The trusty folks at CAMERA have assembled a handy guide to the falsehoods and facts surrounding the Gaza flotilla. Some salient excerpts:
Falsehood: The purpose of the anti-Israel activists’ trip to Gaza was to deliver essential humanitarian aid to Palestinians.
Fact: Organizers of the trip have themselves made clear this isn’t true. “This mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies,” saidorganizer and anti-Israel activist Greta Berlin. Instead, she explained, it is about ending Israel’s blockade in order to allow unfettered shipments to the Hamas-ruled territory.
At any rate, Israel delivers more goods to Gaza in one week (roughly 15,000 tons) than the flotilla organizers claimed to be bringing (10,000 tons). And according to the Financial Times, “shops all over Gaza are bursting with goods” thanks to the active smuggling tunnels leading into the territory from Egypt.
Falsehood: This was a flotilla of “peace activists.”
Fact: The most prominent organizers of the flotilla have strongly backed violence. And even if some passengers thought they were involved in a peace mission, video evidence clearly shows passengers on the Mavi Marmara planning, and engaging in, brutal violence.
The two main organizers of the voyage were the Turkish Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), which has worked closely with terrorist organizations, and the Free Gaza Movement, which is strongly linked to the extremist International Solidarity Movement (ISM).
Falsehood: Naval blockades are not permitted under international law.
Falsehood: It is not permissible to stop a merchant ship, as opposed to an army ship.
Fact: According to the San Remo Manual, merchant ships violating a blockade may be stopped, or even attacked. Article 98 states: “Merchant vessels believed on reasonable grounds to be breaching a blockade may be captured. Merchant vessels which, after prior warning, clearly resist capture may be attacked.”
Falsehood: Israel violated international law when it stopped the ships in international waters.
Fact: Legal experts cited by Reuters notethat “Under the law of a blockade, intercepting a vessel could apply globally so long as a ship is bound for a ‘belligerent’ territory.”
Falsehood: Israel prevents essential humanitarian items such as baby formula from entering the Gaza Strip.
Falsehood: Israeli soldiers descended on the ship from helicopters and immediately attacked with machine guns innocent passengers sleeping on the deck.
Fact: Video footageclearly demonstrates that this is a lie. The footage, shot from different angles, shows Israeli soldiers landing on the ship being immediately and violently assaulted by gangs of passengers awaiting them on deck. The attack on the Israeli soldiers began, as retired British Marine Officer Peter Cook acknowledgedon British television, while the first Israeli soldier still had both of his hands on the rope being used to lower him onto the ship.
Cook also said the large Israeli weapon seen in video footage appeared to be a paintball gun, which corresponds with Israel’s assertion that these were the primary weapons soldiers brought onto the ship.
Falsehood: Passengers on the Mavi Marmara were engaged in “peaceful resistance,” had no weapons, and did not violently attack Israeli soldiers.
Fact: Video footage shows, among other acts of violence, a passenger stabbingan Israeli soldier, gangs of passengers pummeling soldiers with metal rods and other objects, and a soldier being thrown off a high deck.
Testimony from both Israelisoldiersand activist passengersdescribes pistols being taken from injured soldiers. The ship’s captain reportedly told Israeli soldiers that the violent passengers threw their guns overboard before the ship was completely taken over.
Jason Maoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org