The United States and Israel have called on the United Nations Security Council to take a stand against a fresh try to break the naval blockade of Gaza. The world body must do so in no uncertain terms.
Pro-Palestinian [sic], anti-Israel activists plan to set sail in May in as many as 15 ships, proclaiming that their only goal is to deliver humanitarian supplies to residents of Gaza. This is a lie.
The true aim is to provoke a confrontation that serves as a rallying point in a drive to portray Israel as an amoral, oppressive force.
Sponsors of the flotilla are happily playing with fire, as they did a year ago in sailing into the blockade under the guise of delivering medicines and the like to Gaza. In fact, some of those ships carried suicidal fighters instead of useful goods. Nine of the brigands died when Israeli commandos were forced to board and came under assault.
This reprise has the same dangerous earmarks.
Israel warned the UN that the operation "was being organized by Islamic extremist elements, among others, with the goal of creating a provocation and bringing about a flareup."
The terror band Hamas is on board, and as Israeli Ambassador Meron Reuben said, "Numerous participants engaged in the planning of this flotilla have ... express[ed] their willingness to become martyrs in this effort."
That's what some of last year's participants said before setting sail, and that's what happened.
As for humanitarian pretenses, Israel would welcome the ships to a port for inspection of cargo and trucking into Gaza. That was rejected last time by the blockade runners and will be rejected again because delivering supplies is not the point.
The US wisely sees the flotillas for the provocation that they are. Said UN Ambassador Susan Rice: "There are distinct mechanisms to deliver goods to Gaza, and there are no justifications to sail directly to Gaza."
No one of any credibility disputes that Israel's blockade is legal under international law. In coordination with Egypt, Israel barred sea-going shipments into Gaza in 2009 after years of Palestinian mortar and rocket attacks on Jewish soil.
As a board of inquiry put it:
"Israel imposed the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip for military-security reasons, which mainly concerned the need to prevent weapons, terrorists and money" from entering.
The UN has recognized the blockade's legitimacy under international law. Now, it must prevent this perilous propaganda ploy.
[Reprinted from the New York Daily News]