We wrote yesterday about the six-ship flotilla of left-wing “peace activists” who were trying to end the Israeli/Egyptian blockade of Gaza. Israeli officials said that the ships would be taken to an Israeli port and that food, medical supplies and so on would be delivered to Gaza by a land route. But that isn’t what the activists wanted; their interest wasn’t in supplying Gaza, which is easily done, but in provoking a confrontation for propaganda purposes.
Last night they got their wish. When Israeli soldiers boarded the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara–this is the one on which the video we posted yesterday was taken–they were attacked with clubs and iron bars, and may have been shot at. The most coherent account I’ve seen is in Haaretz. The upshot was that the Israeli troops were authorized to fire in self-defense, and at least ten left-wing activists, mostly or entirely Turks, were killed. A number of activists and soldiers were also injured. This video shows some of what happened aboard the Mavi Marmara:
The incident is being portrayed in the Arab press as an unprovoked attack by the soldiers. As usual, the flaw in this theory is that if the soldiers had set out to massacre the activists, they would have done a better job of it. Violence occurred on only one of the six ships, because only on that ship was it instigated by the pro-Palestinian activists. But that won’t stop the incident from triggering another round of world-wide Israel-bashing.
SCOTT adds: Readers interested in other good accounts of the incident should check out Ron Ben-Yishai’s Ynet News article “A brutal ambush at sea” and this IDF video update. Omri Ceren has more here.
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