This is a guest post by Joy Wolfe
Gradually, as the true facts about what happened when the Israeli commandos were dropped from a helicopter to board the Mavi Marmara in an attempt to halt the so-called Freedom Flotilla, a few more supportive media stories are starting to filter through.
And none is more welcome than Seth Freedman’s posting on “Comment is Free”.
It is one thing to get support from people who are known to be Israel’s friends who have consistently backed Israel in the past, but when that support comes from someone better known for his unrelenting criticism of the Jewish state, it carries so much more weight. Thus when Seth Freedman writes that Iisrael had no option other than to stop the flotilla it is music to my ears.
This week I have been on a roller coaster of emotions.
When the news first broke that there had been fatalities among those on board I was filled with horror and disbelief. How could Israel have been stupid enough to get drawn into this scenario I thought? As one by one countries throughout the world rushed to condemn Israel before any of the facts had a chance to filter through, the scale of the incompetence became clear.
As I watched the videos of the vicious attack on the Israelis, clearly pre-planned, with weapons, improvised means of attack and saw the force with which violently wielded iron bars and clubs and fire bombs rained down on helpless young and largely inexperienced soldiers, I began to understand that they were literally fighting for their lives against heavy odds.
But Israel’s detractors had already made up their minds, and were not going to allow truth or clear evidence to get in the way.
That someone like Seth Freedman was prepared to abandon his usual critical stance and speak up for Israel was remarkable, and very welcome.
Other emotions that have flooded in have included a feeling of incredulity that military strategists, intelligence gatherers, and the Defence Minister could have come up with such a half-baked plan that any 10 year old could have told them was doomed to failure. Allowing the soldiers to approach the deck with paint guns, both hands incapacitated because of the need to hang on to the rope, simply beggars belief If I were a parent of one of the injured young Israelis I would be baying for the blood of those responsible for putting their sons in such mortal danger, without adequate intelligence gathering in advance to find out what they could expect. At the very least I expect a very strong call for some heads to roll, and that should include the Defence minister,
The material on the web is now showing the world very clearly that the Israeli commandos were lowered into an ambush, and stood absolutely no chance against around 40 or 50 well prepared extemists whose sole aim was to martyr themselves in their attempt to break the sea blockade of Gaza Unfortunately, it is too late for the entrenched opinions to be reversed and the adverse PR fallout from this unforgivable blunder will linger on for years to come. Organisations such as Stand WithUs whose incessant pressure and circulation of information and useful materials have led the way (see www.flotillafacts.com) with many others such as BICOM, the ZF and a brilliant new website called Flotilla Facts keeping us well informed.But despite the wealth of material supporting the fact that Israel was forced to retaliate as the commandos had to fight for their lives, it seems a virtually impossible task to get any of that message across to the likes of Jon Snow, Jeremy Bowen and John Humphrys, whose aggressive one-sided interviewing style finds Israel guilty before their interviewees have a chance to open their mouths. It also seems the UK coalition gvoernment has also found Israel guilty until proved innocent, with the statement by Foreign Minister William Hague which did not have a sliver of understanding of what the Israelis were subjected to.
That is why I take my hat off to Seth Freedman for abandoning his usual less than supportive stance, to state unequivocally that Israel did what she had to do. The fallout from this disastrous mission will take a very long time to overcome, and clearly the tiny glimmer of hope for peace there was has now completely evaporated. It is our job to get the true message out explaining that Israel was faced with a no win situation against a group of misguided and ill-informed so called supporters of the Palestinians.
But I beleive we also have the responsibility to seek answers as to how such a crazy scenario was allowed to develop and to express the hope that action will be taken to censure those responsible.