Expect to hear worldwide condemnation of Israel for this morning's raid on the "Freedom Flotilla." As you listen to the reports, here are some questions to keep in mind:
1. What were the motives of those on board the flotilla?
Palestinian Media Watch just released this video. It's an al-Jazeera report before today's incident showing men on one of the ships chanting " Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!"
As PMW explains, "Khaibar is the name of the last Jewish village defeated by Muhammad's army in 628. Many Jews were killed in that battle, which marked the end of Jewish presence in Arabia. There are Muslims who see that as a precursor for future wars against Jews. At gatherings and rallies of extremists, this chant is often heard as a threat to Jews to expect to be defeated and killed again by Muslims."
The clip also shows an interview with a woman who said the goal of the participants on the flotilla had "one of two happy endings: either martyrdom or reaching Gaza."
This story reveals a group girding themselves for battle and martyrdom, not simply on a humanitarian mission.
2. What happened to the soldiers during the battle?
Here are two YouTube clips released by the IDF. This clip shows one member of the flotilla stabbing an IDF soldier from behind: The other clip shows a number of incidents including thefirst IDF soldier deployed on the ship being attacked and thrown to the lower deck and attacks on the IDF soldiers using metal objects, a stun grenade and a firebomb.
Here's an article giving a first-hand account of what happened. It shows Israeli commandoes did not anticipate the level of violence when they attempted to board the ship and even came equipped with paintball guns to disperse the crowd. Here's an excerpt from the article:
"Navy commandoes slid down to the vessel one by one, yet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly, yet they attempted to fight back.
However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests, such as the ones held in Bilin. The paintballs obviously made no impression on the activists, who kept on beating the troops up and even attempted to wrest away their weapons. One soldier who came to the aid of a comrade was captured by the rioters and sustained severe blows.
The commandoes were equipped with handguns but were told they should only use them in the face of life-threatening situations. When they came down from the chopper, they kept on shouting to each other "don't shoot, don't shoot," even though they sustained numerous blows."
3. Who were these "peace activists" on a humanitarian mission?
Here's an excerpt from a report by Col. Jonathan Fighel, a senior researcher at the International Institute for Counter Terrorism.
1. Prominent among the coalition organizations participating in the aid flotilla scheduled to arrive in the Gaza Strip in the coming days is the Turkish IHH. It is a radical Islamic organization which was established in 1992 and formally registered in Istanbul in 1995.
2. Already back in 1996,the organization was identified by the CIA as a radical Islamic humanitarian organization bearing the name of INTERNATIONAL HUMANITAIRE HILFSORGANIZATION A.K.A International Humanitarian Relief Organization, whose main offices were located in Zagreb and Sarajevo, its Headquarters in Germany, established by a member of the Turkish Refah Party. The CIA report mentioned that the organization was at that time in connections with Extremist groups in Iran and Algeria.
. "IHH, which plays a central role in organizing the flotilla to the Gaza Strip, is a Turkish humanitarian relief fund with a radical Islamic anti-Western orientation. Besides its legitimate philanthropic activities, it supports radical Islamic networks, including Hamas, and at least in the past, even global jihad elements"
You can read Fighel's full report here:
4. Did anyone see this coming?
Last week, editor Caroline Glick in her prescient column "Our World: Reclaiming Language from the Left" discerned the true motives of the freedom flotilla.
"Courtesy of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on Thursday Israel will again be the target of a jihadist-leftist propaganda assault. A flotilla of nine ships which set sail for Gaza from Cyprus earlier this week is scheduled to arrive at our doorstep. The expressed aim of the flotilla's organizers is to unlawfully provide aid and comfort to Hamas - an illegal terrorist organization.
Since it seized power in Gaza three years ago, Hamas, which is openly committed to the genocide of world Jewry and the physical eradication of Israel, has transformed the Gaza Strip into a hub of the global jihad. It has been illegally holding hostage Gilad Schalit incognito for four years.
And it is continuously engaged in a massive, Iranian-financed arms buildup ahead of its next assault. Beyond providing aid to Hamas, the declared aim of the "Free Gaza" movement is to coerce Israel into providing Hamas with an outlet to the sea. This too is in contravention of international law which expressly prohibits states and non-state actors from providing any support to terrorist organizations.
On Thursday Hamas's maritime enablers from Europe, Turkey and beyond will arrive at our doorstep. The navy will block their entry to Gaza. Israel will be demonized by terror-abettors disguised as human rights activists and journalists worldwide. And the story will pave the way for the next assault on Israel's right to exist."
5. What's at stake?
As Dr. Mordechai Kedar, a specialist on Islam and Middle East politics at Bar-Ilan University reminds us in this article, the incident on the Mediterranean is much more than a commando raid gone badly wrong. It's a skirmish in a much larger battle, a battle over the future of the world.
Here's an excerpt:
"It is clear to anyone with eyes in their eyes in their head that the battle taking place off the Gaza shore is in fact a clash between an Islamist coalition which Turkey attempts to head - and which includes Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah on one hand - and forces with a liberal Western orientation, represented by Israel, on the other hand.
This fight isn't about Gaza. The battle is about the future of the Middle East: Will it be a future where the existing political order is maintained, or will radical Islamic forces rise and replace the current order, as already happened in Lebanon in Turkey."
6. What are some doing after this incident?
Christian Broadcaster Earl Cox is urging Christians to speak up. Here's some of his alert:
"When Americans awoke this morning and turned on their computers and televisions to hear the latest news broadcasts, it was quite apparent that the radical Islamic Palestinian PR machine was running full steam and had hurled yet another brutal attack against the State of Israel and the people God calls the 'apple of His eye.'
I strongly urge all those who have a heart for truth and for Israel to forward this message to as many sources as possible. We must get this message out. Use every tool available to you on the internet, the telephone and through the written word. Contact those one your email lists, newspapers and other local media and remember to contact your elected officials."
Others are calling for prayer. Here are two prayer requests sent out today from a Middle East Prayer alert:
"Continue to pray for those in authority that they would have wisdom and discernment on how to diffuse this potentially very volatile situation from spinning out of control. Perhaps this would require much faith, but that the truth would become clear to all about what has happened and that the media would play a positive role helping to resolve the situation in a constructive way."
This last prayer request - according to a Middle East commentator I spoke with today - is crucial to the situation.