The purpose of the flotilla was now clear and they sailed on: nine vessels in all, following the lead of the Turkish flag carrying (yet registered to the Comoros) ship “Mavi Marmara”, which was recently purchased by IHH for a million dollars in cash for this specific purpose. There were 600 passengers in the ship, some cargo for the Gaza strip, cameramen and journalists from many countries to recordthe “historic” event, as well as a cache of metal pipes, wooden sticks, sling shots, gas masks, etc.
When the IDF Commandoes slid down to the deck of the Turkish vessel “Mavi Marmara” from their helicopter gunships, they were immediately met by activists carrying steel pipes, wooden sticks, sling shots, broken bottles, and knives. Weapons from two fallen Commandoes were taken away and IDF started to take live fire. As the IDF Commandoes started to take casualties, they asked for permission to respond in kind and as a result nine Turkish activists were killed.
Within minutes of the incident, main streets of major cities in Turkey and other Arab and some European countries were filled with protesters carrying Palestinian flags and anti-Israel slogans. An anti-Israel, anti-Western propaganda war immediately commenced with the pro-Arab “Al-Jazeera TV” leading the way. Government sponsored Turkish TV stations were already broadcasting favorable video images, rumors and false information. By the time the world started to hear the real story in full detail, the damage to Israel was done and, as a result, the political map of the Middle East may have been forever changed.
In order for us to understand the situation and its implications for us here at home, we must first understand the players involved. Behind the flotilla adventure was the Islamist Prime Minister of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan. Publicly confronting President Peres of Israel during an internationally televised session of the Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland a year ago, Prime Minister Erdogan had accused the Israelis of being “killers”. For almosttwo years leading up to the “flotilla incident”, the government of Turkey has been actively courting Mahmoud Ahmedinejad of Iran, a sworn enemy of Israel, who indicated on more than one occasion his country’s desire to see the total destruction of Israel, signing a number of far reaching treaties with the leader of this rogue nation. Ahmedinejad, who was recently re-elected as President of Iran after a disputed and possibly fraudulent election and who has not yet met a terrorist organization he did not like, was supportive of the “peace flotilla” for his purposes. Iran supports Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Taliban in Afghanistan, and Al Qaeda in Iraq; and supplies money, weapons and training to all of these terror groups. Ahmedinejad’s expressed goals are to obtain nuclear weapons, to destroy the State of Israel, and to be the dominating Islamic power in the region. Mr. Erdogan’s expressed goals are to make his financially stable country as a major power center in the region; turn Turkey into an Islamic Republic, and become the de facto leader of all the Sunni Muslim nations in the area. Recently, the Government of Turkey signed open border agreements with Syria, Iran, and Jordan, eliminating travel restrictions thus making it possible for terror connected persons to move around with ease. In reality, this picture leaves Israel as the only true ally and friend of the USA in this volatile region. Israel is an example of how democracy can work in an area run by dictators, despots, and terrorists. After carefully examining a political map of the area with the above mentioned players in mind, one should immediately understand why the despots and terrorists in the area would like nothing more than to see Israel destroyed and gone forever. Since her inception in 1948, Israel has always been a friend of the USA, having had to defend herself against all odds over and over again. Israel is, and has always been, an ally of the United States.
The terrorist organization Hamas controls the Gaza strip, having recently won a disputed election and fighting off the Fatah organization in a power struggle. In order to stop constant rocket fire coming from the Gaza strip into her territory, killing or maiming her citizens; Israel had been applying a complete blockade of the Gaza strip to stop incoming shipments of weapons, rockets and ammunition into the territory.
The present Government of the USA is perceived by most Muslims in the area as not as friendly to Israel, as all previous American Governments were. A number of recent events has created this perception that “America is no longer Israel’s best friend” amongst the “hate-Israel” group of countries in the region. The failure of the USA to stop Iran’s march towards nuclear weapons, the recent public snubbing of Prime Minister Netanyahu by the White House, and various public comments coming from Washington fanned the flames of those who would like nothing better than to see Israel disappear from the map of the Middle East.
Mr. Erdogan in Turkey, who is facing domestic difficultiesas his new proposed pro-Islamist Constitution did not muster enough votes in the Turkish Parliament. Ahmedinejat of Iran is feeling political pressures from his countrymen wanting basic freedoms, and from the international community wanting to put a stop to his hunt for nuclear weapons. Both certainly needed an external event which would galvanize their populations against an outside enemy. Thus, the “Peace Flotilla” to Gaza was born.
It is now extremely important for the US Government and all of us as Americans to decide who our friends are and to stand by them. Americans should no longer tolerate the status quo. Every day, we seem to be turning away from our traditional friends and leaving them to face the music alone. The high value once put on being a friend of America is slowly being eroded. The “flotilla” was the perfect storm and a huge warning to the West in general, and to America in particular, that our freedoms are at stake. The enemy is real and well organized. They control governments and radio and television stations; they are well financed and have weapons. They are around us, they are amongst us, and they are multiplying and growing fast. It is time for all of us to stop, think, and make some crucial decisions before it is too late; before we will face “Peace Flotillas” on our shores. Let us identify who our friends are and make sure that being our friend is a most valuable asset.
Currently chairman of Marco Island’s Code Enforcement Board, Tarik Ayasun has given many years of community service to various organizations.