic organization and seek to whitewash or legitimize its crimes. Such silence and misrepresentation are forms of complicity in Hamas’ terrorism and human rights abuses. 
Journalists may claim ignorance; but professors of Middle Eastern Studies know exactly what they are doing when they employ a totally transparent double standard regarding Israel and single it for opprobrium while ignoring issues and crimes of provocation and violations of internationally recognized rules of engagement as they strive to protect their citizens from an enemy who is committed to Israel’s destruction at any price.
As SPME has observed, all too often academic discourse regarding Israel is increasingly influenced by ideological distortions, politically biased scholarship, and agenda-driven speakers who demonize Israel and Zionism as bearing full responsibility for the Middle-East conflict. Such practices are antithetical to academic traditions of scholarly integrity and degrade the academic enterprise. Such practices poison debate about the Middle East, incite hatred of Israel, legitimize and fuel anti-Semitism, and serve to excuse or tolerate terrorist attacks and genocidal threats against Israel. Such behaviors by academics only exacerbate the Arab-Israel conflict and undermine prospects for peace.
In light of the evidence adumbrated above, it is reasonable to ask: why are these professors so obsessed with Israel even as they ignore egregious crimes of other states and non-state actors? This is an important question, because it seems clear that that obsession is what has driven their misleading assessment of the Mavi Marmara attack, and their consequent condemnation of Israel.
 For an excellent summary of academic hypocrisy and hysteria, cf. Brendan Goldman, “Middle East Studies Profs Usurp New Roles to Censure Israel of Gaza Flotilla,” American Thinker, 6/24/2010, http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/06/middle_east_studies_profs_usur.html
And cf. also supra note 14 and additional original video evidence:
 Ibid, Goldman, and Aljazeera.net, 6/1/2010, “Israel’s ‘friends’ also to blame”, http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2010/06/20106162847943928.html
 Ibid, Goldman, and Joseph Picard, “Clinton Says Israel can investigate itself”, International Business Times, 6/2/2010, http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/26430/20100602/us-israel-turkey.htm
 Ibid, Goldman, and “White House needs to Rethink weak U.S. Response to Israeli attack”, The Huffington Post, 6/1/2010, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-l-esposito/white-house-needs-to-reth_b_596754.html.
 Ibid, Goldman, and cf. also supra notes 2 & 28, and AP article in UK Guardian, “UN halts aid into Gaza after ‘Hamas Theft’ Guardian, UK, 2/6/2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/feb/06/gaza-un-aid-hamas
 Ibid, Goldman, and “Palestinian-American Scholar on Flotilla Raid,” WBEZ 91.5 radio, 6/2/2010, http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/content.aspx?audioID=42356
 Ibid, Goldman, and “Aid convoy attack has weakened Israel, say experts,” The Herald, Scotland, 6/1/2010, http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/world-news/aid-convoy-attack-has-weakened-israel-say-experts-1.1032000
 For the text of the Helsinki Principles cf. http://www.vilp.de/Enpdf/e025.pdf. For the selection of those sections relevant to Israel’s raid, cf. Die Achse des Guten, 6/1/2010, http://www.achgut.com/dadgdx/index.php/dadgd/print/0016515.
 Goldman supra notes 30-37, and “As flotilla inquiry calls grow louder, Legality of Gaza blockade examined,” PBS News Hour, 6/2/2010, http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/middle_east/jan-june10/gaza2_06-02.html ; and for a concise inquiry which supports Wedgwood and Israel, cf. Reuters, “Q&A: Is Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza legal?” 6/2/2010, Noah Barkin, editor, http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65133D20100602
The evidence for the absence of crisis in the Gaza Strip is overwhelming. UN observers have stated bluntly that there is no lack of food, medicine or other humanitarian needs in the Gaza Strip, although some building materials are in short supply (Hillel Fendel, “UN Envoy to Peres: No Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza, Israel National News, 2/24/2010, http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/news.aspx/136180 ). See also Ma’an (The Palestinian News agency) July, 15, 2008, “Director of Liaison office at Erez: Hamas prevented improvement of living conditions” http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=30570 ), Joel Brinkley (“Gazans suffer and Israel is not to blame” Sacramento Bee, 12/24/2009, http://www.sacbee.com/846/story/2419003.html ), the New York Times (Taghreed el-Khodary, “Goods Flood Gaza’s Tunnels”, 10/21/2009, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/world/middleeast/22rafah.html ), and the Wall Street Journal (Editorial, 12/22/2009, “Europe’s Israel Obsession”, http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703478704574611594259358238.html#printMode ). Recently, National Post correspondent Tom Gross discovered gourmet restaurants and Olympic-sized swimming pools in Gaza (“Gaza: United Nations Paradise for aid workers and the Elite”, 5/28/2010). Janine Zacharia of the Washington Post wrote, "If you walk down Gaza City's main thoroughfare - Salah al-Din Street - grocery stores are stocked wall-too-wall with everything from fresh Israeli yogurts and hummus to Cocoa Puffs smuggled in from Egypt. Pharmacies look as well-supplied as a typical Rite Aid in the United States." (6/3/2010, “In Gaza, a complex, dysfunctional way of life” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/02/AR2010060204687.html ).
