Haven't we seen this equivalent of a TV summer re-run before? According to the familiar script, anything that the Palestinian side, Hamas, Iran and numerous other haters of Jews and Christians do is justified because of the Israeli "occupation" of "Palestinian land." When Israeli soldiers defend themselves from violent attacks by these "peace activists," they are always acting "disproportionately" and thus deserving of denunciation, censure and ostracism from the "world community." One wishes the haters of Israel would direct some of that zeal to the real enemies of freedom and religious pluralism: radical Islam.
The 1994 Gaza-Jericho agreement served as the basis for Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. In it, Israel was given authority to act precisely as it did on Monday. The relevant sentence states: "As part of Israel's responsibilities for safety and security within the three Maritime Activity Zones, Israel Navy vessels may sail throughout these zones, as necessary and without limitations, and may take any measures necessary against vessels suspected of being used for terrorist activities, or for smuggling arms, ammunition, drugs, goods, or for any other illegal activity..."
If one is known by the company one keeps, then it is useful to consider who was behind this flotilla to Gaza. According to Israeli intelligence, the chief sponsor of the mission was an organization known as IHH, a Turkish humanitarian relief fund with a radical Islamic, anti-Western orientation. Like many other groups, including some that have infiltrated Western countries, IHH does just enough legitimate charitable work to serve as a front for its true agenda. In this it resembles the American Mafia.
Israeli intelligence says IHH initiated a number of "humanitarian aid" convoys to anti-U.S. Islamic terrorists in Iraq's Fallujah Triangle. It cites information from the Danish Institute for International Studies that asserts IHH is connected to al-Qaida and global Islamic terrorism. IHH offices in Istanbul were raided by Turkish security services and IHH activists were arrested. Explosives, weapons, manuals and documents pertaining to Afghanistan were found.
According to a French intelligence report, Bulent Yildirim, the president of IHH, recruited "Jihad warriors" and transferred money, firearms and explosives to al-Qaida and other Islamic terrorists in various countries.
There's plenty more tying IHH to the Gaza flotilla and to its efforts in support of radicals and terrorist organizations, but you get the picture.
Israel's minister of defense, Ehud Barak, told a news conference a few hours after the flotilla incident, "On one of the six ships, the protestors initiated violence. We express remorse for the injured activists, however, the full responsibility rests on the organizers of the flotilla and those participants who acted violently."
President Obama said it is important to learn "all the facts and circumstances" behind the incident before reaching conclusions. The facts and circumstances are already known. It is a fact that those trying to break Israel's blockade of Gaza hate and wish to destroy Israel. And any circumstance will be created or used to achieve that objective.
Again, we've seen this scenario before and surely will see it again, and again, and again, unless and until the world wakes up to the clash of civilizations too many want to ignore, hoping it will go away. It won't until one civilization crushes the other.
Cal Thomas writes for Tribune Media Services, 2225 Kenmore Ave., Suite 114, Buffalo, N.Y. 14207. Readers may also e-mail Cal Thomas at tmseditors@ tribune.com.