From a global media perspective, the story is pretty clear. Hundreds of international activists, some of them parliamentarians from Europe and Israel, are trying to bring thousands of tons of supplies to the Gaza Strip, and Israel is stopping them.
For the international media and its consumers, the reasons behind Israel’s decision do not make much of a difference, since what Israel is doing fits the way it is already widely perceived – as a violent aggressor abusing a weak and poor Palestinian people.
Stories were leaked by the government to the press about the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), the Turkish organization that is behind the flotilla, described as a “radical Islamic organization” that was outlawed by Israel in 2008 for allegedly serving as a major component in Hamas’s global fund-raising machine.
In addition to this effort, the long-standing claim was restated that if this flotilla were allowed to enter Gaza, it would open the door to unsupervised shipments that could contain not just flour, cement and medical supplies but also explosives, Kalashnikov rifles and Iranian-made, long-range Fajr-5 missiles.
In the end, though, none of this official Israeli counter-effort will really make a difference, since what will ultimately determine the impact of the flotilla saga will be the pictures and videotapes published and broadcast around the world.
Even if Israel allowed these ships and all such ships to dock in Gaza City’s harbor, it would still be accused of laying siege to the Palestinians in the Strip since, albeit along with Egypt, it controls the land crossings.
In the end, after all, the flotilla is just another chapter in an international campaign to chip away at Israel’s legitimate right to defend itself.