Lindy McDowell (Belfast Telegraph-UK)
Gaza, where the flotilla boats were headed, is under the control of the terrorist grouping Hamas which has been responsible for pounding Israeli towns (and Israeli civilians) with increasingly sophisticated missiles for years. It was to protect Israeli families from Hamas suicide bombers that Israel began erecting its security fence in 2002.Hamas: A Terrorist Thug Group, Through and Through
In 2005 Israel (in the interests of peace) moved out of Gaza. The thanks it got were even more rockets (often supplied by Iran) raining down on its civilian population courtesy of Hamas, which charmingly declares itself dedicated to wiping the Israeli people off the face of the earth. Israel, understandably, has insisted on monitoring what materials go into Gaza and, thus, what (potentially lethal) materials Hamas could have access to. All of us in the West live in countries which maintain a similar right to ensure the safety of their own civilian populations. Most countries have reasons why they would not be confident to leave this role up to the international community. Israel has at least six million extra reasons.
Anath Hartmann (Washington Times)
"I do not think that Hamas is a terrorist organization," Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan told a June 4 rally. In fact, Hamas has perpetrated bombings and other violence that have killed hundreds of people inside Israel and wounded more than 1,300. Hamas' charter calls for the destruction of the Jewish state, saying Israel "will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors" and vowing to "raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine."Hamas Is to Blame for Gaza Tragedy
But Hamas tyranny is not limited to Jews. Hamas has long had a practice of lynching, maiming and executing Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel or the rival Palestinian political party Fatah. After winning the 2006 Gaza elections on a platform of change and an end to corruption, Hamas forcibly took control of the Strip and blew up Fatah headquarters. The U.S., Canada, Israel, Japan and EU all classify Hamas as a terrorist entity.
Eamon Delaney (Irish Independent)
In a Guardian interview, published on the very day of the flotilla-storming, Hamas leader Khaled Meshal almost jauntily looked forward to the next round of "fighting with Israel." Meanwhile, Hamas continues to be funded by the Syrians and Iranians, anxious to stoke bloodshed, but suitably far away enough not to suffer the consequences. The reality is that Hamas should be blamed for bringing ruin and destruction to the people of Gaza. Hamas now enforces an authoritarian regime and has imposed a repressive Islamic culture. Hamas has cancelled elections and forcibly and bloodily evicted its rivals in the Fatah movement.Gaza Activists Were Pawns in a Much Bigger Turkish Power Game
Stephen King (Irish Examiner)
For a generation to whom Vietnam and South Africa are either faint memories or battles only read about in history books, Palestine is the most perfect cause. For rebels looking for a cause, Israel makes a classic enemy. Being a Jewish state makes it racist, right? Aren't its most vociferous supporters in the U.S.? What more is there to know? Only the Holocaust prevents even respectable opinion in Ireland from labeling Israel a fascist state. And it helps that Gaza seems so much more winnable than the Tibetan fight for autonomy.
These individuals who joined 400 Turkish Islamists on a voyage to break the Israeli blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza came, they said, on a genuine, if misguided, attempt to relieve Gaza's suffering. But for the Turkish activists who drove the mission, the flotilla was all part of a much bigger game - a premeditated provocation by a gang of wannabe martyrs bent on violent confrontation and on realigning Turkey away from the West. The impression that Israel/Palestine is the root of all the Middle East's problems is as misguided as it is pervasive. The conflict with Israel merely serves as an effective cover for the region's collective failure to build stable, just and prosperous societies.