I debated about putting this article that I have recently written here on this blog about my sons and my life as a soldier's mother. I hesitated for all of 10 minutes. I came here to the blog, thinking should I...shouldn't I...will I expand this blog to my thoughts of life in general and Israel in particular, or continue to try (and fail sometimes) to limit it to specifically this huge part of my life...the life of a soldier's mother? I don't have an answer for that whole question yet, but Anonymous came and visited me again, as he often does, with another nasty comment, another negative attack. He wrote, "And what's your thoughts on the latest israel's crime? It is murder conducted by a state. Are you proud of those sodliers for killing civilians?"
Aside from the fact that we are talking of soldiers and not sodliers, aside from the fact that the "civilians" were busy attacking our soldiers before they'd even landed on the ships, yes, I guess I do want to share my thoughts...so here they are:
It is dangerous to be an Israeli in Turkey today. The families of Israeli diplomats have come back to Israel, as a cautionary move against possible violence. The diplomats, so far, have not been recalled. The flotilla fiasco is, according to some in Turkey, their 9/11. Of all the discussions I have heard, all the comments from all sides, this is perhaps the most telling.
September 11 was a day in which 50,000 people were attacked, more if you count the Pentagon and still more if you understand it was as much an attack on the United States itself, rather than “only” the World Trade Center. September 11 was a day in which innocence was attacked. Those who care more about making a point than reality, could argue that those in the Pentagon might not have been innocent, but no rational human being can say that those who perished, and those who survived, had done anything to justify what happened.
No, September 11 was about innocent victims and terrorism. How telling that the Turks use and abuse this event for their own political and cynical gains. The flotilla was not about humanitarian aid. No one can seriously believe that when Israel had constantly, even the day before, made public announcements that it was prepared to deliver the cargo to Gaza, once it was checked for security reasons and smuggling of contraband or weaponry.
Seriously, is there anyone in the world who doesn’t know about the hundreds of tunnels we have found and stopped, the endless smuggling of drugs, women, explosives, missiles and more that constantly flows into Gaza? It cannot be. I refuse to believe it.
It is possible people are unaware of the tens of thousands of missiles aimed at Israel – of the damage that has been caused here, the loss of life in Israel? I know the world has not forgotten the Gaza War – they are still looking for ways to condemn Israel. Even Richard Goldstone, the hanging judge of South Africa, admits to the rocket attacks and the damage we have sustained, even Richard Goldstone.
So clearly, Israel was justified in demanding our right to protect our citizens and verify that the cargo was innocent. Turkish citizens and others took to the waters. A naval blockade was legally declared. The flotilla refused to comply. From there, the situation is clear.
Israel attempted to board the ships. In all honesty, though I am not a military person, I can see that the soldiers believed they were dropping down into a ship of activists – the very humanitarian and peace-loving people they claimed they would be. It would be a matter of arrest, transfer, pack up the cargo, deliver it. End of story.
But the people on the ship were not the innocents of 9/11. I don’t remember seeing anyone beating, stabbing, and shoving others from heights. I remember people helping others, crying, hugging, and most of all, running in fear for their lives as the terrorist threat turned into reality.
The flotilla “peace activists” had metal clubs with which they beat soldier after soldier. With the knives on board, vicious, long and sharp weapons of violence, they stabbed one courageously – in the back – and shoved him over the railing to drop 30 feet. Other brave protesters were busy cracking a soldier’s skull, grabbed weapons of others, and opened fire on our soldiers (and likely on their fellow passengers). These were not peace activists, but violent protesters with a cause…and the cause was not humanitarian aid to Gaza.
A full forty minutes passed before the soldiers were given permission to fight back for their lives, to open fire. The videos show this, taken from above and watched by thousands. News reporters heard the soldiers calling, one to the other, “don’t shoot, don’t shoot.” This is what they were trained to do and despite being beaten, they stuck to the training and did not meet deadly force with deadly force for a full 40 minutes.
For me, I am entranced with the concept that this violent act, this battle on the seas, could be compared to a massive terrorist attack against unsuspecting people on their way to work. The protesters were not unarmed as were the people of the World Trade Center; the protesters were not taken unaware. Knives were on board for this purpose (you don’t even cut a thick steak with the knives these protesters wielded).
Unsuspecting? This was at sea, out in the open – the flotilla was approached, warned repeatedly and loudly – yes, there are videos of these warnings (and again the offer to deliver the cargo to Gaza). A helicopter hovered over their heads as they planned their ambush and their victims – yes, their victims – were fed to them one by one as the soldiers dropped to the ships, each taken and viciously beaten. Each soldier was confronted by three or more armed men before he had even landed and the first blows often started while the soldier was still descending. Peace activists? No, not even close. Unsuspecting? Seriously not. Unarmed? Not even close.
I do not know if the American government of Barack Hussein Obama will take issue with what the Turks are now claiming, the message they are trying to float to the world. I do not know if the world is stupid enough to believe that those aboard were innocent.
Already yesterday and today, the contents of most of the ships has been transferred to Gaza – as promised before this whole fiasco, less the knives and other weapons found. A friend suggested that what Israel should have done was send their commandos under the waters to simply pull the “plugs” on the ships, open a hole in the bottoms – and just let them sink.
We would be there to rescue those who wished to be rescued, let others rescue them, or let them drown. Had we done that, ten of our soldiers would not have been wounded, two in critical condition from the brutal attacks. And, had we done that, perhaps so many protesters would not have died and been injured. Of course, Gaza would not have gotten the aid it now has, but then again, that was never the point anyway.
I have now become a proponent of the concept of “retro-active sinking.” Should more flotillas come, and they will – we should sink the ships, simple as that. Those on board can sink or swim, be rescued or drowned. They wanted pictures of violence – they got them. That was expected, acceptable and inevitable.
Calling it Turkey’s 9/11 was not expected, should not be acceptable and though it might have been inevitable, it must be condemned. More than 50,000 innocent, unsuspecting people were attacked in the most brutal terrorist attack this world has seen. To compare that to the pre-planned battle and its consequences on the flotilla is obscene and must not be tolerated. In the strongest terms, Obama and others must demand a full apology and retraction from the Turks. Sadly, the Turks are so busy protesting and attacking all things Israeli and Jewish they can find, they are likely not to hear.