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Hamas, Israel, and the Gaza flotilla: seven facts you need to know

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Fact 4: In an effort to stop the missiles from being manufactured and used against it, and only for that reason, Israel has been forced to try to keep the materials used for that purpose out of the Gaza Strip. This is an obvious step needed to prevent the kind of war that caused so much destruction in 2008, when the increase in attacks by Hamas and its allies against Israeli civilians eventually triggered an Israeli response to stop them. There can be no real doubt that Israel is entitled to keep weapons of war from being used against it.

Fact 5: Israel repeatedly, and expressly, made clear to those who organized the effort to break the embargo that it would willingly take all of the humanitarian aid that was on their boats and transfer it to Gaza, without delay. All that Israel wanted was to be able to ensure that materials were, in fact, humanitarian aid, rather than the sorts of materials used for launching attacks that are supplied to Hamas by the Iranians and others. The organizers of the flotilla refused – because, of course, getting humanitarian aid to Gaza was not what their gambit was really about.

Fact 6: Israel regularly provides humanitarian aid to Gaza, and volunteering to get the humanitarian aid from the ships to Gaza was consistent with Israeli policy all along.

And Fact 7, which is now coming to light several days after the initial and predictable barrage of criticism of Israel: Those on at least one of the ships planned all along to attack Israelis when they sought to enforce the embargo, and indeed, their attack on the Israelis was brutal.

This fact has been starkly captured in video widely circulating around the Internet, showing the vicious beatings initiated by those on board one of the ships against Israelis, who for their part had been instructed to refrain from using any force if at all possible. Indeed, in Israel the military is being criticized for failing to adequately prepare its naval personnel to anticipate the attacks on them from the boats, and for being too passive, and too trusting, in its approach to the flotilla.

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