As world organizations, nations and international media rally together in their favorite cause célèbre of vilifying Israel the Gaza flotilla attack, the country finds itself again on the defensive, trying to explain to the world why it instituted the blockade of Gaza and what part the terrorist organization Hamas is playing in that blockade.
Hamas’ stated goal is to wipe Israel off the map. In fact, in Palestinian schoolbooks and maps Israel is nonexistent. Hamas has many sympathizers who share its goals politically and ideologically, most notably al-Qaida and Iran. Both are welcomed in Gaza with open arms and are creative in supporting Hamas and smuggling weapons in support of their holy war against the Jewish state. This latest incident, though, sheds light on another ally of the terrorist group, the Turkish-based International Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH).
So who are these poor “humanitarian” activists Israel tried to stop on the flotilla?
IHH is an associate of Hamas and a member of the Union of the Good. This Union is headed by Yousef Al Qaradawi, one of the world’s most notorious Islamic terrorists (banned in England and America) and leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. IHH was already involved in the purchasing of automatic weapons from other militant Islamic groups as far back as 1990 when their President Bulent Yildrim was focused on recruiting “Veteran soldiers in anticipation of the coming Holy war [jihad].”
Simply put, IHH is a jihadist group cloaked in a humanitarian outfit. It has played important roles in terrorist operations such as the Millennium bomb plot and has been involved in weapons trafficking.
Israel, well informed of IHH’s background and activities, tried speaking to the group before they left the dock and then again while at sea. In an attempt to avoid confrontation, they hoped to persuade the IHH Flotilla to change direction and dock at the Israeli port of Ashdod for inspection before delivering the goods to Gaza. Israel had nothing to gain from a confrontation – but the IHH did, which explains why its members wrote their wills preparing for martyrdom before departure. As one member of the group put it: “We are going to have one of two victories. We either get to Gaza or get martyrdom.”
These “humanitarians” are jihadists on a mission from Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen, Kuwait and Bahrain. They even brought their young children on board fully knowing that this would produce an international media blitz demonizing Israel and distracting the world from the real story.
The lesson here is that Islamists and jihadists have become masters of media manipulation, a task made easy by the degree of willful blindness, naiveté’, and political correctness so epidemic in the media and among world leaders. They have had decades of practice to learn how willfully gullible much of the Western press is when it comes to their alleged grievances and their claims of victimization – especially when it comes to Israel.
I witnessed this growing up in a bomb shelter in Lebanon watching media reports that never seemed to line up with what we Christians in Lebanon were experiencing at the hands of militant Muslims. I saw this again as news anchor of World News for Middle East Television in the 1980s, as I reported on the rise of Islamic terrorism.
Today, Islamists are emboldened by a U.S. administration that is incapable of correctly defining “jihad” and has made clear by its actions that it sees Israel as the principal roadblock to peace in the Mideast. Islamists expect the very response they are now getting from much of the world community, the media, and the Obama administration in the wake of the Gaza Flotilla incident.
With so much “positive reinforcement,” expect more belligerent acts from Hamas and its friends in the weeks and months to come.
Brigitte Gabriel is a terrorism analyst and Two Times New York Best Selling author of “Because They Hate” and “They Must Be Stopped”. She is President and CEO of ACT for America.org