The Activist Flotilla
Posted by Emile Tubiana on June 1, 2010
The Activist Flotilla
1. Nothing new with the Turks. Since the rapprochement between Turkey and Iran, the Turks seem to lose the feeling for common sense. Having Iran as their new friend, they think they can again be the masters of the Middle East as the Ottoman Empire used to be before the British chased them from the Arab territories. This is just the beginning of Turkey’s ancient dream. We should not forget that Turkey conquered the Middle East, large parts of Eastern Europe, and North Africa. These are just a few facts. The Territory of Israel was once part of ancient Palestine which later used to be under Turkish occupation. This was the time when the Turks were not under an Islamic Government.
Since Mr. Erdogan came to power through the religious party, he had a hard time accepting Israel as a ruler of the tiniest part of the former Palestine. Furthermore Israel became Turkey’s military supplier, particularly in high-tech products, such as the drones and other military hardware. For quite a while now, Mr Erdogan seems to have been looking for a discord, as I could not imagine anything else for a high ranking official who intervenes in so many minor problems. Particularly now, after Turkey’s deal with Iran concerning uranium, it looks like Mr. Erdogan is trying to please President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and Hafez al-Assad, Syria’s ruler who is already an ally of Iran. These are the facts that I am aware of.
2. Since Obama came to power, he tried to appease the Muslim countries, by apologizing, by changing the rules about the terrorists and by wanting to show that he is abandoning Israel, even while he pledged over and over again that the US commitment to Israel is unshakable. I must admit I don’t know anymore which of these commitments is for real. To be sure, it is very confusing. After estranging most of the Jewish people in regard to Israel, Obama suddenly seems to turn a new leaf on Israel while Ram Emmanuel remembered his Jewish origin and he is now in Israel for the Bar Mitzvah of his son. Everything seemed to turn upside down. These are the facts that I am aware of.
The perception of the Obama administration as wanting to promote the use of diplomatic options instead of military ones, may have given rise to conclusions by the enemies of Israel, that the time is appropriate to harass and to attack Israel with impunity. But it is wrong to underestimate the Israelis’ capabilities.
Since a few weeks we hear about the flotilla getting organized by the Turks’ initiative to break the Israeli embargo against Gaza and to show Ahmadinejad that the Turks can help him solve the problem. No one said anything about it, except the Cyprus government, which did not authorize the ships to assemble in its territorial waters. It prevented many activists and dignitaries from joining the flotilla from Cyprus. In my view, they were right not to get involved with the exiting blockade. Mr. Erdogan said the ships were carrying only humanitarian aid materials including medicine, bread, rice, pasta, under international rules. Did Mr. Erdogan not know that the activists were prepared to disobey the Israelis coast guard and to attack the Israeli soldiers who came to check the ship? The other five ships did not show any resistance and turned back. This Trojan Horse was prepared for the Israeli soldiers. Israel maintains the blockade in self defense, so that Iranian ships with missiles would not enter the Port of Gaza, which could strengthen the Hamas. This is the reason why Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Ahmadinejad were so upset about the incident with the Turkish activist ship, which was supposed to “test the waters”.
Some of these activists are paid and manipulated by fanatic governments such as Iran and Turkey. Others just go for the ride, without knowing the real agenda. The organizers of these activists should take the blame and the responsibility for any human losses and any damage which ensued from their propaganda and the provocative actions of the activists. The Israeli government should unequivocally inform the UN and any major organization about any repetitive activist adventure like this one. They should let the people know that Israel is in its right to defend any frontier for which it has the responsibility and that it will not tolerate any further adventures like this. It is regrettable that this Turkish adventure took place and resulted in dead and wounded people from many nations. It is also regrettable that the Israelis didn’t use their talent to inform the international media on time. Did Mr. Erdogan not know that the so-called humanitarian aid was not needed and that all necessary products are steadily supplied to Gaza by the Israelis? To say that the people in Gaza are starving is erroneous.
It is time that all governments stop being silent and stop the so-called activists. Let the diplomats resolve the world’s problems and don’t let these activists savagely take the law in their hands.
Copyright 2010 Emile Tubiana
Please see for yourself.
Gaza is ruled by Iran-backed Hamas, a terrorist group that seized control of the area in a bloody coup against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction.  Following the bloody takeover, Israel imposed a naval blockade on Gaza.  Israel left all of Gaza in 2005 and handed control over to the Palestinians in hopes of paving the path for an independent Palestinian state side-by-side next to Israel.  Stats and Facts on Israeli Humanitarian Aid Transfers to Gaza Unless otherwise indicated, all information is from “Behind the Headlines: The Israeli humanitarian lifeline to Gaza,” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, May 25, 2010.
