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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Free Gilad Shalit!

By AMY TEIBEL, Associated Press Writer  Sun Jun 27, 3:11 pm ET
JERUSALEM – The family of a captured Israeli soldier, flanked by hundreds of supporters, set out Sunday on a 12-day march to Jerusalem to press their government to make a deal with Hamas militants to win his freedom.
Sgt. Gilad Schalit was taken captive four years ago during a cross-border raid by militants from the Gaza Strip. His parents say they will camp outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's official residence until the government wins the release of their 23-year-old son, who hasn't been seen in person since he was seized.
"Today we say, 'We won't wait any longer, we won't wait any longer in our home,'" Schalit's father, Noam Schalit, said before the start of the march. Israel's leaders, he added, "have to put an end to this sad saga."
Thousands, including supermodel Bar Refaeli and dozens of local celebrities, are expected to join the march from the Schalits' home in northern Israel to Jerusalem.
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said about 2,000 supporters accompanied the family as it left its home in the small community of Mitzpe Hila on the Israel-Lebanon border. Many wore yellow ribbons or T-shirts with the soldier's photo.
Some carried signs reading, "Gilad Schalit, we're waiting at home for you," and "The government of Israel, Gilad Schalit is screaming, 'Help!'"
Israel has agreed to release many of the 1,000 Palestinian prisoners that Hamas wants freed, but has balked at freeing some who were convicted in deadly attacks on Israelis. It also objects to releasing them to their homes in the neighboring West Bank for fear they would establish militant footholds there, and wants them deported.
Schalit's ordeal has touched a nerve in Israel, where military service is compulsory for most Jews, and almost all Jewish families have relatives who serve. The march dominated Israeli newspapers Sunday, and one leading daily, Haaretz, implored the government to make the necessary concessions to bring Schalit home. A recent poll suggested that a large majority of Israelis would be willing to see convicted killers released so he could go free.
The Schalits launched the protest march after Israel eased its blockade of Gaza last week without assuring their son's release.
Israel began restricting the movement of goods into and out of Gaza after Schalit was captured, hoping to pressure Hamas to release him, and later imposed an all-out blockade after Hamas overran the territory a year later.
That embargo was eased in recent weeks after a deadly Israeli raid on a blockade-busting flotilla drew an international outcry over the plight of 1.5 million Gazans affected by the embargo.
Schalit's parents now say the Israeli government has abandoned their son and lost important leverage over Hamas by easing the blockade.
Netanyahu told his Cabinet on Sunday that the government was working to free the serviceman and urged the international community "to stand by the state of Israel in its unequivocal and just demand that our captive soldier be returned immediately."
Israel has been negotiating Schalit's release through Egyptian and German mediators because it does not have direct talks with Hamas, which it considers a terror organization.
Little is known about Schalit's condition. His captors have barred any access to him and released only a brief videotaped statement last year to prove he was still alive.
Israel has a long history of paying a disproportionate price for its captive soldiers. However, there has been no indication the government might yield to the public pressure generated by the march. Some officials have suggested the protests would be counterproductive and cause Hamas to dig in deeper.
Hamas had no comment on the march Sunday.
Also Sunday, Palestinians clashed with Israeli police in east Jerusalem near an enclave of Israeli settlers in the neighborhood of Silwan. Police said around 150 protesters threw stones, slightly wounding six policemen. There were no immediate reports of injured protesters.
Israeli moves to settle Jews in largely Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem have raised tensions in the city.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Terrorist's World View Signals What Our World View Should Be


By Barry Rubin*

A dozen words spoken at his trial by Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square would-be bomber, are worth studying very carefully. When asked why he targeted American civilians in the streets of New York, Shahzad replied:

"Well, the [American] people select the government. We consider them all the same."

On one level, this is a standard terrorist position, used against countries from India to Israel and beyond. Significantly, it can only be applied only against democratic countries. Everyone is a legitimate target precisely because the country is a free one. Of course, the terrorist is attacking on the basis of a totalitarian ideology which he wants to impose everywhere possible. In this case, in the statement, "We consider them all the same," the word "all" refers to the people.

But that's not the main point I want to make.

The word "all" also refers to the governments they elect. In this case, the government the American people elected is that of Barack Hussain Obama, a president determined to prove to Muslims that he is their friend no matter what that costs.

