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The provocation by a pro-Hamas group hiding behind a humanitarian mantle as its ships sailed toward Gaza on May 31 was tragic and avoidable. This latest attempt by pro-Palestinian terrorists to delegitimize Israel is an extreme example of the lengths anti-Israel groups will go to in order to destroy the Jewish state.

Israel had repeatedly requested that the humanitarian cargo carried by these ships be unloaded in the port town of Ashdod and then trucked to Gaza after a standard security check. Instead the Free Gaza Movement incited a confrontation with Israel.

“This so-called humanitarian mission did not have to end this way,” B’nai B’rith International President Dennis W. Glick said. “Israel gave this group every opportunity to deliver its goods in a manner safe for all involved. Instead the Free Gaza Movement chose confrontation.”

According to Palestinian Media Watch, the flotilla had whipped itself into a pre-war-like frenzy in the days leading up to the confrontation. Men on the ships reportedly shouted a popular chant asking for the death and defeat of Jews in battle. These supposedly non-violent humanitarian ships reportedly attacked Israeli commandos with weapons as they boarded.

Humanitarian aid does enter Gaza on a regular basis—some 15,000 tons a month pass through proper safety channels, even after Israel and Egypt imposed a blockade of Gaza three years ago after the terrorist group Hamas seized control of the region. By ignoring Israel’s request, this terror group showed its true intentions: That it was solely interested in confronting Israel.

“Hiding behind humanitarian claims, this flotilla accomplished exactly what it set out to do—to provoke and delegitimize Israel,” B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said. “These methods feed terror groups and public sentiment that seeks to destroy Israel’s international standing.”