Cruisin’: Women’s Boat to Gaza.

What you should know about the Women’s Boat to Gaza

A ‘single boat’ flotilla, passengered and probably skippered by women is currently on route in an attempt to breach the Israeli blockade of Gaza. Yes, I know that a single boat flotilla might be a contradiction in terms but no more than labeling themselves peace activists.

Here are some things Israel activists should know about it.

Responding to their F.A.Q.s

Why is the Israeli blockade of Gaza illegal?

It isn’t! In a moment of weakness the United Nations allowed a genuinely independent investigation into the Mavi Marmara events. The Palmer Report came to the conclusion that   Israel’s security blockade of Gaza is legal and appropriate.

We doubt the UN will ever make the mistake of commissioning a report on Israel, ever again, without picking a committee whose mind is already made up in the direction the Israel Haters want and  determining in advance that the contents and conclusions will suit their agenda.

What is the importance of highlighting the struggle of Palestinian women in Gaza, Palestine and across the world?

Hajer Harb, courageous journalist exposing corruption in the Ministry of Health

Hajer Harb, courageous journalist exposing corruption in the Ministry of Health

Hajer Harb, courageous journalist exposing corruption in the Ministry of Health

We are not sure what ‘across the world’ means but let this pass for now. Some of these self-proclaimed feminists have visited Gaza several times. Yet we have heard not one word on honour killings, forced marriage, polygamy, female genital mutilation, violence within the family, Islamic rules for rape, beating women or even compulsory Islamic head and body covering. Don’t expect to see too many burkinis on Gaza’s beaches.

There is one shelter for battered women in Gaza. One for a population of 1,819,982 with an +3.41% annual growth. The first opened in 2011.

We have no doubt that if they arrive there will be plenty of photographs with ‘representative’ Gazan women, all blaming Israel for their every problem. Will they think Hajer Haber (pictured) suitable? A journalist she exposed the racket where some by virtue of either bribes or family receive permission to leave Gaza for medical treatment, often in Israeli hospitals) whether they need it or not. Others without money or contacts can not leave. It should be expected a disproportionate proportion of the unfortunate ones will be poor women.

Is the WBG a non-violent initiative?

Injured Israeli commando captured aboard the Mavi Marmara. Note the knife.

Injured Israeli commando captured aboard the Mavi Marmara. Note the knife.

Yet, they offer solidarity with both Hamas and Fatah, both of which consider violence as their preferred means to victory. The Women’s Boat to Gaza may not be carrying arms but it assists with propaganda those who do.

By the way their claim that the dead were unarmed in the Mavi Mamara  incident is a lie. One of the conclusions of the previously mentioned Palmer Report was that that Israeli commandos that boarded the Mavi Marmara, one of the flotilla’s ships, faced organized and violent resistance.

Why shouldn’t Israel now assume that every boat in the flotilla will violently resist, until proven different?

Will you be bringing aid to Gaza?

The short answer is NO.  The Women’s Boat to Gaza is a solidarity, not an aid mission. This is another way of saying political theatre. We have to ask why if ‘72% of Palestinian people living in Gaza, 65% of whom are children, suffering food insecurity’ you can ethically come and not bring food?

Can WBG explain why if Gaza is supposedly suffering from a shortage of food it also has a well reported obesity problem? Not only are Gazans fatter than their neighbours they are among the most obese in the world?

When they arrive, if they do, WBG should be asked to be entertained in one of Gaza’s excellent restaurants. Roots in Gaza City is supposed to be first class.

Why is the WBG challenging the Israeli blockade by sea?

Because a sea voyage is fun and great for female bonding? George Galloway attempted the land route. Apart from being hot, boring, dusty and more than a little dangerous, while crossing Libya,  the Egyptians were very hostile and wouldn’t let them in. Rather disappointing if your plan was to drive your convoy in a victory parade led by Napoleon in a Winnebago.

Are there any risks for those participating?

Be brave, child — the Gazans have it worse. We believe the WBG is counting on being arrested, a couple of days of relative discomfort and then deportation.

Five Minutes for Israel has a suggestion

The normal procedure, and one the organisers of this cruise are well aware of, is for the Israel Navy to board the boat and tow it to Ashdod. The passengers are confined for a couple of days and then deported.

My suggestion is the the IDF board and check for contraband at sea. Assuming they find none, (it would be extraordinarily stupid, even by their low standards, for the group to try and smuggle something) the boat should be allowed to proceed to Gaza.

All crew members and passengers will be informed that they will not be allowed to leave the Strip through Israel. What Egypt decides is up to the Egyptians but the Rafah crossing has been closed since January 2015 and unlikely to open for a bunch of women the Egyptians consider to be supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood’s branch in Palestine.

This brings up problems. For a start can the boat dock? Granted it only has space for fifteen political tourists but might still be too large. Brought ashore in fishing boats? Carried ashore by strong men, as used to be the practise in Ottoman times?

That leads to another problem. Assuming the rented boat hasn’t skedaddled back to its owners while they were demonstrating solidarity with the starving Gazans the women will then have to take fuel and provisions AWAY from Gaza to be able to return by sea. Embarrassing and doubling costs especially as they were relying on Israel to pay for their comfortable deportation flight home.

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First published at 5MFI Blog 

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