Goal of Gaza flotilla is not aid

Mike Fegelman of HonestReporting Canada responds to Jim Stachow's letter about Jim Manly and the Freedom Flotilla.

Editor:

Re: Jim Stachow: Former MP will challenge Gaza blockade (Oct. 2, 2012)

Earth to Jim Stachow; Hamas itself readily admits that “there is no starvation in Gaza.”

In reality, Gazans have ample supplies of basic necessities and consumer goods and are currently experiencing an economic boom and good standards of living.

Israel’s well-documented position is that it was well within its rights in enforcing a legal maritime blockade of the Gaza Strip to prevent weapons from getting into the hands of Hamas terrorists. This position is widely accepted by the international community, United Nations and world-renowned jurists.

The blockade is a legal measure to prevent arms being smuggled ashore from Iran and Syria, the wisdom of which has been repeatedly demonstrated. For example, in March 2011, Israel seized 50 tons of weapons aboard the Syrian vessel, the Victoria.

It should be noted that even while enforcing the blockade, Israel has facilitated a regular flow of enormous amounts of humanitarian aid into the territory. According to COGAT — an Israeli unit that co-ordinates governmental activities in the Palestinian territories — in the last month alone, 39,795 tons of goods and gas entered the Gaza Strip from Israel in 1,256 truckloads.

As to the so-called perils of Gaza, the Strip boasts five-star restaurants, boutique hotels, vibrant and well-stocked markets, first-class shopping malls, theme parks, luxury restaurants, sports cars, scenic beaches and Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Also not mentioned in this article is that over the past 10 years, Hamas has fired more than 12,000 rockets at Israeli citizens.

If Mr. Stachow is genuinely interested in human rights, he should direct his efforts to aid beleaguered Syrian citizens who are currently being detained, raped, tortured and murdered in the tens of thousands by the Assad regime.

After all, the point of this misguided flotilla exercise is to provoke a dangerous confrontation with Israel in the hope of generating international headlines, again.

Cynically, only by causing injury will the same notoriety be accomplished. Therefore, contrary to Mr. Stachow’s assertion, the goal is confrontation, not aid; violence, not peace. The Flotilla-ists are provocateurs, not activists.

What remains to be seen is if the myth of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza will produce the ultimate casualty: the distraction of the world from real humanitarian disasters. The signs thus far are not encouraging.

Mike Fegelman

Executive director, HonestReporting Canada,  Toronto