Mavi Marmara Crew Not Peaceful Activists After All



image I admitted that I jumped the gun in my response to the Israeli Naval Commandos boarding the Mavi Marmara one of six ships that was part of the “Freedom Flotilla” that was going to try to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip.  In the process 16 of the crew were shot and killed which brought international criticism.

I think the media coverage we’ve seen so far has been pretty one sided.  They have portrayed this crew as being peaceful activists.  A video just released of the boarding shows a different picture.


This video coupled with the facts I think tell quite a different story.

  • This group was warned that their ships were going to be boarded and searched if they tried to run the blockade.
  • They were given the opportunity to deliver humanitarian supplies to an Israeli port in order for it to be sent to Gaza.
  • Israel is in armed conflict with Palestinian Authority Hamas, and as a result had the right to blockade Gaza and to enforce that blockade.
  • Thereby they had the legal right to board ships in international water under current international maritime law.
  • The crew of the Mavi Marmara clearly attacked the commandos as they were boarding the ship first.  It isn’t like the commandos lined up the crew and shot them while they were unarmed.  The commandos do have a right to defend themselves while being attacked.
  • This flotilla was being backed by a terror finance organization – The Turkish IHH (Islan Haklary Ve Hurriyetleri Vakfi in Turkish) which would certainly be a red flag to Israeli intelligence

They knew full well they were not going to reach Gaza.  Ralph Peters in a New York Post op/ed today pointed out the flotilla’s ulterior motives and Turkey’s role in all of this.

Yesterday’s "aid convoy" incident off the coast of Gaza wasn’t about bringing humanitarian supplies to the terrorist-ruled territory. It wasn’t even about Israel.

It was about Turkey’s determination to position itself as the leading Muslim state in the Middle East.

Three ships of that six-ship pro-terror convoy flew Turkish flags and were crowded with Turkish citizens. The Ankara government — led by Islamists these days — sponsored the "aid" operation in a move to position itself as the new champion of the Palestinians.

And Turkish decision-makers knew Israel would have to react — and were waiting to exploit the inevitable clash. The provocation was as cynical as it was carefully orchestrated.

He then points out the video that was shot…

The lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, just happened to have an al-Jazeera TV crew on board to film Israel’s response. Ironically, the early videos would’ve been counterproductive, had world leaders and journalists not been programmed to blame everything on Israel.

Those videos showed Israeli commandos rappelling onto the ship with both hands on the rope (making it rather hard to use a weapon), yet activists claimed the Israelis opened fire as they descended.

Purely by coincidence, dozens of "peace activists" waited with sharpened iron bars, clubs, slingshots — and rifles. Of course, the nine dead in the melee were all Israel’s victims.

The first wave of Israeli commandos reportedly were armed only with paintball rounds for crowd control. Inspect those videos of maddened peaceniks assaulting the soldiers as they landed on deck. You don’t see any Israelis pointing rifles — they’re fending off blows.

But the claims of pro-terrorist "peace advocates" are given instant credence.

I think the world has been duped, and at second glance I believe the blame lies with IHH and the crew of the Mavi Marmara.  I don’t think Israel is perfect by any stretch of the imagination, and like I said before my support for them is not blind.  The facts speak for themselves.  Had the flotilla heeded Israel’s warning no one would be dead.  Had they truly responded in a peaceful manner to Israel’s lawful boarding – no one would be dead.

But I know it’s fashionable to just blame Israel, but we shouldn’t ignore the facts (and video evidence) before reaching a conclusion.

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  • Paul

    So, these activists responded to being invaded by the Israeli army by hitting the soldiers with clubs and so Israel is correct in killing 9 of them? This is the activists’ fault? Sure it would have been smarter to not attack the men with guns and helicopters, but I don’t understand how you can look at 9 dead civilians and 0 dead soldiers and conclude that the civilians were somehow in the wrong here.

    • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?author=2 Shane Vander Hart

      Paul, they also had knives and guns, so it wasn’t just the clubs. Israeli soldiers were also wounded.

      Had they not resisted and allowed the Israelis to do what they warned they were going to do it wouldn’t have happened. They stopped five other ships without incident.

      My point is that this group isn’t a bunch of peaceniks like they are being portrayed.

