The flotilla is certainly not the humanitarian mission that some of its propagandists would have us believe. There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Recognizing that the humanitarian fiction is being exposed, the activist Palestinian lawyer Huwaida Arraf tried to change the subject. She admitted to a press conference that the flotilla is not about humanitarian aid after all. It is intended to support Palestinians’ demand for “liberation.”
Even Jamal El-Khoudary, chairman of the board of the Islamic University in Gaza who has led Gaza’s Popular Committee Against the Siege, conceded that the siege on goods is now mostly over. The flotilla participants and supporters know they can get whatever true humanitarian aid they wish to provide to the Gazan people delivered to them through internationally recognized channels.
As reported by The New York Times on June 25th:
For the past year, Israel has allowed most everything into Gaza but cement, steel and other construction material — other than for internationally supervised projects — because they are worried that such supplies can be used by Hamas for bunkers and bombs.
Humanitarian and consumer goods enter Gaza on a daily basis. The Israeli Defense Force itself transports to Gaza 5800 tons of goods a day, roughly double what the flotilla claims to be bringing.
Considering Hamas’s use of Gaza to launch more than 10,000 rockets into Israeli civilian populations, Hamas’s ongoing state of armed conflict against Israel (which it has vowed to destroy), and its blatant attempts to smuggle in arms by land and sea, Israel is fully entitled under international law to protect its citizens by inspecting goods entering Gaza to prevent weapons from reaching Hamas. This is the purpose of the naval blockade. Ships’ cargo is inspected and can be delivered to bona fide recipients in Gaza once it is determined that no arms and materials for military use are included. Regardless of the security risks, Israel has made sure that the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza continue to be met.
According to the Times, “health conditions remain better than across much of the developing world.” Unemployment is down and there has been a building boom in Gaza, as the Times goes on to describe:
Two luxury hotels are opening in Gaza this month. Thousands of new cars are plying the roads. A second shopping mall — with escalators imported from Israel — will open next month. Hundreds of homes and two dozen schools are about to go up. A Hamas-run farm where Jewish settlements once stood is producing enough fruit that Israeli imports are tapering off.
Serious problems persist in Gaza, to be sure. But they are largely of Hamas’s own making, as it focuses more on planning and launching attacks against Israel than taking care of its own people. The flotilla is nothing more than a propaganda diversion from that hard truth.
Joseph Klein is the author of a recent book entitled Lethal Engagement: Barack Hussein Obama, the United Nations and Radical Islam.
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