The most comprehensive statistics come from a recent JCPA summary (6/10/2010, Ryan Jones, “More evidence Gaza is not starving”,
http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DBID=1&TMID=111&LNGID=1&FID=377&PID=0&IID=4123 ), with documented supplies entering the Gaza Strip from Israel:
Health: 4,883 tons of medical equipment and medicines entered Gaza in 2009 in coordination with the Palestinian Authority and international agencies.
Electricity: Israel continued to supply electricity to Gaza from its power plant in Ashkelon. In addition, 41 truckloads of equipment were transferred for the maintenance of the electrical system in Gaza. Between April and October 2009, Siemens carried out maintenance work on the power system in Gaza, to which more than 100 million liters of diesel fuel were delivered for its operation.
Communications: 45 truckloads of communication equipment were sent to Gaza at the request of the Palestinian Authority.
Water and sewage: 95 truckloads of equipment for water and sewage systems, as well as 3,720 tons of chloride for water purification, were transferred during 2009.
The private sector: 77 percent of the contents of trucks sent into Gaza in 2009 were for the private sector. 257 Palestinian businessmen exited Gaza to Israel, the West Bank, and abroad. 10,871 head of cattle were transferred to Gaza, mainly for the Ramadan and Eid al-Adha holidays. In preparation for winter, 3,607 tons of glass for windows was transferred to Gaza.
Money: Over NIS 1.1 billion (approximately $300 million) was transferred to Gaza in 2009 to fund salaries and the activities of international organizations. In addition, NIS 40 million (approximately $10 million) in worn banknotes were replaced.
Humanitarian aid: 141,390 tons of humanitarian aid were transferred by the international community through Israel, including 115,043 tons of food and 2,990 tons of medicines and medical equipment.
UNRWA: 3,282,000 liters of fuel and diesel were transferred for use by UNRWA. In addition, special equipment for summer camps, including swimming pools, ice cream machines, musical instruments, and sports equipment were transferred to UNRWA.
Agricultural export: The export of flowers and strawberries was approved as part of a joint project with the government of the Netherlands. Since the beginning of the project, more than 7 million flowers and 54 tons of strawberries were exported.
There are also ample videos, some from Arab news sources, showing shops well stocked and goods entering the Gaza Strip by the truck load.
 Hamas theft of aid
BBC news, 2/4/2009 documents massive theft of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of aid from the UN, “Hamas police ‘seize aid for Gaza’” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7869704.stm ; and the theft is so rampant and blatant that the UN put a stop to all Gaza aid (BBC news, 2/6/2009 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7875171.stm ) and cf. infra notes 28 and 34.
 Until victory or Martyrdom
Inter alia, Sheikh Akhmed Yassin, “…either with martyrdom or victory" per biographical documentary on al-Manar TV (Lebanon), 3/23/2010, http://www.almanar.com.lb/newssite/NewsDetails.aspx?id=130538&language=en, and cf. also Islam Times, 3.24.2010, http://www.islamtimes.org/vdcbzab5.rhb5spe4ur.html. His successor Dr. Abdul Aziz Rantissi also opposed all compromises and called for endless terrorism against Israel until victory or martyrdom. Cf. inter alia, http://english.moqawama.org/essaydetails.php?eid=10833&cid=256. Subsequent Hamas leaders, Isma’il Khaniyeh and Khaled Mesha’al continue this same approach.
For the apocalyptic and genocidal goals of Hamas, cf. the Hamas Covenant, the movement’s foundation document (http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp ) and note especially article 7 which quotes a Hadith (extra-Qur’anic sacred tradition) stating that Muhammed taught that: "The Day of Judgment will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." In other words, Muslims must kill all Jews, or convert them to Islam, before Islam can be triumphant in the world.
For Fatah’s almost identical, but not quite so graphic, end game regarding Israel, see Harkabi, Y., The Palestinian Covenant and its Meaning (1979).
