ZOA Condemns Terrorist Flotilla Which Refused Peaceful Option; Calls For Investigation Of Turkey, Which Permitted Ship To Sail With Weapons & Violate Legal Blockade
June 1, 2010


World condemns Israel, yet largely silent on N. Korean

unprovoked deadly attack on S. Korean ship




The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has condemned the media and foreign government attacks, including from China, France, Germany, Italy and Turkey, on Israeli defensive actions against the Gaza terror ship. This ship, part of the ‘Gaza flotilla,’ organized by a Turkish Islamist group, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (Islan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi – IHH), deliberately attempted to breach the lawful Israeli blockade of Gaza, a territory at war with Israel, run by Hamas, an internationally recognized terrorist regime whose Charter calls for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the world-wide murder of Jews (Article 7) and which has fired thousands of missiles into Israel in recent years. The violence of the Hamas supporters on one of the six ships in the Gaza flotilla, including the use of knives, axes, bats, firebombs and metal rods, as well as seizing and using of Israeli personnel’s side-arms, led to clashes and exchanges of fire that has resulted in the reported deaths of nine people onboard the flotilla. Seven members of the Israeli boarding party, whose non-aggressive intent was evident from being armed principally with paint-ball guns (usually used in crowd control situations, not armed confrontations) were also wounded and injured, some seriously.


The ZOA calls for an investigation of Turkey, the country in which the organization assisting Islamist terrorists and responsible for the flotilla is based; from which the flotilla set sail; and whose government wrongly assured that the flotilla cargo had been duly inspected and found to consist purely of humanitarian supplies and included no weapons. Indeed, under international law, Turkey can be held responsible for the unlawful attempt by this ship to break a legal blockade. Yet Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan acknowledged no Turkish responsibility, condemned Israel, demanded that Israel be punished and called the Israeli operation a “bloody massacre.” To call the deaths of the nine on board, as Erdogan did, a “massacre,” when shooting did not occur until after half an hour after Israeli personnel boarded the vessel and were assaulted by Hamas supporters in the manner already described, is an obscene and absurd charge. It was only when the lives of Israeli personnel were in serious jeopardy that the Israelis began to defend themselves. If those on board had not brutally assaulted the Israeli soldiers, not one Israeli shot would have been fired and no one would have been harmed.


The ZOA also rejects international criticism of the lawful Israeli action to board and inspect the vessels of the Hamas-supporting Gaza flotilla and contrasts this criticism with the relative silence and lack of interest in North Korea’s recent, unprovoked torpedoing of a South Korean vessel, resulting in the deaths of 45 South Korean servicemen. It contrasts with the lack of UN condemnation or criticism of Iran’s brutal election crack-down last year, in which the Iranian regime killed and jailed hundreds of civilian demonstrators. That the United Nations and the world said virtually nothing over North Korea’s unjustified and unprovoked action or Iran’s crack-down exposes the hypocrisy of the hue and cry against Israel for a lawful boarding of the Gaza flotilla that encountered unnecessary, unjustifiable and deliberate assault from the Hamas supporters on the flotilla. The bad faith and violence of the flotilla has passed without serious condemnation from the United Nations and the world, thereby assisting the cause of the terrorists who organized this propaganda event.


The IHH is not a peaceable, charitable institution – it is a Muslim Brotherhood-connected, Islamist organization, outlawed by Israel in 2008 for involvement in Hamas’ global fund-raising machinery. It has been similarly involved in assisting violent Islamist groups in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya. In 2006, the Danish Institute for International Studies demonstrated the IHH’s connections to al-Qaeda. The IHH belongs to a Saudi-based umbrella organization known to finance terrorism called the Union of Good (Ittilaf al-Kheir in Arabic), chaired by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who is known best for his religious ruling that encourages suicide attacks against Israeli civilians. In November 2008, the U.S. Treasury designated the Union’s leaders as Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) “created by Hamas leadership to transfer funds to the terrorist organization.”’


According to the French magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere, testifying at the Seattle trial of would-be al Qaeda Millenium bomber Ahmed Ressamin, the IHH had played “[a]n important role” in the al Qaeda Millenium bomb plot targeting Los Angeles airport.  The IHH has also been involved in weapons trafficking, and played in addition a key role in galvanizing anti-Western sentiment among Turkish Muslims in the lead-up to the 2003 war in Iraq.


The Gaza flotilla is also the brainchild of prominent members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), including ISM co-founder Huwaida Arraf, who has described suicide bombings as “noble” and argued that Palestinian so-called resistance “must”’ include violence.


The ZOA condemns those journalists and media outlets that grossly mislead the public by falsely identifying the Hamas-supporting Gaza flotilla members as “peace activists” (as, for example, Charles Levinson did in the Wall Street Journal). Some media also falsely described the armed clashes aboard the ship initiated by the Hamas supporters as a “massacre” (The Scotsman). We also condemn Associated Press (AP) reporters Selcan Hacaoglu and Lee Keath, who virtually eliminated from their account any reference to the violence initiated against the Israeli boarding party and who were silent about the video evidence showing this. These inexcusable omissions and distortions enabled them to mislead the public by writing of “Israel’s deadly commando raid on ships taking humanitarian aid to the blockaded Gaza Strip.” Such reports have given aid and comfort to the terrorists by helping produce condemnation and anti-Israeli demonstrations in Europe and the Arab and Muslim worlds.


