The Next Flotilla and Gilad Shalit

Shalit’s Five Years in Captivity

Shalit’s Five Years in Captivity

Following the Flag & General Officers Program in Israel, JINSA asked the Israeli government why it gives Hamas a “free ride” from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). We wrote, “You let/enable/assist the Red Cross in doing its humanitarian work in the Gaza Strip when it cannot perform its other mission, ensuring humane treatment of POWs. You might consider preventing the ICRC from working there – because it works with Hamas – until Hamas lets the ICRC see Shalit. The absence of Red Cross humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip would be the responsibility of Hamas, not Israel.”

Today, on the fifth anniversary of Gilad Shalit’s kidnapping – and two years since there has been any evidence that he is alive – we are pleased that the ICRC finally “demanded” proof from Hamas. Hamas said no. Agence France Presse (AFP) reports, “Palestinians threw eggs at the International Red Cross office in Gaza on Thursday to protest against a call for Hamas to show signs that a captured Israeli soldier was still alive. Dozens of angry protesters also chanted slogans against the International Committee of the Red Cross and ripped down and destroyed the Red Cross sign over the office.”

The question now is whether the ICRC will stop performing its other activities in Gaza (no one will starve) in protest that it is unable to fulfill one of its key functions as a humanitarian organization.

The Flotilla and The New York Times & Friends

We were not surprised to learn that journalists from The New York Times and camera crews from CNN and CBS are said to be aboard ships headed for Gaza with international groups intending to provoke a clash with Israel. We assume the Americans among them have decided to ignore the State Department warnings and directives – which are interestingly devoid of compromising language.

The Office of the State Department Spokesman (emphasis added):

(Such groups are taking) irresponsible and provocative actions that risk the safety of their passengers. Established and efficient mechanisms exist to transfer humanitarian assistance to Gaza… Assistance can be delivered at the Israeli port of Ashdod, where cargo can be offloaded, inspected, and transported to Gaza.

Recent seizures by Israel and Egypt of advanced military systems, weapons, and ammunition bound for terrorist groups in Gaza, as well as periodic rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza against Israeli civilians, highlight the continuing problem of illicit arms smuggling to Gaza. These seizures underscore the vital importance to Israel’s security of ensuring that all cargo bound for Gaza is appropriately screened for illegal arms and dual-use materials.

We underscore that delivering or attempting or conspiring to deliver material support or other resources to or for the benefit of a designated foreign terrorist organization, such as Hamas, could violate U.S. civil and criminal statutes and could lead to fines and incarceration.

The State Department Travel Warning (emphasis added):

The Department of State strongly urges that US citizens refrain from all travel to the Gaza Strip… US citizens should be aware that as a consequence of a longstanding prohibition on travel by US citizen employees of the US Government into the Gaza Strip, the ability of consular staff to offer timely assistance to US citizens there is extremely limited…

The IDF strictly controls the crossing points between Israel and the Gaza Strip. The security environment within Gaza, including its border with Egypt and its seacoast, is dangerous and volatile. US citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea. Previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of US citizens. US citizens participating in any effort to reach Gaza by sea should understand that they may face arrest, prosecution, and deportation by the Government of Israel.

Media often considers itself to be extraterritorial and outside the reach of government directives. And that’s probably a good thing in general – we certainly do not want media to be a lapdog of government, ours or of any other. Participants in the charade of humanitarian assistance to Gaza, however, are either overtly hostile to Israel or passive aggressive about it – no one on those ships is innocent. By definition, they “win” whether they succeed, fail or die as long as Israel is made to look bad in the eyes of “international opinion.”

By supplying the uncritical megaphone and the edited visuals, The New York Times & Friends are partners in this effort to damage Israel – lapdogs, if you will, for Hamas and for the International Left.