Some months ago my elder son was invited to join the Aid Flotilla that was being planned to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza. He would take a camera and make a documentary. The idea appealed to him. His mother said that if he was going to do something like that it needed to be in a cause he was willing to die for. In the end he didn’t go, partly because he had other commitments he couldn’t responsibly shuck off.
He and I didn’t exactly discount his mother’s warnings, but we did think she was being a bit melodramatic. After all, it was a humanitarian mission.
And then today, this:
Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country’s siege on Gaza.
More than 10 people were killed and dozens injured when troops stormed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, the Israeli military said.
The Israeli military said four soldiers had been wounded, one of them seriously, and claimed troops opened fire after ‘demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF Naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs’.
Free Gaza Movement, the organisers of the flotilla, however, said the troops opened fire as soon as they stormed the ships.
Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Jerusalem, said the Israeli action was surprising.
‘All the images being shown from the activists on board those ships show clearly that they were civilians and peaceful in nature, with medical supplies on board. So it will surprise many in the international community to learn what could have possibly led to this type of confrontation,’ he said.
Suddenly the Middle East feels awfully close to leafy Annandale.