    • http://www.ericgoranson.com Eric Goranson

      The Israeli soldier initially attacked and thrown overboard now has brain damage. The violence started with the ship’s crew and was brutal.

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  • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?author=20 Dustin Krutsinger

    I have updated my article to reflect some of the new information.

    I still have some issues with some of the facts laid out in your article. Although Israel is in a declared conflict with the Palestinian Authority, they are not in a declared war with Turkey, under whose authority(flag) the ships were sailing under. Therefor the law cited does not apply in this situation. Being in AN armed conflict does not give a country the right to board ANY ship in international water. Had they waited until they were in Israeli water, it would be a different situation, but they did not.

    The video clearly shows that the soldiers were being attacked as they came off the ropes. But characterizing this as the first act of aggression is not consistent with the facts. I would argue that a ship, legally sailing within International waters, outside of Israeli authority has the right to be left alone. Unlawfully being boarded by soldiers with weapons in the middle of the night in international waters is the first act of aggression. Therefor I would claim that the people on board were the ones in the defensive position and therefor the ones acting in self defense.

    I think this guys says it pretty well: http://porterspeakmanjr.com/2010/06/01/response-to-the-idf-videos/ “Most people would understand self defense in such a way if this happened elsewhere. If Iranians did this to Americans or Israelis civilians on a humanitarian mission the passengers would be considered heroes for defending themselves with poles and plastic chairs, etc.”
    .-= Dustin Krutsinger´s last blog ..16 Killed as Israeli Commandos Raid Humanitarian Aid Ship =-.

    • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?author=2 Shane Vander Hart

      They were trying to run a blockade, which is actually illegal under maritime law. The Israelis made provisions for humanitarian aid to reach Gaza.

      • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?author=20 Dustin Krutsinger

        It could have been political posturing, I don’t think they had the right to act until they were in Israeli waters, which would be violating the blockade. Saying your going to cross a line is not the same as crossing it. Once the ships cross into Israeli water, that is when they would have been in violation and subject to boarding.

        Israel did offer to take the aid, but they were bringing things that Israel would not allow in, specifically prefabricated homes, cement and water purification systems, all things that are needed in Gaza, but would not be allowed to enter.
        .-= Dustin Krutsinger´s last blog ..16 Killed as Israeli Commandos Raid Humanitarian Aid Ship =-.

      • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?author=2 Shane Vander Hart

        The point I’ve seen made re. Israeli waters is that the ships were never headed to Israel, they were headed to the Palestinian Authority.

      • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?author=20 Dustin Krutsinger

        That is certainly a point to consider. I was under the understanding that Gaza was still considered Israeli land, but I could be way off.
        .-= Dustin Krutsinger´s last blog ..16 Killed as Israeli Commandos Raid Humanitarian Aid Ship =-.

      • http://www.hoshuha.com/blog/ Casey

        In fact, Israel offered to let them anchor at an Israeli port, and if everything checked out, then they would have been permitted to carry the stuff untouched straight from there to Gaza. This whole thing was orchestrated to provoke Israel. There was no other reason for them to do this.
        .-= Casey´s last blog ..Anthropic global warming theory = junk science =-.

      • philw

        Provisions for limited, restricted and wholly inadequate aid…………………
        A band aid for a hemorrhage ………….
        Give us a break.

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  • peter42y

    There is the need to get some facts straight. You wrote : ” Israel is in armed conflict with the Palestinian Authority, and as a result had the right to blockade Gaza and to enforce that blockade.”.
    There is a big mess here. One thing is the palestinian authority that runs the west bank. Another thing is hamas that runs Gaza. Hamas and Fatah ( Palestinian Authority main party ) , clash back in 2007 in Gaza and Hamas took power.
    Hamas and palestinian authority are not the same thing.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_National_Authority

    Get the facts right.

    Israel is not in a state of war with the PA. Israel is in a state of war with Hamas , that runs Gaza.
    Was the boarding of ships legal? Experts have diferent opinions.
    Yesterday there was interesting article in the washington post about it.

    • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?author=2 Shane Vander Hart

      You are a right, it is Hamas, not the PA. Thank you for the correction.