Prior to sailing, the flotilla members were filmed chanting songs glorifying violence and killing, including one about ‘Khaybar’ – the iconic slaughter of Jews by Muslims in the 7th century which is used as a rallying cry to kill the Jews today by Islamist terrorists. Some of these supporters spoke keenly of ‘martyrdom’ – achieving their own death through launching violence against others.


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA is appalled at the hypocrisy and dishonesty of the international criticism of Israel for the deaths on board the Gaza flotilla and the corresponding relative absence of international condemnation of the deliberate and violent assault of the Hamas-supporting Gaza flotilla members to a lawful Israeli boarding party.


Israeli searches fully legal. Blockades and embargoes are time-honored and legal measures of warfare, designed to prevent weapons and war-making supplies entering the territory of forces with whom a country is at war. Americans know only too well this fact from the decades-long economic embargo of Cuba, with which the U.S. is not presently at war. Some have claimed that it is illegal to intercept ships on the high seas, but that is untrue: blockading ships have often done that. Such a view would certainly be news to the U.S. when it put Cuba under a naval quarantine in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis or to the British during the 1982 Falklands War. Gaza is run by Hamas, a terrorist group seeking Israel’s destruction and the murder world-wide of Jews. Hamas has refused to recognize or make peace with Israel. It has assaulted Israel with thousands of rockets since seizing control of the territory in 2007, including over 150 rockets alone just this year. It has kidnapped an Israeli serviceman and denied him elementary rights owed to captive servicemen. It has smuggled into Gaza offensive weaponry. Commonsense and international law alike affirm a states’ right to close off delivery of weapons to a belligerent. Israel was well within its rights to search and inspect any vessel approaching Gaza, not least those run by pro-Palestinian activists seeking to assist Hamas.


The flotilla insisted on a violent confrontation: The IDF offered a commonsense, peaceable solution to the arrival of the Gaza flotilla in Gaza waters: that the flotilla dock in the nearby Israeli port of Ashdod, have its allegedly humanitarian cargo inspected and then have the cargo, if it indeed proved to be nothing else except humanitarian supplies, transferred directly to Gaza – no need for interception at sea, no need for violence, no need for loss of lives. Indeed, five of the six ships involved did not offer violence and as a result there was no violence and casualties. Had the Hamas supporters on board the sixth vessel behaved similarly, not a single person on board would have been harmed.


This was a clear and explicit offer of a peaceful and non-violent option in order to deliver the supplies to Gaza through appropriate and legal channels. It is a matter of record that the one ship packed with Hamas supporters and other pro-Palestinian thugs did resort to violence and insisted on proceeding to Gaza. Naturally, Israel intercepted the ship and inspected it – as was its right and duty to do. What should be condemned is not Israel’s intercepting and boarding of the ship, but the condemnation that has been uttered against Israel for doing so. Governments that condemn Israel for taking this legitimate and necessary action only reveal that they have a problem with a Jewish state defending itself.


The Hamas supporters assaulted the Israeli boarding party, they did not conduct themselves as humanitarian aid workers. To the contrary – they were bringing in weapons and war materials on board. Humanitarian aid workers do not do that. They assaulted Israeli personnel who rightfully and without violence boarded their ships to inspect their cargo. The Hamas supporters assaulted the Israelis with crowbars, metal rods, knives and other weapons. One Israeli was stabbed while another was seized in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to kidnap him. Moreover, the Hamas supporters seized two Israeli side-arms, which had not been drawn, and directed fire at the Israeli personnel. This ensured that violence escalated to the use of firearms. They also threw over the side an Israeli soldier. Such things simply do not happen when dealing with genuine humanitarian and workers.


Foreign media and governmental bias helps the terrorists. It is perfectly clear that the Gaza flotilla was a carefully staged operation by terrorists. Normally, such a publicity stunt would not be possible, because it is understood that a state has a right to inspect cargo on ships entering a war zone or attempting to break a blockade which is an often inevitable part of hostilities. However, because the terrorists could count on the anti-Israeli bias and hostility that exists in many sections of the media and in many governments that are afraid to risk Arab and Muslim displeasure by siding with Israel, the Hamas supporters were able to do this. In other words, the international media and foreign governments make possible this type of propaganda exercise which often leads to violence, death and injury.


“Distinguished British columnist Melanie Philips is correct when she writes in the Spectator, ‘If those media and governments refused to swallow the lies and instead called operations like this and the players behind it for what they actually are, such terrorist operations would not happen.’


“Eminent Middle East authority Barry Rubin also observes, ‘numerous Western institutions 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.”


Klein added, “Turkey should be investigated for aiding and abetting a violent maritime operation and attempted smuggling of weaponry against Israel, a country with whom it is formally at peace. The Turkish government should be made to account for its false assurance that the flotilla was weaponry-free, and why it permits a terrorist-enabler like the IHH to operate in its territory.


“The aim of the Hamas supporters on board the Gaza flotilla is not delivering food and supplies – they’re interested in making it difficult and expensive politically for Israel to maintain its blockade aimed at keeping weaponry and war materials from entering Gaza. They’re interested in making it easier for weaponry to come into Hamas hands in Gaza. They’re interested in delegitimizing Israel. These goals have nothing to do with providing humanitarian supplies to Gaza and it behooves the world not to assist them.”


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