In 2010, with Turkish assistance and sponsorship, Hamas launched the so-called “humanitarian flotilla” to break Israel’s lawful, and indeed, legally mandated, blockade of the Gaza coast.
Hamas and Turkey deployed a mix of civilians and terrorists in civilian ships and boats to launch a suicide protest against Israel at sea. The 2010 flotilla was led by the massive Turkish cruise ship Mavi Marmara. Aboard the ship were 630 Israel-hating Westerners and 40 terrorists from Turkey’s regime-supported, al-Qaeda-allied IHH group…
Ignoring the danger to its forces, the IDF sent naval commandos to interdict the ships and uphold the blockade of Gaza, armed with paintball guns.
As the Western activists huddled in their cabins, IHH terrorists waited for the commandos on the Mavi Marmara’s deck. As they were lowered onto the deck from helicopters, the naval commandos were beset by IHH men who stabbed them with axes and knives and bludgeoned them with crow bars.
Nine soldiers were wounded, three seriously. In the pitched, hours-long battle that followed, nine IHH terrorists were killed.
And as predictably as the sun rising in the east, the Western media ignored the facts and attacked Israel. The Europeans condemned Israel. The Obama administration condemned Israel. Obama forced Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to apologize to Turkish dictator Recep Erdogan who sponsored the assault. And Hamas received legitimacy and material concessions that enabled it to prepare its forces for the 2014 war it launched against Israel.
Hamas’s operations chief for the Mavi Marmara flotilla was Zahar al-Birawi. As Yoni Ben Menachem from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reported in March, Birawi, a Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood operative, holds the title, of “liaison for the International Committee for Breaking the Embargo on the Gaza Strip.”
Reasonably, after his great success with the Mavi Marmara suicide “protest,” Birawi was given command of the current suicide protest operation at the border. His basic concept of interspersing civilians with Hamas terrorists and using the former as cover for the latter and as cannon fodder is the common thread of both operations…
Once Birawi and his comrades successfully deployed 50,000 Gazans to the border, there was little chance of avoiding a significant death toll. That is, Hamas achieved its goals the minute it brought its people to the border.
More than 60 Gazans were killed on Monday. But the outcome for Israel would have been the same no matter how high or low the casualty count. The media mouthed Hamas’s talking points. On cue, the likes of the BBC and The Washington Post accused Israel of wantonly and deliberately massacring children.