Op. The Gaza Flotilla and Israeli Lies

By Robert Fantina

The Gaza Flotilla, a group of three small boats attempting to break the illegal Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip, has been thwarted, as was expected. Israel Defense Force terrorists, with their heavily armed vessels, blocked and boarded the first of the small, unarmed boats, and ‘escorted’ it to an Israeli port.

It will be interesting to see the international response to this, which was clearly an act of piracy. The boat in question, the Marianne, was nearly 100 nautical miles from shore. The territorial waters of any country extend only 12 nautical miles from shore; anything beyond is considered international waters. So Israel, in detaining the Marianne, was clearly, once again, in violation of international law.

Israeli Prime Murder Benjamin Netanyahu, whose statements about Israel, Palestine and the illegal occupation become more outlandish with each passing day, made this amazing comment: “This flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies that is only assisting the Hamas terrorist organisation and ignores all of the horrors in our region.”

Let us break this remarkable statement down to its component parts and see what sense, if any, can be made from it.

• “This flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies”. The boats of the flotilla were carrying international peace activists and dignitaries, including a former president of Tunisia and a current member of the Knesset. They were completely unarmed, and were carrying only medical supplies and solar panels. Although they did not expect to successfully breach the blockade, they did intend to bring attention to it.

So where, one might reasonably ask, are the ‘hypocrisy and lies’ that are so concerning to the Prime Murderer? The blockade exists, and has for years; the 1,000,000 -plus people of Gaza are considered to be living in the largest open air prison in the world. Exposing that fact is neither hypocritical nor dishonest. Bringing aid to them, in the form of desperately-needed medical supplies and solar panels to provide electricity, also cannot be considered ‘hypocritical’ or ‘dishonest’.

• “Assisting the Hamas terrorist organization”. The United States has designated Hamas as a terrorist organization, and the European Union followed suit. But terrorism, one might say, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. Words can be so easily manipulated. It wasn’t so long ago that the U.S. claimed that it was fighting ‘insurgents’ in Iraq. These ‘insurgents’ had the temerity to defend their nation against outside invaders. Hamas, like the Iraqi ‘insurgents’, dared to fight for the people of Palestine when no one else would. But since they were opposing the interests of Israel and its main financier, the U.S., they were labeled ‘terrorists’.

And Mr. Netanyahu thinks the flotilla aids Hamas. Well, perhaps he is correct, but not in the way he intended. When one considers that Hamas is working for the freedom and basic human rights of the Palestinian people, greater international focus on the brutal and illegal blockade does, in fact, help that goal.

• “Ignores all the horrors in our region”. Mr. Netanyahu has saved the best for last. The Gaza Flotilla, rather than ignoring ‘the horrors in our region’, has, rather, cast a bright spotlight on them. The illegal blockade, combined with Egypt’s unspeakable cooperation with Israel, and Israel’s own apartheid policies, means that very little reconstruction material has entered the Gaza Strip since the Israeli bombing and invasion of the summer of 2014. Tens of thousands of people remain homeless; unemployment is the highest in the world; the area is fast exhausting its supply of potable water; electricity is a rare luxury; medical equipment is extremely limited. No, Mr. Netanyahu, the flotilla is not ignoring ‘all the horrors in our region’.

For so long, whenever anyone compared the atrocities committed by Israel against the Palestinians with those committed by Germany against the Jews, one was immediately branded anti-Semitic. This knee-jerk reaction suited the purposes of apartheid Israel, and for decades prevented, or at least limited, criticism of that apartheid regime. This writer will risk the wrath of Zionists around the world by making an even more stark comparison. Adolph Hitler, one of the world’s worst savages, whose murderous rampage Mr. Netanyahu seems determined to emulate, said this about what he termed ‘the Big Lie’: “In the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility; because the broad masses… more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and waver and will continue to think that there may be some other explanation.”

Mr. Netanyahu’s ‘big lies’ are now legion. In a sarcastic letter prepared for the participants of the Flotilla, he made this ‘big lie’: “There is no blockade of Gaza. You are welcome to transfer humanitarian aid through Israel.” These two statements are contradictory: if there is no blockade of Gaza, humanitarian aid would not need to go through Israel.

The United States has always considered itself above the law, free to bomb, annex, kill, torture, invade or destabilize at will. Yet it reacts with shock and horror when any other nation emulates it. Any other nation, that is, except its fifty-first state, Israel. Let us imagine for a moment the response from the U.S. if Palestinian naval ships (which currently don’t exist; we are just being imaginative here) boarded and redirected unarmed Israeli boats on the open sea. One would expect the U.S. Air Force to respond, bombing the Palestinian ships. A resolution would be introduced by the U.S. at the United Nations, condemning this act of piracy. Sanctions would be issued against Palestine, crippling its economy (remember, this is all fantasy; the Palestinian economy is one of the worst in the world, due to the illegal occupation). Yet one should not hold one’s breath awaiting a similar response to Israel’s actions; the U.S. is nothing if not a proponent of the double standard. After all, does Palestine have a rich and powerful U.S. lobby? Do the U.S.’s alleged ‘representatives’ rely on the largess of that lobby to purchase and repurchase their seats in Congress? Since Israel has such a lobby, it can proceed with impunity.

Or so said the old model. The international community is not quite as passive as it once was; global citizens are finally seeing Israel for what it is, and each of its crimes brings it additional criticism and further isolation. That apartheid nation continually increases its efforts to avoid international sanctions, and the tipping point will soon be reached wherein all its efforts will be in vain. When that happens, it will be a victory for justice, humanity and human rights.