Three clips for you, the first of his remarks this evening in Israel reiterating that the flotilla “wasn’t a love boat” and the other two via the IDF of yet more evidence to back him up. (Make sure to read MEMRI’s round-up too of media reports on passengers preparing for martyrdom beforehand.) He goes on for almost nine minutes so you’ll be tempted to bail early, but resist the urge: The key part comes at the end when he demands to know what his supposed allies, who are now falling all over themselves to condemn the raid, would have done differently in his situation. The presumptive answer, per David Ignatius, would be to lift the blockade of Gaza and replace it with a UN presence, “with real safeguards against importation of weapons.” Which, funnily enough, was the same “solution” imposed after Israel’s 2006 war with Hezbollah, with UN peacekeepers deployed to southern Lebanon to make sure that the local jihadis wouldn’t re-arm after the IDF withdrew. The result: According to our own defense secretary, today Hezbollah has more weapons than most world governments do. That even luminaries like Ignatius still consider the UN a credible option tells you everything you need to know about why the Israelis no longer pay much attention to world opinion.
But what about Bibi’s claim that there’s no humanitarian crisis in Gaza? Surely that’s self-serving propaganda, right? Over to you, Financial Times:
Hundreds of tunnels have shut down over the past year as a result of greater Egyptian efforts to stop the flow of goods – and weapons – into the strip. But the remaining tunnels, about 200 to 300 according to most estimates, have become so efficient that shops all over Gaza are bursting with goods.
Branded products such as Coca-Cola, Nescafé, Snickers and Heinz ketchup – long absent as a result of the Israeli blockade – are both cheap and widely available. However, the tunnel operators have also flooded Gaza with Korean refrigerators, German food mixers and Chinese air conditioning units. Tunnel operators and traders alike complain of a saturated market – and falling prices.
“Everything I demand, I can get,” says Abu Amar al-Kahlout, who sells household goods out of a warehouse big enough to accommodate a passenger jet.
That’s not the only recent news story to marvel at how well supplied Gaza is, either (“there was certainly no shortage of vegetables, fruits or any other ordinary, basic foods”). Read the whole FT piece, as there’s a fair point made that a black market has all sorts of untoward consequences that a free market doesn’t, but the quoted passage nonetheless guts the argument that the flotilla was on some sort of urgent humanitarian mission. Quite the opposite, in fact: When, earlier today, the IDF brought the cargo from the ships to Rafah to transfer it to Gazans, Hamas … refused the shipment.
One last point worth noting here. As far as I know, the prime minister’s addresses to the Israeli nation are usually delivered in Hebrew. The fact that Netanyahu chose English for his remarks speaks volumes about who the real intended audience is. Exit question: Has any leader from any nation spoken a single word of public criticism about Turkey’s role in this jihadist provocation?