No doubt, some are so convinced. According to public opinion polls, however, the change in the views of those in Muslim-majority countries has been--despite his efforts--pretty small. Many of them are going to consider any American government to be "all the same." That's not something that applied just to George W. Bush. The decision to carry out what became the September 11 attacks, the planning, and much of the implementation took place when William Jefferson Clinton was president.

As for the revolutionary Islamists--be they al-Qaida, Hamas, Hizballah, the Taliban, and the Muslim Brotherhoods--or the radical regimes--be they Iran, Syria, the de facto Islamic Republic of Gaza, or others--all the U.S. governments are definitely the same. Indeed, they make this point explicitly in their declarations and media every day.

To them, the American people are "all the same" and the American governments are "all the same." The argument between liberals and conservatives on this point is irrelevant. They hate the United States because of its values and they also hate the United States because of its policies.

But the policies aspect is not over the details--military presence in Afghanistan and Iraq--nor is it over just support of Israel, since it is equally so regarding the support of any existing regime in a non-radical Muslim-majority state. There is no conceivable U.S. policy that will satisfy the revolutionaries, save perhaps a full withdrawal from the Middle East and abandonment of support for any government in the region.

There is, however, a best-possible policy for the United States: fight the revolutionary Islamists and support, to an appropriate degree, all the non-radical regimes being attacked by Islamists , be it Algeria or the Philippines, Thailand or Morocco, Israel or India, Saudi Arabia or Egypt. And this includes the opposition in Turkey and Iran, as well as democratic forces in Lebanon that oppose domination by Iran, Syria, and Hizballah.

In contrast to the Islamists, in the case of Muslim-majority countries, they don't select the government and we don't consider them to be all the same. The differentiation we should make is that between enemies--revolutionary Islamists and radical anti-Western nationalists--and the rest, who might not be warm allies but are people who can be worked with to prevent their own countries, the region, and perhaps even the world from being drowned in blood and violence
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*Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books, go to http://www.gloria-center.org.  You can read and subscribe to his blog at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Bit More on the Gaza Strip Diplomacy

June 22, 2010

 
 
A Bit More on the Gaza Strip Diplomacy
 
By Barry Rubin
 
Elsewhere, I have explained in great detail the changes in Israeli policy as well as the implications of Western policy in the Gaza Strip: economic normalization meaning also normalization of the existence of a Gaza Hamas-ruled statelet.

Israel, seeing that there is not going to be any "rollback" to remove Hamas from power has basically accepted a containment startegy of limited the military weaponry and capability of Hamas. Thus, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explained:

"The cabinet decision is the best one for Israel because it eliminates Hamas' main propaganda claim and allows us and our international allies to face our real concerns in the realm of security."

This is true as far as it goes except now Hamas merely switches to other supply matters--the quantity of goods, defining certain things as having no military value, demanding export rights--and even more important it forces Israel to drop its goal of bringing down the regime. As I noted earlier, this is not really a concession because, sadly, it was already clear that this was impossible given Western protection of the Hamas government.

But these countries are not finished yet in trying to improve the population's situation while actually helping Hamas.

The U.S. government and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as the Quartet negotiator have been critical of Israel's concessions as insufficient. While Israel is offering 130 truckloads a day of non-military goods and construction material only for demonstrably non-military projects, the U.S. and European governments want 400 trucks a day, which is what some aid agencies say is needed.

In addition, they want the Gaza Strip to be able to export goods, mainly agricultural, in order to make money.

On one level, the whole debate is absurd since they could just ask Egypt to open the border to this extent. But, of course, the intention is to pressure Israel. Ironically, if they demanded Egypt let more sent in, this would run up against Cairo's argument that it doesn't want to strengthen a revolutionary Islamist statelet on its own border.

It is amazing to see the extent to which the Western politicians are simply 100 percent deaf to the strategic implications of these issues. They don't want a Hamas regime attacking Israel or one that's military strengthened, but they just don't understand that any Hamas regime is going to attack Israel eventually--and not that far in the future.

The concept that a Hamas regime is going to spread revolutionary Islamism, subvert Israel, make any peace agreement impossible, strengthen Iranian influence in the Arab world, or do a half-dozen other things damaging to regional stability and Western influence does not seem to be crossing their minds.

It is easy to call Western leaders and diplomats names (fools, idiots, etc.) or to make fun of them. Yet on this specific failure such a response seems especially appropriate.

