Two op-eds from The New York Times forcefully explain Israel's position on the failed attempt by leftist and Islamist activists to break Israel's blockade of Gaza and the ensuing tragic consequences.
The first by Michael Oren, Israel ambassador to the United States:
Peace activists are people who demonstrate nonviolently for peaceful co-existence and human rights. The mob that assaulted Israeli special forces on the deck of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara on Monday was not motivated by peace. On the contrary, the religious extremists embedded among those on board were paid and equipped to attack Israelis — both by their own hands as well as by aiding Hamas — and to destroy any hope of peace.
The second by Daniel Gordis, author, columnist and a vice president of the Shalem Center, a Jerusalem-based think tank.
Israelis are resigned to the fact that reason will not shake the world’s blatant double standard. Our blockade of Gaza is “criminal”; yet nobody mentions that Egypt has had a blockade of Gaza in place since 2007, and has never hesitated to use lethal force against those trying to break it. Israel’s attempt to enforce a blockade becomes an international crisis, while most of the world shrugs when North Korea sinks a South Korean ship. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared his willingness to sit with Fatah leaders any time, anywhere, but they insist on mere “proximity talks,” which they will probably now scuttle, using the flotilla as an excuse.
Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday backed Israel's seizure of the pro-Palestinian flotilla, insisting that the Jewish state is entitled to defend its security, Haaretz reports.
"Look, you can argue whether Israel should have dropped people onto that ship or not -- but the truth of the matter is, Israel has a right to know -- they're at war with Hamas -- has a right to know whether or not arms are being smuggled in," he said in an interview with Charlie Rose.
"They've [the Israelis] said, 'Here you go. You're in the Mediterranean. This ship -- if you divert slightly north you can unload it and we'll get the stuff into Gaza,'", he said. "So what's the big deal here? What's the big deal of insisting it go straight to Gaza? Well, it's legitimate for Israel to say, 'I don't know what's on that ship. These guys [Hamas] are dropping… 3,000 rockets on my people."