 IHH terrorist ties
See the Herald Sun article: http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/dont-fall-for-islamist-hype/story-e6frfhqf-1225874185912, and cf. also Barry Rubin, “New”, 6/13/2010. http://www.gloria-center.org/gloria/2010/06/new-york-times-needs-my-help
 Terrorists on board
Fatimah Mahmadi (born 1979), a United States resident of Iranian origin, and an active member of the organization "Viva Palestine"; Ken O'Keefe (Born 1969), an American and British citizen, operative of the Hamas Terror organization; Hassan Iynasi (born 1982), a Turkish citizen and activist in IHH, known of providing financial support to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Terror organization; Hussein Urosh, a Turkish citizen and activist in IHH, with ties to el-Qaeda; Ahmad Umimon (born 1959), a French citizen of Moroccan origin, and an operative of the Hamas Terrorist organization, per http://www.onejerusalem.org/2010/06/countering-lies-about-israel.php.
 The intentions of the flotilla terrorists
http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/ipc_e092.htm ; and
http://backspin.typepad.com/backspin/2010/06/german-tv-exposes-fascists-and-islamists-aboard-mavi-marmara.html ; and http://www.vimeo.com/12555636 ); and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3L7OV414Kk
 IHH role in flotilla
Supra, note 4, and especially Barry Rubin, “New”, 6/13/2010. http://www.gloria-center.org/gloria/2010/06/new-york-times-needs-my-help
 “Beyond Bigotry”, Clifford D. May, Townhall.com, June 10, 2010]
 For a full discussion of Yildirim and his terrorist affiliations, cf. Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, 6/22/2010, Reuven Ehrlich, “Portrait of Bülent Yildirim, leader of the radical Islamic Turkish IHH and his central role in preparing the aid convoy and violent confrontation with the IDF”, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/ipc_099.htm
 Ibid, cf. section 10; and cf also National Review on Line, 6/9/2010, “The Corner,” http://corner.nationalreview.com/post/?q=OWRhNTM1YzlhY2Y5MmY5MGNhZWM2YzI1NGM1MWI3YzE =; and http://countercultureconservative.wordpress.com/2010/06/10/turkish-government-behind-terrorist-flotilla/ ; and http://www.resistnet.com/group/federalformsdocumentscontacts/forum/topics/official-intelligence-report?xg_source=activity.
 http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2010/06/newest-videos-shed-more-light-on-mavi_10.html, Turkish Captain Testifies: “I Tried to Stop the Preparation of the Terrorists”
 Cf. supra n. 6 and http://www.youtube.com/user/idfnadesk ;
 http://player.video.news.com.au/heraldsun/#AFc6TbdpRMbznSd4kFIm9WM856PBGCJr ) and cf. also discussion in http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/dont-fall-for-islamist-hype/story-e6frfhqf-1225874185912
 For an assessment of Turkey’s growing anti-Semitism, cf. Victor Davis Hanson, “Helen Thomas, Turkey, and the Liberation of Israel”, June 11, 2010, National Review on Line,
 World Tribune, Israel Today, 6/13/2010, http://www.israeltoday.co.il/default.aspx?tabid=178&nid=21297
 John Lyons, “Running the Gaza Blockade”, The Australian, June 12, 2010, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/running-the-gaza-blockade/story-e6frg6z6-1225878403448.
 Cf. Ed Barnes, “Reuters Admits Cropping Photos of ship clash, denies political motive,” June 8, 2010, http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/06/08/reuters-fake-photos-ihh-gaza-blockade-commandos/ ; and also Daniel Steinvorth and Christoph Schult, “Smuggled images of Israeli assault,” Der Spiegel, 6/16/2010, http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,700992,00.html.
 “What happened on the Mavi Marmara?” NY Times editorial, June 11, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/12/opinion/12sat3.html?ref=opinion
 Supra, notes 4 and 7.
 For a brief but comprehensive summary of Sharansky’s model, cf. “3D test of anti-Semitism: Demonization, Double Standards, Delegitimization,” Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Jewish Political Studies Review, 16:3-4, Fall, 2004, http://www.jcpa.org/phas/phas-sharansky-f04.htm
 David Brog, “Guilty until Proven Guilty,” 6/9/2010, Foreign Policy Magazine, http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/06/09/guilty_until_proven_guilty.
 Melanie Phillips, “The Derangement of the World,” The Spectator, UK, http://www.spectator.co.uk/melaniephillips/6065955/the-derangement-of-the-world.thtml
 Crimes against Humanity, world -wide:
Chechnya: the Russians have crushed the Chechens’ struggle for independence by carpet-bombing their capital. No outcry, except from Chechens.
The Kurds: the Turks and Iraqis have inflicted unspeakable horrors on the Kurds. And yet, no “Free Kurdistan” flotillas sail toward Turkey, and Russian officials do not fear arrest in European capitals for war crimes.
