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Fact Sheets: The Gaza Flotilla

(Updated June 2010)

  • Israel’s blockade of Gaza is a legal act in accordance with international law. The blockade exists to prevent Hamas from smuggling in weapons that it could use to kill Israeli civilians.
  • The Quartet insists that in order to receive aid, any Palestinian government must renounce violence, recognize Israel, and respect previous peace deals.
  • The Free Gaza Movement is a coalition of groups formed in 2008 to “break the siege of Gaza.” It demands that Israel withdraw all military presence “occupied since June 5, 1967.” The organization views the birth of Israel as a “catastrophe” that caused the “overwhelming majority of Palestinians” to be “forcibly evicted from their ancestral homeland.” They also demand the right of return for all Palestinian refugees since 1948. The organization has ties to radical Islamic movements over the world, its largest donor being the Malaysian-based Perdana Global Peace Organization. The organization has ties to radical Islamic movements over the world, its largest donor being the Malaysian-based Perdana Global Peace Organization (Discover The Networks).
  • The “peace activists” associated with the blockade runners have not spoken out against Hamas terror against Israel or the denial of human rights to Palestinians by Hamas officials in charge of the Gaza Strip.
  • The “peace activists” have not called for any sanctions on Hamas or demanded the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas in 2006.
  • The flotilla that intentionally provoked a confrontation at sea was organized by IHH (Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation), an Islamic group which has ties to Hamas and has publicly supported Al-Qaeda.
  • The flotilla was repeatedly warned not to approach Gaza and to sail to Ashdod where humanitarian supplies could be off-loaded and sent by truck to Gaza.
  • Spokespeople for the flotilla, as well as Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, said the purpose of the flotilla was to break the blockade of Gaza. Delivering humanitarian aid to Gazans was not the purpose of this mission and Hamas ultimately refused to accept the supplies.
  • IHH members stated that this mission was like an “Islamic raid or conquest” and they planned to reach Gaza or die trying (MEMRI).
  • Israeli forces intercepted the blockade runners in international waters, an action permitted under international law.
  • Five of the six ships allowed Israeli forces to board without any violent resistance and their ships arrived safely in Ashdod. No one was injured on these ships.
  • When Israeli naval forces boarded the sixth ship, the Mavi Marmara, they were savagely attacked by men who were subsequently described as Turkish mercenaries wielding bats, iron bars, knives and other weapons.
  • Israeli commandos had brought paintball guns anticipating only passive resistance; it was only when soldiers were beaten, stabbed and shot that they responded with live fire (Jerusalem Post, June 7, 2010).
  • Fifty of the passengers of the Mavi Marmara were found to have connections to global, Islamic terrorist organizations. Among these passengers were men who refused to identify themselves and carried no identification. They did, however, have envelopes filled with thousands of dollars and were equipped with bullet-proof vests, night vision goggles and gas masks (Jerusalem Post, June 4, and June 5, 2010).
  • Following the flotilla incident, Egypt has blocked aid passing through its border, refusing to allow a group of Arab physicians from entering Gaza with aid. (Jerusalem Post, June 7, 2010).
  • Another ship attempted to run the blockade after the confrontation at sea, but this one also did not resist the Israeli boarding party and was safely directed to Ashdod where its cargo was offloaded and permitted to be delivered to Gaza.
  • Israel continues to deliver 15,000 tons of humanitarian supplies to Gaza every week.
  • No one who favors Middle East peace can reasonably support the removal of the naval blockade of Gaza. The blockade prevents a massive the smuggling of weapons and what would certainly include medium-range missiles, to Hamas, an known terrorist organization that is allied with Iran. The blockade prevents Gaza from becoming southern Lebanon, run by Hizbollah with its vast supply of Iranian and Syrian-provided weapons (Washington Post, June 8, 2010).
  • Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair said there was no need for aid flotillas and that people should utilize the legitimate existing land crossings, where Israel is lifting restrictions on civilian goods. (Jerusalem Post)