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Anav Silverman

Why Gaza aid flotilla was a media success

By Anav Silverman , Special Correspondent, Sderot Media Center,

It was exactly the kind of coverage that pro-Palestinian activists behind the Gaza aid flotilla were aiming for: "Deaths as Israeli forces storm Gaza aid ship." Associated Press, BBC, Fox News, CNN and countless other media outlets across the world and even in Israel, carried such headlines, reporting the ensuing diplomatic crisis and worldwide condemnation that quickly followed. 

Not surprisingly, this typical knee-jerk reaction by the media and international community to such Mideast confrontations, failed to report the outside circumstances that lead to the unfolding events at sea.

First, allowing the illegal flotilla to reach Hamas would have opened another corridor of weapons smuggling into Gaza, a strategy already in full operation thanks to the tunnel infrastructure between Gaza and Egypt where arms, many originating from Iran, are smuggled through intensively.

Under international law, Israel has taken measures to defend its civilians from Hamas terrorism by placing a maritime blockade off the coast of Gaza to prevent such arms smuggling to Palestinian terror groups by sea route. Indeed, the term 'peace-activists' which was used to describe those on board the Gaza aid flotilla fleet, was a strategic guise for those planning to employ violence against the Israeli soldiers once the fleet was stopped.
Similar to Hamas's mode of human shield tactics, where terrorists will fire against Israeli troops while hiding among women, children, and civilian populated areas, the pro-Palestinian protesters also brought along small children on the boats.

The director of the Turkish Humanitarian Aid Foundation sponsoring the flotilla (IHH), Bulent Yildirim, held a one-year-old infant in his arms, as a "message" to Israelis on Sunday May 30 during television interviews that he gave on board the Mavi Marmara, the vessel on which the violence and bloodshed broke out a few hours later.

The weapons found on board, as well as the knives, handguns and metal bars that were used by violent, masked pro-Palestinian activists against IDF soldiers during the takeover, further indicated that the flotilla initiative had a far more violent purpose than originally portrayed in media reports or by the fleet organizers. As one IDF officer reported "It was like a well-planned lynch. These people were anything but peace activists." [Video footage of soldiers being attacked by Mavi Marmara ship passengers: ]

Turkey, the country that led the flotilla, has shown absolutely no interest in continuing peaceful relations with Israel in the past year, resorting to hostile rhetoric and policies against the Jewish state. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, the leader of the neo-Islamist AKP party responsible for the prevalent growth of radical Islam in Turkey today, barred Israel from annual military exercises on Turkey's soil last year, while signing a military contract with Syria.

Turkey also announced that it would not join any sanctions aimed at preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and has warmly welcomed Iranian president Ahmadinejad to the capital, Ankara in the past. According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Hamas regards Turkey as a target audience for its propaganda work. The IHH actively supports Hamas, the terrorist organization responsible for 40% of suicide bombings attack against Israelis and the firing of thousands of rockets against Israeli civilians living in communities along the Gaza border including the cities, Sderot and Ashkelon.

In January 2009, IHH head, Bulent Yildirim met with Khaled Mashaal, chairman of Hamas' political bureau in Damascus, where the Hamas leader thanked Yildirim for his support. The IHH, which also has links to Al-Qaeda and global jihad operatives, has organized public support conferences for Hamas in Turkey, since Hamas took over the Gaza Strip in 2006 and has even opened a branch in Gaza.

The success of the Gaza aid flotilla was by no means a coincidence or mere luck. It was a well planned operation that generated more legitimization for hatred against Israel and support for the terrorist stronghold of Hamas in Gaza. Indeed at the rate in which the international media and world community continues to promote the pro-Palestinian narrative, as represented by Gaza, the Middle East reality will follow the version set forth by Hamas, Iran and Turkey. Hamas will soon be regarded, if not already, a legitimate democratic government, while Israel simultaneously, is twisted into a terrorist state.

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