Just over a week ago, the Israeli armed forces boarded several ships trying to run the blockage of the Gaza Strip.  During that operation, several people on board the ships were killed.  The media has gone to great lengths to describe these people as activists and humanitarians.  I will not put any designation on them at all.  It is unfortunate that they died.  It is especially unfortunate if they were truly trying to provide humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.  The result of this activity has been outrage at Israel.  My question is why?

The Gaza Strip is home to Hamas, a group that has declared war on Israel.  Israel has imposed a blockage in response to that war declaration, and announced this to the world.  The people on board the ships announced that it was there intention to run that blockage, and that they were willing to take the risk, even hoping that there would be a conflict, to harm Israel.  They chose not to allow a peaceful search of the ship to determine if there were any weapons or military supplies on board.  They chose to ‘interfere’ with the Israeli military.  They lost.

The Gaza Strip has a functioning government that receives funding from the United Nations as well as charities from around the world.  Why then the need to run the blockade?  This aid is allowed into Gaza, the only items restricted are weapons.  Why can’t the Palestinian government care for its own people?  They certainly have enough funding for weapons.

There are people who claim that the blockage is illegal.  Who is the arbiter of legality when a nation is at war?  During WWI, the allies imposed a blockage on the Central powers.  Prior to 1918 the United States was a neutral and provided aid to both sides.  Herbert Hoover (prior to becoming President) organized humanitarian aid missions to the people of Europe behind the front (most notably Belgium).  This aid was searched twice, once by the British to make sure there were no military supplies going to the Germans and once by the Germans to make sure no military supplies were going to the partisans behind the lines.  Were the allies engaged in an ‘illegal’ blockade?  They were at war, therefore they did what was necessary to win, but still allowed humanitarian relief.  The Israelis are doing the same thing.

There are various videos running around purporting to show what really happened.  Each side is only showing what makes them look like the victim.  I personally will wait for the final report – possibly next month on PBS in a Frontline report.  Until then, I lean towards feeling sorry for the loss of life, but little else.  When you go out looking for a fight, lose, then whine about it, I have very little sympathy.  I certainly hope that this incident does not result in Israel dropping the blockade.  That should remain in place until the government of Palestine renounces attacks on Israel and starts behaving like a nation, not a terrorist organization.

By the way, did any one else notice the attack by armed Palestinians into Israel on the same day?  I heard it once on Fox News and once on NPR.  No report on the number of dead civilians or the outrage in the United Nations over this attack.  Of course, they are at war.

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Martin writes about writing in his weekly column Ramblings from Martin.

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