Gaza is a miserable place. People are hungry, out of work, and living in hovels.
Hamas knows the power of the press and a good photo opportunity. How best to gain sympathy than to keep the people of Gaza in poverty and then blame Israel?
Unfortunately, some nations have bought into the big lie.
Two months ago, a flotilla of ships set sail from Turkey for the Gaza Strip in an attempt to break Israel’s blockade of the strip for what organizers called a humanitarian mission. The Israeli navy intercepted and boarded the flotilla, and, after the soldiers were met with violence, nine people were killed.
This past weekend, another ship set sail, this time from Libya, with the stated goal of breaking the blockade and carrying fresh supplies to Gaza. While the flotilla incident caused serious damage to Israel’s relationship with Turkey, this Libyan ship had the potential to ignite a larger conflict, as Israel and Libya are officially at war.
Fortunately, as of Wednesday morning, it appeared that cooler heads prevailed on board the MV Amalthea, and it rerouted to an Egyptian port.
We applaud the Israeli navy for the steps it took to negotiate with the ship’s captain to change course. We also applaud the captain of the ship, a Cuban national, for making the course correction.
This is what should have happened with the Mavi Marmara, but didn’t for a number of reasons.
The Kaddafi Foundation, headed by Libyan leader Muammar Kaddafi’s son, launched the Libyan boat, but the elder Kaddafi very likely played a role in both the ship’s launch and its change of course.
Governments have responsibilities that terrorist groups do not. Libya showed an awareness of this; a physical confrontation here could have sparked all-out war with Israel.
Similarly, Iran, after much bluster, capsized plans to send its own blockade-busting boats last month.
According to Israeli media, aid trucks carried more food into Gaza in one day this week than the Amalthea carried on board, so did the Gazans really need those supplies? Goods are flowing into Gaza at increased rates and Egypt’s border remains open.
The real siege of Gaza is by Hamas. Where are the siege-breakers?