There are many reasons why the “American Flotilla” is not a humanitarian effort, even though many of its participants believe it is.
Primarily this is due in large measure to the fact that participating in the flotilla only serves the whims of Hamas, a terror organization. This is not only immoral, but is potentially illegal under US law.
Other reasons include the fact that there are far more constructive and rapid ways to deliver aid than through a flotilla, and the fact that Israel has the right to – and will – defend its borders.
The blockade of Gaza is legal under international law, and efforts to break it are bound to result in a confrontation with Israel’s defense forces. Resisting Israel’s defense forces will likely result in injury or death to those who physically resist Israel’s enforcement of the blockade.
We have gathered important facts about the organizations behind the Audacity of Hope. Since this information is relevant to US national security interests, it is vital for all American citizens to be informed.
The Audacity of Hope will NOT deliver a single Humanitarian Aid item to Gazans
The “Audacity of Hope” will not carry a single humanitarian aid item on board. The only “Humanitarian aid” items generated by the American flotilla are letters of support to the people of Gaza. Interestingly, these letters were already sent to Gaza. The only purpose for the boat is to create an international confrontation with a strong US ally. Since the Audacity of Hope will not deliver a single humanitarian aid item, it is only logical to examine who is behind the Audacity of Hope, and to understand the organizer’s goals
Organizers of the “Audacity of Hope”
The “Audacity of Hope” is organized and sponsored by USTOGAZA, a coalition of organizations who together joined to break Israel’s counter-terror naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. USTOGAZA states that its mission is to:
“challenge U.S foreign policy and affirm the universal obligation to uphold international law and human rights”
Included in the coalition of organizations that make up the USTOGAZA is the notorious Free Gaza Movement. The Free Gaza Movement is an umbrella organization responsible for coordinating past flotillas as a part of a sustained campaign to break the blockade of Gaza.
Additional partners and the web of terror-ties
The Free Gaza Movement partnered with the IHH, an organization that according to the US Treasury Department is part of a Saudi-based, Hamas-created umbrella group of Muslim charities called Union of Goods. The Union of Goods was created to transfer funds to Hamas through a web of charitable organizations. According to the State Department, some of the funds transferred by the Union of Good have compensated families of suicide bombers. The Union of Goods was designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization in 2008 by the US Treasury Department.
A list of contributions on IHH’s website reveals that IHH gave millions in cash to Hamas officials at the Gaza Health Ministry.
The Free Gaza Movement has had more than incidental interactions with Hamas. The key members of the organizers are well-known for their ties with global Jihad, al-Qaeda and Hamas. During a Free Gaza Movement visit to Gaza in August 2008, the activists met with Hamas leaders, including Prime Minister Haniyeh who presented the Free Gaza Movement activists with medals.
The organizer’s ultimate goal is to weaken the U.S “war on terror”
USTOGAZA is employing the Audacity of Hope as a part of a campaign that aims to change U.S policy in the fight against terrorist organizations. The Gaza blockade is in place to weaken Hamas, a designated Foreign Terror Organization by the United State government. Consequently, the blockade and blockade-breaking attempts are part of a dispute relating to the United States and its fight against terrorist organization. USTOGAZA is clearly trying to defeat measures taken by the United States regarding Hamas, Gaza and the Middle East Peace Process. Successive US administrations have stated that the disruption of the Middle East Peace Process constitutes “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”
Howard Jacobson: Why Alice Walker shouldn’t sail to Gaza
In a recent opinion piece, Howard Jacobson takes Alice Walker’s comments about her participation in the flotilla to task, and finds no valid rationale behind her statements.
It should not need arguing, this late in the ethical history of mankind, that good people can do great harm. One of the finest and funniest novels ever written — Don Quixote — charts the damage left in the wake of a man who would make the world a better place.
Human beings are seldom more dangerous than when they are sentimentally overcome by the goodness of their own intentions. That Alice Walker believes it is right to join the Freedom Flotilla II to Gaza I do not have the slightest doubt. But beyond associating her decision with Gandhi, Martin Luther King and very nearly, when she talks about the preciousness of children, Jesus Christ, she fails to give a single convincing reason for it.
U.S. Warns Against New Gaza Flotilla Plans
This Reuters article summarizes the potential folly of participating in an “American Flotilla.” The US is demonstrating support for the legality of Israel’s blockade , and warning participants of the dire consequences potentially awaiting them should they attempt to break the blockade.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Friday warned activists against plans to send a new aid flotilla to challenge Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip, saying it would be irresponsible and dangerous.
“Groups that seek to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions that risk the safety of their passengers,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in a statement, adding that there were established ways to move humanitarian aid to Gaza.
Gaza “Anniversary” Flotilla – A Release from the Israeli Consulate
Department Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson
June 24, 2011
Last month marked the one-year anniversary of the confrontation between Israeli forces and activists when a flotilla attempted to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza on May 31, 2010. The United States deeply regrets the tragic loss of life and injuries suffered among those involved in that incident aboard the Gaza bound ships.
We are concerned that a number of groups are organizing a one year “anniversary” flotilla to commemorate the incident by sailing from various European ports to Gaza in the near future. Groups that seek to break Israel’s maritime blockade of Gaza are taking irresponsible and provocative actions that risk the safety of their passengers. Established and efficient mechanisms exist to transfer humanitarian assistance to Gaza. For example, humanitarian assistance can be delivered at the Israeli port of Ashdod, where cargo can be offloaded, inspected, and transported to Gaza. We urge all those seeking to provide such assistance to the people of Gaza to use these mechanisms, and not to participate in actions like the planned flotilla.
Recent seizures by Israel and Egypt of advanced military systems, weapons, and ammunition bound for terrorist groups in Gaza, as well as periodic rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilians, highlight the continuing problem of illicit arms smuggling to Gaza. These seizures underscore the vital importance to Israel’s security of ensuring that all cargo bound for Gaza is appropriately screened for illegal arms and dual-use materials.
The United States remains concerned by conditions in Gaza, but notes that the humanitarian situation has significantly improved over the last year, including a marked increase in the range and scope of goods and materials moving into Gaza, an increase in international project activity, and the gradual expansion of exports. The United States will continue to work with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, donors, and the international community to do more and ensure that the needs of the people of Gaza are being met.
We also continue to call on Hamas to play a constructive role by renouncing violence, recognizing Israel’s right to exist, and accepting past agreements. We underscore that delivering or attempting or conspiring to deliver material support or other resources to or for the benefit of a designated foreign terrorist organization, such as Hamas, could violate US civil and criminal statutes and could lead to fines and incarceration.
Photo credit: MEMRI