I'm Looking and I Don't See Any Palestinian State-Building Going On
By Barry Rubin
I read an article on Foreign Policy blog which, like many things I see on the Middle East, convinces me of the precise opposite conclusion to what the author wants me to think. The article, by Hussein Ibish, a Palestinian activist in the United States, is entitled: "While No One's Looking, the Palestinians Are Building a State: Now it's time for the rest of the world to pitch in. "


Well, I'm looking and I don't see any Palestinian state-building going on. Yes, there is some improvement in the West Bank security forces, including U.S. training, but the changes are not enormous. And at any moment, these forces could launch a war on Israel or start fighting each other. Yes, there is some economic improvement happening but it's based on foreign aid money and much of it is unproductive (i.e., real estate and housing speculation). And again, it could be blown up any moment in a new Palestinian-Israeli or Fatah-Hamas war or just major instability.


A more accurate title for this article would be: The Rest of the World has Pitched in, Paid Lots of Money, and the Palestinians Still Aren't Building a State!" The article provides not a single example of any material action being done to create strong institutions or do anything else that a state requires. Indeed, the only actual action was the passing of a resolution saying that the Palestinian Authority is building a state.

Here's the link but if I were you I wouldn't waste the time on it. Incidentally, his claim that half the PA budget comes from Palestinian taxation is totally ridiculous. But then any nonsense will do to drop on the West. The Western journalistic and intellectual discussion today is all too often like restaurant patrons who will gobble up offal gladly and proclaim it haute cuisine.

What's happening, though, and that's why this article is of some significance, is that the PA is trying to build a foundation for a unilateral declaration of independence in a year or two. That doesn't mean it will ever happen but rather than negotiate with Israel, a process requiring compromises and concessions, the PA prefers to have the world recognize it as a state without having to do anything: end the conflict, agree to resettle Palestinian refugees in Palestine, recognize Israel as a Jewish state, provide Israel with security guarantees, and so on.

Remember that the Palestinian Authority originated about 17 years ago. That means babies born then are now adults and the PA has done remarkably little to prepare for stable and well-governed statehood, not to mention losing the Gaza Strip to Hamas. And how can places like Foreign Policy blog run articles without a single real argument to prove its thesis?
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*Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books, go tohttp://www.gloria-center.org.  You can read and subscribe to his blog at http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.com.


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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Arab Countries are either perpetually at war or teetering on the brink.

Muslims are killing each other all the time, not all of them, of course, nonetheless the Arab Countries are either perpetually at war or teetering on the brink.
The Persians are just as bad.

I have heard estimates that Persian Muslims killed half a million  Arab Muslims in their eight year war.

It does seem to me  that this flotilla thing has caused many progressives to shift their views, at least somewhat.
The flotilla however,. as we all know, is just the most recent provocation, it it seems from reports I've seen, more media outlets are realizing the mistake of supporting groups that would, obviously, shut them down, if they had the power to do so.
The Arabs, and other Muslim extremists are over playing their hand, mistaking recent success lately in the PR war as the precipice of Victory over civilization.

While the Arabs thought the world was coming around to their ideology and demands, in reality the world was just being overly fair.

There is something about civilized people that they are quick to feel pity for the underdog, even if the underdog is only perceived as the underdog.

A very great man once said,
"You can fool some of the people part of the time, and part of the people all the time , but you can't fool all of the people, all of the time."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Who's side is he on, anyway?

The situation outside of Gaza seems to be fading in importance as a  worldwide issue.
Today, in what was a bit of a surprise the top democrats in the U.S. Senate issued a public declaration of support for Israel and stated emphatically, "Israel has a right to defend herself."

Obama also expressed this sentiment but seemed to be presenting the image of neutrality , I believe for geo-political reasons.
He did say, "Gaza  has launched thousands of bombs into Israel."

He added, "I've been to Israel. I've stood in a child's bedroom where a missile has come through the roof."

 I believe the man is honest, intelligent, and loves Israel.
I believe he knows the situation, he knows that Israel just wants peace, he knows Hamas are blood-thirsty terrorists.
Obama is just trying to keep things from getting violent.
So he is acting as if he is impartial.
He has called for a complete investigation.
Obama already knows exactly what happened.
He knows that an impartial investigation will clear Israel of wrong doing, and that will slow the momentum of the anti-Jews.

I think we are seeing more and more that intelligent responsible leaders are less and less willing to accept Arab interpretations of events.
Arabs are killing each other at an unprecedented rate, and everyone knows it.

They have no credibility at all.

