Anti-Israel activists are preparing to launch another flotilla aimed at breaching Israel’s naval blockade of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip three years after a similar endeavor led to a deadly encounter with Israeli soldiers.
An international coalition of pro-Palestinian agitators launched the Gaza’s Ark project to breach what they claim is Israel’s “illegal and inhumane Israeli blockade of Gaza.”
The group, which has ties to Hamas, intends to stock a ship full of Palestinian products and sail out of the Gaza Strip to “export” the goods.
A week after the ceasefire concluding Israel’s eight day campaign against Hamas, Operation Pillar of Defense, there is some debate as to who came out on top. The way one judges the outcome seems to depend on: one, what you make of the ceasefire agreement; two, what role you think that Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi played; and, three, other less tangible factors.
The day after Hamas agreed to a ceasefire with Israel, the terrorist group's TV station aired this "Death to Israel!" music video on its station:
"Destroy the throne of Zion, the house of absolute evil," the song goes. "Raise the banner of victory. Be like the fire of a volcano. Repeat in the name of your Jihad: Death to Israel! With blood and fire, resist until freedom. Defeat the soldiers of aggression the enemies of humanity."
If the truce announced in Cairo last Wednesday truly brings the Gaza war to a close, it is not too soon to assess who gained and who lost from this conflict.
Hamas provoked the war and chose the timing, so it is not surprising that they thought they would gain—and they have gained. The PLO initiative in the United Nations (to be classified as a “non-member observer state”) was shifting energy to the West Bank leadership, and by these attacks on Israel Hamas shifted it back. President Mahmoud Abbas and his cronies in Ramallah barely made the papers, despite Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit there. They were marginalized while Arab leaders and Turkish officials visited Gaza, and Hamas leaders traveled to Cairo for high-publicity meetings. The PLO leadership in Ramallah is one of the big losers of the last few weeks.
In a read-out of a phone call between President Barack Obama and Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the United States pledged to "use the opportunity offered by a ceasefire to intensify efforts to help Israel address its security needs, especially the issue of the smuggling of weapons and explosives into Gaza."