I thought this might help quell the fevered imaginations of the pro-Hamas community….always good to review facts, right?
1. A state of armed conflict exists between Israel and the Hamas regime controlling Gaza. The Hamas terrorists have launched over 12,000 rockets against Israeli civilians, and is presently smuggling in Iranian arms and military supplies into Gaza, by land and sea, in order to fortify its positions and continue its attacks.
2. Under international law, Israel has the right to protect the lives of its civilians from Hamas attacks, and, consequently, has undertaken measures to defend itself, including the imposition of a maritime blockade to curb Hamas rearmament. Under international maritime law, when a maritime blockade is in effect, no vessels can enter the blockaded area.
3. In line with Israel’s obligations under international law, the ships participating in the protest flotilla were warned repeatedly that a maritime blockade is in effect off the coast of Gaza and were given due notice of its exact coordinates.
4. Israel repeatedly offered the flotilla organizers to land in the port of Ashdod, and to transfer their aid to Gaza through the existing overland crossings, in accordance with established procedures. Thousands of tons of humanitarian supplies are allowed in by Israel through the land crossings. The flotilla organizers rejected this offer, stating clearly that “this mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies, it’s about breaking Israel’s siege.” (Greta Berlin, AFP, 27May10).
5. While the organizers claim to have humanitarian concern for the residents of Gaza they did not have similar concerns for the fate of the abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and when asked, refused to even make a public call to allow him to be visited by the Red Cross. Shalit has languished in a Gazan dungeon for over three years.
6. When it became clear that the protest flotilla intended to violate the blockade despite repeated warnings, Israeli Naval personnel boarded the vessels of the flotilla, and redirected them to Ashdod.
7. Given the large number of vessels participating in the flotilla, there was an operational need to undertake measures to enforce the blockade a certain distance from the area of the blockade.
8. The intention of the flotilla participants to resist Israeli Naval personnel was made clear in numerous television interviews on 30 May given by the head of the IHH, Bulent Yildirim on board the Mavi Marmara (as he held a year-old infant in his arms, in what he called a “message” to any Israelis planning to act against the flotilla).
9. The Israeli Navy was met with violent opposition, two pistols were found in the hands of protesters, and over a dozen Israeli personnel were hospitalized, some in critical condition. The Navy described being met by a “lynching” party.
9. In Ashdod, the flotilla’s cargo will be off-loaded and the humanitarian items will be transferred overland to Gaza in accordance with standard operating procedures. The participants of the flotilla will be subjected to immigration procedures applicable in cases of attempted illegal entry