The current debate is surreal...
More on those deluded peace activists...
But the current debate is surreal. The week before the aid-flotilla incident, international discussion centered on North Korea and its attack on a South Korean naval vessel. A torpedo sank the ship, killing 46 sailors. The U.N. Security Council was to begin discussion of possible action against North Korea. But then a few days ago, council members made it clear they were going to drop the North Korea matter and take up a resolution condemning Israel first.
At the same time, all of the blame for the sad state of affairs in Gaza falls on Israel, even though Egypt usually keeps its gates to Gaza tightly locked, too - Egypt, which styles itself as the Palestinians' greatest friend and benefactor.
Imagine for a moment that the activists had decided to storm Egypt's gates to Gaza instead and, when Egyptian troops tried to stop the aid caravan, activists assaulted the soldiers with iron rods and knives. If the Egyptians shot and killed nine people in the ensuing melee, do you think the U.N. Security Council would be dropping everything right now to rush through a resolution condemning Egypt? Certainly not.
But then the Free Gaza Movement argues that Israel should open up Gaza, let anyone and anything come and go. That's not exactly how they put it, but that would be the end result. How utterly naive. I wonder how many of the Free Gaza Movement's members have interviewed the leaders of Hamas, as I have - many times.
"From our ideological point of view, it is not allowed to recognize that Israel controls one square meter of historic Palestine," Mahmoud al-Zahar, a senior Hamas leader, told me.
Without even a hint of irony or jest, Ismail Abu Shanab, suggested: "There are a lot of open areas in the United States that could absorb the Jews." Israel assassinated both of those men soon after I spoke to them. But Hamas' goals have not changed.
Hamas leaders are single-minded, heedless of anything but their generational crusade. Could there be better evidence than Hamas' refusal to accept the aid unloaded from the flotilla ships, tons of it - denying their people all of that food and medicine, preferring instead to make a political statement?
"We want to break the siege of Gaza," the Free Gaza Movement says. In the process, do they want to "free" the leaders of Hamas? Last week, these leaders made their position clear. They fired four missiles into Israel, toward Ashkelon and Sderot.