There isn’t any humanitarian disaster in Gaza. There never has been, despite Hamas’s best efforts to create one. So Israel naturally assumed that the motivations of the Gaza Flotilla were less than pure. Still the Israelis went out of their way to avoid voilence. After all, most of these tools are basically on Intifada Spring Break. This is what they do. They travel to Gaza every couple years to slum it in Western-style hostels, living out their fantasies of glorious anti-Zionist resistance. And while they know that they’re not in any real danger from the IDF, it’s fun to pretend that they’re actually challenging the global Zionist war machine or whatever.
Except this time someone in the group didn’t get the memo about how this was all supposed to be play time. The fleet was told by Israel to stop lest they violate a legally-imposed blockade. They blustered back that their destination was Gaza. So they were intercepted by Israeli troops who apparently didn’t know that they were sailing into a full-on ambush. Here’s how that went down, via the multimedia liveblogging that’s going on over at The Muqata right now:
2:28 PM Updates! Channel 10 and IDF radio report that the IDF commandos were equipped with paint ball rifles to ensure minimum casualties among the flotilla terrorists — their hand guns were to be used as a means of last resort! The terrorists tried connecting the steel cables from the overhead helicopters to the boat’s antenna, in order to cause the helicopters to crash. Only when the “peace activists” severely beat the soldiers with iron rods, stab them with knives, and tried to lynch them, did the soldiers respond. IDF soldiers were pushed down stairs, thrown overboard, and shot at. Reported by Or Heller, Channel 10 TV.
Your normal anti-Israel activist – not the armed pro-Hamas terrorists who were using their fellow travelers as human shields, just your normal pathetic ISM moron – wants to have it both ways. They want to brag about “resisting” and “confronting” the IDF. They want to live the Intifada dream. But they don’t want to leave the safety of their Western passports and their Gaza hotels. They don’t want to deal with any actual consequences. They just want to pretend they did.
But back in the real world, there are consequences to running blockades and opening up on naval vessels with live fire. It’s not like melting into the crowd of a university Muslim organization and screaming anti-Jewish obscenities at Israeli envoys. The shallow thrill of being a self-styled revolutionary is the same. But the concrete circumstances are somewhat more unstable.
Which brings us full circle to the pre-packaged spin – duly amplified by a particularly excerable NYT article – that the Gaza Flotilla leaders didn’t know that their own people were armed:
The Israeli Defense Forces said more than 10 people were killed when naval personnel boarding the six ships in the aid convoy met with “live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs.” The naval forces then “employed riot dispersal means, including live fire,” the military said in a statement. “That is a lie,” said Greta Berlin, a leader of the pro-Palestinian Free Gaza Movement, speaking by telephone from Cyprus. She said it was inconceivable that the civilian passengers on board would have been “waiting up to fire on the Israeli military, with all its might. We never thought there would be any violence,” she said.
Why would frothing Arab militants want to attack the Israeli military from behind a bunch of European human shields? Because that’s who they are and that’s what they do. Why would a bunch of European human shields let them? Because they’re stupid.
* Israel in eye of storm over deadly Gaza ship raid [AFP]
* Israel Publishes Gaza Travel Guidebook For Pro-Hamas Freedom Flotilla [Mere Rhetoric]
* Breathless HuffPo Headline About Gazans Eating Grass Contradicted By Rest Of Headline, Linked Picture, Reality (Plus: Anti-Semitic Comments Ensue Anyway) [Mere Rhetoric]
* Hamas Blocks Israeli Food Shipments, Intentionally Starves Gaza Civilians To Create A Humanitarian Disaster – Again! [Mere Rhetoric]
* IDF – Navy Warns Flotilla (31 May 2010) [IsraelMFA / YouTube]
* Anti-Shalit Flotilla Updates [Muqata]
* 10 Reported Killed as Israel Raids Boats Headed to Gaza [NYT]