1. Humanitarian Aid
• In 2009, more than 738,000 tons of food and supplies entered Gaza. Pictures in local newspapers show local markets aplenty with fruit, vegetables, cheese, spices, bread and meat to feed 1.4 million Gazans. The total amount of aid transferred from Israel to Gaza in 2009 increased by 180 percent, compared to the amount transferred 2008.
• From Jan – May 8, 2010, 230,690 tons of humanitarian aid was transferred from Israel into Gaza through the Israel-Gaza goods crossings. This included medical supplies, milk powder and baby food, meat, chicken, fish, grains, legumes, oil, flour, salt, sugar, fresh vegetables and dairy products as well as animal feed, hygiene products and clothes.
• At holiday times, Israel increases transfers. During the Muslim holy days of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha, Israel shipped some 11,000 head of cattle into Gaza.
2. Maintaining Medical Aid for All in Need
The Medical Corridor:
• In 2009 alone, 10,544 patients and their companions left the Gaza Strip for medical treatment in Israel. Moreover, there were 382 emergency evacuations from Gaza for medical purposes.
• The Hadassah Medical Organization in Jerusalem donates $3 million in aid annually to treat Palestinians in Israel.
• Following fears of a swine flu outbreak, three Israeli hospitals were assigned to treat cases in the Gaza Strip and 44,500 immunizations were transferred to the Strip.
• Since 2005, Palestinians exploited medical care arrangements more than 20 times to carry out terror attacks. Medical Equipment:
• In 2009, some 4,883 tons of medical equipment and medicine were brought in.
• In the first quarter of 2010, Israel shipped 152 trucks of medical supplies and equipment into Gaza.
• In 2009, Israel coordinated the transfer of medical supplies for the disabled including wheelchairs, crutches and first aid kits. Other equipment shipped to Gaza include heart-monitors, baby feeding tubes, dental equipment, medical books, ambulance emergency equipment, artificial limbs and infant sleeping bags.
3. Quality of Life in Gaza
• Projected life expectancy in the Gaza Strip (2010) is 73.86, greater than Estonia, Malaysia, Jamaica and Bulgaria.
• The infant mortality rate in Gaza is 17.71 per 1000, better than that of China, Jordan, Lebanon and Thailand.
• Israel transfers school equipment supplied by UNRWA including notebooks, school bags, writing implements and textbooks.
• Israel is currently coordinating the transfer of 200,000 laptops for Gaza schoolchildren.
• In the first quarter of 2010, Israel transferred 250 trucks with equipment for the UNWRA summer camp, including arts-and-crafts equipment, swimming pools, inflatable toys, ice cream machines, musical instruments, clothing, sports equipment.
4. Building for the Future: Infrastructure and Economic Aid
• While the import of cement and iron has been restricted into Gaza since these are used by the Hamas to cast rockets and bunkers, monitored imports of truckloads of cement, iron, and building supplies such as wood and windows are regularly coordinated with international parties. Already in the first quarter of 2010, 23 tons of iron and 25 tons of cement were transferred to the Gaza Strip.
• On 13 May 2010, Israel allowed approximately 39 tons of building material into Gaza to help rebuild a damaged hospital. The construction material for al Quds hospital was transferred after safeguards in place and French assurances ensured that the construction material would not be diverted elsewhere.
• On 24 May 2010, Israel opened Kerem crossing to 97 trucks loaded with aid and goods, including six trucks holding 250 tons of cement and one truck loaded with five tons of iron for projects executed and operated by UNRWA.
• As noted by a UN report of May 2010, 120 Megawatts (over 70 percent) of the Strips’ electricity supply comes from the Israeli electric grid, while 17 MWs come from Egypt and 30 MWs are produced by the Gaza city power station. Since January 2010, there has been deterioration in the supply of electricity to the Gaza Strip since the Hamas regime is unwilling to purchase the fuel to run the Gaza City power station.
• Throughout 2009, Israel transferred 41 trucks of equipment for the maintenance of Gaza’s electricity grid.
• Israel facilitates the transfer of fuel through the border, and maintains that the diversion of fuel from domestic power generators to other uses is wholly a Hamas decision. Over 133 million liters of fuel entered Gaza from Israel over the last 18 months.
• During the first quarter of 2010, the UN coordinated with Israel the transfer of equipment for UNWRA to upgrade the sewage pumping station. In 2009, 127 trucks containing more than 3,000 tons of hypochlorite entered the Gaza Strip for water purification purposes. Moreover, 48 trucks of equipment for improving the sanitation infrastructure led to a substantial reduction in the Beit Lahya facility’s waste levels.
• Primary exports from Gaza are cut flowers and citrus, with trade partners being Israel, Egypt and the West Bank. During 2009, 7.5 million tons of flowers and 54 tons of strawberries were exported from Gaza with Israeli cooperation.
• In 2009, 1.1 billion shekels (about $250 million) was transferred to the Gaza Strip for the ongoing activity of international organizations and to pay the salaries of Palestinian Authority workers.