Egypt Lifts the Blockade, ‘9/11 for Turkey’
Your midday Flotilla update
The two biggest pieces of news are that Egypt, whose blockade of its border with Gaza has complemented Israel’s land-and-sea blockade, opened the Rafah crossing; and another boat, currently off the coast of Italy, is en route to Gaza, with a second likely to join it. Egyptian officials said the opening at Rafah is temporary and designed to allow humanitarian aid.
Turkey, whose government many suspect had a pretty big role in organizing and sponsoring the flotilla, continues to ratchet up the rhetoric. A day after the prime minister described the Israeli raid as “state terrorism,” the country’s foreign minister declared, “Psychologically, this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey.” (Ooof.) “Citizens of member states were attacked by a country that was not a member of NATO,” he added. Turkey has also recalled its ambassador.
Here is a helpful profile of the Free Gaza Movement, which is the group behind the flotilla.
The IDF’s top general praised the soldiers’ performance.
Finally, I linked to it in the morning round-up, but Ben Smith’s story is worth a closer look. For one thing, it gets at the terrible irony of this happening just when it was clear that the U.S. “charm offensive” aimed at winning over Israel (and American Jews) was making real progress. But it also provides a great illustration of the insane bizarro world you enter when the subject is Israel. On the one hand, this truly was a screw-up, to the extent that the United States’ exceedingly mild language could get it into real trouble with the Muslim countries to which it has been practicing outreach. On the other hand, seemingly the rest of the entire world does not yet even buy the basic fact that—whether or not enforcing the blockade (as well as the blockade itself) was right or wrong—these were not unarmed, harmless, passive civilians on those ships.
“The situation is that they’re so isolated right now that it’s not only that we’re the only ones who will stick up for them,” said an American official. “We’re the only ones who believe them—and what they’re saying is true.”
Egypt Opens Gaza Border as New Ship Tests Israeli Blockade [WSJ]
Israel Says Free Gaza Movement Poses Threat to Jewish State [WP]
Turkish Foreign Minister: Israeli Raid on Gaza Flotilla ‘Like 9/11’ for His Country [WP]
‘We’re The Only Ones Who Believe Them’ [Politico]
Israel Bites the Bait [Tablet Magazine]