There is a coterie of strongly opinionated anti-Israelis on the internet and in the media.
Democracy Now, which performs many valuable hours of truth and alternative ideas,
at least so far, has been completely wrong on the Gazan barricade defiance of last week.

The IDF had planned for the interception to be very low key.
According to at least some reports the IDF intelligence fell short of perfect, and the Israeli military , expecting to greet and dialogue with Peace Activists, were attacked by knife and bar weilding terrorists .

We would like to see the President and every world leader be more forthright in their support of Israel.
Obama was vague about what he expected Israel to do for the Palestinians.
He was exact about what the Arabs are going to be required to do.
"They have to stop the violence, they have to guarantee that they support Israel's right to exist, and they have to make sure that the people of Israel live in peace and security."

That's what we want, too.

If Obama said tomorrow, "The Arabs are violent and savage. They want to exterminate the Jews.
The tenets of Islam are wrong."
I would be overjoyed.
It would be true, but at least in the opinion of some experts, it would create unnecessary hostility and is not the best use of diplomacy.

Carter is an anti-Israeli, bordering on or even crossing over into being an anti-Semite.

President Obama doesn't and hasn't supported the slurs we've heard from Carter.

We believe Obama is in Israel's corner.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Ambush at Sea


June 3, 2010


Picture this scenario: A group of peaceful activists sets out to deliver much-needed aid to a beleaguered population denied access to essentials like food and medicine by a powerful neighboring state. That state opposes delivery of the aid, and raids one of the ships carrying it. In the ensuing melee, nine activists are killed, and the rest are captured and deported to their countries of origin. On its face, it seems a clear case of good vs. evil the plucky underdog activists paying with their lives for defying the laws of an oppressive and cruel nation.

This is exactly how recent events in the Mediterranean, where Israel recently stopped a Turkish ship bound for Gaza called the Mavi Marmara, have been portrayed. This ship was part of an eight-ship “freedom flotilla,” the purpose of which was, ostensibly, to break Israel’s blockade and deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. After repeatedly defying Israel’s orders to turn back — Israel requires that all goods entering Gaza be inspected to prevent weapons from entering terrorist’s hands — IDF commandos lowered themselves from a helicopter onto the lead ship to take control over it.

Violence resulted, and it’s not difficult to see why. Though portrayed as “peace activists,” many of those aboard the Mavi Marmara were members of a Turkish Islamic charity called IHH, which experts say has ties to Hamas, al-Qaeda, and other radical Muslim terrorist groups. These “peace activists” were ready to fight. Chilling videos taken by the IDF and posted on the Internet show Israeli commandos descending by rope from helicopters onto the boat, only to be swarmed by a mob of club and knife-wielding thugs who beat and stabbed them and threw them over the ship’s railing. Given the danger, it should not come as any surprise that the Israelis resorted to lethal force to defend themselves.

And what about the blockade allegedly starving Gaza residents? The fact is, even after the blockade was put into place in early 2009 in an attempt to dry up terrorist weapons supplies, Israel has allowed essentials into Gaza. Last year, more than 700,000 tons of food, medical supplies, and other humanitarian aid entered the strip from Israel, with the total for 2010 standing at over 230,000 tons as of early May. The fact is that Israel has always taken into account the humanitarian needs of Palestinians living in Gaza. The myth of Gazans being starved by Israel is just that a myth.

Even in the case of the Gaza flotilla, Israeli officials made every attempt to allow the aid being carried by the convoy to get into the right hands. Prior to the raid, an offer was made to redirect the convoy toward the port of Ashdod, where Israel could unload and inspect the shipment and then transfer it by land to Gaza. Leaders of the flotilla turned Israel down. Later, after the disastrous raid on the Mavi Marmara, Israel again offered to send the aid seized in the raid to Gaza. Hamas, which rules the strip, turned down that offer as well, calling it a “deception.”

Obviously, the Gaza flotilla was less an attempt to help Palestinians than it was to provoke Israel. Sadly, it worked: By putting Israel in a situation where the use of force was inevitable, the organizers of the flotilla stirred a firestorm of condemnation from a world all too ready to judge Israel guilty until proven innocent.

The situation with the Gaza flotilla, and the diplomatic crisis it has caused, is still unfolding. I invite you to follow this issue and other Israel-related news on our Stand for Israel blog. And, as always, I ask you to continue to pray for the peace of Jerusalem in these perilous times.

