Newsletter subscribe

Disputed Territories, Human Rights / Humanitarian Aid

The Gaza Flotilla: Review and Roundup

Posted: June 2, 2010 at 2:07 pm   /   by   /   comments (16)

On Monday, the “Freedom Flotilla” was on its way to the Gaza Strip with several boats.  The vessels, flying the flags of the United States, Turkey, Greece, Comoros, Sweden, and Kiribati, set sail toward the Gaza Strip despite warnings by the Israeli military.  An Irish ship and second American ship were unable to sail due to mechanical issues.

The ships held 663 people from 37 countries.  They claimed that their goal was to bring humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.  However, even leaders and participants admit that their primary goal was to bring media coverage to their attempts to break Israel’s naval blockade on Gaza.  Gaza, which is controlled by Hamas terrorists, is a hotbed for attacks against Israel.

As the lead ship, the Mava Marmara, moved closer to the Gaza Strip, the Israeli Defense Forces ordered the ship to stop at 11:00pm local time on May 30th.  The six ships were told to divert to the Israeli port of Ashdod, where the supplies on the ships would be inspected and delivered into Gaza.  The Mava Marmara, a Turkish ship, continued forward anyway.

The Israeli Navy gave the following message to the captain of the Mava Marmara, a civilian cruise ship, not a supply ship:

Mavi Marmara, you are approaching an area of hostilities which is under a naval blockade. The Gaza area coastal region and Gaza harbor are closed to all maritime traffic. The Israeli government supports delivery of humanitarian supplies to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip, and invites you to enter the Ashdod port. Delivery of the supplies in accordance with the authorities’ regulations will be through the formal land crossings and under your observation, after which you can return to your home ports aboard the vessels on which you arrived.”

The Mava Marmara replied negatively and continued on its course.  At 4:00am local time on May 31st, members of Shayetet 13, an elite naval commando brigade, boarded the ship.  They repelled from a helicopter armed with paintball guns as a primary weapon.  Each also held a handgun.

As the Israelis boarded the ship, they were violently attacked.  The attack was not physically provoked.  Several videos have been released showing the brutal attacks against the Israeli soldiers.

This video, thanks to Elder of Zyion, shows the activists lining up to beat a soldier as he lands on the deck of the ship.

This video, also thanks to the Elder, shows the “peaceful activists” stabbing the soldiers.

This video is the most descriptive of the bunch.  My friend Aylee shared this on Facebook.

It does not take a military analyst to see what happened.  The passengers of the Turkish ship were not there for peaceful purposes.  They were there to break the blockade and were fully prepared to violently attack anyone who tried to stop them.

Many countries and organizations have made huge accusations and demands because of Israel’s “attack” on the “peaceful” ships.  However, Israel had every right and responsibility to take action against the activists.  David at Treppenwitz did research into the entire blockade, and it is legal:

Actually, in technical/legal terms, it is not a blockade per se since although Israel handed over all of Gaza to the Palestinian Authority in 2005, we retained control of the airspace and borders (including both land and sea borders).  [Note: This, not incidentally, is one of the reasons that our claims of no longer occupying Gaza are relatively weak.]  But if we never relinquished control of the borders and airspace, is it legally a blockade?  Not really. The result is the same (at least as far as Hamas is concerned), but blockading our own coast is not the same as if we were blockading another sovereign state.

While there are many countries around the world who do not support the so-called blockade of Gaza, few except NGOs and ‘interested parties’ use the term ‘illegal’ to describe it.

Essentially, the terrorists and terrorist supporters on the ship did exactly what they intended to do.  They brought Israel under international scrutiny for enforcing a blockade on ship traffic into Gaza.  Israel quickly turned over the goods to the people of Gaza, but even Hamas did not accept it.

So what can Israel do now?  It has released the cargo into Gaza.  It has deported, rather than prosecute, the violent offenders.  Israel is playing diplomatic catch up to fix what has gone wrong.  It is specifically trying to mend damaged ties with Turkey, a key Muslim ally.

But even Michael Moore’s website says exactly what needs to be said: “Israel has vowed to prevent the ships from docking in Gaza, offering instead to send the aid through its own crossings after carrying-out security checks.”  Israeli forces were not out for blood.  They were not out for violence.  They were not carrying machine guns.  They were attacked by terrorist supporters and defended themselves.  Unfortunately, some of the attackers were killed in the process.


