Statement from NI Friends of Israel

NIFI deeply regrets all loss of life in the Arab-Israel conflict (including, without qualification, the loss of life on the lead ship of the Gaza flotilla). NIFI’s aim is to encourage all parties in  Northern Ireland to contribute towards securing a genuine and lasting peace in the Middle East.
Being a friend of Israel doesn’t require anyone to hold that Israel can do no wrong. But equally the waves of misinformation engulfing Israel at the moment, particularly in the local media, cannot go unanswered. Subject to the results of a full investigation, we ask you to consider the following “media facts” 
Media fact number one: the people on the Gaza flotilla were “peace activists”.
Fact: Yes, many are. But on the lead boat, where all the violence occured, there were many Islamic militants who were bent on violent confrontation with Israel.
Evidence: the attached video shows “peace activists” from the flotilla chanting ‘death to the Jews’ and seeking martyrdom  in the war against Israel. Note how this is presented positively on Arab TV. But when did you see this being reported in the western media?
Media fact number Two: the Gaza flotilla was concerned with bringing humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza and the Israelis wished to block the aid from getting through. 
Fact: the Israelis repeatedly stated that if the aid was brought to an Israeli port for checking it would be sent in to Gaza.
Evidence: the attached clip shows an Israeli officer making exactly this offer. The response from the Gaza flotilla is “Negative. We are going to Gaza”. Confrontation with Israel was more important than humanitarian aid getting in to Gaza.
Media fact number three: “Peace activists” have been reported as saying that the Israelis fired at them wildly and that what took place was a premeditated massacre.
Fact: the Israeli troops boarded woefully unprepared for the violent lynching that awaited them. The first soldiers on board were equipped with paint ball guns and were prepared only for minimal or peaceful resistance.

Evidence:take a look for yourself at the attached video and decide which version is correct. Is lynching using metal bars the action of “peace activists”?

The real aim of many behind the flotilla is to secure unrestricted access of supplies to the Hamas regime in Gaza. This regime is paid for and armed by Iran and its charter commits it to all out jihad to destroy Israel.
Iranian missiles already smuggled into Gaza put one million Israelis in the line of fire. Longer range missiles would bring Tel Aviv into range. If this is allowed to happen Hamas will provoke another war with Israel which will bring further death and destruction to both Jews and Arabs.

There are many genuine peace campaigners involved in the Gaza flotilla – including Irish ones. But they must explain why they are associating with a protest where lead members call for ‘death to the Jews’, and which aims to give Hamas unrestricted ability to import missiles from Iran – spelling disaster for Israelis and Palestinians alike.  

Real progress towards peace will come when Hamas recognises Israel’s right to exist and commits itself to a permanent peace. Israel withdrew from Gaza completely in 2005 and this should have been the first step towards a viable and prosperous Palestinian state. Why this didn’t happen is the real issue. NIFI calls upon Northern Irish political parties and the media to address this fundamental point – why Hamas chose missiles and futile assaults over building a state – and shock, horror, its not all the fault of Israel.

Northern Ireland Friends of Israel
2nd June 2010