With prayers for  shalom, peace,

 This article was first published on the International Fellowship of  Christians and Jews Web site

My deep appreciation goes out to them. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Sympathy for the Devil and the Gaza Sea Confrontation: How Can Helping a Repressive Fascist, Genocide-Intending Hamas Regime be Noble?


June 1, 2010

"Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game."
--The Rolling Stones, “Sympathy for the Devil”
Is it so hard to guess the name? Is it so difficult to understand the nature of the game? Apparently so.

"Israeli assault complicates efforts to improve relationship with U.S.," says the Washington Post. "Israeli Raid Exacerbates Regional Tensions and Threatens Peace Process," claims a report by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. The Scotsman, not interested in the details, called it a "massacre."

And so the blame is placed. Yet why should either claim be true? After all, neither the U.S. government nor the Palestinian Authority is friends of Hamas and its reign in the Gaza Strip. Both have had their people murdered by Hamas and that group, an ally of Iran, wants to drive the former out of the region and overthrow the latter.

Hamas has oppressed the people of the Gaza Strip, murdered Palestinian Authority supporters in hospitals and thrown them off roofs; driven the Christians out; taken relief supplies for its own soldiers; launched a war on Israel in December 2008 that caused avoidable death and destruction; used civilians as human shields and mosques for ammunition dumps; indoctrinated children to be suicide bombers; are putting women into a Taliban-like situation; and repeatedly announces its antisemitic views and intention to wipe out Israel and massacre its people.

For some, none of this makes any difference though--to be fair--the media they get information from may not have presented these facts. For those on the left, Hamas should be considered as a fascist organization which they passionately oppose. For those sympathetic to human rights or women's rights, or many other good causes, Hamas should be anathema.

What should be paramount, then, is an international determination to overthrow the Hamas regime. After all, while it had earlier come in first in elections, it staged a coup and overthrew what was perceived as the rightful government of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian Authority. To do such a thing would-to paraphrase the Carnegie report-reduce regional tensions and aid the peace process lead to an independent Palestinian state. Yet this rather obvious idea simply does not seem to have occurred to any Western government or elite.

So instead there is a policy, albeit an eroding one, of isolating Hamas and denying it at least some supplies and money, demanding that it accept the idea of real peace with Israel and cease the use of terrorism. Even this seems too much for many people and, increasingly, for some governments.

In the face of this very profound and essential wrongness, precisely what measures Israel takes toward a half-dozen vessels seeking to break the blockade that much of the world supports seems a rather secondary issue.

Then there is the confrontation itself.

It is unlikely that the clash between Israeli forces and revolutionary Islamists on a Turkish vessel carrying Hamas supporters and supplies to Gaza is going to change anything at all in terms of the politics and issues of the regions. Yet these events tell us a lot about international thinking nowadays and the tactics used by the revolutionaries who want to transform the Middle East and turn it into Islamist totalitarian states.

Everything I've written above would, in many circles, be considered shocking. Yet it is all obviously demonstrably true and profoundly valid for the conduct of international affairs. If any North American or European country had done the same thing as Israel, it would be excused. If any other Third World country did so, it would be ignored.

Why does the Israel-Palestinian conflict continue? The Palestinians. If the Palestinians stopped fighting there would be peace; if Israel stopped fighting there would be even more war.

Why were people killed in the sea off of Gaza? The Islamist-led forces there. Because--as was shown with five of the six ships--if they didn't fight nobody would be hurt but if they assaulted Israeli soldiers, the latter would defend themselves.

Oh, by the way, the Turkish group that organized this operation and had a large presence on the ship where the soldiers were attacked also has had
 ties with al-Qaida and has been designated as a global terrorst group by the U.S. government. Indeed, in the past this group was found to be involved in dispatching terrorists to a number of countries, including involvement in a terror attack in the United States (the would-be Millennium Bomber in Los Angeles).

There is also 
emerging evidence that interrogation of those captured on the ship shows that 40 to 60 men were organized in military-style units. They have no papers of identification, had a lot of money and some were equipped with night vision equipment and bullet-proof vests.

In other words, numerous Western institution are cheering--or at least being fooled--by an allegedly humanitarian action of "peace activists" run by an organization that supported the September 11 attacks on the United States. Contemplate that irony for a few minutes.

