Flotilla Activists Thrashing without Life Raft
Pro-Hamas flotilla activists are thrashing in deep political waters without a life raft as support for their aim to break the counterterrorist maritime blockade on Gaza drifts further away.
The Quartet – comprised of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia – has torn the sails of the flotilla movement and noted Saturday that Israel’s maritime blockade reflects its "legitimate security concerns that must continue to be safeguarded.
It supported Israel’s position that anyone wanting to send aid to Gaza can use "established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via established land crossings."
The Quartet’s statement added a sting to Hamas and its supporters by calling for an end to the "deplorable five-year detention of Gilad Shalit,” who was kidnapped by terrorists in Gaza five years ago.” Activists working against Israel have not taken up the cause of the captive IDF soldier despite the refusal of Hamas to honor the Geneva Convention that requires captors to allow Red Cross visits and communication with family members.
The flotilla effort has been severely crippled by a successful Israeli diplomatic campaign that has pointed out that the activists' real aim is to cause a clash with the IDF on the high seas, similar to the violent confrontation last year aboard the IHH-terror linked Mavi Marmara ship.
The United Nations has stated several times that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and Israel has lifted the land embargo except for weapons. “Dual purpose’ materials can be shipped after examination by Israel shows that the times will be used for peaceful purposes.
Without support from most mainstream media, flotilla activists were dealt blow after blow as Turkey, and now Greece, have barred ships from heading for Gaza under suspicion that they may be violating international law.
Lloyds insurance company, after being warned of possible violations, cancelled its coverage of the flotilla boats following a warning by the Israel Law Center that it would be liable for lawsuits. Similar legal warnings were sent to suppliers of maritime communications equipment.
Despite the prohibition in Greece against sailing to Hamas-controlled Gaza, the US-flagged vessel set sail Friday and immediately was stopped by the Greek coast guard. Congressman Gary Ackerman, during a visit to Israel last week, warned that “the people who would run an international legal blockade are subject to the legal ramifications of all countries, including the United States.”
The State Department added that the flotilla may “violate U.S. civil and criminal statues” that prohibit “conspiring to deliver material support” to terrorist organizations, such as Hamas.
Even flotilla organizers are beginning to admit that their project is sinking. One organizer told the Bethlehem-based Ma'an News Agency, "Maybe it’s run its course."