Navy Commandos: “Ship Activists Came for War” – Jerusalem Post

Special Report: A Brutal Ambush at Sea – YNet

Flotilla Incident Complicates Relations with U.S. – Washington Post

U.S. on Israel: “We’re the Only Ones Who Believe Them” – Politico

The Maritime Blockade of Gaza – Legal Background – Israel Foreign Ministry

Gaza Flotilla Docks in Ashdod – Ha’aretz

Flotilla Lynchers Have Ties to Global Jihad - YNet

Turkish Funds Helped Group Test Blockade of Gaza – New York Times

The Terror Finance Flotilla – Weekly Standard

Netanyahu: Blockade of Gaza Still Necessary – Ha’aretz

If you enjoyed this post, please consider signing up for free updates by e-mail or RSS.  You can also follow on Twitter or Facebook. Come back often.

The following two tabs change content below.
Eric is the founder and editor of He has been to Israel many times including a semester at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the former president of the Israel advocacy group at the University of Colorado and teaches about Israel and the Media at a local religious school.

Comments (16)

comments ( 16 )

  • June 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm Steven

    Good work.

    Here is another video you may not have seen:

    Please keep a backup of these videos by downloading them.

    You can find some good free software for this purpose here:

    • June 2, 2010 at 3:35 pm Eric

      Thanks for sharing that video Steven. It looks like all of the evidence continues to prove my point.

  • June 2, 2010 at 10:08 pm b

    Assuming Obama saw these videos and had access to additional info, why did he support the UN condemnation? Is he anti-Israeli, a Muslim appeaser, or simply naive or in over his head?

  • June 3, 2010 at 6:10 am Johan

    Good work. Fantastic restraint. Humanitarian aid? Hah!

  • June 3, 2010 at 10:34 am damian houlihan

    as an irish guy,im fed up with the irish government demanding that israel does wat they ar told,my government couldnt lead a camel to water,never mind lead a country,,as a supporter of israel,i stand by the actions of the israeli army,they ar only doing their job,protecting israel and the jewish nation,thoses on the rachel corrie ,the irish ship,it should be there on friday,i hope they get wat they deserve ,for wat they are doing tresspassing and provoking the israeli government and the jewish people ,these people dont deserve respect ,lock them up and teach them a lesson

    • June 3, 2010 at 8:49 pm Eric

      Israel needs a few more good supporters like you Damian. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • June 3, 2010 at 12:27 pm lolipop

    if u dont attack first by toy gun they will not counter

    • June 3, 2010 at 8:49 pm Eric

      I don’t know what you mean lolipop. Israel did not attack first by any definition. Did you watch the videos? That is evidence of who attacked first.

      • June 4, 2010 at 10:54 am lolipop

        stabing is just distraction of fact … you know israel goverment say 9 is dead but the truth is 19 dead in ship ….

        • June 4, 2010 at 11:06 am Eric

          Can you provide two reliable sources that verify the fact?

          • June 4, 2010 at 11:23 am lolipop

            look at 0:20 soldier atack activist fisrt before one of activist friend punching the soldier using a wood rod at 0:24 n then 0:34 toy gun man atacking
            did u see cnn ?? its say israel killed 19 people but ur goverment say its 9
            maybe for israel steal is a good way to life

  • June 15, 2010 at 8:21 am Zaheer Khan

    What’s evidence you are showing, where Israel blocked the Freedom Flotilla it was the international waters not the Israeli waters and Israel is not owner of the Gaza strip, the Gaza owner is Philistinian. Whey you are blocking the freedom Flotilla. please explain it.

    • June 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm Eric

      Zaheer, Israel did approach the ships in international waters, but Israel is legally allowed to block a violent enemy at a state of war from attaining new weapons. That is exactly what they are doing, and it is within Israel’s rights to do so.

      • June 30, 2010 at 2:37 pm Habib Khan Tareen

        I think Zaheer is right, because the freedom flotilla was come from turkey to Gaza by international water route. The freedom flotilla was not touched the Israeli areas. I think Israel hijacked the Gaza by illegal way and Israel want the Gaza peoples skip this area for Israel, due to Israeli government ban all eating and drinking atoms for Gaza that they empty this strip. explain it.

        • June 30, 2010 at 3:43 pm Eric

          Israel has since allowed even more types of goods into Gaza. Israel only wants to keep its people safe, and Hamas terrorists continue to attack Israel with mortars and rockets every day.

          Israel is not hurting the people in Gaza, Hamas is. The de-facto Hamas government in Gaza is rightfully considered an enemy of Israel and commits acts of war daily. Israel’s right to defend itself is the same as every other country’s, and it has a legal right to keep a blockade around an enemy intended to keep it from gaining weapons.

Comments are closed.