Iraq: On the evening of April 28, 2003, a crowd of approximately 200 Iraqi civilians gathered outside U.S. Army headquarters in Fallujah to protest the occupation of their city. As tension grew, U.S. soldiers from the 82nd Airborne stationed on the building's roof began firing upon the crowd, killing at least 13 Iraqis and wounding more than 70. U.S. troops insisted that they fired only to defend themselves from gunfire coming from the crowd. The protesters claimed that they were unarmed and never fired at the soldiers. Few have even ever heard of this incident, much less protested it. (Charles Levinson, USA Today, 9 1/2008, “Iraq takes control of Anbar province from U.S.” http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2008-09-01-iraqnews_N.htm)
Pakistan: on the same day that Israel boarded the Mavi Marmara, gunmen stormed into a hospital in Lahore, where they shot and killed 12 badly wounded patients lying in their beds. Those victims were survivors of murderous attacks on two mosques a few days earlier, when 93 worshipers were killed. One hundred and five people were shot and killed in a hospital and two mosques; but Navi Pillay, the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, said almost nothing about the dead Pakistanis. He did manage to declaim: “I unequivocally condemn what appears to be disproportionate use of force, resulting in the killing and wounding of so many people attempting to bring much needed aid to the people of Gaza.” (UNOG, United Nations Office at Geneva, “UN human rights chief condemns violent interception of Gaza flotilla”, http://www.unog.ch/unog/website/news_media.nsf/(httpNewsByYear_en)/62EAD87BDD0E82D1C12577340049B93E?OpenDocument).
North Korea: the week before the flotilla fiasco, North Korea, unprovoked, sank a South Korean naval vessel, killing 46 sailors. The U.N. Security Council was to begin discussion of possible action against North Korea. But then a few days later, council members made it clear they were going to drop the North Korea matter and first take up a resolution condemning Israel.
Sudan: twenty years of Sudanese war against its black African Christian or Animist citizens in the south has resulted in nearly 2,000,000 killed and millions more homeless. The Sudanese Arab Muslim Janjawid have slaughtered almost 750,000 Black Muslims in Darfur. The world is silent.
Syria: Syrian president Hafez el-Assad murdered close to 25,000 of its own people in Hama in 1982. That slaughter merited about 1.5 column inches in The New York Times. During Israel’s assault on Jenin in 2002, 52 Palestinians (most terrorists) were killed. This prompted the Arab propaganda film Jenin, Jenin, a big hit on college campuses. Has anyone ever seen a documentary titled Hama, Hama? (Joel Brinkley, Plenty of blame to go around in Gaza, San Francisco Chronicle, June 13, 2010, http://articles.sfgate.com/2010-06- 13/opinion/21908933_1_west-bank-and-gaza-north-korea-south-korean-naval-vessel 13/opinion/21908933_1_west-bank-and-gaza-north-korea-south-korean-naval-vessel).
Turkey: Turkey remains in steadfast denial about its genocide of nearly 2,000,000 Armenians at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Today, Erdogan decries Israelis as killers and, at the same time, warmly receives in Ankara Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in the Darfur bloodshed. Erdogan defended his reception of Bashir by saying: “It’s not possible for a Muslim to commit genocide.” (Thomas Friedman, Letter from Istanbul, New York Times, June 15, 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/16/opinion/16friedman.html?hp ).
Russia recently sank a Somali pirate ship and summarily executed its pirates, on the high seas, and no one cries “massacre” except the Somali government. (http://dailyradar.com/beltwayblips/story/somalia-russia-executed-all-somali-pirates-spokesman/ and http://somalilandpress.com/somalia-russia-executed-all-somali-pirates-spokesman-15559, “Russia executed all Somali pirates,” Somaliland press, May 12, 2010,).
 Supra, note 37.
 A short list of Hamas’ most recent atrocities against its own (http://article.nationalreview.com/436085/helen-thomas-turkey-and-the-liberation-of-israel/victor-davis-hanson, 6/11/2010, Helen Thomas, Turkey, and the Liberation of Israel)
Hamas killed hundreds of Palestinians in their 2007 coup is part of an on-going civil war between Hamas and PA/Fatah/PLO.
Hamas persecutes homosexuals and Christians in the Gaza Strip, decimating the Christian population.
Hamas security forces attacked and closed down the offices of various Palestinian Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) including the Women and Children Society, the Palestinian Mini-Parliament, and the South Society for Palestinian Women’s Health
Hamas demolish around 40 homes of Palestinian families in Rafah with no due process and no compensation.
Hamas diverts incoming humanitarian aid for political and military purposes (and cf. Supra, note 2).
Human Rights Watch appeals to Hamas to stop executing Palestinians accused of being collaborators, and to give such people a fair trial
And most recently, Hamas security forces permitted an armed and masked gang to attack a Palestinian children’s summer camp run by the UN on a Gaza beach, due to the camp curriculum including mixed gender activities for the children (private email from Hazem abu Helal, June 9, 2010, Sharek Youth Forum under attack from armed elements in the Gaza Strip - منتدى شارك الشبابي يتعرض لهجمة من عناصر مسلحة في قطاع غزة