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Gaza flotilla was not a peaceful aid convoy

IsraelGaza StripGaza Crisis (2008)TurkeyHamasBenjamin Netanyahu

The Sun's wording in "Report criticizes Netanyahu's handling of Gaza flotilla raid" (June 14) obscures elements influencing Israel's actions criticized by the Israeli state comptroller. While the article recognizes that the flotilla was "determined to breach Israel's blockade of Gaza," it does not say that flotilla leaders could have transferred any humanitarian aid to Israel for inspection and delivery to Gaza.

Instead, the "aid flotilla," whose lead ship apparently carried no aid, tried to run an internationally recognized weapons blockade. The "activists" and "passengers" aboard the "mainly Turkish aid flotilla" were led by the Turkish IHH — an organization with reported connections to Hamas and other extremists. Prior to the raid several "activists" prepared videos in which they professed to be seeking "martyrdom" in anti-Israel jihad.

Also, in contradiction to the description that "activists aboard the ship fought back against the Israeli commandos," video shows those on the Mavi Marmara using knives, iron bars, and other weapons to attack. It was the Israelis who fought back, killing nine.

The article says the flotilla raid further aggravated Israeli/Turkish relations "already soured after an Israeli military assault on Gaza." However, formerly cooperative ties between the states had been deteriorating since the 2002 election ofTurkey'sJustice and Development Party, whose Islamic orientation has shifted Turkey's once secularist government and attempted to make Israel an all-purpose scapegoat.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's handling of the flotilla raid may remain controversial. That the Mavi Marmara-led flotilla consisted of anti-Israel provocateurs should not.

Erin Dwyer, Washington

The writer is a research Intern at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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