While the diplomatic fallout from the botched raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla this week will not be known for some time, the mainstream media already has suffered a serious blow to its credibility. As the mainstream media told the story, a freedom-loving band of peace activists were stormed by armed Israeli commandos, resulting in the deaths of at least nine passengers.
What this narrative ignores, however, is the nature of the organizers and the mission itself. The people behind the so-called “Freedom Flotilla” have a long history with terrorists, including al Qaeda. One of the primary sponsors, the Turkish IHH, were identified by the CIA as far back as 1996 as a terrorist-tied entity with links to Iran, and French magistrate Jean-Louis Brougiere testified that IHH played an “important role” in the failed “millennium plot” in the U.S. in late 1999.
Also missing from the mainstream media coverage was that supplies from the flotilla could have been transported from an Israeli port by truck, after inspection, but that offer was flatly rejected. The reasoning was transparent, considering that flotilla spokeswoman Greta Berlin announced last week to the Agence France Press, “This mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies, it’s about breaking Israel’s siege.”
Most tellingly, flotilla passengers were seen on Al-Jazeera last week chanting, “Khyber, Khyber,” a favorite chant of jihadists because it recalls a battle where Mohammed’s army is said to have killed large numbers of Jews.
Had the mainstream media been truly brave, outlets could have given full context, namely that the blockade of Gaza targets the Hamas government and is a joint enterprise of both Israel and Egypt.
There is no “humanitarian crisis,” as claimed by the flotilla’s propaganda, given that approximately 100 aid trucks enter Gaza every day. “Throughout the last few months,” according to the Israel Defense Forces website, “More than 1,200 tons of medicine and medical equipment, 155 tons of food, 2,900 tons of shoes and clothing and 17 million liters of diesel fuel were transferred in to the Gaza Strip.”
The “crisis” that is brewing in Gaza is Hamas’ failing political status. Worsening economic conditions—a direct result of the Israeli-Egyptian blockade—have seriously undermined Hamas’ standing. Media reports out of Gaza in recent months indicate that Hamas can’t meet its government payroll, and ordinary Gazans are on edge.
But not surprisingly, few of these facts found their way into the mainstream media’s coverage.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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