Hamas cleverly created a win-win situaton for itself in manipulating "peace activists" into creating an armada against the Gaza blockade, and injecting a group of IHH Jihadists onto one of the boats. If Israel had let the armada through, Hamas would have an effective military win, with a new open arms channel via the Mediterranean. Just a matter of time till another war - although this time with rockets that reach Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and even Cairo.
Israel chose the option of allowing Hamas a public relations win instead. I guess we are better at war than we are at PR. Instead of managing the collateral damage, we created a complete disaster.
By now the web is full of explanations of both why Israel was in the right, behaved correctly and legally and how the terrorists disguised as peace activists won the day. I don't like to bore my readers with information available elsewhere, so I simply direct you to a website set up by a collegue - one of the many good sites out there on the subject. http://www.talkgaza.com/flotillafacts/
One item that hasn't yet received much attention is the disposition of the humanitarian aid that the armada had on board. I don't want to labour the point that Israel had from the outset offered to transfer the aid overland through the channels that have seen so many thousands of tonnes of supplies transferred till now, in order to prevent the arms smuggling channel being opened up.
The issue is more interesting. Israel loaded all the expired medicines, children's toys, electric wheelchairs and miscelaneous items into trucks and sent them off to Gaza, to find that Hamas refuses to let the goods into their territory! Either an unsupervised path for goods is opened up or they don't want it! These guys are PR professionals! Once again using the suffering of their own people to create a PR disaster for Israel.
And what will we do? Probably let the goods sit around on the trucks or in a warehouse rotting, losing value, taking up valuable space and requiring resources for supervision, guarding etc. just waiting to become aother expensive PR catasrophe.
Any better ideas?
Hamas should be given a 24 hour ultimatum. If you want the goods, take them immediately. If not, we should distribute anything that meets Israeli standards to the Arabic speaking Druze and Muslim Bedouin communities who have shown their loyalty to the State of Israel over the years. After all, none of Hamas, the donors, nor the Turkish sponsors of the armada would want Jews to benefit from their efforts.
An alternative is to take a major expeditionary force of the army, dirve the goods into Gaza, unload them somewhere convenient for us and leave.