A ship packed with violent, radical activists tries to run a blockade aimed at preventing terrorists from receiving illicit material. Video shows them beating commandos with clubs as they land on the ship, pelting them with slingshots and carrying knives.
What is America's response? To demand that the nation whose soldiers were attacked conduct an investigation to "find out the facts."
It is clear Israel sought to peacefully secure the Mavi Marmara on May 31 as it approached Gaza. But the hardened activists, who openly discussed their desire for martyrdom, weren't going to let that happen. Fighting for their lives, the Israeli soldiers opened fire with their sidearms, killing nine people on the ship.
But that does not make the Obama administration's demand for an investigation from an ally any more sensible. It was the first such demand made by the U.S. of another country, let alone an ally, in recent memory. There was no call for a probe on Russia's treatment of Chechnyans, for Egypt's persecution of the Christian Copts or for the murderous rampages against the Ahmadiyan Muslim sect in Pakistan.
Just Israel made the history books. Israel, however, has proof of what really happened. It released at least five videos on YouTube showing Israeli soldiers being attacked as they landed.
Moreover, details emerged about IHH--the Turkish charity instigating the attack--and its long history of abetting Islamic terrorist attacks and Islamic terrorist organizations. Reports produced by MEMRI showed the violent attack at sea was planned by radicals vowing to go to their "martyrdom." By June 3 more YouTube videos appeared showing the efforts by the Turkish flotilla extremists to battle with the Israelis.
But that wasn't enough for President Obama. Appearing on CNN's Larry King show on June 3, he repeated his demand for an Israeli investigation. But this time, Obama revealed his own biased predisposition when he told King, "You've got loss of life that was unnecessary."
Unnecessary? According to whom? For Turkey's radical Islamist regime, it was not only unnecessary, but evidence of a premeditated "bloody massacre." But to the Israeli soldiers who would have been murdered had they not used their sidearms, the deaths on the ship--as tragic as any death is--were anything but unnecessary.
And then the president blurted out his real agenda, when he criticized the Israelis for their blockade of Gaza: "you've got a blockade up that is preventing people in Palestinian Gaza from having job opportunities and being able to create businesses and engage in trade and have opportunity for the future." Here, he joined the world Hamas lobby--Islamic and European countries--in piling on Israel for creating such a humanitarian mess in Gaza, which in reality does not exist.
Stores are full of food. Pharmacies are stocked with medicines. Fancy restaurants on the coast flourish. There is no hunger. Every week Israel sends in hundreds of Israeli truckloads with food and other essentials.
The embargo exists because Hamas has proven it is more interested in arming itself and attacking Israel than in helping create a better life for its people. What country would ignore these provocations and terrorist attacks? In the past, Israel intercepted two international vessels destined for Gaza containing vast arsenals of weapons, explosives, rockets and missiles. Does Israel have an obligation to help a terrorist government bent on its destruction?
After falling for the agenda of the Free Gaza flotilla, whose membership included more than 100 known Islamic militants and terrorists, the president blurted out in the CNN interview something that was truly incredulous. He said, "...and I think Turkey can have a positive voice in this whole process once we've worked through this tragedy." Turkey? The country that sponsored the would-be killers on the Mavi Marmara?
Turkey has allowed IHH to operate freely. IHH's accomplishments include assisting the Millennium bomber, supporting Hamas and smuggling weapons to mujahedeen. Arab language newspapers have reported that the leaders on board the Mavi Marmara planned to "martyr" themselves by attacking Israeli troops that might come on board. These newspapers also reported that the Turkish leaders armed themselves with knives and slingshots before boarding the Turkish ship.
Instead of rewarding Turkey, the president should have demanded that an international investigation be conducted of its role in inciting and arming the terrorists aboard its ship. He should have ordered Treasury to list IHH as a terrorist entity and ordered the Justice Department to investigate the activities of the Free Gaza Movement in the U.S. and its predecessor the International Solidarity Movement for materially supporting Hamas.
Israel alone was the recipient of the demands for an investigation.
Faced with the pressure from the president, Israel created a committee to investigate the flotilla incident. Moreover, Israel also capitulated to U.S. and international pressure this past weekend and loosened the blockade that will surely help to prop up the declining popularity of the Hamas regime in Gaza. It only goes to prove that terrorism pays.
Steven Emerson is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.