I want to make a few points about the flotilla to Gaza. I oppose it. I think it is wrong and reckless. But I do not oppose it simply out of support for Israel or a dislike of the far left individuals who are orchestrating it. I oppose it on the following grounds. The Israeli blockade of Gaza has been completely distorted both in terms of its objectives and what it actually does. Firstly, the Gaza strip is controlled by Hamas. Hamas is a an organisation that is committed to the destruction of Israel. It is completely natural that Israel would want to prevent the economic development of an entity that wants to destroy it. When a nations' economy grows, its military capacity grows with it. I think that is pretty straight forward. Therefore Israel wants to prevent the economic development of the Hamas controlled Gaza strip. I think they are perfectly entitled to do that. If during the northern troubles, the six counties were under the control of the UVF or UDA, I don't think the Dublin government would have done much trading with them.
It is not true that Israel is trying to starve Gaza into submission. Israel’s stated policy toward Gaza is quite simple, they want to see “no humanitarian crisis and no economic development”. This is why the IDF have been sending in truckloads of humanitarian aid on a regular basis while at the same time, preventing the entry of materials that can be used for construction and trade. This from the Irish embassy in Dublin.
While Israel maintains an arms blockade of Gaza, it has maintained a steady and massive flow of humanitarian aid into the territory.
In the month of May 2011 alone, this totalled some 127,353 tons of goods.
That's almost 80 kg of aid per month – including food, clothing, and other supplies – for every single person in Gaza. Nearly 5,000 truckloads entered Gaza from Israel in May. In terms of food alone, this includes:
• 376 truckloads of flour
• 324 truckloads of wheat
• 225 truckloads of fruit and vegetables
• 142 truckloads of dairy products
• 113 truckloads of meat and fish
• 44 truckloads of milk powder and baby formula
• 65 truckloads of rice
• 59 truckloads of cooking oil
• 492 truckloads of other food products
In the other direction, Israel granted permits to 3,612 Palestinians to enter Israel from Gaza in May 2011. Of these, 1,238 were for business purposes and 1,892 were for medical procedures (986 patients and 906 accompanying individuals).
Probably the most important reason I oppose the flotilla is because it is reckless and dangerous. It is dangerous for the people on board, dangerous for the IDF and dangerous for the Israelis and Palestinians. This effort has the potential to spark a clash between the IDF and Hamas. It could even lead to a renewal of the the 2009 war between the two. These so called peace activists would be much better served promoting reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians instead of this irresponsible action. Instead they appear intent on taking this provocative action which makes me wonder, do these people want to see peace between Israel and Palestine, or victory for Palestine.