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Israel Justified in Gaza Action

Not everything is gray. Sometimes there is such a thing as right and wrong, and the cynical attempt by supporters of Hamas to send a flotilla to Gaza should be condemned by everyone who genuinely wants peace in the Middle East.

Hamas has fired thousands of rockets into Israel, even though Israel does not occupy even one square inch of Gaza. The only Israeli in Gaza is Galid Shalit, the soldier who was kidnapped nearly four years ago. Israel is in a state of armed conflict with Gaza and has every right to impose a maritime blockade to prevent Hamas from acquiring more weapons with which to terrorize Israeli civilians.

And yet despite the blockade, there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza because as the organizers of the flotilla well know, Israel allows humanitarian supplies to enter Gaza despite the blockade:

In a typical week, 15,000 tons of supplies enter Gaza. Truckloads of meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, milk powder, baby food, wheat and other staples arrive in Gaza on a daily basis. Building materials are also shipped in, when monitored by International organization so as not to be commandeered by Hamas for the fortification of bunkers.

Since the ceasefire in January 2009, well over a million tons of humanitarian supplies entered Gaza from Israel - that is almost a ton of aid for each man, woman and child in the Strip.

The land crossings remain the most efficient system to transfer goods to Gaza, and the flotilla organizers are well aware of this fact. The organizers also know that since December 2008, their ships have been denied permission to land.

The flotilla was organized in part by a radical Islamic anti-American Turkish organization whose goal was not to help the Arabs of Gaza, but to provoke a confrontation with Israel. Israel cannot allow vessels to enter Gaza without checking them, and when Israel checked one of the ships, the Israelis were greeted with knives, lead pipes, and other weapons. Any loss of life is terrible, but the fault is clearly with those who chose to run the blockade, especially since Israel had made clear that the boats could dock at Ashdod, at which point the humanitarian goods on board would be sent to Gaza following inspection.

Israel's quarrel is not with the Arab Palestinian people, but with the Iran-backed Hamas terrorists who run Gaza. Indeed, Israel has endorsed a two-state solution and consistently proposed peaceful solutions, even willingness to trade land won in defensive wars for a promise of peace, only to be rebuffed again and again by intransigent Arab Palestinian leadership.

But even as Israel strives for peace with its Arab neighbors, it cannot be expected to forsake the primary duty of any state: to protect the safety and security of its citizens. We would expect no less from our government if our children were subjected to daily rocket attacks at home and at school. Israelis near the Gaza border have only seconds of warning to race to the nearest bomb shelter, and if kids are in different rooms, that means a split-second decision regarding which kid to grab and which kid to hope makes it to the shelter on her own. No government can permit its citizens to live that way, and that's why Israel must inspect cargo coming into Gaza--and the organizers of the flotilla knew that.

Israel is a vibrant democracy, and no matter what the government or what the policy, there will be internal opposition. Israel has proven that a state can vigorously respond to terror and still maintain its democratic character. It is the epitome of chutzpah for us, living in the safety and security of the United States, to tell the democratically elected government of Israel how to make peace and how to safeguard the security of those who live within rocket range and whose children may die defending the innocent from the terrorists.