  • Barry

    Who ever ever wrote this article is 100 pct a zionist jew or employed by 1. Even if this video isnt dubbed and its true BRAVO to them for trying to protect themselves. If it were me there and a boat im on was attacked in INTERNATIONAL WATERS I would of done the same or more to the pirates.

    • http://caffeinatedthoughts.com/?author=2 Shane Vander Hart

      I wrote the article and I’m neither. Well, you’d be in violation of international maritime law. They had a right to board the boat since they were warned in advance and they were trying to run a legal blockade.

      It is tragic that there was a loss of life, but in the end what did resistance get them? Israeli Naval Forces are not pirates.

      • http://sailorette.blogspot.com Foxfier

        Golly, Shane, you don’t look Jewish.

        /lol
        .-= Foxfier´s last blog ..A Few Thoughts =-.

  • http://www.ericgoranson.com Eric Goranson

    Good article, Shane. This isn’t the first time the world has been duped by an irrational hatred of Israel.

  • the world is waking up

    It is interesting to see how desperate Israeli apologists are becoming. You are either paid or just misguided.

    Israeli soldiers invaded these ships in international waters, breaking international law, and, in killing civilians, committed a war crime. The counter-claim by Israeli commanders that their soldiers responded to an imminent “lynch” by civilians should be dismissed with the loud contempt it deserves.

    The Israeli government approved the boarding of these aid ships by an elite unit of commandoes. They were armed with automatic weapons to pacify the civilians onboard, but not with crowd dispersal equipment in case of resistance. Whatever the circumstances of the confrontation, Israel must be held responsible for sending in soldiers and recklessly endangering the lives of all the civilians onboard, including a baby.

    Israel has no right to control Gaza’s sea as its own territorial waters and to stop aid convoys arriving that way. In doing so, it proves that it is still in belligerent occupation of the enclave and its 1.5 million inhabitants. And if it is occupying Gaza, then under international law Israel is responsible for the welfare of the Strip’s inhabitants. Given that the blockade has put Palestinians there on a starvation diet for the past four years, Israel should long ago have been in the dock for committing a crime against humanity.

    The world has condemned the blockade and the UN security council has called for its dismantling. The supplies do not get to Gaza in their entirety when passed on to the hands of Israel for delivery. This was a message to anyone else thinking of attempting to deliver much needed supplies to Gaza- they wanted casualties and knew they would get away with it because of their impunity.

    Your logic is at a Kindergarten level at best when you say “Had they truly responded in a peaceful manner to Israel’s lawful boarding – no one would be dead.” This is ridiculous and is consistent with Israel’s philosophy of always blaming the victim. I suggest if you or your family is ever violated and your property is illegally entered in the dark of night by armed gunmen may i suggest you peacefully allow them to go about their business whatever it may be, perhaps they would like to make a cup of coffee or dismember your son or maybe rape your wife or just put their feet up and watch TV for a while. If you put up any resistance to defend your property or your family and someone gets killed or injured then you will be at fault. We should all just passively allow acts of aggression to be committed against us without a fight- makes sense because by defending our freedom and rights we will be terrorists- peaceful people don’t defend themselves.

    The passengers were hero’s for putting up a fight. I salute anyone who stands up to Israel’s bullying.

    May i suggest you stop wasting your time with your feeble and futile propaganda- it is too late now. Israel went too far this time and in the process shot themselves in the foot. You are on a sinking ship- give it up and grab a life jacket- it’s over. The world is awake- you are only exposing yourself as having weak morals, being easily bought or just being terribly ignorant.

    • http://www.hoshuha.com/blog/ Casey

      Only in this case, the family sitting peacefully at home is actually providing weapons/weapon-building materials to the invader’s enemies and thus contributing to the deaths of the invader’s family.

  • http://www.ashokkarra.com ashok

    Yeah, after the videos – which show the stun grenades and firebombs the activists had, as well as their attempts to lynch Israeli soldiers – the only question left for me is how fast so many people jumped the gun and assumed Israel is the worst state ever.

    I’m firmly on Israel’s side on this one, and seriously doubt the credibility of anyone who isn’t (there is one exception to this rule, but I’m sure that person will change his mind).
    .-= ashok´s last blog ..Abraham Lincoln, “Letter to Ephraim D. and Phoebe Ellsworth” =-.