In recent years, anti-Israel extremists and jihadists have taken to the sea and sky in organized attempts to illegally enter Hamas-controlled Gaza.
Flotillas are a group of boats which set sail for Gaza intended to violate Israel’s naval blockade and maritime borders, while Flytillas are unified attempts to stage a mass fly-in to Israel’s major airport in protest of Israel’s settlement policies.
The implications of these coordinated anti-Israel efforts however are solely intended to delegitimize the Jewish state of Israel. Find out the facts below.
What is the Gaza Flotilla?
- The Gaza Flotilla is a convoy of ships that seek to violate Israel’s maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip. The ships and participants come from various countries. Recent attempts to broach Israel’s borders in such a capacity occurred during the summers of 2010 and 2011, including a boat from the United States calculatedly called the “Audacity of Hope.”
Who is behind the Gaza Flotilla?
- A number of organizations are responsible, all of which have strong anti-Israel positions and political agendas, including the “Free Gaza” movement, the Palestinian Solidarity Movement and Code Pink.
- The Turkish NGO Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH) continues to support the flotilla.
What are the motivations of Flotilla organizers?
- Flotilla organizers are looking to make headlines and provoke a confrontation with Israel, more than they are interested in actually providing aid to the residents of Gaza. This is highlighted by the fact that the Egyptian government reopened its Rafah border crossing with Gaza and humanitarian shipments, such as the “Miles of Smiles” project, can enter Gaza without difficulty. Moreover, the boats which are purported to be bringing in supplies are oftentimes not carrying any supplies for delivery to Gaza.
- Also while there is considerable poverty in Gaza, it is largely the result of Hamas’ extremist policies and actions which has led to its international isolation. According to the Deputy of the Red Cross in Gaza, “there is no humanitarian crisis.”
- Furthermore, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has stated that the flotilla and is neither “necessary” or “helpful.” Similarly, the U.S. Department of State has already spoken out about attempts to break the Israeli maritime blockade of Gaza, labeling it “provocative” and “irresponsible.” U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has also called on organizers to not send flotillas, but rather, to use established channels to transport humanitarian assistance. The Turkish Foreign Minister has also called on organizers to hold off on their plans.
Is Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza legal and justified?
- Israel’s effort to examine the cargos on these ships is completely legal under international maritime law. In light of the thousands of rockets fired from Gaza in recent years on Sderot and other vulnerable Israeli communities along with the continuing attempts by the Iranian regime to smuggle weapons to Hamas, Israel’s actions to defend the security of its citizens are understandable. Americans would expect the same of their government if ships from hostile sources were headed near our shores.
- The Israeli Government has repeatedly said it is willing to transport all genuine humanitarian aid to Gaza, but the flotilla organizers refuse to cooperate. Israel also allows for the transportation of construction material to institutions that will not divert it for violent purposes, such as UNRWA?
What is a Flytilla?
- A flytilla is an organized attempt by several hundred Palestinian activists to arrive simultaneously at Israel’s Ben Gurion airport in the hopes of challenging Israeli policies on the occupied territories.
What is the goal of a Flytilla?
- The goal of this campaign – similar that of the Gaza flotillas – is to generate intensive negative media coverage of Israel through provocation. Organizers are looking to make headlines and provoke a confrontation with Israel more than they are interested in actually resolving the conflict. This is highlighted by their repeated statements calling for a “one state solution,” which denies any legitimacy to the state of Israel.
- These types of campaigns only escalate tensions in the region and set back efforts towards coexistence and a peaceful resolution to the conflict that would create a Jewish state of Israel alongside an independent state of Palestine. This “two state” solution has been endorsed and is supported by the United States, the European Union, the United Nations as well as the Israeli government.
Is a Flytilla effective for peace?
- Simply put, no. The best way to safeguard the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians is helping them move towards a negotiated solution. This campaign simply attempts to assign all blame for the current situation to Israel in order to isolate it from the family of nations.