Of course, this isn't the first time a revolutionary movement has deliberately sacrificed people for a perceived benefit to the cause. Indeed, Hamas does that all the time. But it might perhaps be the first time it has fooled so many people. Or, perhaps I should see the second, given international reactions to the 2008-2009 war in the Gaza Strip. And the more successfully Hamas (and Hizballah) uses such tactics, the more people they will get killed in their pursuit of international sympathy and support.

Recognition of these facts is necessary for democratic societies that intend to survive. And yet that is not at all what is happening.

Now events have gone one step further. In order to pursue their goals, Hamas wants to escape from its isolation and win international support for both its regime over Gaza and in its struggle against Israel. And what are these goals? Ruling the Gaza Strip forever, seizing the West Bank and putting the Palestinian Authority leadership in front of a firing squad, obliterating Israel and committing genocide on its Jewish population, creating a totalitarian Palestinian state, destroying Western influence in the region, and helping to overthrow all the existing Arab governments as a junior partner of Iran.

This might be expected to bother a lot of people, especially in the West, especially on the left, especially among intellectuals who benefit from living in free societies. And yet that's not necessarily true either.

As part of its effort, Hamas supporters organized a six-ship convoy to bring supplies to the Gaza Strip. The Gaza Strip has always been a poor area, even compared to the West Bank. Despite ruling over the area for more than a decade while receiving a huge amount of foreign aid in comparison to the size of the population, the Palestinian Authority did little for the people. It led them into an unnecessary five-year-long destructive war in 1999 that only made things worse for them.

Hamas has now ruled the Gaza Strip for about five years. Yet it has preferred continued war with Israel, a full-scale military mobilization, and hardline policies rather than working for the development of the area and jobs for the people.

Yet who is blamed for the status of that area today?

The blockade has definitely had a downward effect on living standards in the Gaza Strip. And of course there are two blockades since Egypt's government, which doesn't want Hamas's close associates, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to seize power and execute is leaders, also maintains an embargo.

But there is no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip. That can be easily proven. Israel allows a great deal of supplies to cross over. That can be proven. Hamas destroyed the border economic zone's facilities thus denying Gazans jobs. That can be proven. And there is a lot of smuggling across the Egypt-Gaza border which makes up for a good part of the deficit. There is even a humorous angle to all of this, like the way Israel supplied electricity to the Gaza Strip for years even when the bills weren't paid and Hamas was firing rockets at it.

And of course if Hamas were to change its policy in real terms there would be no blockade at all.

The purpose of this flotilla was not, of course, to help the Gazans but to get publicity for ending the blockade altogether, strengthening Hamas, and hitting at Israel. The organizers were offered the chance to land in Israel and, after inspections, see the supplies go across the border. That would have been at least a partial victory for them but they weren't interested. Or they could have landed in Israel and the Egyptian government would have immediately sent all the supplies into Gaza. But they weren't interested in that either.

A state of war exists between Israel and Hamas. To give aid and comfort to the Hamas regime is to help an enemy sworn to Israel's destruction. Why should Israel facilitate that? The answer might be, to help the people of Gaza who are suffering. But they will go on suffering until the day that Hamas no longer runs their lives. And there have been many people suffering because they are ruled by a government like that of Germany or Italy in the 1930s and 1940s. The British and Americans bombed them steadily and did everything else to kill, injure, and starve them in order to win World War Two. In comparison, Israel has been remarkably restrained.

And the longer Hamas rules there the more they will suffer. It is only a matter of time until Hamas engages in a new war. Indeed, the sympathy for Hamas and the buying of its lies about Israel by so many in the West increase its confidence in the value of going to war again in the virtue of remaining extremist.

After all, if its strategy is working why should Hamas change it? And if Hamas believes that it can win world opinion to be against Israel, and thus destroy Israel, all the more reason to be willing to force Gazans to fight for decades and generations.

And so there was no way that Israel would let the ships land in Gaza. And the activists, who put helping Gazans as a far lower priority than helping Hamas wanted a confrontation and the hardest line ones wanted casualties, martyrs to water the soil of revolution.

Shouldn't Israel have denied them that opportunity? Were mistakes made by Israel? But what was the main mistake by far? Not realizing that there were violent extremists on the main ship who were going to attack violently. In short, Israel's big mistake was the exact opposite of what much of the media and various others are claiming: it accepted the idea that the protesters were likely to be nonviolent. And that is why deaths occurred.

But such problems are also in the nature of the strange war faced upon Israel, the United States, and others. For instance, the same day as the incident off Gaza occurred, a U.S. drone killed one of the highest-ranking al-Qaida leaders. It also killed members of his family, probably women and children, the kind of event that leads to international condemnation of Israel but in this case was ignored by the news media.

Then there are decisions presented as mistakes by false or inaccurate arguments. For example, take the argument that Israel could not act in international waters without breaking international law. That's nonsense. Blockades all the way back to the British one against Napoleon-and more recently the British blockade during the Falklands crisis and the U.S. blockade of Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis-have worked that way.

Indeed, the most important thing about a blockade is that it must be effective to be accepted by others. Once Israel let in those ships, why should anyone else-including ships carrying military supplies-be deterred? And in Gaza, even pipes (used for making rockets) and cement (used for building block houses and other military positions) are war materiel.

The organizers were quite clear that this is the first round of a plan for regular shipments to Gaza. If the ships were allowed to pass that means uninspected ships would set up regular deliveries to Gaza which would, of course, include weapons, ammunition, and other military equipment.

Did the Israeli authorities underestimate the chance of violence? Well, they were 83.3 percent, that is, five-sixths, right. Five of the six ships surrendered peacefully, the ones with most or all of the well-meaning "peace activists," and were taken into port. Only one resisted, the one with the radical Islamists who want a Hamas victory and the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Israelis, not peace. Two guns were grabbed from soldiers as they were beaten and knifed. In all, seven Israeli servicemen were stabbed, shot or injured--virtually the entire initial force--showing the battle was hardly one-sided. Here is an account by the commander of the boarding team who was stabbed.

(One day we will know how many of the casualties were armed with knives or shot by their "colleagues," not Israeli soldiers. Will that detail be widely disseminated?)

What if Israel had waited longer? The ships would have come closer to the coast and eventually boarding would have been necessary since they would not stop otherwise. The same thing would have happened a day or two later. The only options would have been firing on the ships--which was unthinkable--or trying to stop them physically by blocking them with naval vessels, which could easily have led to a collision, perhaps even a ship sinking, and the loss of far more lives.

Again, some of those on the ships were no doubt full of well-intentioned humanitarians. But they were engaged in an evil and dangerous cause. Besides, they weren't the ones determined to attack. Those directing the operation were revolutionaries intent on supporting their Hamas comrades. The atmosphere among the Islamists is demonstrated by their televised talk of martyrdom and jihad, their open statements that they were supporting Hamas.

Al-Jazira television 
broadcast their chanting slogans about a new "Khaibar" and the return of "Muhammad's army," reference to the massacre of the Jews in seventh-century Arabia and the selling of the women and children into slavery. Such were the "peace activists" involved in creating this violent incident.

There are, then, two main ways to see these events. One is of a group of humanitarians who just wanted to help people and were mistreated by evil Israel, ignoring their cause, leadership, explicit goals, and the whole nature of the political issue at hand.

The other is the perspective offered here, of the attempted manipulation of international public opinion by a combination of those intent on evil and those who don't recognize the nature of its game.

Which one better explains these events, and what went before them, and what will come after? Given the facts, there can't be much doubt that allying with and assisting Hamas, the closest thing to a fascist ideology and genocidal program in today's world, is not a great moral act. If you want to have sympathy for the devil, so to speak, at least know who you are helping.

There is a statement attributed to the British political philosopher Edmund Burke, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Burke supported America's revolution but was horrified by France's bloody upheaval that resulted in terror and murder. He understood that in order to be a humanitarian one had to have accurate judgment and to distinguish between actual good and evil dressed up as good.

Actually, what Burke wrote is even more apt for the present day, in which democracies are threatened by a tidal wave of lies, hate, and dictatorship: "When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle."

Here are the live radio signals from the Israeli forces on board the ship indicating they are under attack by armed assailants.
Here is video where you can see soldiers being attacked as they come down the ropes.
Video from above of soldiers being attacked. [Note this is not an official site and the poster has added material of his own before and after not related to the video.]
Here is a report by the main Danish international affairs' research center using Turkish sources to show the sponsoring group was an armed group preparing for terrorist attacks.
Pictures of weapons. The guns were confiscated and taken away before these pictures were taken.
The Turkish group IHH (Insani Yardim Vakfi), which was the main organizer, is a member of the Union of the Good, which has been
designated as a global terrorist group by the U.S. government for its close ties to Hamas.

The Chomsky Hoax

The Chomsky Hoax
Exposing the Dishonesty of Noam Chomsky